Reviews by Jerry Martin


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the uncle who works for nintendo, by michael lutz

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting mix of nostalgia and creepypasta, October 19, 2014

Growing up in school, we all had classmates who would lie to sound cool. Each person's dad was not only the strongest guy in the universe but would also beat up 7 year olds for fun and famous celebrities just happened to live next door "before they moved". But for us gamers, one of the most common lies was the relative who worked at a game company and was feeding all sorts of confidential information and cool secrets to them. They'd tell you all about upcoming, unreleased games or unbelievable secrets hidden in games that no one knew about and, if you're like me and grew up in the pre-internet days, no one really had the means to disprove them unless the latest game magazine debunked it though we all knew deep down that it was too good to be true.

The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo stars you as you go over to a friend's hosue, who consequently is one of the gamers who has a relative working for a game company (in this case Nintendo). The game itself is played in a web browser which offers additional graphics and background sounds, which add to the atmosphere. It's pretty cool hearing Mario jump around as your friend played Nintendo 64 or hear the pitter patter of rain as you look at a picture of your surroundings. The fact that you can choose your friend's name is also a big plus, though it would have been much nicer to be able to input their name rather than choose from a list.

The game itself is pretty linear and practically devoid of puzzles, opting instead to focus on the narrative which I felt was pretty good, though takes a major surprise twist near the end of the story. While this usually spells doom for an IF, in this particular case the story is enough to carry the weight and the numerous endings make you want to keep coming back to experience the full story, especially with the sudden way it ends. In fact, to even grasp the tiniest details of what's happening, you practically have to sit down and replay through the alternate endings (though luckily, there are hints as to how to obtain them after beating them). Once you get five endings, you can unlock the final ending which explains everything.

(Spoiler - click to show)I didn't care much for the surprise twist, which involved his uncle being a supernatural entity living in a Game Boy who eats children so your friend can get new systems and games. The sleepover story was really drawing me in and was something many people could connect with. The details were a little off here and there but it was a story most gamers would immerse themselves into. I felt that the mystical entity twist really killed the immersion I had with the game and ultimately left me confused, even after experiencing all six endings. The 'anti-gamer' approach was also unnecessary and, though preaching moderation is good, to advice people to quit cold turkey and have nothing to do with them is unnecessary and unwarranted.

The game itself is pretty short as well, primarily due to the lack of choices. While there are major choices, there are relatively few options and many of them are meaningless (saying goodbye to your mom is an example, as none of the choices have consequence and you can pick any that you like with practically no change in dialogue). The lack of a parser also contributes to this, as all of your options appear as hyperlinks, removing much of the interactivity that are characteristic of IF games.

Still, the piece is well written and the story is mostly good so it certainly warrants a playthrough. Since the game takes about 5 minutes to complete and there's no puzzles to solve, there's not much to lose and a lot to gain. Check it out on the hyperlink below.

Cow V: The Great Egg Quest, by J. Suchman

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Should not even be classified as "Interactive" fiction..., March 16, 2014
by Jerry Martin (Colossal Caves)
Related reviews: Micro Games, Bad Parser, Linear

This game should not be classified as "Interactive Fiction" as there is no interactivity with the game whatsoever! The game, which features a ridiculous quest bordering on parody, requires you to head over to the hen house, fetch some eggs and give them to your Uncle Willy. The game does not go into more depth than that nor does anything else happen whatsoever. Heck, just interacting with your environment will be a hassle, due to the lack of objects and bad parser.

Take for example the introduction room: Uncle Willy's kitchen. The text clearly states there's a door here. However, any attempt to interact with said door will provide the text "I don't understand what you want to do". You cannot open it. You cannot examine it. Even simple commands that are standard to IF such as "go north" or "n" will not work. Only the command "North" will work. Had there been any objects to interact with, this would be a major problem. But considering there's only one real object that you can interact with (the chicken feed) and you can only take it, you won't notice it as much as a full fledged IF. However, the fact that the parser cannot understand simple commands is frustrating and confusing.

The game also consists of about four rooms total and the game can be beaten in a few turns at most. Seriously, here's a walkthrough for you: (Spoiler - click to show)North, take feed, east, west, south. At best this is an excersize in monotony. At worst, this is a pitifully bad piece of IF that offers no interactivity, no depth, no story and no fun. Seriously, I can't even recommend this to new players as the parser will still throw them off and it will leave a horrible taste for the genre in their mouths after completing this IF.

I seriously can't recommend this IF to anyone except those who get a pleasure from beating talentless games in 30 seconds. There's no thinking required to beat this game, there's no depth and pretty much everything that makes IF wonderful is absent from this game. Avoid it like your ex at the mall.

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