Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Alone in the Dark - Tree’s A Crowd (Won!)

By Andy Panthro

We left off as I had guided the private detective Edward Carnby underneath Derceto, and into the tunnels and chambers beneath. This area was ancient and surely constructed long ago, perhaps by the pirate Eliah Pickford or perhaps some of these were here before he took up residence.

Ahead of me are a series of stone pillars, and newly in my action menu is the “jump” command. A flying bug is somewhat in the way, but a couple of shots from the rifle is enough to remove that obstacle. Now the only problem is a 3D jumping puzzle on a 2D background with a very fiddly control system and an unreliable camera positioning.

The jumping isn’t actually that hard, but gauging the distance is the tricky part. I actually fell more often due to jumping a little too far, but the fall doesn’t actually harm you. The water breaks your fall I suppose, although it ruins your rifle cartridges and extinguishes your lantern. There’s a shortcut back to the start from here (and to the rooms ahead), but I intend to finish this game fair and square.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Missed Classic 58: The Worm in Paradise (1985) - Introduction

By Ilmari

Joe Pranevich has just completed another year of gaming (1984) in his Infocom marathon, and before moving on to the challenges of 1985 games, he is planning to write a few additional articles on other interesting things Infocom was doing at that period. It is thus a good opportunity for me continue my own sideshow marathon and tackle another Level 9 game - The Worm in Paradise.

Robot beauty contest?

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Spellcasting 301 - The Party

By Deimar

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #2: This is not the spring break I had dreamt of. But it is getting close. I mean, I am getting to know very hot girls and even rekindle some old passions. However, there is this part about having to compete with the SWAM boys, the YUs, for the priviledge of coming to Fort Naughtytail for the next five years. And it seems like, as always, it all depends on me. I don’t even know why I am part of a fraternity anymore. Lucky for them, I managed to trick some bimbos into coming to our party because otherwise I am sure we would have lost the first game: getting the hottest girls to the Pharts party.

Seeing this screen I can’t avoid by thinking about this

Allow me to start this post by saying that advancing is veeeeery slow. As I predicted in my last one, I have had to replay the first two days several times until I was able of doing everything needed to win the first competition of the tournament, and even then I am still left with the feeling that I am missing something.

It doesn’t help that I am constantly fighting the interface. Specifically, the look verb. I am playing mostly using the keyboard because I didn’t find the verb and item menu all that useful. The problem is that when you “look” in a location you don’t always get the complete list of items there in the description. The game expects you to look at the graphics to learn more, which is fine. With the only problem being that objects are not always depicted in the picture, or are only painted from a perspective from where you can’t interact with them. Case in point, you can see a board and a calendar from your jail in the police station but you can’t interact with them until you get out of the jail. At that moment, you stop seeing them as they are next to the door and the perspective changes to seeing things from the office door, hiding them. In the end, this means that I am getting into the habit of typing “take all” in every single location to see the list of interactible items.

Now you see us

Now you don’t

Friday, 14 September 2018

Missed Classic: Hitchhiker’s Guide - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

I did it! With your help, I conquered The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! This has been my fifteenth Infocom adventure and certainly one of the tougher ones, but thankfully Voltgloss and some Invisiclues were around to put me back on track. I leave this game feeling fairly satisfied, especially as I had made it quite near the end before I needed help. You’ll be reading all about that in just a moment.

For this week’s jaunt, I recommend that you get into the mood by a rendition of “Marvin, I Love You”, one of my favorite Hitchhiker’s-related novelty songs. Since this will likely be my last Hitchhiker’s post (unless I do a special one on the canceled sequel down the line), I couldn’t end this without making you listen to it at least once. I’ll have more chances for Douglas Adams love as we later get to Bureaucracy, and (perhaps someday) Starship Titanic. I discovered this tune through Dr. Demento as I doubt the original album was released in the US. The female vocalist on this track is Kimi Wong-O'Brien, better known as the then-wife of Richard O’Brien, the creator of Rocky Horror. There are more than a handful of Hitchhiker’s Guide-inspired songs released over the years. I’d love it if we got a good playlist of them in the comments!

Don’t Panic! It’s time to finally bring this adventure game to a close.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Alone in the Dark - Going Underground

By Andy Panthro

Most of the house is now open to me, and I have explored a great deal of it. What remains is a couple of rooms, and to make my way down into whatever catacombs, caverns and caves lie beneath this cursed house. Last time, I had conquered the library and the Vagabond, found useful tools and information, and was ready to head back down and figure out how to beat the pirate in the front room.

One interesting passage in one of the books was from “The Sons of the Sun and the Shadows” by Lieutenant Lope de Vega. He tells of visiting the Aztecs, of human sacrifice and a statue of the water goddess Chalchihuitlicue. On this visit, they enter the temple and see the great statue, clad in gold and jewels, coming to life before their very eyes. Captain Cortez cried for them to attack, but they were stuck in place. Their armour seemed bolted to the temple floor, and only thanks to Cortez killing the priest with a well placed throw of his dagger, they were able to escape. The attached picture of the statue looks a lot like the heavy statue I picked up from that small dark bedroom.