Friday 29 March 2024

Homeworld - Gravity's End

By Reiko

Interrupted, just when it was getting good!

Last time we attended a mysterious rendezvous and met Macropterous, a member of a secret religious sect among the Heechee. He believes we can help each other, so he gave me the course code to the sect's headquarters. However, I have to follow some ancient Heechee prophecies in order to gain access, because our meeting was interrupted before he could tell me how to do it.

History of an obsolete religion.

I have put the course code into the ship and now activate it to travel to a new location. A rocky hill is crowned by the ruins of an ancient temple. Oddly enough, this seems to be a tourist destination, as a guidething (bot) wakes up when I arrive and begins telling me about the "ancient site of the Temple of Sterigma." The ancients who built the site worshiped the elements and focused on religion as much as science and technology. Yet their scientific studies were the undoing of their religion: as they learned to understand the world around them, they ceased to worship it. That's reasonable.

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Missed Classic: Beyond Zork - Finally Finding the Plot

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Beyond Zork! I admit that I have struggled with this game. It's not that it's a bad game, but I have difficulty motivating myself to play or write about it. Every time I try, my attention drifts elsewhere and I find something else to do. I'm almost surprised I haven't opted to paint my bathroom by now. This should be impossible – this is a Brian Moriarty game! This is a Zork game! This is Infocom! I've played my fair share of duds for this blog — and I'll admit, a bad game can be charming in its own way. Every one of them inspired me to write, sometimes too much. Beyond Zork is the first game where my primary feeling is one of mediocrity. It should be a better game and my energy is sapped. This session at least ended well and I hope that I can keep up this positive motivation to finally finish and rate one of the final games in our marathon. 

Last time, I needed hints to progress, including a major one for solving the riddle at the lighthouse entrance. After navigating the structure and battling interesting monsters — from replicating dust devils to a creature with countless eyes — I opened a chest at the very top. What happened next was unexpected: I was teleported to a celestial realm filled with unicorns. They didn’t like me much and banished me back to earth with a warning that they would not be so friendly next time. I still have many unsolved puzzles, with perhaps the largest being that my character hasn’t “found the plot” yet. We (the player) know what is going on and that we’re questing for the Coconut of Quendor, but all my protagonist knows is that she had a sudden urge one day to do a fetch quest for a cook in a nearby inn and before she knew it she was trying on armor and being insulted by unicorns. What is her motivation?

This week, as the title suggests, we’ve finally discovered the plot. Let’s get on with it!

Saturday 23 March 2024

Game 141: Wayne’s World - Introduction (1993)

By Michael

Last week, we wrote a blog post looking forward to the next “Year Ahead” post, when we choose the games to be played for the blog in the future.  Today, I’m cursing the 1993 post.  Yes, I’m looking at you, Andy Panthro.  See, he spent 200 of his valuable, hard-earned, CPU-harvested CAPs to force an unsuspecting TAG reviewer to play a game that normally wouldn’t have been on the list.  This is, of course, the 1993 adventure game Wayne’s World from Capstone Entertainment, not to be confused with two different action platformers released the same year, also under the same name.

Capstone Entertainment... that sounds vaguely familiar (and also is likely an oxymoron).  Hmmm... oh, yeah, they also produced the critically-acclaimed Beverly Hillbillies game, based on a TV series from the 1960s that Ilmari recently played here.

Before you count this game out, though, let’s talk about the Saturday Night Live skit turned movie that brought us here.  After all, this movie shows up right next to The Blues Brothers as the top-rated SNL movie of all time.

Sunday 17 March 2024

The Year Ahead - 2024

By The TAG Team

Our reviewers, admins, and commenters

Okay, so that title isn't a mistake.  We want to talk about the blog, and what's to come this year.  We missed celebrating The Adventurers Guild’s 12th birthday, but there’s still a lot to celebrate, and a lot more planned for the future.  But it’s been a few years since we talked about the blog, so we wanted to take some time to get caught up with each other.

Some things may have slowed down here a little in the few years since the pandemic.  Many readers and reviewers had their lives changed, including having more or less time to spend on their hobbies.  Some of our past reviewers haven’t been able to keep up their previous schedules, but we’ve also seen a couple of newer writers join our ranks.

Two writers have recently taken on some of the administrative behind-the-scenes work on the blog.  We’d like to welcome Morpheus and Michael to our list of admins, and while there haven’t been any formal announcements until now, they’ve been polishing some of the pages and spreadsheets that weren’t given all the attention they needed recently.  The other admins are still also maintaining the blog and connections, including Ilmari, Joe, and Will, who have been keeping the wheels turning since the transition from Trickster’s original project.

