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IFCOMP 2007 Reviews - Wrap-Up

Wrap-Up to Mike Snyderís IF-COMP 2007 Review Journal (11/16/2007)

     I had intended to write this before the results were announced, but I didnít quite make it. Even with fewer games this year (the initial 29 were reduced to 27 after two disqualifications), I just beat the voting deadline. Just barely.

     I went through periods of crankiness this year, but overall I had a blast (as usual). My scores donít seem to suggest that quality was down this year, but in some ways it feels that way. I donít think thatís it, though. I just think that with all things being equal, fewer games means fewer great games.

     Iím pleased that my top four favorites (in a different order) are the top four finishers. Iím also impressed by the Adrift entries more this time than in years past. Itís a shame there were no Hugo entries, and Iím disappointed I didnít have the time to enter one this year.

     At several points in the past six weeks, Iíve regretted sticking with the same scoring criteria Iíve used before. Looking back to last year, I see that I had intended to revamp it for 2007 -- but I forgot. One problem is that it tries to describe everything I look for in games at different levels, which really can never be complete. Another is that it usually assumes all aspects (writing, story, puzzles, design, polish, whatever) are equal in a given game. Sometimes, thatís just not the case. I donít know what kind of criteria Iíll use next year. It might be attribute-based. Then again, I might just simplify it and vote instinctively, although I do prefer some sort of guideline so I know Iím being equally fair to all games.

     This year saw a change in the rules, where judges are no longer asked to hold off on reviews and discussions (posted in public places) until after the competition. Even so, it seems there wasnít much discussion. Reviews were a little easier to find, and some reader comments followed some blog or forum posts, but there was no chatter in the newsgroup and not much in those other places. Maybe the rule change will take a year or two to sink in, or maybe (like me) most judges just wanted to play and vote without looking at othersí opinions first.

     Nobody entered a ďjokeĒ game this year. That was a (pleasant) surprise.

     First time authors (and even repeat entrants) shouldnít underestimate the importance of beta-testing. Some bad games that might have been good (and some good games that might have been great) were brought down because of problems that could have been eliminated with more (even just some) testing. Thatís true every year, but it bears repeating.

     I have also posted my reviews (or earlier drafts) to the Interactive Fiction Forum at www.intfiction.org. IFComp comments, disagreements, discussions and other reviews are welcome!

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