The Incredibly Mild Misadventures of Tom Trundle

by B F Lindsay profile

Teen adventure/Romance

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent first hour followed by Bullhockey-like puzzlefest, December 8, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform

I liked the beginning of this game a lot. The story is on rails with a puzzle here and there, which increases immersion. After 1-2 hours (depends on how fast you are), the game turns into a puzzlefest very similar to the Bullhockey games. I have played both Bullhockey games for a while, but they couldn't hold my interest, in the long run, so I never finished those.

I think I played for four hours and got 155 points out of 400 while I tried not to peek too much on the walkthrough. So the game is definitely huge. I do like a good long puzzlefest, but for some reason, this part of the game is not for me.

Perhaps because too many similar standard objects (chairs, tables etc in most rooms) must be searched and examined, too many locked doors must be attempted to be unlocked with each key (confusing, as the game, in the beginning, can figure out which key to use) and there are too many keys to keep track of. All this becomes rather tedious with only a few clever puzzles (maybe there are some deeper into the game). Perhaps just a combination of all these things.

I think the game would be more fun if the tedious puzzles were removed and only the good ones were kept. A lot of locations could also be removed, as they seem to be there mainly for realism, which isn't necessary.

Still, the beginning is truly excellent and I wanted to see the end, so I copied the very long walkthrough into the command line (had to cut it into 25 pieces) to see the ending, as I didn't feel like playing through the whole game to see the ending.

If BF Lindsay ever makes a game with the same gameplay style throughout as the beginning of this game, I would love to play it. Also, if he is able to improve his puzzlefests, I would like to play those too. Still, if you liked the Bullhockey games, you will probably like the entire game.

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IFonthebrain, December 9, 2020 - Reply
Thank you, Denk, for your perspective.

I am sorry, but I would have difficulty writing an entire game 'on rails'--that part was really only the lead-in, and I wanted to make sure that certain things would happen before the real game begins. Both of my Bullhockeys had lead-ins, but not quite as long as this one.

Honestly, my Bullhockeys were pretty much representative of my style of writing games. I'm not sure what you mean by 'tedious' puzzles; I thought I had clued everything that needed to be searched (full ashtray for the cigarette, the unusual recliner tempting Tom to sit in it, to find the remote, etc). But thank you for mentioning this. I do understand about the keys, that is something that I will address in future games. But Schools naturally do have a lot of doors that require keys, to be fair (the secret passages were there partly to relieve the dependency upon keys). Some locations were included for logistical reasons. That's just how I write my games. I didn't want players coming back and saying 'This is a school?? How come there's no ___(cafeteria/locker room/football field/etc)?? Don't I have to search the grounds for so-and-so?'. I do admit that there are some locations in the game which I intended to 'do something' with, like the courtyards between the halls, which were going to be where (Spoiler - click to show)Tom brings the girls up from underground, but I changed my mind, and it was just easier to leave them in. Do you mean 'tedious' as in 'every object having a description, making the player think that somehow it must be important'? That, I do understand. I really really love to write. Maybe I just need to be more concise??

Anyway, I am not sure that I can make a full game 'on rails' as much as I did the beginning of Tom Trundle, though I am considering writing something choice-based, which is really more suited to IF of this kind.

But thank you--I will keep your points in consideration. I really love writing long games, because it keeps me 'thinking', but maybe I can start writing games in serialized form, break up one long game into smaller ones??

I am glad you at least somewhat liked my Bullhockeys. Maybe my next one will contain more of the elements that you enjoyed..??
Denk, December 9, 2020 - Reply
No need to be sorry, a lot of people like your games :)

And because I liked the first hour or so a lot, I am glad I played. You can't please everyone. You should simply see my review as proposals for what I think could improve the game for me. Others might disagree and prefer your current style. For instance, "Return to Castle Coris" came in at the 86th place, but it is one the few games I have given five stars this year. Perhaps you have already close to perfected your style, which just happens to be popular for say 50% (wild guess) of IF players.

Some authors continue to improve their game writing skills so even more people like their games. For instance, you may be able to take into account a group of players without sacrificing your vision of your game. In other situations you can't without too much sacrifice and then you shouldn't.

It has been a while since I wrote the review (I was also participating so I couldn't publish it before now), so I might not be accurate in the following text. But I remember it as if there were a lot of standard objects in every room (tables, chairs etc.), which the player "needs" to examine to be sure they are not leaving important objects behind. If you then also have quite a lot of rooms, it can become tedious to do that over and over again. As you say: "I didn't want players coming back and saying 'This is a school?? How come there's no ___(cafeteria/locker room/football field/etc)?" This may be a point where players disagree with each other. Some might regard the realism necessary for the immersion, while others like me, feel it introduces too many uninteresting objects and locations. I prefer a more "economical" style with respect to locations and objects, which I often feel has a lot of quality without a lot of quantity. You may have the same quality in your games, I just feel it is hidden within the huge quantity. Or perhaps I am not good at explaining to myself what it was I didn't like, but this is my best bet. Anyway, keep making games. I am curious to see what you do next.
IFonthebrain, December 10, 2020 - Reply
Thank you so much, Denk. Apparently, you understand authoring. I will take your advice into account. You know, the more I play other people's games, the more I am reminded that I tend to over-describe things in my game, even rooms. I just finished Andrew Plotkin's *Spider and Web*. A lot of the earlier games describe a room in only a few sentences, and I realize that a lot of the reason for this is economical (they were Z-games), but I see other benefits, as this leaves a lot to the imagination. I see those games getting a lot of good ratings and reviews.

Still I just have the urge to describe many things outright. But now I am less motivated to include standard objects, as you call them, and let the player just assume they're there. Or I could say 'This isn't a time for sitting down/You don't need to interact with that/[The noun] is just a prop' if the player thinks it might be important.

Anyway, thank you for playing my games! There is another Bullhockey in the works, but it's on hold for now. Thank you for your insights!
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