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Audyssey;
Computer Games Accessible to the Blind
Edited by Michael Feir
Issue 14: September/October, 1998

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Welcome

Welcome to the fourteenth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is
dedicated to the discussion of games which, through accident or
design, are accessible to the blind. This issue is perhaps one of
the most exciting ever, with news on some spectacular developments
in the universe of blind-accessible games. The first commercially
available interactive fiction to be released in years has just
appeared. PCS has produced yet another new game for your enjoyment.
At long last, someone has created a real-time strategy game which
is now in the beta-testing stage. Finally, we have our first new
staff member. A special welcome goes out to James Peach, who has
joined our commercial games department. Welcome aboard, Mr. Peach.

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 has changed to:
[email protected]
Travis Siegel has set up a list to facilitate discussions among
readers between issues. To subscribe to this discussion list, send
a message to [email protected] with "subscribe audyssey" in the
body of the message. To post to the discussion list, send your
messages to:
[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. If you have web access,
Audyssey now has an official web-page, maintained by Igor Gueths
at:
http://pages.prodigy.net/igueths
Besides having all issues of Audyssey available for down-load, six
megabytes of storage space are available for popular games.
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 (732)-826-1917
E-mail: [email protected]

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Contents:
Welcome
Contents
From The Editor
Letters
The Blind-accessible Gaming Centre: An examination of Feasibility
The Latest Finds
Adam, The Immortal Gamer
News From PCS
Info About Solutions for Games by Adventions
Game Reviews
"Good Gaming, Class"
Contacting US

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From The Editor:

Hello, everyone. You may notice that this issue isn't as polished
as some others have been. This is largely due to my efforts towards
finding a job, and then succeeding at getting a placement at MSC.
This company sells computer equipment for the disabled. It might
interest you to know that I'm designing a package of freeware which
they can distribute on their machines which can handle it. This
placement continues right through to the end of December, and I may
tell you more about how it goes in the next very special issue. Now
that I have a better idea of how much time I have to spare, the
quality should return to its former level.

Despite this last-minute lack of time, this issue is one of the
most satisfying I've ever had the pleasure of producing. It
practically rings with innovation and thoughtfulness from many
quarters. For once, I can actually count on having lots of material
for the next issue. For all of those who find their efforts within
this issue, thank you for giving me the material to build this fine
craft in which we can all journey far into new unexplored areas of
the universe of games. There was a surplus this time, despite Mr.
Peach's not being able to contribute to this issue. Mr. James Peach
is our first new staff member. You'll find his E-mail address in
the Contacting Us section. He'll also be on the Audyssey discussion
list fairly soon. He's quite knowledgeable about commercial games
on the market. He has low vision which is adequate for playing
graphical games. This puts him in an ideal position to sniff out
good commercial games for us. Even if he is forced to recommend
against our purchasing a particular game, he'll be able to enjoy it
himself. He has quite a lot of good ideas for this magazine, but
I'll leave it to him to put them forward when he is ready. I
couldn't close this section better than to thank all of you, and
especially Mr. Peach, for choosing to embark on this, our great
Audyssey.

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Letters:

+
From Patrick R. Davis:

Hi Michael,
     The last issue of Audyssey was quite interesting.  I was kind
of getting tired of Adam the Immortal Gamer staying off his
computer, so I wrote an episode about him.  I hope you like it. I
am not writing a lot just for the game. I am writing this episode
for Audyssey.

I can agree with the article in Audyssey about some games being
violent.  Some games I hear my friends talk about don't really seem
to have a plot.  Basically they just go around shooting everything
that their screen shows.  Also, some of the games they play have a
lot of profanity in them.  I think programmers who make games for
the blind usually seem to keep away from that.  I think it is safe
for children to play those games.  There might be games out there
that may have some of the stuff I just mentioned, but most of them
I know of are pretty safe.

     I have noticed that most games made for the blind are mostly
interactive fiction.  As far as I know, there is hardly any science
fiction games out there.  I was wondering what science fiction
games there were and where to get them.
     Good luck writing Audyssey number 14.

Patrick
+
Many thanks for your splendid episode of everyone's favourite and
sorely missed hero. You've put smiles on quite a few faces, mine
included. Your thoughtful response to the last issue was also quite
a pleasure to read. I hope it sparks further discussion. Thanks
also for your reviews. I had no idea that Richard was still
producing games for the blind. It seems that PCS just might have
some commercial competition after all. For the future, I would like
to request that you and everyone else write your reviews separately
from your letters if you feel comfortable doing so. It makes things
a bit easier when I'm moving stuff into its proper place. As to
your question on science fiction games, there aren't all that many
around. Nothing new in that department has appeared, so I can only
advise you to look through older issues of Audyssey.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr. Patrick Davis on winning
the first free game awarded by PCS and Audyssey for excellent
contributions. Nice going, Patrick. Please contact PCS and choose
your game. When you've chosen your game, please let us know what
game you picked and any special reason for your selection.

+
From Kirstan Mooney:
Hi Michael.  I just wanted to tell fellow Gamers about a book I
have stumbled upon.  It is called The Sword of Shannara, and it is
written by Terry Brookes.  I am not sure if you are open to book
reviews, but I couldn't resist telling people about this book.  It
is a far cry from my normal Autobiographies, Short Stories, and
Classical Novels, but being a devoted Gamer, I often borrow talking
books that remind me, at the time, of games I am playing.  When I
heard about this book, I first thought it might be like ADOM, which
is a Game I play all the time, and absolutely love. When I received
the book however, I was pleasantly surprised, that quite a bit of
it reminded me of the Zork Trilogy. If you are into any sort of
game that includes Goblins, Trolls, Dwarfs, Elves, or a combination
of terrifying, and cruel evil Monsters, this would be the book for
you.  Be warned however, I have got this book on 5 cassettes, which
makes it a pretty long book, and it is really written for the very
young, Adult section of readers.  It is just the sort of book that
seems to bring some of the Game plots into reality, and I am
finding it as enjoyable as playing a game.

The second thing I want to mention, is about a game I play, and
want to give my opinion of.  It is the game called Break-Out, made
by Phil Vlasak and Carl Mickla.  I think this game is an incredibly
good one.  Not only are the sounds brilliant, *the sounds of glass
breaking, and different solid objects being bumped in to* but the
choice of game you get, is a very good idea.  I have only managed
to play the first game, Bust Through, which I enjoy tremendously.
This game is far different than any other game I
have played, and I would love to know what other Gamers think of
it, if they have given it a go.

Well, that's it for the moment.  I hope that I will hear from
someone, who has maybe read the book I mentioned, or played
Break-out, as it is always interesting to find out other people's
opinions.  Keep up the good work with AUDYSSEY Michael.  Thanks.
Kirstan Mooney.

+
Nice to hear from you, Kirstan. The Shannara books are quite well-
written, as was your letter. I certainly enjoyed reading the
Wishsong of Shanara, and plan to read the first two books in the
trilogy when I get the chance. Older children and young adults who
crave fantasy and adventure will feel right at home. Reviewing
books which games make us think of is an excellent idea for
Audyssey, and I hope more of you will share similar experiences
with us. Many games, especially interactive fiction pieces, are
heavily influenced by books. Other games might help us better
understand what characters in books go through. While playing a
game like Adom, which uses symbols to represent things, it is easy
to lose sight of how much heros go through during adventures.
Fantasy novels of Shanara's calibre give us insight into the moral
dilemmas and far-reaching consequences our actions can have. If
enough people write book reviews, we can start a special section
for them. Being the holder of an English degree, I am always keen
to encourage others to read. Often, games are an excellent and fun
way to achieve this worth-while goal.

Your thoughts on Breakout are also interesting. It is certainly a
unique contribution to the blind-accessible game universe. I would
like to see more arcade classics be similarly modified for blind
players.

+
From Kelly Sapergia:
Hi Mike,
   I down-loaded issues 10 through 12 of Audyssey from Paul
Henrichsen's web site, and was pleased to read all the letters
and comments about my reviews. Your magazine is a really good
one, not only because I like reading about IF games, but because
it has helped me with my creative writing skills. I remember when
I was in grade five, I had to write some stories or anything that
was classified as Creative Writing. (No, they won't be
published!) I hope I can contribute some more information about
various games for Audyssey in the future.
   By the way, I now own a copy of "JAWS for Windows 95" and find
it works very well. I haven't tried the WINFROTZ interpreter,
because I'm still familiar with DOS-Frotz. My plans now are to
try to get onto the Internet. When I get onto it, I'll let you
and everyone reading this magazine know what my E-Mail address
will be.
   I would like to reply to a letter from David Sherman about my
review of "Urban Cleanup". I reread the review over again, and in
a way I agree with you. I was a bit too harsh in reviewing the
game, but I spent two weeks trying to figure the game out and
couldn't get far. I've found the disk from the hacker, but I
don't know what to do next. But, like I said, the story was
great. I'm going to try playing that game again and try to figure
out some of the puzzles. My opinions might change then.
   I need some help in the Infocom game "Beyond Zork". I keep
finding different scrolls for protection, recall, etc., and can't
figure out how to use them. When I try reading them, I'm simply
told that the scroll has something to do with such things as
"Transport", etc. Other than that, I don't know what to do with
them to get them to work. Also, how can you get a magic item
working again after it's power is used up?
   Ever since I've read about the "Gateway" trilogy from Legend
Entertainment that was released as freeware, I've been trying to
find and down-load a copy of it. I read a review in SPAG magazine
about it, and it states that you can down-load the game from
Legend's web page, which is WWW.LEGENDENT.COM/. We went to the
web page, but couldn't find any way to down-load the game. I found
out that it was available on a CD-ROM called "The Lost
Adventures", but it was sold out at the time I was reading the
page. A few days ago, I asked my brother to try to get it from
the GAMESDOMAIN site that was mentioned in this magazine, but he
doesn't have FTP access, just access for E-MAIL or the World Wide
Web. Even though I haven't got the game files yet, I'm not giving
up. I'm wondering if anyone knows where I can find the game on a
WWW site, or if anyone has more information about that CD-ROM.
   Speaking of CD-ROM'S, I received a copy of the "Masterpieces
of Infocom" CD from Activision two weeks ago. So far, my favourite
games are "Nord and Bert", "The Lurking Horror", and "Enchanter".
Even the video demos were neat because of the narration. However,
I think Activision forgot something important for their "Mech
Warrior 2" demo game. The documentation says that there are some
audio tracks on the CD for the game. However, when I used my CD
audio player program, there were no playable tracks! (On the
other hand, maybe you have to order a CD version of the demo from
Activision.)
   I have a question for Allen Maynard: how do you get your Sound
Blaster card to work in a DOS window? I can't get my card to
work, no matter what I do. I'm using the AP6400 sound card that
is Sound Blaster compatible. We tried writing batch files to load
the DOS software, but it won't work. Can you help me?
   Well, that's all for now. Keep up the good work with Audyssey,
and thanks for your help!

