Billy's reactions to the games

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Billy Harris

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Nov 16, 2001, 6:53:39 AM11/16/01
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Overall, I was dissappointed in the entries this year. Some I enjoyed,
some I didn't enjoy, and some were an utter waste of time. But I didn't
find any that were terrific, nor one that I thought should win (out of
the 15 I played). The highest rating I gave was a 7. By contrast, last
year I played as many games and gave 2 7's, an 8, and a 9.

I guess the problems can be summarized as a lack of polish. Scenery
should be examinable; actions should have synonyms; puzzles should have
clues; bugs should be squished.

Another problem is that often the games railroaded you through. I will
now explain what I mean by giving a short outline of three different
ways to design/implement/realize a game where the cheif goal is to find
the three pieces to the Mek of Guffy.

A nonlinear game will place you in a cave with three open doorways
which you can explore or interleave in any order you like. A linear
game will have three locked doors with one key, which means that all
solutions will get the three pieces in the same order. A railroaded
game will whisk you through the first cave, and wait for you to type
"> GET PIECE". Railroading is bad because it makes you feel like a
puppet; you feel rushed; you don't have time or the ability to smell
the roses [see polish above] and generally breaks meisies [that word I
can never spell which refers to the magical connection between player
and protagonist].

Anyway, on the the reviews. Or critiques. Or whatever they are. These
will contain minor spoilers; since you and I disagree on what a minor
spoiler is, reader discretion is advised. Major spoilers [ususally bug
reports] or offensive quotes are ROT-13'd.

========================================================================
No Time to squeal (6):

I played this, and reached a stopping point. The next day I started
from scratch, and was shocked that the setting and PC were completely
different. This game gets points for sheer dumbfounded amazement, and
extra bonus points for technical prowess.

Unfortunately, the game railroads you through the first 80%. And, the
plot wasn't really resolved. And there are several cases where the room
desription doesn't tell you where the exits are. Finally, I took off
several points for graphic violence.

Bug report: On MaxZip, the status line reads "Me.display" rather than
the PC's name.

========================================================================
Best of 3: (4):

Here is where I freely admit my own biases heavily influence my
ratings. If this game had a discussion on whether the Copenhagen
interpretation of quantum mechanics was real or just a mathematical
construct, I would probably be enthusiastic. And just tonight [well,
now it was several weeks ago, but you know what I mean] I had a
facinating discussion on routing protocols for ad-hoc networks and
whether or not anyone other than the military would ever use them.

However, in Best of 3, the main topic seemed to be art; in particular
the first time I played we had a major discussion on literature. Some
of the authors I read decades ago. Some I have never read. Others I
have never heard of. The second time I played, I scrupulously avoided
the art threads and had a slightly interesting conversation on God and
the universe.

But I wasn't really clear on the point of the game. I don't know if
this was a deliberate design, but the third time I played, I was able
to make a romance happen [sort of], but it didn't seem to be based on
anything I said so the point of the whole conversation was never clear
to me.

Maybe it's a guy/gal thing.

Bug report:
You can refer to Grant, but not to Stern.
I managed to get the waiter to deliver drinks to us twice.

========================================================================
Prized Possesion/Alys: (7):

On the plus side, this game engaged me. I liked the genre, and the
setting and such seemed appropriate. In that sense, the game drew me
in.

On the negative side, the game had a crusty feeling, as through the
author were rushed to complete the game in time for the deadline. More
polishing [all around] would be great. For example, it only slowly
becomes clear whether the PC is a noblewoman or a servant girl. The
second time through, I played the walkthrough, and at one particular
point in the game, "x me" gives usefull background information which I
missed when I played the first time. Furthur, the "teleport to the abby
ending" left me stuptified until eventually I could piece together the
meaning of that ending. So there are lots of cases where the PC knows a
lot more [about her limp, about her future, about her letter, about her
life] than I do, and this does get in the way.

Another flaw is that the game is definately railroaded. The game is set
in a series of scenes, with strict time limits, and only one solution
and one succeeding scene. It's not quite as bad as "Guess the verb to
move on", but it would be richer story if there were time to reflect
and clues to fill out the story.

Bug report:
>x horses
<blah>

--

[in cottage]
>sleep
You are simply too exhausted.

========================================================================
Kalisti: (2)

Guess the noun.

Or perhaps I should say "guess the order". In the office, talking to
Katie, I got stuck in that I had talked about everything, kissed her
most places, but was not able to kiss her mouth or advance the plot. I
stopped for a while, then started from scratch. This time, I talked
about the same things in a different order and was able to advance to
her bedroom. I did the obvious things and again got stuck in that
"[Katie and Gustav were not on quite so intimate terms yet]"

Since the author seemd more interested in meaningless methaphors than
explicit sex, I stopped playing, because it is pointless to play an
X-rated game if the sex isn't fun. Especially if there is no
walkthrough because the author falsely claims you can't get stuck.

