Feeding Frenzy review on Caltrops
Jul 27th, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I reviewed the very fun little rubber monster movie, by RedLetterMedia, over on Caltrops.

The 2011 IntroComp is on!
Jul 2nd, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Last year, I entered the IntroComp, which is a yearly competition that encourages authors to submit the intro of their in-progress text adventure. I took second place, but I also finished Cryptozookeeper before the year was up, so I won the second place money. (You only win a cash prize if you finish your game within a year.)

Adam Thornton was the first person to finish the programming of an IntroComp game within the year time frame. He had the bad luck to do it before money was involved though. Other games, like Jimmy Maher’s The King of Shreds and Patches, have turned from IntroComp tadpole into pretty badass poison-arrow frogs, taking a bit more time to do so. (I did get a chance to play Adam’s game on a real Atari 2600 when I visited him last year. Playing a homebrew 2600 game or alternatively, hearing David Crane speak makes me want to drop everything and make a 2600 game myself, but then I remember that I’d rather count a long life of dead brides than cycles.)

Stephen Bond wrote a post a few years ago asking why someone would choose to submit to a competition where
he felt an author’s drive to finish the work would decrease after the public showing. I personally found the whole experience invigorating. I was about four years in at that point, and just getting some comments from an audience was exhilarating. I get that there’s not as much development history to a lot of these games, of course. I also agree that there’s a real danger in asking people to replay the beginning of your game. When the demo to Diablo came out, I played it straight through to completion. I think there was only an hour or two of gameplay there, and it was 1996 or 1997 and I couldn’t program very well and… well… look, I had a lot of extra time on my hands back then, you fiends. Anyway, I never went back to the game because while I loved the demo, I didn’t want to have to retrace steps. That’s a possibility for my work as well, but having played the start of Cryptozookeeper around a thousand times, I can state quite categorically that it can be completed quickly when you’ve done it before. Unlike bringing down The Butcher, natch.

But I think in the end, with all the reviews and comments that the competition generates, the IntroComp gives you a bit of a support group when you find yourself in the endless, samey nights that you sign up for when making a text game. It’s better in 2011: we have conventions, meet-ups, conferences — some of which even without dickwolves. But it’s still a lonely process that occasionally benefits from some feedback.

Enjoy the games, everyone.

(Lastly, according to the Internet Archive, my game has been downloaded exactly 1,000 times. At a commitment of well over 500MB a pop, I’m thrilled with that number in five weeks.)

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