Friday, 7 September 2012

Game 23: Zak McKracken - Final Rating

It’s rather fitting that I’m writing up the final rating for Zak McKracken today, since it’s been exactly one month since the introduction post for the game. Who would have thought that it would take me a month to play a total of 13 hours game time! It might have something to do with the fact I’ve written well in advance of 20000 words on the game! Anyway, you’ve all waited long enough to see who wins the first Lars-Erik sponsored game, so let’s begin…

Puzzles and Solvability
Zak McKracken has lots of puzzles! Not only that, but there are often multiple ways that these puzzles can be solved. Maniac Mansion already had quite a few examples of this, but Zak turned it into a major feature. It’s just as well too, as with such a large playing area spread right across the globe and beyond, finding every little item and piece of information available was tricky. The reader comments have made it pretty clear that I missed quite a bit in this game, and yet I finished it just the same. I often did things differently to other players, yet achieved the same goals. It’s damn impressive that the creators managed to achieve this level of complexity without the game feeling like a confusing mess. A large majority of those puzzles were pretty logical too, with very few examples of trial and error required. Once I’d travelled to all the destinations, I was able to look through my inventory and start piecing everything together in a pretty satisfying way.

Even the first room of the game offers multiple solutions and hidden secrets

However, all is not perfect for this category! There was a little too much reliance on reading the National Inquisitor newspaper that came with the game to make sense of things, and there was unquestionably an overuse of mazes. Getting through each maze was a chore to begin with, but the game forced me to play through many destinations multiple times, meaning multiple trips through the same annoying mazes. Some didn’t even appear to be mazes at all (you end up at the destination no matter what path you take), and were clearly there for no other reason than to delay my progress. Finally, while I freely admit that I underutilised Annie’s archaeological skills, in general the use of multiple characters was gimmicky. At least in Maniac Mansion each character had pretty well defined skills that were useful in different scenarios. In Zak, they felt contrived, and multiple characters were often required for numbers alone. I still think the pros well and truly outweigh the negatives, so it’s a 7.
Rating: 7

Eventually I figured out what Annie's skill was, but it offered little assistance by that point.

Interface and Inventory
The interface is identical to Maniac Mansion, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. That game had revolutionised the way adventure games were played, so it’s not surprising to see the creators of Zak just running with a good thing. It took me a little while to get used to it again after a long run of Sierra games, but I was quickly interacting with everything around me, with very little thought involved apart from puzzle solving. I don’t really know why I noticed more with Zak than in Maniac Mansion, but I do think the lack of a “look at” verb was felt more strongly with this game. Sometimes I had to “read” items to see what they were which made the lack very obvious I guess. I also think the inventory is still a bit of a problem. It works very well on a functional level, but once you have more than about eight items, it becomes very difficult to find the one you need, particularly when you need it quickly! Maniac Mansion got an 8, but that was released a year earlier, and was rewarded for being groundbreaking as much as it was for quality.
Rating: 7

Having to "read" objects, such as the pyramid, to get a description feels clunky

Story and Setting
This is a tough one. On the one hand, the story of Zak McKracken is quirky and intriguing; managing to make admittedly cliché use of several world cultures combined with mythological and alien conspiracy topics. It also has a very satisfying ending that ties everything up nicely indeed. But, the jigsaw nature of the game, with the player pretty much forced to try experimentally visiting each destination just to find out what puzzle needs to be solved, before restoring and trying to find the required solution elsewhere, means the story has very little flow at all. The villains’ motives are also completely ridiculous and their actions throughout the game leave little sense of danger. Both LucasArts games so far have had really stupid antagonists, whose actions are revealed to the player throughout the game, if not to the main character(s). It’s unlikely that story was a major factor in the design of the game, but I can’t ignore how nonsensical it really was.
Rating: 5

Apparently us Earthlings don't really need to be all that concerned

Sound and Graphics
I know it’s slightly controversial for me to judge the enhanced version of Zak McKracken, but since it was released in the same year as the original release, I really don’t see why it should be considered unreasonable. There’s no doubt that the game is the most impressive that I’ve played so far from a graphical perspective. The sheer variety of environments is impressive in itself, but the detail, animation and overall attractiveness is just above what the SCI engine had produced for Sierra. There is some repetitiveness however, particularly when it comes to the numerous jungle mazes and airports (they do all look the same in real life though!), but overall it’s all good. The sound is less remarkable, with merely adequate sound effects and a less than pristine quality overall. The music is not too bad though, with the main theme not being the only memorable and enjoyable tune found throughout. I’m giving the first 7 for Sound and Graphics!
Rating: 7

