Tuesday, 27 January 2015

New Poll: How many game posts should we schedule each week?

Since The Adventure Gamer became community-run in October, we've been playing two games at a time and posting one post a week on each game. We've also been slotting extra posts ('Missed Classics' and 'What's Your Story' posts mainly) between main game posts.

With multiple reviewers we've been able to continue writing posts at a rate that would have a single person collapse with exhaustion

Now, we're asking you, our readers, what you think of our schedule and whether we should change it. Our reviewers are dedicated and working faster than expected so we've been considering increasing our posting schedule. The options we were thinking of appear on the poll in the left hand side of The Adventure Gamer's web site. Vote now! Or read further for more information.

That's right, a new pole! [This pun was brought to you as a tribute to Spellcasting 101]

To put it simply, we're looking at doing either 2 or 3 main games at a time (we currently do 2) and 2 or 3 main game posts a week (we currently do 2).

Note that if we do 3 game posts a week we'll get through the game list quicker, but have less room for extra posts (one a week) while with 2 regular posts a week we've had either one or two extra posts in a typical week. This assumes we continue with out current maximum of 4 posts per week.

No matter what the result, we'll keep things flexible and adjust the planned schedule if it seems like a fun idea, as we did when playing The Scoop Holiday Marathon (TM).

If you don't like any of the options or have any other suggestions let us know here in the comments.

Disclaimer: The Adventure Gamer takes no responsibility for not being able to keep up with our intended schedule due to...

...alien invasion...


...ghost pirate kidnapping...


...or any other reason...


Monday, 26 January 2015

Missed Classic 4: The Scoop - Final Rating

Written by Kenny McCormick

 Finally, I can take off my rose-tinted glasses and start getting really critical on this game. I had fun while it lasted but that sudden ending really sucks. Do they have cellphones in the 1920s? Now, the gloves are off. Get ready for my punching, Telarium!

Puzzles and Solvability

As an adventure game, The Scoop lacks the “use this on that” convention so widely and prevalently used by its contemporary peers. Instead, you use it to show it to people whom are most likely to have certain knowledge of these items to unlock more people you could ask about or even new locations. It is rather refreshing but lacks a certain action-y part that may endear it even further to adventure buffs. Since there is only one big puzzle to solve, I will have to be pretty harsh on this and give it a 2; 1 point for the murder and another 1 point for creativity.

Rating: 2

Interface and Inventory
Its no-nonsense Interface is very clean and user-friendly. Inventory, however, is not sorted out in a more bird’s-eye-view manner and relies on the player to scroll through each of them one-by-one with the arrow keys. Serviceable but not astounding. What is great, though, is that there are no pixel-hunting nightmares. You only need to click the Search command followed by a Take command (if there is something to be taken) to grab your shit.

Rating: 6

Story and Setting

It’s written by Agatha Christie and 5 other accomplished mystery writers. That’s 6 writers. Repeat after me, S-I-X. Very good! Joking aside, this game is chock full of content. Each NPC have loads to say about one another and so many locations to visit that one could get lost in it. This is no easy feat for a game that has no stupid mazes to entrap players. 1 point for each writer!

Rating: 6

Sound and Graphics

The monochrome backgrounds do a good job in lulling you into thinking of an old-timey black-&-white noir thriller. Juxtaposing that with brightly-clothed characters that burst out of the screen that demand your full attention whenever they appear and you have a never-before-seen application of this pop-art style in this medium. It will not be until 1998 when we see a similar attempt in the Movies, Games & Videos sector. That said, the character portraits look horrible. Also, there is no music other than the little introduction ditty. Sounds are limited to the little steps your character make while walking and the screeching of tires made by taxis.

Rating: 4

Environment and Atmosphere

I’m a little torn here. On one hand, we have a huge gaming arena filled with many real-life locations. On the other, probably because of aforementioned pop-art style, the game gives a more Andy Warhol vibe rather than a Film Noir vibe. The locations fail to give me an “I was there!” feeling as I felt more alienated to the black-&-white background because of the characters’ colors.

Rating: 2

Dialogue and Acting

This is where The Scoop truly shines. Each character has his/her own agenda. All of them are colorful, not only because of the graphics used, but because of their pronounced differences from each other. You only need see Fisher once to remember him as that Rich Fat Boy.

Rating: 7

Total

We have a nice round number of 45. Closest guess was Andy Panthro's. Congratulations! I’m off for a second run. This time, as a hot chick!



