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Audyssey;
Computer Games Accessible to the Blind
Edited by Michael Feir
Issue 16: January/February, 1999

++
Welcome
 
Welcome to the sixteenth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is
dedicated to the discussion of games which, through accident or
design, are accessible to the blind. This issue contains Kelly
Sapurgia's discussion of music in games. It also covers two of the
latest developments in interactive fiction. 

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 maintaining 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]

++
Contents:
Welcome
Contents
From The Editor
Letters
The Gift of oration
The Latest Finds
Music in Games For the Blind
News From PCS
Anchorhead Opinions
Game Reviews
Contacting Us

++
From The Editor:

Welcome to 1999, everyone. We've had quite an exciting start to the
last year of the millennium. Several new games have been made, and
a few older ones have been discovered. I think you'll all enjoy
this issue, packed as it is with insight.

One major concern I have is that without the exceptional
contributions of Kelly Sapergia and Justin Fegel, this issue would
not have been made. I received almost no letters since the Holiday
issue was released. What's happened to everyone? The discussion
list created by Mr. Siegel has been dormant for far too long. If
Audyssey is to survive, we need to see more discussion and
interaction between readers. It is a mistake to think that because
there is a staff, we no longer need your participation. Staff
contributions are supposed to stimulate discussion and further
contributions from the rest of you. PCS reports that they aren't
getting many requests for Audyssey on disk. I can only hope that
this indicates that more people have Internet access. I'm somewhat
concerned that the interest in computer games is dropping off for
some reason. Or, is it the magazine which you find not worth your
participation?

I don't want Audyssey to merely keep you informed of the latest
developments. I'm doing this to promote discussion and interest in
computer games accessible to the blind. The more active and large
our community becomes, the more attention Developers will pay to
it. David Dite's latest release of A Bear's Night Out mentions that
the game was recommended as a gift for blind children. This is the
kind of effect we need to have. Work is being done on Internet-
based accessible games at a certain university. If games are
actually completed by the students involved, I'd hope that the
Audyssey community would be interested in testing them out and
providing some feedback.

In producing this issue, I've had to use up all of the surplus
material remaining. Adam, The Immortal Gamer, has yet to re-appear.
If more of you start writing in your thoughts, opinions, reviews,
and articles, I'll be able to concentrate on making episodes for
future issues. I'll also spend more time reacting to your input and
not scouring the Internet to gain enough news and insights to make
an issue worth publishing.

Timeliness is another subject of note here. I'm publishing this
issue on March the second. Part of the reason for the lateness of
this issue was that much of the material arrived well past the
twentieth of February. I was ill for around four days, and didn't
get much of anything done during that time. If we can sustain a
discussion, material will emerge from it that I can publish in
Audyssey. Without this flow of material, I don't have time to
finish other projects since my efforts are directed mainly to
looking for a job and to Audyssey. Full-time employment is not easy
to come by these days. I'm working part-time at MSC, editing their
newsletter which you'll likely receive shortly if you get Audyssey
via E-mail. I am designing two games for PCS, and the less I have
to do for Audyssey, the faster I can finish work on those.

Well, now you know the state of things at the start of the last
year of the millennium. I can only hope that you'll respond more
than in the preceding two months. Remember that any journey is only
worth taking if you're willing to actively experience it. We, the
members of the Audyssey staff, are your guides to the many worlds
of delight that are accessible games. You are the observant
tourists. Tell us what you like or don't like. Tell us what you
want us to examine. Tell us where you want to go in this often
bewildering and changing universe of games. We will investigate and
hopefully inspire you to do the same. We may be guides, but we have
no idea where this journey will take us. you have a large part in
determining that. Help us keep exploring. Don't let the Audyssey
end here. Fuel the caravan with your enthusiastic discussion and
debate. Point out the wonders that you observe, and warn us of the
dangers. Do this, and our caravan will ride onwards in the next
issue. Until then, I wish you all a good journey.

+++
Letters:
+
From Jim Kitchen:


Hi Michael,

Happy New Year.

I am just writing to let you and your readers know that I have put
a few new games up on my web site.

One is a re-write of my golf game.  It now has a better sound
sequence for hitting the ball and a couple of other improvements.
The file name is golf82c.zip

Another of the games is a computer version of the very popular hand
held game named bop it.  The file name is dosbop3.zip

I have also put a link from my home page to a trivia site.  The
main file on the trivia site is trivia.zip.  So far there are only
two other files there, they are goodnews.trv a Bible trivia file
written By Grant Metcalf and trek1.trv written By Wendy Steele.
The trivia.zip file contains the trivia game engine and a couple of
sample trivia files as well as a couple of programs to help a
person to write their own trivia question and answer files.

If people do write their own question and answer files and send
them to me I would very much like to put them up on the trivia
site.

Like all of the programs on my site, these games are free dos based
games.  Hope that you down load and enjoy them.

As always if you have any questions, comments or problems with any
of my programs please write or call

[email protected]
http://www.now-online.com/jkitchen
1-440-286-6920
Chardon Ohio
+
Once again, Jim has come to bat for all of us blind gamers. You'll
find a review of Bopit later in this issue. No reports on the
updated Golf game have come in just yet. It'll be interesting to
see what people think of the improvements. Keep up the good work,
Jim.  

