Son Of A… by C.S. Woodrow [Comp05]

IFDB page: Son of a…
Final placement: 15th place (of 36) in the 2005 Interactive Fiction Competition

If you’ve read many of my comp game reviews, than you probably know that while I certainly notice and dislike all kinds of mechanical prose errors, there is one error that consistently tops my enemies list: the NASTY FOUL ITS/IT’S ERROR. There’s a moment in this game where you can be stung by thousands of wasps until you eventually have an allergic reaction and die. Well, my its/it’s allergy had pretty much that experience while playing Son Of A…. A NFIE in the introduction was rapidly followed by two NFIEs in the first room description. Yet another one starting the very first object description I looked at (the wallet) had me commenting “ahhhhhhhhh IT IS killing me with the many errors BELONGING TO IT”.

It just kept going, and for a while there, I began to theorize that the author just always uses “it’s” no matter the occasion, which made me feel… a little better? But then, nope, there are correct uses of “its” sprinkled throughout the text, sometimes right alongside incorrect uses of “it’s”, as in this description of a ladder: “It’s thick structure has turned a silver-grey from sitting in the weather. Despite its age, it appears to have held up well.” There are also occasional correct usages of “it’s”. Sigh.

Aside from this swarming pestilence, and a few other mechanical bugs, the game’s writing is actually pretty strong. Son of a… does a nice job of setting an effective scene and layering the PC’s point of view with humor. In addition, the game implements nouns at a satisfying level of depth — players are often rewarded for inspecting every detail of a scene.

Other implementation details are a bit more peculiar. For instance, the game clearly states in its help text:

1. Entering important places or taking important things will increase your score.
2. Completing puzzles will not increase your score.

But… why? I’m guessing perhaps this is the foible of a first-time author who found it too difficult to make Inform recognize when a puzzle was solved, and just gave up on the whole idea. This approach does lead to an odd gameplay experience, though, in which you can be wandering around with full points but several more puzzles to solve before completing the story.

As for the puzzles themselves, they’re a pretty pleasant diversion. Just as the writing does a good job of setting the scene, the structure of the scenario is intriguing and offers lots of opportunities for logical barriers solved by logical means. There is a pretty gaping plot hole — wouldn’t a long-abandoned motel have had its power cut off? For the most part, though, I enjoyed finding ways to resolve the PC’s predicament, and even had a few satisfying “aha” moments when I hit upon clear solutions that had initially eluded me.

What a pity, then, that a fundamentally enjoyable game is badly flawed with simple, fixable mechanical errors that simply were not fixed. Here’s an oldie but a goodie: Bob’s Guide to Its and It’s, You Idiots. Print it out, hang it up, and avoid those mandatory deductions.

Rating: 5.0

Ruined Robots by Nicholas, Natasha, and Gregory Dudek [Comp04]

IFDB page: Ruined Robots
Final placement: 34th place (of 36) in the 2004 Interactive Fiction Competition

Okay, I’m not sure how to review this game without sounding like an ogre. Per the credits and a quick perusal of the web page, it looks like Ruined Robots was written by two kids and one adult, so I hardly want to come off like a big bully, but there’s just no getting around the fact that this game is terrible. Being charitable, it feels like a child’s drawing that’s been taken off the refrigerator and entered into a competition filled with talented painters and sketch artists. In one context, it’s something to be proud of, but in the other, it can’t be anything but bad. I mean, there are a couple of cool features — some of the ambient sounds are nice, and the little “common commands” toolbar could be useful to players with a different style from mine. But the crux of the game — the writing and the coding — is just really poor.

Detailed analysis of everything wrong with Ruined Robots would be belaboring the point, and though point-belaboring is one of my hobbies, I’ll try to steer clear of it this time, and instead just mention a few ways in which this game could be improved:

  • Get rid of the hunger timer. It is pointless. (By the way, what is it with TADS and hunger puzzles? Are they the default in the TADS library or something?)
  • Figure out what’s causing the freaky line of double-strikethrough letter Ys next to all the room titles, and fix that.
  • It’s = it is. Its = belonging to it.
  • Proofread in general. Pretend you’re turning it in for school and will get marked down for every English error or something.
  • Get your game beta-tested. If your testers can’t figure out the puzzles, decipher the prose, or finish the game without your help, fix whatever’s confusing them.
  • Try to have the puzzle-solving actions make sense. You can’t expect players to perform some random action you’ve given them no reason to try.
  • Speaking of randomness, cut it out with the million-and-one random objects that break mimesis and serve no purpose. If there’s a snowman on the lawn in the middle of spring, for instance, there’d better be a good and interesting reason for that. I don’t want to hear, “The snowman isn’t important.”

