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.

Pick-up lines at the anime convention

Laverne and Hoagie end up meeting...somehow, despite Hoagie going to the second floor. I can say second floor in this game, right? Why is there a vending machine in someone's house? Then the good doctor comes in and says he locked the tentacles in his basement, and then the duo mention they're supposed to be looking for them. An oh-no take and then...

Why do you think Dr. Edison tied them up? He would never make a mistake!

Bernard is freeing the tentacles and realizes his mistake afterwards. Green tentacle says he'll try to talk purple tentacle out of it. Bernard asks what one tentacle could possibly do.

Considerably less DUM-DUM-DUUUUUUUH than it intends to have

Dr. Edison comes in, insulting Bernard for allowing the tentacles to escape. He then says their only hope to turn off the Sludg-o-matic...YESTERDAY. Revealing the big plot of the game. They're going to be sent through time!

Just like all good new technologies...

The doctor sends them through a machine called the Chron-a-John, which uses a diamond as its energy source. Hoagie protests, and there's a decent joke about how this is the first time it's been used on people.

Well, that explains everything about Laverne

They get sent into a time warp, in which things rotate around. Interesting, not necessarily in-game, but from a meta perspective, this is pretty much how Putt-Putt Goes Through Time went when it introduced time travel. Minus the Woodstock jokes. Hoagie expresses doubts about surviving to see yesterday, while Bernard assures him Dr. Edison wouldn't do anything bad and Laverne says that he is a Doctor, after all.

I like the implication that Dr. Edison got this stuff peer reviewed somehow and their only problem was the imitation diamond

Edison expresses joy that his imitation diamond works, before it shatters, causing the trio to get sent around time.

Heavy metal roadies, despite the reputation, aren't really going to be face down outside the toilets

Hoagie to the past...

Looks like the game is getting sexy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Laverne gets caught in a tree in the future...quite uncomfortably.

And Bernard back in the present. After telling Bernard that he shouldn't have used cheap mail order jewels, he tells Bernard they'll need to plug in the other Chron-a-Johns, including the one sent back to the past...where electricity hasn't been invented yet. That's why they'll be sending Hoagie the plans to Edison's patented super battery...if only they can find the plans. I hope the Chron-a-Johns have the option to change plugs, because it's entirely possible that future people use different ones.

And now the game begins, properly. Probably should have started this entry here, but this gives me a little bit more to talk about here. This feels more story dense than most games I've played, outside of Phantom, but unlike that things happen here. I note two things regarding voices, I have no strong feelings on most of the main characters, except Hoagie and Edison. I think they're distracting, they have weird accents. Hoagie puts weird emphases on words while Edison rolls his Rs a lot. I don't think the former is intended, but the later is definitely intended to be pretentious/annoying. The voice acting was also much higher in volume than the music, which I fixed by the very innovative music volume setting. (and yes, I've succumbed to peer pressure and switched to lame-o Adlib) I have never seen that done in a game that uses midi music before. Very nice.

I realized I missed a room on the first floor, so off I go. Its an office, where I pick up Edison's check book and a bottle of correctical fluid. The legally distinct version of White-out, no doubt, didn't even realize that was the brand name. The check book seems to be setting up the plot point that the Edisons are broke. Which I know is a plot point because I already heard the joke about the TV series. Which I repeat is the only thing funny about that series. And yes, I tried using the correctional fluid on the bank book. Suddenly Mr. Breaking and Entering cares about the law.

I don't think they usually fall on their back though

But as I walk back to the second floor something surprises me, a newspaper flies up telling me that our greatest friend Purple Tentacle is doing cow tipping. Since I'm explaining jokes all you silly non-Americans don't get; Cow tipping is when someone tries to tip over a cow. Tries is the operative word, since cows aren't pushovers, they'll run away or fight back. Purple Tentacle must be tough. Why do people do it? I dunno, people do weird things for entertainment. Cow tipping gets a resounding meh from me.