We’re trying to keep the reviews and playthroughs coming, and have some goals for this year.  Perhaps it’s a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but better late than never, right?

First, we’re trying to ensure that we have posts at least once a week, sometimes more often than that.  We love the community that has developed here, and look forward to it growing bigger and bigger.

Second, we have a somewhat ambitious (but maybe not completely realistic) goal of finally finishing the 1993 games this year.  You’ve been earning all those CAPs with your score guesses, comments, and other contributions to the blog, and what could be better than a year ahead post for 1994 to spend them on?

It’s for this goal that we need your help.  Help us write a review of a game!  Test the waters (and hone your writing style) by first writing a playthrough of a missed classic.  A game from your past, or a game from before 1993 we didn’t play yet (but should have).  Email us at with your ideas.

And even if you can’t help write a review, there are many ways you can help us grow the community and make it better.  Share links to your favorite TAG blog posts on other sites, and encourage others to join the conversations.  Comment on the posts, let us know you’re there, and tell us what you enjoy reading about, so we can adapt.  Constructive criticism?  This is a perfect post for those comments.  Just remember, this is a volunteer-run blog, so not everything is possible, but we’re open to new ideas... but we need your help to do it.

Thanks for making this blog something we look forward to reading and writing every time!

Friday 15 March 2024

Discussion Point: Linear Games

 Written by The TAG Team

While not really adventure games, the Grand Theft Auto series are sandbox games, which by definition is not linear.

Continuing with our series of discussion questions, let's have a chat about game worlds.

In some adventure games, you have to complete area A before you can have access to area B.  In other games, you have free rein to go nearly everywhere you want, exploring along the way. 

Sometimes, it was done for logistical reasons.  Leisure Suit Larry 2, for example, was specifically designed to avoid disk swaps, with each area fitting on a different floppy.  When you advanced, you would change the floppy, and not have to flip disks back and forth.

In Maniac Mansion, you could explore nearly everywhere in the mansion from the beginning, although sometimes you might get caught by the Edisons and get to visit a special room in the basement.

Some games are a hybrid.  In The Legend of Kyrandia, for example, you can explore a large area, and then when you solve a puzzle, you can explore the previous area as well as a new large area combined -- and you need to go back and forth to solve some puzzles.

Does a linear path make the game easier?  Harder?

Is there a thrill in opening up new areas, or more joy in seeing things you can’t access yet?

Which games handled their choice well?  And are there any games that handled it poorly?

There’s pros and cons to each approach, but what are your thoughts?

In Leisure Suit Larry 2, you can't access one area until you finish the previous one.

Friday 8 March 2024

Discussion Point: Arcade Sequences

 Written by The TAG Team

What happens if I put playing cards into the spokes?

Back when the blog became a collaborative team effort, we started posing questions to you, the readers.  If you don’t remember about this, that’s understandable.  It’s been a little bit longer than we anticipated since our last post.

But we’re back, and plan to make this a regular feature of the blog once again.  And we’d like to start the conversation with one of the most polarizing additions to adventure games: the arcade sequence.

They started creeping into our genre back when computers weren’t quite so powerful, so maybe they weren’t as challenging.  Or were they?  No mice, instead just clunky keyboards that went click-click-click.  

So many questions:

  • Did they add any value to the adventure games?  

  • Would the games be as fun or as well revered without them?

  • Are they better or worse than gambling sequences?

  • What were some good arcade sequences?

  • Are there any games that could benefit from having them added?

Or, what other thoughts do you have?

Some arcade sequences seem to, ahem, DRIVE gamers crazy.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Black Sect - Village of fetch quests

By Ilmari
What I like about Black Sect, compared to Le Secte Noire, is that from the start there’s things to do and try. The black cat seems still just decoration, but I did manage to open a window and find some cheese and a metal bar.

Sunday 3 March 2024

Sam & Max Hit the Road - Final Rating

Written by Michael

I asked OpenAI for “a tall anthropomorphic dog wearing a blue sports jacket and wide tie with a shorter anthropomorphic white rabbit as a sidekick.”

So, our road trip was successful, I guess.  We set out to find the stolen bigfoot from the carnival, and found him.  We were tasked with restoring the exhibit, so the carnival wouldn’t go out of business.  We did that.  Of course, the Kushmans probably expected us to do it a different way, but a win is a win, am I right?

Actually, I’m kind of sad to be done.
And so with that, we come to an end.  How does this game stack up to the past?