Wade Clarke emailed me a few months ago to respond to some of the Leadlight reviews. His email is reprinted below:
"Thanks for showing me your EAG article about Leadlight. You covered a good cross-section of opinions in your links to reviews.
I think ultimately that Eamon, or at least my game, is not as archaic compared to modern IF as it may seem at a glance. For instance, the ability to type more than two words often adds little to a game, and a recent survey at intfiction.org demonstrated that in modern games, people only need to type two words 80% of the time anyway. Another point of interest is that even a straight Eamon 7 can take punts at abbreviated words, something Inform cannot do at all (unless the programmer specifies every abbreviation manually).
Combat with random elements is a design choice that has fallen out of favour rather than something which is actually invalid, and I noticed there wasn't a single reviewer who admitted they might simply be bad at this game :) … they just blamed the invisible die rolls and spammed their save games, rather than think about how they were playing. Like in a console survival horror game, you can definitely become a better player by making judicious choices based on experience.
I think the most valid criticism of the game was that some people felt the heroine did not react enough to all the horror. And I realised in retrospect this is a function of the fact that no description can be longer than 255 characters, so some emotional reactions which would have required longer pieces of prose to pull off successfully, had to be dispensed with within a sentence, and looked glib as a result. But this only bothered a minority of players, so I figure it's an okay trade-off considering the fact that I managed to keep paying off all the interactive scenery in room descriptions of 255 characters or less. And that I had to manually justify them for the 40 column screen as well!
I just received my copy of Juiced GS today, and I like your quote about building a ship in a bottle. That is certainly how I feel about the game."