Cap Distribution

50 CAPs for Kenny McCormick
  • Classic Blogger Award – 50 CAPs – For blogging his way through The Scoop for our enjoyment
231 CAPs for Canageek
  • Biched Bicipitous Bicorn Bibbing Bibulously? Bibble-babble! - 25 CAPs - For finding new innuendos for Kenny
  • Mega Genre Support Award - 201 CAPs - For announcing plenty of sales
  • Meticulour Linker Award - 5 CAPs - For linking each played game to a library of DOS games
50 CAPs for Joe Pranevich
  • Classic Blogger Award – 50 CAPs – For blogging his way through Merry Christmas for our enjoyment
20 CAPs for El Zoof
  • Cartographer Award - 20 CAPs - For finding out what's missing in Joe's map on Adventure
 20 CAPs for Kenjab
  • What's Your Story -Award - 20 CAPS - For sending in answers for What's Your Story -questions
20 CAPs for Laertes
  • What's Your Story -Award - 20 CAPS - For sending in answers for What's Your Story -questions
20 CAPs for Aperama
  • Barber Award - 5 CAPs - For recognizing Sonny Bonds' hair
  • Black or White Award - 5 CAPs - For revealing the ultimate fate of Michael Jackson
  • Biscuit Award – 5 CAPs – For finding new innuendos for Kenny
  • Crow Award - 5 CAPs - For guessing Kenny's movie quote
15 CAPs for Rowan Lipkovits
  • Christmas Spirit Award – 15 CAPs – For finding three Christmas themed games for Joe Pranevich
15 CAPs for Andy Panthro
  • Psychic Prediction Award - 10 CAPs - For getting the closest prediction for the final rating
  • Christmas Spirit Award – 5 CAPs – For finding a game involving Santa Claus for Joe Pranevich
 15 CAPs for TBD
  • Birrotch Award – 5 CAPs – For finding new innuendos for Kenny
  • Genre Support Award - 5 CAPs - For announcing a sale on Steam
  • Genre Support Award - 5 CAPs - For announcing a sale on GOG
5 CAPs for Deimar
  • Genre Appreciation Award – 5 CAPs – For linking to a library of DOS games
5 CAPs for Laukku
  • Genre Appreciation Award – 5 CAPs – For announcing a preorder of Grim Fandango Remastered

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Game 47: Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls - The Impossible Isle of Putrescent Puns

Written by Aperama

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #3: So, my quest to both reclaim my lost Lola and find out what my mother meant has started.. strangely. Spellcasting U has been completely trashed! The last thing I got out of Professor Peelerofsmallfigs was so cryptic – how could it have been the ones who write the horrible university newspaper that were guilty of everything? Either way, nobody's really talking. The University is just about empty. I managed to learn some spells from the simulation chair.. maybe it's stopped by the person who ran the simulation normally. Heck, I wasn't even sure it was safe to be in there, I was just so lost! I've got Tickingclock's magical surfboard, have managed to make a whale land in the middle of the busted up Batguano Court.. and after looking around a bit, I ended up at the Island of Lost Soles! It's not as fun here as it was cracked up to be in the booklet.. I've mostly just been spending time finding people and saving them with my KABBUL spell. I'm really glad I climbed up that bust! Now, is this set of trees a STAN or a CLYDE...




The continuation of our cliffhanger from last post...

It's difficult to say whether this past hour and a bit playing Spellcasting was actually.. pleasant. I only really had one thing in mind for this play post – getting the surfboard in Tickingclock's room which he'd insisted was so 'magical'. Everything else was due to be a mystery, as far as I was concerned – that wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that there was no more clear goal ahead of us. Sure, the 'end aim' of reclaiming the Sorcerer's MacGuffin looms overhead, along with perhaps 'saving Professor Tickingclock' or 'finding out what the mysterious talisman that Ernie's mother gave to him is'. After a fair bit of trial and error, I ended up finding what I can only presume was our intended destination for the next section of the game – and that has taken the game to a mixture of frustration and minimal laughter. Anyhow.. back to the story!


Aw, she really had a moustache?
If I'd known that, I might not have.. rearranged furniture with her!

After assuring myself that we couldn't revive Professor Peelerofsmallfigs with a 'KABBUL', I slipped around Sorcerer's University. Some rooms looked very similar (the dock, the entry hall, the arena, the maze, the professor's office and Ernie's room look literally identical) but the dormitories, both fraternities and Batguano Court all had evidence of the chaos caused by the ruckus that clearly took place while we were unconscious. Still, I had one clear aim, and sure enough, a DISPAR took the surfboard off of the wall for us, dropping a BLUBBA spell box out from behind it ('summon a whale'). I immediately thought that we'd be riding a whale about the place when I saw this – but every time I summon him near water, 'the great blast of air summoned as the sperm whale drops from the sky throws my spellbook out of my hands'. And when I summon him elsewhere..