The conversation system, which has been ripped off by every game under the sun

So upstairs I start exploring rooms...and there's a big dude in a a honeymoon suite. He's not an Edison...I think. So this is a motel? I'm not going to disturb his beauty sleep yet, and judging by his description as a heavy sleeper, might not be possible...instead I'm going to examine the TV...which turns into turning the TV on. I kind of don't like how this is set up, because I've been right clicking for examining things and then pressing keyboard shortcuts for other commands. Anyway, the TV gives us the solution to our objective, a diamond is being sold on TV. I just need to be able to order it...and possibly find 2 million dollars. That's a lot of dimes.

The number is 1-800-STAR-WARS, which is a reference to American toll-free numbers, as it used to be anywhere you called outside of your own area code would cost you a lot more. Incidentally, this phone number is impossible to call in real life, because it has one more number than it should. American phone numbers are 11 digits long. Star Wars, is of course, a reference to Ronnie Reagan's nuclear missile defense program called Strategic Defensive Initiative, called Star Wars. It was to use lasers in addition to other advance weaponry. Lasers, of course, rely on least in fiction. I don't think any real laser weapons use diamonds.

And now I realize there's a camera in the room. I was going to say that Dr. Edison strikes me as the kind of person who lacks the sleeze factor to run a "good" motel, but I see he does now. A "good" motel is the kind of place where you can be casually browsing channels, get your usual American TV channels, then get Cannibal Holocaust followed by some adult videos. In this case, hopefully not tapes of acts committed in this very room. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) I also note a sweater, which is apparently very similar to one Bernard's grandmother gave him once; Along with a phone, which Bernard describes in too much detail. I can call about the diamond, but alas I need money to get it. Interestingly, Bernard gives the number of the Edison's numbered Swiss bank account. Finally, Bernard can "talk" to the sleeping man, in which he mostly just says a bunch of stuff to himself. On to door number 2, or room 101.

Children's game?

Okay, I didn't expect this. Here's a novelty inventor...who tries to kill himself with one of those bang flag guns. Key word being tries, since this is a cartoon. I didn't realize I wasn't in the room at first. There's a chain on the door. At first I assume I have to cut it off, like in Leon: The Professional. I'd say Bernard could just walk around it, but I feel like that's the joke. There's a bottle of disappearing ink I can pick up. Interesting. I wonder if I can use it on the bank book to buy the diamond? No, this isn't that kind of ink, it appears first then disappears. Instead I'll talk to this guy. To wit, Bernard can open with "Gee. You look depressed." Bernard would probably ask a man about to be hung "how's it hanging?"

It seems my objective here is to cheer up the inventor, called Dwayne. He's got one of those really annoying nasally New York accents. I'd be depressed too if I sounded like that. Feels like I associate the more nasally accents with America, wonder why? It seems he wants to hear from one person, who isn't Bernard, that likes his inventions. Well, I guess there's nothing else to do here, onto the last room.

If you look very closely, you can see that this room has two world maps in it

It's Green Tentacle. The two get to talking, I can ask about Green Tentacle's band. Apparently they're going to aim for the GRIMY's Loudest New Band Award. They don't have a guy who plays guitar, they have a guy who plays power tools. They're too experimental for the radio, but they're a hit on the club scene. I can't say when I think of the club scene I think of experimental. Then again, the combination of aspects Green Tentacle is describing is less, band, and more, power electronics. Power electronics, if you don't know, is very noisy, and don't want to listen to it. No, you're not getting CAPs for listening to some, torturing people for CAPs sounds like a slippery slope.

Anyway, Green doesn't actually have anything of value to say, outside of the usual funny jokes. All I can do is listen to his music, which knocks something over in the lobby. Its fake barf. Somehow that's not the worst item I've ever seen in an adventure game. Can't pick it up yet though, it's still stuck on the ceiling. As I walked here another newspaper goes by, about some emerald being stolen. If I didn't know this was Lucasarts, I'd assume this game was timed. I also note that by the volume number that the newspaper in question was first published in 1300 BC, assuming the volume of 3303 is supposed to be from 1993.