Bug report:
In addition to the hypersensitive order of operations, I found two bugs.

To avoid offending the prudes, I have ROT-13'd the explicit
language.

>kiss elbow

He took her wrist in his hand and brought it to his lips, feeling
her skin against his mouth, knowing that blood rushed just
[TADS-1003: numeric value required] beneath the surface.

--

>ubyq chffl
[Thfgni unq ab ernfba gb uht gur ornire]

>k ornire
[guvf jbex qbrf abg hfr gung grez. gel "phag" be "frk"]

========================================================================
Film at Eleven: (6)

Decently done if rather short detective story. I would have rated this
one higher, except that there were some annoyances, doubtless caused
more by not rewritting defaults than any created flaws.

Specifically, the inventory limit is annoying, and Infocom's original
conversation model is obsolete.

Let me rephrase... In this game you are a reporter, so talking to
people is obviously going to be a big part of your experience. And the
game did a very good job of implementing the standard "Ask X about Y"
"Tell X about Y" "Show Y to X" and "X, do something" verbs. But, many
other games have made significant improvements to the whole
conversation interface; mostly by having a single "talk" verb with
dynamically changing options. So, I think that the game missed an
opportunity to have utterly fantastic conversation integrated into a
sensible larger context.

Some bugs, and one case of "guess the command." Bonus points for
letting me flash everyone. Puzzles were over-clued, but that may have
been deliberate.

Bug report in ROT-13:

>bcra sbyqre
Vafvqr ner znal furrgf bs cncre, zbfg pbirerq jvgu unaqjevggra ...
[gjb cnentencuf bs hfrshyy cybg vasbezngvba]
Lbh bcra gur znavyn svyr sbyqre.

Pbagenel gb gur jnyxguebhtu, lbh pna trg gur xrl naq qvnel jvgubhg
fgnaqvat ba gur qrfx. Va snpg, lbh pna trg gurz juvyr gur znlbe vf
va gur ebbz!

V unq n uneq gvzr trggvat gur evtug pbzznaq frdhrapr gb vagreivrj
Ivxxv. V nyernql tbg ure gb nterr, ohg fur ershfrq gb tb jrfg.
Fur jnfa'g vagrerfgrq jura V gbyq ure nobhg Enpury, naq Enpury jnfa'g
jvyyvat gb sbyybj zr, naq gur Obff whfg tnir n pyhr nobhg ubj gb trg
ure jvyyvat gb or vagreivrjrq. V qvq riraghnyyl trg pyhrq va nobhg
gur pbeerpg pbzznaq, ohg nygreangr flagnk be zber pyhvat jbhyq or
avpr. Creuncf Ivxxv pna ortva sbyybjvat lbh vzzrqvngryl nsgre
nterrvat gb gur vagreivrj?

Ynfg oht:
[favccrq -- whfg ragrerq arjfebbz]
Ivxxv gntf nybat oruvaq lbh.

>enpury, vagreivrj ivxxv
Enpury lnjaf. "Anu," fur fnlf. "Pbzr gb zr jura lbh unir n tbbq fbhepr
jvyyvat gb tb ba pnzren, gura jr'yy gnyx."

========================================================================
Elements: (3)

I remember a discussion about whether cave crawls were "novel", "done"
or "done to death" with most people saying that they had been done to
death. I think that the reason that so many adventures have had caves
is not just out of homage to Adventure, but also because caves fit in
well. If you are trapped in a cave, many questions of realism -- "Why
can't I pick up the phone and call a locksmith?" Dissapear. It is also
easier to believe in magic inside caves, which is why so many fantasy
novels involve caves. Everyone's rereading Tolkein to get ready for
the movie, right? Lots of the dangerous/exicing parts were in caves.
So in short, I don't object at all to more cave crawls.

Unfortunately, this particular cave crawl was mauled by a huge number
of bugs. There are so many bugs, that I've had to put them in a
separate post instead of listing them here as I usually do.

The most egregious bug: The game claims to have hints {always a good
thing, especially since there are hidden items and nonobvious actions}.
Howerver, the command "hints" results in a multi-page dump of the
entire list of hints. Uggg. This spoiled some of the puzzles for me!
One thing I really liked was how the two halves of the game "came
together" and connected. However, that was after the two-hour limit and
so I couldn't bump the score for that.

I do suggest the author clean out all the bugs, revamp the hints,
polish the scenery and release an updated version.

Massive bugs: See separate posting.

=======================================================================
Heroes: (4)

Another game in which the different parts are nicely symetric. I like
the different descriptions of the same room, even if the ending was a
bit anticlimatic [I expected an epilog and a new adventure]

I needed lots of hints for this one; also there were too many bugs.
I've posted the bug list in a separate post.

I wasn't able to get the pole as an adventurer. The walkthrough wasn't
clear; I thought I had done the right thing, but couldn't get it. I had
to restart and follow the walkthrough precisely.

