TextFire demos

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Jason Compton

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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So I'm looking through Volker's GMD update, and come across

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/demos/12pack.zip
the TextFire 12-Pack, the first in a series of annual demonstration
packages by TextFire, Inc.

(list of games follows)

And there's two intriguing things about the list. First, they're all
games I've never heard of, and second, some of them appear to have
farcical names (Revenge of the Killer Surf Nazi Robot Babes from Hell,
Coma! An Interactive Action Thriller, The U.S. Men's Hockey Team Olympic
Challenge!, and so forth)

So I download it, and take a look.

A few observations:

- I haven't played all of the demos yet. Those I have played have ranged
from mildly amusing (Marjorie Hopkirk, Hockey, Revenge of the etc.) to
full-blown intriguing (Zugzwang)

- These TextFire people sound like what they are--upstarts who have some
sort of hope and plan, imbued with the proper level of upstart enthusiasm,
to make IF commercially viable (if only as a sideline.)

- I've never heard of any of these people before. I haven't fully
researched this yet but to my knowledge none of the people who have penned
a TextFire demo have any other work in the current GMD archive (no games,
no competition entries). I also can't say I can recall reading any of
their posts on the r.?.i-f newsgroups (although, admittedly, I don't read
everything.) This is a good thing, since it means there's at least 10 or
so other people in the world interested in writing IF. But it is a bit
surprising: I expected to see a "recognized" author in an attempt to
promote commercial IF, or if for no other reason than the fact that
there's so many games and only so many active IF authors in the world.

- Why 16 demos in something called the 12-Pack? Must be a tip of the hat
to the Hitchhiker's "Trilogy" or something.

- The authors each have a mini-bio, in which they explain how they got
involved with IF and TextFire. A few mention Infocom, and one goes so far
as to condemn the Zork Trilogy as "bad." I'm just waiting to see if any
sparks fly from this one...

- Too bad we don't have a slightly more flexible TADS interpreter on the
Amiga yet since these people seem to prefer it... (9 TADS, 1 Hugo, 6
Inform)

- I'm not sure exactly how much I'd be willing to pay to see more of games
like The U.S. Men's Hockey Team Olympic Challenge. "Not much" leaps to
mind. Ditto for Marjorie Hopkirk, The Inanimator (whose author has the
most unintentionally amusing bio), and, well, most of the other games. It
would be like asking for money for Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die: I
love the game but it's not really what I'd call "marketable." We'll just
have to see what their marketing strategy is...

I guess my conclusion would be "Bravo for more IF, it's nice to see
someone attempting to -do- something about marketing it rather than just
discussing it at length (see r.a.i-f), and I'd like to know more."

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine VP, Legacy Maker Inc.
http://www.cucug.org/ar/ http://www.xnet.com/~jcompton/
Choose and renounce... throwing chains to the floor.

Dennis....@transquest.com

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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In article <6g3b22$i6q$1...@flood.xnet.com>,

jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason Compton) wrote:
>
> So I'm looking through Volker's GMD update, and come across
>
> ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/demos/12pack.zip
> the TextFire 12-Pack, the first in a series of annual demonstration
> packages by TextFire, Inc.
>
>>snip analysis of package<<

Actually, I assumed this is an April Fools joke of some kind. As was
pointed out, it's strange that we've *never* heard of any of these people
before. I can't run any of the TADS games (I get the message [An error has
occurred within TADS: unable to open game for reading])

OTOH, the Inform games do run, they do exhibit a variety of styles, (and the
chessboard in Zugzwang is interesting.)

OTOOH, the press release is a little too much; the QVC home shopping
network? The annual Festival of Interactive Fiction in Piedmont, California?
Signings in Europe?) Finally, InterNIC does not have a record of a "textfire"
domain being registered.

So, I think it's a joke; but a very well done one. Bravo someone!

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
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Jason Compton

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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Dennis....@transquest.com wrote:
:
: Actually, I assumed this is an April Fools joke of some kind. As was

: pointed out, it's strange that we've *never* heard of any of these people
: before. I can't run any of the TADS games (I get the message [An error has
: occurred within TADS: unable to open game for reading])

They run, that much I'm certain of. (My Amiga client complaint is just
that it could be more configurable from a visual standpoint, but they are
real demos.)

