Monday 29 June 2015

What's Your Story - TangoBunny

Answers by TangoBunny
Introduction and captions by Ilmari

It's great to see new and enthusiastic readers finding our blog. One of the more recent newcomers is TangoBunny, who stumbled on the blog whilst trying to find some info on Questprobe: Hulk -game.

Who could resist this lovable green ogre?

Saturday 27 June 2015

Timequest - 44 BC Survey

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #3: "I’ve uncovered some hints of what else Vettenmyer has been up to and obtained a couple of items of dubious usefulness, but the highlight of the day has to be my visit with Cleopatra. Except then she implies I can’t keep up with her and puts me off until later. If it weren’t already quite the interference in the timestream even to get involved with her, I’d have to suggest just what she can do with that aphrodisiac she gave me. Hmph."

So I originally didn't solve the mission in 44 BC Rome all at once; I went on to several other time periods before going back and figuring it out. I thought maybe there was a chance that there was a cotter pin in another place. I reasoned that if Roman chariots use cotter pins in the year 44 BC, then perhaps chariots or wagons or other wheeled vehicles in another city in the same year might use similar cotter pins. It wasn't a great hypothesis, since various civilizations might have very different technology levels (I've played way too much Civilization, clearly, but these cities mostly represent standard civilizations - British, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Aztecs) and practices like pottery can vary quite a bit between towns even just miles apart, but it's all I could think of at the time. So here's what happens in the other cities in 44 BC.

History of Dover in 44 BC.

Thursday 25 June 2015

Game 57: Space Quest I: Roger Wilco in the Sarien Encounter (VGA remake) (1991) - Introduction

By Andy Panthro

That classic 90s Sierra logo!

Roger Wilco, our intrepid hero of both space and time returns... back to Space Quest 1! Again! Sometimes a location is so good you can't resist visiting it three times in five years. This time, we'll get to see the entire game in glorious 256-colour VGA, rather than just Ulence Flats. From what I remember from playing this not so long ago, other than the obvious visual and audio upgrades the game is basically the same as the original with a few minor changes. It's the first and only Space Quest game to get the official VGA upgrade, but there is a fan-made Space Quest 2 VGA game which I'm sure we'll get to in the distant future.

Were any of the other games referred to as "chapters"?

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Game 55: Leisure Suit Larry 1 (VGA) - Final Rating

Written by Alex

At long last, I am ready to give the Leisure Suit Larry 1 VGA remake its turn with the PISSED rating scale. Since this game is a remake, it should be interesting to see how it stacks up against Trickster’s original rating from three years ago. It may be a little of an apples-to-oranges comparison, seeing as how Trickster and I aren’t the same person (shocking, I know) but I have a feeling that the remake won’t score higher on every single metric.

Monday 22 June 2015

Timequest - 44 BC (Rome)

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #2: "Rome in 44 BC is both stranger and more normal than I anticipated. I easily find the source of the disturbance in the circus, although thwarting the assassination attempt on Caesar is more difficult. I have an exciting time fixing a broken chariot, winning several chariot races, gaining Caesar’s favor, and defeating a rogue lion. All in a day’s work for this time agent! (I never want to see a lion that close up again…) Somehow nobody notices I don’t belong in this time. Cleopatra seems to be the only one to take any particular notice of me, which is intriguing."

Rome in 44 BC

From the briefing for this mission: “Julius Caesar was stabbed and killed on the Ides of March. After his death, the conspirators in the assassination plot engaged in a bitter power struggle that
split the Roman Empire and eventually led to its downfall. .. Without the power struggle among Caesar's killers, the Roman Empire may remain united and resist all future barbarian incursions. It may, in fact, never fall.”

Friday 19 June 2015

Game 54: Space Quest IV - Final Rating

By: Joe Pranevich

Now here we are: the end of the line. It’s time to stop procrastinating by reviewing “hint books” and having “interviews”; we have to get down to the business of giving this game a final rating. And honestly, this is much more difficult than the six other games that I have reviewed for this site. This is a game that meant a great deal to me at one time, and while I can see its flaws now, I still might be wearing some of those rose-tinted glasses. But the only way out is forward, so let’s see how Space Quest IV does in the PISSED rating!

After some debate, I have decided to review both the 1991 floppy disk edition of the game and the 1992 CD-ROM version. The games have enough differences that they will get different scores, but the official score for the spreadsheet and contest will be the floppy score. The lucky reader that guesses the score will not only get a fine collection of CAPs, but also a Ace Hardway tee-shirt thanks to a donation from our friends at SpaceVenture! We will also give out some CAPs to the person guessing closest to the CD-ROM score, but we only have one shirt.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Timequest - A Rogue Agent (Headquarters)

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #1: "My first big mission: save the world ten times over, catch a raving lunatic, and be back in time for dinner! No pressure, right? Is this a normal day on the job? Fortunately, the madman left his time machine programmed for all the places he went. It's like he wants someone to unravel his crazy scheme..."