Yours Sincerely,
Kelly Sapergia

+
Once again, Kelly has come through with some fantastic articles and
reviews for us. Although I can't help with urban Clean-up, Beyond
Zork is another matter. Once magic items are used up, they can't be
recharged. All you can do is sell them for zorkmids. The only
scroll you can figure out on your own is the one you find in the
cellar which is a scroll of refreshment. All you have to do to use
a scroll is hold it in your hand and type in the magic word you
read on the scroll. Beyond Zork has a lot of random elements which
change from game to game. The effects of magic items, their names
and descriptions, and even some locations within areas all change
from game to game. The woman in the magic shop can identify these
items for you at no charge.

Although Dosfrotz is amazingly speech-friendly, people on the look-
out for games playable in Windows will be pleased to learn that the
developer of Winfrotz is investigating ways of making his game
interpreter more speech-friendly. I'd assign the task of reporting
on any Winfrotz and Wintads developments and/or problems to a
member of my interactive fiction/role-playing games department if
I had any staff members in it. Since no one has opted to take these
posts yet, I can only advise all of you to watch and wait while I
do the same. If you want that posting, Kelly, we could certainly
use your input on a more regular basis. Contract terms are in issue
13. Please go over them before you make a decision. That goes for
anyone else who might want to take on the role of Audyssey staff
member. Once you're a staff member, and I have received your first
quota of submissions, you will receive full copies of all PCS games
which I currently own, and all games they release while you remain
a staff member. PCS has given me special authorization to give you
and only you free copies, but they and I agree that you must earn
them.
+
Also from Kelly Sapergia:

Hi Stephen Granade,
   I just wanted to tell you that I'm really enjoying your games
"Losing Your Grip" and "Waystation" a lot. I haven't got past the
first fit in "Grip", but I'm having a lot of fun trying to solve
the puzzles. One thing I'm having a problem with is how do I get
the boxes in the "South Half Of Archive" room open? Also, in
"Waystation", how can I get past the creature in one of the
tunnels below my cell? I have the bed slat and the spring, but
after that, I'm stuck. Can you help me?
   I hope you'll continue to read Audyssey, and keep up the good
work with your games!

Yours Sincerely,
Kelly Sapergia

+
From Allen maynard:
Hi, Mike,

I stumbled across what looks like a great interactive fiction
website.  I haven't looked at everything, yet, mainly because there
is too much.  There is a specific link to lots of Infocom info and
even some links to down-load some of the Zork games either in win95
or dos format.  I believe there are a few of these Zork adventures
for the Mac which you can down-load.

There's a link for info on the Inform language and lots of other IF
treasures. The url is:  http://www.noyo.com/noji/11145.html

This looks like a site worth bookmarking.
+
Thanks for the tip. I probably won't have time to check it out for
a while, but perhaps some of our readers will.

+
Here's a posting to the Audyssey discussion list from Theresa. I
will be including some postings from the list in the hopes that it
will encourage more of you to join us.

Hello, all,
        First of all, Gary, if you're on the list, let me say I
loved that article on mazes.  I have always been intrigued by mazes
for several years, ever since I was a child.  If there was a maze
I could access in some way, I tried to solve it.  Usually these
were mazes in those little school reader magazines that had been
put into braille.  So, of course, as I got older, I lost access to
mazes.  Until I found text games.  However,
they're tougher when you can't produce some image of the maze.  The
graph paper idea, however makes a lot of sense.  The only thing is
that I don't happen to have access to graph paper, and I can't
afford to get it just for this purpose.  I am curious to find out
from others if they've come up with any non-graph-paper methods.

        Along slightly similar lines, I was wondering if demos of
the most recent PCS maze have been put out there somewhere.  I am
thinking of possibly acquiring that one after I return from Europe
in October (I probably won't be able to even afford it until well
after that), and I thought I might like to try a demo of it to
verify it'll work OK with my screen reader before I put $30 into
it.

Regards,
Theresa

Our very own J.J. Meddaugh was quick to provide this response to
the discussion list.

The Maze 98 demo is among other places at Paul Henrichsen's site at
http://www.thesocket.com/~henrich/ftpfiles.htm
or down-load it direct at
ftp://ftp.thesocket.com/pub/henrich/maze98.zip

Hope this helps.

(Editor's note): Travis Siegel also receives demo versions of PCS's
games, and his ftp site is a good alternative source. In fact,
Travis carries many more gams than Mr. Henrichsen's site. Paul
concentrates more on useful programs like Tinytalk and Barb, the
Browser.

+
From Allen Maynard:


Hi, Mike,

I just wanted to tell you that I've converted the anacreon.doc file
into a straight forward MSDOS text file.  It isn't perfect since
some of the words are sliced in half with the second half appearing
at the beginning of the next line.  The speech has a little fun
with this but when I ran the .txt file it wasn't hard to figure out
the different severed words.

What I wanted to know was how legal would it be to post this
special text file on my website so others could down-load it if
they didn't have the proper version of MS-Word.

Let me know what you think.

+
A very thoughtful idea, Allen. However, it is usually best to try
and find alternative solutions which do not alter the artist's
work. I doubt that Mr. Moramizato would have much of a problem with
you posting this file. He definitely wants blind people to be able
to enjoy his game. However, with Barb the Browser, version 15,
which is freely available on the Net at several locations including
mr. Henrichsen's site, you can read the document as it is by using
the option to read binary files. Barb is a great browser for
reading through game documentation. The only kinds of file that it
can't seem to cope with are .pdf files.

+
From Graham Page:
Hello!

I have read all issues of AUDYSSEY with interest and have played
games such as JIGSAW as a result.  I am interested in sports games
such as Soccer.  I know that there ar base-ball games and American
Football games out there but these are really of interest to
americans as america is the only country that really cares about
american football and in the u.k. at any rate base-ball (probably
spelled incorrectly) is a minority sport.

I know that management style games exist where you as the manager
pick a team and guide your team through a season.
If people can advise me of any such games and where they can be
found I will write an article about them for Audyssey.

Cheers
+
As of Oct. 31st, no one has managed to track down any such games.
Graham's inquiry to the Audyssey discussion list has started an
ongoing search for management-style sports games which are speech-
friendly. So far, there is only Field General, an American Football
simulation game. I'm expecting a report on the current version of
this particular game fairly shortly. PCS is also working on their
Football game, but it has been delayed indefinitely due to the
shere volume of data entry required. Worldseries Baseball is the
only other management-style product currently known to Audyssey
readers. According to the NFB magazine, the game is in its twelfth
version.


+
From Allen Maynard:
Hi, Mike,

Yes I have checked out the Maze98 game and I purchased a copy.  It
is definitely a nice game.  It does take a little time to
understand what's happening.  For example, if you hear echoes of
your footsteps on either side of you then that means that you can
walk in either direction. However, if you hear only echoes from one
side or the other, that means that there is some kind of barrier in
the direction of the echoes.  I don't quite understand the logic
behind this since it would seem that echoes on both
sides should mean barriers on either side of you, but I didn't
design the game.

Also, you really need graph paper and pins to mark the walls or
open spaces.  I found it impossible to keep track of the maze
layout in my mind. However, those with photographic memories will
have no trouble at all.

I am also considering buying Cops98 which is very similar to
Maze98.  It seems a little more fun since you actually have
something to chase down.

My brother said he'd buy Silent Steal for me for Christmas.  I am
excited about this since it is one of the few commercial games I
can play.

I am getting close to sending a review of Field General by Rodney
Markert. I just want to play a few more games before I write you a
final report.

