Computer Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 18: May/June/July, 1999
Edited by Michael Feir
Welcome to the eighteenth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated to
the discussion of computer games which, through accident or design, are
accessible to the blind. This issue marks the third anniversary of
Audyssey's existence. We've come a long way in that time, and I hope all of
you enjoy this celebration of that fact. As usual, we have news from PCS,
and a letter from a new company called ESP Softworks which anyone looking
for Windows-based games should take interest in. At long last, Adam, the
Immortal Gamer, makes his return to the Audyssey scene as promised in the
last issue. Enjoy, everyone.
Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your fellow
readers. They will also make my job as editor a lot more interesting and
true to the meaning of the word. This magazine should and can be a highly
interesting and qualitative look at accessible computer gaming. To insure
that high quality is maintained, I'll need your written
contributions. I'm not asking for money here, and won't accept any. This
magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain so. PCS
needs to charge a subscription cost to cover the disks and shipping costs
that it incurs by making the magazine available on disk. I'm writing this
magazine as much for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your articles,
reviews, and letters, as well as any games you might care to send me, are
what I'm after. Send any games, articles, letters, or reviews via E-mail, or
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. Thanks to my new computer, I can now send and receive attachments
with ease. This way, no money will be wasted sending me a game I already
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. I now use
MS-Word to produce Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty
much any format. They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via
e-mail to my CompuServe address. I will give my home address and my
CompuServe address at the end of the magazine. There are now several ways of
obtaining Audyssey. To subscribe to the distribution list so that you
receive all future
issues, send a subscription request to J.J. Meddaugh. As he is running
several lists, be sure to specifically ask to join the
Audyssey list. His address is:
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:
You can find all issues of Audyssey on the Internet on Paul
Henrichsen's web site at:
If you have web access,
Audyssey now has an official web-page, maintained by Igor Gueths at:
Besides having all issues of Audyssey available for down-load, six megabytes
of storage space are available for popular games. Kelly Sapergia also
maintains a page for Audyssey. You'll find the address of his web-site in
the "Contacting Us" section. If you have ftp access, all issues are also
available at Travis Siegel's ftp site:
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.
E-mail: [email protected]
>From The Editor
Mudding With Jaws for Windows and Gmud
The Latest Finds
Audyssey's New Factory Floor
Personal Computer Systems Software Over-priced
Free Game Winner
Adam, The Immortal Gamer
News From PCS
Echoes from Audyssey's Past
Contacting Us +++
>From The Editor:
Well, folks, this issue marks our third year. To all who contributed, thanks
a bunch. Until the very last minute, I thought that the task of making this
issue special would fall on my shoulders almost exclusively. Almost no
contributions came in until the last couple of weeks. As a result, I had to
do a whole lot of editing and last-minute revisions in not a lot of time. I
would ask all of you to try and get your submissions in as soon as possible
so that I can spend more time getting the magazine in proper trim instead of
merely trying to find a place for everything.
As you'll read about later, I got a new computer system. This will make
Audyssey far easier to produce. At the same time, the nature and scope of
the gaming universe is on the brink of drastic expansion. Both PCS and the
new ESP Softworks are planning to release Windows-based games for blind
people in the very near future. We can all look forward to a lot of fun. I
certainly hope that this pending infusion of new games will lead to more of
you writing articles and reviews. Articles in particular are still in very
For all those who have waited patiently for a return visit, Adam, The
Immortal Gamer has once again graced these pages with his presence. I hope
all of you enjoy this episode, and that some of you try and write others for
the rest of us.
Before I leave you to the rest of these lines, I'd like to go out on a limb
a bit. There is an organization called ZBS Audio which produces excellent
audio dramas in sterio sound. A few of them are even in 3D sound. Their
web-site is currently not the most accessible place on the Net, but it is
well worth checking out. Their site is at:
Alternatively, you can call them at:
Believe me, folks. It's well worth the time and/or money to call. They offer
a special discount on their dramas for blind customers, so be certain to
take advantage of that. You might also want to tell them you heard about
them through Audyssey. Well, I guess that's about it for this one. You can
expect the next Audyssey at the end of September barring any more dry
spells. Remember, I'm counting on you to keep this magazine going.
