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1st Place, Event 1 - Second Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction
Ryan Veeder's Judgment
9.5 points out of 10
This is extremely clever and I love it. I feel anxiety about awarding a perfect score, and if I look closely I can find enough small flaws to justify an assertion that this Entry is not perfect. Therefore I award Caduceus 9.5 points out of 10.
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This game took first place in Event One of the Second Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction.
Entries in Event One of the Second Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction were written over the course of one weekend. The challenge of Event One was to create a game in Inform 7 with beautiful source code text.The trouble is, all of the top-ranked games are unplayable without the source, and Caduceus is no exception. It has two "guess the verb" puzzles, whose solutions make no sense, even in hindsight. (Spoiler - click to show)The gangplank is "fixed in place." Despite that, you have to "push" it. Why? Why do I have to "wave" the caduceus? None of this is explained, even in the source. (Why not "reclaim" the caduceus?)
So how did an unplayable game get four stars from me? Well, the source code is very, very good.
All of the entries in the pretty-code contest have their strong suits, but it's not just that Caduceus' source has a lovely poetic flow to it. The game it creates has a very different, mostly-prosaic vibe to it, while telling the same story with the same terse descriptions.
As a game Caduceus just looks like a short proof-of-concept with a less-than-obvious final move. As source, even the wasted space (such as the adjectives borrowed for this review title) serves a purpose. Top honors were warranted.
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