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Audyssey;
Computer Games Accessible to the Blind
Edited by Michael Feir
Issue 10: January/February, 1998

++
Welcome

Welcome to the tenth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated
to the discussion of games which, either by accident or design, are
accessible to the blind. We also discuss any concerns and issues
raised by them. This issue takes a look at the results from the two
main events of the interactive fiction community. Results have come
in from the third annual IF competition. Also, the second annual
Xyzzy awards were given out. In addition to the results, I will
offer my reflections on the events and their outcomes. Muds have
again entered the spotlight in articles written by Allen Maynard
and theresa Van Ettinger. For fans of Adam, the immortal Gamer, you
are all in for a very special treat indeed. During a brief visit
into our plane of existence, he has graced this magazine with an
episode based on his favourite game. Enjoy the issue, everyone.  
  
  Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your
fellow readers. They will also make my job as editor a lot more
interesting and true to the meaning of the word. This magazine
should and can be a highly interesting and qualitative look at
accessible computer gaming. To insure
that high quality is maintained, I'll need your written
contributions. I'm not asking for money here, and won't accept any.
This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always
remain so. PCS needs to charge a subscription cost to cover the
disks and shipping costs that it incurs by making the magazine
available on disk. I'm writing this
magazine as much for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your
articles, reviews, and letters, as well as any games you might care
to send me, are what I'm after. Send any games, articles, letters,
or reviews on a 3.5-inch disk in a self-addressed mailer
so that I can return your disk or disks to you once I have copied
their contents onto my hard drive. Please only send shareware or
freeware games. It is illegal to send commercial games. By sending
me games, you will do several things: first, and most obviously,
you will earn my gratitude. You will also insure that the games
you send me are made available to my readership as a whole. As a
further incentive, I will fill any disks you send me with games
from my collection. No disk will be returned empty. If you want
specific games, or specific types of games, send a message in Ascii
format along. *Never* *ever* send your original disks of *anything*
to *anyone* through the mail. *Always* send *copies!* This
principle may seem like it shouldn't even have to be stated, but
when it comes to just about anything related to computers, there's
always some poor soul who will act before applying common sense.
Disks are *not* indestructible. Things *do* get lost or damaged in
the mail, and disks are not immune to these misfortunes. If you
have a particular game that you need help with, and you are sending
your questions on a disk anyhow, include the game so that I can try
and get past your difficulty. If you can, I recommend that you send
e-mail. I have acquired a copy of the UUencode software, and can
send and/or receive files which are encoded via this means. This
way, no money will be wasted sending me a game I already have, and
you'll get my reply more quickly. You are responsible for shipping
costs. That means, either use a disk mailer which has your address
on it, and is either free matter for the blind, or is properly
stamped. I can and will gladly spare time to share games and my
knowledge of them, but cannot currently spare money above what I
spend hunting for new games. I encourage all my
readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will appreciate
it. Up-load it onto web pages and bulletin board systems. Copy it
on disk for people, or print it out for sighted people who may find
it of value. The larger our community gets, the more self-
sustaining it will become.

This magazine is published on a bi-monthly basis, each issue
appearing no earlier than the twentieth of every other month.  All
submissions must be sent to me in standard Ascii format either on
a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via e-mail to my Compuserve address. I
will give my home address and my Compuserve address at the end of
the magazine. There are now several ways of obtaining Audyssey. To
subscribe to the distribution list so that you receive all future
issues, send a subscription request to J.J. Meddaugh. As he is
running several lists, be sure to specifically ask to join the
Audyssey list. His address is:
[email protected]
You can find all issues of Audyssey on the Internet on Paul
Henrichsen's web site at:
www.thesocket.com/~henrich
All issues are also available in the disability forum on
Compuserve, and also in the gamers forum. If you have web access,
Audyssey now has an official web-page, maintained by J.J. Meddaugh.
There are links to other interesting sites, and all issues of
Audyssey are available there as well. In the near future, software
may also be posted there for you to down-load. The address for this
page is:
http://audyssey.home.ml.org
If you have ftp access, all issues are also available at Travis
Siegel's ftp site:
ftp.softcon.com
Look in the /magazines directory.

For those of you who have trouble finding some of the software
discussed in this magazine, or if you know someone who doesn't have
access to the Internet, but would be interested in the magazine,
this magazine is now available on disk. PCS has agreed to
distribute Audyssey, as well as selected shareware or freeware
software on disk for ten dollars US per year. To subscribe to
Audyssey on disk, contact them at:
Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton Ave.
Perth Amboy N.J.
08861
Phone (908)-826-1917
E-mail: [email protected]

++
Contents:
Welcome
Contents
From the Editor
Letters
Implementors AT War
The Latest Finds
Muds and Mushes
Adam: The Immortal Gamer
Newbie Ooc's, "Run that By Me Again?"
Game Reviews
Contacting Us

++
From The Editor

Hello again, everyone. The past couple of months have been quite
slow in the area of new games or the discovery of old ones. The IF
competition has come and gone, and has left thirty-five games of
fairly small size out for the taking at:
ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/competition97
I should caution you that authors are working continuously on many
of these games. One of the most recent results of this is a better
version of Travels in the Lands of Erden. For those interested in
games for children, another release of A Bear's Night Out has
appeared as well. You might want to obtain it, as the author has
fixed some bugs found in the competition release. More such
releases should happen over time.

The next version of ADOM discussed in the November/December issue
is out on the Internet now. the current version is now
adom0998.zip. I have yet to hear from PCs or the author of the
Crossword program concerning its status and availability. If you're
reading this, please let me know how that project's going as there
seems to be quite a lot of interest in it.

Russia has now been added to the list of countries where Audyssey
can be found. I would like to extend an official welcome aboard to
Denis V. Yakovlev, and all of our new readers in Russia. I hope you
all find this magazine both entertaining and useful, and I look
forward to hearing from you.

Last issue, I asked you whether this magazine should expand its
focus to include discussions on utilities which were speech or
Braille-friendly. Your response was overwhelmingly that this
magazine should stick to covering games. therefore, rest assured
that this is what will happen. if any of you need information on
utilities or other applications, I'll give you my advice on an
individual basis. The only exception I'll make to this games-only
policy is that any virus warnings which come to my attention will
be published at the end of this section. viruses are a danger to
all computer-users, and especially to those of us who down-load
files off the Internet. Because most accessible games can only be
found on the Internet, this puts the Audyssey community at greater
risk from virus attacks. This month's warning is especially
disturbing since it is an e-mail virus with no known cure. I urge
all of you to pay close attention to it, and act carefully
regarding your e-mail. Until now, most E-mail viruses have been
hoaxes. This one is apparently deadly serious. Before I present the
warning and leave you to enjoy the rest of this issue, I would
remind all of you that March thirteenth falls on a Friday, and
newer versions of the Friday The Thirteenth virus are rather
dangerous. Be certain to equip yourselves with adequate protection.
I recommend F-prot because it is speech-friendly, easy to get of
the Internet, and free for individual use. Until next time, take
care, and dare to play.

+

WARNING !!!!!!!!!
Please distribute

VIRUS  WARNING !!!!!!

