Friday, 13 July 2012

Game 21: Police Quest 2 - Introduction


No, we haven't gone back to CGA! It's just someone's bad idea of a joke.

After spending the last week in a role where I was expected to hunt down the human rebellion on behalf of an invading army of aliens, gearing up in my police uniform to protect and serve the community of Lytton seems a little unexciting in comparison.  However, I did enjoy Police Quest 1 quite a bit when I played it earlier this year, despite my qualms about the puzzles being based almost entirely on following strict procedures from the manual rather than any logical deduction on my behalf. I have no idea whether the sequel follows a similar procedural form of gameplay or whether it takes a more investigative and logical application approach, but either way it’s sure to be an interesting ride.


Please don't tell me the bad guy is Chuck Norris! I might as well give up now!

Police Quest 2 was the third game to showcase Sierra’s SCI engine after King’s Quest IV and Leisure Suit Larry 2. Former police officer Jim Walls was once again involved in the design of the game, including real life scenarios he faced during his time with the force, and making sure correct police protocol was used throughout. Apart from his involvement (and that of veteran programmer Robert Heitman), Police Quest 2 seems to have been a breeding ground for numerous programmers and animators, none of whom appear in credits prior to the game, yet do so on many that would be released in the years following. Of particular note are programmers Robert Fischbach (Quest for Glory I & II, Conquests of Camelot & the Longbow) and Jerry Shaw (Quest for Glory I- III, Gabriel Knight I & II) , and music composer Mark Seibert (Quest for Glory I-III, Space Quest III & IV, King’s Quest V-VIII).


Mark Seibert - Great game music composer - Shocking mullet

I’ll be playing the one and only PC version of the game, which I own as part of the Police Quest 1+2+3+4 collection I purchased from GOG a while back. The included manual has no background information on what has occurred between Police Quest I and II, and instead acts as a Homicide Officer’s Guide, suggesting I’ll be referring to it a lot in the coming days. It contains very similar information to the first game’s manual, including operation, arrest and investigation procedures, as well as radio, vehicle and penal code information. I know very little about the game itself, but a few readers have already suggested there are quite a few dead ends, so I’ll have to be extra alert at all times. I believe Officer Charles will be assisting me once again, but I’ll have to wait for my first briefing to see who else will be assigned to the case. Officer Sonny Bonds, ready for action!


Do people really put CONFIDENTIAL on things like this? It only makes us want to read it.

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've recently written 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. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 points (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle unassisted (see below for an example). It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Multiple readers can predict the same score, but will be rewarded a decreasing amount of points if it turns out to be correct.

Example Bet:
Bet: V arire eha, V arire fcrnx, ohg V'yy nyjnlf or n zheqrebhf sernx. Jub nz V...sbe 13 cbvagf?

69 comments:

  1. I actually replayed this about 5 years ago but remember very little about it. Looking forward to reading you blog about it.

    And... Jason Voorhees?

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    1. You nailed it TBD! Did you get the Friday the 13th reference (today's date) or was the hint enough?

      13 points to TBD!

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    2. Bah! I had a good idea what it might be from seeing the 13 before I put it through the ROT13, but unfortunately I can't read this blog while at work!

      Was always more of a Nightmare on Elm Street fan anyway...

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    3. Yeah. The date, the offer of 13 points, and my unnatural love of horror movies combined to give me the answer.

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  2. I knew it couldn't be Phil Cook! (he did run once)

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    1. I had a good chuckle at this Charles. :)

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  3. Wooo. Back to another one I haven't played before. Should be interesting, looking very forward to when we hit Zak though. I plan on playing the heck out of that when we do.

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    1. Oops. That's just me posting under my Google account instead of my AIM. :P

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  4. I played this when it came out but can't remember if I ever finished it. I do remember being stuck a few times.

    I think it can't possibly score as high as KQIV. PQ2 is an improvement over PQ1, so my final score prediction is a 54.

    I don't have any points to bet, but I can vaguely recall spending days stuck in 2 particular spots.

    I might play along if I can find some time this weekend. I originally played with Ablib music, so this time I will try to get MT-32 working.

