I shall review the games in the order which I played them. I must
admit this had an effect on the scores I gave. I honestly tried to
stay objective until the end, and when I noticed I just couldn't take
it any more I stopped reviewing all together. I wrote most of these
reviews during playing. I tried to make them more readable for the
general public but some of my comments probably only make sense if you
played the games yourself.
So, without further ado, my relatively spoiler-free reviews:
Okay, starting in a room with no description or list of exits is not a
good start. But I shrug this off and explore a bit more, only to find
that the author seems hellbent on annoying the stuffing out of me. The
first graphic I encounter is a plug for the infamous Amisville and has
no relevance on the game. There are bugs everywhere. Some seem
deliberate (like the lack of description for room one). And I am quite
sure cows can spell better then this author.
The windows loss their glass long ago.
There's nothing on shelf.
And I wasn't even too mad about getting stuck in a pit with no
apparent way of escape. But the moment the phrase
"You're feeling a bit peckish. Perhaps it would be a good time to find
something to eat."
appeared a couple moves after eating a stack of pancakes I had had it.
The Atomic Heart
At first this seemed much more the thing: being a robot seemed great.
But after a couple of moves it turns out you are a human watching a
recording from a robot's memory. Which kind of ruins the whole thing
because it does not make sense. If you are watching, why do my actions
matter? But this could be forgiven if the game was coded properly.
Which it wasn't. Crucial objects aren't listed. Some events happen but
aren't mentioned if you don't issue the commands in the right order,
which gives the odd effect of discovering a child hanging on your leg,
dozens of moves after the kid supposedly grabbed you without the game
telling you he reached for you.
And don't get me started on the parser. When it's not buggy it's
cumbersome. Having to connect and disconnect stuff dozens of times
really is a pain. And if you are a nannybot, shouldn't 'hug' work?
In the end, the game has a nice story and resolution but all the bugs
spoil the experience. With more polish this could have been a solid 7.
As it is...
Hm. A political premise? Satire? I'm not sure about this one. Is this
a parody of something? The games becomes sillier and sillier and then
loses all touch with reality. It feels like an IF version of 'the Pink
Panther' (the Peter Sellers movies, not the cartoon), only not funny.
Also, the mid portion of the game is very confusing with all those
doors and on the whole a gameworld filled with useless locations.
This feels slapped together. If it is intended to be funny it failed
miserably. And the ending makes no sense.
This is not IF. If I want to play graphical adventures, I load up Grim
Fandango or Monkey Island. This has early nineties shareware written
all over it. And did I mention this is not IF?
The Adventures Of The President Of The United States
Okay, at first this seemed fun. The President doing 'The World' with a
whopping singular location for each country. But the message this game
wants to get across is hardly subtle. I have nothing against politics,
even in games. But the main premise for any game is a fun experience.
I am not looking for preaches, enlightenment or literature. I am
looking to be entertained with a nice story and cool stuff to mess
around with. TAOTPOTUS is an interactive protesting banner, with the
same level of wit as those people who dress up with George Bush masks,
saying 'Look at me! I'm the president! I'm so stupid!'. A forgettable
ten minutes of play.
Beginning in a locked cell, looking for a way out is as cliched as you
can get for a first puzzle. The solution does not bode well for the
rest of the game. Locations are implemented adequately but the Big
Problem is: actions need to be taken at a certain time. But when you
try such actions before that, the parser acts like it is the wrong
solution. When there are no nudges in the right direction, even when
you have the correct idea, it is all too easy to resort to the
walkthrough, only to discover that the solutions are very arbitrary.
Very odd that you resurrect in the location you died. Now I know what
this reminds me of: Dragons Lair!
The scene with the wizard is straight from Harry Potter. Or maybe a
gameshow? "You must find the coloured thingy and only you can save us"
is rather lame. Is this meant for kids?
Odd. When trying to get a flask, the parser asks if I mean the red,
blue or green potion. But the green potion is supposed to be lost! And
why do great wizards only work with primary colours? Hm. This might be
interesting for young kids, as their first adventure game. But then
again, when I was a young kid, I liked to be able to explore. The hit
and miss affair and the string of 'one room puzzles' is too linear for
me. Puzzles are tricky at best and 'mind reading affairs' at worst.
Not my cup of tea.
