Catchy melody, good beat, and….WTF?!?

When I faced the prospect of playing and judging all the IFComp games I thought I better write down some impressions, if not reviews, of each game, because I knew it would be easy to forget about the first game by the time I played the thirtieth game. And if I was going to do that, I might as well roughly score the games as I go.

To make scoring easier I settled on a simple scoring system, choosing scores one to ten in three categories: creativity, meaning the richness of the idea, its world, the plot and characters; execution, meaning the code implementation of the idea, the typography of the game, the prevalence of bugs; and a third, very special category, for those situations where you might not be playing the best game in the world but the author has come up with something so audacious, daring, or just plain weird that you want to reward them somehow. The third category is: WTF?!?

WTF ?!? may reward with a high score what you might call ‘good’ or equally what you might call ‘bad’, but in both cases the high score represents the presence of something that your average, run-of-the-mill game doesn’t have. Conversely, a game that doesn’t do anything bold or risky gets a low WTF ?!?. The final score simply is an average of the three category scores.

I played two games tonight. Coincidentally they were almost exact opposites in their level of creativity and execution, but there wasn’t a lot of deviation in their level of WTF. Of course one game was much, much, better, in fact it set a very high standard for what IF should be. Five down, 38 to go!


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