From Robby Spangler:
Hi Michael. I am making my won game. I am having someone program it for me,
but I don't no when it will be done. It is called "Spangler town Adventure."
The game is cool. You start in a little building. Then you must find all of
the treasures in order to end the game. The game is not even programed yet.
When it is, I will write a review about it.
I like playing PCS games. I have ordered a copy of Cops 98. It sounds very
cool. The next game I will get is called Maze 98. I have a copy of Mobius
Mountain. It's a nice game for math. Any time you need a little math
practice, just get Mobius. My sister Rachael loves that game. I will
probably order a copy of the Maze demo. I have also got the Shoot demo.
You can write back to me at:
8856 N. Kimmel Rd.
Clayton Oh. USA
I wish Mr. Spangler the best of luck with the design of his game. He and I
have been in contact for a while now thanks to PCS, and he has expressed a
great deal of interest in games. He is looking for some one to help him
program his game when he has it ready. If any of you want to lend this young
fellow a hand, please do so. I've recently sent him some of the better games
out there, and we'll doubtless hear more from him in the near future. Enjoy
your Summer, Robby, and best of luck in school if you don't get this issue
Dear Mike and staff,
You can blow out the candles for Audyssey's third birthday, and
celebrate another passing year of excellent work and effort by you and your
team! We just want to say thank you for the unselfish time and effort that
the Audyssey folks have spent bringing a super well needed magazine to the
blind Gamer. P C S asks all subscribers to join us in applauding the folks
who turn out this superb magazine for all of us! Write Mike and his staff
letting them know how much Audyssey has meant to you over the last year,
and how much you would like to see them keep up the great work for years to
come. So, take a well deserved bow, you all earned it!
Audyssey and Personal Computer systems share something in common, we
are both new kids on the block in the entertainment area for the blind
computer community. In the three years of Audyssey we have seen Michael
plant the seed of his dream with hopeful anticipation, publish with
uncertain support his little sprout of a magazine, and then work pushing and
prodding subscribers to participate in nurturing Audyssey to what it is
today. It is a
flourishing bountiful tree. We have also been with Mike through his last
year in school, working at his first temporary job, and searching for full
employment. Michael started out with a lap top having minimal capabilities
to a new computer with all the trimmings, and I'm sure we will be hearing
the ins and outs of it soon. We have all gotten to know quite allot about
Mike throughout the last three years, and we hope to see him continue with
Audyssey far into the future.
Now that Audyssey has been around for three years, it does not mean the
magazine can survive without subscriber participation. Mike and his staff
have jobs, families, and other obligations to take care of. Without you the
subscriber feeding the magazine with raw input, letters, articles, ideas,
and comments, the staff cannot devote all it's time researching and making
articles out of their
heads. Without new and diverse information coming in, the articles from the
staff over time will get stale and Audyssey will suffer. This magazine is
yours, the subscriber's. It can only reap what the subscriber sows into it.
So subscribers, don't sit back and let Michael and his folks work on the
magazine themselves. Write to them and contribute to hurling Audyssey into
the year two thousand and beyond!
Personal Computer Systems will be at the ACB convention in Los Angeles
the first week in July. We will be showing off our E Z Bar a bar code
reading system, the future audio game format, and signing people up for our
contest in which you could win a free E Z Bar system. If any of Audyssey's
subscribers are there, come down to our booth
and say hello. We will have a couple of computers set up to play our games.
Feel free to stop and play a while!
Until next time, have a nice day!
Phil and Carl
I'm certainly greatful to PCS for its continued support of this magazine.
Their offer of free games to anyone joining the Audyssey staff has given us
all a nice bit of incentive above and beyond the satisfaction of helping
others find pleasure in their computers instead of only a means to do work.