I have an interesting idea for more Immortal Gamer episodes, but
I'm not going to tell you until I work it out in my head.  You'll
find out when I send you another Adam episode.  So wait and
wonder--(echoing evil laugh).
+
Glad you're enjoying the maze game. It is certainly about as
unconventional as anything we've seen in the last while. Please try
and get that Field General report in for the Holiday edition. I
plan to publish it on December 15th to give people a chance to use
it for gift ideas. Sports fans have been waiting for something new
to check out for quite a long time. Perhaps this will ease the
disappointing news from PCS. they certainly have a lot on their
plates. I look forward to your reaction to Silent Steel. Keep up
the excellent contributions.
+
From David Greenwood:

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with writing game
programs in DOS using Sound Blaster. I experimented with spawning
the Creative Labs PLAY.EXE program, and this worked out quite well
in games where there isn't a time component, but was not suitable
for real-time games.   I'm not sure if it matters, but I'm using
the Professional Basic 7.1 development program.

Any ideas?
David Greenwood.
+
This request for assistance was originally sent to the Audyssey
discussion list, but hasn't received much response yet. I thought
that by posting it here, I might stimulate more thinking along
these lines. Mr. Greenwood has chosen to use the Audyssey
discussion list as a source for beta-testers for his revolutionary
game. He has created the first real-time strategy game designed
specifically for the blind. In it you command a submarine of World
War II vintage through various missions. If you want to contact
him, just join the Audyssey discussion list and send a message to
it. Hopefully, more game developers will take advantage of this
ready audience for their ideas. I certainly look forward to
announcing Mr. Greenwood's game in a future issue of Audyssey.

+
From Igor Gueths:

Hello to all Audyssey readers. Stop dreaming, stop thinking.
Another homepage to post everything on. Visit the links zone at
http://pages.prodigy.net/igueths/index.htm.
Hi Mike. Did you get my little joke as an advertiser? Not bad huh?
Hey just wanted to let you know about my new homepage.
http://pages.prodigy.net/igueths. I have six megabytes of allocated
space available for software and other goodies. Please post the
above message into the letters section of audyssey.
+
It's always nice to have space to put all those hard-to-find games.
Let's all help Igor build the most fun-packed site possible.

+
From David Sherman:

Mike,

Hi, thanks for trying to help me track down a way of getting a
readable version of the TADS programmers manual  (via your note in
the last issue). I'm going to apologize for not getting back to you
sooner -- even prior to release of issue 13.
I managed to get in touch with Dave Baggett in July, and
he directed me to the site and filename where an HTML version of
the manual was available.  I haven't been able to find anywhere
that the manual is directly available in ASCII text format.
If someone needs it in plain text, there are plenty of utilities to
convert from HTML to ASCII text.
The file was right under my nose in the ftp.gmd.de archives at:

ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/tads/manuals/TADSHTML.ZIP

Hopefully this will be helpful to others who may have also
overlooked it. Unfortunately, when using a speech synthesizer, a
file like "tadshtml.zip"  sounds like "tad.zip".

I'm working on a couple of text adventures, but the schedule is
running slower than I had wished.
I was intrigued by the article Kelly wrote in issue 12 about the
other languages for writing text adventures.  I will most likely
dabble with them in the future, but for now, I'd like to get
some finished games out using TADS.  Then I'll worry about
other languages later.

Regarding your request for "staff" in the last issue, I would like
to help out, but don't feel comfortable in committing to
any position at this time.  I would prefer to work on
some programming projects, and submit articles
or reviews when I feel I have something worthwhile
to contribute.
Catch you later,

Dave Sherman
+
Thanks for that tip on the tads manual. I happen to have quite good
speech software, and often forget how difficult things can be with
lower quality equipment. It's certainly nice to know that we'll be
hearing more from you in the near future. For those of you who are
new to Audyssey, mr. Sherman is learning how to make text
adventures for our enjoyment. He also plans to contribute more
letters and reviews to Audyssey itself. It's always good to know
that new games are being conceived of. Best of luck with all your
projects. Don't worry about not becoming a staff member. I could
certainly use all the help I can get, but this magazine will be far
better off if you have the time to create new marvels for others to
enjoy and study. I look forward to the contributions you'll
hopefully have time to make. As always, quality is more important
than quantity.
++
The Blind-Accessible Game Centre: An Examination of Feasibility
by Michael Feir

Games have long been a means of stimulating socialization. The
Greeks and Romans had athletic events and gladiatorial contests.
Parlour games have been with us for centuries. The phenomenon of
the arcade has shown that even single-player games can bring people
together in their quest for fun. Techniques, advice, scores, and
insults are all exchanged freely in these game galleries. Of
course, these games are not very suitable for play by the blind. A
number of you have expressed your wish for some kind of arcade for
the blind. Basically, this would consist of a room full of
computers with their hard drives or possibly even a network server
filled with games. Of course, all of these machines would be
equipped with the latest speech and sound technology. This is as
far as any of the thinking goes in any of the messages on this
topic that I've received. I'd say it was about time that the idea
was taken a bit further. The first question is one of technology.
Does it exist? When even home computers can produce movie-quality
sound, this question hardly bears asking. The technology has been
with us for years. In fact, the technology exists for games
specially made for the blind. One can easily imagine booths or
large rooms equipped with surround-sound systems with a computer or
dedicated game machine in its very centre. At one gathering,
someone even proposed that such a machine be located within a
sphere lined completely with speakers for absolute realism. With
such equipment, games could be made where you could hear monsters
lunging towards you, arrows or lasers shooting past, or cars
speeding and crashing all around you. Mr. Lant's article a few
issues back put forth the idea of sound-based games, and PCS is
working on such games for future release on home computers and on
their proposed game console. The possibilities would be staggering
and endless. You could aim and fire at moving life-sized sonic
opponents. Motion detectors could be used to create games where you
had to physically jump or move. It goes without saying that all
this would be extremely expensive. In fact, I'd be willing to wager
that the game design and programming would be a greater financial
challenge than even the technology.

For now, let's put aside the more wild speculations and look at the
concept we started with. That is, a room full of blind-accessible
computers with games. If not set up properly, the result would be
a chaotic cacophony of sounds and synthetic and human speech. In
arcades for sighted people, this is all fine, since the games are
primarily visual. Although many of these games feature quite
impressive sound, this is just icing on the cake. Certainly nice,
but you don't have to hear much to enjoy a video game. Blind
people, however, must be able to hear the sound and speech of their
games and each other's games if the same arcade socialization
effect is to occur. High scores would have to be posted in a way
accessible to all. Conversation would have to be practical without
resorting to shouting. It might be a good idea to have sound-
absorbent walls so that noise doesn't reverberate around the room
and distract gamers. However, such a step would have to be done
very carefully. Libraries try to reduce noise as much as possible
via this means. I've always found them to be a bit creepy for this
very reason, and could never get much work done in them. A balance
must be struck between the need to reduce reverberation, and the
need to allow people in close proximity to hear each other's games
and conversation. Complete sound localization is not the goal here.
If this happened, it would defeat the whole purpose of this room.
Volume control would have to be curbed so that no one could
dominate the atmosphere with their particular games. I think this
covers what the inside of the room might be like.

At last, it is time to look at whether such a centre would be
economically feasible. The start-up cost would be quite high. Let
us suppose we're talking about a room with fifteen to twenty
computers. Such rooms exist in universities and corporations. These
rooms are cost-effective because they are productive. University
students pay for such facilities as part of their tuition.
Corporations find such rooms useful since project teams can
interact and produce better overall results than if they were
separate. The game room would produce pleasure as long as groups of
people frequented it. Such groups of people would be fairly hard to
assemble. The community of people who would be interested in blind-
accessible games is not geographically suitable. Here in Canada,
they are certainly spread fairly thin. I can only assume that
conditions are similar around the world. To support the game
centre, customers would have to pay fairly high prices for their
time inside. Unless the game centre was sponsored by an interested
party, it would not be able to pay for itself.

With the growing popularity of laptops, it becomes possible for
groups of people to get together and play games with these machines
in the same location. With enough money, a small group of people,
a community centre, or retirement home might purchase four of five
computers for common use. This seems somewhat more likely to occur
in the near future, particularly as more older folks are becoming
interested in computers.

While the blind-accessible arcade project appears somewhat hopeless
as far as I can determine, another thought strikes me as much more
viable. Over the last few years, establishments combining the
restaurant with the computer lab have sprung into being and have
flourished. People can serf the net, play games, and eat with
companions both physically present and present on the net. These
places could easily become more blind-accessible. The computers are
already present. All they would need would be the adaptive software
and hardware. In case this reaches anyone who might be considering
such a project, I'll offer a bit of advice. Don't use your sound
card as a cheap means of producing speech. Products like Jaws32 and
some other speech software offer the option of using the sound
card, but this is unsuitable for games. The speech software takes
over the sound card leaving it unable to play multi-media sounds.
This is also something for providers of funding for blind-
accessible computers to bear in mind. By not providing a dedicated
speech synthesizer such as a Dectalk or Doubletalk, you cut off
your clients from enjoying multi-media products like encyclopedias
and games. This is rapidly becoming a larger issue as more blind-
friendly multi-media products are being made. An excellent example
of a completely accessible Windows game is Tsunami's interactive
movie "Silent Steel". PCS games also take advantage of sound cards,
and they are starting to produce games which rely more heavily on
the player's hearing ability. An example of this is Maze98.

While it is highly unlikely that we'll ever see the blind person's
equivalent of an arcade, it is not all that hard to picture these
cyber-diners catering to the blind entertainment-seeker. With this
glimmer of hope, I'll end my contribution to this discussion.

