Sunday 31 December 2017

Missed Classic: Return to Eden - Gonna Live Like a King on Whatever I Find

By Ilmari

The dream of Trump was finally true - no living being could get behind the wall

Last time I had just managed to break through the fence surrounding Enoch, robot built city in the planet of Eden. Unfortunately, the fence wasn’t the only defense, and I was quickly obliterated by a minefield. The solution was luckily near. I had picked up a fruit that looked like a pineapple, but was actually a cherry bomb (hey producers, Piers Anthony used that pun way before you). All I had to do was to use my catapult made out rubber band and y-shaped bone to hurl the bomb to the mine field.

I still couldn’t just walk to the city, since it was surrounded by a huge wall. The animals and plants of Eden tried constantly to attack the wall, but were promptly lasered to death. I had to find another way.

Friday 29 December 2017

Missed Classic: Return to Eden - I Don’t Know How To Do It, But It’s Got To Be Done

By Ilmari

In my previous post I had just started Return to Eden with a bang. Kim Kimberley’s stratoglider had crashed on Eden and the sleeper ship Snowball nuked the remnants, because the crew thought wrongly that Kim was a terrorist trying to destroy the ship. Kim managed to survive by burying herself underground. My aim now was to survive the deadly forests of Eden and get to the safety of the robot-made city Enoch.


Thursday 28 December 2017

Missed Classic 49: Return to Eden - Introduction (1984)

By Ilmari

It's time for our annual change of the year game, played through the final week of 2017 until New Year. This time, I shall take a look at Return to Eden, a sequel to Snowball by British text adventure company Level 9. Since Snowball has been the most intriguing game of the company, I have high expectations of this one. Sure, the previous Level 9 game I played, Lords of Time, wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I’m blaming the rookie game developer. Now, the Austin brothers, who founded Level 9, are back in charge and hopefully will beat their previous high score of 31.

Is that a futuristic guitar? If so, is he a space hippy?

 Like here

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Missed Classic: Cyborg - Feeding the Machine

Written by Voltgloss

Apologies to all for the delay in continuing our Cyborgian adventures. Rather than dwell on the issues driving those delays, let’s dive back in where we left off:

Our map from last time.

With light source (matches) in hand, we head off to our clearest lead: that dark area in the northwest corner of the map. This brings us to a “detoxification chamber,” where a sign informs us to “press the touchplate” in order to “cycle detoxification procedure.” But trying to do so has no effect; our computer half suggests we are lacking “the proper ID.” There’s also a partition to the north, but we can’t seem to walk through it or open it. And then when we go to leave, apparently our match went out without my noticing and we unceremoniously die in the dark. Well, that’s an auspicious start.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Missed Classic 48: Elves ‘87 (aka The Elf’s Christmas Adventure) (1987)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Merry Christmas! Can you believe this is our fourth Christmas since the relaunch? It’s also our fourth look at classic Christmas adventure games. Thus far we have looked at 1984’s Merry Christmas from Melbourne House and A Spell of Christmas Ice, plus 1986’s Crisis at Christmas. Holiday games are a special bunch; except Merry Christmas, they have all been produced by smaller developers. They have also been a global bunch, having been produced in Australia, England, and Scotland. Our next game will continue both of those traditions: Elves ‘87 (subtitled God Bless Frosty the Snowman!), a fantastic Christmas tale written in Nova Scotia by independent software designers Bruce MacKay and Marlene Abriel and distributed on their short-lived Atari ST BBS, “Burned Out Adventurers!” (or “BOA!” for short).

This is also a game with a unique history, pulled along by the friendly competition between adventure authoring systems. Although Bruce and Marlene did not intend the game to be commercial (instead a springboard to subsequent game ideas that they were brewing), it was unofficially ported and re-released as an advertisement (and sample code) for David Malmberg’s “Adventure Game Toolkit”, a rival development system. That release, retitled The Elf’s Christmas Adventure, is the one that I suspect most players are familiar with.

This Christmas marks the 30th anniversary of Elves ‘87 and I can think of no more fitting time to dig in and explore this piece of holiday cheer. So, spike some eggnog and pull up a chair by the fire, it’s time for a Christmas adventure!

