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IFCOMP 2005 Reviews - Introduction

Introduction to Mike Snyderís IF-COMP 2005 Review Journal
Written On: October 2nd, 2005

     For me, this is the best and the worst part of the process. The weeks leading up to October are a blur of hurried work. The weeks following November 15th -- when voting ends and the results are later announced -- only confirm what was already probable from the beginning -- the best and worst of the competition. But these weeks, while judges are busy forming opinions and us hopefuls hear almost nothing, are a mixed bag. I have so many other games now to play and review -- the best part of the competition. Yet for roughly six weeks, I have only my own opinion as to how well my entry will fare.

     You may find that I'm a non-traditional reviewer. I will try to find something I like in every game. My unofficial rankings will probably be much 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 enjoy it. Although this shouldn't prevent criticism where necessary, I hope it will at least temper it.

     My reviews may contain spoilers. Iíll try not to do it, and Iíll try to explain things without giving away a puzzle or the story, but if I canít, I canít. Just keep this in mind when reading my reviews. Also, the reviews are numbered 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).

     With a baby as a distraction this year, it might be difficult to play in one sitting. I may have to take short breaks even during a session, so to keep from complicating the log of time spent playing, I might edit out those short gaps so that itís easier to add up. If so, then the ďtimeĒ spent playing (shown in the header of each review) will show ďadjustedĒ. The total time will be right, but the ending time might have been later with those breaks.

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