++
The Latest Finds:

At MSC, each customer is special to us. Those seeking
entertainment can rest assured that the equipment you purchase from
us will suit all your gaming needs as  long as you don't use your
sound card as a speech synthesizer. We offer both internal and
external speech synthesizers such as the Dectalk Express and the
Doubletalk. We'll make certain that you have the capability of
playing any game accessible to the blind. This includes all Dos-
based games, as well as the Windows-based multi-media games now
beginning to emerge. When duty calls, you'll also be able to use
popular and powerful business software like Internet Explorer and
Microsoft Word. If you're interested in purchasing new and
accessible equipment, please contact our sales department at:
[email protected]
Phone 905-629-1654
We can ship your orders world-wide.
Be certain to specifically state you are interested in being able
to play Dos and Windows games. Buy your system from us, and we'll
throw in a selection of freeware games for your instant enjoyment.
These games have been specially chosen by me, the editor of
Audyssey, for their ease of access and high quality. Tell us that
you heard about us through Audyssey Magazine.
+
Wheel of Fortune
Created by: Frederick Volking
Reviewed by: Robin Mandell

     This copy of Wheel of Fortune is completely text-based and, as
far as I know, completely accessible to all forms of screen reading
software. Up to 5 players can play at one time, although the game
is equally as enjoyable if played alone.  Playing this game is a
great way of spending time with a relative.
     The player, as in the televised version, always has the option
to buy a vowel, guess at the puzzle, or spin the wheel.  Prizes are
given out sporadically and occasionally the "bankrupt" or "you lose
your turn" messages appear.  Five rounds of the game are played,
and the sixth round, the speed round, is played by the winning
player.  This speed round involves the selection of five consonants
and one vowel which are then fitted into a phrase which the player
must complete.  I personally find the design of this round somewhat
confusing and have a tendency to quit before it comes up.  Speaking
of that, this game is very easy to get out of--just press the
"escape" key.
     Although commonly thought of as a repetitive and
unintellectual game, Wheel of Fortune, in this version anyway, can
offer its own challenges if one wishes to take them.  The game can
be played in three levels: easy, average, or hard.  The complexity
of the phrases and the obscurity of the letters and letter
combinations increases with each level.  In the "hard" level, you
may discover a word with three consecutive vowels, such as
"beautiful", which can be difficult to recognize at first.  Or, you
may be searching for the final letter which is needed to complete
a word and, after going through all of the common letters, find
that it is something as obscure as the letter z.  I personally find
that playing Wheel of Fortune is a good mental exercise.  If one
plays it as it should be played, one will observe the length and
pattern of words and choose logical and appropriate letters.
     Other perks to this game include: colour, sound, and a file
which will supposedly allow you to modify and add to the game.  The
colour and sound options can be turned on or off depending upon the
players preference, although I strongly recommend that you turn the
sound option on as the sounds are rather interesting and the game
can move rather slowly without the auditory accompaniment.
Unfortunately, I am not familiar with programming languages so I
cannot verify the validity or usefulness of the adaptation file.
I am also totally uncertain of what program one could use to
examine or adapt the file.
     One strange quirk of this game is the categories.  The
documentation file says that there are twenty-six categories which
are chosen at random; in the two-and-a-half years in which I have
know and played this game I have only encountered four categories.
These are: songs, movies, proverbs, and old sayings.

     It is important to note that a speech program must have the
capacity to review the screen character by character in order for
the game to be played effectively.  I personally prefer using a
Power Braille 40 braille display with this game.  I do not know
whether this game works well with other braille displays, but its
operation with the Power Braille is smooth as silk.  In my opinion,
a braille display is much more effective with this game than
speech.
          While this game is no glorious text adventure, it has its
one merits.  It is simple to use and a wonderful antidote against
all but the most supreme boredom.

(Editor's note) If someone knows where this game can be found on
the Net, please inform us of its location. I'll try and get it to
Igor to post on his site. Also, I'd like to welcome Robin Mandell
to the Audyssey community. She was a camper at the Score camp where
I spent three weeks as a staff member. She would welcome any
feedback you might have for her, as she plans to contribute more
reviews to future issues of Audyssey. She is especially fond of
English and reading, and is diving right into interactive fiction.
I'm saving two more of her reviews for the Holiday edition. One of
the games she plans to examine for us is Anchorhead, and that's a
game in need of some serious attention. I hope she's not the only
one to give it a good looking over.
Her E-mail address is:
[email protected]

+
Ancient Domains of Mystery has reached the tenth Gama version. A
lot of bugs were fixed, and the game balance has been tuned a bit.
Actually, Gama 11 is in a pre-release testing stage, and Gama 12 is
already being worked on. The author plans to add monster
inventories, allowing monsters to pick up and use items against
players. This is certainly one of the most ambitious and radical
changes implemented yet, and fans of Adom should watch for the next
releases. we'll be taking another look at this constantly
developing game in the Holiday issue. For those who know how to use
their adaptive equipment well, it makes for a fantastic gift.

+
Once And Future Ships:
(Posted in rec.games.int-fiction)

In order to appreciate the release of Once and Future, the epic
adventure that begins in Vietnam and winds through parts unknown on
the way to unknown and unimaginable worlds, Cascade Mountain
Publishing (http://www.cascadepublishing.com) asks you put away
your real-time 3D accelerator cards, your active component APIs,
your full-time network router and your 26-button joysticks.  Now,
take your brain out of cold storage--it's the one piece of hardware
you'll need to play Once and Future.

Cascade Mountain officially serves notice that quality interactive
fiction has returned in Once and Future, five years in the making
and the product of the meeting of two legendary minds--author Kevin
Wilson, credited by many as the catalyst of the rebirth of
interactive fiction, and publisher Michael Berlyn, whose classic
Infocom adventures set the standard by which computer
games must ultimately be judged.

"Once and Future enjoys the same attention to promotional detail
any other game would get--more, in fact, because we're so convinced
it's an excellent game," says Berlyn.

Available on CD-ROM for a variety of platforms including Windows
and MacOS, Once and Future comes in a professionally designed
package devoted to truly enhancing the gaming experience, right
down to the "props" or "feelies" that set past Infocom adventures
a breed apart. But Once and Future is not about recapturing the
lost glory of a bygone gaming genre.  It is a fresh, detailed,
thoroughly engrossing story brought to life by the player, who must
rely on more than brute force to unravel the mysteries of Avalon.
In book form, the story would span several hundred pages.

Advance reviews are in and the response has been phenomenal.

"A plot that kept me hanging on right to the very end...one of the
finest [adventures] it's been my pleasure to play" - David Dyte,
Chief Organizer,
4th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition

"It is *very* rewarding, to say the least" - Gunther Schmidl

"[Once and Future] isn't a game you swallow all in one go...I
didn't catch everything the first time through" - Leon Lin,
interactive fiction author

"A very literary game...The writing is fluid and rich -- the game
reads like a book in many places" - M.  Sean Molley

"There are a dizzying array of times and places presented...there's
an awful lot of game here, and not something one will get tired of
quickly...it's an immersive game" - Adam Cadre, interactive fiction
author

Once and Future is available exclusively through Cascade Mountain
Publishing. To order, visit their website at
http://www.cascadepublishing.com or use their toll-free order line,
800-981-6889. $29.95 plus shipping & handling.

++
Adam, The Immortal Gamer
Episode by Patrick R. Davis
It had been two weeks since the computer had released him from
endless cycling through game after game. He was still playing
computer games, but he was doing his homework and he was in contact
with his friends a little more. Nothing could change the fact that
Adam was a
gamer, but Adam had learned that there is more than games in life.
His room was clean and his grades were starting to get up. His
homework was done for the night, so Adam was relaxing.  He was
playing Panzers in North Africa, a World War 2 tank game from PCS.
The
germans were kicking his butt so far.  A Tiger tank, a PZ mark 4,
and a
PZ4h were shooting his Sherman tank.  He fired his 76 millimeter
cannon,
soon followed by his two machine guns.  The PZ mark 4 shot back and
hit his hull.  His tank did not blow up as he thought it would.
The other two tanks fired.  One bullet bounced off his hull, and
miraculously,
the
     second one missed him.  They fired their machine guns.  It was
Adam's
turn to fire, and he targeted the mark 4 and shot at it.  Score!
It
exploded. He clapped his hands and said, "Finally!"  The Tiger
fired back

and hit
     his track, and the PZ4h knocked out one of his machine guns.
The
machine guns didn't matter to Adam, but the Track did.  Adam
analyzed his

situation, and it wasn't good.  He still had his guns, but if they
were
gone, than he was too.
     He targeted on the Tiger and fired his cannon.  He hit the
Tiger's track.  Now it couldn't move.  The Tiger fired back, and he
could hear the whistle of the shell flying toward his virtual tank.
His room suddenly exploded in a wave of light and sound, and he
felt a piece of metal strike him in the head and knock him to the
floor of his room.  Than, instead of the nice fuzzy carpet, he saw
and felt the metal flooring of a Sherman. A sherman in battle.
     He was the commander of this tank, and he would be the one to
make     the decisions that would destroy this tank or save the
crew. Fortunately the cannon was still working, but the other
machine gun wasn't working. There was a gaping hole in the tank,
and the floor was slanted. Adam got to his feet and looked around
the tank.  The gunner fired and hit the Tiger, but it's sloping
front deflected the round.  Than the Tiger shot back and another
blast struck the tank.  Then, in a ball of  fire, the Sherman
exploded.

