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IFCOMP 2006 - PTGOOD 8*10^23

Game #13: PTGOOD 8*10^23 (by Sartre Malvolio)
Played: November 4th (15 minutes)
Platform: Adrift (version 4)
Unofficial Score: 2-

     Gameís Blurb:
     In this uncut version that YOU DID NOT SEE IN THEATRES, you'll laugh your arse off at Xorax's evil stupidity, and get to play the role of his murderer. The most meanspirited IF parody to date! DOWN WITH PTBAD!

     XYZZY Response:
     Iím sorry, but XYZZY doesnít do anything special in this game!

     Itís a ďPTĒ that itís not GOOD. Har har!!!

     This seemed like a good time to balance out my list. This was by no means one of the games I felt compelled to play (assuming I wonít be able to play every entry in time), but after a great run of selective reviewing, I think I need a couple shorter ďbadĒ entries to prepare me for more. My reasoning is that Iíve played three great games in a row. Especially after the mind-blowing originality of Delightful Wallpaper, I needed a reality check so that maybe Iíll appreciate more good games to come as opposed to finding them somehow flat by comparison.

     I knew that Slan Xorax (erÖ Johnathan Berman? Sartre Malvolio?) wouldnít let me down. PTGOOD 8*10^23 is one of the four I skipped earlier on my random list, and itís predictably dismal. The file size alone (less than 2k) was a good indication that almost nothing would be implemented. The twist here is that you are on a mission to murder Xorax for creating the exact kind of game that this one is.

     I would rather see a twist where Xorax writes a good game (and sorry, no, the title doesnít count). Itís starting to feel like a joke that has gone on for too long.

     I know you have to sign up within a month of the competition deadline, and that the last week or two require game information to be entered at the IFComp website. I think Xorax must handle this in two phases. First, I think he signs up and enters some silly title and blurb for a game he hasnít created. Then, on the last day before the deadline, he throws together something unavoidably dire in a half-hearted frenzy to beat the clock. It doesnít matter what. Itís the authorial equivalent of splashing paint against a canvas, then smearing it a little with your thumb. Whatever rooms and objects and actions work their way into the game, complete or otherwise, thatís his entry.

     Thatís why I donít feel bad when I mock the effort, as I might for a bad game in which the author actually did intend for something better. It sort of feels like a backhanded gift, from Slan Xorax to me: ďI give to you the IF equivalent of a clogged toilet. Plunge away as you see fit.Ē

     Inkyís review tipped me to the existence of a window in the first room. I spent a little while trying to escape through it, but the gimmick is that it only has to be opened for an exit elsewhere to suddenly start working (and it didnít before). This, surprisingly, makes the game winnable. Itís as underwhelming as I expected, but at least I got something back for my fifteen minutes of bewilderment.

     PTGOOD is far less surreal than the two prior PTBAD entries, but this is neither good nor bad. It doesnít feel as though Xorax has taken great strides to write a bad game. It just seems like the obvious result of slapping together a joke game at the last minute. Iíd like to give it a ď1Ē, but since it can be finished and I really felt no great hatred for it, I give it a ď2Ē. As a joke entry, it can go no higher without reaching into an area that would indicate more effort. It gets a ďminusĒ, though, for mundane suckage.

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