IF Comp 2007 – Two Brief Mentions (Gathered, Press Escape)

I still have two games I want to finish playing, but I thought I would briefly mention two others.

Gathered in Darkness

This is a Quest game. I am not sure I have ever played a Quest game before. The interface is different (than I7 or TADS), but not bad. Actually, I was surprised to not dislike the interface.

However, I did really dislike the tiny red text on the black background (bad choice). Fortunately, through options that is changeable.

The writing seemed fine, the programming adequate, it didn’t feel buggy, but I soon stopped playing. Basically the story is not-my-cup-of-tea. Well, to be truthful I had inkling what kind of story it was going to be, so I took a quick look at some reviews and, yup, not for me.

Since I don’t like marking a game down based just on its content alone, and I didn’t really play this long enough to explore its writing and programming competence further, I will not vote on this.

Press Escape to Save

This game is seriously flawed, and yet it has some interesting/off beat ideas, and it seems good natured.  However, I couldn’t play far without resorting to the walkthru, and when it got even more complicated the walkthru essentially became required, not optional.

This game needed a lot more beta-testing to catch guess the verb problems, crashing problems, and obscure puzzle problems. Play testers can tell one when one’s puzzle ideas are not clear, and they need to be CLEAR, even if hard. Mushy puzzles are too hard for the player to get — if they are mushy in your own mind they will be mushy in others’. SPOILER ON. Guess the verb — Grab hand worked while take hand and hold hand did not. So I had to look at the walkthru to even get that verb right. Crashing — The game crashed on me when I went to sleep, woke up, and found the person touching my shoulder. I tried talking to him and it tried to go back to an earlier conversation (some flag set wrong), and produced endless screens of errors (array). That’s crashing, because I couldn’t undo it. Puzzles — The infinite corridor puzzle is non-intuitive, since touch wall is something most will not normally do and since so many other objects in the game yielded nothing unusual to the touch or could not even be examined. Therefore, that’s quite a leap. Also getting away from Jimmy, going backward, seemed counter-productive and I also had a lot of difficulty staying ahead of him, even with the walkthru. SPOILER OFF.

I liked the weird and inventive concepts in this game, but it needs LOTS more work before it will be a really playable game. However, since I stuck with it long enough and far enough, I will vote on it.

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