When looking at Zak, there's really not that much progress to be made to reach Monkey Island

Environment and Atmosphere
There are a lot of environments to be explored in the game, and many of them are locations I’d love to visit during my lifetime. They’re all fairly well represented, even if my motives for going to them were not (Zak seemingly picked random destinations and the airports miraculously led straight to famous landmarks). Without doubt though it was Mars that most captured my imagination, and the cut scene of my characters travelling on the tram across a red Mars surface to alien made pyramids really exemplifies the mysterious and captivating nature of the game when it works. The atmosphere is somewhat lessened though by the constant shift and inconsistency in surroundings, as well as by the purposeful delays that were created through frustrating mazes and random landmark searching.
Rating: 6

Who wouldn't want to explore this?

Dialogue and Acting
Just as in Maniac Mansion, Zak does what it has to do from a dialogue point of view, without really having enough to draw praise or criticism. It is quite humorous at times, particularly when eccentric characters such as the Guru, the King and the witchdoctor are involved, but it doesn’t have the wit of a Leisure Suit Larry game, nor does it have the convincing language of a Police Quest game. Annie’s ability to translate language and symbols is a cool feature, but as mentioned before, it’s one that I completely underutilised and so really isn’t a pertinent part of the game. It was a 5 for Maniac Mansion, so it’s a 5 here.
Rating: 5

.lliks s'einnA desilaer I tnemom ehT

Add it all up and I get 37. Divide it by 60 and I get 0.6166, which is 61.66%. Rounded up is….62! Hang on a second…that’s exactly what I gave Maniac Mansion! Well, I now have my point that I can add or subtract. How do I feel about Zak McKracken and Maniac Mansion being equal leaders? I actually think that I enjoyed Zak a little bit more than Maniac Mansion, so it would feel wrong to remove a point just to make it come second. But then there’s the mazes, which I probably haven’t punished the game enough for, and I really should take into account how pioneering Maniac Mansion was too. You know what, I feel completely comfortable with 62, so 62 it is!

So who won the Quest for Glory collection???? I haven’t even looked at the list yet, so I’m going to go and do that right now…………….congratulations rotgrub! I don’t believe I have your email address, so if you just pop me an email to, I’ll send you through your GOG code. Once again, thanks to Lars-Erik for being the legend sponsor that he is! Finally, thanks to everyone for being a little patient with me over the last month. Rest assured that this is about as busy as my work life gets, so this is likely to be as irregular as my posting will get too.

Companion Assist Points for Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
It’s time to dish out (and perhaps deduct) some points for those that predicted things and assisted me along the way.

54 CAPs for Chumazik
* Lifesaving Award - 20 CAPs - Reporting a bug in certain versions of SCUMMVM
* Minor Assistance Award - 10 CAPs - For answering my question about the Egypt puzzle
* Dylselxic Award - 10 CAPs - For correcting my unfortunate Melissa / Michelle naming issue
* Clairvoyant Award - 9 CAPs - For correctly predicting the score I would give the game
* Matrix Award - 5 CAPs - For bending spoon, and then selling them

45 CAPs for Lars-Erik
* Major Assitance Award - 20 CAPs - For helping me find the missing device piece in an ideal format
* Sponsor Award - 20 CAPs - For sponsoring the blog with free games!
* George Lucas Award - 5 CAPs - For finding the THX 1138 reference

35 CAPs for Alfred n the Fettuc
* Legend Award - 20 CAPs - For playing along with me, and completing the game without a walkthrough!
* Sob Story Award - 10 CAPs - I almost, I really did!
* Poop Award - 5 CAPs - Poop!

30 CAPs for TBD
* Charity Award - 10 CAPs - Who will he give them to? Stay tuned to find out?
* Companion Award - 10 CAPs - For playing along with me and completing the game
* Minor Assistance Award - 10 CAPs - For helping me find the missing device piece...a different way.