If you receive an email titled "JOIN THE CREW" DO NOT open it.
It will erase everything on your hard drive. Forward this letter
out
to as many people as you can. This is a new, very malicious virus
and
not many people know about it. This information was announced
yesterday morning from IBM; please share it with everyone that
might
>acce ss
the internet.  Once again, pass this along to EVERYONE in your
address book so that this may be stopped. Also, do not open or even
look at any mail that says "RETURNED OR UNABLE TO DELIVERY" This
virus
will attach itself to your computer components and render them
useless. Immediately delete any mail items that say this. AOL has
said
that this is a very dangerous virus and that there is NO remedy for
it
at this time. Please practice cautionary measures and forward this
to
all
your online friends ASAP.


Ciao amigos,
          Nico Moret

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981

       

++
Letters:

+
From:  Jamal Mazrui:

Sorry about my delay in getting back to you.  I lack expertise in
accessible
games, but am copying this message to three people who do:
Michael Feir ([email protected]),
Charlie Crawford ([email protected]), and
Tim Cumings ([email protected]). 

I'm also attaching a UU encoded zip archive containing all issues
to
date of a magazine about computer games for blind people.

Thanks for your interest in this area,
Jamal

----- Original Message Follows -----
From: David G. Franco: [email protected]

Dear Jamal,
        I stumbled across your webSite the other day, and was
amazed at the
depth of work you have put in here. I have enjoyed a number of
links
that have helped me in many ways.
        I am "writing" to let you know of a project that a number
of us are
working on in Northern California. I am sighted, as are most of my
associates here. We are an independent group, no affiliations, no
political agenda, just a group, primarily of artists, some of whom
have a great deal of computer background. I don't, I'm a CPA by
trade.
        One of the projects that these guys have been working on is
a
"game engine". This is a computer program that allows individuals
to
play computers games together online. Well, the other day, while in
a
design mode, one of the key designers realized that the game could
be
adapted to be used as an online multiplayer action game for the
visually impaired. This is not a MUD [multi user dungeon] game, but

rather, a full action game. Where the user, runs, shoots, jumps,
all
on line with others. This will be an Audio keyed environment, not
a
sight keyed environment. It would be a game like Quake, but for the

blind.  Interesting!!
        Anyway, none of the guys here have taken any
salaries in this development, nor will the game ever be offered for
a
fee. It is will always be for free to the visually impaired.
        Let me know if this is of interest to you. You may be able
to guide
us to the next levels that we need in order to go forward. We are
looking for visually impaired interface devices, and the
programmers
to write the interface code. We have the most important part. We
are
also looking for "reliable" fund raisers. We will not have it that
large portions of funds raised go into their pockets.
        Once again, thanks for your site, I will use it often. Let
me know
if our project is  of interest to you.
Best Regards,
 David G. Franco
+
The prospect of playing a multi-player action game is quite an
intriguing one. A totally sonically portrayed environment would
also be quite a novelty. This project is attempting something quite
extraordinary and worth-while. If such a game is to be made, my
suggestion would be to make a single-player mode for off-line
practice and pleasure if possible. Although internet access and
sound capabilities are increasingly becoming available to the blind
community, they are hardly universal as of yet, and are unlikely to
be so for some time to come. To create a meaningful auditory
environment, features of sound devices like the Soundblaster are
essential to the experience. However, most similar games for
sighted people offer this feature. Two such examples are Diablo and
Quake. Not only will this move broaden the interested audience; It
will also decrease the frustrations of trying to learn controls on-
line and under pressure. I would certainly encourage anyone with
advice to offer to contact Mr. Franco at the address provided. To
the project members: I look forward with great interest to hear
about how this game develops, and would ask that you keep myself
and the Audyssey readership up to date with your progress. Feel
free to send questions to us via this magazine. I have every
confidence that many readers will be able to offer suggestions and
enlightening observations. Until I hear from you, I wish you the
best of luck.
+      
From:  Igor Gueths
Hey Mike. I have just started reading the ninth issue of Audyssey.
I also
have a tip for Kelly about that speech-freezing-on-the-word thing.
Kelly,
the problem seems to be that the cinthesizer overloads. I mean,
when it
has to read too many words at one time. That happens to me
sometimes,
especially when I unzip zip files, and the pkunzip.exe program runs
too
fast for my cinthesizer. Also, if you have been looking for a wav
recording program, I think that I have an answer. I apologize about
the
ftp.edu.tw site. When I downloaded the programs that I thought
would
record wav files, none of them worked. So, I think that I have the
so-called "second answer." A friend of mine has a sound blaster
that he
doesn't use. Anyway, he has a wav recording program that came with
his
sound card. I will try to run this program on my sound blaster
compatible,
using all the dos drivers and other programs and sound files. In
the
meantime, I've also been looking for a realaudio player for dos. I
have
always wanted to be able to listen to audio in dos online. Does
anyone
know of any such player?
Sincerely,
Igor Gueths
+
Sound-playing programs seem to be a rather hard thing for game
developers to find. If anyone knows of such software, please inform
us of its whereabouts. Hang in there, Igor. Hopefully, someone will
dig one of these things up.


++
Implementors At War
by Michael Feir

Despite the advent of PCS, and the growing diversity of the kinds
of games available to blind players, interactive fiction remains
the most widely known and abundant form of computer entertainment
accessible independently by the blind. this is because it is
inherently accessible due to its textual nature. Any speech package
or Braille display should be able to allow its users to enjoy
nearly all text-based interactive fiction. It is fortunate that
this form of entertainment has experienced a substantial revival
over the past five years or so. At this time, interactive fiction
has established enough of a following to support two competitions
among its authors, or, "implementors" as Infocom's authors referred
to themselves. these competitions are the annual If Competition,
and the Xyzzy Awards. For those who say "huh?", IF stands for
interactive fiction, and the xyzzy Awards are connected with
Xyzzynews, an excellent magazine edited by Eileen Mullin. The Xyzzy
awards are much like the Oscars are to movies. Games are given
awards for such things as best puzzle or best individual non-player
character. the IF competition requires participants to create games
which are designed to be won in under two hours by players who
submit their overall ratings of the various games. All games
entered in the IF competition must be placed in the public domain.
The Xyzzy awards, however, can be awarded to any game made within
the year. Before I offer my observations, take a look at the
results for the competitions below. Play some of the games, and see
if you agree or disagree with the results, and then, see how your
conclusions compare with my thoughts.

From: [email protected] (Eileen Mullin)
Subject: 1997 XYZZY Awards Winners announced

The winners were announced in a live, online ceremony on ifMUD: A
MUD
Forever Voyaging on Thursday, February 5th. I'd like to thank
everyone who
joined in the virtual festivities -- and especially Liza Daly for
hosting
it all on her MUD. :-)

Best Game
     Interstate Zero (Adam Cadre)

Best Writing
      Sunset Over Savannah (Ivan Cockrum)

Best Story
      Babel (Ian Finley)

Best Setting
      A Bear's Night Out (David Dyte)

Best Puzzles
      The Edifice (Lucian Smith)

Best NPCs
      Frenetic Five vs. Sturm und Drang (Neil deMause)

Best Individual Puzzle
      The language puzzle in The Edifice (Lucian Smith)

Best Individual NPC
      Bob in She's Got a Thing for a Spring (Brent VanFossen)

Best Individual PC
      Tracy Valencia from Interstate Zero (Adam Cadre)

Best Use of Medium
      The Tempest (Graham Nelson)

A transcript of the event will be published in XYZZYnews #15. This
list of
winners is also posted on my Web site at
http://www.xyzzynews.com/awards97.html.  Congratulations to all!

