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A New Implementor is Born, March 24, 2008
When I first discovered that interactive fiction had started a renaissance of sorts, I was mostly excited about the possibility of playing the old Infocom titles again. I had tried several games before Spider and Web, and, like so many of those before it, this game started out bland and uninteresting. Like the others, it seemed to be the product of someone with far more enthusiasm than skill as either a programmer or storyteller; its most interesting feature seemed to be the title.
Three minutes later, I was surprised to find that this game had a point and was interesting. Ten minutes later, I was awestruck.
I still hold the Infocom games up as the gold standard, but this game was the first I encountered that rated a "platinum" label. Daring in its conception and almost always brilliant in its execution of both programming and prose, Spider and Web shows the true power of the medium. This story simply couldn't be told in any other format in such an effective way.
I reserve five stars for works that are not just good, but that reach the epitome of a particular genre or otherwise earn a "landmark" status. Such works are the yardsticks by which all others are measured. I'm happy to bestow my first five star rating here on Spider and Web for its sheer genius in terms of premise and construction.
Kudos to Mr. Plotkin, who well deserves his reputation as a star in the IF community.