+
From David Lant:

Hi Michael,

After reading your article, and those of others, on the concept of
blind arcade type games, I was reminded of something that I found
quite  by accident.

When I bought my Pentium system last year, I also acquired a
Creative  Labs AWE64 Gold sound card.  On one of the CDs that came
with this  package, was a Windows 95 3D sound demonstration program
called  Creative 3D Copter.

In this demonstration, you are controlling a missile launcher and
attempting to shoot down helicopters.  There is a visual display,
but  the excellent 3D sound effects means that I have spent many
absorbing  evenings listening for the approaching drone of a
helicopter, turning  the missile sights toward the sound with the
keyboard, and hearing the  missiles loose off and chase it into the
distance.  On occasion, I have  even succeeded in blasting the
helicopter out of the sky.

The sounds are really great, and the game can be selected to alter
the  flight patterns of the helicopters.  Thus, the experience can
be  adjusted from tricky, all the way up to infuriating.  What
makes this  work so well, is that the game uses the MIDI generator
of the card to  produce the sound effects, rather than playing wave
files.  Thus, you  are listening to true synthesized sound effects,
just as I suggested in  one of my earlier articles.

I don't think the program itself is very screen reader friendly,
but as  there is a text file that explains the keyboard commands,
and starting  it from the desktop without speech is fairly easy, I
don't think it's  much of a detraction.

I just thought you'd like to hear about this, even though it's
really  only a demonstration of the sound cards abilities, it is
quite  playable.

     Best wishes,            

          David Lant
+
That's got to be the most obscure treasure yet discovered. I'd urge
all of you to look out for gems like the one Mr. Lant has
uncovered. I'd be surprised if there weren't more things like that
around. PCS eventually plans to make more real-time sound-based
games, but there are a few technical hurdles to be overcome before
this can be done all that effectively. I wish them and any other
developers the best of luck.

+
From Willie Phipps:
 

Hello Michael,

I've been reading your magazine for quite awhile.  I enjoy reading
about some of the great text adventures out there.  You all are
very helpful with your suggestions and reviews.

I'm sending you a game called "disenchanted."  Have you heard of
it? I've been running in to characters I feel like I should be able
to talk to but nothing I've tried works.  There is a warlock on the
north road in a cave to the east of the base of the mountain there.
There is an old cleric west road, north through the forest I
believe in a temple.  There is also a dragon I believes headed
south on the north/south road.  I would appreciate any help.
Thanks an advs.

Willie

+
Can anyone out there shed some light on this mysterious game? I
haven't had any success with it either. It appears to use the AGT
parser, which may indicate that we're dealing with what is commonly
referred to as "guess the verb" difficulties. A classic example of
this annoyance is found in Infocom's original Zork. There is a part
when you must enter a bucket to go up a well. To do this, you must
type "embark bucket". Nothing else seems to work. Hopefully, this
will be corrected in Inform versions of Dungeon. I wouldn't exactly
be a happy camper if I learned that this was the big stumbling
block to Disenchanted. If anyone has managed to get anywhere in
this game, please share your hard-won knowledge with the Audyssey
community.

+
From Kelly Sapergia:
Hi Everybody!,
   At long last, I have found one of the two Infocom games that are
not on the "Masterpieces of Infocom" CD-ROM: "The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I'm enjoying the game a lot,
since I like Infocom games, and because I like reading the book
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. As you may
know, Activision no longer holds the rights to this game, and the
rights have now been reverted back to the original author. If you
would like to correspond with me about this game, just e-mail me
at: [email protected].
   Speaking of my e-mail address, there was an error in the last
issue of Audyssey. At the end of the magazine, my e-mail address
was given, but it was spelled wrong. It came out as:
[email protected]
This is NOT CORRECT!! My last name is spelled SAPERGIA and not
SAPURGIA.
   There are some new games available on the IF-ARCHIVE, and PCS
has released their version of the game "Pack Man", which is pretty
good. (There's more information about it in my review later in this
issue.)
One of the first games to be released at the beginning of 1999 was
"Enemies" by Andy Phillips. It looks okay so far, but because there
are no on-line hints, it's very difficult, just like his other
games, "Time: All Things Come To An End", and "Heist". Also,
another release of Anchorhead by Michael Gentry was
released. I haven't played it yet, but apparently Gentry has
revised the text, and I think he added some new puzzles to the
game.
   Well, that's all for now. Don't forget that I'm also available
on the Audyssey Discussion List.

Yours Sincerely,
Kelly Sapergia
+
Sorry about that small blunder with the E-mail address. That's been
fixed in the Contacting Us section for all future issues. Regarding
that Hitchhiker's Guide game, there is some talk of releasing it as
shareware in the near future. I hope they decide to release it. It
is quite well-made. My thanks for your comparison of the two main
versions of Dungeon now available. The programmer of the Inform
version of Dungeon has temporarily pulled it off of the If-archive
until some bugs can be worked out. People have had some problems
down-loading the Inform version of Dungeon from the site where it
currently resides. In light of this, I recommend people down-load
the stand-alone version of Dungeon, dungn32b.zip, which is located
at:
ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/pc

Interactive fiction remains the most actively growing area in the
universe of accessible games. Were it not for the efforts of Kelly
and Justin, it would be next to impossible to keep the Audyssey
community informed. My thanks to both of you for your efforts.


