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IfComp 2008
October 3, 2008 7:44 AM   Subscribe

The 14th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition has been released. History of the competition. Previously on Mefi. Emily Short reviews this year's entrants.

Personal favorites from previous years: Lost Pig and Slouching Towards Bedlam
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed (21 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Personal favorite from previous years: Shade
posted by splice at 7:50 AM on October 3, 2008


You are at a bar. There is a hot girl here.

>Pick up girl

You can't pick that up.
posted by Damn That Television at 7:53 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]




Damn you Infocom-style text adventures! Damn you to hell!
posted by Mister_A at 8:11 AM on October 3, 2008


Man, Lost Pig had be giggling for DAYS. I am going to enjoy these.
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2008


I appreciate these in theory, but they are not made for people with short attention spans...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:21 AM on October 3, 2008


Is there a simple engine for writing these?
posted by Phalene at 8:31 AM on October 3, 2008


Phalene, almost all of these are written in z-code for a 'z-machine', which is exactly the same language and virtual interpreter Berez and Blank invented and Infocom used. (Z is for Zork.)

So there's a good reason they 'feel' like real Infocom games, beyond the simple mechanic of typing instructions.
posted by rokusan at 8:36 AM on October 3, 2008


Recommended client: Gargoyle (Windows/Linux)
I suggest going into config and adding a scrollbar.

Highly recommended: insanely dark and twisted medieval religious horror in Vespers (2005 competition winner)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:38 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Phalene: Inform and TADS are the most commonly used systems for creating these. Inform (the latest version) is intended to be easier to pick up for non-programmers (though the rules-based approach might appeal to Prolog fans as well), and also has some pretty slick IDE-ish tools.
posted by enn at 8:39 AM on October 3, 2008


"Finally, here you are. At the delcot of tondam, where doshes deave. But the doshery lutt is crenned with glauds.

Glauds! How rorm it would be to pell back to the bewl and distunk them, distunk the whole delcot, let the drokes uncren them.

But you are the gostak. The gostak distims the doshes. And no glaud will vorl them from you."


One of the best games I have ever played, and the only game I have ever played that is inconceivable in any medium other than IF.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:45 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


I appreciate these in theory, but they are not made for people with short attention spans...

All entries in the competition are meant to be played in a few hours or less. They all include walkthroughs for the real impatient who want to just enjoy the ride.
posted by jscott at 8:57 AM on October 3, 2008


Previously.
posted by flatluigi at 8:59 AM on October 3, 2008


Inform (the latest version) is intended to be easier to pick up for non-programmers

It's insane. I played with it a bit when it came out, and things just work. Really interesting.

I dig IF, but I rarely have the time or attention to devote to the wordier stuff. Which is kind of a shame.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:03 AM on October 3, 2008


They all include walkthroughs for the real impatient who want to just enjoy the ride.

Good for me because no matter how short or enjoyable an IF game is, I always hit a wall and end up just reading the walkthorugh so I can find out what happens.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on October 3, 2008


This was a more interesting subject when I misread the title as the 14th Annual Interactive Friction Competition.

And clearly, if you're going to have a friction competition, interactive is the way to go...
posted by mosk at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2008


The first thing I did in Lost Pig was light my pants on fire.

I should not be allowed near... well, anything, really.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:07 AM on October 3, 2008


I really love the IF medium and what it has become. The linguistic ingenuity of many of the authors is wonderful; it reminds me of how painting really took off as a medium once the photograph became commonplace. Freed from the bounds of trying to make a mass appeal game, the authors are free to really play with their medium, and explore its implicit assumptions ("9:05" comes to mind) and/or use language to tell stories in ways completely unavailable to traditional, visual video games. ("Lost Pig" is a wonderful example of this.) Just as a novel will often contain some cool trick or idea that can never be captured in migrating to film, so it is with IF and visual games. so good!
posted by kaibutsu at 11:46 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you have an iPhone, you should definitely get the Craig Smith's wonderful Frotz app (iTunes link). This year's games aren't yet up on IFDB, the repository used by Frotz for the iPhone, but you'll be able to play them anywhere once they are.

If you'd like to try last year's entries in Frotz for the iPhone, click the "Browse IFDB" button and do a search for "tag:IF Competition 2007."
posted by waxpancake at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]



posted by JHarris at 3:30 AM on October 4, 2008


By far the best of these I've tried out from this year is "Violet"...
posted by johngoren at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


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