Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Alone in the Dark - Tree’s A Crowd (Won!)

By Andy Panthro



We left off as I had guided the private detective Edward Carnby underneath Derceto, and into the tunnels and chambers beneath. This area was ancient and surely constructed long ago, perhaps by the pirate Eliah Pickford or perhaps some of these were here before he took up residence.

Ahead of me are a series of stone pillars, and newly in my action menu is the “jump” command. A flying bug is somewhat in the way, but a couple of shots from the rifle is enough to remove that obstacle. Now the only problem is a 3D jumping puzzle on a 2D background with a very fiddly control system and an unreliable camera positioning.



The jumping isn’t actually that hard, but gauging the distance is the tricky part. I actually fell more often due to jumping a little too far, but the fall doesn’t actually harm you. The water breaks your fall I suppose, although it ruins your rifle cartridges and extinguishes your lantern. There’s a shortcut back to the start from here (and to the rooms ahead), but I intend to finish this game fair and square.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Missed Classic 58: The Worm in Paradise (1985) - Introduction

By Ilmari

Joe Pranevich has just completed another year of gaming (1984) in his Infocom marathon, and before moving on to the challenges of 1985 games, he is planning to write a few additional articles on other interesting things Infocom was doing at that period. It is thus a good opportunity for me continue my own sideshow marathon and tackle another Level 9 game - The Worm in Paradise.


Robot beauty contest?

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Spellcasting 301 - The Party

By Deimar

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #2: This is not the spring break I had dreamt of. But it is getting close. I mean, I am getting to know very hot girls and even rekindle some old passions. However, there is this part about having to compete with the SWAM boys, the YUs, for the priviledge of coming to Fort Naughtytail for the next five years. And it seems like, as always, it all depends on me. I don’t even know why I am part of a fraternity anymore. Lucky for them, I managed to trick some bimbos into coming to our party because otherwise I am sure we would have lost the first game: getting the hottest girls to the Pharts party.


Seeing this screen I can’t avoid by thinking about this

Allow me to start this post by saying that advancing is veeeeery slow. As I predicted in my last one, I have had to replay the first two days several times until I was able of doing everything needed to win the first competition of the tournament, and even then I am still left with the feeling that I am missing something.

It doesn’t help that I am constantly fighting the interface. Specifically, the look verb. I am playing mostly using the keyboard because I didn’t find the verb and item menu all that useful. The problem is that when you “look” in a location you don’t always get the complete list of items there in the description. The game expects you to look at the graphics to learn more, which is fine. With the only problem being that objects are not always depicted in the picture, or are only painted from a perspective from where you can’t interact with them. Case in point, you can see a board and a calendar from your jail in the police station but you can’t interact with them until you get out of the jail. At that moment, you stop seeing them as they are next to the door and the perspective changes to seeing things from the office door, hiding them. In the end, this means that I am getting into the habit of typing “take all” in every single location to see the list of interactible items.


Now you see us


Now you don’t

Friday, 14 September 2018

Missed Classic: Hitchhiker’s Guide - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich


I did it! With your help, I conquered The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! This has been my fifteenth Infocom adventure and certainly one of the tougher ones, but thankfully Voltgloss and some Invisiclues were around to put me back on track. I leave this game feeling fairly satisfied, especially as I had made it quite near the end before I needed help. You’ll be reading all about that in just a moment.

For this week’s jaunt, I recommend that you get into the mood by a rendition of “Marvin, I Love You”, one of my favorite Hitchhiker’s-related novelty songs. Since this will likely be my last Hitchhiker’s post (unless I do a special one on the canceled sequel down the line), I couldn’t end this without making you listen to it at least once. I’ll have more chances for Douglas Adams love as we later get to Bureaucracy, and (perhaps someday) Starship Titanic. I discovered this tune through Dr. Demento as I doubt the original album was released in the US. The female vocalist on this track is Kimi Wong-O'Brien, better known as the then-wife of Richard O’Brien, the creator of Rocky Horror. There are more than a handful of Hitchhiker’s Guide-inspired songs released over the years. I’d love it if we got a good playlist of them in the comments!

Don’t Panic! It’s time to finally bring this adventure game to a close.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Alone in the Dark - Going Underground

By Andy Panthro



Most of the house is now open to me, and I have explored a great deal of it. What remains is a couple of rooms, and to make my way down into whatever catacombs, caverns and caves lie beneath this cursed house. Last time, I had conquered the library and the Vagabond, found useful tools and information, and was ready to head back down and figure out how to beat the pirate in the front room.

