Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Rex Nebular - LOST! (Request for Assistance)

Written by TBD.

Rex Nebular's Log: Stardate - 13th b'ak'tun.1: I finally found my way off this planet, but it quickly became clear that it wasn't exactly how I wanted to go out - can I try again?...

I'm hopelessly stuck. Last time I reported in, I'd done some exploring in the underground men's section of the planet, and had a few things I could try, one of which I was quite proud of and planned to do immediately.

My number one plan was to flood the city by blowing up the underground sea window. But that didn't work.

Aw, I was really proud of that idea too...

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Rex Nebular - It's A Man's World

Written by TBD

Rex Nebular's Log: Stardate - 27th of Last Seed.7: I've explored the abandoned underground land of men. I have a few more items, but none of them are getting me closer to getting the vase that I'd almost forgotten about or escaping the planet. I've found some locked doors so I know I'll at least need a few more keys. And I've just had a crazy idea that I'll try soon...

When we'd last left our hero, he'd just come out of the gender bender with his original gender back in order to explore the subterranean land of men by way of gender-locked vehicle.

The vehicle gives us nine possible locations. So let's explore them in the order of... well, in the order I explored them. At each location I'll finish with a short list of what I think needs to be done there. I have no illusions that all of my suppositions will be correct, but it's what I was thinking when I left the location.

The driving requires no input from me beyond selecting my destination. On choosing the location, the car drives there for a few seconds while Rex casually taps his fingers on the console.

Driving in Rex Nebular – much less tedious than Mean Streets or Police Quest

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Missed Classic 65: Spellbreaker (1985) - Introduction

Written by Joe Pranevich

From the earliest days of the company, Infocom had one tradition: a new Zork title released every fall. After Zork III, the baton was passed to the Enchanter series which, as patient and dedicated readers know was just the second Zork trilogy. October of 1985 was no exception with the launch of Spellbreaker, the conclusion to the second Zork trilogy. But 1985 wasn’t like previous years at Infocom. Layoffs had begun to stem the bleeding from Cornerstone’s commercial flop. A Mind Forever Voyaging wasn’t a commercial success and Fooblitzky had sold only five hundred copies by mail-order. I cannot imagine what the feelings were around the Infocom offices. Could this be the end?

Of course, we know it wasn’t, but Spellbreaker does mark the end of one era. It is the last of the original six Zork games. Other than a 1997 marketing tie-in, it’s the last Zork to be written by the original collaborators, Marc Blank or Dave Lebling. It’s nearly (but not quite) the last game to be released by an independent Infocom. It’s also one of the games that I have most looked forward to playing in this marathon.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Rome: Pathway to Power - Out of the Fire

Written by Reiko

Hector’s Journal #1: "Someone's going to want to know eventually how a simple slave managed to get so far. I am hardly a simple slave, at least now, but I'd like to think that I was never ordinary. Yet you could say that I just got lucky, at least at first. It all started on the worst and best day of my life up to that point. It was certainly the worst day of the lives of a lot of other people."

First, I'm probably going to want to complain about the controls a lot, so let's just get that out of the way first, and then we can concentrate on the plot. Hector wanders around, often even when I haven't told him where to go, and when I do, the pathfinding is very inconsistent. For a game with time limits, this is not helpful. One time I clicked on a square to have Hector walk in one direction along a wall, and instead he started going the other way, as if he was trying to go around the wall instead. The one mitigating factor is that the map is interactive: it's basically like a very zoomed-out version of the whole level, with the current locations of all the people (unlabeled, but you can see in general where people are) displayed in real time, and clicking zooms back in and starts Hector moving to the selected location. It's actually far easier to navigate using the map screen than the regular screen, just because the view is so narrow.

Also, I discovered that if I click on an NPC, Hector yells "Excuse me" or some such, and the person stops moving for a minute, which gives me a chance to do a "greet" or "inquire" action on them. Better than trying to talk to moving people when the people are so tiny. However, when there are multiple people in close proximity to each other, it's still difficult to click on a specific one.

Those little sprites are hardly distinguishable, so I hope this is the right guy.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Rex Nebular - To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Written by TBD.

Rex Nebular's Log: Stardate - The Day The Music Died.3: I'd sometimes dreamed about what I'd do if I was a woman for a day. But in none of those dreams did I just wander around picking stuff up and solving puzzles. At least I feel a lot more welcome on this planet now. Now, let's find out where these teleporters go...

When we'd last left our hero, she'd just come out of the gender bender with a brand new gender. I'd found the gender scanner to the south, but first I continue following the carnage my friend had made on his way to the teleporter.

I find another dead guard, and her arm half a screen away. I also find a tape player. Having gotten a tape from a dead body back in the hospital, I do the obvious.

My attempts to put my tape in the tape player showed me one of the quirks with the game's interface.

Both of these are generic descriptions I get by clicking on random things.