++
The Gift of oration
By Michael Feir

In a highly publicized  move, Henter-Joyce released its Dos version
of its Jaws screen-reading software as freeware. They will no
longer offer any technical support to those using it. Instead, they
will focus on providing support for their more modern Windows-based
software. Since this happened, I have been examining the various
freely available speech packages to see which offers the best set
of advantages to gamers. As my main contribution to this issue of
Audyssey, I offer you my thoughts below:

There is no doubt that Jaws for Dos offers its users a powerful set
of options and abilities. Like Jaws for Windows, it features two
independent cursors. This makes navigating the screen very easy.
One feature Jaws for Dos lacks is the ability to remove it from
memory once it has been installed. Those who want to use Windows
may have to restart their computers first. If you're not using a
standard keyboard, you may want to re-define some of the hot-keys
Jaws uses. fortunately, Jaws provides a macro editor to help
accomplish this. It also provides a means of exploring the keyboard
to find out what all the important keys are.

There are two main draw-backs that I noticed with Jaws for Dos. The
first is that it requires a large amount of your conventional
memory. This may prevent people from playing some of the more
memory-intensive games. On my system, it seems to take up around
150 K of my conventional memory. If you find a way to use upper
memory, it may consume less of that crucial 640 K of conventional
memory. I have been unable to do this so far using the Dos mode in
Windows95.

The other main draw-back is the high learning curve. Jaws offers
its users quite a lot of flexibility and power. However, it is
somewhat complex to use. There are a lot of keyboard commands to
remember. While the manual is well-written, it is quite lengthy.
Since games aren't always the most speech-friendly programs around,
you'll have to spend a lot of time becoming familiar with Jaws's
review features.

Provox has been free for quite some time now. It is available on
the Internet and on Compuserve. It is far easier to operate than
Jaws is, but offers a good deal less power. It also requires a
substantial amount of conventional memory. It can be loaded as a
device in high memory, but once this is done, it cannot be removed
from memory. To do this, you'll have to reset your computer.

With Provox, you should be able to play most games fairly readily.
It works quite well with PCS's games, and is good for interactive
fiction. It is less suitable for screen-oriented games like Nethack
or Adom. Provox only works with a small group of synthesizers, so
if you have a less popular type of synthesizer, keep that in mind.

By far, the best and easiest speech package for games is Tinytalk.
It is also available on the Internet. Originally shareware, the
author is apparently no longer supporting his product. Unlike
Henter-Joyce, the full version was never released as freeware. The
shareware version, however, is fully functional and will never stop
working. Mr. Bohlman relied on incentives and the honesty of the
community of users to collect his due. Each time you run it for the
first time, you'll have to wait through a twenty-second nag screen.
The review mode is very easy to use. Keys can be re-defined if
necessary. It takes up very little memory. The total it needs is
something around thirty K. If you define a lot of speech-windows,
this may go as high as fifty K or so. Speech windows are very easy
to set up. One of the best elements is that in games like Adom and
Nethack, you enter the review mode and are placed directly over
your character. In Rogue, you must still search for the @-sign to
find yourself. Searching for specific characters is a snap with
Tinytalk. Tinytalk is also very easy to get running. You just
change the name of the version made for your synthesizer to
"ttalk.exe". You then simply run that program to start using it.
You may have to specify the comm port that your synthesizer uses.

For a reason which has not yet been determined, Tinytalk doesn't do
so well with PCS's games. It is certainly possible to play them
while using Tinytalk. However, Tinytalk doesn't seem to like the
menu system PCS uses. I suspect that Tinytalk might use the real-
time clock. This may interfere with PCS's games. Alternatively, it
could be a problem with screen-monitoring.

As far as I know those are the only freely available speech
programs. If anyone has found others, please let us know about
them. Also, some tips on how best to use these or other programs
for game play would be much appreciated.

++
The Latest Finds:

A Few new games have emerged since the last issue. PCS has come out
with a version of Pacman to start off 1999. You'll find Kelly's
review of it in the "News From PCS" section. Jim Kitchen has made
a version of Bopit which is also reviewed in this section. Two new
works of interactive fiction have been released. These are Cascade
Mountain publishing's Dr. Dumont's Wild PARTI, and Andy Phillips's
Enemies. Justin Fegel has given us an excellent review of Enemies,
and you'll find my comments on Dr. Dumont below the official press
release.
+

PRESS RELEASE -- Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I

In the surreal tradition of Tass Times In Tonetown...
Failing physics--again--would be traumatic enough.  But now, you're
trapped inside a Particle Accelerator and Reality Translation
Integrator, the product of mad genius meeting mixed metaphors.
Originally designed to help the human mind understand particle
physics, the sub-atomic world inside is a strange blend of
mysticism and science, of Zen contemplation and Marx Brothers
movies.  Dr.  Gregory Dumont has sucked you into his P.A.R.T.I.,
but it's no picnic in there.

Cascade Mountain Publishing is proud to announce the release of Dr.
Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I., their latest full-length interactive
fiction adventure.  CMP broke onto the scene last year with the
long-awaited release of Once and Future, the epic adventure tale
that re-established top-quality interactive fiction in the gaming
marketplace.