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  5. PQ2 is my favourite PQ - not as much time spent on traffic control as in the first game, and not as silly plot as in some of the later PQs. Still, it won't probably score much higher than its predecessor - I'll say 53.

    I think you'll get stuck once or twice, but cannot really say where. Well, I could bet that lbh sbetrg gb nqwhfg lbhe tha qhevat gur frpbaq qnl naq guhf snvy gb xvyy gur greebevfgf va gur cynar, but you'll probably figure it out yourself and won't need to ask assistance.

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    1. I'm in agreement here. As soon as I saw the (encoded) comment, I thought "he must be talking about that part."

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    2. Huh, that would be a cool idea actually, being able to bet on things that aren't Trickster needing assistance.

      Delete
  6. I'll give this a straight 50.

    Gung lbh'yy trg fghpx ba gung qnza evire orq orpnhfr lbh zvffrq fbzrguvat. Lbh'yy or ng vg sbe n ybat juvyr, phefvat gur cnefre naq univat gb or ng gur pbeerpg ybpngvba. Ooh, should I make it a bet...? Yeah why not, I'll put 10 points on it.

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  7. I'm going to go for 52 for the final score.

    I seem to recall not being overly impressed by it, but I don't remember why. Perhaps the amount of dead-ends? I think I might give it a play-through this weekend and see.

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    1. Started my play-through, not got very far yet.

      A couple of issues with the parser, and struggling a bit to figure out what I'm supposed to do. Pretty sure I might be a dead man walking, I'm sure I've missed something already.

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    2. The above sounds all too familiar Andy. I wonder if you faced the same parser issue as me?

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  8. Oh, and I always thought the criminal and hostage on the cover art were supposed to look like Ken and Roberta Williams, but I expect I'm wrong about that.

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    1. The criminal looks a lot like the criminal from the Police Quest 1 box, so I'm pretty sure he's Jesse Bains.

      It's always possible the artist used coworkers (or action movie stars) as inspiration though.

      Delete
  9. I'm up to 30+ points so far after about 2 hours of playing. I don't think I ever played this. I think I must have just watched my little brother play it at some point in the middle of the game. I read the manual which was very helpful. I'm playing the DOS version in ScummVM on a Mac. I have to replay about 30 minutes worth of the game after a surprise death. Stupid me for not saving. But I found an important object I missed on my first effort. So maybe getting killed wasn't such a bad thing.

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    1. I had forgotten so many things, I had to restart twice. Hard to know how much will just affect your score, and how much is actually necessary to advance the plot.

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    2. You have no idea how motivating this comment was MacDuff!

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  10. Gonna have to go worth 52 for my guessed score I think. I just have a feeling.

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  11. Oh, and I'll issue a challenge to Trickster, Charles and anyone else playing along them for the first time. In the first PQ we heard of a character known only as Gremlin, who did pranks in the police station (put a chicken in chief's office etc.). Can you find out, in PQ2, who Gremlin was? (This has nothing to do with the main plot of the game, but just an interesting nod to the previous game.)

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    1. Haven't started the game yet, but I'll gladly take the challenge, sir! That Gremlin punk won't get away this time!

      Oh, and I'll go with a score of 53.

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    2. But wasn't it possible to choose a number someone else had already? You just got fewer points, if the number happened to be correct.

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    3. It is, just wanted him to know.

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    4. Challenge accepted and passed. :)

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  12. Damn, there aren't many options left. PQI got 52, hugest guess is 55, which is a full 3 point improvement. I guess that isn't impossible, so I'll guess 56; That shouldn't be hard if it has better puzzles.

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  13. I guess I'll be standing in line behind TBD, 55. I can't imagine it going higher than that, it already feels like a bit of a stretch.

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  14. Ilmari, I found the Gremlin!

    Gremlin Spoiler (TRICKSTER DO NOT READ): Gur Terzyva vf Ynhen Jnggf. V sbhaq guvf cerggl rneyl va zl cynl frffvba. Vg'f evtug gurer va ure crefbaary svyr. V ernq rirel svyr znxvat fher V qvqa'g zvff nalguvat. V pna frr ubj svaqvat gur Terzyva pna or irel gevpxl gubhtu, rfcrpvnyyl vs lbh arire abgvpr gur cncre ba gur Pncgnva'f qrfx jvgu nyy bs gur cnffjbeqf ba vg.