[Things in () are ROT-13'd to avoild spoiling]

As a thief, I had a guess the verb problem:
I tried to (trg ubbx jvgu cbyr), but did not try the
correct verb (nggnpu)

And finally, the most egreigous guess-the-verb:
How the *$*%& was I supposed to know about the (CBFGEN)
command?????

And for some strange reason, it never occured to me that I could (chfu
gur purfg). [as enchanter], and I needed hints (svyy gur ivny jvgu
npvq) [as theif], but those two were my fault

Bug list in separate post.

========================================================================
Grayscale: (5)

Another game with good, bad, and bugs. For some reason, the bugs in
Grayscale didn't bother me as much, even though one of them directly
prevented me from completing a puzzle. And it was nice to not have a
limited inventory. Limited inventories suck.

I know real houses have lots of hallways and the rooms need to be
connected somehow, but it still took too long to get from place to
place. And I did have an unejoyable first 10 minutes wandering past
locked doors and empty hallways.

Bug Report:
The french door has lots of problems. For example:

>w
You'll have to open the french door first.

>open door
Opened.

>w
You'll have to open the french door first.
[the earlier command opened the double doors]

And:

>oernx serapu qbbe
Lbh'yy unir gb gryy zr ubj gb qb gung.

>uvg serapu qbbe
Jung qb lbh jnag gb nggnpx gurz jvgu?

>ubyqre
Nggnpxvat gur serapu qbbe qbrfa'g nccrne cebqhpgvir.

>uvg cnarf jvgu ubyqre
Gur tynff cnarf vfa'g vzcbegnag.

>oernx cnarf
Gur tynff cnarf vfa'g vzcbegnag.

>bcra cnarf
Gur tynff cnarf vfa'g vzcbegnag.

--
"Talk to woman" should give a help message referring the user to "ask"

--
>x room
The glass room is full of exotic plants just like it was when you were
inside [An error has occurred within TADS: invalid type for built-in
function] .

--
>x oak tree
Upon closer examination of the tree you notice that there are some
words carved into its trunk.

>read oak tree
I don't know how to read the oak tree.

>read words
The carved trunk isn't important.

>x words
The words; "Wallace Stevens was here." are carved into the oak's trunk.

--
Gur frcnengvba bs gur gbc bs gur gnoyr sebz gur ybjre cbegvba unf
erirnyrq n frperg pbzcnegzrag. Va gur frperg pbzcnegzrag lbh frr .

--

>ask woman about freas
"Who is Freas?"

"I can't tell if you're talking about Kelly Freas or Daniel Freas,
you'll have to be more specific.

>ask woman about kelly
The woman gives you a puzzled look.

========================================================================
Fine Tuned: (3)

Hello, Mr. Sterling. Your first command is ENTER CAR.

I am the back-seat driver from hell. At each point I will tell you what
your next command should be. If you don't follow my orders, I will
berate you. If you continue to defy me, I will use my god-like powers
to subtract points from you, even if that means your score will be
negative. I can tell already that you are stubborn, and forgettfull, so
let me repeat that the first thing you should do is ENTER CAR.

[Actually, parts 2 and 3 got much better, but after lots of bugs and a
fatal error, I stopped playing]

Bug report:

>slow
You can't get much slower than standing still.

You zoom past the woman, who hides her face from the dust, gasping for
breath.

The road flows by at an exhilarating rate.

[Your score has just gone down by one point.]

{So am I standing still or am I zooming by??}

=-=
>read book
(in the old tin bucket)

You can hardly do that from inside the Dynamo.

The road flows by at an exhilarating rate.

You're coming up fast on the old tin bucket.

{except that there is no book inside the bucket}

=-=
>w
You step on the accelerator. The engines roar thrillingly....
But there's no road in that direction!

aezmjgbcejs zczs

{????}

=-=
>open door

[** Programming error: (Melody) (object number 62) has no property
mel_enters to read **]
You open the door.

=-=

>open door
It seems to be locked.

>unlock door
(with yourself)
(first taking yourself)
You are always self-possessed.

=-=

>score
You have so far scored 23 out of a possible 21, in 495 turns.

=-=

>talk to sweet

Miss Sweet does not seem to be in the mood for even your most charming
discourses.

"Mr. Sterling, perhaps you'd better tell me what prompted you to this
course of action," she says, attempting to compose herself.

Perhaps you'd better tell her about the rescue.

========================================================================
Castles: (6)

Another Z-code abuse!

========================================================================
URHere: (6)

This game was a pleasant diversion with refresingly few bugs. What it
had was decently done; it could be improved by having more quests and
more interesting puzzles. I managed to miss two of the points.

Also, having vast hordes of people around may make it more like a MUD,
but if you can't interact with them, what's the point? Also, it was a
bit of a teazer not to have a sex scene. [if those were the two points
I missed, please tell me how!]