This special release of P.A.R.T.I. revives Dr. Dumont and his
bizarre particle accelerator from a decade-long slumber.  The new
version includes an expanded P.A.R.T.I. world, a built-in hint
system, and all of the important contents of Dr. Dumont's desk and
cork board!

The new version of P.A.R.T.I. is available for the first time in
the popular cross-platform Inform format, making it compatible for
systems ranging from palmtops to workstations (and, of course, PCs
and Macs for the more conventional gameplayer.)

Explore the wonders of the Science Art Museum (open 24 hours) on
your PalmPilot!  Visit the UnFair in Linux!  Thrill to the Kite
Races on your Psion 5!  The mysteries of Particle X are in there
somewhere, and without your wits and a Diploma of Thought,
jealously guarded by the mysterious Professor Parti, it's going to
be a long day.

Although Dr. Dumont's input was invaluable, P.A.R.T.I. is the
brainchild of the First Couple of interactive fiction, Muffy
McClung Berlyn and Michael Berlyn.  The Berlyns are behind a number
of breakthrough games, including Suspended, Tass Times In Tonetown,
Infidel, and Oo-Topos.

"We're excited about introducing Dr. Dumont to a whole new class of
undergrads," says Michael Berlyn, co-author and publisher.  "We're
dedicated to changing the way people think about text adventures,
and I can't think of a better way to change one's perspective than
to step inside Dr.  Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I."

This special release of Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I.  is an
electronic-only product.  For $24.00, you can download the game
package from Cascade Mountain's eCommerce server, including an
Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file containing important documentation and
"props" from Dr. Dumont's office.

Dr.  Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I. is available exclusively through
Cascade Mountain Publishing.  To order, visit their website at
http://www.cascadepublishing.com and follow the links to software.

(Editor's remarks): Having won this game, I can attest to its
excellent quality. The writing is quite good. It is full of humour,
but not to the point of lessening the story or atmosphere. The on-
line hints are extensive and helpful. Only one area is of special
concern for the blind player. This is the kite-race which you must
win to get a set of glasses. It is necessary to have these, so
there is no avoiding the race. You need to transpose a set of
numbers behind a race-track. Without sighted assistance, this would
be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Other than this one
area, the game is excellent in all respects.)

+
Enemies: An Interactive Psychothriller
by Andy Phillips
Reviewed by Justin Fegel

It will forever remain one of life's mysteries: why should a simple
man like yourself get on the wrong side of anybody?

You are, after all, just a typical accountant. A little sideline
romance with the secretary (what's she called -- Joanna) is a
pleasant diversion from the tedium of your nine hour working day.
Even your name, Charles Johnson, is unremarkable.

Unfortunately, in today's world, security is nothing more than an
illusion. Predators, sometimes even our most trusted friends, make
plans for our downfall. Unseen snipers close in, ready to pull the
trigger when we least expect it.

Perhaps it's just human nature -- everybody has....
*************************

You've just been reading the introduction to Enemies, a chilling
new piece of interactive fiction from the author of Time: All
Things come to an End and Heist: The Crime of the Century.

You are Charles Johnson, a perfectly ordinary man with
a perfectly ordinary job. Nothing to remarkable. When the game
begins, you are standing in front of the movie theatre waiting for
your girlfriend Joanna. She's running late and while you
are standing there wondering where she is, your
cellular phone rings. Upon answering, you are
greeted by an unidentifiable person who seems to know who you are
and seems to really hate you. This person informs you
that they have something of yours and you will have to try to get
it back. Putting two and two together, you deduce that it's Joanna
and you rush over to her apartment where you find a dead body which
thankfully isn't Joanna, but you can't seem to find her anywhere.
You soon find yourself matching wits with a dangerous and clever
psychopath who seems to know an awful lot about your past and
appears intent on destroying everything you have ever held dear,
including you. You must find out who your enemy is and save Joanna
before it's to late.

I will say right up front that this is not a game for young
children or for those people easily offended or frightened.
Basically, if you did not like Anchorhead, then you probably won't
like this game. There are some pretty graphic descriptions of death
and there are also some rather violent confrontations that may turn
off some players, but if you don't mind this sort of thing, I think
you'll really like this game.

Personally, I really enjoyed the game. Like the author's previous
two games, the writing and attention to detail are excellent. The
main characters are very well implemented and the character
interaction, though limited, is good. . I also thought the author
did a good job of keeping a sense of fear and urgency throughout
the game. I also like the use of flashbacks that the main character
experiences at certain key points in the game. These really help to
give us a glimpse in to the past of Charles and relate it to the
present situation.

The puzzles were also very good. Although you may not see it at
first, all of the puzzles do have logical solutions. Most of these
puzzles are not easy. In fact, you will probably find yourself
typing restore more times than you can count. I'll be honest, I
found myself asking for hints on several occasions. This leads me
to my only complaint.
Although I felt that most of the puzzles were fair and logical, I
also thought that some puzzles were kind of obscure. Once I
obtained hints on these particular puzzles however, I had no
trouble solving them. I won't say where I encountered these because
I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I didn't feel that
there were enough clues in the descriptions hinting at what you
need to do. Fortunately, there aren't to many of these obscure
puzzles.

