Saturday, 18 September 2021

Missed Classic: Alice in Wonderland - Turning into Malice

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

It's been a while. I mean, this wasn't exactly a long hiatus, especially for this blog at this point...but it wasn't a worthy one. I have no real excuse. It's one thing if the game was bad, but it's not really. I could handle a bad adventure game, I don't have a problem with that, outside of extraordinary player hatred on the game's part. I just can't motivate myself to play a mediocre adventure game attached to a bad platformer. Mediocre platformers aren't my cup of tea, especially ones where the only challenge is around jumping. I like my platformers with big guns and big guns. Unfortunately I do not think that this will continue my trend of playing the rare adventure games involving machine guns and dumdum bullets.

I think that's the answer to any question regarding this game

To the game, I didn't figure out that riddle. If it's important, it's important, if it isn't, it isn't. Continuing right, I meet the Cheshire Cat again. Nothing new, but he does tell me I can use a whisker to save a baby. That's...informative and very subtle foreshadowing. The next room over has Alice's doppelganger, the secretary, say I need to enter a building to save a baby from jumping. The baby? The duchess that tries to find morals in every tale. Nothing seems to do anything with her. Maybe, I can't access a specific area since I have no way of reaching it. I do find an ancient muffin. This isn't as random as it sounds.

What's in the box? I think you know the answer to that question!

Outside I don't find much more, but I would like to point out that swimming is just so slow. Water causes basically a dead stop. The right eventually comes to a dead end by a town hall. I do get a memo by arguing with a card, a bureaucracy joke. Which raises questions if this actually is for children. It's possible, but boring adult topics just bore children. The answer to where to go next is in a fireplace. I missed it because I have to jump, walking goes below it. This is a one-way path, because a flying bug is blocking a vital path. I'm glad I'm not making a map anymore, because this is just a mess of bizarre one-way pathways. Writing down what time characters appear is only relevant if you tick a character off.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Space Quest V - Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

For some players, Space Quest IV was the “true” end of the Space Quest saga. With an amazing time-travel plot to hint at Roger’s future exploits, it could have served as a capstone on the series. Roger ended that game knowing that someday he would have a family and be regarded as a hero. Not long after, Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy (“The Two Guys From Andromeda”) had a falling out. With their partnership disbanded, the series could (and perhaps should) have ended there. Instead, the following years brought us two further adventures: Space Quest V (1993), by Mark Crowe and David Selle, and Space Quest 6 (1995), by Josh Mandel and Scott Murphy. With only half the creative team on each, would these sequels be able to live up to their predecessors? 

When I started playing this one, my first question was about what would be missing; what did Scott Murphy bring to the party and would I be able to detect the absence of his charm? Would a game with 50% less “Andromeda” even feel like Space Quest? I’m not sure that it does, but I’m also pleased by how successful this attempt has been in its own right. Crowe and Selle pulled together a game that had much of what made Space Quest great, while layering on a “Next Generation” of humor and parody. I had a lot of fun and I hope you did too.

Now comes the difficult part where I have to put scores to my thoughts. Is this better or worse than Space Quest IV? Will our tie for 10th place expand to five titles? Let’s get to work.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Space Quest V - Won!

Written by Joe Pranevich

We’ve just about made it to the end of Space Quest V. Roger Wilco’s games have never been known for high stakes, but this game ups the ante. The future mother of our children, Beatrice, has been saved and is resting comfortably. Our crew has not only survived, but thrived despite the low station of the garbage scow that we pilot. And now, we are the galaxy’s last hope against an invasion of mutated goo-monsters, led by the handsome-but-narcissistic Captain Quirk. I’m going to be sad to see this one go: the Star Trek-style jokes and structure has breathed new life into the “road movie” style of the previous Space Quest games. I respect that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have enjoyed this more than I expected.

All Good Messes...

Captain’s Log, Stardate: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! It’s the throwdown of the century as the Eureka and Roger Wilco try to save the Goliath and all of civilization from the horrid goo-zombies! All we need to do now is board the ship, use the transporter trick we stole from a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode to cure the crew, and prevent the destruction of StarCon. Can we do it? I have no idea. 

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Veil of Darkness - The Story Begins

Written by Zenic Reverie
Honestly, it'd probably take about 8 months to fully recover from a plane crash.
Apologies for the delay. When last we left Engatz, he had just crashed outside a small forgotten town somewhere in Eastern Europe. Pulled to safety, he roused in an unfamiliar house some undetermined time later. Dierdra was watching over us, and what a sight to wake to. She instructed us to find her father down the hall. Of course, this meant we'd take the long way and explore the whole house first. As I left Dierdra's room (more than likely a guest room, but it's where Dierdra is found) I confirmed full combat difficulty. The game offered some tutorial screens as I made my way through the corridors of my benefactor's mansion. The first described doors that are inconsequential to the story with "There is nothing important behind this door." At least half of them had this message.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Missed Classic 98: Adventure Alpha (1984)

Written by Joe Pranevich

In 1984, Dr. William H. Kraus was a rare breed: one part game designer, one part Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics Education. Up to this point, the games he had designed were simple, one-trick teaching tools for students in K-5. That was related in part to his academic bent: unlike most designers, he was concerned about quantifying and documenting the improvements his students saw while playing educational games. As he was sitting down to write what would be the first of three adventure games to break that mold, he made a prediction:

“In the not too distant future, it is likely that at least one microcomputer will be found in most elementary school classrooms and that teachers will wonder how they ever got along without them.” - “The Computer as a Learning Center.” Computers in Mathematics Education: 1984 Yearbook, edited by the National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics. 

Kraus never became a famous game designer. Perhaps his games were too stuffy and academic. Perhaps his evidence-based approach to teaching fun didn’t quite translate for enough students. Or perhaps, he just enjoyed doing the research that would benefit future teachers and educational game designers. Whatever the reason, his short design history has left us with only three adventure games: 1984’s Adventure Alpha and The Islands of Beta, and 1985’s The Lantern of D’Gamma. I looked at the second of these games five years ago, but now that archivists have discovered the missing original, I wanted to revisit these happy memories of my childhood again. 

You may have been expecting a Space Quest V post this week. Unfortunately, due to a computer emergency (and the discovery that I cannot write a blog post without the use of the letter “R”), my laptop has been shipped away for repairs. My write-up of Adventure Alpha has been sitting in the “draft” bin since the start of the COVID epidemic. With a borrowed computer and browser-based emulation, I was able to put in the time to finish the write-up. I hope you enjoy this diversion from our regularly scheduled content.