Fun fact: outdoor whale summoning far funnier than indoor whale self-splatting.
 Don't try this at home, kids

About ten minutes of frustrated searching was in my future, however, as after realising that the whale was doing nothing for me, I started searching elsewhere. The simulation chair had the exact same puzzle to get through, though regardless of where we 'fail' it (even as the simulation last ended, one more turn leads a 'beast' to come in and savage us no matter what we do) it appears to leave us with the three spells from inside the simulation still in our spellbook. (A recap: ZEM, 'increased fighting ability'', 'GUB', 'disease plants', and 'VAI', 'healthy plants') Unfortunately, none of them really help us out of our situation. After looking at the talisman (a largely featureless rock) and then the surfboard a touch more closely, I realised that I'd been holding our escape mechanism from the University since the start of the post. It took a little to realise that I had to actually float it in water to use it as a transportation device. The surfboard has two dials – one that goes from '1 to 15' and the other that has 'the names of many creatures – specifically, the ones you'll find along the side of the map you'll find in your game package' (or in the introductory post written on here for the game). Clue taken! My first few destinations were given 'cautionary warnings' or were 'too far for the surfboard' – and after being mauled, sent to Dragon Tending Guild and cleaned up by a barge, I ended up picking the random island that sits in the middle of the land mass for kicks.


I actually selected this as a joke, game...

But there again, choosing jokes is probably the right decision in this game

The Island of Lost Soles, indeed. I actually feel a little ripped off – I really meant this as a joke! However, it's good to see that they at least acknowledge the double meaning. Instead of spamming you all with pictures of it, I'll just include the transcript from the sign found on the beach of the island: "Welcome to the Island of Lost Soles (Population 80)." Below, someone has scrawled, "Listen to our story, O Traveller, and then help us if you can: We were always content being the Island of Lost Soles, until by and by, some grew tired of the constant splinters and blisters, and summoned a famous cobbler from a distant land, Waldo Bootlacer. He performed remarkably, and for the first time in anyone's memory, we had Soles. Unfortunately, due to a bank error, our check to Bootlacer bounced. Thinking that he was being cheated, he contracted the evil warlock, Lars Stormkiller, to enact revenge upon us. Stormkiller cast a horrible spell, which has transformed us from the Island of Lost Soles to the Island of Lost Souls... at least, until some kind-hearted sorcerer arrives to restore us. The spell has entrapped us, one by one, in non-human forms. Only I, Blaise, Mayor of the Island, remain human, and even now I feel a f"


I understood the puzzle at first, but my mind skipped a beat

I took my usual stance of 'pick everything up first, consider it later'. The island is fairly small – there's a forest to the northeast (which in the picture of the opening screen looks like it should be northwest given the directional compass supposedly works in conjunction with the pictures ingame), a small fishing hole/brook to the southeast, and to the east is a suburban home filled with all of the sorts of things that a normal suburban home has – a doorbell, a gym, a car full of men, a 'handtruck' (I'd have called it a trolley), a kitchen, stuffed animals ad nauseum.. well, perhaps not 'all' of the things. It's almost difficult to admit how long it took me to realise exactly what was being asked of me, but instead of 'KABBUL BLAISE' being the first thing that I did when I made my way onto the opening screen, instead, it took until here for my brain to kick into gear..




This is where I cracked my knuckles and got ready for what was to come..

As I say – embarrassing. After 'BLAISE' put out the fire when he was KABBUL-ed, it soon brought out a pair of things that were no longer on fire, for instance – a 'lot'.. I just began throwing out random 'CHAR' names in truth – 'CHARLIE' (a charred lea) and 'CHARLOTTE' both gave me a point a piece, along with a bee (BEA) who was hovering over the top of the fire. It seemed straight forward enough, so I just began randomly running around. Some of them I didn't even get – I just typed out names that seemed to make sense and came up with a favorable response.


A CAR full of MEN, a 'device to (JACK) up a car'..

I'm not proud of myself, but I'm willing to say that I didn't put too much thought into things at first. Realising that the 'nymphs' that came up every now and then were actually giving clues, I went back through my script-log to come up with a few extra names that it was trying to insist on. A WALDO in the kitchen screen, for instance, I may well not have gotten if a nymph hadn't come up with “Have you seen Waldo? No? Okay, I'll keep looking.” Trial and error will more than likely be enough to make our way through here if the clues keep up.