As Audyssey has expanded, so too has PCS. They are now colaborating with
other developers like Mr. Greenwood. May you find many more such partners.
Sadly, this magazine couldn't be published in time for us to take PCS up on
its offer and drop in on their convention. I hope it went well, and look
forward to hearing about its results. Having had a peek at a prototype of
their Windows version of Kickboxing, I can tell all of you that we have some
exciting times ahead of us. All the kinks aren't out yet, but the basic
ability to make Windows-based games for the blind has been demonstrated
admirably. I urge all of you to take a look at the interesting article they
wrote for this issue which discusses the economics of making games for the
blind. It certainly provides food for thought. Also, check out their new
demo of Lone Wolf. You'll find details in the News from PCS section along
with the article.
>From James North:
I just finished reading Issue #17 of your Audyssey game magazine and would
like to say it appears you are doing a fine job with it. I would also like
to introduce myself as I was referred to you by a young woman named Teresa
Vanettinger at this year's National NFB Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. My
name is James North and I was in Atlanta representing a company named ESP
Our company is primarily interested in the development of Windows-based
games and entertainment software that is fully speech and screen-review
accessible. To the ends of accessibility, we're also making our products
affordable. We believe that products that aren't affordable aren't
accessible (I would very much like to see that philosophy take place in the
adaptive equipment/software arena). While still in the development and
design stages, we are planning quite an innovative product line-up for
gamers! Our initial product offering will include real-time
action/adventure games, turn-based strategy games, educational games,
classic game packs, simulations, and future endeavors in virtual mobility
training combined with encouraging entertainment value.
ESP Softworks has been around for nearly a year now in it's conceptual form,
but has just recently started 'putting the word out' to the public. To kick
this off, we attended the 1999 National NFB Convention and the response was
overwhelmingly positive beyond our expectations. This
shouldn't come as any surprise, though, as just about everyone enjoys
playing games in some fashion! At the convention, we had the opportunity to
meet a great deal of people and got a lot of good feedback, suggestions,
and wish lists. It's very important to us to maintain open contact with the
players and potential players of our products.
The convention was a great way to introduce ourselves to a number of people,
but will plan to continue this introduction with the opening of our web
site, attending other state and local conventions, and contributing articles
related to gaming and technology trends to various publications.
We would also like the opportunity to contribute to Audyssey as well. We
feel that exposure is very important in this industry in order to spur
interest and innovation. Magazines such as Audyssey and companies such as
PCS have appeared to have a positive impact to this effect. We hope that
this will continue in the future!
As I mentioned before, our primary development arena is the Windows 95 and
Windows 98 platforms. In reading Issue #17, I agree wholeheartedly
regarding the viability of DOS-based games. I've been an avid computer game
player for nearly two decades now and can remember spending many hours
playing text adventure games on my Atari and then later on the
IBM-compatibles. Classics become classics for a reason and I don't feel
that the introduction of one type of game should preclude or necessarily
phase out any other. The value of a game, in my opinion, is it's
playability including it's entertainment value. ESP's goal is to
offer products that take advantage of the technology trends of today so that
when people explore these other avenues of technology, they don't do so on a
barren playing field. The rich multimedia capabilities and device
independence of the Windows operating system is destined to be
advantageous for everyone. Our goal is to put it to work for game players
in such a way that it's enjoyable and usable.
Teresa had taken a couple of our product information and game demo audio
tapes with her at the convention and mentioned she would forward you a copy.
Please let me know if you haven't received the tape and I will send
you a tape or CD. Our web site should be up by the end of July, and will
feature product information, online demos, release dates, news, surveys, and
giveaways. We would also like to offer a section on our website to
Audyssey in order to help distribution and to offer back issues. There was
mention in Audyssey that some of the games were available in a six meg
archive. We could also set aside an archive of these games for users to
have easy access to via the web or ftp. Since, as you mentioned, the
magazine should be promoted in areas in which potential readers don't
already have access, we could also promote the magazine at any conventions
or technology fairs we attend in the course of promoting our products.