Anyway, off to the rest of the first floor. There's a clown...uh...inflatable. I know these have a name but I don't care to look it up. His name is Oozo the clown, an obvious reference to Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, who made films depicting Japanese life in middle of the century Japan. Okay, no, its a reference to Bozo the Clown, a real clown that kind of acts as a punchline to itself these days, but George Lucas did love his Japanese films, producing one of Akira Kurosawa's later efforts. You never know...

I'm pretty sure nobody's said that because it isn't true, B-man

Meanwhile the real star of the room is another convention goer. Who's real eager to give Bernard a cigar...then shoot his head off. No, its a gag lighter...and gag cigars. This guy's a bit annoying to talk to, because even if I know I'm probably not going to get anything out of it, I have to reinitiate conversation with him every conversation. I just have to steal his lighter later, because he stops me from taking it. And there's also a pair of chattering teeth...walking around the room which I can't catch because Bernard is a nerd.

The next room over is the kitchen/diner, which has two coffee pots I can pick up, one regular and one decaf. I don't for now because that sounds like a stupid idea. A fork...or more of a "threak". And a microwave, THE DUKE brand memorial model. If the second part is a reference, I don't get it. You can't open because it has leakage, radiation I presume. I wonder if that's an actual reference to something. No hamster blood is going to be on my hands. Then again, no hamster blood is on my hands.

Finally the first floor is complete with the laundry room. That's a bit high class for a motel, but whatever. I find a funnel. Could this game maybe give me something to use these items on for once? I just feel like a kleptomaniac. But then it occurs to me what the game wants me to do. I have to wash that sweater here...for some reason. This is what the dimes are for, and I can get the other one by using the fork on it. I guess I'm going to use the gum-encrusted fork on the convention goer to wake him up. A minor problem is that the washer is broken, and I need to fix it somehow. Also, I note there's no way for Laverne to get to the second floor from here. Clever.

Only, that doesn't work, because the fork is dull. Great. Now I need to sharpen it. Or find something useful. Can't even use it against the clown.

This looks like something you could buy off Craigslist for 5k, and the guy says "I know what I got"

Outside is next, and there's not a lot going on right now. I can talk to dead cousin Ted...and get nothing. There's this guy who has a crowbar I obviously need to steal. He's probably the most hilarious out of all the minor characters, being some weird Jack Nicholson impersonator. Somewhere between genuinely menacing and hilariously incompetent. Apparently criminals of his kind tend to be really stupid, probably why he's trying to get into the trunk instead of breaking open a window and getting past the back seat. That only leaves the rest of the second floor, or rather, the higher floors.

I'd make a joke about zoomers, but even Gen Xers wouldn't know much about disco and assume this was about...something else

First room, Nurse Edna, now not openly lusting after college kids, op, wait, nevermind. In addition to revealing that she's the one looking through the cameras, I finally get a decent plan of action. Dr. Edison is owed royalties from the game, and the contract is in a safe. But uh-oh, he forgot the combination and only remembers it when he sleepwalks, and he doesn't sleep anymore. He drinks a lot of coffee, but she only drinks decaf. Bit too on the nose there, but I'm just glad there's a puzzle I can solve for once. Or I will whenever I figure out how to drain the regular coffee pot.


Weird Ed, who has a vaguely British accent, seemed to have gone to therapy, not really remembering much, especially the time B-man and friends broke into the house. He's just into collecting stamps these days, the most stereotypically boring hobby anyone can think of. I quickly gather that my previous assumption that the hamster from last time was okay is wrong. Not my fault, I didn't kill the hamster, unlike some psychopaths. This is a pretty good section actually, Ed says the old hamster was smarter, but apparently this one is reading the Wall Street Journal. The game is implying I should take away Ed's stamp collection...for some reason. Probably just because we need to be a jackass.

