Score: a high TWO.
I can only assume that this game's title is an oblique reference to
those old Tootsie Pop ads... "How many licks does it take to get to the
center of a human breast? One... two... **crunch** ...three."
So here's an attempt at a Hannibal Lecter riff, with writing that
practically jumps up and down yelling "See how atmospheric I am?"
(though sprinkled with glitches like "the nurse brakes protocol" and
"he didn't quite understand you're request"). I didn't much care for
the writing or the story, nor did I like the apparently deliberate
omission of compass directions (>EXIT in the office says I'm not in
anything, even though I'm clearly in an office and trying to get out,
and only after I walk into a wall will the game tell me where the door
is. Why?) But the main reason 1-2-3 scored a two from me and not a
three has to do with its approach to conversation.
One trend in recent text IF has been a move away from the ASK/TELL
system, toward conversational menus or even toward >SPEAK commands that
will cause the player-character to say something that the player may
well find surprising. However, ASK/TELL still has its advocates, with
GALATEA in particular being hailed as a "vindication" of the system.
Well, here's the counter-argument, demonstrating what happens when the
subject at hand can't really be summed up in a word:
| >ASK AARON ABOUT VICTIM
| You are not in the mood for each other this morning, but you need
| each other. This will be quick. "Don't you want to ask me about
| her breasts?" he asks insidiously.
And thus did this year's answer to "Baby cries!" and "The phone
never ring" make its appearance. All the conversation is prompted
this way: "Don't you want to ask me what else I've found?" leads to
>ASK HIM WHAT ELSE HE HAS FOUND. And sometimes it doesn't work:
| >ASK BOB ABOUT VICTIM
| "We know that Riessa recently moved here from the country. She
| was 21. Her parents are coming in this afternoon -- that'll be
| tough," he says.
| >ASK HIM ABOUT PARENTS
| He smiles an empathetic smile. "Don't you want to ask me about the
| victim, Riessa?" he asks.
And then there's this:
| "Do you want to know what I would do, boss?" he asks in kindness.
| That was a rhetorical question.
| >BOB, YES
| "Right oh, boss," says Bob instinctively. You have worked together
| for so long that you're sure he didn't quite understand you're
| [sic] request.
The solution? Not >ASK BOB FOR ADVICE or even >ASK BOB ABOUT ADVICE,
but >ASK BOB ABOUT WHAT HE WOULD DO. Between the overt prompting and
the cumbersome phrasing, I can't imagine why this was done as ASK/TELL
instead of via menus. ">ASK HIM ABOUT IF HE WILL STRIKE AGAIN"...
>ASK ADAM ABOUT WHAT SCORE HE GAVE THIS GAME: a high TWO.
Okay, I have to ask. "Do he be friendly"? What was the author here
*thinking*? In this day and age, where Spike Lee makes an anti-
blackface movie and gets slammed by critics for being irrelevant
("c'mon, you don't see racism *that* overt anymore!"), we get a scene
straight out of "Amos & Andy"? Who wrote this, Ted Danson?
Anyway, aside from that, bad game. Sophomoric, with humor relying
on things like "that guy's fat!" and "that dog just pissed on a fire
hydrant!" and "poodles are, like, SO gay!", and poor design... what's
the goal? To get bought? Whoops, I lost. So I'm trying *not* to get
bought, then? Whoops, I lost again.
Still, the "Eleanor Rigby" riff in the easter egg was pretty good.
THE MASQUE OF THE LAST FAERIES
I couldn't get into this one at all, and it was full of rocky prose
and bad poetry. I was also thrown at first by the sudden appearance of
pot plants, but I quickly realized that this was a matter of linguistic
differences between continents and not product placement by NORML.
HAPPY EVER AFTER
Forget the bug that makes this one unfinishable, forget the
"cemetary" and the "resturant", forget the fact that it's yet another
alchemy game, forget the inconsistent math (the 1750s are 500 years
ago?) This game lost me from the get-go with the combination lock
puzzle. Now, let me get this straight. Uncle Steve *wants* me to
look after his place, right? So why wouldn't he just *tell* me what
the frigging combination is? Is standing around out front for hours
on end supposed to be a character-building experience or something?
