Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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bryanb
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Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by bryanb »

As many of you know already, Robb, Ben (in a largely advisory role to this point), and I have been working on reviving our old IF review site Reviews From Trotting Krips. I always wanted to aim to bring the site back before the competition started, and it's finally in a state where we think people can take a look at it. The new URL is http://www.trottingkrips.com so feel free to check it out and share any feedback you might have.

If our production values were any higher, we probably wouldn't be launching just yet. After all, there are still multiple site issues. There are still formatting issues. There aren't enough reviews posted. There aren't any new Ben reviews. Most of the feature pages haven't been created yet. I have to admit I'm more than a little disappointed in myself at the slow development pace. Somehow it seems like creating the original website back in 1999 was easier even though we were hand coding everything. It wasn't, but we're all sickly old men now so it seems that way. Err, I mean we just don't have as much time as we used to have. We have more responsibilities, more demands, and maybe less energy. Why couldn't it be 1999 forever?

Still, even though the site isn't quite where I'd like it to be, I wanted to launch now in order to better cover the 2019 IF competition which is starting October 1st. I know some JC regulars will be playing the comp games and may want to write some reviews. We'd love to host them! The original Krips site was very much a community endeavor, and we'd like the new one to continue in the same vein. For now, you can just email your reviews to Robb, Ben, or me; if you want to play review roulette, even AArdvark might forward them to us if he's in a particularly good mood.

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Flack
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Flack »

How quickly I fell!
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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Flack wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:07 pm How quickly I fell!
Oh yeah, Flack and Jizaboz have been helping out behind the scenes as well. Flack had a big role in convincing me to give WordPress a try as well and we can all see how that turned out. I don't think I can quite present either of you as an official Trotting Krip just yet, though. There a process we have to follow, you know. I mean, we haven't even done the bloodletting ceremony or burned Jack Straw in effigy yet.

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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I'll be reviewing The House on Sycamore Lane shortly. Is there an official format we should use for submitting?
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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bryanb
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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Flack wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:29 pm I'll be reviewing The House on Sycamore Lane shortly. Is there an official format we should use for submitting?
Great! No, you can use whatever format you'd like. It was a quirk of the old site that none of us used the same review format, and Ben even used his own rating scale. Guest reviewers could do whatever they wanted. Now Robb doesn't do numeric ratings at all. I still use my old format, slightly tweaked for 2019, but I did invent it so I'm biased.

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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You okay if I tweet the link out tomorrow?
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bryanb
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:28 pm You okay if I tweet the link out tomorrow?
Definitely! This should be a good stress test -- if we can handle the Robbalanche, maybe we'll be ready for when we hit the front page of Hacker News or /r/gaming.

In other site news, Flack has posted his first RFTK review (and it's also our first review of any 2019 comp game!). Everyone should check it out. I've got three comp reviews planned at this point but need to string some time together to actually get them written. Hopefully I'll be able to make something happen over the weekend.

On another topic, I'm curious about how IF authors feel about reviews that are negative or mixed. Do you try to avoid reading these reviews altogether? Do you ever feel like reading the criticism has helped make you a better game developer? Is some attention better than no attention or would you rather the negative reviews not exist? Do reviews that alternate praise with criticism still seem mostly negative?

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Flack »

I'm not a real IF author, but I am an author and content creator, and have had my creations subjected to many reviews, both positive and negative. I know lots of content creators and entertainers say they don't read reviews at all. I wish I were that strong.

I take every negative review to heart (more than is healthy), and often think about changes I can implement on my next work to address that person's complaints. In reality, that's a fairly irrational action to take when you factor in the statistics in regards to reviews. Last time I checked (and these numbers are all over the place depending on your source), about 10% of people bother to leave feedback/reviews, and people are 3-5x more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one. People are also more likely to leave feedback/reviews when they love something or hate it.

To answer your first question, yes, I would rather read a bad review than no review. No review means nobody read/played my work, or cared enough about it to write something.

I try not to write reviews that are completely positive or negative because I feel like they come off as fake. Most bad games have something positive to mention, and most good games have some room for improvement.