This is the very old DOS version, the one people ignore in favor of the updated version

It would be remiss of me to not mention the computer in the room, on which you can play the original Maniac Mansion. EGA graphics and PC Speaker, baby. Right, now, who should I play as...? Kidding. Unless...? Unfortunately for me, I have to quit the emulator because I can't figure out how to quit this mode and the manual doesn't include the button that quits it!

That leaves the final floor, where there's nothing to really talk about. One room doesn't even have anything going on in it, while the other just has a bed and a window out...which just has a bunch of stuff I can't do anything with yet. A pulley and flag pole, which I'm sure will come in handy later, along with a window I can't open. I can go downstairs via the chimney...which I only figured out because I got up through the fireplace. Some of these exit hotspots are not very clear. So...what now?

Well, I figure out that I can use the disappearing ink on Weird Ed's stamp collection. I kind of figure I have to mail something at some point, but that's just meta knowledge, for now all I've accomplished is being a dick to Ed. I even took his hamster for no reason. At this point Bernard might as well let Laverne dissect him and then let Hoagie bite his head off. While we're at it, we might as well do the same to his relatives. Anyway, this causes Ed to throw us out and then the stamp collection, causing a random stamp to fall out which we'll probably need later.

It's almost like video game designers force us to do these things to advance the plot, though this is better than white phospherus

I can then give Weird Ed his stamp collection back without him being the wiser. I see we're back to me not knowing what to do.

Eventually I make it back to the lab, where I find the plans for the super battery. AHA! Dr. Edison appears and takes them. Thanks to the Chron-a-John's special feature they can send small inanimate objects like this through time. To Hoagie!

Hoagie's no blues singer

After a brief sequence, Hoagie is given the plans and told what he must do, give them to Red Edison. Next time, the past!

Bernard's inventory: Textbook, flyer, a dime, help wanted sign, correctional fluid, bank book, disappearing ink, fork, funnel, coffee, decaf, hamster, stamp

Hoagie's inventory: Can opener, patent plans

This Session: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. >Also, I note there's no way for Laverne to
    >get to the second floor from here. Clever.

    Well, there's the chimney shortcut you later described. A much handier shortcut than the ones in The 7th Guest, because it's symmetrical, i.e. goes in both directions. It was annoying in T7G to discover a shortcut because you most of the time you couldn't come back the same way.

    1. "you" too many in that last sentence... yay for no edit button in Blogger.

    2. You think Laverne just walked straight into the chimney and then climbed it?

      ...Because I'd believe that.

    3. Well, as Laukku already said, characters can travel by chimney. So, yes. I don't believe revealing that spoils any puzzle, off-hand. It's just a shortcut at times.

    4. I know, I found the shortcut later in this entry. It was an observation about Laverne not being all there.

  2. Nice Pantera reference, metal brother!

  3. Wait, did you seriously miss that this game is made by the company making the Star Wars films?

    1. No. If I thought that, don't you think it would be weird for me to randomly bring up George Lucas?

    2. ...because you claim the STARWARS phone number is a reference to Ronald Reagan, instead of to the George Lucas films? I mean, it is literally the phone number for the Lucasfilm company.

    3. I also read it as you being entirely serious about that. If you weren't, it was played a little too straight, maybe.

    4. I guess I should have added a "What, you thought that meant something else? Pssh." Clearly that attempt at pretending to miss the point worked way too well...

  4. John Wayne ("Duke") died of cancer. Radiation gives you cancer. Microwave ovens produce radiation. There was some speculation that he got cancer from making a bunch of movies in US deserts that had been used for extensive aboveground nuclear testing back in the Heroic Age Of The Atom.

    1. No hamster blood is going to be on my hands. Then again, no hamster blood is on my hands.

      Well, that really depends on which characters you chose to play the original Maniac Mansion, and what decisions they made...

    2. MST3K Civil Defense Quiz Bowl from Rocket Attack USA:

      Joel: Name the movie with the most radioactive and deadly set.
      Crow: Uh, The Conqueror!
      Joel: That is correct. Just ask John Wayne or Agnes Moorehead.

