Monday, 30 September 2013

Introduction


Hello. This is Wade Clarke saying these things to you. Welcome to my blog in which I will be writing about some – or all, I hope – of the works entered into the 2013 Interactive Fiction Competition. If you don't know me from Shinola, I've written some of these games over the past few years and reviewed a lot of them.

During last year's IFComp I had time to write fully about every game. This year I might not achieve the same feat and I will be doing a few things differently in any case, but if I'm lucky, the things I do differently may give me the time to achieve the feat.

  • The first of these things is to try to make this blog more helpful for people who might never have had anything to do with Interactive Fiction or text adventure games or this competition before. So I will be linking directly to the online version of each game, and in the case of offline games which require interpreters, I will offer a direction or two on how to launch them.
  • My 2nd post will be an ongoing glossary of some terms I'll be throwing about over the course of the blog, and each game system listed in there will come with how-to-play-this-kind-of-game instructions. If you see an italicised phrase anywhere in this blog, clicking it will go to the glossary page where it'll be explained.
  • I mention at the head of each review which version of the game I played. Some games will be updated during the comp, so sometimes issues that reviewers point out with an earlier version of a game might disappear or be improved (or in rare cases, worsened) in later versions.

The other things I'll be doing differently this year will only be of interest to people who read my blog last year, or who are regular IFfers or comp followers or folks who know me, so they're tucked inside THIS aside:

This year I will be writing shorter reviews. Some may be only comments. Part of this is for time reasons, but there's another factor. Last year I wrote extensive reviews with the goal of transferring them to the Internet Fiction Database once the competition ended. I followed through with this plan but most of the reviews required extensive massaging to make them suitable for IFDB. I had to remove lots of temporal comp-time comments and hide or eliminate many details and spoilers. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the results (some reviews have up to 50% of their content stuck behind 'spoiler' tags) so I don't plan to do things that way this year.

This year I won't be scoring in public. Or if I do, it won't be until I've played all the games I'm going to play. This saves me the hassle of score wiggling as games push each other out of the way. Also, looking at the number of CYOA or Twine games in the comp, I suspect that this will be the year when I start to feel I'm struggling to compare apples to oranges and wish that parser-based games were in a different category. In cases where I haven't a clue what score I'm going to give something, that won't get in the way of me posting about it.

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