Sunday 26 February 2023

What's Your Story: El Despertando

 Intro and captions by Ilmari

Stop the press, a new commenter is on town! Judging by the name, El Despertando is probably an Andalusian or perhaps Mexican, so bring out your piƱatas for celebration.

We don't have a photo of El Despertando, but this might be what he looked like as a child

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Missed Classic - Oseung gwa Haneum - Lost

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

In the time since I lasted talked about the game, I've been looking into the titular duo. They are real, they're just...hard to find information in English on. That surprised me, considering how many people are supposed to be obsessed with Korea. Even if its just South Korea, does the extent of our desire to deal with this country's culture just live and die with K-pop and TV? I know a lot of weebs are shallow, but there are some interested in the history of the country.

Both Oseung and Haneum are pen names, but because of the weird way Korean seems to be transliterated, what their names are in English varies. Both have the last name Yi, but Oseung's real name is Hangbok while Haneum's is Tokhyong. Tok Hyong? Hang Bok? Your guess is as good as mine. A book I found, which barely mentioned the poor guys, says Tokhyong went to Ming China during an invasion by Japan to ask for help and was a sijo poet. Hangbok was the 16th century version of a prime minister and wrote the tale of Yu Yon. I don't know who Yu Yon is and at this point I am terrified to ask.

I note that at several times they're described as friends rather than brothers, something that carried on into adulthood. That's all I got I'm afraid.

This is basically the best choice of video. It seems like the screens I've seen so far tend to be of events people playing this in their native land would roughly know. Sort of akin to making a Gobliiins knockoff of King Arthur or Robin Hood. Something with lots of little events that can obviously be turned into short one screen puzzles.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Dracula Unleashed - Interview with the Vampire Hunter

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Dracula Unleashed! Last week, we continued the second day of Alexander’s renewed investigation into his brother’s death, but it did not go well. After listening to Holmwood lie to us, beating our head against a university that never seems to be open, watching Goldacre get drunk on the expensive booze, and eventually being killed in the street by a different “Bloofer Lady”, I am eager to move on. This game has a lot of plot to unpack, but I’m happy with it so far. We have enough characters (both new and created by Bram Stoker) that we can keep track of them, while still enough variety in the acting and direction that the scenes aren’t boring. It’s probably not among the best games ever played here, but I am enjoying it more than I expected to. 

My strategy for this session will be to replay the second day, try harder to find scenes that I might have missed, and survive the night. It was only minutes after I stopped playing last time that I realized what I forgot to try at the university (and it was a dumb omission, too!), so that’s where I’ll start this week. It’s a credit to this game that I keep thinking about the characters and the “puzzles” after I put it down.

Sunday 12 February 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Won!

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

As has been custom for a while, I was wandering around the mansion. Trying the hammer on anything...not really sure about the mouse toy or the funnel. What can I do about Edna? What can I do about Edna. I can't do anything to the statue...and I try pushing her. You know pushing as an action is something I've really ignored.

Is Edna an old lady?

Success! Finally! PROGRESS! She's gone forever! Now I just have to use the VHS tape in the slot.

That solves another problem

This is an interesting puzzle, albeit a basic one. I just have to figure out how to record Fred. The round button is the one that records...and it quit. Either VHS players in the early '90s were vastly different, or none of the people involved in this game ever had one. It's always been a red round button for record, and then a square for stop. There's some sort of international body that ensures these things all follow a specified code, not just for us Americans, but so people all over the world know that pressing a square STOPS it.

After recording Dr. Fred rotating the dial, the IRS come in, saying they want to talk to him. Not quite how the IRS work, they prefer to send letters, but I'm just happy I don't have to worry about him. It takes me a few cycles, not helped by how the game doesn't want to let you skip over the tape, but you have to switch the tape from EP to SP mode. I'm no VHS expert, but does that work?

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Dracula Unleashed - London on One Gold Piece a Day

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Dracula Unleashed! Last time out, we successfully survived the first night! Thanks to some “brute force” tactics on my part to find some difficult-to-find scenes, plus a realization how items really worked in the game, we were able to prevent Anisette from succumbing to whatever was transforming her into the Woman in White. Of course, Alexander is blissfully ignorant of all of this; we the player know there are vampires running around and that “bloofer ladies” are real, but he does not, and we start the second day with him still in the dark as to the cause of his brother’s death.

Before I get going, let’s discuss strategy. For this post, I plan to play the second day straight. I will follow plot threads where they lead me, notate everything that emerges organically from play, and tell you all about it. If I die early or quickly, I’ll restore, but my goal will be to make it to the end of the second day in as “normal” a way as possible. Depending on whether this post ends with me sleeping soundly or dead, I’ll figure out what comes next. If I need to spend the next entry brute forcing to find things that I missed, I’ll do it then. 

I am having a ton of fun with this game and enjoying it more than I thought I would. It doesn’t play like a typical adventure and I expect that many players could have been turned off by that (especially the need to save/restore to try different items), but once you know it and understand it, it works. This feels like a new adventure genre (to me) and a different kind of fun from most of the other games I play here.

Sunday 5 February 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Obvious Solutions and Waiting Around

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Right, the future. The grand philosophical musings of Tim Schaffer and Dave Grossman on the direction our country will take in the future if we elect a tentacle president. Can't help but feel like that's a silly thing to base your musings on. People are pets of the tentacles...and not in the direction some of us were expecting. People performing in silly talent shows with bizarre criteria for victory. And Elvis museums. Eh, not the worst the future could be.

Also befitting the future, I've switched back to the MT-32. I was already done with the last entry by the time I was convinced to change my mind. I'm going to get a better idea of the sound of this game than anyone back in the day did.

You ever get the feeling that someone's run out of good ideas?

I guess my first course of action after attempting to murder everyone and everything is to talk to my compatriots in jail. The old man is Zed Edison and because Laverne confused him for Dr. Fred, he helpfully tells us that Fred is not a very beloved man today. In the future, man is the servant and pet of the tentacles, and people are stuck in degrading talent competitions where they're put in ugly costumes and perform ridiculous talent acts. Yeah, what a dark and depressing future which bares absolutely no resemblance to anything you could watch on TV today. No siree...

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Missed Classic: Nord and Bert - Won! (With Final Rating & Cut Scenes)

Written by Joe Pranevich

It always feels good to make it to the end of one of these games. Sometimes, it feels like a great accomplishment, a challenge defeated! Sometimes, it feels like a great relief, like we can finally move on with our lives. Often, it is a mixture of the two. This is something like my 65th review on “The Adventurer’s Guild” and I can confidently say that I have completed far (far!) worse games than Nord and Bert but this is the first one (except for Batman Returns?) where I have felt this frustrated by what could have been. This could have been a fantastic game and I am told that it inspired some games that are among the best in interactive fiction, but it wasn’t and I am glad that this is the last post. 

Where we left off last time, I had completed the seven main chapters of the game ranging from acting in a 1950s-style sitcom to saving a farm from the horrors of farming idioms. I battled Mr. Clean in his night job as the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. I even sipped a pleasant cup of tea in the most charming cafe I ever saw, one I wish (truly wish!) existed in real life. All that is left for me is the finale where we “Meet the Mayor” and can finally put to right the pernicious problems that plague the people of Punster. Will the ending soar or belly-flop? There is only one way to find out.

Read on for more.