IFReviewed by Paul OBrian on 2006-07-17 05:33
Well, Andrew Plotkin
is nothing if not inventive. The implementor of Z-Machine Tetris
brings us another novelty -- a programming language and interpreter set up entirely within the z-machine run-time. Andrew's Scheme
implementation is interesting and even, to a point, fun. I definitely look forward to sitting down with it for a longer period of time and working at learning what it has to teach. (I never thought a text adventure could help me build my resume!) However, after a certain point the problems stopped being fun and started being work -- I'm already working at learning two languages; learning a third is definitely worthwhile, but not my idea of leisure time. And thus I discover a criteria I didn't even know I had for the competition entries -- I want them to be an escape from work, rather than (pun intended) "Return to Work".
Prose: Very little of it, but of course it conforms to the high Plotkin standard of quality.
Difficulty: I found LISTS to be quite difficult going, but then I'm just working on learning C++ and Inform now, so Scheme was a bit of a leap in abstraction for me. The feeling was reminiscent of just beginning to learn UNIX after years of working on DOS (and, to a lesser extent, Macs and Windows).
coding: Andrew is the god of Inform coding. All hail Andrew.
writing: Well, of course the main place this came up was in the online manual for the language, which naturally had no errors in spelling or grammar, and in fact was written in a fun jocular style.
Plot: No. No, not really at all.
Puzzles: Well the problems were definitely puzzling, and certainly not your standard Interactive Fiction type of puzzle, either. LISTS certainly gives a mental workout, but then again so does Calculus I.