25 CAPs for Andy_Panthro
* Dr Evil Award - 10 CAPs - I'm dying to know what this secret project is. Don't make me regret it!
* Companion Award - 10 CAPs - For playing along and completing the game
* Better Late Than Never Award - 5 CAPs - For being too late, but doing a fine job nonetheless

25 CAPs for Canageek
* Marketing Award - 10 CAPs - For linking to the blog from Metafilter
* Genre Support Award - 5 CAPs - For commenting about a new adventure game sale on GOG
* Genre Support Award - 5 CAPs - For commenting about a new adventure game release on Steam
* Useless General Knowledge Award - 5 CAPs - for talking about James Doohan for no apparent reason

20 CAPs for Jarikith
* Obsessive Award - 10 CAPs - For becoming the world expert on door slot dead-ending
* Mission Impossible Award - 5 CAPs - For getting down the hole in the bedroom without making any noise
* Words of Power Award - 5 CAPs - For drawing my attention to the fact the Word actually means something in reverse

15 CAPs for Bleaghhhh
* Blackmail Award - 10 CAPs - Keep it to yourself mate! ;)
* Sherlock Holmes Award - 5 CAPs - For finding the hole in the floor in the bedroom

10 CAPs for Charles
* Bribery Award - 10 CAPs - For a very convincing case that left me with no choice

10 CAPs for Tk
* Wingman Award - 10 CAPs - For all his moral support

10 CAPs for Zenic
* Dedication Award - 10 CAPs - For leaving his own blog behind for mine...that's dedication people!

10 CAPs for rotgrub
* Clairvoyant Award - 10 CAPs - For predicting the score I would give the game

5 CAPs for bunyip
* Minor Assistance Award - 5 CAPs - For helping me find the missing device piece in an unideal format

5 CAPs for Ilmari
* Charity Award - 10 CAPs - Because he wants to give it all away!
* Enlightenment Award - 5 CAPs - For answering unimural's question about karma
* Gambling Fail Award - (-10) CAPs - For incorrectly betting against me

5 CAPs to shankao
* Sarcasm Award - 5 CAPs - For pointing out how wrong I can be

-10 CAPs to Cedric
* Spoiler Award - (-10) CAPs - For breaking the rules, but I forgive him

Did I miss anything?


  1. New adventure release on GOG. It's a modern game called Deponia.

  2. Thanks Trick, I'm kinda glad to have received the legend award and the poop award at the same time :)

  3. By the way, I'll update the leaderboard later today.

  4. Great stuff. You can never punish a game enough for too many mazes!

    I'm a big fan of the awards you've given out. I particularly like the 'Useless General Knowledge Award for talking about James Doohan for no apparent reason'

    And now I have to think of a ridiculous reason to give 10 points away to someone less fortunate... Hmmm... Watch this space.

    1. Okay. I thought of something suitably ridiculous.

      I'm thinking of 3 adventure games. What are they?



      Okay, maybe that's a little TOO ridiculous. Here's some clues.

      Va gur 3 tnzrf V'z n jevgre, cevingr qrgrpgvir naq geniry ntrag

      Yvxr zbfg nqiragher tnzr punenpgref, juvyr gurfr crbcyr ner onfvpnyyl tbbq, gurl'ir qbar fbzr haarprffnevyl onq guvatf va gurfr tnzrf.

      Va bar bs gurz, V'ir pbaivaprq fbzrbar gb zrrg zr fbzrjurer cheryl fb V pbhyq genpx uvf nqqerff, oernx vagb uvf ubhfr naq fgrny uvf fghss - V rira gbbx uvf gjrrmref!

      Va nabgure, V'ir gevpxrq n mbb jbexre vagb qbvat fbzrguvat gung jvyy cbffvoyl trg uvz sverq.

      Naq va gur guveq, V'ir sbhaq fznyy jvatrq puvyqera ybpxrq hc va n oveqpntr naq znqr gurz pel.

    2. Hah, and I thought I knew a thing or two about adventure games. Going to have to think about at least two of those.

    3. The one about the gjrrmref sounds really familiar. But I only know one for sure. I really like this puzzle/riddle. I'll probably spend half my braintime thinking about it today.

