bishopsreviews (bishopsreviews) wrote,
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IFComp 2009: "Interface"

This is a game from the 2009 IFComp.

The author's assertion that this project was essentially his nostalgia piece whose main purpose was to get an idea that had been in in his head for 25 years out and into the world didn't fill me with confidence: that could be "Inhumane", or, worse yet, "zork: buried chaos". Seeing a list of respectable beta testers in the same section, however, did much to assure me I was in the hands of someone who, at the very least, understood the obligations incumbent on Comp entrants.

My hopes were, alas, doomed to be short-lived, although there is actually much to praise here. On the bright side, the technical implementation is pretty good, with plenty of custom parser messages, nonrepeating text on certain actions (although there's one that didn't get it and needed it), a fairly high level of implementation, a certain amount of complex NPC behavior, and reasoned puzzles which are, at least for the most part, integrated into the narrative.

There are, however, a great many kludges. The TV runs out of things to show and just has a blank space. "ALL" includes static objects and objects in containers in my possession (a flaw shared with "Invisible Man", so I assume there's some common Inform 7 parser flaw or flawed parser-tweak). The hint menu has a "-more-" prompt making it difficult to use (this may be a 'terp issue, but this should have been tested under Gargoyle; also, it could have been prevented by having not quite so many red herring clues: yes, Infocom had them, but not quite this many). The most conspicuous flaw, though, is in the writing. There are enough actual grammatical and spelling errors to make me wonder why the testers didn't catch them, and a great many things I would characterize simply as stylistic flaws; they're not actually grammatically incorrect, but they're written in a stilted style which isn't quite expository or conversational.

I'm glad the author got this out of his head. His enthusiasm for his subject and attention to the details he can be bothered to pay attention to are commendable. Unfortunately, either he did not listen to his testers or they did not do their job, because there is a lot here which could be better with trivial improvement.

Tags: if, ifcomp 2009
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