Eileen


From: [email protected] (Gerry Kevin Wilson)
Subject: [IF-COMP97] Contest Results (sans Prize Draft)

Well, you folks obviously can't wait, and I'm still shy 6 authors
(you know
who you are, you naughty authors you.) so I'll go ahead and post
the prize
winning games (apologies in advance for any misspelled names and so
forth):

The Results:

  1 - The Edifice, by Lucian P. Smith
  2 - Babel, by Ian Finley                                
  3 - Glowgrass, by Nate Cull                          
  4 - She's got a Thing for a Spring, by Brent VanFossen        
  5 - A Bear's Night Out, by David Dyte                    
  6 - Sunset Over Savannah, by Ivan Cockrum                  
  7 - Poor Zefron's Almanac, by Carl Klutzke                 
  8 - The Lost Spellmaker, by Neil Brown                   
  9 - Sins Against Mimesis, by Adam Thornton                  
 10 - A New Day, by Jonathan Fry                             
 11 - Zero Sum Game, by Cody Sandifier                         
 12 - Zombie!, by Scott W. Starkey                               
 13 - The Frenetic Five vs Sturm und Drang, by Neil deMause  
 14 - Travels in the Land of Erden, by Laura A. Knauth          
 15 - Unholy grail, by Stuart Allen                         
 16 - Friday Afternoon, by Mischa Schweitzer                     
 17 - Madame L'estrange and the Troubled Spirit, by Ian Ball and
     Marcus Young
 18 - Sylenius Mysterium, by C.E. Forman                   
 19 - Phred Phontious, the Quest for Pizza, by Michael Zey 
 20 - Down, by Kent Tessman                                 
 21 - Virtual Tech, by David Glasser                          
 22 - The Obscene Quest of Dr Auurdvarkbarf, by Gary Roggin
 23 - A Good Breakfast, by Stuart Adair                     
 24 - The Town Dragon, by David A. Cornelson

The Xyzzy awards showed a good deal of preference towards the IF
competition games this year. Games like Heist and The Resident,
were left bereft of honours. The competition games are undeniably
good, but they are also undeniably short. Heist really should have
picked up either the Best PC or Best individual puzzle award. While
its story was based somewhat on a standard plot, its story and
puzzles were some of the most clever I've seen in a long time. The
player-character is remarkably well-crafted. the puzzle to win the
award was certainly worthy of prase. I've certainly never
encountered anything like it before. Yet, I question whether
Phillips, despite his agonizing tendency of leaving his players
completely to their own devices in solving his puzzles, did not
come up with several more interesting and more fair puzzles.

the only major problems I have with the IF competition are that it
rules out larger games. Authors working on big projects are apt to
set these aside to enter the competition. Worse yet, the games
which are designed for the competition often suffer due to the
strict limitations. the author of Delusions had to cut out a lot
from the game. This year, the unfortunate author of Legacy, an
extremely promising game, was so dissatisfied with his entry that
he withdrew it from the competition entirely. He stated that he was
working on another release which he could be satisfied with, but it
has yet to appear.

As to the results of the IF Competition, I strongly disagree with
many of them. David Dite's A Bear's Night Out should have placed a
lot higher than it did, and should possibly even have won. The
other entry which should have done far better than it did was Laura
Knauth's Travels in the Lands of Erden. Its open-endedness alone
should have garnered it more appreciation. It featured some
excellent NPC's, and interesting puzzles.

Constantly monitoring the newsgroups devoted to interactive fiction
reveals that these concerns are shared by the interactive fiction
community at large, and solutions are being looked for. Mere
awareness of them should prevent their worst effects from coming to
pass, and should allow the honours bestowed on the winning authors
to remain the inspiration for fresh minds rather than a distraction
for the more experienced.

++
The Latest finds

+
Losing your Grip is an enormous piece of interactive fiction
written in TADS. You need tadsr.exe, the TADS runtime interpreter
to run the game. It is nearly six hundred K in size even without
the required interpreter. Nevertheless, it is worth the down-load,
and is also worth registering. Stephen Granade, the renowned author
of Waystation, has pushed his chosen development system to its
utmost capability. He explores insanity with a chilling style that
is certain to keep his players intrigued. The registered version
includes adaptive on-line hints. I have yet to succeed in getting
through the first of five fits the game is divided into, but this
is not due to a lack of interest by a long shot. I certainly
encourage all of you who don't mind being a bit unsettled to give
this game a look. it is winnable without registration, and only the
hints are disabled in the unregistered version. The file is
grip.gam, and you can find it at:
ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/tads

+

Recently, Adam and I went on another great game-hunt. We picked up
a copy of Heroes of Might and Magic II. It is a superbly done
strategy game which is completely turn-based. To play it, you will
require a CD-rom and Windows 95. You will also need a sighted
companion, as the game is totally graphical. Because it is turn-
based, your sighted companion will be able to describe the
surroundings to you without rushing. the sounds and music are very
well-done, and the interface is apparently quite simple to master
for sighted companions of lesser experience. It can be played by
multiple players, and also has campaigns for single players. In its
standard version, the game is extremely re-playable. It also comes
with a map editor for further re-play value. If you can find it in
your local computer store, and you're after some serious strategy,
this is the game for you.

+
You Don't Know Jack is an amazingly well-done trivia game for
people who own CD-roms. it is a game-show in which up to three
players may participate simultaneously. The game features at least
eight hundred questions, depending on which version or package you
buy. We bought the Jack Huge package which gives us the first three
volumes of You Don't Know Jack. This totals some 2400 general
trivia questions. there are specific packages for sports trivia,
music, TV, movies, etc. the game is done in a very amusing and
lively style, which the host of the show constantly flinging verbal
abuse at slower or mistaken contestants. Only one section is
seriously unfair for blind players. It is the "Jack Attack", where
you must match a scrolling list of words to a clue and first word.
the player who hits his/her buzzer key first when the words on the
list fit the overall clue scores a large amount of points. to
render this part of the game fair, there should be a rule in play
that has one person sitting at the keyboard. This person should
read off the clue and words as they scroll by. If the blind player
figures it out and says his answer, instead of trying to press the
key at the right time, he/she should get the points. that's about
as fair as it gets. It is all too easy even for sighted people to
miss the correct pair of words, as my family found out this evening
when we tried the game. Despite such difficulties, I can still
recommend this masterfully done game with no reservations at all.
You'll thoroughly enjoy its irreverent brand of humour, and the
questions are all read aloud by the host.

