Saturday 29 April 2017

Thursday 27 April 2017

Game 81 : Dark Seed - Introduction

Written by Alfred n’ the Fettuc

Horror video games have always been a thing. They can be traced back to as far as 1982 for graphic horror games with 3d Monster Maze and probably before that with text adventure games that I don’t know about. A lot of them rely on jump scares (Five Nights at Freddy’s, I’m looking at you) but few dabble with psychological horror, at least before the technology was really able to plunge you into horrific universes and bring you games you don’t want to play alone at night like Amnesia or Fatal Frame. Introduce the game that was ranked 6th of Gametrailer’s “scariest video games of all time”, despite being the oldest one of their selection: Dark Seed.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Dune - Rendezvous with Fremen (Won!)

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #4: "No force in the galaxy can stand against me now. Dune with its precious spice is mine. The Harkonnens are no more and even the Emperor will never be a threat again. And I will make at least part of Dune green, for my mother, and for the family I will have with Chani."

Last time, I left off with one sietch struck by a plague that was deliberately spread by the Harkonnens. Fortunately, Chani offered to cure it, but she asked Paul to leave her there by herself to reduce distractions. I would have thought she'd be more of a distraction to him, but nevermind.

The troops that were already at the sietch when the plague hit are out of commission, but other troops can move through the sietch without trouble. Since Gurney is still there too, I continue training a few of the other nearby troops. I also spend some time visiting troops in other areas and readjusting the locations of the spice harvesters.


But when I return to that sietch after I get the message from Chani that the plague is cured, I find her missing! Now I know why the plot needed me to be elsewhere... Soon after that, Thufir informs me that a message has arrived at the palace. I rush back to find another taunting message from Feyd-Rautha, the Harkonnen heir. He has stolen Chani away!

Thursday 20 April 2017

KGB - The Waiting Game

Written by Torch

We’re still in chapter 2. In my previous post, I had to get rid of a dead body, interrogate prostitutes and foreign agents, and finally I got to trash a hotel room, rockstar style. No wonder I was dead tired by the time I got back to my hotel room. I emptied my pockets of hard and pointy objects, and threw myself on the bed.

Guess who found the chainsaw fuel

Tuesday 18 April 2017

KGB - The Trouble with Viktor

Written by Torch

I’m still in chapter 2. During my previous session, I met a mystery contact, who I refer to as Cut-throat, based on the phrase he used to identify himself. I don’t know who he works for yet. Could be an organization, or someone independent. Nevertheless, I provided him with some info, and he returned the favor. I’m now back in my hotel room, right after our meeting, waiting for my Department P mission controller to show up at 7.30 pm.

Well, there’s no time to rest. At exactly 7.30, I hear a knock on the door. It’s the controller, Major Savinkov, and he has apparently decided to bring me a house-warming ( or rather hotel-warming ) gift, in the form of a dead body. Swell...

Gee, thanks for bringing in more work, major.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Dune - The Demolished Duke

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #3: "My power and range is greatly increasing. I will soon be able to bring the full force of the Fremen against the Harkonnens. I just need to maintain my focus even in the face of certain distractions. Still, I'm so pleased that Stilgar thought to bring me to Chani. She is a wonderful help and I want her by my side always."

So my main objective right now is to get my western troops trained and equipped and launch an offensive against nearby Harkonnen fortresses. I also need to keep my eyes open for more information about villages where I might be able to get more ornithopters.

The army troop that I set to "espionage" found a Harkonnen fortress just to the north of my northern sietches, but eventually he also discovered it had three heavily-armed sets of troops, so Thufir's instruction to attack from the west is a good one. I sent the troop off to join the ones in the west instead of continuing the espionage and potentially attracting attention from the Harkonnens.

Meanwhile, I still didn't know where the villages were, but I finally went back to my fortress and realized I hadn't talked to Harah for awhile. She remembered about a village located "in the fish's mouth" and suggested I'd have to look for it from an orni. When I looked at the map, I saw immediately what she was talking about: there's a rock formation shaped like a fish some ways southwest of the fortress.

The smuggler will sell me the orni I needed.

Friday 14 April 2017

Missed Classic 39: Suspended (1983)

By Joe Pranevich

Over the past several months, we have followed a surprisingly complete history of Infocom through my reviews of the Zork marathon plus Ilmari’s look at Deadline and other early mystery games. For me, this has been a revelation both in how amazing these games hold up today as well as filling in much more of the early history of adventure games. When Trickster played King’s Quest so many years ago, he did so without first seeing any of its antecedents, Colossal Cave or the Hi-Res Adventures. We’ve already traced the formation of Infocom through mainframe Zork and its first five games but when it came time for number six, they charted a new course.