Note: I jumped into the game and wrote the first several gameplay posts blind, without reading any reviews or any information on the game, so I "reason out" some things that I obviously knew when I wrote the intro post.

The opening to the story is very simple. General Drexler has handed me briefing papers and ordered me to follow another time agent through time to intervene before history can be changed. With a name like "Timequest" how could it not be a time travel story? The rogue agent's note said, "Beware the Ides of March." I assume this means I'll have to go visit Roman times at some point. Somehow his machine is still available, so I'm supposed to use it to return to each of the places the rogue agent has gone. All of this is conveyed in one screen of text before I'm dropped into the main game layout.

Yeah, why are you sending a lowly private on this critical mission?

Monday 15 June 2015

Space Quest IV - Interview with the Two Guys from Andromeda

By The TAG team

The galaxy or the constellation? We forgot to ask.

I know I speak for all of the contributors here when I say that we love adventure games. We love to play adventure games, write about adventure games, but most importantly learn about adventure games. These games are an important part of our digital heritage and the work that we do here preserves and promotes the memory of some absolutely fantastic games.

That is why we have been so excited that, just over a month ago, Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe (better known as the “Two Guys from Andromeda”) agreed to a special interview with The Adventure Gamer to coincide with our playthrough of Space Quest IV. These questions wouldn’t come from the admins or writers for TAG, but rather all of our contributors. We quickly pulled together a call for questions and sent them off to Scott and Mark for their answers. Today, we can finally share with you the answers to our burning questions!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Game 54: Space Quest IV - Epilogue: Marmota Monax Die

By Joe Pranevich

“Oh God. Another Space Quest IV post…”

When I was a young boy, I fell in love with the “Prydain Chronicles”, a series of young-audience fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander. Most people only remember this series for “The Black Cauldron” which became a Disney animated film in 1985, as well as a game that the Trickster reviewed on this very blog. But while most kids would read a series they loved from beginning to end as quickly as possible, I did just the opposite: I made the books take forever. I read and re-read each in the series, savoring each one. I delayed reading the final book in the series, “The High King” for years because I did not want the series to end. Until I got to that last page, Taran and his friends could always have new adventures. But once I read it, that would be “the end”.

Space Quest IV isn’t quite that kind of high-art, and I am a long way from being a ten-year old, but we have a few exciting things to share as we close out this game, arguably the best of the Space Quest series, and one of my personal favorites. I have enjoyed this game and I hope you do mind that I take some time this week to savor the experience and share a few things I’ve learned before we move onto the next one.

Friday 12 June 2015

Game 55: Leisure Suit Larry 1 (VGA) – WON!

Written by Alex

Where we last saw Larry, his wedding night didn’t go quite as planned. Fawn, his bride, tied him up with the tacky heart-shaped bed’s tacky bow, swiped his money as “repayment” for the wine, and skedaddled. To add insult to injury, it’s pretty clear she hopped into the bone zone with the alcohol-delivery boy while Larry was out. Can’t a guy catch a break?

It’s a good thing that Larry traded that box of wine to the friendly wino outside of the convenience store for the pocketknife two posts ago. Also, recall the wino’s semi-cryptic words about the kinky women of Lost Wages preying on handsome studs like Larry. It’s pretty easy to put two-and-two together and come up with using the knife to cut the bonds (10 points), but as far as I can tell, this is a classic Sierra Walking Dead ScenarioTM if I ever saw one.

In a humorous little animation, Larry thrusts his hips and the knife pops out from somewhere in his massive adventure game character’s pants—or in this case, boxer shorts—and lands in his hands, allowing him to cut the ribbon. The text that pops up next is a very subtle hint as to what the player may want to have Larry do next.

Subtle for Al Lowe.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

History of Adventure 1: Text-based Interactive Fiction (1977?)