    4. I'm obviously a dummy, or your hints are totally awesome. Got two of them now, and they are both some of my favorite ones. :p

    5. Eureka! You, sir, have good taste in adventures. I'll pass on the points, but record my answers here just in case.

      Nkbaz Efo Ka Mbkg Nsfpsfme - Zlof Uey Lsxo Zov Gybdlu - Dsfpebs Pkboqzkxo - Sfp Hsaz Zlobo Ka MIKK - Rosaz Wkzlkf

      And no, it's not ROT13, so others can't easily read them to repost. :p

    6. Well I took that as a bit of a challenge, and with the help of a very good website, I cracked your code!

      I won't reveal what it is though. Just did it for my own satisfaction!

    7. TBD: Yep, it is a great award. Fits me so well, too.

    8. Well, I tried to crack Lars code, and haven't yet, but I know which games you are talking about.

      The key to that encryption is QWERTY, so I don't forget myself.

    9. Good thing, wasn't supposed to be easy. :p

      Regarding your encrypted text; either the text doesn't contain the same game title words that I guessed, or your cipher moved the spaces too. The plot thickens!

    10. Can't solve your code Canageek... but I'll keep trying!

    11. You do know the challenge was figuring out TBD's games and not our guesses, yes? :p

    12. Figuring out the codes is more entertaining! :)

    13. Ok, cracked Canageek's code. Solution in ROT13: Tnoevry Xavtug. Gur mbb xrrcre ovg vf yrggvat uvz vagb gur yvba rapybfher, gur gjrrmref vf sebz gur snzbhf png chmmyr?

    14. Whoah. I've checked to see if anyone's solved my little riddle and now I'm having problems solving people's answers. :)

      Except for Charles solving Canageek's code. You're partly right there. The 3 games I'm thinking of aren't from the same series though.

      I'm pretty sure that Lars-Erik has at least one right.

      I'll give another few clues.

      Bar bs gurz'f sebz Fvreen, bar Yhpnfnegf naq bar vf arvgure.

      Juvyr fbyivat gurfr nqiragherf lbh'yy zrrg Byvivn Bseraqn, pyho bjare naq cbrg; Tnel Yrr, fgerrg cernpure naq gbja qehax; naq Trbet Vzzreqvat, Zhfrhz pnergnxre naq fghqrag pbzcbfre.

      And this final clue will probably narrow it down enough to make it easy...

      Gur perngbef bs gurfr 3 tnzrf unir rnpu erpragyl shaqrq n xvpxfgnegre juvpu nccrnef ba gur yrsg fvqr bs guvf oybt.

    15. Welp, I'm out without research. I've got years to get more caps anyway.

    16. Those hints indeed make it easy.

      V unir gb nqzvg V unq gbgnyyl sbetbggra gur ovg va Tevz Snaqnatb. Jvgu gur Byvivn uvag V unq gb enpx zl oenva ernyyl uneq gb erzrzore nal jvatrq puvyqera, be pelvat orfvqrf Bgvf. Boivbhfyl vg'f orra gbb ybat fvapr V'ir cynlrq vg, ohg riraghnyyl V unq fbzr inthr zrzbevrf nobhg fbzrguvat unccravat nsgre orvat fghpx ng gur obggbz bs gur bprna. V qb erzrzore V jnf fghpx, sbe n irel ybat gvzr, ng gur cbvag jurer gur peno-guvatl jnyxf ol Znaal naq Bgvf ng gur frnorq. Fb, Znaal Pnyniren.

      Tnoevry Xavtug 2 Gur Ornfg Jvguva jnf irel rnfl sbe zr. V nz n uhtr sna TX naq erzrzore zbfg bs gurz snveyl jryy, nf V'ir ercynlrq gurz n pbhcyr bs gvzrf. V qvfyvxrq gung cnegvphyne chmmyr n ybg. V qvfyvxrq nyy gubfr nhqvb-gncr zvkvat chmmyrf. Qbvat fbzrguvat fb boivbhfyl pbaibyhgrq, vyyrtny naq qnatrebhf sryg irel fvyyl.