Only bug I found:

>fill mug

[** Programming error: tried to test "has" or "hasnt" of nothing **]

[** Programming error: tried to test "has" or "hasnt" of nothing **]

[** Programming error: tried to test "has" or "hasnt" of nothing **]

[** Programming error: tried to test "has" or "hasnt" of nothing **]

[** Programming error: tried to test "has" or "hasnt" of nothing **]

[** Programming error: tried to test "has" or "hasnt" of nothing **]
The nothing isn't a liquid!

========================================================================
Isolato: (5)

Intersting methaphors, but not enough resolution and too short.

I found the adder before the crow flew to the tree. Makes for confusing
descriptions.

(guebj nqqre ng pebj) should have the same effect as (uvg pebj jvgu
nqqre)

=======================================================================
Colours: (3)

I never "got" this one; the puzzles were far too hard for me. And
finally, I went to the walkthrough, only to get stuck and prevented
from winning (V arire tbg gur oyhr be terra pbvaf).

Also, I wish more of the scenery objects were implemented.

Bug report:

>ask carpenter about turtle

>

--

>push button
The coin pops out of the slot into your hand. The receptacle makes a
dismissive raspberry-like buzzing noise, and then opens again.
The number 1 briefly flashes.

>look in receptacle
You can't see inside, since the receptacle is closed.

[but the text above claimed it opened!]

--

>n [from chef room, early in the game]
Exits lead north and west.

=======================================================================
Fussilade: (not rated)

Too weird for me.

=======================================================================
Night Guest: (2)

> GUESS VERB. G. G. G. G. G. G. G. G. G.

Seriously, the hints were totally useless except for the final
action which was always either unbelievably obscure or else slightly
differently worded from the dozen related commands I already tried.

========================================================================
Stiffy Makane: (6)

Funny, and effective use of graphics [except at the very end].

My big complaint with it is being a heterosexual, the gay sex didn't
do anything for me. And even though I agreed not to be offended, the
last picture was just too gross.

Adam Thornton

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Nov 16, 2001, 9:57:30 PM11/16/01
to
In article <48575E3D4CEF0B88.148BF033...@lp.airnews.net>,

Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
>Stiffy Makane: (6)
>
>Funny, and effective use of graphics [except at the very end].
>
>My big complaint with it is being a heterosexual, the gay sex didn't
>do anything for me. And even though I agreed not to be offended, the
>last picture was just too gross.

The heterosexual sex wasn't supposed to do anything for you either.
Perhaps this will finally be made clear to everyone in _Mentula Macanus:
Apocolocyntosis_.

Adam

Billy Harris

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Nov 17, 2001, 4:44:28 AM11/17/01
to
In article <9t4jmq$3q6$6...@news.fsf.net>, Adam Thornton <ad...@fsf.net>
wrote:

> The heterosexual sex wasn't supposed to do anything for you either.
> Perhaps this will finally be made clear to everyone in _Mentula Macanus:
> Apocolocyntosis_.

**SPOILERS**


Well, I didn't find the heterosexual sex erotic or arousing, but the
first 40% was fun and breezy andlighthearted. The *HONK*HONK* line was
spectacularly well done. I liked the way the sexual hologram made it
clear that she wasn't going enjoy it and wasn't going to go to any
effort to make you enjoy it either. Light and breezy, and if Stiffy is
too dense to realize he's incompetent, then it doesn't bother him,
right?

The Space Moose had much the same humor, but my enjoyment was limited
by being put off by the gay sex. And the last scene with the Borg was
just way way too gross.

Of course, it's entirely possible I completly missed the point of the
game. That's happened before.

--
--
Billy Harris
wha...@mail.airmail.net

mattF

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Nov 17, 2001, 7:50:55 AM11/17/01
to

"Billy Harris" <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote in message
news:D7EAD7C0B1E6A5F4.307AA459...@lp.airnews.net...

The point of the game, IMO, was beautifully encapsulated by that last
sentence about the Borg.


-mattF


=======================================
"If you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't be saying it
in the first place."
-Dr. Bernard Bustoffson
http://home.iprimus.com.au/tarturus
=======================================


Adam Thornton

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Nov 17, 2001, 4:13:41 PM11/17/01
to
In article <D7EAD7C0B1E6A5F4.307AA459...@lp.airnews.net>,

Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
>Well, I didn't find the heterosexual sex erotic or arousing, but the
>first 40% was fun and breezy andlighthearted. The *HONK*HONK* line was
>spectacularly well done. I liked the way the sexual hologram made it
>clear that she wasn't going enjoy it and wasn't going to go to any
>effort to make you enjoy it either. Light and breezy, and if Stiffy is
>too dense to realize he's incompetent, then it doesn't bother him,
>right?
>
>The Space Moose had much the same humor, but my enjoyment was limited
>by being put off by the gay sex. And the last scene with the Borg was
>just way way too gross.
>
>Of course, it's entirely possible I completly missed the point of the
>game. That's happened before.

I think the whole game is about as breezy, despite the Ominous Music of
the Klingon scene.