+
For you CD-rom-wielding adventure fans, the ultimate game has
appeared! Blade-runner, based on the classic and trend-setting
movie, lives up to its heritage with a deeply engaging plot and
evolving story. All of the characters are given their own
artificial intelligences, and act according to their own agendas
which change from game to game. they also change with your
character's decisions. A sighted companion will be necessary, but
the speech content in the game is quite high. Your sighted friend
shouldn't have to read a great deal. the interface is fairly
intuitive, if my father's quick mastery of it is any indication.
due to the extreme randomness of characters, this adventure game is
one of a very few that is infinitely re-playable. The sound and
music are both absolutely exquisite, and bring the game's gritty
futuristic world to life.

++
Muds and Mushes
by Allen Maynard

By no means am I an expert in on-line text games, but I have been
religiously playing a few of them and I'd like to share my
accumulated
knowledge with the rest of you.

A mud or multi-user dungeon is a type of game where you design a
character
by selecting menu choices such as race and class.  The types of
race and
class depend on the theme of the game.  For example, if you are
playing a
Star Wars type mud, you may have the races:  human, rodian,
Ilthorian,
Devaronian, etc (my apologies on spelling).  Once you select your
race you
have the choice of class.  Continuing the example you could choose
bounty
hunter, smuggler, light jedi, dark jedi, trader, etc.  You then
select your
sex.  Of course from game to game you may have some different
choices to
make, but the ones above are the typical aspects.

Once you have created your character, you are sometimes asked to
enter a
description which is normally a paragraph describing what your
character
looks like.  You may also chose not to worry about a description.

Once all this is done, you begin the game by running around a
particular
world or worlds killing mobs (mobiles or computer generated enemies
which
move around) and some muds allow pk (player killing) since with
muds and
mushes, there are almost always other players playing the game as
you are
at the same time.  You are all competing for treasure, weapons,
armor,
magic spells, and of course, gold.

Most muds expect you to find food and water, to get rest to restore
hit
points, and some muds even want you to pay rent to store your
belongings.

OK, these muds sound a little boring and some are.  But there are
so many
places to explore, spells to learn, and items to acquire, your
natural
curiosity gets the better of you.  One mud <Rage of the damned>
also has
battle stances which are:  viper (quick initial strike before enemy
can
respond), crane (wide sweeping attack), crab (going in low),
mongoose
(nimble stick and move), and bull (charging attack).  These
different
stances can partially or completely control the outcome of a
battle.

OK, that is a mud in a nutshell.  Now, mushes.  Mush stands for
multi-user
shared halucination.  They are different in several important ways.
First,
you normally have to select a variety of attributes.  You are given
a
number of attribute points and you use these to increase different
attributes.  Again, depending on the game, you will have different
attribs.
 In one Star Wars mush you had attribs such as blaster skill,
piloting,
technical, computers, street smart, and about eighteen others. 

Second, you have 2 roles, ic, or in character, which is when you
are your
character and you are role playing.  Then you have ooc, out of
character,
which is when you are yourself again sitting in front of your
keyboard.
OOC is used to talk to other players or discussing things with the
game
administrators.

Third, the battles are a little different.  It's not just hack and
slash
like with muds.  You may encounter a thief for example in a dark
alley.
Your alertness attrib may control if you notice the thief hiding or
not.
The thief, who is actually another player in ic mode, springs out
at you
and holds a crowbar against your throat.  You both go into ooc mode
to use
the game to roll to see whose strength and maybe agility is
greater.  The
thief's rolls a higher number of strength but you have a greater
agility
score so you manage to twist away from the thief but the crowbar
does
injure you as you twist away.

Granted, this is a very simple example, but I hope it gives you an
idea of
mushing.  Mushes try to be very realistic in what occurs while you
play
them.  However, this can be annoying also.  For example, I was
playing a
Star Wars <Clone Wars> mush.  I signed up as a naval pilot in the
Republic
military since the literature which I read in ic mode said that
there was a
glorious future in the military.  However, after a signed up,
nothing
happened.  When I questioned the game administrator, he told me
that he
tried to make signing on realistic, so it would take a while to
actually
accept me into the military ranks.  In the meantime, there was very
little
to do in the game.

Furthermore, many mushes are very complex.  In my Clone Wars
example, as a
military man I had to remember the order of rank, what my uniform
was
supposed to look like as well as higher ups' uniforms, and I had to
be
careful to salute a higher ranking officer when one entered the
room.

Some mushes also require you to register your player.  I mean, you
create a
player under the game's guidelines, then you submit your character
via
e-mail for approval.  If your player is refused, then you either
create a
new one or modify the old or you can't play the game.  I had this
happen to
me when I tried to play the <Transformers mush>.  I created a
stealth
fighter called Saberwing.  I worked on him for over an hour under
the
game's guidelines such as personality of my character, origin,
greatest
strength and weakness, and even detailing my mushing experience.
I then
submitted my character with a grin of confidence.  Three days later
I
received an e-mail response which told me my character was denied.
He
didn't like my character at all.  Least of all he didn't like the
name
since the word "wing" was greatly overused by other players.  He
didn't buy
the origin of my character and he hated his personality.  Needless
to say,
it was a humbling and a little annoying experience.  I had worked
hard on
Saberwing and the game administrator tore him apart in a few
minutes.
Although, it was a very lengthy and detailed rejection.

Anyway, I hope this article hasn't put too many of you to sleep.
And I
hope I have shed a little light on on-line text games and their
differences.  By the way, I am using Windows-95 with the Gwmicro
Window-Eyes product.

Happy mudding and/or mushing.
Allen
The Desert Bat
[email protected]

