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Title: Writing I've been up to
Posted: March 26, 2012 (05:48 PM)
I decided to join on the Apollo 18 20th anniversary tribute which was posted to the text adventure forums back in December. I probably took too many games--the organizer wanted them all to be claimed by January 1 or so and so I stepped in with some ideas by January 15th, worrying nobody was going to take things. So I feel bad having taken so much, and I didn't really go after reciprocal testing, but I have to say this: it was a ton of FUN when I had the time, and despite being rather sick for 10 days, the 3-month buffer was enough.
And other people started picking things off. Some members of the Chicago-IF group took one here and there. Some other people I'd never heard of dropped in, too, some writing their first games. And if there aren't any super-big-long-time-historic traditional names writing (except Nick Montfort) I really enjoyed the opportunity to beta-test other people's games, which gave me ideas for my own.
I have a hard time finding what sort of criticism and creative trade I like, but with text adventures, I think I am really happiest at the moment. The sort of criticism where I know someone is going to fix Obvious Bug X (e.g. they say there's graffiti there and the player can't examine it) or they don't respond to a standard verb (e.g. SING in a game with a guitar, or maybe BURN PHOTOGRAPH in a game where the room is on fire.) It gives a chance to be positive and suggest a person can do more. That's when criticism's at its best.
So whom would I recommend? I had a blast playing Carl Muckenhoupt's game (My Evil Twin) before it was fixed, and I know he will--his game The Gostak will either annoy you or blow your mind or both.
I was able to provide a lot of checking for Ben Collins-Sussman and Jack Welch's Narrow Your Eyes. As they co-wrote it, and they live a thousand miles apart, they used Google Code. I enjoyed being able to report issues to the issue page and also being able to see the source--which I learned so much from.
Ryan Veeder also won IFComp 2011 (just ahead of someone else here's fine effort on HonestGamers) and his two games are almost certainly worth playing. He writes funny stuff.
Whether or not you're familiar with TMBG, it's probably a lot of fun to poke around. I have to admit, I've got a potential embarrassment if some of my games don't work (hint: Space Suit received the most testing) but I think if you're in the mood for a quick text adventure game, any of the Fingertips will do. They're all intended to be 1-movers and many have VERY different ways of looking at things.
And I just like how this collection acted as a sort of farm system for people who were maybe newer to writing text adventures to join in.
Anyway. That's what I've been up to. I'm already planning my next game, too. It may not get wide exposure, but after my 2011 IFComp entry, I finally wrote a game (as I wanted to.) Now I want to write one really well.
So I know Jason has a full-length novel. What's everyone else doing writing-wise outside of HG?
Users with accounts on the HonestGamers site are able to contribute reviews and occasionally other types of content. Below, you'll find excerpts from as many as 20 of the most recent articles posted by aschultz. Be sure to leave some feedback if you find anything interesting!
Jones isn't perfect but offers revealing rat-race insights beyond the densely-packed jokes that never get cynical or fluffy. I found myself calculating how to cram in quick cheap education before week's end, or even working way more than I needed to or putting off asking for a raise (yes, it's just a game. Yes, guilt from playing it at work may've factored.)
It showed me that, yes, RPGs can transcend language. Maybe none can as well as your average puzzle game. But BW has lots more fun trying and getting far closer than expected.
I felt little guilt replaying through it with cheats on, and I recommend anyone who wants to check it out do the same...But fortunately the cheap deaths will fade away much sooner than the bears on unicycles and such instead.
Your idle band members mug and smile cluelessly even when your current guy gets hit. Then he falls and pouts and bangs his fists on the ground to the chorus of "Who's Crying Now." This is my favorite musical gaming pun by a long shot.
It's more fun to watch the little dot-cars that multiply and move between businesses and residences as your town grows--or even turn away from the long dead-end road you forgot to industrialize. Single pixels were never so cute.
I figured once I became a big college student or even an adult, I'd be able to breeze through a game like this with my life smarts. That'd I'd be stronger and quicker and more mature and--well, I did realize stuff. Like how grossly unfair early video games were.