    3. See, I didn't get that connection. The Duke just sounds like the kind of vaguely fancy name that would have been used in home electronics once upon a time. I don't think I would have made that connection in a million years. And I did know about The Conqueror!

  5. The number is 1-800-STAR-WARS, which is a reference to American toll-free numbers, as it used to be anywhere you called outside of your own area code would cost you a lot more. Incidentally, this phone number is impossible to call in real life, because it has one more number than it should. American phone numbers are 11 digits long

    That phone number was the actual sales number for LucasArts. Here's an image of it in their magazine. If you dial a number like that in America with an extra digit, the extras just get ignored. Companies do that all the time for an advertising message.

    Programming in the company's phone number isn't a new joke -- see Sierra games, where often you can call Sierra On-Line's phone number for fun, such as in LSL1.

    1. LucasArts putting its phone number in its games must have been a running gag of sorts -- this past weekend I played through Monkey Island 2 with my kids and in part IV in the jungles of Dinky Island you can of course find a "call box" that connects Guybrush to the Lucasfilm Games hint line at 1-900-740-JEDI. (Looks like both numbers were valid, the MI2 one was an automated hint line.)

    2. Yeah, and the employee answering that phone is another LucasArts running joke, he appears in the games and the credits in funny places, if I remember correctly.

    3. Ah, serves me right for being the kind of person who never called those numbers. Or paid attention to them in this case, because both numbers are in the manual.

    4. In the case of LSL1, at least the AGI version, the Sierra phone number was also in his wallet, I believe. PQ1, it might have appeared in the in-game computer. So there were hints the easter egg existed given to you. But I'm sure a lot of people missed them, since they weren't essential to finishing the game. Don't feel bad.

    5. The Sierra business card is in Larry's wallet in the VGA version too (although the number itself changed). Is there a hint anywhere for 555-6969 that you know of? Or are you just supposed to go "tee hee, 69" and try it?

    6. If you look at the payphone, it's written on the side of the enclosure around it.

  6. The number is 1-800-STAR-WARS, which is a reference to American toll-free numbers ... Incidentally, this phone number is impossible to call in real life

    It was LucasArts' phone number at the time. It's not impossible to dial a number like that because the last digit would just be ignored; effectively the number would be 1-800-782-7927.

    And a microwave, THE DUKE brand memorial model. If the second part is a reference, I don't get it.

    Probably John Wayne, as Adam pointed out.

    1. Oh, whoops, didn't see Michael had already explained the phone number. Oh well.

    2. It's all good. I had never caught the John Wayne reference in the last 29 years of playing, so it's educational for all of us.

  7. Okay, I'm feeling inspired. Hooked up my MT-32 to play along this weekend.

    1. I'm sure in your case it really will be over in a weekend. ;p In case you missed it I switched back to Adlib based on comments from the first entry. That said I don't think it makes that much difference though.

    2. I think you made a bad choice, but should compare after.

      For comparison:

      Adlib music (this vid is complete soundtrack)
      MT-32 intro music

      Don't worry, it's all music, no spoilers.

    3. Well, from where I'm writing from I've already heard most of the music, so I can indeed switch back without losing anything.

    4. >AdLib

      Also available on vinyl!

    5. Drat, I was going to make a comment relating to that. I can't help but feel that even if I really liked the soundtrack I'd never buy it on vinyl. Something about this trend of putting game music on a format whose advantages don't benefit game music seems like a waste of money to me.

  8. OT 1: Are graphic adventures the easier genre to program, but the most difficult to design? (Or is it just that, both in retro and current games, too many designers were just "trying to tell a story", to quote Tim Schafer, and therefore considered puzzles secondary?)

    1. In the olden days, definitely adventures were easier to program, there was little action, companies made engines that could be used and reused over and over. Later on? Maybe not.

