The IF-Chive (&) Volume 1, Edition 4

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J. D. Berry

Sep 28, 2001, 1:29:03 PM9/28/01
BDSM4 Released

On the stiletto heels of the Inform Designer's Manual 4, the BDSM4 is
now available through special order. A thumbnail snippet torn from this
torturously long-awaited guide:

Submissive's Bill of Rights

-- "Not to be allowed much freedom of action."
Um, otherwise, you're missing the whole point.

-- "Not to be whipped without warning."
Could anything be more annoying than to be calmly watching Seinfeld,
eating some popcorn, and suddenly feeling the cruel bite of a barbed
lash tearing through your best t-shirt?

-- "To be able to play without experiencing other lives."
Must we ALWAYS role-play? Can't we be ourselves for once?

-- "To be allowed reasonable 'safe word' synonyms."
During sequences of nearly unbearable pain, you can't always think
properly. To be told 'I don't understand the word cocoa, scumbag. You
will be disciplined for this transgression!' when chocolate was the
agreed-upon word can be enough to abandon the whole kinky-sex scene,

Barbarian saves world, rescues deity's wife from Hades, marries
beautiful princess, scores 98 of 100 points.

Stuck, my ass
[an editorial by old-school correspondent Frank Dites]

Don't give me that crap about being stuck. First room in, no apparent
exits, and you're bleating like a lost sheep.

"Baa. Baa. I did an inventory, I examined me, I asked the leprechaun
about the pot of gold. I can't escape. Boo. Hoo."

Don't you have a college degree? Have you learned nothing from the
readme? Hello... Earth to you. Come in, you.

"No one could figure this out."

Let me get you a tissue. You haven't even started yet. Wuss.

"Oh, no, I have to cross twenty-five locations AND back, repeatedly.
There's an inventory limit of one thing. WAAAAAAH!"

Could you blow any more? Here, let me type it in for you.

"Horrors! I have to use three pages of graph paper and twenty
colored-pencils to map this maze. Bawl. Mewl."

I've had it up to HERE with this ineptitude.

"Ow. Ew. I need to use differential calculus to solve this puzzle.
Cry. Cry. Cry."

That's it. I'm out of here.

Last unused Monty Python reference placed into game

Philistine contingent suspected in multiple "1" voting;
Artistic game hauled down in overall standings

A top-ten finish in the bag, Pete Dubinsky's Comp entry instead languished
deep in the standings. Dubinsky blamed "a bunch of Philistines" for the
fall, for it was surely they who submitted the votes of one, the lowest
evaluation score allowed. Interestingly enough, historical precedent lends
credence to his claim.

Extinct since the mid-Iron Age, Philistines, artists believe, have continued
to exert their will wherever and whenever subjective contests are held.
They've inflicted their smug, narrow-minded opinions through one influential
person, or at times through a contingent of people, projecting always their
heinously uncultured ways. A few of the artists adhering to this viewpoint
were, eventually, critically vindicated. Therefore, the possibility of
Philistine manipulation from "beyond the grave" cannot be completely

Dubinsky believes that not only are these people Philistines but that they
suck as well. Historical precedent is not as clear on this one.

"Plagiarism Comp" Reviews

A Confederacy of Dunces -- I liked the PC, Ignatius. He reminded me of the
owner of the comic book store on "The Simpsons." The hot dog cart had a bug
in it, but overall those sequences were hilarious. More could have been
done with "x me" as I gained weight. Still, I enjoyed this.

Rating: 7, you malodorous peasant.
Watership Down -- Frith, be praised. I was worried when I read the opening
sentence "The primroses were over." My fears were quickly allayed, however,
as the prose settled into a warm, Hobbit-esque, pace.

I don't know if I'll be able to stand one more band of innocents heading out
into the world, discovering more than they ever bargained for, but becoming
all the better for having done so. But this one works.

So xyzzy is lapine for "fur between the teeth after nuzzling"?

Technical notes: I couldn't talk to Blackberry--it seemed like I needed
to--but I found a plan, anyway.

Rating: I wish I could have given this a fiver, but it "warrens" an 8.
The Old Man and The Sea -- This was inevitable--a fish bites man, man bites
fish, Moby Dick miniature. The prose was simple, often turgid, but a good
turgid--the kind of prose only this author can get away with because
everyone else says he can.

The random messages during the long waiting sequences bored me. I never
thought I'd say this, but maybe a Tower of Hanoi puzzle would have helped

The timing was too tight in the end game.

Rating: 4. The DiMaggio baseball references. An American game. Have we
learned nothing from Zork 2?

Snarky parser miffs three, irks five

Sci-Fi gamer survives, but fails transition to fantasy

Perhaps the most difficult adjustment a gamer ever has to make is playing
in a genre to which he is not accustomed. And the most difficult of these
most difficult "paradigm shifts" is the one from the vastness of science
fiction to the realms of fantasy. Jeffrey Michael, sci-fi buff, accidentally
took that journey but survived to tell the tale.

"One minute I was in my comfort zone--I was mating with Vulcans, polarizing
warp drives and phasering the enigmatic, but surely evil Romulans. After I
booted up the wrong file, the next minute I was toe-to-head with wood nymphs,
constructing rods of power and halberding the evil, but surely enigmatic
dark elves. The whole experience just threw me for a loop," said
Michael, apparently able to spout cliches even after such severe trauma.

"After gaining my composure, I mostly just wandered around and took in the
scenery. For the life of me (and thank goodness for a little thing called a
"resurrection amulet"), I couldn't figure out what to do or even what to
make out of the strange things I found there. I found this "thieves'
guild", a place there to introduce you to the world by giving you simple
things to do. It was no Starfleet Academy, I can assure you."

Michael addressed his nervous tic and continued.

"The whole language thing was off. I open hailing frequencies, NOT locked
chests. A shield is a highly charged particle field of persistent protection
not just a crude metal circle weighing you down more often than defending
you. A dwarf is A star, not THE star. The list goes on and on."

Michael's doctor has since given permission to resume LIGHT sci-fi gaming,
but Michael says that it may be awhile before this happens. "I'm glad I
tried a fantasy game, but I can now honestly say they're not for me."


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