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    1. Sure you marked that as a spoiler clearly enough? Wouldn't want him to read it by mistake! Also ubj qbrf gung jbex? Qbrf vg whfg fnl, va na bssvpny cbyvpr svyr, V zrna. "Jnf pnhtug cynlvat cenaxf ba bgure bssvpref be fbzrguvat?

      Nyfb, vg vf ernyyl jrveq glcvat va EBG13. V xrrc jnagvat gb tb onpx naq fcryy purpx guvatf.

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    2. Well done Macduff! I am not made of CAPs like Trickster, but I'll still donate five of my own points to you for being the first to win my challenge. Other players are still encouraged to search for Gremlin, but I won't be handing points anymore ;)

      Canageek: Onfvpnyyl lrf. Gurer'f n crefbaary sbyqre va gur pbzchgre naq gur svyr bs Jnggf pbagnvaf nzbat bgure guvatf n zragvba gung fur jnf pnhtug erq-unaqrq juvyr qbvat fbzr cenax.

      Curious. While going to decipher the above conversation, I accidentally wrote rto13, which landed me in a website of Ontario tourist organisation – Ontario in Canada, with a web address quite similar to rot13, introduced to us by Canageek. Could it be a coincidence? Suspicious... ;)

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    3. Northern Ontario, which by their map is well more north of anywhere I've ever lived. See Ottawa on it? I loved 2 hours west of that for a while, but that is the furthest north. Also, I installed a ROT13 extension in my browser, so I can right click endcode and decode it. Because I'm hardcore like that.

      Jnvg, gung vf nyy gurer vf gb vg? V jnf rkcrpgvat n fvqrdhrfg be fbzrguvat yvx gung! Bcvavba bs byq tnzrf qevccvat. :(

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    4. Jryy, cher nqiragher tnzrf unir eneryl unq nal fvqr dhrfgf, ng orfg Rnfgre rttf naq nygreangvir fbyhgvbaf. Va fbzr nqiragher tnzr/ECT -uloevqf gurer ner fhpu - whfg jnvg sbe Ureb'f Dhrfg.

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    5. Zna, gung anzr vf bire hfrq. V pna guvax bs 3 tnzrf anzrq Ureb'f Dhrfg. Jryy, Urebdhrfg sbe fbzr bs gurz. Ubj ybat qb lbh guvax jr pna xrrc gnyxvat va EBG orsber Gevpxfgre trgf phevbhf?

      Nyfb, tbbq gb xabj. V pna'g jnag hagvy Gevpxfgre trgf gb gru zber zbqrea, cybg-bevragrq tnzrf. ^^

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    6. Jryy, ab jbaqre gur Pbyrf punatrq gur anzr bs gur frevrf gb Dhrfg sbe Tybel!

      Pbzr gb guvax bs vg, vg vf engure boivbhf jul nqiragher tnzrf eneryl unir nal fvqr dhrfgf. Va PECTf fvqr dhrfgf qb unir gurve checbfrf – lbh pna ng yrnfg tnva fbzr fgngf, creuncf nyfb trg orggre rdhvczrag rgp. Ohg nqiragher tnzrf qb abg unir fgngf, fb n fvqr dhrfg jbhyq abg freir gur hygvzngr tbny bs gur tnzr va nal znaare – fbzr cynlref zvtug rira gnxr vg nf n zrer erq ureevat. Vafgrnq, nqiragher tnzrf yvxr gb hfr fbzr fznyy naq rnfvyl qvfpbirenoyr vasbezngvba va beqre gb perngr zber qrcgu gb gurve tnzrf – whfg yvxr n frg bs svyrf juvpu jbhyq abg or n erdhverq ernq, ohg juvpu pbhyq nqq zber punenpgrevfngvba gb fbzr ACPf.