Finally, if you’re going to provide a walkthrough, please make sure it actually works to solve your game with. Otherwise, you’ll have judges who decide that your game is totally unplayable and deserves a 1.

Rating: 1.0

Coffee Quest II by Anonymous [Comp02]

IFDB page: Coffee Quest II
Final placement: 32nd place (of 38) in the 2002 Interactive Fiction Competition

Before I started playing this game, my thought was, “What happened to Coffee Quest I?” After I started playing it, my thought was, “I really really hope I never find out.” Lord, but this game is bad. It’s so depressingly bad that the thought of spending three paragraphs enumerating its faults fills me with a yawning despair. I do care about the constructive criticism thing, but at this point in the comp judging, I find it hard to stick to that ideal when faced with a game like this.

Add to this the fact that the game knows it’s bad — it calls itself a “travesty” in its ABOUT text, and says, “you are welcome to distribute it as long as you can find someone who’s willing to take it.” So what’s the point of constructive criticism, anyway? Why bother offering suggestions for improvement when quality is so clearly not valued? So instead, a randomly selected cornucopia of bad moments:

  • Utterly unresponsive NPCs who only act as ATMs or door-locks.
  • Zillions of mechanical errors, including lots of my archenemy, the it’s/its error.
  • Writing that frequently fails to explain (or even mention) basic points.
  • Made-up, unexplained words, or perhaps specialized slang words that I’ve never encountered and aren’t in my dictionary, which amount to the same thing. (“Maureen is the office bint.”)
  • Terrible, half-assed room descriptions. (“You are in the aisle. It’s quite dull here.” Yeah, no kidding.)
  • Bugs, bugs, bugs:
    >ask technician about drive
    'It ate my disk' complains the techyThe techy is scared that it may
    be his round.That's far too technical for him.That's far too
    technical and executive for him.The techy seems unable to grasp the
    concept of .
  • A completely pointless sleep timer.

I guess that’s enough. This game is what Little Blue Men would have been if it had been poorly written, poorly coded, and poorly designed. In fact, entire sections of it seem swiped directly from that game, but in such a way as to drain them of everything that made them interesting. There are a few grins here and there, several of which are apparently unintentional, but overall it’s a pretty grim experience. Just pray there’s no Coffee Quest III.

Rating: 3.1

Augustine by Terrence V. Koch [Comp02]

IFDB page: Augustine
Final placement: 13th place (of 38) in the 2002 Interactive Fiction Competition

Augustine is clearly a well-intentioned, sincere work of IF, and it’s clearly the product of a substantial amount of work. Just as obviously, it is the work of a novice author, and its flaws are hard to ignore. Consequently, my reactions to it were mixed. On the one hand, it’s got a fun story, interestingly grounded in the actual history of St. Augustine, Florida. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to reveal that the PC is an immortal from the 15th century, whose fate has been tied up with the city over the centuries. Unfolding through a combination of flashback and present-day narration, the plot describes the culmination of the PC’s eon-long quest to defeat his eternal nemesis and end the curse of his immortality.

Okay, so it’s a little derivative. But I liked it anyway, especially the connections between the walking tour of St. Augustine’s ghosts and the PC’s actual history. What in another work would feel like eye-rolling coincidences felt rather natural in this one — the PC is the one supernatural element in an otherwise mundane world, and it makes perfect sense that the superstitious stories of that world would accrue around his otherwise inexplicable activities. There were moments when it was quite fun to inhabit this character, and to traverse the city’s history through his eyes.

Unfortunately, there were a number of reasons why it was only moments of fun rather than fun the whole time. In the spirit of constructive criticism, I want to look at some of those problems. First, there are the simple mechanics of the prose. The text is infested with spelling errors, typos, grammar errors, and even the dreaded its/it’s error. Every time one of these came up, it took me out of the story — instead of feeling transported into history, I was thinking, “it’s the ‘distant past’, not the ‘distance past.'” Proofreading is more than a formality; it’s an essential element in making sure that your writing draws readers in rather than pushing them away. The same can be said of bugfixing. Sequences like this thoroughly deflate a story:

You block Kasil's blade. However, his attack stops your progress
and you must defend against Kasil strikes. Kasil backs you up against
the railing.