The five previous games (three Zorks, Deadline, and Starcross) were all the brain-children of two men: Marc Blank and Dave Lebling, the founders and creative geniuses behind Infocom. To keep up with demand, the pair worked on multiple games simultaneously but by 1983 it was obvious that they needed to recruit outside talent to grow. Sierra’s own Ken and Roberta Williams went through a similar transition in their Hi-Res Adventure series, handling the reins to their first outside developer with their fourth game, Cranston Manor. (A partially-completed review of that game remains in my drafts folder. I hope to be able to share it with you eventually.)

This is where Mike Berlyn comes in. He wasn’t part of the MIT community that coalesced into the original team, rather he was a published writer with three sci-fi novels under his belt (The Integrated Man, Crystal Phoenix, and Blight, released in 1980 and 1981) plus two sci-fi text adventures, Oo-Topis (1981) and Cyborg (1981). His fiction explored human-computer interaction and cloning, with more than a bit of horror mixed in. While he was an accomplished Apple II programmer, he didn’t have the “hard computer science” education that was the hallmark at Infocom. Bringing him into the Infocom fold, a company already priding itself on its literary aspirations, seemed like a match made in heaven. The output was one of the most innovative and different games ever released by Infocom: Suspended.

Thursday 6 April 2017

Call for Questions for Muriel Tramis

Written by Ilmari

Although we have had a bit of a love-hate relationship with French adventure gaming, I am sincerely of the opinion that a history of its early days would be an interesting field of study. Careful readers of our Missed Classics might have seen that I’ve done my share in trying to make this otherwise rather forgotten era more accessible. I have especially followed the career of Muriel Tramis, interesting not just as one of the first female game designers, but also as probably the first game designer hailing from Martinique.

Her official LinkedIn -picture
This remarkable person worked for Tomahawk, subsidiary of Coktel Vision, which later became a part of the enlarging empire of Sierra. In what might be taken as an ironic result, the takeover of a French gaming company was followed by a takeover by a French media company Vivendi. After few years in this media corporation, Muriel Tramis left Vivendi and founded her own company Avantilles in 2003. I’ve been trying to track her down, in order to conduct an interview with her, but for quite a long time, the trail was cold.

Until the beginning of April.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

KGB - Backtrack’s Back Alright

Written by Torch

The observant reader may remember that I mentioned the backtrack function in the intro post. Well, I’ll have you know that I became quite familiar with that particular mechanic over the course of this next session. The possibilities for failure in this game are numerous, but whereas the first mission was pretty forgiving and didn’t kill me at the drop of a hat, the gloves came off pretty quickly once I got to Kursk street.

Before I dive in, here’s a quick plot summary. Our guy, Maksim Rukov has been sent to Kursk street to further investigate the death of former KGB agent, now private investigator Pyotr Golitsin, who was supposed to meet tonight with a contact going by the codename “Hollywood”. Golitsin would present himself as “Buyer2”, and the meeting was arranged by someone called “Romeo”. I’ve been given a fake identity for the purpose of this undercover mission. My fake name is to be Kliment Kruglov, and I’m a bicycle brake repairman.

I arrive on Kursk street, outside a bar with the curtains closed.

A classy-looking establishment

Sunday 2 April 2017

Dune - Do Fremen Dream of the Desert Mouse?

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #2: "The desert is changing me already. I’m seeing visions of things I can’t possibly know about directly. I’m even starting to look like the Fremen, which is all the better if I’m to win their loyalty and use them against the Harkonnen threat."

When I left off last time, Jessica had just told me I should go out into the desert. Alone, I wander out of the fortress and prepare to wait. Almost immediately, the screen fuzzes, and I get a brief glimpse of the Duke saying that there's a message from the emperor. Huh. I go back inside, and indeed there is a message demanding 970 kgs of spice to be sent today. I've got more than enough to be able to comply, but I don't see a way to send it right there. When I reach the throne room, the Duke and Jessica are both there, and Jessica seems to be expecting me. She knows I had a vision of the message and says I should talk to her later about my powers expanding.

In the meantime, the Duke has called a meeting on the balcony with all the members of staff at the fortress. He is pleased with my progress in gathering Fremen support. Harah confirms that there is a Fremen prophecy, and she believes Paul will be the one to fulfill it. Gurney seems to have disappeared, though.

Jessica's explanation of Paul's powers.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Check out a new Kickstarter

By the TAG team

We rarely advertise new Kickstarters, but this time we just had to make an exception. How could we resist, when we are the inspiration! That’s right, you read it correctly, The Adventure Gamer will get its own adventure game.

The Adventure Gamer 3000 tells the story of Lilah the Lurker, who one day wakes up to the awful reality, in which her favourite adventure game blog has suddenly gone offline. Lilah begins a desperate globetrotting attempt to contact all the reviewers and admin of TAG, before they have all been erased from reality by the evil and maleficent Doctor Dastardious. Will she be able to save Trickster from a fate worse than death and convince him to make one more comeback?

You can access the whole world with this easy-to-use interface