++
Adam, the Immortal Gamer
"Adam in ADOM"
by Adam Taylor

     "This is relaxing," states Adam as he floats through the void.
     "This is not a vacation. You were brought to this reality to
learn valuable lessons for life," echoes a digitized voice.
     "But I've learnt a ton already! I just want to go back to my
regular life."
     There is a buzzing sound in the distance. Like that of a hard
drive being accessed. "Very well. To see how much you have truly
learnt, you will go through one more game. If you can complete it
with your new knowledge, you will be sent back to your world. You
can then return here whenever you wish, for a refresher course."
     "Cool! So what game will I beeeee-" Adam screamed as he
suddenly appeared far above a mountain range, though the distance
was closing rapidly. With a thud, the Gamer crashed into the
ground. Staggering to his feet, with thoughts of a computer flying
out of a second story window, Adam took in his surroundings. He was
standing on a small dusty road, which seemed to lead into a small
valley. A bit further along the road, closer to the mountains was
a small sign. "Welcome to the Drakalor Chain."
     "Oh yes. Oh man. This rocks! I'm in ADOM. Nobody beats the
Gamer in Ancient Domains of Mystery!" Adam exclaimed joyfully.
     "We shall see," buzzed the computer. "This game has many ways
of ending your little adventure. Now, you are born in the month of
the Book, choose thy race and class."
     "Heh. Drakish Wizard. And I'll go by the name of Blade if you
don't mind," said Adam with a grin.
     And with that, the Immortal Gamer began to change shape. He
shrank by a couple of inches, while gaining an impressive layer of
green scales all over his body. His mouth filled with sharp teeth,
and his tongue split into a snake-like fork. His vast knowledge and
strength did not improve by much, but he suddenly felt more attuned
to the flows of mana in the world. At his side appeared a backpack,
while on his attire was reduced to merely a robe and a pair of
leather boots. Peering into the pack, he found a pitiful little
dagger, which he wielded with a sigh, and a few rings, potions and
scrolls. Nothing of any great importance.
     "I hate the stuff you start with. Oh well, used properly,
everything has benefits. Hey computer!" shouted Adam into the air.
     "Stuck already?" replied the computer.
     "NO! I just wanted to know if this is the latest version of
ADOM. Can I access class powers and stuff?"
     "But of course. To do such, you need only think of what you
wish to do, and it will happen."
     With a smile, Adam recalled his monster memory. In his mind he
could see a screen with the writing:
     "What do you want to remember?"
     "Adam Taylor," he spoke in his mind. The screen changed.
Reading the new text that appeared, he snickered.
     "I just had to make sure." And off he went down the path.
Eventually reaching the small town of Terinyo. After haggling with
Munxip the shopkeeper for a good price on some food, and memorizing
his spells of Fire and Frost Bolt, he went looking for the tiny
girl. After hearing her sad story, he almost shed a tear. He agreed
to bring back her dog. So off he went to the cave, with the
computer buzzing in his head "Softy".
     Taking his final step down the stairs, Adam peered around the
dank room in which he stood. Suddenly, a sound brought his
attention to the north of the room. There grinning evilly, was a
Goblin. With an equally evil grin of his own, Adam stepped forward.
He knew he could probably just blast the creature to the otherworld
with a single spell, but this was his first kill. Something to be
savoured. The Gamer advanced a few steps, and waited for his
opponent to come to him. "Patience is a virtue," he thought to
himself. As the Goblin took its last step into range, Adam swung a
mighty swing with his puny little dagger. The Goblin screamed in
anger as the blade drew blood. Okay, so it was just a scratch, but
he's a Wizard after all. The Goblin took a swing of its own, its
sword would of only cut a few hairs, if Drakelings had hair that
is. Back and forth the battle went. Until with a cry of hatred, the
Goblin pierced Adam's shoulder. Taking a few steps back, Adam
inspected the wound. A couple of inches over, and it would of
pierced his heart. Giving the Goblin a look of hatred that could
stop a demon in its tracks, Adam screamed, "THAT HURT!" The poor
creature only had enough time to open its eyes wide with terror
before the wave of searing flame engulfed it.
     "Touchy, aren't we?" said the floating monitor, while
inspecting the charred remains.
     "Applying first aid is harder than it looks," complained the
wounded Hero.
     "Why not give up now? I can find you a game more your speed.
How about Pac-Man?" the room filled with a buzzing laughter as the
screen disappeared.
     Cursing under his breath, Adam decided to continue with a bit
more caution. Going through the levels quickly, avoiding what he
could, Adam finally found the cute little dog on the bottom level.
After talking to the dog, it began to follow him, probably smelling
the tiny girl's scent. On the way out of the cave, Adam remembered
what he truly disliked about the game. Having to wait for slow
followers to catch up. "Patience is a virtue," thought the Gamer,
"but I'd really like to just grab that mutt by the neck and yank
him out of here."
     Finally returning the dog to its owner, and seeing that look
of joy shine in the girl's face, he felt a little warm inside.
     "Must just be my alignment shifting," Adam told himself. He
could swear he heard a buzz in the distance.
     Talking to the Sheriff and Rynt the Elder, he quickly picked
up two more quests. To slay Kranach the Raider, and find Yrriggs
the Carpenter. The raider was easy, finding him out in the plains
with his band of hoodlums. A few spells and a level higher, the
Drakish hero headed for the Village Dungeon. After quite a few
battles, he made his way down to Jharod the Healer.
     "And what can I do for you? Need you my services?" asked
Jharod.
     "I wish to study with you. To learn of the healing arts,"
replied Adam, as politely as he could.
     "Ah. First you must prove to me that you can show mercy. Only
then will I teach you what I know."
     With that, Adam took his leave of the Healer, and continued
down into the depths of the dungeon. Eventually, on the last level,
find what he was looking for.
     "Yo! Yrriggs! Your mother could make a Troll look beautiful!"
     Screaming wildly, and brandishing a sharp hatchet, the Mad
Carpenter gave chase. "I hate this part," thought Adam on the run.
Keeping just out of reach of the madman, while leading him back up
to the Healer, the Gamer continued his hail of insults, mainly more
comments about the Carpenter's questionable lineage. Reaching
Jharod once more, Adam waited for the Healer to do his bit.
Naturally, placing a hand on Yrriggs' forehead and muttering a few
words, Jharod cured him of his madness. With many thanks and new
knowledge and items, the hero emerged from the dungeon.
     The weather was nice out. Though he knew it could change in an
instant. Adam found a nice flat boulder near the dungeon entrance
and sat for a spell.
     "I'm beginning to remember how I hate building levels."
     "So why not stop?" came the now expected buzz.
     "Playing on the computer, I could finish this game in a few
hours. But in game time it takes months. I was expecting to end
this in no time at all. Is there anyway I can speed things up?"
questioned the Wizard.
     "It seems ironic. In the real world, you'd spend all day
playing if you could. Yet here you complain about it taking too
long."
     "At home I could just sit there, nice and comfortable. This is
exhausting! Wait, this is another lesson isn't it? In order to
achieve something, I must be dedicated. Put real effort into it.
It's not like when I can play a game and just restore when I goof
up. Here I have to work hard, and learn from any mistakes I make so
I don't goof up again."
     "You have been paying attention. You may just earn your
freedom yet." The computer screen showed a large smile as it faded
away.
     So off he went. The Immortal Gamer on a mission. Using his
vast gaming knowledge, and that which has learnt from his recent
adventures to fight his way to freedom. His travels took him
through all the areas he remembered from the game. He went through
the North West Cave. With all of its powerful creatures. Made his
way into the High Mountain Village. Meeting Hawkslayer face to face
was quite an experience. He fought his way into the Outlaw Village,
killing the Crime Lord by order of the Sheriff. He even managed to
join the Thieves' Guild, and become the Master Thief. He put an end
to the evil of Rehetep in the Ancient Pyramid. Conquered the Tower
of Eternal Fire to claim the Elemental Orb of Fire. He managed to
overcome the Dark Cave's Gremlin hordes to retrieve the Phial.
Fighting tooth and nail he made his way to Dwarftown. Completing
quest after quest for the Dwarven Elder. He proved his might by
passing through the Living Forest and the Dwarven Halls. He helped
return the spirit of Griff Bloodaxe to its eternal slumber and
defeated the evil Necromancer.
     The months passed as he continued his quest to end the reign
of Chaos in Ancardia and find his way home. Though slowly, he began
to lose track of who he really was. He began to respond only to the
call of Blade. He began to become Blade, the Drakish Wizard.