>thrust at kasil
You thrust at Kasil as he steps aside. When he charges at you
again you step aside and he misses you. This gives you the
opportunity to slip away from the railing and maneuver behind Kasil.
You swing, but he whips around and deflects your sword. The two of
you continue to battle as Kasil backs away from you to the north.

>slash at kasil
Kasil isn't important.

Isn’t important? The guy I’m currently swordfighting with, who is currently trying to kill me with his “Kasil strikes”, isn’t important? Not to you, maybe. A minute after I got that response, I figured out that Kasil had actually moved to the north, and therefore was no longer in that location to be slashed at. But in that case, the response should be “Kasil isn’t here.” He’s certainly still important.

This is standard stuff; you could find it in a hundred different reviews of IF games. That’s because it matters — it’s often the difference between games that work and games that don’t. However, there’s a more subtle flaw at work in Augustine, one I’m not even sure I can articulate. It’s a sort of awkwardness to the storytelling. First, we get a prelude set in 1403, where a small boy (after some insta-death dead ends) evades brutal soldiers on a slash-and-burn raid. Then the scene shifts to a businessman in 2002, on a business trip to St. Augustine and strolling around the city’s attractions. Then, at what is more or less the end of the game’s first act, we learn that these two are the same person.

The reason this feels wrong, unfair, is that the prose in the 2002 section betrays almost no indication that this PC has known the city for three hundred years. Yes, upon close inspection, there are a couple of weirdnesses to be found, but mostly he seems to be just another tourist, seeing locales and objects in flat, untextured terms. Consequently, when the revelations came, I was left wondering whether the PC was having flashbacks of past lives, or had amnesia of his history, or something. Nope. It’s just that the writing unreasonably obscures what his historically informed responses to the landscape and people should be. It’s the lesson I wrote about in my article for the IF theory book: landscape creates character, whether you want it to or not. Rather than harnessing this effect, as the best IF games do, Augustine suffers by it.

Rating: 7.4

Terrible Lizards by Alan and Ian Mead [Comp02]

IFDB page: Terrible Lizards
Final placement: 36th place (of 38) in the 2002 Interactive Fiction Competition

As an author, you take a big risk when you name your file “terrible.gam”. Already, the poor game has a pretty big stigma to live down, and if it doesn’t, you’ve given your reviewers a really easy shot at it. Not that I would take such a shot, of course, heh heh. It’s really tempting, though, when the game’s help text claims that it was “written for a seven year old”, and my first encounter with it goes like this:

>x bot
Which bot do you mean, your Bot, or the Black Bot?

>x my bot
I don't know the word "my".

>x bot
Which bot do you mean, your Bot, or the Black Bot?

I don't know the word "mine".

>x your bot
I don't know the word "your".

>x bot
Which bot do you mean, your Bot, or the Black Bot?

You don't see any white bot here.

>[so what would the 7-year-old do here?]
I don't understand the punctuation "[".

So okay, there are some implementation problems. Let’s give it more of a chance. At least there’s a pretty clear scavenger-hunt plot about running around prehistory gathering dinosaur eggs, so how about we start exploring the map? Wow, what a huge map. Wow, these descriptions are really short and monotonous — seems like each description gets used for at least three rooms. Oh, and what about this?

You're on a high plataeu near a sparkling bay. Near to where you
are, there is a trail heading down a steep hillside to the
southwest and the plataeu extends to the north and west. In the
distance to the west, you see a herd of pachycephalosaurs.
Your Bot is here.

You can't go that way.

Bot says, "Are you sure you've done this before?"

I might ask you the same question, terrible.gam. Here’s a tip: if the room description indicates an exit in a particular direction, it’s a good idea to allow travel in that direction. Also: plateau.

Okay, I’m getting fed up, but let’s try some more. Man, there are a lot of prose errors in here. Ooh, it’s/its error — my eternal nemesis. Hey, check out this room description: “[description]”. Oh come on now. How could anybody think this game is finished? Here’s another tip: don’t submit your unfinished game to the competition. It’s considered extremely rude. Okay, screw this — I’m turning to the walkthrough. Hey, wait. This walkthrough… I’m going through it… I’ve finished it… and it has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH GATHERING DINOSAUR EGGS!

