I don’t like contests, but I’ve always respected Jacqueline, who runs the IntroComp contests. The contest darted into my mind, and since I had heard nothing of it, I went out to the website. Turns out that the deadline for declaration is May 31st, just before midnight.
I’m going to enter.
My dilemna: which game should I enter?
Seasons? I could really put some pressure on myself and enter this one, hoping against hope that I could get it done in a year (which I strongly doubt, unless I became much more focused than I am now — it’s possible, but probably not likely). That would be a big boot in the butt in terms of motivation, though, I admit it. There’s enough done for an intro anyways, and I don’t have any desire to submit it in any other contests.
Advantages: Enough material for an intro, easily. Little work to do.
Disadvantages: May not be able to complete in a year.
Brickhouse? This would be a challenge, since it’d be my first game in ALAN. Ooh, that rhymed. I’ve always thought of this game as being split into scenes in some way, so there’d be a natural breaking point that wouldn’t feel fake or artificial.
Advantages: I think I could finish this in a year.
Disadvantages: Doing this would put Seasons behind schedule. ALAN is an unknown language and I might hit snags that would prevent me from finishing.
Lyissa? I just came up with this game a few days ago. It’d explore the uneasy relationship a growing man has with sexuality and self-control. I’ve been kicking around this idea in story-form for a long, long time, but I’m just not sure how interactive it would be. It might end up as just a textdump story with a few decision points, but I’d hate myself if I did that. The only thing lamer would be if I threw in keywords. Ugh.
Advantages: I have the intro scene in my mind, so it’ll be easy to knock out.
Disadvantages: No idea if this will make a good game, and I hate to litter the IF landscape with unfinished works. Also, I am leery of dealing with sexual content — even in a pure way — in IF. I don’t want to drag anyone down, but it will feel really good to provide a counterpoint here.
I guess I could enter all three, but that’s pretty high on the masochism scale. Seasons would be the best. Maybe I could enter two instead of three — Seasons and Lyissa. Ok, I’m going to enter Seasons and we’ll see about Lyissa.
Introcomp 2011, here I come!
This is a melodramatic romance, spoofing the non-interactive trend that has plagued IF lately. To say much more would reveal the entirety of the game, so here’s a download link for your amusement and/or self-torture: here. Enjoy!
And so begins another moment in IF infamy. A few days ago, I was cruising the IFdb and noticed two games that had broken links, so I removed the links. Actually, I did a little bit more research than that. One game, Out of the Pit had a download link that went to the IF archive, so I scrolled through the IF archive to find the game. Nothing. So I removed the link. The other game, Nighthawks went to the author’s home page, which didn’t give up a link after I had scoured that confusing space for five minutes. So I removed the link.
A few days later, guess what? I get a message from the site admin (never had a problem with him, so it’s not about him), telling me that someone from the IF archive told him that I had removed a link to a game. The link was obviously working (now), so what was up? Ooooohhhhhooo! Mommy, mommy, look what he did NOW!
I can’t make this stuff up.
The IFdb allows anyone to edit the game’s description page, which means that anyone could add download links. Someone added the link back when it was working, so what’s the big deal? It looks like the system is working.
Now I’ve talked to the IF archive people (most of whom are Old Ones) before, and they are S L O W in responding. Yet, this happened at nearly light speed. Why? Could somebody know somebody over there?
Another possibility is that the IF archivers would like me off the IFdb. Now why would they want that? Three reasons: my unvarnished dislike for the games of Andrew Plotkin and Emily Short; my blood-and-fire reviewing style; the political and spiritual stances I take.
A final possibility is that this was just due diligence carried out by the IF Archive…bhahaha…ok, I can’t seriously consider that one, but for the sake of completeness, there it is.
In any case, I am not impressed.
Ok, here I am again, making excuses for not working on IF. I’ve got a few things in the hopper and maybe if I write them down, that will embarrass me enough so that I don’t weasel out of them.
New Cat v2 (I7) – the post-release bugfix session
Zegrothenus v5 (I6) – some very detailed feedback that I’ve been working on slowly, in bits and pieces.
Edge of the Cliff (ALAN?) – Satire on keyword-driven games
Brickhouse (ALAN) – Modern corporate horror
Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan! Hahah.