One interesting passage in one of the books was from “The Sons of the Sun and the Shadows” by Lieutenant Lope de Vega. He tells of visiting the Aztecs, of human sacrifice and a statue of the water goddess Chalchihuitlicue. On this visit, they enter the temple and see the great statue, clad in gold and jewels, coming to life before their very eyes. Captain Cortez cried for them to attack, but they were stuck in place. Their armour seemed bolted to the temple floor, and only thanks to Cortez killing the priest with a well placed throw of his dagger, they were able to escape. The attached picture of the statue looks a lot like the heavy statue I picked up from that small dark bedroom.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Spellcasting 301 - The Beach Boys

By Deimar

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #1
“I just can’t believe I am still friends with these guys… First, they got me to drive the carpet to our spring break destination, Fort Naughtytail, alone for hours on end while they slept. We arrived safe and sound, but then they blamed me for saving their lives by throwing away everything that was not them during our flight. Ungrateful pricks! They even had the courage to charge me twice the amount they paid for the hotel as a penalty! But when they get tangled against another fraternity in a tournament for the rights to come here on spring break for the next five years, who do you think they call?”

Hello people! I don’t know why I feel the need to greet you again after my rocking introduction post for this game but here I am again ready to continue!

Pictured here: Totally Voltgloss

What? Did you say I am not Voltgloss? How did you manage to see through my impeccable disguise? Sadly for you, Voltgloss had some issues that prevented him from finishing this game so you are stuck... with me!!. A non-native English speaker which has played as many as three (allegedly) parser-based adventures in his life and that hates time-based games because he likes exploring at his own pace. Clearly the only good choice to play this game.

Resuming the game from where Voltgloss left it, the prologue ends with Ernie in the main Plaza of Fort Naughtytail, just in front of the Hu Delta Phart’s hotel, the Royal Infesta. Our brothers are set on going to the rooms so that seems like the best course of action. Once inside, the group pays the fee, with Ernie paying twice the price for his room in punishment for throwing away all the HDP’s things during the flight.

Maybe you should know that Ernie’s room is the cheapest, with views to the dumpster and only costs 20 pieces...

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Alone in the Dark: History of the House of Hell

By Andy Panthro



Derceto, the house that cages me and kills me. Either by traps, wildlife or creatures from dimensions beyond ours, I face death at every turn, through every door, in every room. I knew the library held the key, if not literally then perhaps by means literary.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Missed Classic: Hitchhiker’s Guide - Arthur Who? (Request for Assistance)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Let’s mix our time travel metaphors!

If you’ve ever seen Doctor Who, you know that the adventure of the Doctor and his companions are fairly random. They travel from world to world, from time to time, solving problems and having adventures. They also spend a great deal of time running. But during the period that Douglas Adams was a writer and script editor, this was taken to the extreme with the installation of the “Randomizer”. This device mostly prevented the Doctor from deciding where the TARDIS would go next, ensuring that neither he nor the evil Black Guardian (from whom he was fleeing) would know where he was going. Functionally, the show was exactly the same as before, but now there was some technobabble reason why they didn’t know where they were going rather than just the normal not knowing where they were going. Eventually, they dropped the premise and forgot that the Black Guardian was supposed to be chasing them anyway. That’s Doctor Who in a nutshell.

I have to wonder whether Douglas Adams was inspired by the Randomizer when he and Steve Meretzky were working on this segment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide game. That all we have: random mini-adventures in random order. I’m not sure how this is supposed to wrap up. It’s still fun, but they traded the linearity of the earlier part of the game with random side stories. It’s easier to narrate than explain, so read on! I should also mention that at the end, I have no idea what to do next. Suggestions are appreciated.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

King's Quest VI: Final Rating

Written by TBD.

It's time to rate the best King's Quest game, based on most opinions I've read. Will I agree? Spoiler alert: Yes, I will.

Before I start I'll quickly mention that I attempted to play the Amiga version for comparison purposes but couldn't get it working. I did find a comprehensive list of the differences online and seeing as the Amiga version largely just skipped some puzzles I'm happy to give up without trying too hard to get it working. I did end up playing the game using both the original and CD enhanced graphics, with my final perfect ending playthrough happening with the old/lower quality character portraits.

So let's get to it. On with the PISSED rating...


Puzzles and Solvability

The puzzles in King’s Quest VI are pretty good and have sensible solutions.

I just gave a milk bottle I took from a milkweed bush to a baby's tear to make the other baby's tears cry harder so I can collect their tears and use them to cast a spell that requires salt water - like I said, perfectly sensible solutions!