I had considered that it was a joke--like I said, the names of the games
certainly did make it seem that way--but then I played them and I'm not so
sure.

: OTOH, the Inform games do run, they do exhibit a variety of styles, (and the


: chessboard in Zugzwang is interesting.)

That really got my attention.

: OTOOH, the press release is a little too much; the QVC home shopping


: network? The annual Festival of Interactive Fiction in Piedmont, California?
: Signings in Europe?) Finally, InterNIC does not have a record of a "textfire"
: domain being registered.

They did say -first- annual, which is the sort of thing you say when
you're a zealous startup trying to get attention. I, too, balked at QVC.

And since they didn't claim the domain was active yet I'm not sure
checking the registration proves anything...

: So, I think it's a joke; but a very well done one. Bravo someone!

I haven't gotten any e-mail from perpetrators taunting me for falling for
it yet, but you may well be right. Like I say, I was swayed back because
it looks like way too much work went into it to be a joke for the benefit
of a handful of r.?.i-f readers. (And would you go so far as to claim to
be the niece of the author of Flowers for Algernon just to get a laugh?)

If it IS a joke, I think the congratulations are in order as much for
taking the time to write up 16 fake games as they are for coming up with
personalities for 10 fake people, and said perpetrator should try writing
games with NPCs in the future.

Dennis....@transquest.com

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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In article <6g3rtq$mln$1...@flood.xnet.com>,

jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason Compton) wrote:
>
> Dennis....@transquest.com wrote:
> :
> : Actually, I assumed this is an April Fools joke of some kind. As was
> : pointed out, it's strange that we've *never* heard of any of these people
> : before. I can't run any of the TADS games (I get the message [An error
has
> : occurred within TADS: unable to open game for reading])
>
> They run, that much I'm certain of. (My Amiga client complaint is just
> that it could be more configurable from a visual standpoint, but they are
> real demos.)
>

Hmmm... I can't get them to work under WinTADS. Maybe my ftp gliched... But
it's strange that the Inform games were ok. Maybe I'll try downloading it
again.

> I had considered that it was a joke--like I said, the names of the games
> certainly did make it seem that way--but then I played them and I'm not so
> sure.
>

I agree there. I didn't expect anything to run and was surprised that they
did.

> : OTOH, the Inform games do run, they do exhibit a variety of styles, (and
the
> : chessboard in Zugzwang is interesting.)
>
> That really got my attention.
>
> : OTOOH, the press release is a little too much; the QVC home shopping
> : network? The annual Festival of Interactive Fiction in Piedmont,
California?
> : Signings in Europe?) Finally, InterNIC does not have a record of a
"textfire"
> : domain being registered.
>
> They did say -first- annual, which is the sort of thing you say when
> you're a zealous startup trying to get attention. I, too, balked at QVC.
>
> And since they didn't claim the domain was active yet I'm not sure
> checking the registration proves anything...
>

Points taken. And it *is* a good name.

> : So, I think it's a joke; but a very well done one. Bravo someone!
>
> I haven't gotten any e-mail from perpetrators taunting me for falling for
> it yet, but you may well be right. Like I say, I was swayed back because
> it looks like way too much work went into it to be a joke for the benefit
> of a handful of r.?.i-f readers. (And would you go so far as to claim to
> be the niece of the author of Flowers for Algernon just to get a laugh?)
>

If you notice I said "I *think* it's a joke". I'm not *sure* it's a joke. A
lot of work went into this (more than went into a good number of competition
entries, for example). The games displaying a variety of writing styles, which
strongly suggests several people working on it or even more effort on a single
person's part.
It has also just occured to me that most of our writers tend to be either
Inform or TADS programmers exclusively. To do this, someone would have to have
at least a working knowledge of Inform, TADS, *and* Hugo. Of course, several
people could have been involved, but by that point you actually have what
Textfire claims to be!
I hadn't thought about Flowers for Algernon. I did think that the
chessboard from Zugzwang was a bit elaborate to have developed just for a
joke.
I'm still not convinced, but will accept the possibility that it is
legitimate. (In which case these people *really* need to pick a day other than
April 1 to announce themselves on.)

