Thursday 30 April 2020

Eric the Unready – Secret of the Snooze

Written by TBD

Eric the Unready Journal Entry #3: My nightmares are filled with turtles – small turtles, tall turtles, elderly turtles, teenage turtles, ninja turtles. Hopefully Lorealle can stay safe while I collect a seemingly random collection of objects...

Day 4: Blicester Castle – It's Only a Model

While the previous mission spent a lot of time referencing Zork, this mission was full of references to one of my favourite comedy movies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Friday 24 April 2020

Asylum II: Stubborn Like a Mule

Written by Will Moczarski

Last time I thought I’d made a pretty good run through Asylum II – the game seemed as tedious but a lot easier than part one, that is until I was confronted by one of the guards who told me that my escape was not to be this easy. The difficulty ramped up after that and the events that followed left me scratching my head more often than not. My new goal was to rid the asylum of the “master mystic” and present the guards with some proof of my achievement in order to be allowed to leave.

Sunday 19 April 2020

Eric the Unready – The Acceptably Decent Underground Empire

Written by TBD

Eric the Unready Fondor Bindlecrank Journal Entry #2: I'm well on the way to rescuing the princess. My magic banana worked, I think. It took me to the location of one of the items that Bud the Wizard told me I'd need to complete my quest. I had to pretend to be someone I wasn't, but with my cunning disguise, some people randomly giving me needed items and a little ingenuity, I now have the pitchfork I need. One down – four to go.

Greetings all. Hope you're doing well. This week I took a break from randomly reorganising all the rooms of my apartment and played a bit of Eric the Unready. Let's see what happened...

Day 3: Enchanted Forest – The Air Down There

After my magic banana had me dropped off at my next mission, I find myself in a cemetery.

The occupant of the sepulchre must have paid for an extremely long-term newspaper delivery before he died.

Friday 17 April 2020

Missed Classic 85: Drive-In Adventure (1982)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Sex sells. Whether you personally consume pornography or not, it is undeniable that whenever a new media technology came along, it quickly adapted for adult entertainment. Pornography influenced the rise of VHS in the 1970s, the early internet in the 1980s, and eventually the broadband push in the 2000s. Some of these claims are spurious, of course-- do people really favor phones with larger screens now because of porn?-- but it is undeniable that adult entertainment is a massive and often hidden economic lever that has shaped our technology landscape.

Adventure games were not immune to this pressure. In 1981, On-Line Systems (later known as Sierra On-Line) released Softporn Adventure; it supposedly sold so well that 25% of Apple II computers owned a legitimate copy, not even accounting for piracy. In 1986, Infocom released Leather Goddesses of Phobos, their final true hit. Even though it came out late in Infocom’s lifespan, it still became their 5th best selling game of all time. Both of these had remakes (Leisure Suit Larry, for one) and sequels. Larry sold 300,000 copies in its first year! There was a market for lewd (and more than lewd?) games.

And yet, none of those games could be called “pornographic”. At best, they contained sexy situations and innuendo. Graphical nudity, where present, was censored. In honor of making it to Leather Goddesses in my Infocom marathon, I am taking a detour back to the dawn of the genre to investigate the very first X-Rated work of interactive fiction, 1982’s Drive-In Adventure. It’s not a great game by any stretch, but at the time it must have seemed revolutionary. It also must have evinced a certain sense of nostalgia for those that played it; it warranted, by my count, no less than three ports or updates in the years that followed. In the interests of our readers (and Google search ranking), I will keep this review as close to PG-13 as possible. I’ll talk about the naughty bits, but forgive me if I must be a bit circumspect.

Friday 10 April 2020

Eric the Unready – As Happy As A Pig In ... Let's Say... Mud

Written by TBD

Eric the Unready Journal Entry #1: My first real assignment! After defeating the Knight of the Black Pauldron, I was given another important job where I met the most adorable creature I've ever seen - I also met a princess!

Day 1: How do you like them apples?

After the introduction, Eric was given his first quest – to kiss a farmer's daughter who'd been turned into a pig. I immediately get to work, go to the farm and try to kiss the pig. Seemed like an easy job, but the pig fears my tender lips and runs for the privy. Not the most romantic of places, but I won't give up when I've got a job to do, so time to enter the toilet to molest a farm animal.

For my first move I talk to the farmer. Being the first time I spent a lot of time with the Legend parser, I'll describe it a little bit now.

You can click on the words on the left to do things. The word list contains the usual suspects, as well as many less usual verbs - The list changes based on where you are, so most likely used verbs will always be near the top. The manual tells me that I never need to use items below the separator line to proceed, but it might be fun to do so.

Apart from the word lists, you can also click on the picture – for example, I can click on TALK, then click on the farmer in the middle of the picture instead of the word FARMER. It's not something I find overly useful, but it's nice to have the option – I at first thought that might be useful for identifying unknown objects, but it appears that when I click on a verb, all possible objects on the screen or in my inventory are listed. It may still be useful, but my guess is that it's just an alternative for those who prefer their interfaces to be slightly closer to the standard point-and-click interface.

Once I talk to the farmer, I get my first look at the conversation screen. It's pretty self-explanatory.

Bestiality humour

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Missed Classic 84: The Pesach Adventure (1993)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Happy Passover! For the last five years, we have had an annual tradition of a Christmas adventure, a special one-off look at a festive game for the holiday season. I love playing and documenting these games, but the truth is that Christmas is not a holiday that my family and I celebrate in the traditional way. While I was raised with Christmas, my wife was not, and we have decided together to not make it an integral part of my son’s upbringing. We still celebrate the Yuletide with my family, but his only idea of Santa Claus comes from watching Christmas episodes on Youtube Kids.

A few years back, my wife challenged me to find and play a Jewish-themed adventure game. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was such a tall order. Jews account for only 2% of the United States population today and so naturally there is a smaller audience for games about Jewish holidays. Now that we have made it to 1993, I can finally play the first known game about a Jewish festival: The Pesach Adventure! (“Pesach” is the Hebrew name for the holiday. Fun fact: English is rare in that it uses different words for Easter and Passover; using the Hebrew name makes it clear you are referring to the Jewish holiday.) Don’t get used to annual Passover games (or Hanukkah, Purim, Sukkot, or anything else) because this is the only game about a Jewish holiday that I know of until the modern era.

If you are unfamiliar with Passover, never fear! I’ll start today with a brief overview of the holiday and its history before jumping into the game itself. If you only want to hear about the gameplay, feel free to skip it. Passover is a beautiful holiday and one of the most important in Judaism, even if it has been overshadowed in the popular culture by a certain winter present-giving holiday.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Shadow of the Comet – Final Rating

By limbeck

The first time I played Shadow of the Comet was probably some time in the late '90s or early 2000s. I was relatively fresh in RPGs and the Cthulhu Mythos, and still at university. So, a Cthulhu Mythos inspired adventure game definitely looked like just what I needed to fill my appetite for relevant pop culture.

I don't remember much from that playthrough, but I sure as hell remember being impressed by the fact that I could face some of the Great Old Ones (GOOs) and frantically looking for walkthroughs through my brave dial-up connection to get through the final stages.

“Frantic” is a word perfectly associated with some parts of the game