What's this? I am a chef? Yes. I seem to have a restaurant. Do I want
to have a restaurant? After what I had to play through to get here, I
really want something competent to play, that's for sure. Let's look
at the about text. Hm. Promising. It looks like this one has some
Oh, a little harried, a bit dishelvelled, but every inch the
up-and-coming young gourmaund poised to take the world of fine cuisine
Nice! Apart from the spelling mistakes that is. My dictionary tells me
it is 'gourmand' and 'disheveled'.
All right... Now into the restaurant. This seems to be the thing!
Echoes of Basil Fawlty! Now if only this will keep this up...
Well, the tone is great. Too bad little things seem to be wrong:
unopenable dishwashers are not good. Father failing to acknowledge the
fact I already served him wine also isn't helping.
Odd bug: when typing 'look' the family is mentioned twice. 'L' does
not do that.
More odd bugs: talking to a person at the table seems to default to
just 'talk' with anyone who has anything to say. And even more little
things keep cropping up. Damn. I really wanted to like this game! It
is well written and has a nice premise. This one is dragged down by a
lack of testing. This would have been excellent with a lot more
polish. The game is well written, has a great premise, and the story
works. Echo's of Fawlty Towers and Chef! in here. But to many little
(and not so little) bugs get in the way. So far it is the most fun
game of the comp (but this depresses me a bit) and it deserves a solid
mark for entertainment value.
The longest opening sentence in IF, I guess. This does not bode well.
And it will only get worse. Take:
entrance to a volcano
Well It is a volcano with a whole in the wall so you can walk in,
despite all evidence you actually probably should go inside.
I don't mind small mistakes but this game seems to be written by a
non-native speaker who did not have native testers.
Dear GOD this game is annoying:
"As you walk through the dense underbrush that you normally couldn't
get through the flaming branch burns it all away (ha ha ha take that
Sorry but that tone of voice is really like nails on a black board.
There is only once possible action left.
Adoo's Stinky Story
Even though I dislike the premise, the game is coded well. No obvious
bugs and a well implemented (if bland) setting. I did particularly
like the characters moving about the house, doing their stuff. It does
feel 'alive' and that is very good. But starting in a bedroom isn't.
I don't want this to happen ever again. No game should start in 'My
Bedroom' anymore. Ever. Or a pox on you and your family. But I
The game boils down to a treasure hunt with some simple puzzles. I
says 'simple' but I did have to resort to the walkthrough a couple of
times, so I guess the puzzles are challenging enough. I think the
main problem I have with this game is the intro. It doesn't set the
scene and the objective is, to put it mildly, far fetched. There is no
motivation to speak of. Just silliness. And that while the game itself
is fairly realistic.
If only the story had been a bit more interesting then I would have
rated this higher. But it is a fun little game.
Little Girl in the Big World
Oh! An 'exotic'! Something written from scratch! That means: lower
your parser standards folks, we're in for some 'guess the syntax'.
And unfortunately I was right: no 'take', only 'get'. I hate that.
I did mention I hated bedrooms? Guess where you start?
Oh and then the first confusion. I need to wake this girl. She has a
bear. She won't be awakened. So I try to take the bear to wake her.
Then the parser responds:
> get bear
[ I will get Freddy ]
Better leave the bear alone or Alice will get upset. She can't sleep
well without holding Freddy.
Which was the point. Duh!
Also: no 'inventory'?
(AAS reference: "It's a feature! Just X ME!". But I digress again)
The game behaves rather weird compared to 'ordinary' systems like
Inform and Tads. But the way the game handles two characters is rather
interesting. Perhaps with some work this might be an interesting
authoring system. The game is short and kinda works, but in the end it
is yet another 'slice of life' type thingy, and I prefer my IF a bit
more interesting and weird.
Episode in the life of an artist
Sigh. Another game starting in the bedroom. Another ritual of getting
dressed. I don't need this in a game. I don't want to go to the
bathroom in a game either. Also, this game seems to think I am the
Hulk. I don't need a shirt? Okay, it seems I do need a shirt. And
shoes. Which at least is consistent.
After getting into this, I discover the mundane bit actually works. It
is brief and the impact of the strange man on the bus is quite big. I
am beginning to love this game.
Sigh of relief! Yes! A game with some mystery! Something that is well
written! Imagination! Discovery! And did I mention mystery? Also, the
way the PC quotes philosophers yet is a mere drone at an assembly line
is shear genius. As is the quotation book. These sorts of things make
Now this game I loved. Really, truly loved. Only an irritating glitch
at the end spoiled it somewhat but I am not going to nitpick over a
slight bug. This game is well coded, humorous, interesting and has
nice clean simple puzzles (which according to the author aren't the
point. This is actually just about story).