      V guvax vg'f fgvyy rneyl va gur zbeavat va Nhfgenyvn, fb Gevpxfgre'f abg rira ng uvf pbzchgre evtug abj...

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    7. I found the gremlin earlier, but I'd played this game before, so going for the points would have felt wrong.

      Also: V'z cerggl fher lbh arrq gb ybbx sbe gur cnffjbeqf, orpnhfr lbh arrq vasbezngvba sebz gur pbzchgre gb pbzcyrgr gur tnzr (anzrf, nqqerffrf rgp.)

      Abg fher vs lbh pna svaq vg va bgure jnlf, gurer ner cncre pbcvrf bs fbzr guvatf va gur svyr pnovargf.

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  15. Police Quest 2: WON! 276/300 points.

    Man that was harder than I remember. Had to resort to a walkthrough on a couple of occasions, much to my shame. Win picture: http://lockerz.com/s/225079695

    Tbg gur tbbq raqvat V guvax, n fvyire pbzzraqngvba gbb, abg fher vs lbh pna trg bguref? Creuncf jvgu shyy cbvagf lbh pbhyq trg tbyq?

    Zl jnyxguebhtu vffhrf vaibyirq trggvat cubar ahzoref, juvpu V guvax Gevpxfgre znl nyfb svaq uneq. Gurer ner n pbhcyr bs gvzrf jurer gur qrfpevcgvbaf bs ybpngvbaf yrg zr qbja, zrnavat V qvqa'g frnepu nf gubebhtuyl nf V fubhyq. Unq gb erfgneg sbhe gvzrf qhr gb orpbzvat n "qrnq zna jnyxvat", jurernf npghny qrnguf jrer zvavzny bhgfvqr bs fubbg-bhgf naq gur ubeevsvp frjre yriry raqvat.

    V erpxba Gevpxfgre jvyy qrsvavgryl arrq uryc svaqvat gur tnf znfx va gur frjre. Uneq gb xabj jurer gb ybbx sbe vg jura lbh qba'g rira xabj jung lbh'er ybbxvat sbe!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. What? You finished that quickly?! I better pull my finger out!

      Delete
  16. Still no walkthrough yet for me!

    I think there is at least 1 puzzle that might frustrate The Trickster for "He's from Australia" based reasons:

    Spoiler (Do Not read Trickster): Lbh arrq gb qvny "sbhe bar bar" jvgu gur cubar, obgu gb trg Znevr'f ahzore naq gb trg gur ahzore sbe Fgrrygba Cbyvpr. Qbrf Nhfgenyvn hfr "sbhe bar bar" sbe vasbezngvba? V tbbtyrq ohg pbhyqa'g irevsl vs Nhfgenyvn unf gur fnzr ahzore be rira na rdhvinyrag freivpr.

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    1. Macduff, va Nhfgenyvn, onpx va gur qnlf jura Cbyvpr Dhrfg 2 jnf znqr, qverpgbel nffvfgnapr jnf 013. V guvax jr'er 1234 be fbzrguvat abj - unira'g hfrq vg fvapr gur vagrearg orpnzr fgnaqneq.

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    2. Lrf, gung gbgnyyl pnhtug zr bhg naq jnf bar bs gur ernfbaf V arrqrq n jnyxguebhtu. Nygubhtu gur jnyxguebhtu fnvq gb qvny 0, abg 411.

      V fcrag ntrf ernqvat gur znahny bire naq bire guvaxvat V zhfg unir zvffrq jurer gur ahzoref jrer jevggra qbja (V nffhzrq vg jnf n pbcl cebgrpgvba guvat, naq fbzr jnyxguebhtuf qvqa'g rira zragvba ubj gb trg gur ahzoref BE jung gur npghny ahzoref jrer! irel sehfgengvat).

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    3. I can only assume I haven't reached this yet. Great...just what I need. A country specific puzzle!

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    4. I would like you to comment on how hard you found this above puzzle, by the way.

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    5. I actually had no issue with this. I immediately dialled 0 for operator without trying anything else. I would never have considered 411. I think I had to dial 0 in the first Police Quest game too at one point in the hotel.

