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IF Comp ’09 – Darren Ingram’s Beta Tester!

October 8, 2009

I’ve been having a hard time getting it up to review games the past few days, which I attribute to some sort of vitamin deficiency.  Probably manganese, whatever that even is.  It sounds like a long-lost warrior tribe, doesn’t it?  A twig snaps under your feet and suddenly you and your manservant are surrounded by three dozen Manganese, brandishing spears and baring their teeth and jabbering at you in their heathen tongue?  I wish I had a manservant.  Does the “man” part refer to him or me?  Because if it’s him, I could totally get one.  Then I would acquire some spats for the sole purpose of having him iron them for me.

Hmm, actually, now that I live somewhere where ice doesn’t much need to be scraped off my car, I’m not sure what else I would have my manservant do.  Review IF games for me, I guess.  Oh, hey, I could start writing these reviews as though they’d been written by my manservant, but we’d all know it was really me writing them, and I would feel silly.  Also, I’m not entirely sure how a manservant would write IF reviews anyway.  You can’t just stick “sir” in every third word; it’s not like “ye.”  (Oh snap Yon Astounding Castle!)

I’m going to start playing a game now.  Darren Ingram’s Beta Tester, actually.  I hope it’s good.

Mostly Spoiler-Free Upshot: Well, it wasn’t bad as such, but it wasn’t really a game as such, either.  Actually, I’m too lazy to paraphrase the sum-up down in the spoiler bit, so I’m’a just copy-paste it and you can read it twice:

It wasn’t not entertaining, but it wasn’t what I consider a game – more like a conglomeration of things someone had worked out how to do in their design software and put together like a loose burrito.  Still, it was better than an underimplemented untested shitty attempt at a cohesive game, and the author has demonstrated competence at coding stuff up and writing vignettes.  When he gets an actual game together on some day in the future, I will be happy to play the shit out of it.

[spoilers begin here]

I think “virtual properties progress metrics” is the most disgusting phrase I’ve read in a long time.  The most disgusting single word I’ve read in a long time is “freemium.”  Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.

“We thank you in advance for your litigious restraint.”
I smiled.

This game is fairly funny so far.  The frequent pauses allow for comedy timing, which is tricky to do in text.  I am not sure how to feel about my test-bunny ears and tail, though.

You hear a voice, “Play as long as you like.  Explore as much as you wish.  Then simply find your way out. […] ”
Is there some sort of direction and goal and all that, or is this a sandbox?  Because sandboxes are neat, but I sort of expect a story from IF, whether or not it’s actually fair for me to do so.

Awww, little hamster with a little hamster head!  I bet he’s also got a little hamster face and LITTLE HAMSTER FEET!
…sorry, I just finished menstruating.  Let’s blame that.

This here slot was made for one thing and one thing only.  And that there yellow tube ain’t it.
*snerk!*

So far this game sort of reminds me of ZZT.  You really get the sense that it was put together one room at a time, and the next room could have anything in it (bears with guns, sudoku puzzles, a sarcophagus that dispenses thrice-worn sweatbands), and there’s something I sort of like about that.  Eventually you want to develop some sort of cohesiveness, if you’re going for the massive piles of wealth, fame, and poontang that critically acclaimed IF authors are showered with, but I for one usually find these on-the-fly sorts of games entertaining.

This “first to 100” game is pretty fun, actually, and the author earns points for coding up its AI.  It doesn’t seem to exist in the context of anything, though, which would have been nice.

You are currently traveling through the air at the speed of scream.
Nice.

Oh, wow, this walkthrough is pretty great.

It’s interesting how people will create goals when given none.  If I can get fed and boozed, then exit the game, I will consider myself to have won.  Oh, man, dinner theater!  Bonus!

If you’re going to bother to give me three different consumable food items for no real reason, you could at least give them different consumption text.

And there we go, whatever that was is over.  It wasn’t not entertaining, but it wasn’t what I consider a game – more like a conglomeration of things someone had worked out how to do in their design software and put together like a loose burrito.  Still, it was better than an underimplemented untested shitty attempt at a cohesive game, and the author has demonstrated competence at coding stuff up and writing vignettes.  When he gets an actual game together on some day in the future, I will be happy to play the shit out of it.

I said that already.  Because I’m awesome.

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