Friday 22 December 2017

The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - The Secret of the Old Smock

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back! I ended last week stuck: I confirmed that Ms. Carroway’s “secret admirer” wasn’t directly connected to the murder, although it is still suspicious that he and the murderer hung out at the same pub. The tavern keeper at the Moongate pointed me in the direction of the man I believe to be the real killer, a taxidermist named Blackwood, but he didn’t know where the man’s office was and there appears to be no 19th century equivalent of the Yellow Pages that we can search. (Kids, ask your parents.) My only lead was a single taxidermied head hanging in the local tobacco shop.

I’ll spare you all of the random wandering as I found the solution right where I expected it to be. I had been imagining something overly-complicated like mounting a mirror on a stick, but the solution was actually just to move some packing crates across the room and stand on them. Obvious, right? It was not quite that easy because the store clerk initially refused to let us, but Holmes is very persistent and we talk him into it eventually. That doesn’t quite get me what I wanted since the plaque just says that the head was given to John Bradley, the store owner, in 1885. It was a let down, but not a permanent one as we can use the “move” command to look behind the head and find a label on the back of the mount: Oxford Taxidermy, 188 Oxford St. We have a new map location!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Quest For Glory I - Practice Makes Perfect

I played a lot in this section but have surprisingly little to show for it puzzle-solving wise. I do have a lot to show for it statistic wise though, so let's see what I've been up to while trying to increase my characters' attributes.

Trevor the Thief Journal Entry #3: I found the thieves guild, where I bought a license in order to be able to steal in town without the sheriff being tipped off. Is now a good time to tell the guild master I've already stolen everything there is to steal in town? Can I get my license fee back now that I don't need it? Oh well. I'm still not sure how to make my way to the bandits using my special skills but I'm sure I'll either come up with something or temporarily become a fighter if I have to. I hope I won't have to become a fighter...

It's been a while since we've seen what our thief has been up to, so here's the list of quests I had to complete last time we met him,

  • Find thieves' guild password (perhaps in cemetery)
  • Get Fairy Dust from mushroom ring without dancing to death
  • Get flying water (after buying an empty flask from the provisioner)
  • Get mandrake root (after buying Undead potion from healer)
  • Do something about the antwerp – it's not bothering anyone, but I hate that it exists and want it dead!
  • Get better at fighting/thieving
and when I add to them other quests I'll need to complete...
  • Deal with troll cave
  • Deal with Ogre/Bear/Kobold cave
  • Deal with Bandits

Having done much of this with the other characters, we know we'll be able to get the fairy dust, flying water and mandrake root easily – and something I didn't know at the time but now do, is that after using the undead potion at the cemetery in order to get the mandrake, we'll have an empty flask in our inventory, so don't need to buy one – it's easily affordable, but if I can get one for free I'm sure as hell not paying for one.

Let's start at the beginning and try to get the thieves' guild password.

Friday 15 December 2017

The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - Fer-de-Fléchette

Written by Joe Pranevich

Grab your magnifying glass, it’s finally time to get back to The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes. Last time around, I ended on a down note: I was stuck after tracking down the name of Sarah Carroway’s, our murder victim’s, boyfriend “James”. Even with that, I wasn’t able to figure out which James he was on a rugby team that seems to have been filled with them. I also discovered that her sister, Anne, was a famous opera singer and may have gone missing or worse. I had many leads to follow, but none that the game particularly wanted me to follow and I was stuck. After failing to get anywhere, I asked for help and a few faithful commenters set me on the right path. I didn’t even need to look at their rot13-clues, it was enough to know that I needed to focus on the flowers from Sarah’s “secret admirer”.

My breakthrough came when I tried to study the flowers in Holmes’s private lab: we discovered, to no surprise at all, that the flowers were artificially dyed. However Mr. Holmes was also able to identify that they were dyed using an industrial cleaner with an iodine base. Armed with that analysis, we were able to ask Wiggins to focus in on flower-sellers that used that technique around the theater where Sarah worked. In almost no time at all (just had to leave the screen and come back!), he located the florist in question and we have a new destination on our map. Will this let me track down the “secret admirer”? Let’s find out!