Okay, the hell with it, I’m taking the shot: terrible.gam, you are the most aptly named file in the competition. Maybe the most aptly named IF file ever. Well, at least since annoy.z5.

Rating: 2.3

Moonbase by Mike Eckardt as QA Dude [Comp02]

IFDB page: Moonbase
Final placement: 34th place (of 38) in the 2002 Interactive Fiction Competition

I think that comp games are a little like blind dates. For two hours or until the game ends, whichever comes first, I’m in a temporary relationship where I’m trying to evaluate every signal, from the smallest to the largest, in order to figure out how I feel. First impressions are particularly important, because the experience is going to be over shortly after the first impression gets formed. Ooh, sound clips — that’s interesting. Hmm, its/it’s error in the fourth sentence — that’s not good. Then again, looks like some effort was put into the help system, at least according to the oddly-passive sentence reading “General help may be asked for using the HELP command.” Wonder how our first conversation will go?

I said that help may be asked for... not that it would be

I don't want to help you.

It would be nice if there was help available. But there isn't.

Are you sure you wouldn't prefer to do this without help?


Very well then. [A few paragraphs of very generic "how to play IF"
info follows, though anyone who doesn't already know this information
will almost certainly never reach it.]

Oh, my. Looks like I’m in for an unpleasant evening. When Moonbase isn’t being adversarial, it mostly seems just sloppy and disinterested. There are plenty of spelling and grammar errors. The writing is flat and utilitarian, making wondrous experiences like teleportation and lunar exploration seem as humdrum as going to the corner store. Sometimes it seems like the game can hardly be bothered to describe anything at all:

This appears to be the base workshop. Various machine tools are here,
but none that would help you. The foyer is to the south, and there is
a door the the north.

Between the absence of anything at all to actually set the scene, the offhand dismissal of what scant setting exists, and the general rushed feel (“the the north?”), much of the writing feels like a conversation with someone who wishes he were somewhere else. Then there’s the instant death room and undescribed exit. The game-killing bug that sometimes prevents the PC from picking up a vital item, complaining that “Your load is too heavy” even when you’re empty-handed. The room whose description disappears completely after the first visit. The walkthrough that barely corresponds with the actual game. It’s a forest of red flags out there.

Oh sure, there are some nice touches. The sounds are well-done, understated, and enhance the action admirably. There’s a nifty background-color change upon stepping out onto the lunar surface. It talks a little about its interests, mentioning a MOO apparently hosted by the Artemis Project. (This place was populated by a number of friendly people when I briefly stuck my nose in.)

But really, what about my needs? This relationship isn’t going to work unless we’re both making an effort, you know. Where’s the fun? Where’s the immersion? Where’s the verve? A halfhearted collection of bland puzzles doesn’t make for much of a date, especially when they’re riddled with bugs and prose that sounds like it’s on Quaaludes. Actually, since these comp games are publicly rated and reviewed, maybe they’re not so much like an ordinary blind date, but instead like one of those terrible TV shows where people go out on a date and then come back later to analyze it in excruciating detail in front of an audience. In that case, Chuck, as you’ve probably already determined… this was not a love connection.

Rating: 5.0

SURREAL by Matthew Lowe [Comp01]

Final placement: 45th place (of 51) in the 2001 Interactive Fiction Competition

The author’s notes for SURREAL contain the following statements: “I am currently fourteen years old and I enjoy playing text adventures.”; “SURREAL is the first text adventure I have ever written so I hope that it’s alright.”; “I hope you like it.” So now I’m in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t like the game, because it had lots and lots of problems. But I hardly want to crush a first-time author, especially somebody so young who enjoys text adventures not as nostalgia, but on their own merits.

So this seems like a good time to reiterate my general reviewing philosophy: basically, I’m here to help. I never want my reviews to come across as nasty jabs, and if they do, it’s because of my own deficiencies as a writer and critic. Instead, I hope that these reviews offer worthwhile feedback to authors, and that they communicate some of my ideas and knowledge about IF. The point is not to smack somebody down for writing a bad game, but rather to report on my experience with that game so that the author’s next game can be better. Now, that being said: SURREAL was not a strong game.