After picking up everything not bolted down, my inventory bloated a little

I'd probably technically be able to fire through all of the assorted puns that flew past. The 'nest full of ornamental vases' being ERNEST. The more obvious ones – 'BROOKE' being the brook/small stream of water. If there's one design choice I can really complain about here, it has to be that in its desperate attempt to make things less obvious for the puns being made, the game chooses very wishy-washy language. It'd be quite difficult for a non-English speaker to make it through this one. (Hell, I didn't even understand a couple. I've never heard of a lime RICKY, which I fluked while throwing random names into the parser preceded by 'KABBUL', and 'NICHOLAS' as an 'accounting statement'? I'm still not even sure what the joke is there.) To use 'a man's silk neck ornament' is one thing – to use the description of 'if you've seen one man's silk neck ornament, you've seen them all' is another.. even if it's quite obvious that it's a TY. My assorted journeys throughout the Isle led me to receive an upgrade to Level 4 – it seems to be related to points (which I'm receiving one of per solved pun.)


And here's where I found myself desperately wishing for more characters in a save file

My brain was beginning to melt at this point. Bad puns, some of which I couldn't really make heads nor tails of (a PAT of butter I've heard of.. but not very often) led me to just desperately want to stop. I was nearly crying. And not in a good way. I'll list all that I've found as of posting - BILL PATTY BARB ROBIN WALDO TEDDY BUCK BLAISE BROOKE BEA STU PEG TOM ROD CHIP TY FRANK BUNNY ADAM BO JACK NICHOLAS JIM BELLE DOLLY BERNIE KERMIT CARMEN CHARLIE CHARLOTTE ERNEST PAT WILBUR WILTON WILLIAM WILLIE WILBUR WILMA WILTON WILHELM WILL SHERRY PENNY JULES and RICKY. The clues left over that I have yet to find are GABBY LULU NOEL BLAIR and WINNIE. I might like some hints as far as the salamander and bristly pad in my inventory – I literally don't know what a 'bristly pad' is. A scourer? Looking at the item gives a result of 'once you've seen one bristly pad you've seen them all'...





My inventory!

A salamander
A bristly pad
A surfboard of ocean crossing power
An ancient map (also found in my game box™)
A talisman
A popular book
Seemingly useless: president's house key, scribbled note, registration form, pack of cigarettes
Notebook
A cloak (I'm dressed, yay!)
A spellbook with BIP (romantic music), VAI (healthy plants), GUB (diseased plants), ZEM (increase fighting ability), SKONN (increase bust size), FRIMP (levitation), DISPAR (remove magic protection) KABBUL (restore lost souls) and BLUBBA (summon a whale)

Session Time: 1 hour 30 min
Total Time: 4 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I'd not mind a clue or two regarding salamanders (Lizzy isn't the answer!) or a bristly pad (A sponge? What the hell!)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Missed Classic 4: The Scoop - LOST!

by Kenny McCormick

Kenny’s filthy notebook (with a frustrated looking smiley pulling out his own hair) legible page #10: Scotland Yard? I’m seriously disappointed with you guys. Don’t you solve crimes, serve the community & protect the people? Do I pay you taxes just so that I can say “Officers, arrest that man!” (even though that statement is totally badass and worth every penny to do it)?

Following up with my misadventures earlier, I have finished the game. There are things that I would do differently on my next play-through to win the game but I won’t be blogging about it. It was definitely longer than what I had expected and what you desired. I should have blogged about The Sex Olympics or one of those Japanese Adult Adventure Visual Novels or Hentai Eroge.

Since Scotland Yard could not do anything to help, I went to Fisher’s house to find something that could get him off the hook that Hemingway had so brilliantly set him up for. I may not be able to incriminate the killer but I could still try to vindicate the innocent.

Hey! This wasn’t here before!

Dammit. This game is so time-sensitive; it worries me to no end that I may have missed out some time-specific events, clues and/or items. I’m sure that my waiting-around for things to happen in the last couple of days will come back to bite me in the arse and probably stick its long spiky tongue into my tender rectum.

Whoa! How does a housekeeper staying in a run-down hovel manage to pay off 500 big ones back in the 1920s (about US$3,700 today) in full without selling her own body parts is anybody’s guess.

I took a trip to Brighton and boarded the bus to Jumbles where Gladys lived to ask her about it but she remained tight-lipped about it. Beeyotch. Wasted 2 hours of my life. So, I just went back to sleep.