Uncle Steve's lucky I didn't burn his damn house down. And the clue
that's supposed to tip me off is an oblique homily in a letter he sent
me? Maybe, *maybe*, if this were much longer, and the guy were senile
and had used this "five senses, ten fingers" line many times, and I had
to guess, say, the PIN for his ATM card (5101, see), *that* might be an
okay puzzle. But a gate with a huge combination lock in the middle of
it (what?) for which the housesitter hasn't been given the combination
(what??) except in the form of a fortune-cookie-style note which we're
supposed to guess is a clue because it's the only implemented object
with numbers in it, I guess (what???)... no. No, no, a thousand times
This was like the combination lock puzzle multiplied by a hundred.
Let's see here:
* There's a take-a-number dispenser which, for some reason, won't
dispense numbers without an obscure code being pushed (and note that
while this puzzle resembles one in KAGED, KAGED provided a motivation
for why the powers that be might want elevators to be too complex to
operate without special knowledge.) Yet the fact that the instructions
are missing seems only to be an obstacle for the player-character --
all the other customers (or, rather, the "unpatient" customers) don't
seem to have had any problems securing their tickets. Hmmm.
* I need three bucks to pay off a service fee. Do I run home and
get it? No, I sneak around the bank trying to find three bucks lying
around the premises, eventually finding most of the money in a piggy
bank I've swapped for one I colored red with a CRAYON, utterly fooling
the teller, who was "busy with another customer" while it was my turn,
but then *didn't* call up the next customer when I wandered off.
* The guard (who's apparently paying extremely close attention to
the proceedings to know I'm suddenly allowed in, but hasn't noticed the
shenanigans that secured me that permission) lets me down to the
deposit boxes, which are arranged in a *spiral*. Why? See, it's one
thing if the bank had some *reason* to make it difficult to find a box.
If something is an obstacle for *story* reasons, fine. If it's an
obstacle for the sake of cramming in another unmotivated puzzle, what
you've got is a bad game.
But maybe asking for an explanation would be counterproductive.
After all, the game explains the walls of the kids' area thusly: "In
reality the reason for the walls is probably the converse in that..."
If that's how the answer begins, I withdraw the question.
Couldn't work up any interest in this one. I did chuckle at the
fact that you find a pill on the ground, and if you eat it, it says,
"Unfortunatly, it was poisonous. ***** You have died! *****" I spent
several minutes giggling, "Oh no! It was a poison chalupa!"
Score: a low TWO.
Standard-issue IF that really needed an appointment with the red
pencil: "abdomin", "decapitation of his head", "desperatley", and
"simalar" are just a few of the bloopers I scribbled down. And then
an opening gambit where to get anywhere you have to examine a scenery
object twice? No thanks.
Score: a low TWO.
RETURN TO ZORK: ANOTHER STORY
* I don't like Zork.
* A .z8 game doesn't belong in the comp.
* This is poorly written. Yes, I realize that this owes to the
fact that the author is not a native speaker of English, but that still
doesn't make the prose any easier to read.
Score: a low TWO.
Like ASENDENT, this is a mock-up of a really bad game. And like
ASENDENT, it proves that the experience of playing a mock-up of a really
bad game is pretty much identical to the experience of playing a really
bad game. This one gets an even lower score because the target was
less obvious, making me think that there had to be more to it -- maybe
you were supposed to find some device that would fix the code or
something -- but there wasn't. Apparently this author thought that
deliberately submitting a really bad game to the comp was intrinsically
funny. Well, guess what? It's not, really.
Score: a very low TWO.
Is this supposed to be a showcase for what ADRIFT can do? If so,
the answer seems to be that it can create extremely primitive games not
much more impressive than INFIL-TRAITOR.