> If it IS a joke, I think the congratulations are in order as much for
> taking the time to write up 16 fake games as they are for coming up with
> personalities for 10 fake people, and said perpetrator should try writing
> games with NPCs in the future.

Definite agreement there.

Stephen Granade

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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On Fri, 3 Apr 1998 Dennis....@transquest.com wrote:

> I can't run any of the TADS games (I get the message [An error has
> occurred within TADS: unable to open game for reading])

If you're running WinTADS, I can think of one possible error. If you have
associated .gam files with WinTADS (so that double-clicking them
automatically runs WinTADS), for some reason double-clicking them in
Windows Explorer doesn't work. If that's the case, try either a) running
WinTADS, then loading the games, or b) actually opening the directory's
window (i.e. select the directory folder in Explorer, left-click, and
choose 'Open') and double-clicking the games in question.

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Check out
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.miningco.com


Jason Compton

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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Dennis....@transquest.com wrote:
: I'm still not convinced, but will accept the possibility that it is

: legitimate. (In which case these people *really* need to pick a day other than
: April 1 to announce themselves on.)

Yep. That's ok, I watched a company announce 50% price cuts on April 1.
They really meant it, but of course it's hard to tell...

Dennis....@delta-air.com

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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In article <Pine.GSO.3.96.98040...@bohr.phy.duke.edu>,

Stephen Granade <sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>
> On Fri, 3 Apr 1998 Dennis....@transquest.com wrote:
>
> > I can't run any of the TADS games (I get the message [An error has
> > occurred within TADS: unable to open game for reading])
>
> If you're running WinTADS, I can think of one possible error. If you have
> associated .gam files with WinTADS (so that double-clicking them
> automatically runs WinTADS), for some reason double-clicking them in
> Windows Explorer doesn't work. If that's the case, try either a) running
> WinTADS, then loading the games, or b) actually opening the directory's
> window (i.e. select the directory folder in Explorer, left-click, and
> choose 'Open') and double-clicking the games in question.
>

Yep, that's what I was doing and, yes, it works correctly if I launch TADS
then open the .gam file. Don't know why I never noticed that behavior before.
Thanks...


> Stephen
>
> --
> Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
> sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Check out
> Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.miningco.com
>
>

Julian Arnold

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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In article <6g3rtq$mln$1...@flood.xnet.com>, Jason Compton

<URL:mailto:jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com> wrote:
> I had considered that it was a joke--like I said, the names of the games
> certainly did make it seem that way--but then I played them and I'm not so
> sure.

April Fools? If it is I'd have thought the effort of coding up 16
(admittedly very short, incomplete, demo) games far outweighs the
resulting "hilarity."

Anyway, I quite like what I've seen (I have played about half of them a
bit). An IF-based strategy/war game, as hinted at in _Bad Guys_, is
something I've often thought would be fun.

And any game that measures score in terms of "Dead Marjories" can't be
bad. :)

Still, none of the games so far have exactly been captivating.

Jools
--
"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand
ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from
ever completing anything." -- Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"


Thomas Aaron Insel

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
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jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason Compton) writes:

> I had considered that it was a joke--like I said, the names of the games
> certainly did make it seem that way--but then I played them and I'm not so
> sure.

Yes, the games are playable, but only just. Each one that I've
looked at has one fairly straightforward path from the beginning to
the end, and doesn't really show enough of the alleged full game
to be a proper demo [1]. Some of them are so linear and tedious
that I can't imagine a proper game could be made of them (the full
version of hockey wouldn't be much more exciting than the demo).

That said, a few of them are based on quite interesting ideas --
I'd love to see real versions of Flowers for Algernon and a
chess game with a more interesting board configuration.

> If it IS a joke, I think the congratulations are in order as much for
> taking the time to write up 16 fake games as they are for coming up with
> personalities for 10 fake people, and said perpetrator should try writing
> games with NPCs in the future.