Written by TAG reviewer team

Notable Titles: Adventure, Zork, Adventureland, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, A Mind Forever Voyaging, Trinity, Curses, Photopia, Anchorhead, Spider and Web, Varicella, Galatea
Notable Creators and Companies: William Crowther and Don Woods, Infocom (Dave Lebling, Steve Meretzky, Brian Moriarty and many others), Adventure International (Scott Adams), Graham Nelson, Andrew Plotkin, Adam Cadre, Emily Short

Very literally, were it not for the games in this industry we would not be talking about these things today. When Crowther and Woods let Adventure out of the bag in 1977, the gaming world was irrevocably changed for every man, woman and wildebeest who have ever read the words "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.” (Well, it might be possible that it all began a couple of years earlier with a mainframe text adventure creation system called Wander, but since it's unclear whether at least later versions of Wander were heavily influenced by Adventure, we'll just stick to the old story.) Adventure gaming in and of itself has always been one of the easiest things to do – you need a story, which more or less everyone can at least come up with, a reason to go on an adventure (treasure, damsel in distress, need to get your frog into a frog contest with frog steroids while winning a video gaming championship) and a way in which to influence what you're dealing with.

The notion of a simple parser was the real joy that came out of all of this. By giving gamers a way to influence what was on the screen with simple words (PICK UP TORCH, LIGHT TORCH, LOOK, RUN FROM GRUE) there was suddenly a market to be had. The main problem with this genre was, as more or less anyone who has played even some of it knows, that a parser can never be perfect. It's all well and good to know that you need to have the four pieces of pocket lint from all around the galaxy, but not realising that you have to LOOK in your POCKET to get it? It's going to leave some extremely aggravated people! Of course, this is largely down to the quality of the company who creates the game.

A good, descriptive block of text can make all the difference

Monday 8 June 2015

Game 54: Space Quest IV - WON!

By: Joe Pranevich

Roger Wilco’s Janitorial Log #5 - At long last, Vohaul’s evil reign of terror has ended! Or, perhaps it never started? All this time traveling has made me very confused and somewhat hungry. In any event, I infiltrated Vohaul’s fortress, passed a laser trap, purchased a computer accessory, broke into his mainframe, and rescued my son. I didn’t even know that I had a son until right before I rescued him, so that has to count for something when Father's Day comes around. The guy tells me that I won’t remember this later, but that’s why I have this spiffy Janitorial Log.

And now, I’m back! From outer space!

Where we left off last week, Roger had successfully traveled back in time to Space Quest I, but found almost nothing to do there except pick up a book of matches and dodge a couple of under-colored motorcyclists. Without having any better ideas, I traveled back to Space Quest XII, where we started the game, to see if anything had changed. Well, it had! For no readily apparent reason, the Sequel Police guards were not manning their posts when I arrived and I could start to re-explore the future. Is this where I need to go or another dead end? I guess I will find out soon enough!

Friday 5 June 2015

Game 55: Leisure Suit Larry 1 (VGA) - The Holy Bond(age) of Matrimony

Written by Alex

Before picking up where we left off, I need to address the quiz I complained about last post. In a comment, Aperama reminded me that pressing CTRL+ALT+X bypasses the quiz and gets right to the game. So thanks, Aperama! Bonus CAPs coming your way.

Yeah? Well, your mother! Or something . . .

Aw gee, thanks Al Lowe.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Game 56: Timequest (1991) - Introduction

Written by Reiko

Evocative, meaningful, but a little campy. Much like the game, actually.

I have good memories of the Gateway games, produced later on by the same Legend Entertainment company that started out with Spellcasting 101, which we've already seen back in January, courtesy of Aperama. Timequest is Legend's second game, which I may have poked at briefly some years ago, but certainly never finished, so I'm looking forward to it. The layout and gameplay are very similar to those other games, so I should be able to jump right in. They're very much a hybrid between pure-text interactive fiction and graphical adventure games, a big step up from pure text, and they're basically the successor to what Infocom was doing with interactive fiction. I grew up with interactive fiction, although I didn't play very many Infocom games at the time, but I still follow the modern IF scene now and have been trying to go back and play some of the classics I missed as well. So I quickly volunteered for Timequest when it came up on the list.

Monday 1 June 2015

History of Adventure - Introduction

Written by TAG reviewer team

Special thanks to Aperama for the idea, lot of the research and the first draft of the whole thing

With the Adventure Gamer -blog having recently decided to come up with the designation of a 'Missed Classic' – a game that didn't actually fit in properly with Trickster's original motives in creating this fine place we all know and love now, there was a little discussion on where adventure games have actually come from and what they've become. It's almost always going to be a thing of conjecture, with lots of debate of pros and cons in listing a game as being unique enough to warrant its own 'section'. For instance, 'hybrid RPG/adventure' could be a section in and of itself, but we're more talking about the interface that we play through than the nature of the game. If we're to be pedants, there are also some games that don't directly fit into a category (like Below the Root, the first game that was ever covered by this blog).

Was this just a dead end in adventure game history?