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    6. Yeah, I used 0 too for all my phone number needs. PQ1 taught me that. I spent too much time looking for a stupid directory in the hotel room. Then I learned about "0" and massive facepalming ensued.

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  17. And I am finished! No hints needed! I can't believe it.

    This is a reply for Andy_Panthro (SPOILERS):

    V tbg n fvyire pbzzraqngvba nyfb, ohg bayl unq "gjb uhaqerq gjragl-guerr" cbvagf! V qvq trg gur fnzr raqvat nf Naql onfrq ba uvf fperrafubg. V jnf fubpxrq gung zl cbvagf jrer fb ybj. V thrff V'yy ybbx ng n cbvagf yvfg gb frr jung V zvffrq ng fbzr cbvag.

    V jnf noyr gb fpber jvgu Znevr ba gur svefg qngr, juvpu V zvffrq ba na rneyvre cynl gubhtu, fb V gubhtug zl cbvag gbgny jbhyq or ernyyl uvtu.

    V'z ybbxvat sbejneq gb jngpuvat Gevpxfgre'f zvfrel jvgu guvf tnzr. Fbzr bs gur fghss vf ernyyl uneq gb svaq, naq V guvax V unq fbzr frevbhf yhpx va ybbxvat va gur evtug fcbgf.

    Guvf tnzr unf n YBG bs ohtf. V'yy gel gb yvfg fbzr bs gur barf V sbhaq va n shgher cbfg.

    V ernyyl rawblrq gur ZG-32 zhfvp. Vg ernyyl nqqf n ybg gb gur tnzr sbe zr. V unir arire cynlrq nal bs gurfr tnzrf jvgu ZG-32, fb V nz ybbxvat sbejneq gb qbvat gung. Gurer ner fbzr cnegf jurer gur ZG-32 fbhaqf jbefr, be jurer gurer ner zvffvat fbhaqf rssrpgf gung jrer bayl cbffvoyr ba gur Noyvo, ohg gur zhfvp znxrf hc sbe gur zvffvat fbhaq rssrpgf va zl bcvavba.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I found out (over a few attempts) that it's really easy to miss things, but that a lot of them don't really matter.

      I can't imagine how you would get a perfect score without using a hint book/walkthrough (is that intentional I wonder? they made a lot of money from hint books...)

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  18. Curious, my comment does not show... Well here goes again: Already two winners, and in so short time! I'm curious, did you both trg gb qb fbzr fphon qvivat?

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    1. V zvffrq gung ba zl svefg gel (zvffrq n ybg ernyyl), pbf V gubhtug pnyyvat sbe gur fphon grnz jbhyq zrna gurl'q fbeg nyy gung bhg, fb V whfg yrsg gur fprar.

      Gur fphon ovg jnf irel qvssvphyg gubhtu (nabgure jnyxguebhtu zbzrag, orpnhfr V pbhyqa'g frr jurer gur obql jnf). V sryg vg jnf n yvggyr hasnve, ohg V thrff vg jnfa'g rffragvny gb jva gur tnzr.

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    2. Bu lrf, V jnfgrq n ybg bs gvzr fphon qvivat. V unq ab vqrn vg pbhyq or fxvccrq ragveryl! V sbhaq gur qvir pregvsvpngvba va gur jnyyrg irel rneyl ba fb V jnf ernql. V qvrq haqrejngre frireny gvzrf hagvy V svtherq bhg gb purpx gur nve gnaxf orsber lbh cvpxrq gurz hc.

      Zl svefg gvzr guebhtu V qvqa'g svaq n fvatyr guvat haqrejngre! V gubhtug gung zhfg or n zvfgnxr, fb V fcrag n ybg bs gvzr erfgbevat. V fjrne V frnepurq rirel vapu bs gung zhq. V riraghnyyl whfg cynlrq guebhtu jvgu nyybjvat Zbber gb svaq gur obql sbe zr. Nsgre trggvat fghpx yngre va gur tnzr, V erfgberq naq qvq gur fphon fghss ntnva, ohg guvf gvzr V sbhaq gur obql. Vg jnf va n ybtvpny ybpngvba, qbjafgernz. Ohg, nsgre ernqvat gur jnyxguebhtu naq frrvat nyy gur bgure bowrpgf ninvynoyr haqrejngre, V ernyyl guvax guvf frdhrapr vf gbb uneq. Lbh qba'g unir nal pyhrf ba jung pna or cvpxrq hc naq jung vf genfu.