I'm sure it's a joke, but it's a very very well done one, and
probably that the author has already released several games. I'd
suspect Graham Nelson, only I dunno if TADS or Hugo runs under RiscOS.

It's time to disassemble the games and look for clues...

Tom

[1] Actually, I couldn't figure out what the heck to do with Colours
besides walk around.
--
Thomas Insel (tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu)
"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only
how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is
not beautiful, I know it is wrong." -- Richard Buckminster Fuller

Dennis....@delta-air.com

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
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In article <tinsel.8...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu>,
tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu wrote:
>>snip<<

> I'm sure it's a joke, but it's a very very well done one, and
> probably that the author has already released several games. I'd
> suspect Graham Nelson, only I dunno if TADS or Hugo runs under RiscOS.
>>snip<<

Actually, I was suspecting Andrew Plotkin, except that a) there are games in
TADS and Hugo as well as Inform, b) he seemed somewhat annoyed by April Fools
posts in general and c) I would expect the quality of the demos to be higher
if he had done them.

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
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Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:

> April Fools? If it is I'd have thought the effort of coding up 16
> (admittedly very short, incomplete, demo) games far outweighs the
> resulting "hilarity."

Nothing's funny unless it's real.

(My idea of a funny joke was "Lists" -- you have any idea how much time I
put in writing the tutorial and the exercise-checking code? But it
wouldn't have been funny, otherwise.)

However, I am not responsible for the TextFire stuff or any part thereof.

However, I think they're *great*. Especially Verb, Operate, Pumping...
hm, Coma is very effective... I like the writing in Tenuous and
Insomnia... anyway.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Julian Arnold

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin

<URL:mailto:erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>
> > April Fools? If it is I'd have thought the effort of coding up 16
> > (admittedly very short, incomplete, demo) games far outweighs the
> > resulting "hilarity."
>
> Nothing's funny unless it's real.
>
> (My idea of a funny joke was "Lists" -- you have any idea how much time I
> put in writing the tutorial and the exercise-checking code? But it
> wouldn't have been funny, otherwise.)

Fair and true comment. Must have been in a slightly sour mood the other
night.

Someone was bandying about names of possible perpetrators earlier--I
guess Joe Mason for the _Marjorie_ game (on the basis that he asked a
Hugo question out of the blue a few days ago).

Mark J. Tilford

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
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On 5 Apr 98 06:58:01 GMT, Thomas Aaron Insel <tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu> wrote:
>
>[1] Actually, I couldn't figure out what the heck to do with Colours
>besides walk around.

I figured this out after a while: Your goal is to get 'Perfect Blue',
which means to change the aspect of all rooms to Blue. There are objects
you can take in two rooms, but they aren't listed in the description, and
the only way to find them is TAKE ALL. There's also a rival, but I
haven't been able to interact with him/her.

--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Kent Tessman

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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In article <ant04183...@arnod.demon.co.uk>,

Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In article <6g3rtq$mln$1...@flood.xnet.com>, Jason Compton
><URL:mailto:jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com> wrote:
>> I had considered that it was a joke--like I said, the names of the games
>> certainly did make it seem that way--but then I played them and I'm not so
>> sure.
>
>April Fools? If it is I'd have thought the effort of coding up 16
>(admittedly very short, incomplete, demo) games far outweighs the
>resulting "hilarity."

I didn't think there was much of a question. I mean..."Coma!"?

I almost drowned in my coffee twice playing them this morning from unexpected
chortling whilst drinking, so thanks to whoever took the time to do them.

But I'd hate to see the whole Hugo v2.5 graphics-and-sound-and-music version
of "Marjorie".

--Kent

----------
Kent Tessman - The General Coffee Company Film Productions
http://www.geocities.com/hollywood/academy/5976/

Thomas Aaron Insel

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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til...@ralph.caltech.edu (Mark J. Tilford) writes:

> On 5 Apr 98 06:58:01 GMT, Thomas Aaron Insel <tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu> wrote:
> >[1] Actually, I couldn't figure out what the heck to do with Colours
> >besides walk around.

