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February 16, 2008

IGF Ramblings and XYZZY Awards

Just a couple of thoughts as I daydream about what it would be like to have a game nominated as a finalist for IGF...

I really wanted to try to go to GDC this year, finally, to get a glimpse of what it's like. Alas, it was not to be. Another work trip this week made it too complicated to try and do both, especially with a busy week ahead of me and the in-laws coming for a visit this next weekend. Ah well. Next year, I think.

Speaking of which, thanks to TRC and Scorpia for posting and linking to the finalists for this year's IGF. I'm a little disappointed that we don't have any real adventure games in the list this year -- I guess we haven't seen enough innovation with graphical or text adventure games to catch the attention of the judges.

I was also a little disappointed to see how difficult it was to find Mac versions of the finalists. They may be available and I'm just missing them, but best I can tell most are PC-only. I did get a chance to play a couple of the browser games, including Iron Dukes and Tri-achnid.

Iron Dukes is well done, and I like the style, with its fictional late 19th century theme. I enjoyed playing the brief demo, although there was not much in the graphical presentation or gameplay that came across as really innovative. I liked the simple RPG-like elements that intertwined with the treasure finding, though. During one play-through, I quickly recovered two treasure items worth $13,500 each, giving me a lot of cash to work with, and I was really impressed at the sheer number of items available for purchase -- it looks the full version of the game will be quite large. Some of them were a little questionable, though. "Authentic Squid Tits" and "Caucasian Semblance"? Hmm. I'll definitely check out the full version of this.

Tri-achnid looks to be an interesting experimental game, but I had a lot of trouble with the controls during my brief time with the game. It was enough trouble that I gave up on it relatively quickly, but when I have some time I'll go back, re-read the instructions, and give it another try. Overall it looks intriguing to me.

For the others, looks like I'll have to boot into Windows. I plan on checking out Goo! and Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island, which I suppose is the closest of the finalists to an actual adventure game. If I get the chance I'll also check out Audiosurf and Synaesthete, both of which appear to incorporate music into game play in interesting ways.

In other news, as Emily Short has pointed out, it's that time of year again, time for the first-round of voting for the XYZZY awards for the best IF games of 2007. The nomination form and full list of entrants can be found here. Thanks to Emily and others for highlighting this.

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