Adam found himself floating in the black void which was so familiar
     to him.  Then the also familiar voice of his computer said,
"you lost that round, but you got about 20 points this whole game.
Not bad, but you screwed up."  Adam wasn't so quick to feel anger
at his computer.  He knew the computer was doing this for a
purpose.  "There are many things you should have done.  For
example, before your track was hit, you could have ran away.  You
could have drove off in a direction that would make it
hard  for the enemy to hit you, and you could use your smoke
grenades to keep them from seeing you.  Then turn and face any that
you couldn't get."

Adam didn't know what to say.  The computer was right, of course.
After all the only thing he did was stay in one place and pop off
shots and  let the enemy better align themselves to cook his butt.
"Why did you put me into the game," Adam asked.
"To see what kind of strategy you would
use if your life really depended on it.
     You could have evacuated.  You knew that your tank was a lost
cause, but you didn't do one thing but shoot.  Kind of like the
Warbird incident in your Star Trek game you played long ago."
     Then Adam found himself standing in a dug-out and the famous
song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was playing.  He knew what
this was Baseball by Jim Kitchen.  "You recognize this game," the
computer said.
"Now you will play this game without your keyboard.  You've played
Baseball before, so this will be familiar to you.  Just a bigger
crowd.
     Now it was time to begin.  He walked out on to the field, and
then he saw a coin about the size of his keyboard land by his feet.
He knew what the computer wanted from him.  "Heads," he said.  The
coin flew up into the air and landed on heads.  "Your lucky," the
voice of the computer echoed in his head.
     He walked up to home plate.  He was the first batter up.  He
grabbed the bat and waited for the pitcher to pitch.  He did, and
Adam hit the ball.  The ball went flying into the stands.  The
umpire said, "foul ball!"  He tried again, and he dropped the bat
and ran to first base.  He made it!
     The game went on pretty well.  He got a couple of home runs
in. His team won 10 to 9.  It was a close game.  After it was done,
he found himself floating in the void as before.  "You did pretty
good," the computer commented.  "It wasn't a life and death thing
like it was the  Panzers game, and you didn't have to defend
yourself."  He saw the monitor
of his computer floating in front of him.  No, it wasn't floating.
A desk took shape under it and he felt a chair under him.  His
computer had the DOS prompt on the screen.  A message appeared on
his screen.

     I HOPE YOU HAVE BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME YOU PLAY A WARGAME.
RIGHT NOW, YOU HAD BETTER GET TO BED.  YOU STILL HAVE SCHOOL
TOMORROW.

     Adam checked his clock.  It was 11:30.  He turned off his
computer, and went to bed.  Only to have dreams about playing
Norwegian Whist at a table with a crowd watching.  He thought it
was just a dream, when before he woke up, he heard the famous sound
mix that comes at the end of PCS games.  Then he heard his computer
say, "have a nice day."

++
News From PCS:

Congratulations go to Patrick r. Davis for winning the free PCS
game for this issue. Unlike the last time PCS offered a free game,
Patrick actually faced some stiff competition.


MIND PUZZLES.
P. BLANK. S.
WHAT IS YOUR GUESS?
C.
CORRECT!
THE WORD IS P C S.

Personal Computer Systems is re-introducing some oldies but goodies
for the new age!  Hangman, Scrambled word, Guess the Word, and
follow the leader have not been played until you have played our's.

Do you think playing games which teach spelling and develop your
memory are boring?  Well get MIND PUZZLES and see if you can
survive a game of Hangman!  P C S has put together a suite of games
designed to make playing easier and more fun then ever!  These
games will be a challenge for all ages.  See if your memory is as
sharp as you think it is by playing a game of Follow the leader.
Some things are timeless, these oldies were around at the turn of
the twentieth century played by children with a stick scratching
out letters in the dirt.  We are proud to present these favourites,
in jazzed up computer form, in time for the twenty first century.
       MIND PUZZLES cost thirty dollars.
+

AUDYSSEY MAGAZINE GAMES ON DISK

For those of you who have trouble finding some of the software
discussed in Audyssey magazine, or if you know someone who doesn't
have access to the Internet, but would be interested in the
magazine, it is now available on disk. PCS has agreed to
distribute Audyssey including some of the  shareware or freeware
games talked about for ten dollars US per year, or two dollars US
per issue.
Each issue comes on a 3.5 Inch IBM formatted disk.

To subscribe to Audyssey on disk, or order any of the past issues
contact them at:
Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton Ave.
Perth Amboy N.J. 08861
Phone (732)-826-1917
E-mail: [email protected]
The subscription price covers the cost of disks and shipping.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 1
BEGIN2.
starship combat simulator.

FALL THRU.
a host of original creatures and demons lies in wait for the
warrior.

NETHACK.
A role-playing game in which you journey into the Mazes of Menace
to recover the Amulet of Yendor for your god.
note this is the first of two NETHACK game versions.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 2
NETHACK2.
A role-playing game, you must journey into
the Mazes of Menace to recover the Amulet of Yendor for your god.
this is the second of two NETHACK game versions.

Galactic War zone.
you are a merchant ship in a universe at war.

SO FAR.
A strange Text adventure where You travel between worlds and other
dimensions.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 3
THE WORLD IS MINE.
You become ruler of a country, and your objective is world
domination.

SUPREME RULER.
A simplified version of the World is Mine.

Dave's Gnu chess.
a completely text-based chess game.

SECOND CONFLICT.
an interstellar war for control of the galaxy.

CANNONS AND CATAPULTS.
You are the king of a castle, and the computer is your rival.

THEATRE.
Alien spirits are allowed to gain access to the world.

CHRISTMINSTER ABBEY.
You must gain entry to a college and unravel the conspiracy to aid
your brother.

JIGSAW.
AN EXPLORATION OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY in which you TRAVEL THROUGH
TIME TO SEVERAL PIVOTAL EVENTS IN THE PAST IN ORDER TO STOP HISTORY
FROM BEING ALTERED.

ADVENTURE 550.
You are a bold adventurer seeking treasure inside a system of caves
with Many puzzles and monsters.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 4
SPIRIT WRAK.
You are a munk trying to keep a neutral balance between good and
evil and confront a demon which has accidentally been unleashed.

OMEGA.
A complex rogue-style game of dungeon exploration.  You can gain
skills and abilities through training in the city and acquire
experience by defeating monsters.

WIZARD'S CASTLE.
You explore a castle's rooms and attempt to leave with
gold and special treasures.

The Meteor, the Stone, and A Long Glass of Sherbet.
You are a diplomat on a continent dominated by the powerful
Northlands Empire  on the verge of discovering magic, and Your
mission is to destroy the focus of these powers.

TAPESTRY.
You play a man who has just been killed and the  after life is a
lot different than you believe. Fate, commitment, and love are
explored.


Delusions.
You take part in testing out created realities and the first is a
simulation of a lake from the viewpoint of a fish.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 5
Perdition's Flames.
You have died and arrive in Hell. this hell must compete for your
soul with Heaven in a free and open system. Accordingly, it has
been made a lot less unpleasant.

Frobozz Magic Support.
You play the role of a magic support clerk assigned to solve the
problems people get into while using magic.

Golf.
You use sound clues to know when to swing the club.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 6
DOS BASEBALL.
You use sound clues to know when to swing the bat.

Ancient Domains of Mystery.
Creatures of corruption stalk through the caverns in an ancient
mountain range.  Your skills are selected from the race and class
you choose.

Trivia.
It asks up to fifty multiple-choice  questions in a category. You
type a letter to answer the question. It comes with several
categories already made,
and adding more is simple.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 7
WORDY 520.
It has a dictionary of around 99000 words,  and
gives you a group of twelve letters, and challenges you to make as
many words as possible using those letters.

A Journey into Xanth.
The world of puns and magic created by Piers Anthony. It is full of
the wit and humour found in the Xanth novels.

WUMPUS HUNTER.
Inside a vast network of caves lies hundreds of  gold nuggets
waiting to be found, and the fearsome Wumpus cave creature.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 8
Under the Gulf.
A tactical war simulation which puts you in command of an attack
submarine.

Heist: the Crime of the Century.
You are the relative of a master criminal who has just died. He
leaves you his legacy in the form of a challenge to complete the
crime he started.

Zork: The Undiscovered Underground for DOS.
Makes for a nice romp through that wacky universe that so many of
us have learned to love and hate, often at the same time.

Zork: The Undiscovered Underground for Windows 95.
For you windows95 users, you can now play all Infocom and Inform
text adventures while in Windows with this new win-frotz
interpreter.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 9
chess and scrabble clock.
A text only version written specially for the blind.

Rylvania.
It is dark and its message is deep. Rylvania is a horror game that
is better enjoyed by people sixteen and older.

the Multi-Dimensional thief.
You are a thief wanting to join the Multi-dimensional Thieve's
Guild, but you must pass an extraordinary test first.

A Bear's Night Out.
You play the role of a cute and cuddly teddy bear ready for an
adventure. From the 1997 game competition.

Shades of Grey.
A psychological thriller where you play a man who has seemingly
lost his soul. Your quest to remember who and what you are takes
you to several key events, mythological and historical, where you
find out more about your own life and identity.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 10
Losing your Grip.
Explores insanity with a chilling style that is certain to keep you
intrigued. You try to succeed in getting
through five fits.