Now, this may be fairly hypocritical in that I enjoy porn as much as the
next man, but I wanted to make some sort of point that, for Stiffy, sex
is about, well, locked-door puzzles. Which, alas, is pretty much what
it is in all AIF I'm aware of (except for the scene in _FoD_, which is
a) not AIF in the traditional sense, and b) completely unimportant
plot-wise, but is somewhat significant from a characterization
standpoint). And if you're identifying closely enough with Stiffy that
the gender attribute of the object containing the Orifice object
(whichever orifice it may be) then you're--and this is purely my
authorial and philosophical bias--identifying *way* too closely with
him.

In short, the judgment that I, as an author, am passing, is this: if the
gay, or moose, or alien sex in _Stiffy_ offends you, then the
heterosexual sex should have too. Conversely, if you found the
heterosexual sex giggly and cute, then the rest of it ought to have been
as well. Stiffy's sexuality, as an elemental force seeking orgasmic
release, really doesn't change--Stiffy just comes to realize that it can
be applied more broadly, and that it exists in others as well, and that,
er, if you want to pitch, sometimes you gotta catch.

That's actually what motivated my choice of Tom of Finland imagery once
Stiffy emerges from his closet. Tom of Finland is *all about* people
using each other as sexual objects. But in most of his work, they're
happy people who are consensual and, indeed, enthusiastiac
participants. There are no illusions among Tom's participants that a
friendly fuck--even when it involves three construction workers, a
policeman and his truncheon, a leatherman, and a bound and gagged
slave--is anything other than what it is. The fluidity of the
master-slave role in much of his work is also present here: because
Tom's men are all interchangeable, the slave in one drawing may be the
master in the next, the cop after that, and Burly Construction Worker #3
after that. The actors play whatever role seems appealing at the
moment, and can shift roles at will. The title of the first Space Moose
anthology also has some bearing on this: _Triumph of the Whim_.

Someone--I don't remember who--commented on Stiffy's peculiar
"innocence," and I think they mean this quality. That is, I tried to
present the sex in a very Tom of Finland sort of way: it happens within
the bizarre boundaries of the Pornoverse, where there are no
consequences, no unwanted pregnancies, no emotional betrayal (well, OK,
I did toy with this with the Space Moose morning-after scene, but it all
ends happily *by authorial fiat*), no regrets. And that's what *I* like
about porn--the fantasy of sex as pure play, with no deeper
implications. My world doesn't really work that way, but it's fun
escapism to pretend that it could, where every pizza delivery guy,
snide bespectacled secretary, or traffic-ticket-giving-cop can be bought
with the coin of Hot! Sex!

In the Stiffy Universe, the price Stiffy has to pay for admission to the
world where every concave surface really *is* a legitimate orifice for
penetration is that he must recognize that it's only fair that if he
views the world that way, the world's going to occasionally view *him*
that way. I don't think Paul O'Brian is right to call this "feminism";
"humanism," maybe. I don't think SMTUC makes any sort of case that
sexual objectification of anything is _ipso facto_ a bad thing (hence,
Tom of Finland: his men are having a wonderful time while fully
cognizant that they are all merely sexual objects); it just tries to
make some karmic case that if that's the way you're going to view the
world, you have no right to expect that it view you any differently.

Adam

Aris Katsaris

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Nov 18, 2001, 6:24:01 AM11/18/01
to

"Adam Thornton" <ad...@fsf.net> wrote in message
news:9t6ju5$vb3$1...@news.fsf.net...

> In short, the judgment that I, as an author, am passing, is this: if the
> gay, or moose, or alien sex in _Stiffy_ offends you, then the
> heterosexual sex should have too.

Harumph. The heterosexual sex in this game was consentual even if
unenjoyable. The homosexual sex was rape.

I wasn't "offended", exactly. I just found it ultra-distasteful. The first
two scenes were okay - the next two awful. The last one was okay
again, probably because it put all that ridiculous Freudian imagery
into play... :-)

Aris Katsaris


Adam Thornton

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Nov 18, 2001, 11:50:20 AM11/18/01
to
In article <9t85o8$117$1...@usenet.otenet.gr>,
Aris Katsaris <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote:

[SPOILERS, as if anyone cared]


>Harumph. The heterosexual sex in this game was consentual even if
>unenjoyable. The homosexual sex was rape.

Ah, but Space Moose doesn't rape you. No matter what Stiffy says the
next morning.

The Moose does not force himself upon you. You are perfectly free to
tell him he's not having sex with you--although he will explain that the
plot will not advance until you do--and type WAIT until you get bored
and quit. (Yes, this is arguably out of character for Space Moose.)

On the other hand, yes, it's coercive. But the coercion shifts, so that
it's not Space Moose coercing Stiffy, but me, the author, coercing you,
the player: if you want to see more of this game, RELAX.

The Klingon scene, yes, it's true that you don't have a choice, and that
you can't elect not to play K'aa'k's game. But (if you comply) no one
gets hurt and you manage to defuse an entire gang of Interstellar Butt
Pirates, so perhaps the ends justify the mean use of Stiffy's end, or
something.