> I figured this out after a while: Your goal is to get 'Perfect Blue',
> which means to change the aspect of all rooms to Blue. There are objects
> you can take in two rooms, but they aren't listed in the description, and
> the only way to find them is TAKE ALL. There's also a rival, but I
> haven't been able to interact with him/her.

Ahha. All I'd managed is that the game seems to end a few turns after
you make your rival somehow aware of your presence.

Tom
--
Thomas Insel (tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu)
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it
through not dying." -- Woody Allen

Joe Mason

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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In article <6g8qi9$9bs$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

<Dennis....@delta-air.com> wrote:
>In article <tinsel.8...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu>,
> tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu wrote:
>>>snip<<
>> I'm sure it's a joke, but it's a very very well done one, and
>> probably that the author has already released several games. I'd
>> suspect Graham Nelson, only I dunno if TADS or Hugo runs under RiscOS.
>>>snip<<
>
> Actually, I was suspecting Andrew Plotkin, except that a) there are games in
>TADS and Hugo as well as Inform, b) he seemed somewhat annoyed by April Fools
>posts in general and c) I would expect the quality of the demos to be higher
>if he had done them.

I ahven't played them yet (I intend to), but the first name that leaps to mind
is Whizzard's. We already know he's produced works in Inform and TADS (but
more TADS than Inform, just like in the pack), he's been producing short games
since he has free time with Avalon in beta (and he's mentioned wanting to
tackle concepts that he thought up while writing Avalon but was too busy to do
anything with, so he's had plenty of time to come up with this stuff) and we
know he has a sense of humour (hey, with all the Avalon jokes, he would HAVE
to!)

I'd also like to go on the record as being pretty sure that this is a joke.

Joe

Adam J. Thornton

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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In article <Er0n8...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>,

Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>I ahven't played them yet (I intend to), but the first name that leaps to mind
>is Whizzard's. We already know he's produced works in Inform and TADS (but
>more TADS than Inform, just like in the pack), he's been producing short games
>since he has free time with Avalon in beta (and he's mentioned wanting to
>tackle concepts that he thought up while writing Avalon but was too busy to do
>anything with, so he's had plenty of time to come up with this stuff) and we
>know he has a sense of humour (hey, with all the Avalon jokes, he would HAVE
>to!)

He says it isn't him.

My only remaining suspect is ddyte.

I'm pretty sure it's several people.

FWIW, textfire.com is not registered with InterNIC.

Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe

Mark J. Tilford

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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If you read the Readme, then you'd know that the page isn't supposed to go up
until June 30 or so, if this is real. (But I agree with everyone else who
thinks this is a hoax.)


>
>Adam
>--
>ad...@princeton.edu Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe

Adam J. Thornton

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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In article <slrn6ikiol....@ralph.caltech.edu>,

Mark J. Tilford <til...@cco.caltech.edu> wrote:
>If you read the Readme, then you'd know that the page isn't supposed to go up
>until June 30 or so, if this is real. (But I agree with everyone else who
>thinks this is a hoax.)

I read the readme.

Having read it, I almost want to go claim textfire.com just to see if
anyone whines about it later.

But not $70 worth.

You never, ever should announce a website without acquiring the domain name
first....

David Dyte

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Apr 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/8/98
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Adam Thornton (one of the Bruces) wrote:
>
> My only remaining suspect is ddyte.
>
> I'm pretty sure it's several people.
>

My blood pumper is wronged! Baby cries! Such language from a small bear!

I deny it. I plead not guilty. I just say no. A dozen more times, no.

- David "Really, it's not me" Dyte

ps 33 points in verb- beat that!

p a t c h.net

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Apr 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/10/98
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--shines the name, shines the name of Jason Compton:
>
> - I haven't played all of the demos yet. Those I have played have ranged
> from mildly amusing (Marjorie Hopkirk, Hockey, Revenge of the etc.) to
> full-blown intriguing (Zugzwang)

I think it's worth mentioning that at least one of the TextFire authors
probably enjoys play-by-mail chess, as "Zugzwang!" is the name of a rather
old (still well established, perhaps?) PBM chess organization.

