Sunday 29 January 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Mixed Up American History

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

The past, colonial times. Alas, I am not the best student of American history and there are probably elements here I've missed, but I think I remember most of the common myths and ideas we'll be seeing here.

Ah, scenic 18th century America...

Hoagie has a can opener for some reason. Two boring facts, can openers first started being used long after the invention of the can, something which I suspect may be the purpose of it. Something I did not know is that the can did exist during the 18th century, but apparently the cans were of the type that would not work very well with our modern openers. Something about being thick. Meanwhile, did you ever hear about safety can openers? Instead of cutting open the top, they cut open the side in such a way to not create sharp edges.

I just feel like pointing that out since apparently a lot of people still use regular can openers, and there's just not any reason to. Although I admittedly don't know how the device compares to electric can openers and magnetic ones. I just know that you don't have to suffer.

Anyway, this is the The Adventurers Guild, not The Kitchen Guild. Hoagie can't enter bathrooms yet. They're locked. Guess people in the 18th century have people smoking opium in bathrooms much like people shoot up heroin in our time. Or something. So something I didn't realize ahead of time, each era is set at the same location. I'm surprised they went that way. A lot of time travel media forgets that it doesn't move across space too. It takes a cartoon to deal with that. I mean, if it was entirely realistic we'd see their bodies floating around in outer space...

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Dracula Unleashed - Surviving the Night

Written by Joe Pranevich

Last time out, I died. Alexander Morris came to London to unravel the mystery of his brother’s death during the events of the Dracula novel. Despite months of wasting time, falling in love, and doing everything except investigating that death, the situation in London has become frightening. Grisly murders and beheadings are now a regular fixture of the city, including bodies drained of blood. Yesterday, the death of Anisette’s father triggered Alexander to resume his investigation. In one day, we met Jonathan and Mina Harker, visited a pub named for Jack the Ripper, somehow received a Bowie knife by telegram, and bonked an insane person on the head in a nearby asylum. At the end of the night, we discovered our fiancée wandering the streets dressed in white and acting “sexy”. Rather than heading back to her place for some undead special time, she killed us. Game over.

I’ll be starting from scratch again this week. Obviously, I missed something last time– some clue, some event, or some item that would either have prevented Anisette from becoming a vampire or protected me from her. The only problem is that I have no leads. How am I going to tackle this?

I need a plan. 

Sunday 22 January 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Cow Tippers From Hell

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

So... now that I've actually played some of Day of the Tentacle, do I like it? Do I hate it?

...I'm not yet sure.

George apparently doesn't live in an area where people's basements get flooded

As you might know if you read through the mountain of comments from last entry, Laukku told me what I needed to press to get subtitles to appear. Ha, ha! Bernard thinks the tentacles are in the secret lab...and shouldn't you have told Laverne and Hoagie these? Eh, knowing them, they probably don't care. Now, what does Bernard have? A textbook. "The Chicago Manual of Thermodynamic Flux Design", a play on The Chicago Manual of Style, one of the closest things American English has to a regulatory body. (which is to say not really, but there is an ideal to strive to) He can read it out to people, who usually imply its very boring and/or a sleep aid.

There is a lot on this screen. Just...this screen feels pretty dense. So much stuff to interact with. Of note is a hardware store flyer, a bell which is supposed to be "neat", a payphone which I can get a dime from...isn't this supposed to be someone's house? Oh, it's a motel. I missed that. It's not clear until it suddenly gets in your face. Hmm. Followed by a cactus, gum on the floor stuck to a dime, a help wanted sign for a guinea pig...I mean lab assistant, a portrait from Ronnie Reagan (seems like a weird joke if it is) and then a grandfather clock. Which the game tells me there's something funny about it. So I open it...and it's a secret passage to the lab. Hmm, guess I didn't need the dime covered in gum.

This is interesting, because compared to most games I've written about, everything I see seems important somehow. Games that had as close as this many objects either did so more simply or just used them as obvious scenery.

