Also turning thirty this weekend, those original Ghosts in the Machine — Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde. Gratz, guys, and thanks for the handy, binary thumbs-up/thumbs-down reviewing scheme. (Oh, yes, it’s Pac-Man’s birthday too, and the coin-operated Google homepage today is a great way to pay one’s respects.)
“Teamwork and competition do make the game much more fun, but everybody’s stuck in the same grind. With little at stake, your quests feel less like Frodo and Sam’s trip to Mordor than a night shift at Hardee’s. Every new level brings more of the same, and fatigue sets in the 10th time you’ve run through the same high-level dungeon, or when you’re trying to crack level 38 but can’t bring yourself to kill another goddamn swamp jaguar.” Also in Slate, Chris Dahlen calls out World of Warcraft (while, unlike too many contrarian Slate pieces, offering valuable suggestions for improvement.) I only recently tried out (re: binged on) WoW for the first time — I’m at Level 29 and climbing — and he’s got a point. The game is good, addictive fun, but I do wish there was more Infocom-style problem solving involved and less repetitive point-and-click pixel-bashing.
“In the early years of the microcomputer, a special kind of game was being played….in the early 1980s, an entire industry rose over the telling of tales, the solving of intricate puzzles and the art of writing. Like living books, these games described fantastic worlds to their readers, and then invited them to live within them.” Found via Genehack and Recursive Bee, a filmmaker by the name of Jason Scott is prepping Get Lamp, a documentary on the Golden Age of text adventures. I’ve said this several times here in this space, but I’d pay top-money for a new Infocom game any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Two links of note courtesy of other fine blogs: LinkMachineGo points the way to online scans of Dave Sim’s Cerebus notebooks, and Fresh Hell discovers Lost reconceived as an Infocom game. I only caught the first episode, but perhaps the mystery creature is a lurking grue…?
Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. By way of my sis-in-law Lotta, the Hamlet text adventure game. How cool is this? I look forward to playing it through once I finish up my freelance work. Here’s a tip…don’t jump out of Ophelia’s window. Update: Ok, I got distracted and went ahead and beat the game. It’s pretty clever, except for one really dumb and annoying puzzle that involves screaming a word in a theater. I used the hint to beat it…and the author basically admits that he intended it that way. Oh well, other than that one hiccup, it’s great text-adventure fun.