    2. I think it depends on what you consider programming. Actual programming would always be text adventures, because...uh...well, I'm not much of a real programmer but its what I've always heard. These days there are a lot of engines around that simplify the real code while offering various degrees of "coding". Adventure Game Studio is one of those engines, and its fairly easy to get the hang of. Easier engines kind of abstract away the whole coding aspect. I know there are ones that use flowcharts instead of real code. Also, Twine, but I guess that goes back to adventure games. There's also Inform 7, which is easier at first glance, but whenever you get into more complex stuff often feels more confusing than real code.

      Not sure about design. Today its a hard thing to do, because no matter what you're going to get a good chunk of the audience crapping on you. I've seen a couple developers of notable adventure games say they were giving up on the genre because it felt like they couldn't win. To say nothing of how gaming journalists have had contempt for the genre for at least 20 years.

  9. OT 2: Is MS-DOS the most underrated platform in the history of video games (I often feel that many of us were very lucky to have this instead of a SNES or a Mega Drive/Genesis)?

    1. While console gamers tend to highly underrate PC games, both categories tend to see their own platforms of choice as the end-all be-all and ignoring games on the other.

      That said I feel like the Amiga or perhaps the Acorn 32-bit line would qualify. Both have pretty good libraries, the best ports of some games, and outside of small European communities tend to be completely ignored.

    2. While I feel that the games released for DOS were spectacular, especially in in comparison to consoles of the time, it's easy to forget what a nightmare it could be to just get the games WORKING. (Although some might say that was also part of the fun.)

    3. Besides not changing the default IRQs for your SoundBlaster, the most important thing was probably to obtain, somehow, a copy of QEMM or 386MAX or the like. DOS came with it's own built-in around this time (MS-DOS 5, 6) but it wasn't great.

  10. OT 3: What improvements would you apply to graphic adventures in general (in terms of interface or design, e. g. adding a "use everything with everything in the inventory/this screen button", improving the hints, adding alternative, easier solutions to every single puzzle...)?

    1. None of those examples. Those are things that would make games worse, not better. As technology changed, puzzles got easier and easier (instead of thinking about things, simple clicking of icons or words dumbed it down a bit. The turning point, I think, was when games like MI2 added "lite" modes, to try to attract casual gamers, hoping to convert them to the genre. It backfired and dumbed down the average audience.

    2. A key that reveals hotspots/interactable objects and room exits is a real QoL improvement. The number of times I've gotten stuck not because I genuinely wasn't putting the pieces together correctly, but because I couldn't find a particular exit or missed an interactable object -- sometimes not even for lack of trying, just not lucking into the magic pixel -- make me very grateful for this feature being fairly common in modern games. (I think of this as accessibility, too, really; people with poorer vision should still be able to enjoy adventure games!)

      Context-sensitive in-game hints are a nice feature, so long as I get to choose when to access them. (I didn't like Tales of Monkey Island's hints where Guybrush starts talking aloud to himself if you're "taking too long" to make progress. I always turn those completely off.)

      I don't think I would want an automatic "rub everything on everything" button. Not because I'm a purist about "higher difficulty is better", but that just feels really... scattered? I don't know, I can't really articulate why I don't like that.

  11. I decided to pause my replay through Grim Fandango and hop onto the DOTT wagon given Morpheus' efficiency in providing review updates (kudos)... I must say, I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would. As I mentioned in the Intro comments, I tended to lump this in with Sam and Max as games cut of the same cloth and a recent playthrough of that REALLY irked me. Like, it literally made me angry. I'm playing the remastered version of DOTT though, am 33% through and find myself looking forward to each evening's session in the Mansion. I did finish this game back in the day but only remember three details: n xvgr orvat uvg ol yvtugravat, gheavat jvar vagb ivartne guebhtu gur jbaqref bs gvzr geniry naq puhpxvat gur unzfgre va gur serrmre.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm baffled by the excessiveness of the inventory and blatant disregard for Ron Gilbert's own "Backwards Puzzles" rule of adventure game design - this game is LITTERED with arbitrary solution pickups prior to discovering their intended problem. I also found myself overthinking a couple of puzzles, one of which was mentioned in this post: V gbb jnf guvaxvat V arrqrq gb qenva gur erny pbssrr sebz gur cbg gb ercynpr vg jvgu qrpns, bayl gb svaq V pna cbhe gur qrpns fgenvtug vagb gur cebsrffbe'f phc. Gur bgure sbe gubfr jub pner jnf guvaxvat V arrqrq gb jnxr gur cebsrffbe sebz uvf fyrrcjnyx va beqre gb npprff gur pbagenpg va gur fnsr ol hfvat gur shaary naq erny pbssrr, ohg gur VEF gbbx pner bs gung fbzrjung nagvpyvznpgvpnyyl.

