Instead of writing this up, I’ve been watching Riff play Uncharted 2, which is a lot like watching an action movie, if the main character in an action movie were psychologically incapable of doing anything until he’d completely searched the surrounding area for treasure. “Drake! Get out of there! It’s gonna blow!” “I’ll get out of here in a minute, goddammit, I’m looking for shinies.” And then, because there’s a small part of Uncharted 2 that wants to be an exploration game instead of a narrative-driven on-rails climby-shooter (which it is, and is very good at being), he will in fact find a statue of Ganesh or something in a corner of the imminently-exploding train car and his neurosis will be rewarded, even as the climby-shooter part of the game yells at him and asks if he wants a hint. Here’s a hint, designers: it’s weird to both yell at people and reward them for the same behavior. If you did that to a kid, you’d have a fucked-up kid. If you did that to a hamburger, you’d have a fucked up hamburger. In terms of potatoes, that’s bad parenting.
This post isn’t about Uncharted 2, though, it’s about the 2009 Interactive Fiction Competition. I haven’t forgotten.
[spoilers for every game in the comp and also last year's Riverside and incidentally 2006's Another Goddamn Escape the Locked Room Game given free rein after the jump]