      Gur nznmvat guvat nobhg guvf tnzr vf vg frrzf yvxr nyzbfg rirelguvat pna or fxvccrq.

      Delete
  19. Wow, some officers have already won the game and I'm still lazing off while eating donuts? Too bad weekends are the bane of my adventuring time :-(

    I know I suggested this a few months ago and related to spoilers functionality, but as people start interacting more and more with each other having an associated forum keeps looking like a good idea.

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    1. Anyone got any suggestions on the best way to implement this? I'd be happy to make it happen.

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    2. It tends to be a pain, as it is another login you have to remeber, and you have to moderate it. I think an IRC chatroom might be a cool idea though, I could help you set that up.

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  20. This is a game I was aware of, because of print ads in Computer Gaming Magazines (I think) ... but could never get my dad to fork over the cash at the game store.

    On a side note, these games are making me nostalgic for the old game store experience. Before they decided to wipe every user's profile, including blogs, I had a post on the old, decent ScrewAttack.com (which I no longer visit or really even support) that described the joy of going into EggHead Software or any of the other stores that sold games, and looking at box after box of intriguing screen captures and oil paintings... Steam and GOG are wonderful, but it's not quite the same.

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  21. Matt Chat 156 was the original police quest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkC2qSGFoTw Some of you might enjoy it.

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  22. Gemini Rue is on sale on GoG as well as Steam right now. Detective Point-and-Click
    http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/gemini_rue

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    1. Sorry Canageek. I beat you to that one in the prior post.

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    2. Drat, on both GoG and Steam? Ah well, I'm mostly doing this to help people save money, not get CAP (As evidenced by the fact I was doing it before CAP and do it on the CRPG Addicts blog). CAP just make me more diligent.

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  23. Small comment on the prediction game: as the community grows, so will frustration as less and less people are able to choose the score they had in mind (sure, having people check every 10 mn for a new post is good for traffic, but you don't have ads yet, so I guess you don't care).
    What about using a secret ballot (per email for example) instead?
    You could also introduce a weighting system where CAP outcome depends on how many people chose the correct answer (whether you should get more or less if you went with the flock is debatable).

    And off-topic: could someone explain me how I can stop buying every single Steam flash Summer sales item? I hate being a victim of my own medicine (I'm a data analyst for an online video games company...).

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    1. Just to clarify, there's no reason why you can't predict the same score as others. If you're the second person to choose the correct score, you get 9 points instead of 10. If you're the third person you get 8 points and so on.

      I used to have a massive Steam addiction daubeur and I managed to overcome it! I simply started spending my money at GOG instead! I hope this helps you with your problem. ;)

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    2. My bad, I misunderstood the system.
      I'm also too late, but just for fun, I'll predict 46.

      GOG... what a brilliant solution... :)

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  24. So, the final predictions are:

    50 - Tk
    51 - JosephCurwen
    52 - Andy_Panthro and Bleaghhh
    53 - Ilmari and Charles
    54 - MacDuff
    55 - TBD and Lars-Erik
    56 - Canageek

    Wow, that's a pretty grouped range. If it rates under 50, Tk will get the CAPs. If it's over 56, Canageek does.

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    1. One day I'd look to see our statisticians count how accurate our predictions as a group have been.

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    2. 100% so far, as I recall. Do you mean how closely we are clustered around the correct value? We need a lot more data before we do this, as Trickster has changed the rules a couple times, and only been doing it for a few posts.

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    3. Yes, I know that someone has always got the right score :) I was thinking more of something like 1) how close the median and average predictions have been from the correct answer and 2) how widely the predictions have been dispersed - so yes, how closely we are clustered around the correct value. And I know we have too little data right now, just suggesting something for future.

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