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IF Comp ’12 – Ruderbager Doppelganger’s Last Minute!

October 6, 2012

So, let’s see, looks like fish, zombies, and amnesia this year.  I wonder to what extent IF Comp themes reflect the zeitgeist.  I know zombies are big amongst the population at large, but I am not sure about fish or amnesia.  Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a game where you play a fish with amnesia.  That seems like a winning combination.

> swim around castle
In the time it takes you to swim around the castle, you forget who you are and what you are doing.
> swim around castle
In the time it takes you to swim around the castle, you forget who you are and what you are doing.
> x castle
Huh?
> x me
You have a lot of tattoos explaining what’s going on and who murdered your wife, but you can’t read them because you’re a fish.

Fishmento.  I’d play it.

Also sadly, there don’t seem to be any games about people’s dirty apartments this year.  Let’s go with the closest thing we can find, a “desperate attempt at a story about a desperate attempt to enter into the 2012 IFCOMP at the last minute.”  Do you think he’s going to make it?

[spoilers begin here]

Oh, crap! Crap, crap, crap! Crappity crappy crap!
Poop.
I like this game already.

Anything will do, as long as I have an entry and a chance to win that box of authentic Belgian chocolates!
Wait, you can get Belgian chocolates for winning the IF Comp?  No one told me this!  I’m entering next year!

Okay, this is pretty fun, actually.  The premise seems to be that you look around your room to find a hero, source of conflict, and villain, and then you get to play whatever weird little game your character came up with.  I chose Pac-Man, beetroot, and Thom Yorke.  Wait, I guess I didn’t choose the beetroot, the beetroot chose me.

He sighed. His weight wasn’t actually the problem. In fact, he felt that he made it look good. It was the pills. The pills were the problem. He was addicted. If he saw pills, he had to gobble them down. Paracetamol, birth control, you name it. The only other things he would eat was fruit, and occasionally keys.
Poor Pac-Man!

Pac-Man quickly donned some Pac-Pants and rushed out of his Pac-Door and onto the streets, which were now flooded with panic.
Pac-Panic.  I think my character has Pac-Man confused with the Batman.  Also, how does Pac-Man wear pants?  What does that look like?

“I want to recreate the world in my image,” replied Yorke. “For all the world to be as dull and drab as the music I create. This is why I made beetroot the only food on the planet. It mirrors my music perfectly.”
Man, I like Radiohead.  And beetroot, which like so many other foods is primarily a vehicle for butter.  Clearly I am not the intended audience for this game!  (Gratuitous YouTube link to medley of Radiohead songs sung bluegrass-style here.  God loves his children.  Over and out.)

“I think it’s time to get my life back, you dig?”
You never say this to Dig Dug.  You never feed a line like this to Dig Dug.  It is right there in the goldarn Geneva Convention.
Dig Dug laughed and put an arm around Pac-Man’s shoulders. “Yeah, Pac… I dig.”
GODDAMMIT, PEOPLE, QUIT SAYING SHIT TO DIG DUG

“That beverage is made with Seven-Up. You should know by now that Seven-Up was not invented until 1929, and as such we carry none, since Ye Old Horse-Drawn Carriage is a 1860s themed bar.”
I laughed.
Peter frowned. Once a great origami master, he vowed to never practice the art again after it once led to him burning down an orphanage in a freak accident.
I laughed again.

Okay, so this game is on the slight and fluffy side, but entertaining.  What I need here is any kind of basis for objectively judging CYOA against traditional IF.  Because here, right, is the issue I’m having:  CYOA is at its core a much sleeker beast than IF, and much easier to tame.  Problems with underimplementation, guess-the-verb, insufficient clueing, unexpected object interactions — your basic CYOA just skips these like it’s got a doctor’s note to get out of gym class.  All of the work you put into a CYOA game shows on the surface, whereas your average IF game needs a bunch of work just to stop looking like garbage.  I could spend twice as many hours on an IF game as you spent on a CYOA game and yours would be a lovely testament to the savage beauty of humanity while mine was still a buggy half-finished dick-joke-laden game about an amnesiac fish.

How do you deal with that discrepancy?  It doesn’t seem fair to dock CYOA games points for looking nicer despite being easier to make.  Insisting an author do new and interesting things with the format before you’ll deign to give them, say, an eight, seems like an asshole move.  I think I’m just going to pretend there are separate categories for CYOA and traditional IF, and score the games against the others in their category.  This one gets a tentative seven for slightness and funny writing.

Fishmento.

9 comments

  1. “yours would be a lovely testament to the savage beauty of humanity while mine was still a buggy half-finished dick-joke-laden game about an amnesiac fish.”

    You have to be, ha ha, fishing for compliments here, because there is not a single solitary person in the world who would not rather play your buggy half-finished dick-joke-laden game about an amnesiac fish.


  2. “Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a game where you play a fish with amnesia.”

    …I wouldn’t speak too soon.


  3. [...] there really isn’t a whole lot to it. And I really want to quote Pissy Little Sausages on the basis of judging these games: “What I need here is any kind of basis for objectively [...]


  4. I love the idea for Fishmento. You sold me on those three-four lines of commands. Amazing.

    I don’t know how to judge the clicky games. I don’t really like them in the IFComp, although I always was a fan of CYOA as a kid. I don’t know. I like this game, and it ran fine, but I’ll be the jerk who judges low simply because it’s not a traditional IF. I don’t know. I wish that there was a better way around it.


  5. I just realised I never thanked you for the positive review. Thanks! This game is terrible but I’m glad people still enjoyed it.


    • TELL ME HOW PAC-MAN WEARS PANTS


      • With overalls that go over the top of his head, obviously.


      • Wait, that wouldn’t work either… damn it, you found the one plot hole in my game.


      • Maybe he drapes them over his mouth.



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