Archive for October, 2009

IF Comp 2009 – GATOR-ON, Friend to Wetlands!

Spoiler prevention text:
I briefly wondered whether this would turn out to be about Charlotte Roche’s recent novel, but it’s more about this:
Periphyton is a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic microbes, and detritus that is attached to submerged surfaces in most aquatic ecosystems. It serves as an important food source for invertebrates, tadpoles, and some fish. It can also absorb contaminants; removing them from the watercolumn and limiting their movement through the environment. The periphyton is also an important indicator of water quality […]. (Wikipedia)

My spoiler-free opinion of “GATOR-ON“: Fun, but it had some flaws concerning implementation detail and guess-the-verb situations, and it could be longer.

(Warning! Spoilers follow!)
… continue reading this entry.

IF Comp 2009 – Interface

Spoiler prevention text, totally unrelated to the game:
“There is no doubt that men in England fall in love chiefly in abnormal periods: when on a reading party or at the seaside, or at a foreign hotel, or at Christmas, or any other occasion when something, either external circumstances or any dominant emotion, thaws the eternal ice. The misfortune is that if these casual thaws do not last long enough, all the advantage gained is lost; two lines of life that causally intersected diverge perhaps for ever, and the frost sets in with redoubled force.”
(Henry Sidgwick)

Now for my spoiler-free opinion of “Interface“: It’s enjoyable, but could do with a bit more meat on its bones.

(Warning! Spoilers follow!)
… continue reading this entry.

IF Comp 2009 – Grounded in Space

Today’s RSS feed filler is a poem, following Victor Gijsbers’ example:

Henry Charles Beeching (1859-1919)

Going down Hill on a Bicycle
-A Boy’s Song-

With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:
‘O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

‘Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!’

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.

Now for the Comp game’s spoiler-free summary: Competent writing, but quite short. Recommended if you like systematic puzzles and/or “Hard SciFi”.

(Warning! Spoilers follow!)

… continue reading this entry.

IF Comp 2009 – Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort

Non-spoiler note about Eric Eve’s Snowquest and Oliver Ullmann’s The Duel that Spanned the Ages: I was a beta-tester for these, so I’m not going to review them. I guess I’m not overstepping the bounds of propriety, though, when I say I heartily recommend both.

Another few lines of spoiler-prevention text — some great palindromes from the net:

“Doc, note. I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.”

“Emil, a sleepy baby peels a lime.”

“Evil I did dwell, lewd did I live.”

“Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver.”

“Won’t lovers revolt now?”

Now for the Comp game:

The spoiler-free summary: If you don’t let the fake Olde English put you off, you’ll discover a merry, lighthearted treasure hunt. It’s quite a long game, and reasonably well implemented. Recommended, despite some flaws and a very thin plot.

(There are spoilers in the review, but only mild ones, I think. So if you haven’t decided whether to play Astounding Castle and the summary above is not enough to sway you, I think you can safely read the following to get a better picture.)

… continue reading this entry.

IF Comp 2009 – The Hangover

In order to prevent spoilers from showing up in the RSS feeds (in the unlikely event that this new blog is actually syndicated where someone might read it), I’ll write a bit of text on an unrelated topic – a movie recommendation.  Yilmaz Arslan’s “Brudermord/Fratricide” is a gripping movie that did not get the recognition it deserves, despite winning a prize at the Locarno film festival in 2005.

The Kurdish teenager Azad (Erdal Celik) migrates to Germany, where his older brother Semo already makes a decent living, or so he thinks. Semo (Nurretin Celik) actually is a small-time pimp. Since Azad doesn’t want to get involved in this, he works as a barber in the restrooms of cafés run by immigrants. He befriends the younger boy Ibo (Xevat Gectan), whose parents were killed by the Turkish military.
When Azad and Ibo run into trouble with two Turkish-German men, whose aggressive pit bull terrier frightens Ibo, and Semo later takes action on behalf of his brother, all of them are drawn into a fateful spiral of violence and revenge.

The dialogue in Kurdish, Turkish and German gives the film an authenticity which is enhanced by the gritty cinematography.

“Fratricide” is a powerful, brutal tragedy about man’s inhumanity to fellow man, about ethnic ties and divisions, about the struggle to preserve one’s dignity, the demands of loyalty, and the disastrous consequences of the adherence to archaic codes of honour.

See additional opinions at salon.comfilm-forward.com and metacritic.com.

Now for the IF Comp game. The spoiler-free summary is: It’s a severely under-implemented game with lots of spelling errors.

(WARNING! Spoilers follow!)

… continue reading this entry.