Seasons (I6) – yeah, I know.
My sense of isolation is profound.
I journeyed to SPAG the other night and read the first page of the latest review. This article noted that everyone who was someone knew about what some troll said on Old One’s blog. I smiled to myself. Really? I knew nothing about this, of course, because I don’t visit those blogs. I don’t link to other IF blogs (anymore), and no-one said anything about it on the newsgroups, so how would I have known? It is beside to the point to note that I would not have cared had I known, but the article makes it plain: you are not among those who know.
There is a collection of movers and shakers in IF, and they go to heady events and do things in their own little groups; then they report back to us about what we should be doing and all the esoterica that they have soaked up, the better to educate us with, I suppose. Not that I am adverse to trade shows, cons, city groups, or anything of the sort, but the reeking arrogance is something I oppose from the gut. That, too, is beside the point. The point is that if you did not go (or were completely unaware of it), then you are not among those who know.
IF creation has always been a lonely enterprise and it gets lonelier with each passing year. Each year I feel like some obscure shadowed mecha has its ten-ton boot on my gut and it has added another ton. I wonder what will be the purpose of having written and struggled and bled over all these games; I myself have rescued games from oblivion (not to brag, but to say that that end is one which frightens me); will anyone be present to save my games from the same fate? I guess it’s strange that I feel the need to quote Out of the Grey here, by saying, “What will become of me?”
I wonder how many others sit before their keyboards and wonder the same things; how many of us are there out there, who feel unsupported and are rarely praised, who feel often that so much of our efforts are wasted?
It has all become clear. When reviewing IF, certain unstated standards exist, and if you violate these standards, you will be punished. These standards are few, but they are inviolate.
- You shall not mention profanity. Everyone is ok with any amount of coarse language, blasphemy, and gutter-talk, so you must be, too.
- You shall not mention theology. Even if the game makes a point to dump on your values, you’re not allowed to mention that salient point. This one befuddles me. Isn’t knowing whether a game insults your values an important thing? Shouldn’t you know it before you play? Wouldn’t you want to? If you don’t care, don’t you think others might?
- You shall not mention homosexuality.
What reviewing an IF game has come to mean is not a place where the reviewer can freely express an opinion — although SPAG is better about this than other places — but it has become yet another politically-correct temple where the content is assured, and everyone who reviews vomits up the same pastiche milquetoast material. There may be different speakers, different voices, but they all speak in the same robotic monotone. Every review is androgynous, dressed in beige, a permagrin surgically chiseled into its features.
It has been decreed because the things you cannot mention are most important of all. Here, people who have values are shamed for speaking. Here, people who do not bow to the homosexual monolith are ostracized. Here, people who dare to point out the mental destruction of profanity are ridiculed. There is a reason why few reviews even mention these items, and that is because of the social pressure to not mention them. No-one rocks the boat, and the IF community, like the citizenry of the West in general, has become a collection of cowards. Sit down, shut up, drink the liquid feces, smile, and ask for more.
I will not.
So I’ll just deal with the hate and the “this was unhelpful” feedback. Those who want to run from importance will find themselves rueing that decision eventually.
I was out cruising the IFdb lately and I noticed that a new Speed IF competition had occurred. Interesting, thought I. It wasn’t announced on any of the newsgroups. Why not?
- No-one uses the newsgroups anymore! I know that’s the perspective of certain IF luminaries, who attempt to shuffle newbies off to the new hangout of the Old Ones. Maybe it just never occurred to them to announce it on R*IF.
- I had killfiltered the person that announced it.
- These people met in a sewer of the Old Ones, and used it to promulgate this idea, without really caring if anyone else wanted to enter. If so, this would make this comp just another incestuous little soirée, not headed by the Old Ones, but using their methods and possibly obtaining their blessing.
- The creators realized that SpeedIF is a degenerate art form, created by people who love to flood the IF scene with broken, incomplete, mindless trash, and so they hid their efforts until someone else discovered them.
Sadly, as much as I would have loved for #4 to be the case, I realize that it wasn’t. Most likely it was #3, or a combination of #1 and #3. The IF community still doesn’t have the power to shame people from littering the landscape with shoddy works, and as a result, the albatross of IF lives on.