The powers of my clairvoyance know no bounds.

After a good night’s rest, I took a cab down to The Morning Star to meet up with Inspector Smart to see if my clues up till now are enough to warrant an arrest of Hemingway.


Dammit! I missed a key event last night!

I guess I’m too early since Smart’s still not here. Might as well pick up the papers for the day while I’m at it.



Tracey, Oh Tracey! Wherefore art thou?

Arthur Potts is linked with drug smuggling, eh? Explains the amount of money he earns. Just as well that he’s promised to grant me an interview today. I’ll talk to him later. But, what’s this?

Yoink!

Hmm… Who’s G?

With time to spare, I made my way to Beryl’s home to check out if I could find any clues.

Nope.

Maybe her neighbor?

What the?!

Oh Fisher, you sure act fast for someone so fat. Girl-on-top-like-bouncing-on-trampoline as usual? What does the girl have to say for herself?

An all-nighter, eh? Guess the Beryl-Beater ain’t here.

Seeing that I could get nothing done here, I left for Southampton to meet up with Potts for the interview. Finally, I caught him at home around 9am and began questioning him.

Who and where the hell is he?! Why doesn’t even the brother know?!

So would I, that beeyotch.

Yeah. Now she’s Amethyst Fatmanwaring.

That’s not the kind of expression I was expecting when talking about a recent dearly departed. Fishy…

That, I did. You certainly didn’t kill Geraldine but Johnson?

Oh, really! Does business include Johnson-stabbing? Wait, that came out wrong.

And I’m sure you won’t need glue to stick it up there, eh? Eh? Eh?

Having exhausted all I could ask of Potts, I went to the pub in the vicinity and found a new NPC. Dammit.

It’s Leisure Suit Larry in a hat! And facial hair!

He certainly looks like an undercover Sonny Bonds-type.

See the following picture to prove that I ain’t bullshitting about that, mate.


Is it a nod to Police Quest? I don’t know but I’m gonna talk to this guy anyway.

Teehee! Smallpiece

Oh, so he’s the cop who has been hunting Potts. Don’t worry. I may be a Master Thief but I ain’t no drug peddler. I may hail from part of the UK but I ain’t no colonial drug pusher

Whoa! You followed Potts’ trail all the way from Egypt? Commendable!

So, what’s this then? A side quest?

A drug trafficking sister-lover! Do his sins know no end?

Yes, that’s what reporters do: solve crimes. Games like Police Quest got it totally wrong.

Yeah, I got that. But Johnson?

Sounds like a total perv.

Odd. Potts didn’t have much to say about her though.

Ah… a World Heritage Site.

Yeah, yeah. Potts didn’t kill Geraldine, I know.

Damn, what?! So, this letter is just a coded message for dirt merchants and not some hot sibling incest thingy?

After finally unravelling my longtime suspicion of Potts and Geraldine, I made my way to Pyecraft to find out more about that crumpled note that Hemingway wrote

Not covering for your friend, are you?

Once again, dead-ended, I went back to the Morning Star to meet up with Smart at the entrance.

For f*ck’s sake, do your job already!

Not sure if I could achieve anything, I showed him the Promissory Note I found in Fisher’s Office.

Yup.

That definitely did not achieve anything. Perhaps if I confronted Hemingway directly in his own office?

It’s a deal! Remember that, Hemingway!

Whoa! Easy does it!

Yeah, typical Agatha Christie style.

Mayhaps I should talk to Redman?

Still nothing. I’m at my wit’s end. I made my way down to The Cheshire Cheese pub beside The Morning Star to drown my virtual sorrows. Redman was in there too, also drowning his sorrows.

Why aren’t you called Greenman? Y’know, since London Bobby is a London Bobby and Flower Boy is a Flower Boy…

What? This isn’t even at Victoria’s Secret level of flesh exposure!

Johnson’s a nasty bugger with a naughty name, ain’t he?

Baubles? I’m a goddamn Master Thief! You? You’re just a Baiter! A Master Bai- uh… next item!

Oh, I’d like to see you try, old man in green.

And immediately after leaving that conversation, I suddenly received a telepathic message directly from my useless boss with a pathetic newspaper running with a financially unsound business model:

Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ll be at The Morning Star. Harhar! Loser.

And that concludes my play-through. I might not have caught the killer, but I got a better job at The Morning Star with Hemingway as my boss and a pouch filled with gemstones. All in all, I’m set for life. Until I get stabbed in a phone booth in the (hopefully, far far) future.