Please let me know if any of this is of interest to you.
Well, I'm going to close for now. My return e-mail address is
[email protected]. I look forward to talking with you soon.
The upcoming Genesis Project is a fully interactive, real-time adventure
game incorporating the latest DirectX and Accessibility technologies. The
Genesis Project combines real time game play and cinematic quality audio
and special effects with a storyline worthy of a great sci-fi novel...
ESP Softworks Inc.
Software Development Division
While I've already made a reply to Mr. North, I'll take this opportunity to
publicly wish this new company the best of luck. Audyssey will definitely be
keeping close tabs on the activities of this visionary corporation. I look
forward to experiencing the premiere release, which is said to be a science
fiction real-time adventure with cinimatic-quality sounds. Although no
further info was available to me at the time of this publication, I have no
doubt that we'll be hearing more from Mr. North and company in the near
>From James Peach:
Hello Audyssey community,
Happy anniversary to all, all-be-it a little late. I am happy to be at this
stage with Audyssey, the staff and the community, as this is my first
anniversary with Audyssey Magazine. I have seen many changes in the whole
blind games environment, since I began working for Audyssey, but this is
probably only a coincidence. Frankly, I am very pleased with the number of
companies and developers that have jumped into the niche market of
blind-accessible games, and I hope to see it continue.
Something that concerns me of late, is the lack of mail to me, concerning
anything. If you have not heard a word from me on the distributionlist, it
is because Iim not registered with it. Aside from being forgetful and
usually occupied, I much rather receiving email from people, personally,
than from a distribution list. If this is a serious concern for those
wanting to contact me, let me or somebody at Audyssey know, and I'll try to
make that extra effort to get on the list, and get in touch with the
A note about Lords of the Realms 2; I have discovered an autobattle option
in the game, which allows the computer to calculate how a battle will
result, instead of having to do it in real-time. Though this can take the
fun out of battling the enemy on a face to face basis, it means that you
won't have to miss out on combat (because it is real-time). With this in
mind, I have increased my rating of Lords 2 upto 8.5/10, from the previous
7.5. I hope that this will give anyone waiting on purchasing this game a
greater reason not to .
Finally, I am finding the world of graphically-based, blind/sighted team
games, to be a very large and daunting one. As well, I have been covering
every genre of gaming, and though I can manage, for genres such as RPG's, I
would feel better if someone with greater skill and expertise were covering
such a game genre. What I'm trying to get at is that I could use some
assistance in my devision under Audyssey. If anyone would be interested in
taking me up on this offer, I can be reached at: [email protected]
Happy anniversary, enjoy the rest of this issue and the rest of the summer!
James Peach: Mainstream Games, Audyssey Magazine
Thanks for your thoughts on this important occasion, James. I certainly hope
that we get another member covering mainstream games before the next
anniversary. It has certainly worked out well having two people covering
interactive fiction. Considering the vast array of games in his perview, I
think James has done quite well since he joined up with us. He has told us
what to buy, and perhapse more importantly, what not to buy. Buying
mainstream games is quite a risky proposition for most of us, since we have
no way of knowing ahead of time whether they'll be playable in any
meaningful way or not. I hope that those of you who play these games with
sighted people have bennifited from his council, and that you might share
your experiences with us. Tell the rest of the Audyssey community what has
and hasn't worked for you.
While I still hope that James will join our discussion list, I can certainly
sympathise with his hesitation. He has very limited time during this phase
of his life. He is working during the Summer with the Community Access
program in his town in Manitoba. He has often wondered about the lack of
contact from the rest of you. I urge all of you who have questions regarding
games not specifically designed for the blind to pose them to him. You can
be certain that he'll answer you in as timely and helpful a fashion as
>From David Greenwood:
I have an idea which could be carried out on the Audyssey mail list and
reported on an ongoing basis in the Audyssey Magazine.