I also try to temper my reviews based on how many people were behind the creation. I'm more likely to say "Dodge sucks!" than I am slagging a game that one single person created and will be searching for that review.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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On another topic, I'm curious about how IF authors feel about reviews that are negative or mixed. Do you try to avoid reading these reviews altogether? Do you ever feel like reading the criticism has helped make you a better game developer? Is some attention better than no attention or would you rather the negative reviews not exist? Do reviews that alternate praise with criticism still seem mostly negative?
This is just my take and experience, it's not the same for everyone:

I have sucked at a lot of things in my life that I love. In fact, I suck at everything at first, but I keep going with stuff I love. I sucked at playing baseball, I sucked at playing football, I sucked at video games although when we were growing up they weren't competitive, so who cared. I sucked at my jobs until I was 35. I got into learning everything I could about arcade games but routinely met people who knew a hundred times more when I was actively collecting. I thought I knew a lot about text adventures! And then I got to know the text game scene and there are people much, much better at making them and who have an encyclopedic knowledge of what came before.

When I entered the comp the first two times, twenty years ago, I got a lot of negative reviews. A small portion of them were pretty personal, but the thing with me is that I found the negativity motivating. "I won't do it FOR ME, but I'll do it TO YOU" is a quote from my friend Tombstone on Twitter. (I guess I should note that without any kind of support system who knows if I would have kept going. Without any sort of support system at all in life you become a Batman villain.) But showing that I wasn't a piece of shit is what motivated me. Having two managers hate my guts eventually made me want to be professionally competent and indispensable.

But to come to a conclusion, I think the great majority of people who are savage in critique do it because they enjoy it, they don't give a shit about motivating anyone to do better. They aren't life coaches. That makes random cruelty, especially for free stuff, a little sad. I agree that it's OK to give a harsh opinion about something that comes down from a corporation, like Fuck Dodge, though. I hope for the RFTK revival we aren't that way towards the people making text games. I like the constructive criticism I'm seeing in the new reviews, and I've tried to be that way myself for the last few years when I've written reviews and articles on things. Besides, the gratuitously cruel stuff will always be out there anyway, it doesn't need us to sustain it.
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Also, yeah, we are BACK! Let me work backwards for a few days and make official posts about the new content on the site.

First up, meaning, latest post is by FLACK! It's about the new IF Comp game, "The House on Sycamore Lane." Check it out!

http://trottingkrips.caltrops.com/2019/ ... ters-2019/
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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First off, you guys are way too hard on yourselves. Yes, Flack, you're a real IF author -- A Game of Chance is just as important to chronic gambler IF fans as Ballyhoo is to circus freaks. If you ever do a gambling/circus crossover game, you'll truly be numbered among the immortals of this genre of gaming. And Robb, you were always good at making IF. I replayed Chicks Dig Jerks this year, and it's just as good as I remembered, just less buggy. So, in other words, it's even better than I remembered!

I know when I enter "reviewer mode" it's hard for me to do anything but state my honest opinion. I have a hard time pulling my punches when I've got some sort of criticism to make, but I'm trying to do a better job of softening the blows after they've been thrown. When I write my reviews, I generally think of my audience as being primarily IF players who want to know what games are worth playing and which are not, but we've got such a small community that I know IF authors are going to be reading them too. On the old site, I think the author I offended the most had actually written a low effort, one room joke game that I reviewed somewhat antagonistically. I'm probably never going to be able to be too positive about one of those games, but, yeah, constructive criticism is definitely what I'm aiming for as a general rule. Even more importantly, I hope nothing I write ever discourages someone from making more IF. We want more IF! I probably won't be able to live up to this ideal so feel free to call me out when I go too far.

I think the old reviews I feel the worst about writing now are the ones I did of Revenger and A Moment of Hope. The Revenger review was too brutal. Yeah, the game had bugs, but bugs aren't the end of the world. In general, it's tough to review the work of a friend fairly. Part of you is always going to want to go soft and just be supportive, but you also want to be able to review it like you would any other game to show you're not hopelessly biased so it's easy to overcompensate and end up being too negative. Sorry, Robb! When it comes to the A Moment of Hope review, I feel like Simmon Keith Barney was making an effort to openly share his pain and his sadness with the world and all I cared about at the time was whether it all made for an effective game or not. I was glad to see in the IF Archive that he did write another game after AMOH so maybe he didn't let the negative reviews get into his head too much. At least not until his next game. And maybe he never actually read my review anyway. Still, sorry Simmon!

