IFComp 2013: The Cardew House, by Andrew Brown

I’ll get through as much of the Nineteenth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition as I can. My criteria for numeric grades, unchanged in many years, are here. As always, if you’re a judge, don’t read on unless you have already played and reviewed the game yourself, and if your averse to spoilers, you won’t want to read this even if you aren’t judging.

Blurb: Thought I’d give Inform7 a try for this comp… it can be a pain in the butt though, can’t it?
anyhoo… here’s my game… after two other abortive attempts…

Andrew Brown, you are a glutton for punishment. Your blurb screams “hey, this is my first stupid game, and I’m entering it in the Comp anyways!” For, as our longtime readers know, there are two things which ignite the wrath of Comp judges more than anything else: unfinished games, and people’s first stupid I-am-tinkering-with-an-authoring-system games. So, let me get out my special “1”-rating keyboard.

I could, of course, be mistaken. This could all be a cunning ruse, a facade of incompetence masking an incisive, witty satire of those poor souls who enter their rockin’ first effort (although, if so, word of advice: don’t punch down, my friend).

Well, it’s slightly more competent than I gave it credit for. Still, very, very underimplemented. This is a room description, verbatim, in its entirety:

A bedroom
There is an old bed in here. A filthy mattress lies on the bed

A stool

Yep, it ends right there. And speaking of ending right there, gargoyle crashed after I opened the trunk. Weird. But not something I’m in a hurry to debug; this game, despite implementing a ridiculous and overdetailed system of randomly turning off lights (and, mercifully, automatically turning them on) has little to recommend its craft. The writing is, frankly, execrable, and occasionally unfinished, as in the example above, and the mystery presented is so pedestrian that I’m not actually all that curious.

Rating: 2


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

2 Responses to IFComp 2013: The Cardew House, by Andrew Brown

  1. Mr. Patient says:

    I don’t think Gargoyle crashed on you. When you die in this game, the interpreter quits by design. I cannot understand why the author thought this would be a good idea.

    • Sam Kabo Ashwell says:

      It’s been used to dramatic effect in a few games – the best-known is probably Shrapnel. I’ve used it myself. But like most big dramatic gestures, if it doesn’t work it looks really feeble.

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