So what if it makes use of the overworked Zork mythology. It does it
rather well and there are enough cool references to make one smile. So
far my favorite of this comp. I might be over enthused because of the
drivel I had to wade through to get here but this game is solid. Also:
the way the 'amusing' section works after you finish it is brilliant.
A well rounded, well developed game with attention to detail in every
nook and cranny. Marvelous.
Slouching towards Bedlam
This shows immediate promise. Nice mysterious setting. Steampunk if I
am not mistaken. Great tool, that Triage. Very cool, the grid display.
Moody intro, right in the game without the awful motivational speech
of so many games. Nice! Fiddling with the 'computer' is great.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances in my personal life I was not able
to finish the game, so I can't get into too much detail. I am hoping I
won;t be disappointed when I get back to it, but the time I spent on
it was wonderful. So:
Interpunction error in the prologue. That's sloppy. Also the initial
room description is far from imaginative. So this game won't lean on
literary prose. Perhaps gameplay will be better? Nope. After dying
twice I turn to the walkthrough. Apparently I need to open something
that isn't mentioned in the room description. This sucks. But I'll
give it another couple of moves.
So we have survived the gas and enter a hallway. No directions listed
other then 'someone else's room'. But I can't go in. Guess the exit:
East it is.
But this doesn't grab me. Bad writing, poor puzzles and no motivation
to speak of. Maybe I'm impatient but this is not worth my time..
An Adrift game. Sigh. Not my favorite system. But now I am just being
sour. I should cast off my preconceptions and just play the thing. And
after an insufferable load time (on an AMD II 400Mhz that is
unacceptable for a text game) it starts.
Sigh. Another bedroom.
But at least the description is somewhat cynical. And then some
aimless wandering. Why isn't there any explanation about who I am and
what I am supposed to do? Ah wait, there is a back story. Why isn't
that just the prologue? And why do I have to press space after every
six lines? But at least it's not terribly written. Unfortunately it's
not great either. Also, mentioning Harry Potter every other sentence
But then it takes off. It's rather illogical but it works. Writing
gets a bit better. Pratchett meets Rowling? And a dwarf named after a
famous Dutch beer... Hmm. And then the dwarves know starwars. This
isn't getting better. Still, it has its charm. If I were more in the
mood I might rate it higher. Now: a 5.
All right. Back on well trodden ground. Tads2. Huh? It looks sooo
z-code. Hm. Okay, so this game spoofs IF in general? Seems like a
string of puzzles to me. And as I mentioned in my review of Sardoria
this isn't fun. The 'you are being tested' part reminds me of TOOKiEs
Song. And when I get more into this one, the feeling stays. It IS
kinda like TOOKiE. But without the cuteness or the humor. It's
competent, but not really involving. Also, just doing this for the
sake of the puzzles isn't the best idea. If you want me to jump
through hoops you better give me a reason other then 'because it's
But I want to be fair, and the puzzles are interesting. So I did not
have a terrible time with this but it would have been so much better
if there was an actual story.
AAAARGH Another slice of life! Please! Gimme Elves. Gimme laser guns.
NOT ANOTHER OFFICE. NOT COFFEE! Okay. I have calmed down. A bit. But
this is just boring. I spent a lot of years in offices and started as
a free lancer to escape it all. Now I am supposed to go to the office
when I am playing? I don't care about this and I have no intention of
looking for a deeper meaning to this.
Curse of Manorland
AGT? You've got to be kidding. Haven't got the terp. Don't want the
Score: No rating.
The Erudation chamber
All right. This is better. I did something wrong and now I'm paying
for it. Good opening, if a bit on the gobble-dee-gook side. Still, it
beast hunting for coffee. And then the chamber. Cool! Adventure-like
objects. But it is another string of puzzles. Another 'test' to see if
I am 'worthy'. Dear authors: this is not a story OR a motivation. It
is your excuse to code up some interesting puzzles with multiple
solutions. And as I said before: I want a good reason to jump through
a hoop. But it has its moments and the coding is solid.
A paper moon
And we find ourselves in…... ANOTHER BEDROOM! There must be better
places to start an adventure? A collapsing cavern on Rigel 7? A hot
tub in the Playboy mansion? Standing in the courtyard of King Presley
in an alternative United States where the King really is King? But no!
a bedroom. ANOTHER FREAKING BEDROOM!