When you do download this game and start playing,
you should note that if you use Frotz, you
will get some run-time errors. You can still play
the game with Frotz however if you use the -i option to ignore run-
time errors. The game should then work correctly.
However, if you'd rather be safe than sorry, you should use Zip to
play. The game works perfectly on Zip. The version that works well
with speech is Zip, Version 2.04. You can find this version at Igor
Gueths homepage at:
http://www.concentric.net/~igueths.

So, if you're looking for a good original piece of
interactive fiction, and the dark tone of the game
doesn't bother you, give Enemies a try. You can find the
current version at:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode/Enemies.z8.
You can also find a solution file at:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/solutions/enemies.sol.

+

One of the best RPG's for blind-sighted teams to emerge in a long
time is Return to Krondor. Authored by Raymond Feist, the game
features a particularly good story-line. Characters are all well-
developed, and their lines are spoken by actors for the most part.
there are a few places where a narrator would have been nice, but
your sighted companion will not have to do all that much reading.
The combat is turn-based, giving everyone a chance to plan out
their moves. Different levels of difficulty are also available. The
sound and music are both excellent. Controlling your party of
characters is easy. Each player or group of players can have their
own book where they can put their saved games. You can find this
game in computer stores fairly easily. My father and I managed to
win the game in around forty hours or so. We normally play games
for around two hours at a time. This game was so involving,
however, that we often played for four or five hours at a time
without realizing it.

+

"TRIVIA"
Game and Programs by Jim Kitchen
Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia

   I'm pleased to announce to the readers of Audyssey who like
playing trivia games, that Jim Kitchen has just released a BRAND
NEW and totally speech friendly trivia game! And best of all, it's
available FREEWARE!

When I first received Issue 6 of Audyssey, I found a program on the
disk called "ASTRIVIA" (Astounding Trivia) that had been written in
the mid 80's. It was fine, but I felt that somethings were missing:
1. While the questions were in multiple choice, you had to have the
caps lock key turned on. OK, maybe that wasn't so bad, but I didn't
care for it.
2. You could make your own trivia game files, but you couldn't add
comments, and you could only have up to 4 answers.

Jim Kitchen's Trivia game is, in my opinion, the best trivia game
I've played since I last played Astounding Trivia. You can have up
to 9 answers in a trivia game, and all questions are random. You
also get multimedia sounds for correct answers, incorrect answers,
and high scores. The best thing I like about Jim's game is that you
can make your own trivia game, with more features. I'm going to
compare this with the Astounding Trivia system's trivia game making
capabilities. In the Astounding Trivia program, you could only have
one line for each question, whereas in Jim's program, you can have
up to 9 lines to write a question. As I said before, you can also
have up to 9 answers, which you select during the game play, by
entering a number. You can also write up to 16 lines of comments
for each correct answer! This was something you couldn't do in the
Astounding Trivia package.

There are two ways you can make a trivia game with Jim's program:
you can write a text file in a special way to make the source code
for your game, then convert it to the format required by the Trivia
game. You can also use the included "TRVMAKER" program which walks
you through the development of your trivia game file. (A Conversion
program is also included to turn text files of your game's source
code into trivia files required by the Trivia program to work
correctly."
   I gave this excellent set of programs a rating of 10 out of 10!
This means you won't be disappointed when you download this
program.

The only thing I wish Jim could add to the program is a "fill in
the blank" or "sentence completion" feature if you want to make
trivia games look like school exams. But even without that
feature, the program is absolutely first rate! If you'd like to
download this program, go to Jim's web page:
www.now-online.com/jkitchen
and click on the link that says "Click here to link to my Trivia
page".
Also, if you make any trivia games that you think other users of
this package might like, you can send it to Jim as an attachment,
and he'll put it on his Trivia page. If you'd like to e-mail Jim,
just click on the e-mail link at the top of his page.

++
MUSIC IN GAMES FOR THE BLIND
                        By Kelly Sapergia

   Ever since I started playing (or tried to play) games that were
made for sighted people, I was always fascinated with the music the
authors of the games used. I can still remember the music from a
game called "Jill of the Jungle" which had some humorous sounds,
and an excellent musical soundtrack. So anyway, while I was playing
one of PCS's games a few weeks ago, a thought struck me: Why can't
we have music in our games, just like in games for sighted players?
(I don't mean having just theme songs at the start of games, I'm
talking about music during game play.) One reason I think this is
a good idea is because music enhances the mood of the game, whereas
speech synthesizers don't, in my opinion. There are a few ways
people have made music for their games, and I'll discuss them
below.

The Ad Lib

   In 1987 Ad Lib released the first sound board that would play
music for computer games. This card was an 8-bit card, and the
music was in mono. Shortly after they released their sound board,
Creative Labs made the Sound Blaster, which had the Ad Lib chip,
and one 8-bit digital chip for sound effects and voices. The music
the Ad Lib card produced was called "FM Music". Some music for the
Ad Lib was outstanding, but some wasn't very good at all. It's no
longer on the cutting edge now. Wavetable and General MIDI (which
I'll get to in a minute) have replaced it.