I thought it may be fun and interesting to design and develop a game using
ideas from the Audyssey mail list members. We could present a basic game
scenario and encourage the mail list participants to provide interactive
feedback. I manage an Information Systems department for a medium sized
international company and we have used JADD, Joint Application Design and
Development, to develop many systems. It seems to work well in most cases.
I would find it interesting, both professionally and as a Gamer, to head up
How it might work -
I will present the initial scenario and some ideas on how the user interface
might work. I will then sit back and wait for feedback. Mail list
participants can comment on each other's ideas and when things settle down I
will prepare a summary of our design to date. This summary may need to be a
questionnaire with each participant voting on opinions which can't be agreed
I will then go away and develop a proto-type. Each participant will then
down-load the proto-type and the mail list discussion will continue for
another round. This may be an iteractive process which may go on for
Each participant will obtain a free copy of the final game, and PCS will
then be free to sell it as one of their commercial games. I would suggest
it could be sold to all other Audyssey subscribers at a somewhat reduced
price, say $$15, but this must be discussed with PCS first.
A Scenario suggestion -
The game could be loosely based on the highly graphical and popular "Doom".
You find yourself in a maze of tunnels. From a distance you here the sounds
of approaching monsters. From the volume and direction of the sounds, you
can decide to run or attack. You must find a way to the next level of the
maze while collecting weapons, ammunition, and receiving points for killing
monsters. You initially start off with a single shot
rifle an 30 rounds of ammunition. Hidden in each level of the maze is a
more powerful weapon which you will want since the monsters get a little
tougher the farther you go.
The sound will be continuous allowing you to walk, run, or shoot regardless
of the sound playing. You will always shoot in the direction you are
walking, but the skill will be deciding on how much ammunition to use and
how close you will allow the monster to come before shooting. Fast
reflexes will also come into play. You will also need to be careful of
monsters lurking around corners. Each level will contain different monsters
with different abilities. You can identify the monster by its sound.
There will be boulders to move, doors to find, pitfalls to avoid, and other
things we can decide on later. I believe this game can provide the same
entertainment value that Doom or Wolfenstein delivers.
What do you think?
Well, as to what I think, it sounds like an excellent plan. I'm all for it.
Mr. Greenwood has demonstrated his willingness and ability to make things
which seem years away from being possible happen. First, he demonstrated the
possibilities offered by real-time games with Lone Wolf. He followed that up
in short order with Trek99 featuring continuous sound. With him heading the
attempt, I think we can be fairly certain that the results will be another
breakthrough in blind gaming. For those who wonder what is possible through
joint development, check out Nethack and Adom. These games were the results
of colaboration via the Internet. Some of Infocom's best games are the
result of joint efforts with authors like Douglas Adams. Shades of Gray, an
excellent game written in AGT, is another example of joint effort.
I hope this idea gets off the ground and into reality. I also hope this
possibility incourages more of you to join our discussion list. Developers
like PCS and Mr. Greenwood will then have even more cause to use it as a
springboard for ideas. Like Mr. Greenwood, I'd also like to know what the
rest of you think of this idea. I look forward to the discussion and
thoughts this is likely to generate.
Mudding with Jaws For Windows and Gmud
By Dave Sherman
Anyone interested in mudding using Windows and JFW may get some use out of
this info. (I apologise for not having any help for WindowEyes, or any other
Windows screen readers. Perhaps users of other apps could revise my tips in
order to make GMUD work with their particular screen reader.)
--------- Forwarded message ----------
To get a copy of GMUD, download it from :
Here's some tips on setting up GMUD for JFW. (Some things may vary
depending on your system setup, but most of this info should help. You may
need to experiment a little). I'm using Win '95 on a P166 with 32
MB of RAM, and a VGA monitor set at 640x480. I'm using JFW v3.3.25.
I've set up GMUD to work optimally with speech.
First I'll run through the pertinent menu selections:
Use the "Worlds" selection of the EDIT MENU to enter and save mud address,
port, and (optionally) login info. There are a few other settings in
"Worlds", but the manual will explain them.