     His journey continued. Attaining the Ring of the High Kings
was no trouble. And when he encountered the Eternal Guardian, he
knew that there were better ways through problems than fighting.
Though he could not quite remember where he had learnt that. Making
his way past all obstacles, he acquired the Elementals Orbs of
Earth, Air and Water as well. He gained countless artifacts of
great power. But he decided to sacrifice them to Sssracht, his
deity. Knowing that one did not need power to achieve good, but
devotion. Strange, where had that thought come from? With his great
devotion he managed to become a messiah, and the Holy Champion of
Order. With great blessings granted to him by his deity. He was
Blade. The enemy of all evil. The champion of those in need. He
helped reunite Blup the Baby Water Dragon with his mother. He ended
the twisted existence of the Black Unicorn. He was given great fame
by the Cat Lord's gift of the Ring of the Master Cat. He crossed
the Rift to find the Great Library. Where he gained even more power
against evil. He was unstoppable. And he knew what had to be done.
     After long exhausting battles, he worked his way through the
Caverns of Chaos. One level after another. His way was hard. Many
times had he come close to death, but none can stop Blade. The
safety of the world rested on his shoulders. And finally, after
many months, he had reach his destination. He stood at the foot of
the stairs, on the very bottom of the Caverns of Chaos. Here,
guarded by his most powerful followers, the evil Chaos God Andor
Dakon had opened his gateway into the world. Blade knew what he had
to do. He knew that he had changed greatly through his long trek.
Though strangely, he knew not from what. Just that he had become
something, more. He had to close the Chaos Gate and save his world.
Was it truly his world? Something clawed at the back of his mind.
A feeling? A memory? No, a word. Home.
     Pushing the stray though away, Blade readied himself.
Adjusting his armor one last time, and drawing the twin black
rune-covered daggers Sting and Needle, he advanced. With a vicious
war cry he ran into row upon row of chaos creatures. Slashing at
the mixture of mismatched parts. He cut off heads, arms, tentacles,
and things he could not even describe. For what seemed like days he
hacked his way through the army of abominations. He knew he could
win. He knew he had to win. The world counted on him. Again, that
word flashed in his head. Home.
     As he pulled Sting free from the head of a Chaos Wizard, he
could sense that his goal was almost complete. The level was now
devoid of all life but himself. All he had to do was pull the lever
to close the gate. But wait, what lever? How did he know what to
do? He had never been here before. But for some reason it seemed
familiar. He peered across the large room cluttered with corpses.
All dead, but some continued to squirm. At the far wall he could
see it. Glowing, pulsating. It seemed to be made of nothing, and
everything. It was there, but not there. The Chaos Gate. Again,
stronger this time, home. He could feel the flow of chaos pouring
from it. The corruption of that which was pure. From a safe
distance, he peered into its depths. He expected to see the face of
Andor Dakon, but what he saw made him take a step back. Emerging
from the gate was a, thing. An almost cube like shape, maybe a box?
Only a foot or so across, with one side that seemed to be made of
some sort of glowing glass.
     "You have done exceptionally well Gamer. I did not think you
would actually make it this far," said a buzzing voice from within
the box.
     "What? To whom dossst thou ssspeak? My name isss Blade,"
stated the Drakish Wizard with a hissing accent.
     "So, you come this far, only to fail your final test."
     "I have failed nothing! My quessst isss complete. The world
isss sssafe. I can now return home to my people. I shall be a great
hero."
     "So, you no longer wish to return home? Have you forgotten who
you are? Your name is Adam," buzzed the box loudly.
     "You ssspeak liesss. I am Blade!" screamed the Drakeling. But
again, in his head, that word. Now a shout. HOME! An image flashed
in his mind now. Someone, a human, sitting in front of a box like
that which floated in front of him. He shook his head to, trying to
clear the image from his mind. But another replaced it. A dark
place, a strange void. It all seemed familiar to him. But he could
not of seen these things before. Could he?
     The box started to turn. "If this is what you want, I will
leave you here. Farewell... Blade."
     "Computer!" yelled Blade. That word, he knew it, but what did
it mean? Whatever it was, it had caught the attention of the box.
More images flashed through his mind. A human family, sitting
around a table to eat. A strange room filled with flashing lights,
and strange devices. A human sat in a chair, facing a strange
looking glass which showed all the heavens. He was not sure, but he
thought he heard someone say "Begin". Again, the image changed. A
man stands on a dusty road. There is a pack animal behind him,
burdened with food and other objects. This seems like something he
should know. Unconsciously, Blade mouths the word "Fallthru". Again
another image. It is the human in front of the box. He is tapping
on some sort of device with many symbols on its surface. The man is
mumbling to himself, "I must win this game."
     Like a thunderclap in his head, two forces collide. One he
recognizes instantly. It is him, Blade. But not him. Something
tells him it is his essence. His essence has its hands around the
neck of that human he keeps seeing. It is in his mind. He must be
dreaming. The chaos. That's it, it must be the effects of the
chaos. But he can't wake up. The human is falling to his knees.
Somehow he knows that the computer is moving closer to him. But
what is a "computer"? The images come back. Flashing from the
battle to an image and back. Faster. More images. His family, but
it can't be. His family are Drakelings, not humans. But somehow he
knows who they are. The battle. The human seems to be getting
stronger. More images. His friends. Calling his name. But it is not
his name, they call for one named Adam. The human is now standing,
trying to free himself from Blade's grip. The family again. The
human, obviously this Adam, is receiving gifts from his parents.
Adam and Blade now grip each others throats. More and more images.
Then, darkness.
     Is it his head that's spinning, or the room. Where's the room!
Looking the entity can only see a dark void.
     "Welcome to the void. And do you know who you are?" buzzed a
concerned voice.
     "I, I am, I am..." the entity struggled for an answer. Who was
he? Something flashed in his mind. Home. Who's home? His? He still
could not remember. Images began to appear in his mind. One by one.
Slowly at first, by gradually speeding up. Someone playing on a
computer. Someone returning a dog to a tiny girl. A human family.
A Drakish family. Faster still, until they passed by so quick he
hardly knew what he was looking at by the time the next appeared.
But something started to come back to him. A name? A past?
     "I am..."
     "Yes?" said the voice.
     "I am, wise."
     "Very wise," stated the voice reassuringly.
     "I am strong."
     "The strongest."
     "I am the master of what I do!" mused the entity.
     "Yes. That's it! Remember. What is it you do?"
     "I. I play, games?" questioned the entity.
     "Think harder my friend."
     "I am. I am... I am Adam!" yelled the entity in defiance. "I
am the Immortal Gamer! And I'm back!"
     "And you deserve to be."
     The void shook. A blinding flash. Adam covered his eyes, but
the light was in his mind as well. Slowly, carefully, his eyes
opened. He was seated. He was in a chair, in front of him was a
computer. His computer! He was home! Home at last!
     The monitor turned on. Words appeared on the screen.
     "You have done well. You started your journey as a man who
spent time in a world of imagination. You used the games to escape
life."
     Adam smiled. "And you used the games to make me understand
life."
     "No. The understanding was there. You just needed some way to
apply it. So my friend. What will you do?"
     "I think I'd better let my folks know I'm back."
     "Look behind you."
     Turning, Adam saw his parents standing there shocked. "How
long was I gone?" he asked.
     "About ten minutes," replied his father.
     "I guess you're going to yell at me for not telling you where
I was going?" he asked his mother.
     His mother gave him an icy glare. "I'll yell at you after
you've cleaned you room." And with that she stormed out.
     Adam's father just put his hand on his shoulder. "You know,
you get used to it after enough years," he smiled.
     "Wallace!" came a scream from downstairs, which made Adam's
father cringe.
     "Well, sort of anyway." He turned and left.
     Adam stared at the disaster area which was his room. Turning
back to the computer, he let out a sigh. "Well, everything's back
to normal."
     "I hope you will use what you have learnt. Though you can come
back for a refresher course whenever you wish," flashed the screen.
     "I think I'll take you up on that offer from time to time. I
guess I'd better start cleaning up this mess," Adam sighed again,
picturing the hours of work that would require.
     "What's the rush?" questioned the computer, as a set of cards
appeared on the screen in solitaire formation. "How about a game?"