    Those issues aside, I never thought this was a bad game... but it *is* better than I thought it would be. Jury is out as to whether it will sit in my upper echelons come the conclusion, or simply in the "glad I played it" pile. Thanks for the prod (as always) Adventurer's Guild.

    1. Ah, so I'm not the only one who thought that some of the puzzles seemed to be backwards, in that I was finding objects too early in some cases and then wandering around using them on everything to see if it had any effect, or taking an action because I had an object that would allow me to but without any idea what that action was really meant to solve.

    2. That is, I mean backwards from the point of view of Ron's own principle that you mentioned (and it's not like he wasn't involved, although maybe Dave and/or Tim were more in charge of the puzzle design).

    3. Nope - was very apparent to me, exacerbated by the requirement to transfer that extensive inventory without an obvious use one at a time via. the port-a-loos.

      Also, in hindsight, I'm almost certain I didn't finish the game BITD as I don't remember anything beyond some of the earlier puzzles - there were things that happened that I'm sure I would have remembered otherwise!

    4. Ah, so I'm not the only one who thought that some of the puzzles seemed to be backwards, in that I was finding objects too early in some cases and then wandering around using them on everything to see if it had any effect, or taking an action because I had an object that would allow me to but without any idea what that action was really meant to solve.

      The adventure game philosophy of the time, especially used by Sierra but also a staple of most other games: Pick up everything that's not nailed down. If it is nailed down, look for a crowbar.

      The fun in this game is finding weird items, and wondering if and when they can be used. The problem isn't that, using an example from this blog post so I needn't ROT-13, you found the cigar lighter gun before knowing you needed it for another puzzle, the fun, from many designer's points of view, is trying to find a use for this random item you picked up. Once you start thinking like the designers, it makes it easier to solve the game.

    5. Zl pbzzrag nobhg hfvat n pebjone gb cvpx fbzrguvat hc jnf abg zrnag gb or n pyhr nobhg gur nygreangr fbyhgvba gb trggvat gur pbva va purjvat thz bss gur sybbe. Whfg sbe gur erpbeq. :)

    6. I'm an avid Sierra player so I'm quite familiar with the "pick up everything not nailed down, and if it is, look for a hammer/crowbar" thing. But since Ron was involved in this game, it's a little odd that it happens here when he's said it's a flaw in puzzle design if it does.

      Jung pna lbh hfr orfvqrf gur pebjone? V erzrzore gelvat n ohapu bs guvatf, vapyhqvat gur fpnycry juvpu ernyyl frrzrq gb zr yvxr vg fubhyq jbex, naq abar bs gurz qvq.

    7. Va gur cbfg, ur fnvq ur hfrq gur sbex. V qvqa'g xabj lbh pbhyq qb gung, V hfrq gur pebjone zlfrys.

    8. Incidentally, I was listening to a podcast about DOTT the other day (Dos Games Club episode 54) and they mentioned Ron Gilbert was responsible for initial story concept only, and by the time game design was underway, he had already departed to form Humongous Games. So Ron *didn't* allow a blatant disregard for his rules of puzzle design, he just wasn't there to argue for them :)


Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of the reviewer requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game...unless they really obviously need the help...or they specifically request assistance.

If this is a game introduction post: This is your opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that the reviewer won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 50 CAPs in return.
It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All score votes and puzzle bets must be placed before the next gameplay post appears. The winner will be awarded 10 CAPs.