Score: a very low TWO.
Second verse, same as the first. The fact that there are two of
these things, pretty much equally primitive, is much more damning for
ADRIFT than if there'd been only one. With one, we wouldn't have known
whether it was the author or the subject or the system to blame for the
game's lack of quality; with two games by different people that both
came out like this, you start to look for common denominators.
Score: a very low TWO.
ESCAPE FROM CRULISTAN
That this is quite decent for a homebrewed parser goes to show why
you shouldn't use homebrewed parsers. No >G, no >Y for yes, no plurals.
All in the service of an annoying game full of sophomoric attempts at
humor. This barely escaped a one.
Score: a very, very low TWO.
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
web site: http://adamcadre.ac
Shee, that's harsh, man. O_O
I didn't hate Futz Mutz THAT much... yes, it's hard without the walkthrough,
but there is humor and whimsy in the writing, and competant use of HTML
TADS. That should count for something...
> HAPPY EVER AFTER
> Forget the bug that makes this one unfinishable, forget the
> "cemetary" and the "resturant", forget the fact that it's yet another
> alchemy game, forget the inconsistent math (the 1750s are 500 years
> ago?) This game lost me from the get-go with the combination lock
> puzzle. Now, let me get this straight. Uncle Steve *wants* me to
> look after his place, right? So why wouldn't he just *tell* me what
> the frigging combination is? Is standing around out front for hours
> on end supposed to be a character-building experience or something?
> Uncle Steve's lucky I didn't burn his damn house down. And the clue
> that's supposed to tip me off is an oblique homily in a letter he sent
> me? Maybe, *maybe*, if this were much longer, and the guy were senile
> and had used this "five senses, ten fingers" line many times, and I had
> to guess, say, the PIN for his ATM card (5101, see), *that* might be an
> okay puzzle. But a gate with a huge combination lock in the middle of
> it (what?) for which the housesitter hasn't been given the combination
> (what??) except in the form of a fortune-cookie-style note which we're
> supposed to guess is a clue because it's the only implemented object
> with numbers in it, I guess (what???)... no. No, no, a thousand times
Actually, it's none of that, just a referance you missed. ^_^ It's a riff on
the "Adamms Family" movie, where the combination to the vault was 2-10-11,
"Eyes, Fingers, Toes."
But yes, an obscure referance is just as inexcusable for a puzzle
> HAPPY EVER AFTER
> Forget the bug that makes this one unfinishable,
I must have missed that bug; I _did_ finish this game.
Let's face it, a game that personally attacks certain people and concepts
and is borderline racist to boot won't endear itself to many.
>Adam Cadre <a...@adamcadre.ac> wrote:
>> HAPPY EVER AFTER
>> Forget the bug that makes this one unfinishable,
>I must have missed that bug; I _did_ finish this game.
It only becomes unfinishable if you move the mirror or the telescope
before the moonbeam appears.
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> >> HAPPY EVER AFTER
> >> Forget the bug that makes this one unfinishable,
> >I must have missed that bug; I _did_ finish this game.
> It only becomes unfinishable if you move the mirror or the telescope
> before the moonbeam appears.
Ah. I did that, noticed no change, fiddled some more with other objects,
restored a game, then got the moonbeam and did the fiddling again. So I
never triggered the bug.
No, Adam had it right. The clue is the letter. I thought it
_SCREAMINGLY OBVIOUS_, however, and thus a good first puzzle.
Now the puzzle I expected to take heat over was the crypt riddle, I
spent a solid week making that up, and expected to be blasted because of
it. Most people seemed to have found that riddle really easy.
Heh. Shows what I know.
Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.
Which still baffeles me, btw :) I have no idea why that happens.
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(Liz) Oh, oops.... Well, that's the end of that saved game....
It could be a tumor.
(Well, the joke is funny every time in *my* house).
Just kidding. It might be a situation where you relied on the
order of execution of timers or daemons. Moving the mirror or the
telescope might re-arrange the order and throw off a dependency.