But the world is kinda weird and the origami is a nice touch. But I
never thought I'd play a game with a guess-the-fold problem. Still
enjoyable, even though it doesn't make enough use of its premise.
Oh. Joy. A. Zork. Opening.
But things pick up after the disappointing 'you are west of a white
house'. There is a lot of exploration here and a nice use of magic. It
might be a bit surreal but at least there is a sense of wonder.
Another game I unfortunately wasn't able to finish so again I have to
hope the fun I had with the first half hour lasts until the end.
Shadows on the Mirror
Damn that's a big game file. Two hours? I wonder...
Okay, so I can put on my backpack while sitting in a car. I can
forgive this kind of flaw but it still is silly.
The rest of the game is rather moody, which is good. But it needs to
be replayed to fully understand. Which is kinda bad, since I have no
time to do that. I feel I missed a lot and have no idea what exactly
happened. There is a hint of a good story but I haven't found it yet.
Conversation is well coded and the characters warrant a replay. I'll
get back to this when I have recovered from Comp OD. I wish I could
rate this higher. It might be fatigue and bedroom related brain
"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."
(To send e-mail, remove SPAMBLOCK from address)
>This is not IF. If I want to play graphical adventures, I load up Grim
>Fandango or Monkey Island. This has early nineties shareware written
>all over it. And did I mention this is not IF?
Just to be pedantic... what IS IF? :)
It has text in it. More pictures than text, but it has text.
It tells a story.
What makes this, to you, not-IF, but, say, a TADS choose-your-own-adventure
that accepts only numbers as commands, IF? Or do you rule that out as well?
(I seem to recall Plotkin's definition of IF including Myst but excluding
Not that I'm arguing the score you gave - the only thing I do argue about is
"early nineties shareware". Dude, in the early nineties a *commercial* game
had a lower resolution and less colors than that. 256 color VGA was
considered STUNNING in the early nineties. If there even WERE shareware
adventures in the early 90's, they wouldn't have looked like this!
> 256 color VGA was
> considered STUNNING in the early nineties.
Only if you'd never had an Amiga...
>> 256 color VGA was
>> considered STUNNING in the early nineties.
>Only if you'd never had an Amiga...
... True enough. I didn't, and I'm quoting reviews of PC games from the time
period. I do seem to vaguely recall that Amigas were sparkly shiny fountains
from which rainbows flowed, but I didn't own one. Just cooed at it in the
Hey, I was going to say that! :-)
>... True enough. I didn't, and I'm quoting reviews of PC games from the time
A lot of the games back then (Monkey Island, Defender of the Crown)
were first programmed on the Amiga, and then, er, down-ported to the
PC. All of that changed when PCs got fast enough to render 3D images
real time, something the Amiga was bad at, due to the same thing that
made it great for 2D imagery.
ik schrijf woorden achterstevoren
Of all the things I wrote, this review is the one I least expected
comments on. I don't want to go into a whole debate about this
definition. Look at all the other comp games and all the games at
Baf's to see what I consider IF: text based parser driven games.
Actually, that may have been the final nail on the coffin, but hardly the
first one - amigas started dying a few years before 3D graphics really
took hold - Amigas failed, primarily, due to bad business decisions by
Commodore. By the time 3D cards were available, Amiga games were as hard
to find as Mac games are now.
One of the greatest tragedies of computer gaming.
(Warm and cuddly feeling combined with fireworks inside)
While I have a good track record of missing subtlety, I am not completely
incompetent at going back and looking for it.
So, what message was it trying to get across? It looked to me like
a surreal romp with puzzles that don't make any sense, and basically
strange fun (except that the first puzzle, how to get out of the White
House, rather baffles me).
I have nothing against politics,
>even in games. But the main premise for any game is a fun experience.
>I am not looking for preaches, enlightenment or literature. I am
>looking to be entertained with a nice story and cool stuff to mess
>around with. TAOTPOTUS is an interactive protesting banner,
What's it protesting?
>same level of wit as those people who dress up with George Bush masks,
>saying 'Look at me! I'm the president! I'm so stupid!'. A forgettable
>ten minutes of play.
Actually, I thought it was an enjoyable ten minutes of play (once I
read the walkthrough enough to get out of the White House).