Now let's flip it around to the first two scenes: are those really
consensual sex scenes?

I'm not sure that the holodeck scene is consensual by any reasonable
definition. The Hot Chick *doesn't* have any choice. Once you "solve
the puzzle," she must yield herself, which she does quite grudgingly.
She has less choice than Stiffy does in the Space Moose scene,
certainly.

Not to mention, of course, as alluded to in the full score, that it's a
pretty horrible abuse of your power as the Captain to seduce your
Lieutenant. Does that make it automatically non-consensual? Dunno;
Terri's pretty free with her affections anyway, and you're certainly not
forcing her into anything she doesn't want to do. However, most sexual
harassment policies, for instance, would frown on your behavior.

>I wasn't "offended", exactly. I just found it ultra-distasteful. The first
>two scenes were okay - the next two awful. The last one was okay
>again, probably because it put all that ridiculous Freudian imagery
>into play... :-)

Well, fair enough. "Ultra-distateful" is certainly an accurate
characterization of the work. I still, however, stand by my statement
that it's not gay or straight that should be the sticking point.
Further, if you're going to make the consensual/nonconsensual
distinction, I think it starts at *least* one scene earlier, and
possibly two. Once again, the break isn't when Stiffy starts having
male partners.

Adam

Unknown

unread,
Nov 19, 2001, 6:15:26 AM11/19/01
to
In article <48575E3D4CEF0B88.148BF033...@lp.airnews.net>,
Billy Harris says...
>

>Night Guest: (2)
>
>> GUESS VERB. G. G. G. G. G. G. G. G. G.
>
>Seriously, the hints were totally useless except for the final
>action which was always either unbelievably obscure or else slightly
>differently worded from the dozen related commands I already tried.
>

Ehm... Could you please send me a list of "the dozen related commands" which
should work, but didn't? I'm planning another release of the game, and would
like to make it better.

Valentine


Timofei Shatrov

unread,
Nov 19, 2001, 8:45:04 AM11/19/01
to
On Mon, 19 Nov 2001 11:15:26 GMT, Valentine (u...@mailru.com) tried to confuse
everyone with this message:

I got stuck in only one place. When you need to "EXHALE" while "BREATH ON DEMON"
or something else doesn't work!
--
GRUE@|And to auoide tediouse repetition of these woordes: is equalle to:
MAIL|I will sette as I doe often in woorke use, a paire of paralleles of
RU|one lengthe, thus ===, bicause noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle.
GRUE.FREESERVERS.COM|Robert Recorde,"The Whetstone of Witte',1557.[4*72]

Unknown

unread,
Nov 19, 2001, 10:37:34 AM11/19/01
to
In article <3bf90709...@News.CIS.DFN.DE>, Timofei Shatrov says...

>>Ehm... Could you please send me a list of "the dozen related commands" which
>>should work, but didn't? I'm planning another release of the game, and would
>>like to make it better.
>>
>
>I got stuck in only one place. When you need to "EXHALE" while "BREATH ON DEMON"
>or something else doesn't work!
>--

SPASIBO!

Valentine

Unknown

unread,
Nov 19, 2001, 10:37:43 AM11/19/01
to
In article <3bf90709...@News.CIS.DFN.DE>, Timofei Shatrov says...
>>Ehm... Could you please send me a list of "the dozen related commands" which
>>should work, but didn't? I'm planning another release of the game, and would
>>like to make it better.
>>
>
>I got stuck in only one place. When you need to "EXHALE" while "BREATH ON DEMON"
>or something else doesn't work!
>--

SPASIBO!

Valentine

Unknown

unread,
Nov 19, 2001, 10:37:54 AM11/19/01
to
In article <3bf90709...@News.CIS.DFN.DE>, Timofei Shatrov says...
>>Ehm... Could you please send me a list of "the dozen related commands" which
>>should work, but didn't? I'm planning another release of the game, and would
>>like to make it better.
>>
>
>I got stuck in only one place. When you need to "EXHALE" while "BREATH ON DEMON"
>or something else doesn't work!
>--

SPASIBO!

Valentine

Billy Harris

unread,
Nov 20, 2001, 8:16:24 AM11/20/01
to

Some spoilers, if anyone is still paying attention

In article <9t6ju5$vb3$1...@news.fsf.net>, Adam Thornton <ad...@fsf.net>
wrote:

> In article


> <D7EAD7C0B1E6A5F4.307AA459...@lp.airnews.net>,
> Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
> >Well, I didn't find the heterosexual sex erotic or arousing, but the

>

> In short, the judgment that I, as an author, am passing, is this:

[snip]

> In the Stiffy Universe, the price Stiffy has to pay for admission to the
> world where every concave surface really *is* a legitimate orifice for
> penetration is that he must recognize that it's only fair that if he
> views the world that way, the world's going to occasionally view *him*
> that way.