MOD Files

   MOD (short for Module) files originated on the old
Amiga computers. They were a version of MIDI files, but contained
digital samples. The only thing you need to listen to these files
is a sound card, and a MOD player. These files were used in a few
games, but they're on the decline at the moment, even though there
are still some composers making their own music with this
technology. To make a MOD file, you need a program called a
"Tracker". The file is created by using "patterns", so they can
play right. The only drawback to using trackers, from a blind
user's perspective, is that they are totally graphical, and hard to
access.

MIDI Files and Wavetable Synthesis

   MIDI (which stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface")
has been around ever since 1983, when it was introduced. Just about
every computer game now uses MIDI for it's music. One thing that a
lot of people use is a system called "General MIDI". This form of
MIDI will work on any MIDI keyboard from any
manufacturer, or on a good wavetable sound card. (Don't bother
trying to listen to these files on the Ad Lib. They don't sound as
good as they do on a Roland keyboard, or a sound card like the
AudioTrix line of sound cards.) They're easy to create as well. You
basically need a sequencer and a MIDI keyboard that can be
connected to the computer. I won't go into any details about making
these files, but if anyone's interested, I recommend "The MIDI
Primer", which talks about how visually impaired
musicians can use MIDI. (You can find this excellent publication on
"Kathy Seven's
Blindness Inside Out" site at:
http://home.utah-inter.net/kseven)
I myself have done some work with this technology. I made a few
songs with it, including a logo file that would work perfectly with
PCS's games. (I can convert it to a WAV file format if anyone's
interested.)

Conclusion

   I hope this gives you an idea of what music formats are out
there. All you need is the right equipment and software, but after
that, the rest comes easy. If you have any questions about this, or
anything else I discuss, feel free to e-mail me any time. I check
my e-mail a lot and will reply quickly to your messages. I'm also
available on the "Audyssey Discussion List" so you may send mail to
me this way as well.

++
News From PCS

Carl and Phil have brought another arcade classic to the blind.
This time, Pacman, (changed to Packman), has emerged in a fully
accessible form. While not entirely true to the game enjoyed by
sighted people, it comes remarkably close. I'll let Kelly Sapergia
tell you all about it. Another exciting development will go down
very well with card-players. A demo version of the PCS Card Club
has been up-loaded to the Internet at long last. Now, you can try
before you buy. I hope this encourages some of you hesitant cards
fans to give it a look. It can be found at Paul Henrichsen's site
among other places.

+
 "PACK MAN"
                Game by Personal Computer Systems
                   Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia

   Have you ever wanted to play the great classic game "Pack Man"
without any graphics? Well, NOW YOU CAN!! Welcome to PCS's version
of "Pack Man", written especially for visually impaired
game players!
   Before I get to the game from PCS, I'd like to tell you a little
about this game. "Pack Man" was one of the first arcade games for
both the coin-operated arcades, and for personal
computers. The object of the game is to run through a maze trying
to gobble up all the fruit (or vitamin pills in some versions) you
can find. The fruit you find increases your strength that is
needed, because you aren't alone in the maze! You are being pursued
by some sneaky ghosts who will "eat" you if they catch you.
However, if you have super strength, then the ghosts will get
scared and run away from you.

"Pack Man" has been released on many systems, including the
Nintendo, back in 1981. In fact, I still have the original game for
the IBM, but I don't play it anymore, because it doesn't work as
well as it does on a slow computer.

But to get back to PCS's version. In this new version, PCS has
designed the game so it could be played by a visually impaired
gamer, by using text, and lots of sounds. The sounds work best with
a Sound Blaster sound card. You basically move around the maze with
the arrow keys. You'll get messages that tell you which direction
you're facing. You won't be told if there is a fruit in front of
you because, like in the original game, when you touch it you will
"eat" it. Now, what about those ghosts? There are, unfortunately,
no sounds for the ghosts for the Sound Blaster, but you'll know
that they're near you because of various beep tones from the PC
speaker. The higher the tone, the closer they are to you. You'll
also be notified if they're sneaking up on you from behind by the
low tone sounds from the PC speaker. If you have super strength,
you won't be killed, but if you don't, then the game will end
unless you have extra lives.

This game also uses stereo effects to tell you where another path
is. For example, if you hear a beep on the left speaker, then
there's a path to your immediate left. If you hear a beep on the
right, a path is also on the right. Two beeps on both sides mean
that there are paths on both sides. Another thing I like about this
game is that it's played in real-time. On a scale of 1 to 10, I
gave this game a rating of 10! The sounds are taken directly from
the original game, and it's as fun as it was when I first played it
a few years ago. In fact, when I read that Paul Henrichsen had just
up-loaded the demo to his excellent FTP site, I immediately down-
loaded it, and I'm glad I did!
   A demo of this excellent version of "Pack Man" can be
down-loaded from Paul Henrichsen's FTP site. The best way to get
there is by clicking on the "Great Files to Download From My FTP
Site" link at:
www.thesocket.com/~henrich
For more information about this, or any other game by PCS,
contact them by writing to:
Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton Avenue
Perth Amboy, NJ
08861, USA
Phone: (732) 826-1917
E-mail: [email protected]

++
Anchorhead Opinions
By Allen Maynard


This text adventure game was definitely one of the darkest and most
sinister I have ever played.  However, I don't feel that its
darkness detracts from the quality of a truly unique and enjoyable
game.  Please do not misunderstand me.  In no way am I saying that
I enjoy the cruel realities of incest, rape, black magic, and
murder.  These are probably the four lowest forms of human
degeneracy.  But the dark power of this game is due to the
fantastic skill of the author.  His rich, graphic imagery and
incredible attention to the finest detail makes you feel as if the
author has reached a slimy, skeletal, gnarled hand right through
your computer monitor, gripped your throat and forced you to join
him in his nightmare by dragging you kicking and screaming into the
hideous depths of hell.  The thing is, though, once there, you are
glad to be there and you really don't want the game to end.

