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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful:Immature in more ways than the most obvious, September 18, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
It surprises me a little that Adam Cadre's first game won the 1997 XYZZY Award for Best Game. While I-0 certainly isn't bad, and may have broken some new ground, it is a bit too immature to be counted among the greats.
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Adam Cadre, September 20, 2011 - Reply
Howdy. The thing I would point out in response to this review is that I-0 is a genre piece. As I mentioned in various interviews around the time it came out (almost 15 years ago now), when I first became aware of the IF community I played a few games and nearly all of them seemed to have been written by reserved British professors, so I decided that for my learning-Inform exercise I would go the other way and do something deliberately trashy, the IF equivalent of a late-night softcore Cinemax movie. To the extent that "the game's depiction of sex and sexuality" is where "the immaturity is clearest," and that "the narrator [...] is fascinated by sex while being too ashamed by this fascination to truly admit it," that was, as Zarf says, deliberate - it was, in fact, a genre requirement. A lot of the jokes are not meant to register on the "ha ha, that was funny" level so much as the "ha ha, that is what that genre is like all right" level.
Now, you can jump back a level and say that it was immature of me to think that it would be funny to write an IF piece in the softcore Cinemax genre, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you. To the extent that the fact that I-0 was intended as a genre piece isn't clearly signaled, that is probably an artifact of my (very wrong) guess that most players would play it as a straightforward puzzle game, and my desire to allow them a complete playthrough in that style if that is what they chose.
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Victor Gijsbers, September 24, 2011 - Reply
Thanks for your response, Adam. Culturally, I'm probably closer to a reserved British professor than to you-fifteen-years-ago, and the result of this is that I never even realised that there was a genre in which I-0 would fit and which it might be satirising. (I have never heard of "Cinemax", for instance.) That is a dimension of the work I missed.
So while I did pick up on the immaturity of the narrator, I wasn't sure whether to link it to an immaturity of the writer or to something else. The answer seems to be: mostly the latter.
The failure to understand the cultural context of the piece is, of course, my failure as a reviewer, not your failure as a writer. A game doesn't have to clearly signal that it is a genre piece. What is more problematic, and immature in the sense that it shows a form of IF that was still in an early stage of development, is the weird interplay of free choice, puzzles, and more-or-less random ways to move the game forward. But I don't have to explain that to the author of Photopia.
I would like to see someone taking this genre and writing a (humorous but) serious piece in it. Mentula Macanus in Arizona, with a female protagonist -- sounds like a winner.