It's always the little asides that provide the niftiest clues.

--
der Spatchel. spatula@s p a t c h.net. Proud to eat yummy red meat.
PUTPBAD is undergoing a facelift at http://www.spatch.net/booth. Soon!
"So it goes my sorry ass, Kurt." - Kevin Murphy

Dylan O'Donnell

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Apr 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/13/98
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spatula@s p a t c h.net (tv's Spatch) writes:
> I think it's worth mentioning that at least one of the TextFire authors
> probably enjoys play-by-mail chess, as "Zugzwang!" is the name of a rather
> old (still well established, perhaps?) PBM chess organization.

Not necessarily. As I believe the readme said, "zugzwang" is a technical
term in chess theory (generalisable to other two-player alternate-move
games) for a situation in which the player obliged to move can only worsen
his position by doing so. It's a pretty familiar term to students of the
game; I think the PBM group is a red herring.

--
: Dylan O'Donnell : "The only thing necessary for the :
: Demon Internet Ltd, slave deck : triumph of evil is for good men to :
: http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : do nothing." -- Edmund Burke :

Jason Compton

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Apr 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/13/98
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tv's Spatch (spa...@spatch.net) wrote:
:
: I think it's worth mentioning that at least one of the TextFire authors

: probably enjoys play-by-mail chess, as "Zugzwang!" is the name of a rather
: old (still well established, perhaps?) PBM chess organization.
:
: It's always the little asides that provide the niftiest clues.

I was wondering what that meant. I assumed it was the name of some chess
notable who you might find in one of those books of openings or something.

Dennis Matheson

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Apr 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/13/98
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Jason Compton wrote:
>
> tv's Spatch (spa...@spatch.net) wrote:
> :
> : I think it's worth mentioning that at least one of the TextFire authors
> : probably enjoys play-by-mail chess, as "Zugzwang!" is the name of a rather
> : old (still well established, perhaps?) PBM chess organization.
> :
> : It's always the little asides that provide the niftiest clues.
>
> I was wondering what that meant. I assumed it was the name of some chess
> notable who you might find in one of those books of openings or something.
>

Actually, Zugzwang is defined within the game. If you check your
inventory, you are carrying a rule book. Reading the book gives you a
menu which contains (among other things) the rules of chess and the
definition of Zugzwang.

"The term zugzwang (from German, meaning "obligation to move")
is used to describe a situation where any move a player can
make will worsen his position. The rules force him to make a
move, even if it means that he will lose the game."

--
"You can't run away forever, but there's nothing wrong
with getting a good head start" --- Jim Steinman

Dennis Matheson --- Dennis....@delta-air.com
--- http://home.earthlink.net/~tanstaafl

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/13/98
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Dennis Matheson (Dennis....@delta-air.com) wrote:

> Actually, Zugzwang is defined within the game. If you check your
> inventory, you are carrying a rule book. Reading the book gives you a
> menu which contains (among other things) the rules of chess and the
> definition of Zugzwang.

> "The term zugzwang (from German, meaning "obligation to move")
> is used to describe a situation where any move a player can
> make will worsen his position. The rules force him to make a
> move, even if it means that he will lose the game."

I'd also add that the implication is that this position would *not* be so
bad if it *wasn't* your move. That is, if it were your opponent's move,
he'd be hating life, but since it's yours, you are.

David J Wildstrom

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Apr 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/13/98
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In article <slrn6isil4....@cornea.retina.net>,

tv's Spatch <spatula@s p a t c h.net> wrote:
>I think it's worth mentioning that at least one of the TextFire authors
>probably enjoys play-by-mail chess, as "Zugzwang!" is the name of a rather
>old (still well established, perhaps?) PBM chess organization.

Nice, but irrelevant. Zugzwang is also the word for a state of play in which
any move will damage one's position. It's a rarely used but not wholly unknown
term, although its use today is limited almost exclusively to word games.

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| Brian Wilson's new album, "Imagination" is being released |
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| David Wildstrom |
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