[REVIEW] CellarDoor RC2

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Matt Scudder

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Apr 15, 2007, 5:17:17 AM4/15/07
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REVIEW: CellarDoor RC2, used on my Palm TX

I've been a interactive fiction fan for over twenty years now. I
remember long ago playing games like Zork and Hitchhiker's Guide To
The Galaxy on my Apple II. And in recent years, I've enjoyed games and
stories such as Photopia, Spider and The Web, and Floatpoint. I've
enjoyed playing games entered in the annual IF competition (
http://ifcomp.org/ ) and submitting my votes on which IF games were
the best.

Pretty much my only problem with IF is that playing it is has always
required me to be in front of a computer, staring at a monitor. I
could not, for example, sit on my couch and relax with a good work of
interactive fiction. I couldn't put it in my pocket and take it on the
road with me. I couldn't take interactive fiction outdoors.

Until now.

CellarDoor has solved that for me.

http://www.freeware-palm.com/downloa...rdoor-rc2.html

I've been using it on my TX to play everything from old games like
Zork to modern works such as Floatpoint, and I absolutely love it. It
runs great--I've discovered no major bugs so far. It's fast (in the
past, I tried using other IF interpreters on my Palm M130, but they
were too slow to bother with.) Playing IF with CellarDoor is usually
as fast as playing IF on a real PC, and it's never slower than my poor
old Apple was.

The best part? I actually prefer reading/playing interactive fiction
on my Palm TX now. I'd rather use it than a computer.

In interactive fiction, you are the main character, and everything you
intend to do, of course, be typed out--which can get the fingers
pretty tired. (">Go North. Open the door. Pick up the phone booth. Ask
the man about his pet store. Pet the stupid kitten." And so on.) But
CellarDoor makes interactive fiction easier to interact with.

Instead of typing, "Pick up the antidote in the green bottle," I can
simply use my stylus to touch the word "bottle" on the screen, and a
pop-up menu of commands allows me to quickly and easily tell the game
what I want to do. And with the five-way navigator, I can easily
scroll back through past input, if I want to repeat a command. Also,
CellarDoor adds a row of quick-press buttons to the screen, so I can
easily move my character from location to location, instead of typing
"Go North."

* * *

In short, CellarDoor is freeware, but I'd pay for it--it's one of the
best programs I've ever downloaded. I can't recommend it highly
enough.

If you don't have it? GO GET IT! TRY IT!

You can download hundreds of games/stories to play from:

http://www.wurb.com/if/platform/1

(And, like CellarDoor, they're all free.)

If you're already an IF fan, or if you fondly remember Infocom-era
text games, then you'll love Cellardoor. It'll turn your TX into an
interactive fiction machine, and you can store dozens and dozens of IF
works on a memory card.

If you're completely unfamiliar with interactive fiction, you can find
great beginner's guides at:

http://nickm.com/if/faq.html

http://brasslantern.org/beginners/

http://emshort.wordpress.com/how-to-play/

In the non-free categories, I recommend TextPlus and MyKbd, to make
text entry easier when playing IF on your Palm.

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jeremydb

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Apr 16, 2007, 8:20:17 AM4/16/07
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Thanks for the generous review!

The 1.0 final version should be out in about a week, adding 3 larger
fonts and support for 16-bit graphics, if your Palm can afford the
extra memory.

I just played Savoir-Faire for 9 hours on a plane yesterday and it
seemed to be working pretty well. Although I still haven't found the
bleepin' olive oil.

Jeremy

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