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Revenger wasn't too harsh, my friend, it was perfect - what I needed at the time and what I would need in the years to come! I made incredibly buggy games that had very few rooms. To be honest, Enceladus is the first game where I've tried to adopt a philosophy for every single room:

1) How could a player get here?
2) How could they get trapped?
3) What are my *assumptions*?

(I still screwed it up, as you found a couple of instances where I didn't fully write out, in English somewhere, those things.)
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:16 pm Without any sort of support system at all in life you become a Batman villain.
You could quit early and become a hero instead.[*]
Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:16 pm I agree that it's OK to give a harsh opinion about something that comes down from a corporation, like Fuck Dodge, though.
Man, I'll bet it's a son-of-a-bitch getting ads published for a truck with a name like that. The only time you could run radio commercials is during the FCC no-action perood of 11pm to 6am. "And now, the truck nobody fucks with, the new 2019½ Fuck Dodge. Thoss cocksuckers who bought asswipe Fords and Chevys are going to shit their pants when you do a dick measuring contest, comparing your truck to theirs, if they've even got the balls to try.. In fact, here are some of the facts that are just ballbusters for our competutors…"

— — — —
[*] "And they say that a hero will save us / I'm not going to stand here and wait…" — Nickelback, Hero
"But I can't help but have my suspicions, 'cause I ain't quite as dumb as I seem."
- Ace, How Long

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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That wasn't funny, Paul. Paul, you're not funny. We all love you, but desperately wish you would stop trying to be funny, because -- well, I think I've already made it as clear as I can.
In the yard, not too far from the car.

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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pinback wrote: Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:35 pm That wasn't funny, Paul. Paul, you're not funny. We all love you, but desperately wish you would stop trying to be funny, because -- well, I think I've already made it as clear as I can.
And. And! These posts, Paul, are *desperately* required on Caltrops, a dying community that needs you more than ever.

What can we do to get you to post more there?
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Flack »

A trail of Starburst?

When I write negative reviews, I try to use the ol' shit sandwich approach by tucking the negative parts in between two slices of good. I've received enough rejection letters to know the format.

Many years ago when both the internet and I were younger, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek review about what I thought was a tongue-in-cheek band. Both the band and the album were pretty bad, but they were so over the top that I thought they would appreciate an over-the-top bad review. They did not. When they threatened us for publishing it, I double downed, cut their CD in half, and took a picture of it sticking out of my cat's litter box. Surprisingly, this did not de-escalate things. For about a year I was fairly certain four terrible musicians from Boston were going to drive halfway across the country to kick my ass. Anyway, that lesson I learned was that even when things aren't great, there was a real human being behind them who made them. I try to remember that.
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

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pinback wrote: Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:35 pm That wasn't funny, Paul. Paul, you're not funny. We all love you, but desperately wish you would stop trying to be funny, because -- well, I think I've already made it as clear as I can.

Speak for yourself bro. I’m still laughing lol

ALL NEW 2019 FUCK DODGE!! 500 hundred horse-fucks of American power! Just look at that torque!

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Jizaboz »

Flack, that’s the first I’d heard that story about the band review! Now I almost want to hear it to see how bad it is heh.

This kind of goes with something I was going to mention on the original topic too. I think some IF authors really put a lot into their games and when they aren’t received well they take it quite personally. I left a short but a bit scathing review once of an authors game who actually had written others I enjoyed but I just didn’t like this certain one and found it frustrating to even try to play with a walkthrough. I could tell he really, really didn’t like that and I felt kinda bad later on but eventually it was just water under the bridge.

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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Saturn's Child by Jerry Ford- review by Bryan B.!

http://trottingkrips.caltrops.com/2019/ ... ford-2014/

I had not heard of this game in the slightest before Bryan's review. I am learning that there's a ton of stuff out there if you want to create something that takes place on Enceladus though.
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Re: Reviews From Trotting Krips -- The Official Unofficial Relaunch

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Bryan B. was kind enough to review Enceladus. Here's the link! http://trottingkrips.caltrops.com/2019/ ... rwin-2019/
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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