Monday 11 December 2017

Quest for Glory I - Smokey and the Bandits

Written by TBD.

Once again I spent most of my playtime as one character. Last time it was as Martak the Magic-User. This time it was Frodo the Fighter. There's a lot to get to, so let's get to it...

Frodo the Fighter Journal Entry #3: As they say, "we've a long way to go and a short time to get there." I've become a much better fighter since I last wrote in this journal. I was able to dispatch many goblins in a row, a large number of bandits and even a cheetaur or two. I'm also rich and have upgraded my armor! Things are certainly looking up for my adventuring career.

The first 'quest' I wanted to solve in this section, was getting into the hermit's cottage next to the waterfall. I'd been there as the magic-user by casting my 'Open' spell. My thief had gotten there by using his 'Climbing' skill, but I had neither of those as a fighter. I do have some 'Throwing' skill though. I thought I'd try throwing rocks at his door to see if that gets his attention.

What light from yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and 'Enry the 'Ermit is the sun.

Saturday 9 December 2017

What's Your Story - Limbeck

Answers: Limbeck
Introduction and captions: TBD

Limbeck has recently begun commenting and following our blog in real-time, joining us with Joe Pranevich's playthrough of The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I give a whole hearted WELCOME! It's always good to hear that new people are coming here and reading our blog.

Among other things, limbeck is an archaic term for an alembic - which is in itself rather archaic

And now, over to Limbeck...

Hello there,

I have been slowly catching up with the posts in this blog, but I noticed that there are some games I really enjoy in a row, so I have broken away from my OCD and read those posts. Therefore, I don't think I have much to lose by sending you my story.

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Quest For Glory I - Baba the Hutt

Written by TBD.

Okay. Time to see what I've been up to lately in the land of Spielburg...

Martak the Magic-User Journal Entry #3: I finally met a wizard whose skills rivalled my own, and beat him at his own game on only my second attempt (as far as he knows). I also made a deal with a Frost Giant and a witch, who I now have a plan for dealing with permanently. I just need to deal with those pesky bandits...

I left off last week with a to do list for each character. One of the things my magic-user needed to do was get a spirea seed, which I thought I'd need a Fetch spell for. I still couldn't afford a Fetch spell, having avoided fights with my mage, but trying my rarely useable Open spell on that screen told me I didn't need the Fetch spell for this puzzle.

Much more satisfying than the usual response of “The spell has no effect.”

One thing I haven't yet mentioned is that, apart from the skills for attributes and abilities, my magic-user also has skill levels with each spell, that increases each time I use the spell. I checked my Open spell skill, which was 19.

Rather than practice the spell until I ran out of spell points, sleep and repeat (which I tried but got killed in my sleep) I decided to pay a visit to the castle instead. Being faced with a closed portcullis I found the perfect opportunity to practice using my Open spell


Sunday 3 December 2017

The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - The No. 1 Gentlemen’s Detective Agency

Written by Joe Pranevich

Returning to the scene of the crime.

Welcome back! Last week, we continued our exploration of Sarah Carroway’s alleyway murder, eventually navigating the crippling bureaucracy of Scotland Yard to secure the release of a key that she was holding when she died. Holmes seems to think that this is an important clue as it will let us back into the theater where she was murdered, to explore unhindered and to see if the key that she had hidden at her flat goes to anything there. As of right now, I feel as if we are in the early days of the investigation. We do not have a motive other than robbery, nor do we have anything that leads up anywhere near the suspect. All we can do is further investigate Sarah’s life and look for connections. I would like to apologize for this post being a bit late. Truth is, that I am stuck on the game and while it’s not “Request for Assistance”-level yet, I had hoped to make a bit more progress before sharing the next post. Nonetheless, here we are and I hope I manage to make some headway on the case soon.

I return to the scene of the crime, hardly pausing to notice the chalk outline or the pool of the blood that remains on the ground as I headed for the door. Our new key works and I can get into the theatre! Why we keep insisting on entering via the stage door, I have no idea, but in a few moments we are back to the dressing room. I expected to find it empty and explore in peace, but that was not to be.