      Grk Zhecul jnf vafgnagyl inthryl snzvyvne. Ohg V pbhyqa'g sbe gur yvsr bs zr erzrzore va juvpu tnzr naq jurer gur gjrrmref zvtug unir orra. Va snpg, V fgvyy qba'g dhvgr erzrzore. Gur gjrrmref fbhaqrq, sbe fbzr ernfba, irel Grk Zhecul naq jvgu gur CV qrfpevcgvba, V jnf cerggl fher vg jnf Grk. Bapr ntnva gur nqqvgvbany uvagf znqr vg rnfl. V erzrzore Tnel Yrr naq uvf orneq. Fb vg'f Grk sbe fher. Gur tnzr, V fgvyy unir ab vqrn. Nal bs gur guerr SZI tnzrf.

    17. And unimural gets my points! Don't spend them all at once!

      Part of my plan was to give the points to someone less fortunate and as unimural was the only person who answered who actually has less points than me you'd win them by default.

      So I'm glad you worked out (mostly) which games I was thinking of, which were:

      Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within
      The Pandora Directive
      Grim Fandango

      They are 3 of my all-time favourites and seeing as I'd played 2 of them in the past year they were very fresh in my mind so I remembered minor details most would have forgotten.

      I kind of agree about hating that GK2 puzzle - it was the only place I was stuck for any length of time in that game and I hated it at the time. But in hindsight I thought it was a clever use of resources and liked it for giving me a challenge in an otherwise fairly easy game. But yes, it is convoluted, illegal and unnecessarily dangerous - but I could also say that for puzzles in most adventure games so I was willing to forgive the game for frustrating me there.

      The Grim Fandango character you're thinking of was Glottis, by the way, naq lbh'er evtug, gur jvatrq puvyqera gnxr cynpr nsgre gur haqrejngre frpgvba. Ba cynlvat vg erpragyl, V jnf fhecevfrq gung n fvtavsvpnag cneg bs gur tnzr gnxrf cynpr nsgre gur haqrejngre frpgvba zlfrys. V qvqa'g erzrzore zhpu nsgre gung rvgure, rira gubhtu V'q cynlrq gur tnzr ng yrnfg gjvpr orsber.

      V sryg yvxr n erny onfgneq jura V pyvpxrq ba gur yvar "Lbh'er irel onq puvyqera naq V'z tynq lbh'er ybpxrq hc" naq gurl whfg pevrq.

      As for Pandora Directive, the gjrrmref were really unimportant, I was just taken by the fact I had to break into some guy's house to get some, rather than go to a local supermarket like a normal person. Again, common adventure game logic I usually ignore, but remembered this one case for some reason.

      Thanks for everyone who answered, and hope you had fun, even if more of you had fun trying to crack Lars-Erik and Canageek's codes. :)

    18. The one I had most problems with was GK2. I think I only played it once long, long ago, and I was really struggling to remember any zoo. Congrats to unimural!

      And as Andy_Pathro found out, I used Rot19 with alphabet flipping and some obscuring case and words to ensure it couldn't be guessed from the word length:
      Original Text : Nkbaz Efo Ka Mbkg Nsfpsfme - Zlof Uey Lsxo Zov Gybdlu - Dsfpebs Pkboqzkxo - Sfp Hsaz Zlobo Ka MIKK - Rosaz Wkzlkf
      Rotated Text : First One Is Grim Fandango - Then You Have Tex Murphy - Pandora Directive - And Last There Is GKII - Beast Within

    19. Well done for working it out so quickly.

      As for your cipher, I did work out Pandora Directive due to word length and the swapping of D/P, but that's only because I knew what words I was looking for. :)

  5. A final rating post well worth waiting for!
    I seem to always think worse of the games than the rating they end up getting, looks like I have to adjust my Guess-O-Meter accordingly.

    Fascinatingly enough, most of the people that are into adventure games have heard about Maniac Mansion, but considering this one is (subjectively)equally good, how come it didn't get the same following?

    1. I guess Lucasfilm Zak was overshadowed by later Lucasarts games, especially as it didn't get any official sequel. Maniac Mansion has the prestige of being the first SCUMM-using game, and some of its fame might also derive from being the predecessor of Day of the Tentacle.

    2. I'll agree with this one. I only played Maniac Mansion the first time because it was included in the computer of Ed Edison in Day of the Tentacle (which was an awesome feature by the way)...

  6. Been busy myself, so not completely your fault. I see you mention on gaming for 13 hours the past month, but that's over double what I've put into my own blog. I should really get back to it. Thanks for the reminder. ;)

    I have no clue what the next game is all about. I should check it out so I can give a better guess. Congratulations to rotgrub for guessing properly and winning QfG collection.