This game is definitely an R-rated game.  It isn't for children.
But I received my degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences and more
specifically I am an English major.  I distinctly remember one of
my poetry writing professors saying that as a student in his class
you have unlimited access to any word in the English language and
beyond when composing a poem.  He was responding to some profanity
in a poem written by a fellow student.  I feel the same is true in
prose writing for that is really what Anchorhead is--a work of
fictional prose in a text adventure game format.  Because that's
what this game is, it is only a story.  It's no different than
watching a creepy movie.  In a strange way, Anchorhead, for me, was
a breath of fresh, fetid air.  I was getting a little tired of the
sterile, antiseptic text games I had been playing.  It may not be
a type of theme I would choose to base a text adventure on, but I
have no right to condemn someone else who chooses to do so.  Simply
because the subject matter is dark, sinister, and stomach turning,
does not mean that it shouldn't be explored.  In my opinion, the
author was not getting off by writing about incest, rape, and
murder.  He took way too much care in making a quality game with
vivid, graphic images.  If he had been sloppy and thin with this
game I would say that he just wanted to talk about sick sex to push
people's buttons and piss them off.  But I enjoyed my little trip
through the rank, mucus-infested depths of hell.  I was sad when it
all ended.  And again, please don't misunderstand.  I did not
linger on the screens of text dealing with incest and rape.  I did
not sit at my terminal with a sick, drooling grin savouring each
word.  I did not freeze the text on my screen and save it as a text
file for later slavering.

Yes, the theme of Anchorhead was very dark and distasteful, but as
an adult I did not let that fact detract from a truly enjoyable
gaming experience.

++
Game Reviews

+

VERSIONS OF DUNGEON: A Comparison
By Kelly Sapergia

   If you have ever played the classic "Zork" trilogy by Infocom,
then you'll like the first version that was made in the MIT labs in
the late 1970's, which was called "Dungeon". It was originally
programmed in a language called MDL. Since the release of Dungeon,
and of the Zork trilogy, people have made dozens of
translations of the game into other languages, including Fortran,
TADS, and Inform. Since there are a lot of versions of this game on
the IF-Archive, it's difficult to decide what one to download. Here
are a few comparisons between the Fortran and TADS versions
compared to the Z-code version which was released in November,
1998.    I haven't completed any of these versions, but I did try
them for awhile and came up with the following:

- In the Fortran version (the file to download for this version is
DUNGN32B.ZIP, and can be found in the IF-ARCHIVE/GAMES/PC directory
of FTP.GMD.DE), as well as the TADS version (which can be found in
the GAMES/TADS directory of the IF-ARCHIVE), the total number of
points is 616. In the Z-code version (in
FTP.GMD.DE/IF-ARCHIVE/GAMES/ZCODE/ZDUNGEON.Z5) the number of points
is 646. This sounds like the Z-code version is a bit longer, or
contains other puzzles not found in the original game.

- The parser is basically the same in all versions, but if I were
you, I'd try playing the TADS version or the Inform version,
especially if the Fortran version doesn't want to work in a DOS
window in Windows 95.

- The locations in the game have changed from the Zork trilogy. For
instance, while in the Cellar, if you go south, you'll be at a room
called "West Side of Chasm". OK, now if you go north, you won't be
back in the Cellar, but in a north-south crawlway. Going East in
both the Cellar and the crawlway brings you to the "Troll Room".
Defeating the troll isn't a problem, especially if you use the
sword. Now, here's a word of warning: in the Zork 1, going West
from the troll room takes you to the maze of twisty passages we
have all come to know and hate. If you go East from the maze,
you'll be back in the troll room. That's fine, especially if you
don't want to go into the maze. But in Dungeon it's a different
story. Going West from the troll room takes you to the maze, BUT
going East won't take you back to the troll room. So you'll be
wondering around Dungeon's maze for awhile, unless you saved your
game before you tried entering it.
Speaking of directions, going East from the troll room brings you
to another path, just like in Zork 1. But if you try going East, in
Dungeon, you'll be back in the Troll room again, and not in the
Round Room like the one in Zork 1. I wonder why the writers of the
original Dungeon mapped the game like this. I prefer the mapping
they used in the Zork trilogy, personally.