I'm with you, David. In fact, I didn't assume it was George Bush. I
was just the President. (I allowed myself a few moments of
pretending I was the first female President, but figured the PC was
probably male.) :-)
Well, I think it is very possible that I had an ink-blot test response
to this game. To me it said:"The US President is stupid because he has
a childish limited view of the world."
Maybe my response says more about me then about the game... In the end
it was only my opinion and impression and I don't claim to know
everything, of course ;-)
> (I allowed myself a few moments of pretending I was the first female
> President, but figured the PC was probably male.) :-)
That certainly would spice up the ending!
|| Quintin Stone O- > "You speak of necessary evil? One ||
|| Code Monkey < of those necessities is that if ||
|| Rebel Programmers Society > innocents must suffer, the guilty must ||
|| st...@rps.net < suffer more." -- Mackenzie Calhoun ||
|| http://www.rps.net/ > "Once Burned" by Peter David ||
>Well, I think it is very possible that I had an ink-blot test response
>to this game. To me it said:"The US President is stupid because he has
>a childish limited view of the world."
Nah, it said "The US President has a child-like limited view of the
world", there was no mention of "stupid". The game seemed very much
like a king-trying-to-leave-castle story (to see what the real world
is like) of which there exist probably thousands, although I cannot
think of any right now.
For one thing, I think it's fairly clear that it's President George W.
Bush because he buys a sombrero, and he is frequently stereotyped as a
As a Bush-hater, I found the game to be a great political commentary
and hilarious to boot, but maybe I'm reading into it too much. To any
Bush fans out there, I'm not looking to start a political argument on
this group, so don't take offense at any of the following. For one
thing, the world-view suggested that Bush has a simplistic attitude
towards foreign policy. Then there's the respose that tells you you
don't need any help - making fun of Bush's self-confidence when he's
actually a moron. I thought perhaps the funniest line in the game
(besides Canada is to the north and Mexico is to the South) was
probably "violence is not the answer to this one." It's a default
response, but it's hilarious to have the all-powerful game designer
tell Bush he can't use violence, which seems to be his favorite
problem-solving technique in real life
> For one thing, I think it's fairly clear that it's President George W.
> Bush because he buys a sombrero, and he is frequently stereotyped as a
Err, cowboys wear cowboy hats. You may be confusing that with the
stereotype of a Mexican.
>On Tue, 18 Nov 2003, Norman Perlmutter wrote:
>> For one thing, I think it's fairly clear that it's President George W.
>> Bush because he buys a sombrero, and he is frequently stereotyped as a
>Err, cowboys wear cowboy hats. You may be confusing that with the
>stereotype of a Mexican.
Well, a cowboy hat isn't exactly the same as a sombrero, but I
think they do bear some similarity. But maybe that was just my
Ever heard of Newcombe's paradox?
I don't see what this has to do with anything. The human watches a
recording but to learn what happened. So why should he have to do
anything but watch? It's a recording!
> I don't see what this has to do with anything. The human watches a
> recording but to learn what happened. So why should he have to do
> anything but watch? It's a recording!
Well, I got a "Spider and Web" vibe from that aspect of the game. Just
not as well done. So it didn't really have any effect on me wanting to
see what else I could do.
Cowboys wear *cowboy hats*. And boots. And big belt buckles.
Mexicans--you know, those lazy, tequila-drinking people who live in the
room to the *south*, and ride donkeys--wear sombreros.
And even if the president *is* a cowboy, LBJ would be at least as good
You forgot 'shiftless'. I have no idea what shiftlessness is, but it
always seems to be attributed to lazy people. Maybe it's inability to
| D. Jacob Wildstrom -- Math monkey and freelance thinker |
| Graduate Student, University of California at San Diego |
| "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems." -Alfred Renyi |
The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily endorsed by the
University of California or math department thereof.
"Shift" as in "make shift", or "makeshift". Expedient, device, scheme.
Pretty much obsolete nowadays except in "shiftless" and "makeshift",
but Shakespeare uses it.
John W. Kennedy
"You can, if you wish, class all science-fiction
together; but it is about as perceptive as classing the
works of Ballantyne, Conrad and W. W. Jacobs together
as the 'sea-story' and then criticizing _that_."
-- C. S. Lewis. "An Experiment in Criticism"
Yeah, but they don't have automatic transmissions in Mexico.
Nor do they in Canada, but I think they have a moose, in addition to
True, we don't have automatic transmissions.
But we do have electric cars. Well, okay, cars we have to plug in in
the winter before they start. Almost the same thing.