  7. Getting some quick points. GoG has posted their weekend special, and it's indie point-and-click adventure games. Enjoy:

    I have no idea how good any of these actually are.

    1. I for one quite enjoyed the Blackwell Trilogy - and will therefore buy Resonance and Gemini Rue in this sale - might even buy the Blackwell Bundle just to get the fourth game. Haven't played the others.

      As for the Blackwell games, nice story - decent to good voice acting - mostly easy and short puzzle wise - I think they took me about 3-5 hours each.

  8. As I promised, I'll be sharing the 10 points with Andy and Jarikith: 5 points to Jarikith for being the first to crack my challenge and 5 to Andy for his diligence in finding out all the animals in Zak.

    That makes my total a bit negative (- 5), but at least I guessed Trickster's riddle couple of posts ago, so that's all right. I suppose you gave me those points back then already?

    That's it then for 1988. Is there going to be a concluding post for the year? I seem to remember something about nominating the best puzzle of the year...

  9. Woohoo awesome rating post. Loved the CAP Awards categories, and the solomonic decision to split the glory evenly between the two early LucasArts groundbreakers. Nice to see Zak getting some recognition! He must be weeping of joy just standing next to his more famous and fondly remembered sibling.

  10. I don't know if this has already been mentioned but at some point there were (and some still are) 6 fan remake projects for Zak in the works:

  11. Oh hellz yes I won! :) It's kinda neat too -- I loved Hero's Quest/Quest for Glory I as a kid, but I didn't have enough pocket money to afford the sequels. Thanks Lars-Erik!!!

    ... And I guess I should thank the makers of Zak McKracken too, for their overuse of mazes. ;)

    1. Congratulations! I was right on track until the final category, where a score of 6 would have ended to my guess of 63. So you can thank the developers for not adding "Talk to" and "Look" commands as well :)

      Anyway, the prize went to the right person as I already have all QfGs except 4 in my collection. Although I have lost the CDs from QfG5, which is a game I really would like to replay at some point..

    2. With a name like Fenrus, I'd expect you to be familiar with the QfG games!

    3. Congrats man, hope you have fun! Of course there's no pressure to play along with Tricky when he reaches them... :p

    4. I have to think about it! I don't see how I can manage it, given that I'm also going through my personal mini-CRPGAddict-style list of RPGs, too!

      I'll have to see -- I would hate to have to avoid this blog to not see spoilers!

  12. Zak could definitely do without so many mazes, flying about (I was so glad when I got the yellow crystal, but by then it's very near the end) and alternate characters.

    Later games with mazes only require you to complete them once, which is a great way forward (keeps the maze puzzle, removes the time-wasting aspect of repeating them).

    The flying could be avoided by removing the money part and make flying simpler (all destinations available from all airports). I don't think this would hurt the gameplay much.

    Multiple characters could be reduced by having Annie be the only one on Mars, and making more of the ability to "share knowledge in our dreams" that the characters have (which is really just a way to get around the fact that the player knows what all the characters are up to).

    You'll have to wait a while for the SECRET PROJECT to be revealed, I hope I've gathered enough points by then. I don't want to ruin the surprise too soon! I'm already quite excited though, and will have to make sure I don't give away any hints (until the time is right!). No guessing yet either, there will be time for that later (and fabulous prizes!).

  13. Sooo close on my guess.. I was hoping the mazes would have gotten Zak punished just a tad more. Still ranking Zak right even with Maniac Mansion seems perfectly fair all things considered. Yaaay CAPs. I have no clue what I'll use them for, but I have them!

    1. The Year Ahead - 1990 post is coming in about 6 or 7 games, I assume there'll be some borderline games to put CAPs into. Or we could pool points to go for some disregarded game or other, if you find one you want to see featured.

    2. So far the only game I know that I want to see played that isn't already on the googledoc list is allll the waaaay in 1996. Though seeing as it appears to have been added to the wikipedia list sometime since I last looked.. I think it's already got a good shot at being played without help, assuming Trickster lasts that long. :P But who knows maybe 1990 will hold something that gets my attention.

  14. WAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT I finished the article, AND added it to the list.
    I um, wrote you something. So, who wants to force Trickster to play a godawful, slightly erotic adventure game with no mouse support? We still have time!