THE END
Or is it?

++
 NEWBIE OOC'S, 'RUN THAT BY ME AGAIN?"
                               By Theresa van Ettinger
         
    If you have recently gotten started in muds or are intending
to soon, you are bound to encounter words and phrases that may
sound like Fnordish to you until you get used to them.  When I
first started mudding, I was on a mud that didn't use all the
jargon.  Then i got on a different mud, but then there was jargon
to learn.  Each mud may have jargon of its own, but here is a
glossary of some of the words which seem fairly consistent:
         
    AFK: Short for "away from keyboard".  A person might say or
use this word as a flag to let people know that they are not at
their keyboard, and thus may not be aware of what's going on.
When used as a flag, however, the player might forget to turn the
flag off, and may in fact not be afk.
    BUILDER: An imm who is involved with the construction of
locations on the mud.  This person is usually the programmer for
that area.
    CHANNEL: Mudwide communication method.  There are usually 1-3
entirely public channels, and then there are channels for guilds
or certain groups of people within the mud.
    EXPERIENCE (often abbreviated exp or x): Points used in
gaining levels.  You will usually see the amount of exp you need
to reach the next level either on your score display or at the
bottom of your screen.  It is usually gained by successfully
killing mobs, but can be gained on some muds through
pre-programmed quests.
    GUILD: A group of characters with a common occupation and/or
purpose.  For example, guardsmen of a city might have a guild, or
mages might have a guild.  Guilds usually have areas where they
can gather and where skills can be learned.
    GUILDLEADER (sometimes abbreviated GL): A person whose job it
is to make certain the guild runs smoothly, and to whom players
may address questions or concerns they might have related
to their particular guild.
    HIT POINTS (abbreviated as H or HP): The amount of damage a
player can take before dying.  If the player is hit during an
attack, this number will decrease depending on the strength
of the monster/opponent.
    IC: The opposite of OOC.  It is the short form for "in
character".  Its use is extremely similar to that of OOC.
    IMMORTAL (abbreviated IMM): A leader on the mud.  An immortal
is frequently involved with the programming of the mud.  Many
imms are also guildleaders.  An imm is a good person to go to if
you are having difficulty or do not understand something.
    LEVEL: A rank reached after so many experience points have
been gained.  Not to be confused with one's rank within their
guild.
    MANA (abbreviated as M): Used mostly by non-warriors, such as
magi, priests, clerics, or prophet(ess)es.  Indicates mental
energy.  Used in casting spells.
    MOB: A person or monster who is not a player.  Usually
something that can be killed to gain experience, but sometimes
may serve a useful purpose and therefore should not be killed.
    MOVES/MOVEMENT POINTS (abbreviated as MV): This number
indicates how far a person can go before becoming exhausted.
Some muds only count moves with respect to actually going places,
while others add combat into the picture.
    OOC: Short for "out of character".  This is a word that is
used in different ways on different muds.  Some use it as a
communication channel, while on others it is a way of saying
something out of character.  It is also used to describe a
player's actions or state..
         Examples:
         Amanda OOC'S, 'yo, ppl!  Anyone wanna group and go
         level?'
         Amanda says ooc, 'Well I've got to go.  Class is in 30
         min."
         Amanda is ooc.
Different muds use OOC in different ways.  Observe other players
to see how OOC is used.
    Statistics (or stats for short): Various information about
the character, including strength, intelligence, wisdom,
mana, and moves.
         
    These are some of the basic words you will find on most muds.
They reflect the most commonly used words that I have seen
throughout different muds on which I have been active.  If you
have any questions, feel free to contact me at
[email protected].  Also, don't hesitate to ask the other
players on the mud.  Most are willing and open to assisting new
players.

++
Game Reviews:
+
Mud Review:
Dragon's Fang
By Theresa van Ettinger
     Dragon's Fang is a mud based on Robert Jordan's excellent
series
of books, "The Wheel of Time".  Although it is very helpful to have
read
the series, it is not entirely necessary.  There are help files
which can
explain the people of the mud and also the history, as well as a
tour of
the history of the WoT world and how it has come to the point at
which you
enter.  Although you will do combat with people and creatures
(known as
mobs), the focus of this mud is character interaction, known as
role-playing.  (I will do an article on mud-terminology in the near
future.)  You will probably need to focus on combat for a while,
but RP is
still possible.  At level 20, you will have the opportunity to join
a
guild, which enhances your opportunity to role-play.  The leaders
of the
mud are more than willing to assist you in any way they can, as are
the
other people who are playing.  It is a mud I would strongly
recommend if
you want to focus on character instead of combat.
The address to telnet there is tjorven.ludd.luth.se, port 4000, or
go to
http://www.mudconnect.com and search for "wheel of time" and follow
the
links to connect.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
-------------
Note, if you want to find me there, I go by Bair, Ketar, Ganvira,
Brennan,
or Denara.


+
                           ElectraBot
                       Game By Woody Hunt
                   Reviewed for Audyssey by Kelly Sapergia

   In most adventure games, you must try to rescue someone and
this game is no exception.
In ElectraBot, you are a partially created robot. Your mission is
to save your creator from the evil Barbarith who wants the plans
for your construction. When completed, you'll be able to travel
in time and fly.
   This game was created using the AGT (The Adventure Game
Toolkit). To make it speech friendly, you just have to type:

RUN ELECTRA /B

from the DOS prompt.
   Personally, I found the game to be absolutely boring, not
exciting at all, and rather easy to complete. In fact, the game,
in my opinion, was poorly written! I don't mean that it locks up
all the time, which it doesn't. I mean it's written poorly
because of the following:

- The descriptions of the creatures were horribly written! I
don't know how the author did it, but when you type "EXAMINE
CREATURE" (CREATURE could be a slug, a butler, etc.) you got the
same message that appears in the room description.
For instance, when I was in a room called "Slug's Chamber", the
game told me that "A giant slug is coming towards you." When I
examined the slug, I got the same message.

- The descriptions of the rooms were far from great, They were
described so poorly, and there were certain objects described,
but weren't included in the game!
Here's a typical example.
Note- This example contains two descriptions from the game.

<< EXPLOSIVES STORAGE ROOM >>
You see many explosives all over the place.
Exits are to the East and West.
It is too risky to pick any of them up.


<< INDOOR FOREST >>
This is the most unusual room you have ever seen.
There is are exits to the West and East.
On one of the trees you see a piece of
paper.