The Edifice.
An Interactive Allegory. Life is pretty routine. You search for
Food, eat it, hide from Enemies, and ignore the Others. Then one
day, you notice a staggeringly tall Edifice, right here in the
middle of the forest.  1997 XYZZY Award Winner for Best Puzzles and
Best Individual Puzzle and  IF-COMP97 Contest  number 1

Babel.
The sun is just about to rise on latitude 74.  In the darkness the
last stars pierce the air and the arctic wind is a dying songbird.
Below the snow dunes, you are waking.  Something is wrong.
1997 XYZZY Award Winner for Best Story and
IF-COMP97 Contest  number 2

Wormhole: The Beginning.
A friend of yours asks if you would help him with his new
experiment. He is nowhere to be seen, but there is blood all over
the place. you find Your friend who is dying from a
gun shot wound.


* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 11
breakout.
An arcade game that uses sounds instead of graphics.
Bust and smash your way through walls of objects.

CosmoServe.
Have you always wondered what CompuServe would look like in the
21st century? Well, wonder no more! Welcome to
CosmoServe, an "Adventure Game For The BBS Enslaved".

JOHN'S FIRE WITCH.
The ice wizard has imprisoned the fire witch, and John seems almost
obsessed with freeing her. He also talks about a "magic crystal
card" that the fire witch gave him in a dream. By rubbing it and
saying the magic word John thinks that he can find
the fire witch.

URBAN CLEANUP.
A sci-fi adventure game in which you put together a new device
called a Neuroacter 3000. After that, you put in your new game
cartridge, called Urban Cleanup turn on the device, and you're
playing a game within a game! However, the new game cartridge isn't
working right because parts of the game are scrambled.

* THE GAMES IN ISSUE 12
Anacreon Reconstruction.
one of the few highly detailed strategy games accessible to the
blind.  Includes both a ASCII text and Word version of the manual.

The Hollywood Murders.
You are a private detective and must travel through Hollywood to
solve a murder mystery.
complete text-only version.

Anchor head An interactive tale of Lovecraftian Horror.
You play the wife of a professor at a small town university.

Zrogue.
A port of Rogue.  You can finally play the D and D game which
sparked them all.

NUCLEAR SUB ADVENTURE.
You are on a submarine going through a test run with a
skeleton crew. It is obvious that something has gone wrong!

++
INFO ABOUT SOLUTIONS FOR GAMES BY ADVENTIONS
                        By Kelly Sapergia

   I've been enjoying the games in the "Adventions Collection"
which you can find on the GMD.DE site. However, as with most
games, you'll probably have to refer to the solution file to get
around a certain problem. I had to do this with just about every
Adventions game, and have found out that while solutions are good
to have on hand, they can be either misleading, or get you
nowhere. I've even found a few errors in some of them. I'd like
to give you some hints that may help you get past some problems
in certain games by Adventions.

Unnkulian Unnventure 1

   If you've read the solution file for this game, you'll
probably notice a paragraph that states that in order to get
across the bridge that spans the chasm, you have to hide your
axe. That sounds easy, but here's the error: the solution file
says that in order to hide the axe, you have to put it in your
bucket, then cover the bucket with the animal skin that you'll
find in the treasure chest. This has stumped a lot of game
players, including myself, because when you try to hide the axe
in the bucket, you get the message "The Axe won't fit in the
bucket." Here's what you have to do to get around this problem:
go onto the bridge, then throw the axe. (I can't remember if you
have to throw it at west of you.) The axe will effectively
disappear, but you can retrieve it later. To retrieve it, go to
the door that opens when you "play the drum". Go through the
entrance, and you'll find the axe. (This hint was found in SPAG
Magazine, issue 2.)
   Since we're talking about hints, I'm having a problem with
this game myself. I can't figure out how to make the gold dust
that's needed to complete the game. I've read the solution file
at least three or four times and still can't get it figured out.
HELP, please!

Unnkulia One-Half

   This may not be a serious problem, but I thought I'd note it
here because what I'm about to mention is not in the solution
file for Unnkulia One-half. If you find that you're still short
two Acmids, take the crystal feather that you'll find in the
"Bird Gizzard Room". Then, escape by going north to get away from
a huge boulder that will squash you if you stay too long! Then
you can go back south, then give the feather to the inn keeper.

Unnkulia Zero

   So far, I've come across two errors in the solution file for
this game.
The first error is when you want to pick the radberries from the
tree on the Forest Path. You can do that, but you'll have to show
your ring to the patrol FIRST, then you can do whatever you want
(if the game will let you, that is.) The file stated that you
could pick the radberries and then show the ring to the patrol
when you meet up with them. I had figured out this problem before
I got the file, but I was surprised to find that mistake in the
file. (Just thought you'd like to know.)
   The other error takes place in the "Exit To Surface" room.
When you unlock the door, and when you have taken the necklace,
the solution says to go NORTHEAST, then WEST, then WEST again to
get to the east side of the gorge. I spent a few minutes
wondering around until I eventually figured out where the gorge
is. Instead of going west, you have to go NORTHWEST, then WEST to
get there.

   I hope this information was helpful for those of you who have
to use the solution files to figure out a particular puzzle.
Remember that I'm not saying the files I refered to are done
poorly, I'm just outlining the errors that you'll find in them.

++
Game Reviews:

+
The following reviews were extracted from a letter by Patrick R
Davis:


I want to review a game by Richard Destino.  It has been around
for some time, but it is still good.  There is an old version on
Dave
Poehlman's web page at www.clark.net/pub/poehlman/readme.htm and
you can
buy it from Ann Morris Enterprises.  Destination Mars is a game
where you
have to get to Mars, but you have to get through certain hazards
such as
asteroid fields and alien ships.  You can also collect gold,
diamond, and
platinum off some asteroids.  You can use the metals to get fuel,
phaser
power cells, and a new force field generator from space stations.
Also,
things will break on your spaceship and you will have to find a
place to
repair them.  It is pretty good, but there are a couple of things
that I
think he could improve.  The first thing is when firing at alien
ships,
the computer decides whenever you hit them or not.  I think Richard
could
have used audio input to aim and shoot.  For example, he could have
used
some descending tones and put a low tone somewhere in the middle of
it
that someone would have to hit a key on to fire.  Another thing he
could
do to improve it is to put a feature on it that would tell you how
many
repairs are needed.  I also heard that he is going to add some
sounds to
his game.
     He has also made a game called Dodge City Desperadoes.
Unfortunately there isn't an older version on Dave's web page, but
you
can buy it from Ann Morris Enterprises.  I haven't won this game
yet.  In
this game, you have to catch 3 desperadoes that are in The town to
cause
trouble.  You also have to find them before your time runs out.
There is
a lot of things you need to look for before you can catch them
however.
The game is okay but I think it needs some extra work done on it.
For
example, it would be easier if he had the word limit for 3 or 4
words
instead of 2.  I also think it would be easier if the game used the
arrow
keys to get around town with instead of always typing.  Other than
that,
it is a pretty good game.  Both of his games cost about $20.00.


+

                         "PLANETFALL"
                           By Infocom
                 Reviewed by Kelly John Sapergia

   "Planetfall" was one of the many classic Science Fiction
stories created by Infocom. This is also one of the games
included on the "Masterpieces of Infocom" CD-ROM. I highly
recommend this game for sci-fi fans or anyone who has enjoyed
Infocom's products.
   In this story, you play the role of an Ensign Seventh Class
aboard the S.P.S. Feinstein in the year 11344 GY (Galactic Year).
You have been trying to impress your officer, First Class
Blather, who has been making your life miserable since the first
day you've spent on the ship. Blather has been making you do
clean-up jobs on Deck Nine, the filthiest deck on the ship! For
more information about what you have been going through, read the
printed diary (included with the game).
Anyway, the game starts on Deck Nine. You are busy cleaning the
deck (which is something I probably wouldn't enjoy either), when
an explosion destroys the ship. You, however, escape the
destruction by means of an escape pod. You land on a nearby
planet, and that's where the adventure really begins! You must
find out, and try to find a way to stop a strange disease that
has affected the population.
   This game can basically be summed up in two words: TOTALLY
COOL! The locations are described well, and even Floyd, your
robot companion, is funny, in my opinion.
   One thing I really like is the endgame. After you've repaired
the computer, you find yourself in a different booth that is used
in emergencies. When you exit the booth, you find that the only
way to get out of here is to go through the Biology Lab. (Before
you get to fix the computer, Floyd will get killed by the mutants
in the lab.) When I first read that I could only go through the
lab, I was both shocked and horrified at the same time, which
isn't surprising considering the fact that I don't want to be
killed myself! The ending to the game was good as well, but I
won't reveal that here.
   On a scale of 1 to 10, this game is being rated at 10. The
writing is excellent, and the puzzles aren't too bad either. They
may take a while to solve them, but they're fairly easy. One
thing I don't care for is the game's parser. The parser will
accept full-sentence input, but only accepts commands or items
that are seven characters long. Other than this problem, I can
see why this game is still a classic. A sequel is announced at
the end of the game, which is called "Stationfall". (I'm still
trying to figure out that game, but so far, I think it's pretty
neat.)
I've also read in XYZZYNEWS and SPAG Magazines, about a
graphical game by Activision called "Planetfall 2- The Search For
Floyd" which sounds interesting but I don't know if that project
was discontinued or not.