    Ilmari wrote me to tell me that he no longer supports Trickster having to play it as it is "Boring, not very well done, repetetive gameplay, illogical puzzles, not even erotic :) I just think he wouldn't be happy having to play it."

    However, I have a friend who loves the book and comic, so I'm willing to put up CAPs for it. 50 CAPs, which should be enough for boardline.

    I know I'm late, that it was supposed to be up before this post, but I'd ask you to reconsider: is the blog of my friend, and as you can see she isn't doing very well. Been in hospital isolation, stuff like that. I'd like to send her a review of the horrible adventure game as a joke. Even if it is only 1 post on it or something.

    If you think I'm making up things to not waste my work just hit and you can see all my comments on the blog. As to her liking, I guess you could ask her? *scratches head*

    1. Hey Canaman! Found the post on her blog where she referenced you two meeting up and buying the book as well, seems like she draws strength from your friendship.

      Don't know if Tricky will accept moving it from disregarded to borderline, as it's kind of cheating writing the posts ourselves, but if not, let's say you and me split the cost of 200 CAPs evenly, 100 each. We've got enough unless you're saving them for something special? I've got no problem helping you with my CAPs, it's for a good cause.

    2. Canageek: Well, I am not completely against it, just didn't want to fill Trickster's time with bad games. But if it's a matter of life and death and you think Trickster's review could make the difference, I could well myself put some CAPs for the game. If Trickster accepts upgrading the game to borderline, then you won't be needing points from anyone else. If he doesn't and the game stays disregarded, then I could give also 50 points to the pool for good cause.

    3. Oh, Lars-Erik offered already 100... Well, let's say we split the costs with the three of us, a little under 70 from each of us should do the trick.

    4. Count me in! So that's 4 of us each putting in 50 now, right? Hopefully we can get some more.

      I have no problem with having Trickster play bad games. After all, I'm a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

      Push the button Frank!

    5. Ilmari: Not that bad, she's been doing a lot better as of late. I forgot that she wrote that into one of her posts!

  15. Replies
    1. Sweet, I've now got enough to pay for Fatty Bear without writing a full wikipedia article on it. I should be able to get another 50 even if Emmanuelle goes through. I have till 1996.

  16. Hey Trickster! Just want to express concern (and appreciation!) that the majority of your time is being spent working on this blog and not the actual gaming. 13 hours in one month? Wow!

    If at any time you want to hold back and focus on the games more, don't worry about us and just follow your passion. We will always be here -- that is, you are in my RSS feed :).

    It seems like you really enjoyed Zak McKracken and wanted to share your progress, and maybe your enthusiasm about blogging might not continue on with other games. And I know how much work making a post can be: setting up screenshots, rewriting, blah, blah.

    A Concerned Rotgrub

    1. Well, I'm sure it will vary a lot from game to game. Some games will be fun to play, others fun to write about. The best ones might be both, and the worst ones might be neither.

      Certainly for me, I find I enjoy writing almost as much as playing games.

  17. Alright, as an evil, evil person gave me another website documenting little-know game comment I'm back to flood people's inboxes.

    Zak had an FM-TOWNS release, which was a Japanese computer system with much better graphics then what we see here; 640x480 and 256 colours. Thus, two new versions were created: An English vesion, and a Japanese version with um, manga eyes. See for yourself:

  18. I find it interesting that you consider the use of the inquisitor a con, while I would consider it a pro.

    It fleshes out the setting, and since it came as part of the game, it is as valid as any clue found in the software. The newspaper is as much part of the game as the code, as far as I am concerned.

  19. So I finally got around to finishing this game yesterday. Due to various frustrations, mainly

    -potential dead ends
    -running out of money
    -running out of oxygen
    -only 10 unnameable saveslots
    -constant copy protection to fly anywhere
    -too much trial and error in finding the start of the puzzle chain
    -not downloading and reading the newspaper
    -clunky interface with only 4 inventory items visible at a time

    I started relying on walkthroughs more and more towards the end. Did I mention the mazes? I started with the high-res version, but ultimately played through the original low-res version by the way. It saved a lot of pixel hunting because there were less extraneous detail.

    But now I can read the few remaining blog posts I haven't yet in all these years - at last!