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IF COMP 2004 Reviews - Introduction

Introduction to Sidney Merk's IF-COMP 2004 Review Journal
Written On: October 2nd, 2004

     I want to apologize in advance if I reference my own competition entry in some of these reviews. I think It's impossible not to draw comparisons between other works and your own, and I wouldn't be giving my wholehearted feedback if I omitted that. I will, however, try to keep it to a minimum. These remarks will probably be to say that I wish I had followed an example like this in my entry, not the other way around. :)

     You may find that I'm a non-traditional reviewer. I will try to find something I like in every game, and my unofficial rankings will probably be higher than those of the real judges. Further, these reviews will form a kind of player's journal, since I'll write each one immediately (if possible) after playing the game. This means I might begin to get burnt out, and my reviews will become crankier, or maybe I'll become more ambivalent and one review will contradict the next. I know how hard I worked on my entry, and how hopeful I've been that judges will still enjoy it despite the flaws that keep surfacing the more I revisit it. Although this shouldn't prevent criticism where necessary, I hope it will at least temper it.

     My reviews may contain spoilers. I'll try not to do it, and I'll try to explain things without giving away a puzzle or the story, but if I can't, I can't. Just keep this in mind when reading my reviews. Also, the reviews are presented in the order in which the games were played, not in order by rankings.

     I plan to use a ranking system that will, with luck, keep me on track. Half-points (a luxury real judges don't have) will be used to indicate a game that could go either way, falling between the two categories. I may also skew a score up or down by a point or two (but I'll mention when I do), if it's something I enjoyed a little more or a little less (for whatever reason). The base will be what I think it should score (based on the explanations given below), without that additional skew. Also, as I'm not strictly bound by the 2-hour rule, I may play longer, or I may revise my scores after giving more thought to the game later. However, I hope to keep such activity under control, since in future years I may be a judge instead of an author (this could be good practice for that).

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