December 28, 2005
Book and Volume News & Reviews
A bit of Book and Volume news: I just finished release 8, incorporating very few changes – not much more than a handful of additional synonyms. Hopefully the most pesky bugs have been squashed by now and the rough edges smoothed over.
Also, there are two new reviews: Josemanuel’s review in SPAC #43 (in Spanish). And there’s Jonathan Goodwin’s slightly spoilery article in The Value – A Literary Organ.
Here is an excerpt (just the nice bits, of course) from Josemanuel’s review, in his English translation:
It is my great pleasure to write the review of the game that brings back to the genre one of the best authors and theorists in the IF community. Book and volume, Nick Montfort’s latest work, possesses two fundamental virtues: it is extraordinarily entertaining and intellectually stimulating. … the game leaves, like good wines do, a great taste and a strange melancholy. Not only because the ending opens the door to multiple interpretations and passionate reflections, but also because all the craziness that wraps it up finally finds its sense — even though it never ceases to be just that: craziness.
Update: I just updated the Book and Volume page with links to reviews, resources, etc.; also, yes, the metadata at the beginning of the SPAC review is leftover from another review, but it’ll be fixed at some point. (Further update, Dec 30: It’s fixed.)
December 28th, 2005 at 3:44 pm
“Nick hay títulos que yo mismo he considerado siempre aburridos y excesivamente literarios…”
Wow. I don’t know which of “aburridos” or “excesivamente literarios” is least apt of a description of Varicella and Savoir Faire. (I could, certainly, have failed to translate the meaning of that sentence correctly.)
December 28th, 2005 at 4:56 pm
No, I believe you had it right. In any case, SPAG will publish the translation next month. I still believe they are boring and too literary. How long is the intro to Varicella? And maybe I need to develop a taste for the XVIII century, but I didn’t enjoy Savoir Faire, nor its style, nor its means of interaction. To me both games are like bad black and white arty films: people can say they’re the best thing since sliced bread, but they bore me to death. (I could, certainly, have failed to translate them correctly.)
My idea is the one that I wrote in the review: games must be intellectually stimulating, but we must remember the First Commandment of Billy Wilder: Thou shalt not bore. They are games, not books. Books can be boring, because they are not meant primarily for fun. You can still enjoy a boring book, because fun in books is a plus. Fun in games, on the other hand, is a must. If a game is not fun, it can’t stimulate your intellect.
To me, IF authors must write as if they were feeding a baby. You don’t tell a baby: eat your spinach, they’re good for your health. You tell him: Here comes the plane! And the goal is that they eat and enjoy eating what’s good for them, not necessarily that they know all the facts about what they put in their mouths. If they’re interested, they will learn about it eventually. And that’s what I liked about Book and Volume. It respects the player’s freedom to think about the game or to just enjoy it. And when you think about it, it turns out it is a very good game and you enjoy it even more. Savoir Faire makes me feel like the author is constantly telling me: Look at how great an author I am! And that bores me. The case of Varicella is different, because I enjoy all other Adam’s games. I just dislike this one.