Thursday 19 January 2023

Missed Classic: Nord and Bert - Haunted Pre-Raphaelite Spoonerisms

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Nord and Bert! One of the commenters mentioned recently how it is difficult to play and write about a game that you aren’t really enjoying. That’s pretty true, but sometimes you can find joy in the worst games. It’s not that they are “so bad they are good”, but you can see the love that goes into games like Santa and the Goblins, the pre-Infocom Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or even the early works of Berlyn and Moriarty that were amateurish as best. Where I’m running into difficulty with Nord and Bert is that it feels at times unfinished, or last least rushed, and it’s not living up to even the bar set by its earlier chapters. It is not a terrible game by any stretch and will score better than the ones I cited above, but something about it makes it a slog to get through and to write about. 

But here we are! We’ve completed five of the eight scenarios of the game and will tackle two more today. Jeff O’Neill has made each scenario at least individualized, but we’ve had two based on homophones (the grocery story and the jacks), two on idioms (the teapot and the farm), and the strange one based on sitcom tropes. As I’m shortly to discover, the two today are very different– and also very strange. One of them seems to have been partly inspired by Frank Zappa’s 1982 song, “Valley Girl”, though regretfully not by forcing the player to play entirely using “Valley Girl” slang of the 1980s. That would have been cool, for sure, for sure.

Let’s get to it!

Monday 16 January 2023

Missed Classic: Castle Adventure - Won! (With Final Rating)

By Michael

I’ve kept my blog-related New Year’s resolution! I stopped tinkering with my own blog long enough to finish the game in this final post. And the game kept its resolution as well. Castle Adventure is still hunkering along at 320x300 pixels.

When we last visited the castle, I had done some research in the library.
It would have been so easy to post another Buffy picture, but I’ll be impressed if anyone knows the TV show this is from.
We learned that, to open the gate, we need to wave the scepter. Which means, of course, we need to find a scepter. Details, details.

Monday 9 January 2023

Game 131 - Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (1993) - Introduction

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

It's here. The game you've all been waiting for. The game you all think is going to be the highest rated game on this blog. Anybody feel one of those laser sights on their back?

Friday 6 January 2023

BloodNet – Still Rattling My Soul Box

By Will Moczarski

Me after 15 hours of BloodNet

Let me start by saying that if this game was an actual adventure game I’d like it a lot. It is true that it doesn’t contain many puzzles in the traditional sense. Instead you constantly need to keep track of what all of the NPCs are telling you, making it more akin to detective games (such as Maupiti Island) than to traditional puzzle-based adventure games. And since I would argue that Simon the Sorcerer (which I played right before this one) didn’t have that many more puzzles it is actually the combat that makes BloodNet so cumbersome. After a while the random encounter rate with Shock Maraud’s goons is all but insane and even if most of the fights are winnable (so far) they usually aren’t enjoyable at all. Now I like a good RPG as much as the next addict but this is not a good RPG. It could be a decent adventure game but it’s really the combination of both that bogs it down.

However, I’ve made some progress and feel that I’m approaching the endgame. I have Melissa Van Helsing in my party now – yes, the Big Bad’s daughter! – and have got enough soul blades to clean up Central Park (possibly even the Hellfire Club). Van Helsing’s Apartment, looming large on my list of unexplored places (I got killed right away) from the very beginning, now feels likely as the site of the final confrontation. But before I get ahead of myself let us first relate how I got there. 

I started by checking out my list of open quests. My behaviour towards my quest log has slightly changed. When I was still madly in love with the game which is to say before combat became a more regular requirement my ambition was to solve each and every fetch quest lest something good be hidden at the end of it. Now that I have stumbled into various traps and was disappointed by some serious non-reactions of thankless NPCs I have set my sights higher. These days I try to find out what might be relevant to the main plot and prioritise that. If there’s a particularly interesting quest which seems unlikely to be relevant I shall try to solve it nevertheless. I really want to finish this game in the nearer future and get my life back, i.e. play something else for a change. Which is not to say that I don’t enjoy the game anymore full stop. It’s still a good game. But the honeymoon is over if you know what I mean. 

Wednesday 4 January 2023

What's Your Story: LeftHanded Matt

Intro and captions by Ilmari

A new reader has found The Adventurer's Guild! LeftHanded Matt has been slowly going through our backlog, making some comments here and there. We received his What's Your Story -answers a while ago, and now we've finally managed to find a hole in our schedule for them. So, without further ado, let's welcome him to our TAG community!
Favourite album, perhaps?