Posted by: Ben | November 11, 2009

The IF Competition 2009: Ignoring The Reviews And Going Straight To The Scores.

I make no claims to objectivity here.  Marks are awarded entirely subjectively, based on (a) how much I personally like a game, and (b) how highly I recommend it to others, so the actual quality of the game has only the slightest influence on the score.  Despite this, I’m not afraid to give low scores where appropriate.  I would not, of course, expect any of the authors to have been able to predict in advance how well they would do on such a scale.


The Tens

Broken Legs: It’s not just extremely slick, it’s also engaging, imaginative and really, really difficult.

The Nines

The Duel that Spanned the Ages: Grrr! This is a real man’s game, which my inner space marine enjoyed nearly as much as my inner chorus girl liked Broken Legs.

The Eights

Condemned: Literally a guilty pleasure, because a lifetime of Catholicism means there is no possible way I could give less than an eight to a game about a guilt-ridden teenage boy attempting to crucify himself.

The Duel in the Snow: Very nearly literature.
Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort: Astoundingly, not terrible.

The Sevens

Byzantine Perspective: Very, very clever.  Imagine how good the game would be if what we saw was the first half and there was a second half that was equally clever (think Delightful Wallpaper).
Snowquest: The bad ending should not detract from the excellent first two-thirds.
Interface: Trapped in a strange and unresponsive body, I noticed a synchronicity between medium and message.  I only wish the game had been a little longer.

The Sixes

The Ascot
Resonance: Impressive, but somewhat lacking in emotional, er, resonance.  Also a tad buggy.
Rover’s Day Out: This year’s game that a lot of people liked but which left me cold.  Maybe it improves in the second hour.

The Fives

Earl Grey: Well put-together, but not my cup of tea.
GATOR-ON! Friend To Wetlands
Grounded In Space: It’s those pesky space pirates up to their unlikely tricks again.  And still not saying “Arr!”

The Fours

Beta Tester
The Grand Quest
Spelunker’s Quest

The Threes

Gleaming The Verb
The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man
The Hangover: So bad it’s almost good.
Eruption: Not intrinsically interesting.
Star Hunter: The skeleton of a decent game but all the action was going on in my imagination and none of it was on the screen.  It’s not length that matters, it’s how much fun you have.

The Twos

zork, buried chaos: Half-finished in the way that makes it look like the author got halfway through writing it, lost the motivation to finish, and submitted it anyway.

The Ones

Nothing bad enough for a one this year.

Not rated

Trap Cave

That makes the mean rating this year 5.5, an improvement of 0.4.  If I did not have better things to do I might calculate whether or not that is statistically significant; it quite obviously isn’t.

This year’s games lived up to all expectations, being a mixture of the startlingly original and the hackneyed, peppered with zany experiments that didn’t quite come off.

Predictions are for fortune-tellers, but my guess is that the top 3 will be Broken Legs, Rover’s Day Out and Snowquest in that order.

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