That couldn't disguise the exact same levels made by kids pulled off the street long ago back in 1980...when so many Lode Runner games come with level editors (also part of the original) that the developers themselves never seem to use, it's hard to believe much care went into these products.
Q*Bert is one of the first arcade games I feel I really solved. I don't mean that I figured how to beat the hardest level until I got bored of it, like you would in Asteroids or something. I also don't mean reaching the end like when you flip the level bit in Pac-Man or even escape Dr. Boom in Cloak and Dagger.
After getting frustrated with one level where I made a dumb mistake, I walked around to take my mind off the game. I started whistling a tune, and I realized it was one from the game itself. I sat back down and got it right.
Imagine Boulderdash, but instead of collecting goodies and shooting enemies, your character is hoarding for the winter and finding his wife and, occasionally, a new son.
Bard's Tale IV never came--in name, anyway. It took a couple times through Dragon Wars (DW) for me to see I'd found something as good.
The too-short Wizard's Crown series from Strategic Simulations, Inc. had a simple solution: quick combat where the computer ran everything and flashed text of your party's health every second. It left time for the actual story and exploration.
I was able to game early chess computers pretty easily by locking up the pawns and then watching them flail. That made me feel smart. Othello was the computer's revenge.
Game: Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (Miscellaneous)
Posted: November 15, 2010 (01:47 AM)
Sequels usually promise a bigger world, more spells, more detailed combat, and so forth, but when it comes to the previous game's narrative faults, they don't say much. Ultima V (U5) isn't just shinier; it makes a complaint about its predecessor the focus of the plot. Many people thought U4 micromanaged how the player gained and kept virtue. So the villain in U5 is a quasi-theocratic dictator, Blackthorn, who has deposed Lord British since U4 with the help of nebulous spirits called the S...
Game: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (Miscellaneous)
Posted: November 14, 2010 (11:41 PM)
Before Ultima IV (U4,) people took being the good guy on faith. Maybe you'd get your butt kicked if you robbed a shopkeeper or attacked a townsman, but generally it was you against skeletons and goblins and the like. It was great fun, but Ultima III took things too far. The best strategy was to kill druids in one town until you were strong enough to kill guards in another town with a huge treasure vault. Then you could go kill a computer. Technically, the game was a strong achievement, and it so...
Q*Bert's Qubes(QQ) certainly has a niche market--people who figured how to tread water in the toughest levels of Q*Bert. It's the arcade equivalent of a Rubik's Cube, and it's certainly one every action puzzler fan should see, even if it isn't much to look at.
For a month or two, Superstar Ice Hockey (SIH) pushed my buttons perfectly. I could win regularly--two seasons in an afternoon--but it'd never be too obvious I had it in the bag. Game time was a relative concept that went quicker when fewer players were in the puck's third of the rink. With three goals max per game and four-game seasons, playoff possibilities were on a knife-edge until the final game. In real life, my team would have been the most negative, boring, dislikable bunch you co...
Shortly after my friend Aric pasted me in GBA Basketball Two-on-Two on his Apple IIgs--retribution for all the RPGs I'd solved--I found the IIe version cheap at Babbage's. I felt frugal--it probably didn't have all the extras, like the crowd that disappeared as it became doubtful I would avoid getting doubled up. But it had two-on-two play, which had to be a step up from the wonderful One on One, and the back-of-box blurbs seemed comparable, if the in-game pictures didn't. Jealousy...
"Adjust tint til blue field is green." That's the opening screen of Championship Baseball (CB,) with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" blaring. I never bothered. Blue grass is just one of the things that aren't true to life in CB but are probably more fun. With only so much disk space, only the most exciting bits of baseball survive. You draft your own team complete with abilities that don't matter except for batting. You get to name everyone: eight fielders, three starting pitchers, two utility me...
The heck with Jumpman fighting Donkey Kong for a woman--I'll take Domino Man's balding, emotional protagonist fighting society for his art. All the poor guy wants to do is build up domino chains in a city block, a golf course, and a construction zone, but the people and animals around keep knocking down his work. A frumpy washerwoman, a drunk on a golf cart, various construction workers--and time itself, in the form of a clock that walks, err, clockwise around the screen--conspire to keep...