Let’s talk first about the writing. It’s pretty apparent that the game’s landscapes are inspired by the Myst series, and that’s not always such a bad thing. There are moments throughout where a vivid picture arises from a paragraph, or even a sentence. However, grammar is a serious problem through the entire game. Poor grammar is a writer’s bane, because as a rule, it impedes the communicative arts; the prose in this game is no exception to that rule. Take these sentences, for instance:

You are standing in the fresh outdoor air again, a spray of salty water hits you in the face. The weather has taken a turn for the worse as dark clouds roll across the sky like and army of black horses marching to war.

The first sentence is a run-on, meaning that it’s really two sentences held loosely together by a comma. What this does to me as a reader is basically to pull the rug out from under me. I read the first part of the sentence, then hit the comma, which signals to me that I’m about to read something related to the first clause, probably either a dependent clause or an appositive. Instead, I get hit with another independent clause, and consequently I have to stop and try to figure out what the connection is. A moment later, I realize that there is no connection, because it’s just a run-on. But by then it’s too late — I’ve already been thrown out of the prose. All this happens very quickly, but the result is devastating to the story’s power, because it makes me remember that I’m reading words on a screen rather than inhabiting a surreal world.

The second sentence has a more obvious problem: instead of “like an army of black horses”, it says “like and army of black horses.” Typos like this are similar to heavy static on a TV screen. If we’re looking closely, we can see what’s supposed to be there, but after a while, it hardly seems worth the effort. Words are the game’s only conduit to our minds, and if the words don’t make sense, the game doesn’t either. There are also several NFIEs, but I have taken a deep, cleansing breath and promised not to rant about those.

Implementation is also a serious issue. The game is apparently programmed in GAGS, a precursor to AGT. Now, why in 2001 someone would want to use such a primitive development tool is a complete mystery to me. Even if one is too intimidated to broach something like Inform, TADS, or Hugo, there are plenty of newbie-friendly languages that are far more robust than GAGS. That choice of tool alone limits the game’s audience severely, since it’s only playable via MS-DOS, and even among DOS users, there are plenty of people who are unwilling to put up with a rudimentary parser and absent features from a modern text adventure.

On top of that, some of the most important items in the game are unimplemented, even with a “That’s just scenery” sort of description. No matter how much one loves text adventures, parser-wrestling is just not fun, and tools like GAGS make for lots of parser-wrestling. There is promise in a game like SURREAL, but it’s a promise largely unfulfilled. My advice to the author is to learn a high-level IF language (it’s not that hard, really!), review basic grammar, employ proofreaders and beta testers… and write again!

Rating: 2.5

The Coast House by Stephen Newton and Dan Newton [Comp01]

IFDB page: The Coast House
Final placement: 15th place (of 51) in the 2001 Interactive Fiction Competition

As if to taunt me, here comes a game with a NASTY FOUL IT’S/ITS ERROR in its Comp01 blurb, before I’ve even started the game. Then I fire up the game, and there’s one in the first room description! NFIEs are as numerous as cockroaches in this game, and just about as welcome. Am I more sensitive to this now than I was in previous years? Well, maybe, but only in the same way that being kicked repeatedly in the head makes one more sensitive to pain. I refuse to teach the lesson over and over, though, so if you’re not sure when to use the apostrophe and when not to, direct your attention here:

The first is my most recent explanation of the subject, and the others were found by taking 5 seconds to type “its/it’s” into a search engine. There are a bunch more where those came from. Print them out. Post them at your desk. Tattoo them on your body. Rid the world of this horrible curse.

Thank you for allowing me that rant. Moving on. NFIEs weren’t the only area in which this game’s proofreading was overly careless. Punctuation was a particular weakness. My current theory is that the keyboard on which The Coast House was typed had a sticky period key, because the game is littered with text like this: “Grandma’s headstone.. chipped with age…” There are multiple periods at the ends of sentences. There are multiple periods in room names. Ellipsises range anywhere from two to four dots (though some of the two-dot ones may have been intended as periods — rather difficult to tell.)

There are also a number of typos and grammar errors strewn throughout the game, and one very strange bug, in which looking under a particular item yields this: “You find !” Well, okay. There’s that exclamation point I’ve been searching for everywhere. Maybe I can use it to knock out some of these extra periods! Sadly, the exclamation point never made it into my inventory, so I was unable to wield it after all.