   In conclusion, I recommend the Inform version of Dungeon. There
may be more things to do in this version, but it's
virtually the same as the DUNGN32B.ZIP file, or even the TADS
version. You'll have to try each version to see what's the best. +


Hunt the Wumpus
Game from Boston University
Reviewed by Theresa van Ettinger
URL: http://scv.bu.edu/games/

     Hunt the Wumpus is a classic game which I first encountered in
accessible form on an Apple IIe, written in basic.  Now this game
has been done up for play on the we.  Put out by the same people
who created the web-game "pegs", this game places the player as an
adventurer in dark caves, consisting of rooms connected by tunnels.
The object, as the name indicates, is to hunt and kill the dreaded
Wumpus.  This is accomplished by aiming arrows at the elusive
creature.  The catch is this: the arrows must be fired from a room
other than the one in which the wumpus is currently located, since
as soon as you land in the same room with it, you instantly become
its dinner.  The twist in this version is the presence of other
players, who are also attempting to slaughter the wumpus.  As a
result of this, it is necessary to look out to avoid being shot by
another player.  Also, when a player is shot, their arrows are
dropped at the point where they were shot.  I'm not sure if this
also applies to those eaten by the wumpus.
     This game has several variations to go along with whatever
type of web browser you happen to be using: graphics with or
without forms, and text with or without forms.  You will need to
try out the versions available to find out which best suits your
needs, since some browsers have difficulty with the forms.  But the
interface is simple enough in both text situations that it should
be easy to understand, and there is an instruction page if you need
further assistance.  As to strategies for playing the game, it is
a good idea to write down everything you find out in each room,
including which rooms there are tunnels to, whether there are bats
nearby, etc.  It is quite a challenging game, and requires some
patience to accomplish.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm giving this one
a full 10 for it's flexibility and recreation of this classic game.

***Correction***
     In my review of "Pegs" in December, I wrote that it was by the
University of Washington, but it is actually from Boston
University.

+
Mud Review: LegendMUD
by Justin Fegel

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet Robin Hood and
his band of merry men, fight the saxons as they attempt to conquer
Britain, or pan for gold during the California Gold Rush of 1849?
Then you should point your telnet or mud client at LegendMUD.

A mud is an online text-based virtual world that can be accessed by
dozens of users at one time. These online worlds can have thousands
of locations to explore, objects to manipulate, and computer
controlled characters to fight. The size of a mud is only limited
by the space available on the server. A player gains levels and
experience by
killing monsters, completing quests, discovering hidden locations,
and, if it is permitted, killing other players.

Muds are usually based on a particular theme. Most mud themes
centre around popular movies and books in the fantasy and science
fiction genre. LegendMUD is very unique in that its theme is based
entirely on history. It is not however, based on history as we know
it today. Instead, it is based on history as it was perceived at
the time. This means that you will encounter people and creatures
that are considered legendary today, but during that particular
time period, they were believed to be real.

The mud is broken up in to three eras. There's the ancient era
which includes such places as, Ancient Arabia, Ancient Egypt, Roman
Britain, and Celtic Ireland. Next there's the Medieval era which
includes such places as, Medieval Britain, Tutor England, Medieval
Spain, and 17th Century Salem. The last era is the industrial era
which includes such places as, Victorian England, World War I., the
South Seas, and the California Gold Rush. These are just a few of
the historical areas available in the mud, and if you can pass the
final level and become an immortal, you will have the opportunity
to create your own. Every area in the mud has been carefully
researched and implemented to
make it seem as realistic as possible. You can even obtain
comprehensive background information on each area as well.

When you are in a particular era, you can travel between areas by
water or land, depending how they are connected. If you want to
travel to an area in another era, you must time travel. In order to
time travel you must complete a quest. Time quests are extremely
simple and can be completed by players of any level.

Like in other muds, role playing is an integral part of the game as
well. To take full advantage of the rpg features in LegendMUD, you
should join one of the several clans which are scattered around the
mud. Each clan has its own clan hall and each member is given a
password. Player killing is also not permitted unless you are a
member of a clan. You must be at least level ten before you can
join a clan.
The mud also features an Out of Character Lounge for players to
come and take a break, chat with other users, or send virtual gifts
from the giftshop to fellow players.

The process of creating a new character works pretty much the same
as on other muds. The only thing you won't have to do is pick a
race or class. You will also have to pick a home town. There are
about two home towns per era. Your choice of home town will have an
effect on what skills you can learn and what profession you can go
in to. For example: If you decide to choose an ancient home town,
you will probably be better at using
magical items and learning and casting magic spells. Whereas, if
you choose an industrial home town, you will be better with
technological items like guns and more modern tools.
This mud also has a lot of friendly people. You will always find
someone willing to help you if you are new to mudding, or just new
to this mud in general. In fact, there was a clan that was started
who's main objective is to help out new players.

So if you have an interest in history, or just enjoy
mudding in general, you need to check out LegendMUD. To connect,
telnet to: mud.aus.sig.net port 9999, or go to LegendMUD's home
page at: http://mud.aus.sig.net.


++
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

Justin Fegel is one of our two interactive fiction staff members.
He will be happy to advise and guide players through the many
interactive fiction games out there. He can be contacted at:
[email protected]

James Peach, our commercial games expert, will do his best to
advise those seeking commercial entertainment which is accessible
to blind players with or without sighted assistance. He can be
contacted at:
[email protected]

Kelly Sapurgia is another expert in interactive fiction. He is a
well-established reviewer of games for Audyssey, and has an
interest in developing interactive fiction as well as playing it.
He can be contacted at:
[email protected]


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