   When playing a text-based game, I always rate it on a scale
between 1 and 10, where 1 is ABSOLUTEly HORRIBLE!, and 10 is
TOTALLY COOL. This game was no exception. I have rated this game
1. Granted, the game has a good story line, but I think the
author could have done a better job. One thing you'll probably
notice, when playing the game, is that you have to keep throwing
things at creatures to kill them. I could tell right from the
start that this game was a standard-level game. (This means that
there are no special commands that are programmed by the author.)
I would have liked to be able to, instead of throwing a gun at
someone, to mainly shoot the person with a gun.
For example, at the end of the game, you meet the evil Barbarith
who has kidnapped your creator. In order to kill him, you have to
throw the gun at Barbarith. I would have preferred to shoot him
with the gun instead.
   If you were looking for an action-packed game, I'm afraid that
this one isn't for you. I have played better games than this one,
but it was an interesting game to play, otherwise.
This game can be found on the Internet, but I forgot what the web
site was. When I find out what it is, I'll send it to Audyssey so
you'll be able to find it  that way.
+
                    "Wormhole: The Beginning"
       Game Created by Philip Dearmore of NeoText Software
                   Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia

   "Wormhole: The Beginning" is the first in a new series of text
adventures created by a new company in Washington State, called
NeoText Software. The game is, in fact, small. So small that I've
managed to finish it in about an hour. I must admit that at first
I found it tricky to use, but after fooling around with the
commands, I've managed to solve this mini adventure.
Note- I got this game from another site, not the NeoText Home
Page. The game is described on this site as "An Introductory Text
Adventure", but I think it's a promotional game, that
demonstrates what will happen in future titles in the Wormhole
series. Regardless, I thought it was a lot of fun.
   Here's the story of this game: you wake up in the middle of
the night to answer the phone. The person calling is an old
friend of yours, George. He asks that you come over to his place
to help him with his new experiment. So, you get into your car
and drive to George's house. But when you get to his house,
George is nowhere to be seen!

Note- What I'm about to say is what follows after the
introduction screen of the program. I know that I'm giving the
story away, but I thought it might help in understanding this new
series. You can skip ahead if you wish.

   After you manage to get into George's house by means of
crawling through the doggie flap, you find the house deserted.
The dishes are stacked up nicely, and everything seems normal,
but where's George? After searching the house, you find a locked
door that leads into George's cellar. You also notice that the
carpeting on the stairs looks odd. Upon closer inspection of the
carpeting, you discover that it's covered in blood stains! After
you manage to unlock the door, (I'm not revealing how you get the
key either), you find yourself in the cellar. It looks like
something went wrong. The place is a mess, and there is blood all
over the place. You see a freezer that is closed. You try to open
it but it's jammed. Then you look behind the freezer and see ...
a portal! You step into it and find yourself in a dark cave. (I
should mention here that before this scene you find a flashlight
in your car's glove compartment.) You find another portal and
enter it. You're in another cave, with an exit to the east. You
go that way and find a shimmering pool. You can't drink any of
the water, so what do you do? You swim in it. And guess what,
you're in yet another cave, with yet another portal. And guess
who's here. You got it, George, who is dying fast from a gunshot
wound. He then proceeds to tell you the following story.
Note- The following passage was taken directly from the game,
using TADS'S script writing feature.

   Apparently your good friend George worked out a way to travel
through space and time by harnessing the power of Temporal
Wormholes, but a competing agency found out, and an agent stole
the technology, and escaped through one of the wormholes; the one
in front of you now. Luckily the industrial thief hadn't been
completely briefed, and didn't quite understand how to use the
portal stone technology!
   "So he jumped into that portal, and doesn't have both of the
portal stones?!" you ask, incredulous.
   "Exactly!" George coughs a few times, red blood bubbling at
the corners of his mouth, but he waves off your comforting hand
and continues with a stern, calculated expression. "In order for
him to get back to our dimension to pass on the information to
his firm, he needs the remaining portal stone."
   "How do I get US back home, though?"
   "I'm not going anywhere like this." He coughs again. "You
can't go back home either, but your portal stone will take you to
the place the other one is. Approximately, anyway."
   "So once I find him, what do I do?"
   "Once the two stones come within 10 feet of each other, a new
portal will open. If one stone goes through, that person goes to
a random time and place; only if both stones go through at the
same time can one get... back... home..."
George goes silent. You look up at the vivid coloured, swirling
panel of light in front of you. It seems to beckon to you. You
understood less than half of what George just told you, but
there's only one way to go now.

   You search George's lab coat and find the portal stone, jump
into the portal in front of you, and ... that's it for the game!
   The game was written in TADS (the Text Adventure Development
System), and comes with both an executable file, in case you
don't have TADS, and a TADS standard .GAM file. Like I said at
the beginning of this review, it's so small that it will only
take you about ten minutes to complete the game if you're an
expert at Interactive Fiction. If you're a beginner/novice
player, it may take you as long as an hour to complete this
intro.
   On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm rating this promotional game 10.
The story and plot are really excellent, and the puzzles are
straightforward. For example, at the beginning of the game, you
discover that all the doors are locked, and you can't find a key.
You come across George's dog, a food dish and a doggie flap that
leads into the house. You try to enter it, but the dog prevents
you from doing so. So what do you do? You give him the dish of
dog food. Now you can get into the house easily.
   This game is available on the Internet on a few Web sites. I
don't know which one I downloaded this game from, but I do have
the web site URL (Universal Resource Locator) for NeoText. They
claim, in their games, that they have product information, and
you may be able to download more games from the site. Anyway, the
web site for NeoText is at:

http://www.eskimo.com/~morbeus/neotext.html


++
Contacting Us

I can be reached in two ways. The easiest is through Compuserve. My
e-mail address is as follows:
[email protected]

Alternatively, you may correspond with me on 3.5-inch disks,
provided you be sure to send them in returnable disk-mailers. I
don't have the money to pay for postage. My mailing address is:
5787 Montevideo Road
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Postal code: L5N 2L5

I have acquired a copy of UUencode and UUdecode for dos,
so you may send files to me via this means. Also, thanks to a
reader named Frank Haslam, I have acquired a copy of something
called Netsend. this is a program written and encoded so that it
can be sent as a standard e-mail, but once it is cut from the rest
of the message text, it can be run as an executable file. You will
then have all you need to send and receive files over E-mail. this
should go a long way to making sharing of files easier. thanks a
bunch, Frank.        

Adam Taylor, star of Adam, The Immortal Gamer, and our resident
ADOM guru, can be reached three ways. You can send him e-mail at:
[email protected]

Or, you can check out his homepage on the web:
Blade's Armory
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Arcade/9111
His page is dedicated to providing help, cheats and solutions to
many games. Send him a request, and he'll do his best to find what
you need. He also has sections on ADOM and Nethack available. And,
you can download the magazine from his page.

Finally, if you wish to contact him at home, his address is:
3082 Bartholomew Crescent
Mississauga, Ontario
Canada L5N 3L1

Kelly Sapurgia has decided to become our staff expert at
interactive fiction. His work can be seen in this issue's reviews
of Wormhole and Electrabot. As he does not have an E-mail account,
you should contact him by mailed disks. His address is as follows:

Kelly Sapergia
Box 244
Mortlach, SK
Canada S0H 3E0


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