OK, I now undestand the philosophy you were trying to convey.

Question 1: How could Stiffy MacKane be changed to make the philosophy
clear to unsubtle dufuses like me?

By having Barcelona being an ethusiastic spectator in the Klingon
game... if you really are trying to show that roles are fluid, then you
should have the same characters play different roles rather than
different characters play different roles. Maybe the same holograph
character reappear as a dominatrix? A scene with Space Moose and the
Klingon?


Question 2: Do I believe/accept the philosophy?

No, I do not, at least as applied to heterosexuals. Yes, while playing
X-rated games [or reading the stories, looking at the pictures, ...] it
is easy to foget that 90% of women object strongly to being viewed as
sex objects. They complain of callous men who don't care at all about
their personality or their selves [selfs would be a better phrase here]
but only care about the animal deed.

However, when men complain about women being callous and
unappreciative, it is almost never about sex. Rather it is about being
manipulative, mercenary, and often greedy for $$$.

In short, the reflection of sex object is not sex object; it is meal
ticket. Or money bag. Or a phrasing I particularly like "Walking ATM
with a dick."

So the message of being a shallow callous individual can best be met
with meeting other shallow callous individuals -- How about Betty
BlueBalls meets Stiffy MacKane? The scene with the hologram, with very
little stretching, becomes "You are fat, ugly, and smell terrible, but
if you put a $50.00 bill on the table, I promise not to claim rape when
you molest me". I think that image, and not the Klingon, is the proper
reflection of Stiffy MacKane.

--
Billy Harris
wha...@mail.airmail.net

Adam Thornton

unread,
Nov 20, 2001, 4:40:32 PM11/20/01
to
In article <D9B926A8307C1CD5.240D0333...@lp.airnews.net>,

Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
>In short, the reflection of sex object is not sex object; it is meal
>ticket. Or money bag. Or a phrasing I particularly like "Walking ATM
>with a dick."

This may or may not be true in the real world you inhabit. It is
certainly not the case in the Stiffy Pornoverse, and it's not a place I
intend to go. Frankly an exchange of money for sex is not a topic that
particularly interests me, and rgif is not the place for a discussion of
either the morality or the economics of prostitution, or indeed whether
there is a qualitative difference between $25 for a quick front-seat
blowjob and a Cadillac and a fur coat for a 25th-anniversary blowjob.

Whether or not there are actual Horny Chicks in your world, in Stiffy's
universe (or at least, the one in SMTUC), sex is exchanged for sex, and
not for money, Ferraris, or fluffy white poodles.

>So the message of being a shallow callous individual can best be met
>with meeting other shallow callous individuals -- How about Betty
>BlueBalls meets Stiffy MacKane? The scene with the hologram, with very
>little stretching, becomes "You are fat, ugly, and smell terrible, but
>if you put a $50.00 bill on the table, I promise not to claim rape when
>you molest me". I think that image, and not the Klingon, is the proper
>reflection of Stiffy MacKane.

That's certainly one reflection of it, but it's also certainly not the
one I chose. In the one *I* wrote, you're allowed to Do the Hot
Simulation Chick because--depending on your viewpoint--you brought her
something to enable her to achieve the sexual satisfaction she won't find
with you, or because you've "solved the Hot Chick puzzle". Although the
second could be remapped onto your scenario, it's no closer a fit than
any other exchange-of-X-for-Y scenario would be.

In short, it's not "the" proper reflection of Stiffy, unless I buy your
assertion that women-as-a-class (and we will assume that the Hot
Simulation Chick is unproblematically a woman, although I don't think
that's actually clear) want money, while men-as-a-class (and I'd feel a
little embarrassed having Stiffy stand in as a generic representation of
me, although with each passing year I guess I do look more like Ron
Jeremy, except for the, ah, endowment) want sex. I don't buy that as a
general assertion, although that assertion sums up nicely the essence of
a prostitution transaction.

It's also not one that you're likely to find in a Stiffy game that *I*
write. However, I'm certainly not going to sue you--and neither,
apparently, is Mark Ryan--if you write your own Stiffy game with your
own viewpoint on assisted-orgasms-for-money transactions.

Adam

Adam Thornton

unread,
Nov 20, 2001, 4:45:35 PM11/20/01
to
In article <D9B926A8307C1CD5.240D0333...@lp.airnews.net>,

Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
>OK, I now undestand the philosophy you were trying to convey.
>
>Question 1: How could Stiffy MacKane be changed to make the philosophy
>clear to unsubtle dufuses like me?
>
>By having Barcelona being an ethusiastic spectator in the Klingon
>game... if you really are trying to show that roles are fluid, then you
>should have the same characters play different roles rather than
>different characters play different roles. Maybe the same holograph
>character reappear as a dominatrix? A scene with Space Moose and the
>Klingon?

Well, the last of those is implied to have happened in the backstory.
Although that's not about role-fluidity or anything, just about the
_Star Wars_ riff I have going at that point.