Neil Cerutti <cer...@together.net>
Linux on board. It is now safe to turn on your computer.
Heh. I got annoyed that the author didn't let me play his game on my
version of the TADS interpreter. I elected not to rate it. Then I got
offended at his speling flaymes and other insults against Zarf for
doing the same thing. If Zarf (and by extension myself and others who
didn't rate his game) had kicked his game in the arse with a (1), I
could understand a level of defenciveness. The author's reaction was
If this is what the game was like when you got past the game's hurdles
and the author's reaction to criticism, then I'm REALLY not going to
bother to play it. In addition I suggest the author issue his next
effort under a pseudonym, because it's going to be hard for me to
judge it fairly.
"No adult human really knows anyplace. You have to crawl everywhere
you can crawl, lick anything interesting, trace all the smells to
their sources, listen to ants trooping across walls, and eat a few
spiders before you really know a place."
-- Corey the Cat ("All Too Familiar", J Robert King, Dragon #259)
> Standard-issue IF that really needed an appointment with the red
>pencil: "abdomin", "decapitation of his head", "desperatley", and
>"simalar" are just a few of the bloopers I scribbled down. And then
>an opening gambit where to get anywhere you have to examine a scenery
>object twice? No thanks.
You left out the navigation screwups. I shouldn't have to guess a random
direction to enter a tent.
The misspelling I found most annoying was "canon", which is a word after
Hey, that was me!
> Well, here's the counter-argument, demonstrating what happens when the
> subject at hand can't really be summed up in a word:
> | >ASK AARON ABOUT VICTIM
> | You are not in the mood for each other this morning, but you need
> | each other. This will be quick. "Don't you want to ask me about
> | her breasts?" he asks insidiously.
> And thus did this year's answer to "Baby cries!" and "The phone
> never ring" make its appearance. All the conversation is prompted
> this way: "Don't you want to ask me what else I've found?" leads to
> >ASK HIM WHAT ELSE HE HAS FOUND. And sometimes it doesn't work:
I agree that this was a dismal failure, but I think it's more a product of
some weird design choices than of ASK/TELL as such. The conversation topics
were pretty obvious--the game didn't have to put stupid cues in the mouths
of the NPCs. There wasn't really much danger that you were going to bog
down. (What should I be asking about? The weather? The price of beans in
Peru? Oh, I forget. >QUIT.) In a game where the world is pretty open-ended
and the player is likely to need some sort of prompting, then it's more of a
problem, but it's possible to cue the player much less ham-handedly than
Also, when I said that Galatea was a vindication of the A/T system, I
certainly hope I wasn't implying that it's a perfect system--the point was
merely that Galatea shows that complex and rewarding NPC interaction is
possible with that system. (At least, I found that interaction rewarding.) I
didn't actually say this in that review, but I think it's true: it wouldn't
have been as rewarding a game in menu-based conversation because figuring
out the character's psychology--making connections between what she's saying
and other topics--is the whole challenge. Having the game do it for you (by
bringing up the topics you can ask her about on a menu) would take away that
This is a personal thing, not a generalization, but: menu-based conversation
for me is like mowing a lawn. When you mow a lawn, usually you start from
one side and methodically move to the other side, back and forth, chopping
down every blade of grass you see. It'll be very clear when I'm done,
because the whole lawn will be mowed, and then I'll stop mowing. Maybe it's
just me, but when I know that I'll be done when TALK TO yields 'you have
nothing more to say,' I start mowing methodically through the various
branches, UNDOing if I have to, to dispose of the character. The character
will have a clear ending point, just like the lawn, and there's no chance
that I'll miss anything if I don't think about what the character's doing in
the story. I can do character interaction with my brain off, in short. I
suppose that might be good if you have a million characters and it's a pain
to keep them all straight, and I'd certainly give you that it beats badly
done ASK/TELL like what you find in 1-2-3. But for freedom, both real and
perceived, I'd rather have ASK/TELL.