+
"MYTH"
                      Game by Barry Vollain
                 Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia

   One school subject I was always interested in was English,
because we learned about Greek mythology. This was when I was in
Grade 9. One day, while I was in a free period at my school, my
teacher was teaching a Grade 9 class that was in the same room,
about Greek mythology. I couldn't help overhearing the stories,
and wondered if there were any IF games devoted to Greek
mythology. I managed to find one on the GMD.DE/IF-ARCHIVE site,
in the sub-directory /GAMES/TADS/. The game was called, simply
Myth. I was hoping this game would be a good one to play, but I
was immediately disappointed when I first started playing it.
   In this game, you play the role of a mythological hero. Your
mission isn't really clear, but I think you have to kill Medusa.
I thought that this game would be easy, but as you'll see, this
isn't the case.
   As I said before, this game was developed using TADS, but it
really doesn't give you all the flexibility of the TADS system.
The parser is horrible! I've only seen this type of parser in some
AGT games, but this is rediculous! For example, I was at a
location called "South Side of Chasm", and I wanted to go north.
I tried walking north, and was told "I don't think you want to go
that way." I tried typing "JUMP OVER CHASM" and was told "I don't
understand <CHASM> as a noun" or something like that, even though
a chasm was mentioned in the room description. I also can't
figure out how to kill Medusa before she turns me into stone. I
tried "KILL MEDUSA WITH SWORD" and was told "That's what you
think!"
   I continued to try to get through as much of this game as I
could, but after awhile, I eventually gave up. I spent about
seven months or so trying to figure out the whole game, and got
nowhere. The story could have been improved if players knew the
exact tasks we have to perform. Granted, some puzzles are easy,
but there are some points in the game where a player will
eventually get stuck. For instance, one item I have in my
inventory is a torch, but I can't find anything to light it with,
plus the game doesn't recognize the sentence "LIGHT TORCH WITH
<ITEM>".
The documentation isn't good either, since there's no
online help, and you are simply told in the README file to
register the game to receive hints and maps. In fact, when you
type HELP, you are asked "Whom do you want to help?" OK, maybe
there's someone who you have to help, but I don't know who that
person is.
   I'm rating this game 5 out of 10. Like I said, the game's
parser and the descriptions could use some improvements, but the
concept of writing a game about Greek mythology was a good idea.
  if you want to try this game, go to the address above, and
down-load the file MYTH.ZIP from that directory. There is also a
walkthrough somewhere in the /solutions directory which features
a map, and how to get 260 out of 300 points.
+
SCOTT ADAMS GAMES NOW AVAILABLE ON THE Z-MACHINE
                 Games by Scott and Alexis Adams
                 Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia

   When I began to read about new interactive fiction games, I
kept running into articles about the games by Scott Adams, who
I've never heard of until last year. From my understanding, Scott
Adams was one of the early pioneers of IF game design. Even
though his games aren't as good as those from Infocom, they are
still regarded as classics, which I can certainly understand.
While browsing through the MASTER-INDEX file from GMD.DE, I came
across two files called ADAMSINFORM.ZIP, (which can be found on
the IF-ARCHIVE in the sub-directory SCOTT-ADAMS), and
MYSTERIOUS_INFORM.ZIP (which can be found in the sub-directory
/GAMES/INFOCOM). I decided to try out the file ADAMSINFORM.ZIP.
For one thing, I had already tried out one of Scott's games,
"Adventure Island" and thought it might be fun to try some of his
other works. I got a copy of the file, unzipped it, and was
repeatedly shocked by what I came across in terms of the Inform
versions of these games!
   I don't know who programmed these games to be run on the
Z-Machine, but whoever did the reprogramming didn't do a good job
at all in my opinion. One thing I noticed right away was that
instead of printing the room descriptions again, like in other IF
games, the descriptions are merely updated and remain at the top
of the screen. (I don't have anything against this idea, but I
found it awkward to work with.)
There are also a lot of programming errors that
won't send you back to the DOS prompt with an error message from
your interpreter, but will really frustrate anybody who's trying
to play these games. Two games, as far as I know, are virtually
unplayable (at least when I tried to play them.) The games are
"Return to Pirate's Island" (the file is RET2PIRT.Z5), and the
file HULK.Z5 (I don't know the title of that game.) Also, the
game "Savage Island: Part 2", can't be played until you give a
password at the beginning of the game!
   The commands in these games are fairly straightforward, except
in games such as "Mysterious Fun House Adventure". When I played
the game, one item I had in my inventory was some chewing gum. I
wanted to stick it to something, so I typed "CHEW GUM". That
worked fine, but when I typed "STICK GUM" (the game uses a
two-word parser), I got a message like "What do you want to stick
the gum to?" Just for fun, I tried some objects, but all I got
was a message that said, for example, "I don't know the word
<SHOES>". After awhile, I gave up playing this game. (One thing I
think the author of the Z-Machine versions of these games wanted
to do was to try to recreate the look and feel of the original
games that were available in the early 80's. It isn't a bad idea,
but it needs a lot of work.)
   Now for those of you who are wondering if there are any games
in this series that feature full-sentence parsers that make the
game enjoyable to play, I've got news for you! There is only ONE
game that uses a full-sentence parser. The game is "Adventure
Land". (I think this version was made by Graham Nelson). That
game, in my opinion, was and is the only game that was worth
playing.
   One thing that really frustrated me, while I was trying to
play these games, was that nearly everything in the Z-Machine
code has been stripped from all these games! For instance, if you
type "VERBOSE", you get the message "I don't know the word
<VERBOSE>". To save a game, instead of typing "SAVE", you have to
type in "SAVE GAME". That isn't too bad, but after you type SAVE
GAME, nothing will appear to have happened! You can type a name
of a file you want to save to, then when you press Enter, you'll
get the following lines of text (here's an example of a file I
saved for one of the games):

Name to save (Default is FUNHOUSE.SAV): KELLY.SAV
OK.

This process of saving a game was not only confusing, but
horribly implemented!
   After a few days of messing around with these games, I erased
them off my hard drive. On a scale of 1 to 10, this package is
being rated 1. This means, "don't bother downloading it." Like I
said, I wasn't impressed with these Inform versions. I think that
these games weren't even tested, beta or otherwise. Making
different versions of classic games is all right, but only if the
finished product works well and is bug-free.
If you want to give these games a try, go ahead, but remember,
you have been warned. I also tried the file
MYSTERIOUS_INFORM.ZIP, which contains eleven games
by Brian Howarth, and have rated this package 1 out of 10 as
well. If these games used full-sentence parsers, or weren't
packed full of bugs, my ratings might be a little higher.
+

"BEYOND THE TITANIC"
                      Game by Scott Miller
                 Reviewed by Kelly John Sapergia

   "Beyond The Titanic" (refered to as "Beyond"), was one of the
first IF games I've ever played. I received it from a friend when
I was about ten years old, and I've just found out it's on the
Internet. (I searched the MASTER-INDEX file from GMD.DE.) This
game was made by Apogee Software before they went graphical. (It
is shareware, but don't bother trying to get a registered copy.)
   In this science fiction-style game, you play the role of a
passenger on the Titanic. The game starts just a few minutes
before the ship strikes an iceberg. You must try to find a
lifeboat and to use it when the ship sinks. (Don't bother looking
for any oars for the lifeboat. There aren't any.) Anyway, after
you get into the lifeboat and away from the Titanic, you start to
drift towards a waterfall that seemed to appear from nowhere.
(That's the impression I got anyway.) Because you don't have any
oars, you can't get away from it. (I'll give you another hint
here: if you don't want to die, fasten your safety harness when
you are drifting towards the waterfall.) Your lifeboat is then
sucked into a spinning vortex and you are knocked out from the
overwhelming pressure. When you eventually wake up, you are not
where you last were. Instead of a lifeboat and the ocean, you're
in a huge cavern at some time in the far future. During your
exploration of this strange place, you'll find a spaceship that
contains a time machine. Your mission is to find a way back to
the 20th century.
   I spent about three years playing this piece of IF. But it was
worth it, because I eventually finished the game. One thing I
really like about the game is the sound effects. They may not
sound like the real thing, but they are still good. Looking back
on that game reminds me of Trinity, one of Infocom's popular
games.
Beyond is easy, and should keep players hooked for
quite some time. The puzzles aren't too bad, and the parser isn't
Infocom-like, but the game is still fun to play. I give it a
rating of 9 out of 10.
+
"THE CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES"
                     Game by David Malmberg
                 Reviewed by Kelly John Sapergia

   I came across this game when I was trying out the Adventure
Game Toolkit (AGT) Master's Edition. This game was included to
demonstrate how you can use AGT'S menu system to issue commands.
I'll admit that I'm not really crazy about Sherlock Holmes,
although I enjoyed listening to some cassette recordings of the
old-time radio show "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes",
which was on the air during World War II. (Yes, I'm a collector
of old-time radio cassettes and CD'S).
   This game isn't like the one by Infocom, in that there isn't
just one case to solve. There are actually 18 cases to solve in
this game, although you can play them in any order. Each case
uses time, and not moves. As far as I know, each case starts at
1:00 PM, and goes to midnight (if I'm not mistaken).
   While I really enjoyed this game, I found the menu system to
be a little tricky at first. I don't know how well this system
works with speech (I had the game set for BIOS mode with the /B
switch), but that might not work well for when you're selecting
commands. I also tried to get rid of the menu and just use the
normal IF concept, but that was even more awkward. Actually, the
menu system isn't all that bad. You have to use the left and
right arrow keys to select a command, then press Enter. If you
select the command "Walk to", for example, you can then choose
where you want to go. (I'll admit that I'm using a demonstration
version of ASAP, a screen access program by Microtalk. But like I
said, I don't know how well this menuing system works with other
screen readers.)
   One thing you'll have to do is to keep looking at the clock
while playing this game. While walking to a location is fine,
Holmes will begin to get tired after awhile. You can still tell
him where to go, but there's a slight chance that you won't be
able to complete a case.
   On a scale of 1 to 10, this game is being rated at 8. The
menuing system was a good idea, especially for those people who
aren't all that familiar with Interactive Fiction. With regards
to the actual game itself, there are really no room descriptions.
You are simply given clues, if any, to the case in question. This
isn't actually all that bad, considering the fact that the great
Sherlock Holmes might not want to look at the scenery while on a
case.
   This game can be found on GMD.DE, in the directory:
IF-ARCHIVE/GAMES/PC, as well as /GAMES/AGT. It can also be found
in the Master's Edition package, which you can get from
IF-ARCHIVE/PROGRAMMING/AGT.
+
TIME, ALL THINGS COME TO AN END
(Reviewed by "Goddess")