And I agree that it would have been a nice touch to have Barcelona and
Billy The Bionic Badger up in the stands betting on the outcome for the
Klingon scene. But I didn't think of it.

Adam

Paul O'Brian

unread,
Nov 20, 2001, 5:54:22 PM11/20/01
to
On Sat, 17 Nov 2001, Adam Thornton wrote:

> In the Stiffy Universe, the price Stiffy has to pay for admission to the
> world where every concave surface really *is* a legitimate orifice for
> penetration is that he must recognize that it's only fair that if he
> views the world that way, the world's going to occasionally view *him*
> that way. I don't think Paul O'Brian is right to call this "feminism";
> "humanism," maybe.

"Concave-surfaceism", perhaps?

The reason I chose "feminism" is because SMTUC seems to me to be mocking
the kind of porn (and the kind of AIF) that caters to (a stereotyped
version of) heterosexual male desires by presenting a Penetrating
Protagonist who goes around foisting himself on the women in the story
who, because they're in the story, are willing and eager to Receive him.
The target audience for this kind of porn would presumably be a man
who might identify with the PP and enjoy such a fantasy world of unreal
women (who serve basically as talking orifices.) By making the women of
the story less than willing&eager, and by turning the PP himself into
little more than a talking orifice, SMTUC executes its (admittedly ugly)
vengeance on such dehumanization, and that vengeance is most emphatically
*not* gender-free.

--
Paul O'Brian obr...@colorado.edu http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian
Add your own brick to the wall of SPAG -- write a review! The deadline
for the annual competition issue is December 5, 2001.

Billy Harris

unread,
Nov 20, 2001, 10:34:59 PM11/20/01
to
In article <9teikg$39n$1...@news.fsf.net>, Adam Thornton <ad...@fsf.net>
wrote:

> In short, it's not "the" proper reflection of Stiffy, unless I buy your


> assertion that women-as-a-class (and we will assume that the Hot
> Simulation Chick is unproblematically a woman, although I don't think
> that's actually clear) want money, while men-as-a-class (and I'd feel a
> little embarrassed having Stiffy stand in as a generic representation of
> me, although with each passing year I guess I do look more like Ron
> Jeremy, except for the, ah, endowment) want sex. I don't buy that as a
> general assertion, although that assertion sums up nicely the essence of
> a prostitution transaction.

Well I didn't mean to prompt a debate on prostitution or to impeach
your vision as an author. The second half of Stiffy MacKane did not
ring true for me, and I was trying to either explain why not or to
propose an alternate vision that I could more readily accept. Obviously
you are happy with the worldview you've implemented, so feel free to
blithely ignore my proposals.

Adam Thornton

unread,
Nov 20, 2001, 11:34:22 PM11/20/01
to
In article <3DBDA0D7F1A83920.950E1445...@lp.airnews.net>,

Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
>Well I didn't mean to prompt a debate on prostitution or to impeach
>your vision as an author.

Uh, "vision" isn't quite the word I'd wanted.

>The second half of Stiffy MacKane did not
>ring true for me, and I was trying to either explain why not or to
>propose an alternate vision that I could more readily accept. Obviously
>you are happy with the worldview you've implemented, so feel free to
>blithely ignore my proposals.

And, um, you know, Stiffy, whatever its aims, isn't intended to be a
grand philosophical tract.

Sorry if I came across as unbearably pompous. I try to leave that to
The Pissing Bandit.

Adam

Magnus Olsson

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Nov 21, 2001, 4:35:21 AM11/21/01
to
In article <D9B926A8307C1CD5.240D0333...@lp.airnews.net>,
Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:
>Question 1: How could Stiffy MacKane be changed (...)

It's Stiffy Makane, not MacKane.

Which leads me to the question - how is the name supposed to be
pronounced - the same way as "MacKane", or "Makahneh" (with three
syllables, as if it was Italian or Japanese)?

And am I missing a pun in the name ("Stiffy" is pretty glaringly
obvious, but is there a reason for "Makane"?)
--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, m...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~mol ------

Adam Thornton

unread,
Nov 21, 2001, 9:37:06 AM11/21/01
to
In article <9tfsgp$a2b$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
>Which leads me to the question - how is the name supposed to be
>pronounced - the same way as "MacKane", or "Makahneh" (with three
>syllables, as if it was Italian or Japanese)?

I pronounce it the first way.

>And am I missing a pun in the name ("Stiffy" is pretty glaringly
>obvious, but is there a reason for "Makane"?)

If there is, I don't know it. Maybe Mark Ryan had a friend whose name
was Makane. No idea, though.

Adam

J. D. Berry

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Nov 21, 2001, 2:45:17 PM11/21/01
to
ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton) wrote in message news:<9tge6i$ep6$2...@news.fsf.net>...

Just a guess, but the play on words (if actually intended)
would be "My Cane".

I'm not laughing on the inside, nor did I forget to do so.

Jim

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