One kind of r*if post I hate (one of many) is the "IF reference at dingbats.com!" variety, where I'm meant to be grateful because some badly-drawn comic strip has mentioned a grue on panel 3, or some blog has posted an "amusing" "satirical" IF transcript, which has all your favourite commands, from >XYZZY to >FROTZ LANTERN, but never my favourite command, which is >QUIT. As you might gather, I'm never excited by this kind of exposure; it invariably tends to reinforce old stereotypes about the form, playing to a gallery that associates IF with dungeon crawls, treasure hunts, mazes and magic words. In the unlikely event that anyone's interest is piqued by such stuff, they'll come to r*if expecting more of the same.
A recent example of mainstream IF exposure is Eragon, a zcode dungeon crawl apparently based on a book of the same name by Christopher Paolini (and because it's hosted on his official site with no other attribution, he'll have to take the blame for the game as well). Eragon takes its game design cues from the homebrewed BASIC Zork knock-offs that padded out coverdisks in the 80s, and so, true to form, we have a maze, we have parser problems, we have guess-the-verb for every puzzle, we have laughably static NPCs, and we have bad, bad writing.
"A bundle lays wrapped at his feet", we are told early on, and further occurrences of the same error reveal that the writer really does think "to lay" means "to lie". He splices pleonasms together with commas, writing "to the east stands a crude tent, the source of the singing comes from within it" instead of "the singing comes from a crude tent to the east." In fact, the prose is littered with so many grammatical, spelling and formatting errors that I can fully appreciate why the novel took a year in the writing, and two years in the editing. That said, I hope the game was written by some deluded fanboy and not by Paolini himself. If this is anything like the published novel, then I'm amazed it ever got out of the slushpile. (Actually, the book originated on the self-published circuit, and was only picked up by Random House after being relentlessly hawked by Paolini and family. No doubt the publishers saw a chance to cash in on the hype surrounding Peter Jackson's LOTR movies.)
Eragon's setting and story are the miserable third pressings of Tolkien, with the ancient dwarf stronghold Khazad-Dûm -- sorry, "Farthen Dûr" -- coming under attack by orcs -- sorry, "Urgals". It's the kind of place where all the proper names suffer from Klingonitis, being peppered with glottal stops and random diacriticals. The exception is the incongruous "Angela", an unmoving herbalist who is clearly supposed to be a bit of a character, but just repeats the same screen-long infodump every time I talk to her. The PC is entirely without character and the dungeon is entirely without atmosphere, a state not helped by the presence of rooms called "Maze M3" and "Hallway H19". "The northern wall appears to be a mycologist's dream!" we are told at one stage, which is an odd coincidence, because the rest of the game is a proctologist's dream.
As a game, Eragon is less than worthless, but I suppose the real issue is whether it's likely to encourage new people to check out the IF community. On balance, I don't think I'd like r*if to be overrun with consumers of EFP, but Eragon offers little danger of that. There are no links to the IF community on the site, and no credit is given to the development system, only to some mysterious and unnamed "open source technology". The Inform banner has been hacked away from the start, but the undocumented >SCRIPT ON reveals the game to have been written in Inform 6.3. (This also reveals the game to have been released in debug mode, so that I can solve one puzzle with >PURLOIN -- my other favourite command.) Given the number of default responses left in, a chunk of the game's text is actually by Graham Nelson; but rather than acknowledge a debt, the game prefers to hide the competition. A dishonest strategy, but no doubt the only profitable one when you've got such a duff product.