  Hello readers, I wanted to have this review out long before now,
but unfortunately, of all things, "time" became an issue...  When
I say that, I mean time in the "real sense and also the game.
  As far as interactive fiction goes, I think this is an amazing
effort with some wonderful writing and easily one of the most
detailed games I've ever played.  In my opinion, it ranks with the
likes of Anchorhead and the infocom adventures.  Experienced
players will like it...    You play the part of a scientist who's
life's work has just been harshly terminated by the firm that
employs, or should I say employed you...  You begin in your
partially cleaned_out laboratory after being asked to leave.  With
some closer inspection of things, could there be an answer to your
dilemma?  Can your work still yet be completed?  Though I won't
answer this question, I will say that you'll find yourself in some
very different situations than this...  You'll find that your
adventure becomes entwined in a strange and twisted conspiracy.
  I must say, before I continue, this game in my opinion though
well-done, can be EXTREMELY difficult and "knit-picky" in places.
As of this point, I haven't finished the game as I just don't have
the time to put into it.  I tend to prefer games where dying is not
a regular occurrence.  So, if you're like me and want something a
bit less intense, this might not be the game for you.
  Having said this, as I said before, I think this game is a
wonderful work as it contains an amazingly detailed plot and
landscape.  It's common for a room description to be incredibly
detailed and you'll probably find yourself reading them over again.
In some cases, this is imperative.  Unfortunately, as I've not only
found out through the game, but also in the hints, there will be
times when you need to have (as the game's tittle suggests)
information to adequately solve a current puzzle which can only be
gained later in the story.  Go figure...  In essence, this means
you're back to dying again until you figure it out.  You can see
how this can become painfully frustrating if you also have a real
life to run and aren't a genius...  lol...
  One thing that I'm really still impressed with concerning this
game is the amount of personal interaction you experience.  I love
games where the author has other well-developed characters for one
to talk with or look at etc.  They're also very mobile and animated
with great dialogue.  For me, this was easily the best part of the
game.
  The game is essentially written like a story and is quite large.
The majority of what I played is set in the future with a lot of
action in a science-fiction genre.  Though it is a text game, there
are a lot of very rapid sequences where you need to really
structure your approach and moves accordingly.  It can really take
on the flair of an action game.
  I would classify this as an expert level game but would encourage
other players to at least try it to get a sense of the
well-thought-out story with rich descriptions and interactions.  I
would rate this game conservatively at a 7 because of tedium.  It
can be found on the ftp.gmd.de sight in the ifaarchive directory
and requires an interpreter such as frotz to run.
+
Enchanter
(Reviewed by "Goddess")

  Well, this is sort of timely after reading Kelly's article on
Moonmist but I actually had thought of doing this anyway,
beforehand as I think Enchanter is easily one of the very best
games that Infocom has written.  The first in a trilogy, this was
my second experience with Infocom interactive fiction, my first
being Zork.  I had previously only played games where you could
type two-word commands and whose descriptions were sadly limited.
The first time I tried out the Infocom interface where one could
type in complete sentences, I was hooked.  In my opinion, this is
even taken to new levels in Enchanter.  You can type some pretty
cute things and the game will have some pretty cute responses to
them.  It's a lot of fun and very nearly "everything" has a
description.
  You begin with a glimpse into the circle of enchanters lead by
Belboz the Necromancer.  A great evil has presented itself in the
lands.  This presence is called Krill...  As Belboz reads from an
ancient scroll, "you" suddenly appear in there midst, an
inexperienced, novice enchanter.  It turns out that you have to be,
as Krill could easily detect the presence of other more experienced
Mages.  With a spell, you are sent to the lands near Krill's castle
and the game thus begins.
  You're in a town on the outskirts of the castle grounds, and,
when you finally realize which direction you need to go, the mental
mapping is quite easy, with a few exceptions.  There are a few
places right in the beginning where several paths converge and wind
around  which can get confusing, so it's important to read the
descriptions carefully and remember where you just were.
  The game is however,   quite forgiving and will sometimes subtly
lead you along to where you need to go.  Don't be fooled though,
the game is also full of intriguing puzzles and mystery.  One of
the things I think is good about this game from an accessibility
stand point is that you really don't need to be able to read the
literature accompanied with the game to play it to the best of my
recollection.  However, I will caution players that there is one
puzzle that is inherently visual and you will definitely need help
from someone who can see unless you have some vision yourself.  As
I look back on it, it might   also be possible to memorize the
letters used in this particular puzzle and act accordingly.  As
before, if you don't have some vision, you'll need some help here.
This puzzle happened relatively late in the game for me.  To alert
you, it involves a pencil, and a piece of paper with a strange
diagram on it labelled with several letters.  When you realize what
this is for, you'll know to find someone who can lend there eyes
for a few minutes.  Despite this, this game is a wonder to play,
with beautiful room and landscape descriptions and a lot of
intrigue.
  There is limited interaction with other characters as there are
only a few at best.  However, when you do interact, it can be a lot
of fun and is vitally important to the story.
  Another fun thing about this game is getting the hang of
spell-casting.  After all, you are an enchanter and you must
enchant...  You'll find a rich variety of spells, scrolls and items
to help you on your journey.  The descriptions associated with
spells can be quite wonderful and fantastic and are a delight to
read.  Sometimes, you'll notice that more than one spell or item
can solve a puzzle, but be careful, if you use the wrong one, you
may get stuck later.  It's important to really read and understand
the spells and other descriptions.
  You also need to take care of food and shelter so be aware  of
your surroundings and places to sleep.  Mind the dark...  Ah,
sleep, this brings us to dreams.  You'll find that when you sleep,
you'll be having dreams that may be telling you of things to come
in the game or after it, read them carefully...
  I would rate this game a 9 as it has that one place where you may
need some visual help, but otherwise, it would be a 10 in my
opinion.  It's excellent for many age groups and abilities...  I
strongly recommend it!  It can be found on the Text adventure
Masterpieces of Infocom CD from Activision.

  I would just like to take this opportunity to greet you, the
other readers of Audyssey, as I haven't previously submitted an
article or letter to the magazine.  I am however, on the Audyssey
mailing list and can be e-mailed there.

Goddess

  P.S. I hope you don't mind pseudonyms, you never know who you'll
meet out there...

HAPPY EXPLORING!


++
"Good Gaming, Class"
By Michael Feir

Since the number of educators reading this magazine seems to be on
the rise, i thought it might be a good idea to write a little about
using games as educational tools in the classroom or to help teach
people how to use computers. There are plenty of lessons to be
learned from games. Teachers have realized this for some time, but
might not realize that even games designed merely for fun, and not
as learning tools, can offer exciting opportunities. I learned to
type 90 words per minute, and also to use all the power in the
computers I've owned over the years largely by playing games.
Typing tutorials are fine for short periods of practice, but you
can't beet interactive fiction for improving typing and reading
skills simultaneously. Most interactive fiction features logical
problems to be solved in a fun environment. I can't count the
occasions where I've reflected on this while doing some boring
sheet of problems or other. Infocom's Zork trilogy, now freely
available from the Internet, is entirely based on such puzzles.
History teachers are certain to find games like Graham Nelson's
Jigsaw to be of particular interest. It offers an engaging way of
understanding twentieth-century history. That game also offers a
lot of opportunity for teachers of ethics.

PCS has produced some marvellous games recently which could help in
a lot of ways. Their latest game, Mind Puzzles, is advertised in
the Latest Finds section. In addition to offering several word
games like Hangman, it offers a variant of Simon which makes for an
excellent memory exercise. PCS also has a game for younger children
to help them become used to the computer keyboard. Games like The
World Is Mine can teach people how complicated it is to manage a
country, and allow them to explore economic and military aspects of
this. Although fairly complex, a game like Anacreon Reconstruction
could teach people about supply and demand.

There are countless possibilities, and not enough time to even
begin to cover them all. If you have used games in classrooms, or
want to do so, I'd like to hear from you. As long as your
experience or concerns are about games accessible to the blind,
you'll find Audyssey to be a good source of information and
insight. I invite you to join our discussion list, where you can
pose your questions or thoughts to key people in the Audyssey
community. There are already around three game developers, and a
lot of the most widely known game players just waiting for new
discussion and a chance to pitch in.

So ends this lesson.

++
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

James Peach, the first reader to join the new Audyssey staff, is
our expert on commercial games. He'll be keeping a close watch out
for commercially available games. These include Windows-based
multi-media games like You Don't Know Jack and Silent Steel. If
you've heard of a game which you think bears investigation for its
potential for blind players, or blind players with sighted
companions, please contact him at:
[email protected]
                                              



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