IFComp ’09: Final Scores

Today is the last day of the Interactive Fiction Competition. I wasn’t able to play all the games entered. There’s some I was looking forward to that I regret missing: GATOR-ON, Duel in the Snow, Duel that Spanned the Ages, and Broken Legs particularly. But that’s okay. I feel I played a large range of what the competition offered. There were a few good games, a couple of great ones, and loads that were terrible. I didn’t end up awarding any game a 10. Even the best games I played didn’t have that transcendent quality I associate with 10 games.  I don’t feel the need to award a 10 to a single game like some judges do. If a game deserves a 10 it will get it. This year nothing I played deserved it. Some came close though. I break down all the games and my scores below.

Rover’s Day Out 9

The first game I played was one of the best in the comp. It subverted both the apartment and spaceship settings, both of which are cliches in IF. It told an interesting story in a unique way. It was exquisitely coded and written and offered multiple ways to solve problems. Unless one of the games I missed was really spectacular I’m guessing Rover’s will win the comp. First place.

Byzantine Perspective 7

A fascinating one puzzle game. If it had been clued just a little better it might have gotten an 8. I felt the puzzle would have worked better as part of a larger game. It was just a little too thin on its own. Worthy effort though, I hope it does well.

The Believable Adventures of an invisible Man 1

Terribly coded and completely illogical. I hated the main character and hated playing as him. This game involved killing a man and a puppy for no reason just to send a mean email. I would have had a problem with it even if it wasn’t terribly implemented. But it is. S0… Worst place!

Grounded in Space 4

Well coded but a silly premise and bad design kill this game. If a little more attention had been paid to the details it would have scored much higher.

Star Hunter 3

No descriptions of objects, unclear goals, and a terrible trading system all contribute to a game that borders on unplayable. But there’s no bugs or anything wonky with the code. It gets a few technical points for a smidgen of technical prowess.

Interface 8

While not the most well made game I played it was the one most full of heart. And it has a fun and unique player character. Great for a first game. Third place.

The Grand Quest 2

This game gets technically worse the further in but the bad attitude is present from the start. It delights in being mean to the player and uses every unfair trick to its advantage. A good game knows that it doesn’t lose if the player wins. The Grand Quest tried to take the player down at every opportunity. The only way to win is to not play.

Beta Tester 7

While not much of a game in the conventual sense, Beta Tester has a unique voice and is genuinely witty. A fun diversion with some great imagery (the beer barbarian was my favorite).

Eruption 4

Solid but unpolished and boring. And where’s the love?

Snow Quest 5

The most bizarre game of the comp (that I played, at least). Tries to build to something significant but ends with a weak thud. Worth playing for the first half, and so gets half points.

The Hangover 2

May be the worst coded game of the comp but earns a point for unintentionally hilarious writing.

Spelunkers’ Quest 3

Badly designed anachronism filled mess that would’ve benefited greatly from the Craft of Adventure. At least there’s no bugs.

Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort 9

The comp’s biggest surprise. Hilarious and smart. Good puzzles and great writing. Proves the treasure hunt genre isn’t dead. Second place.

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