Okay, now that I’ve spent two paragraphs moaning about The Coast House‘s cosmetic errors, allow me to remedy things somewhat by talking about the ways in which I really liked the game. The setting is a tiny South Texas town in the sweltering summer heat, and the game brings this setting to life marvelously. Room and object descriptions engage all the senses, and appeal to memory as well, since the PC spent his childhood summers in this town. Many first-level nouns are described, and with similar skill.

In addition, most of the game’s puzzles emerge organically from the setting, thus enhancing the game’s world even as they moderate the story’s pace. All these factors worked together to produce a marvelously rich, immersive gameworld, which made the story-jarring grammar errors all the more frustrating. (Oh right, I was going to stop complaining about that. Ahem.) There was also a healthy dose of humor in the game. Many responses to nonsensical or useless actions were implemented as enjoyable wisecracks. For example, at the northern edge of town, the room description tells us:

The road travels off some distance to the north, with not a whole lot
between where you stand and Houston some 300 miles away.

The response to “N” from here is, “Houston is a pretty far walk. Probably better to stay in town.” Hee hee. The plot itself begins as a standard inheritance narrative and then deepens a bit, to the benefit of the game. All in all, a fairly solid piece of work if not for the simple lack of basic proofreading. Somebody needs to pick this game up and beat the errors out of it like dust out of an old rug. Once this happens, The Coast House will become a nicely atmospheric piece of IF.

Rating: 7.2

About my 2001 IF Competition Reviews

In 2001, I entered the IF Competition for the first time since 1996. My entry, Earth And Sky, was inspired by the Marvel comics I’ve loved since age six, and was entered under the Marvelicious pseudonym “Lee Kirby”. The previous year, I’d written a long and very heavy non-competition game called LASH: Local Asynchronous Satellite Hookup, which was partly about the antebellum South of the U.S., and had me reading many a slave narrative for research. After that, I wanted to write something lighter and more fun, and I’d never yet played superhero IF that I found really satisfying, so I wanted to make some.

Earth And Sky was also intended as the first episode in a series of games, and I would end up entering the other two episodes into the Comp as well, but that’s a topic for a later time. The game took 8th place — oddly, the same exact ranking as my 1996 entry, Wearing The Claw. Of course, while I was writing these reviews, I didn’t know that, so as I had in 1996, I played the games partly with an eye toward checking out my competition as well as the competition.

Weirdly, this was also the first and only Comp where I didn’t review the winner, because I’d been a beta tester for it. Jon Ingold‘s excellent All Roads took the top prize that year, and I was happy to have contributed a little to it. It’s strange collecting the reviews now though, and knowing that this site won’t contain a review of the 2001 winner. (Well, not anytime soon anyway. Who knows, maybe I’ll come back around to reviewing it?) The other game I skipped was called Begegnung am Fluss, which I couldn’t play due to my total inability to read German.

I do have the ability to read English, much to the disadvantage of many 2001 games. My patience for terrible writing decreased steadily throughout the competition, and I didn’t really start with that much. At one point, I started fantasizing about getting points every time I spotted an error, which I imagined would award me a score of “524,000 points out of a possible 200, earning me the rank of Gibbering Grammarian.” The Gibbering Grammarian found himself giving lessons on things like the use of definite vs. indefinite articles, and creating a special label for what I called “NASTY FOUL IT’S/ITS ERRORS”. I was inspired by the Vile Zero Error From Hell, a particularly nasty way of crashing the Z-machine, since NFIEs tended to have the same effect on my brain and mood.

Similarly, I really turned into Mr. Cranky around implementation issues, and in particular non-standard development systems. Just as bad were the games that applied outmoded ideas to modern systems, as I’d really had it with mazes, inventory limits, and so forth. But despite my grumpiness and anxiety about my own game, I still found much to delight me in this year’s competition, and just as much to intrigue me and push my thoughts forward about the medium itself. As in 1996, I hardly minded losing to such stellar work.

One more thing: in the fall of 2001, the shadow of 9/11 loomed large. It was a bizarre time to be an American. One unfortunate game ran afoul of this circumstance by presenting a sympathetic portrayal of terrorists. Another year, I might have had a different reaction, but in October of 2001, it just didn’t work for me.

I posted my reviews for the 2001 IF Competition games on November 16, 2001.