bishopsreviews (bishopsreviews) wrote,
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IFComp 2009: "Earl Grey"

This is a game from the 2009 IFComp.

It starts out looking promising, if a bit over-ebullient and flowery (that's a style that grates for me, but I must admit it's a style that is not intrinsically wrong). And then things start going really weird with the parser.

> LOOK IN TEAPOT
I only understood you as far as wanting to look the inside.

> OPEN TEAPOT
That's not a verb I recognize.

As the game progresses, the reasons for the parser-brokenness become obvious, because this is, heaven help us, a wordplay game. Making the wordplay-style surrealism work in IF is difficult: it's often opaque and far from obvious to anyone except the author (Ad Verbum worked, but it also implemented an absurd variety of alternative solutions and a fairly complete grammar). Indeed, that seemed like the problem here: although the writing is clever, the way to progress is rarely clear and the best words to seize on often actively unclear. I'd like to encourage envelope-pushing, and this game is certainly inventive and interesting, but as it stands this it feels way too insufficiently clued most of the time, and that I'm just trying to fiddle with words without any goals in mind. I would like to think this is a fixable problem, and that this game has potential. This work definitely exhibits technical talent, so I'd like to see that turned into something which is less of a walkthrough-consulting slog.

Tags: if, ifcomp 2009
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