- Disable "Toolbar", "Connected World Window", and "Macro Window". This
will give you the max. screen width and height. The disabled windows are
only useful if you have good vision, and are fast with a mouse.
- Colours ... I've just left mine the same as my usual desktop setting
(which is white on black).
- Font ... (This option may depend on your system and video card) I've
set the font point size to 10. When I had it set at 12, it was sporadically
crashing JFW. (Also, a smaller pt. size allows more text per line).
- Screen Wrap ...
The first set of radio buttons is "Virtual screen width". Choose the second
button, "Wrap to Screen". Next tab to the check box "indent wrapped lines
two spaces". Leave this box unchecked. Then tab to the last set of radio
buttons, "wrap to nearest". And choose "word".
- Command Stacking ...
In this option choose which character you want to use as a delimiter, and
decide whether you want command stacking activated or not. (There's just
one edit field, and one check box.
- Local Echo
I disabled this option. (It's just extraneous speech for you to listen to.
- Speed Walk ...
Again there is a check box to enable/disable this feature. And there is a
edit field for the key combination you want to use for Speed Walking.
The only option you will probably be interested in under this menu is
"(P)ause". Occasionally people get so "chatty" in muds that it is
impossible to keep up with the scrolling window ... and so does JFW and the
computer. So you May want to pause the scrolling in order to read
Read the manual.doc file and the on-line help files. This program is fairly
straightforward. Most questions you have should be answered in these files.
The manual.doc file is a MS Word file, so if you don't have
MS Word, then just use Wordpad.
1. Once GMUD is up and running, route the JAWS cursor to the PC cursor.
Then Press and hold CTRL +SHIFT while tapping the left bracket twice. This
will make a frame around the input window. When the JFW frame box
comes up, just give it a name, and optionally some description info. Tab
below the description window to the set of four radio buttons. Select
(Bare in mind that I've set up GMUD so that what a user types is not spoken.
If your uncomfortable with this then don't set up the silent frame and some
of the settings below). I've found it to be helpful to be able to type and
not have my keyboard input interrupt what is being scrolled on the output
screen. It helps quite a bit in conversations.
2. Once your frame is saved and you're back in GMUD, bring up the Config.
manager. Press INSERT+T to make sure the Config. changes will be made and
saved to GMUD only.
Then Open the set Options menu and choose User Options.
- For typing echo, choose "none".
- For screen echo choose "all".
- Be sure the typing interrupt check box is not checked.
Then save this configuration and exit back to GMUD.
GMUD should now be set up for the optimal speech output with JFW. GMUD
will read the new lines as they appear on the screen. And if you've
silenced the typing functions, (your input), you should be able to keep
track of all that scrolls across the output screen. This cuts down
significantly on the need to use the JAWS cursor to review the output
One final tip: When in combat, the speech output is usually about one
screen behind the output display (this is just due to the fact that JFW
doesn't speak as fast as the screen scrolls). So, you may occasionally want
to press CTRL to silence the output speech, and clear the speech buffer.
This way the next new line of output will give you an accurate description
of how the combat is going.
Good luck, and hope this helps.
The Latest Finds:
Jewel of Knowledge
by Francesco Bova
Reviewed by Justin Fegel
The Jewel of Knowledge is a new game that appeared on the Interactive
Fiction Archive this past week. It's the first solid piece of interactive
fiction to be released in the last four or so months. I can only assume
that the lack of new quality games means that all of the IF authors out
there are hard at work on their entries for the annual Interactive Fiction
Competition which will take place in a little over three months from now.
The jewel of Knowledge is a medium sized game written with Inform and
features a traditional fantasy/dungeon crawl style of plot. The druids of
your homeland have, through their meditations, uncovered the whereabouts of
a jewel of great power that, if found, would give the one who owned it
infinite knowledge and wisdom about all things. With this power, whoever
possessed the jewel would be almost like a god. The jewel is said to be
hidden somewhere in caverns deep beneath the earth's surface and is guarded
by three ancient dragons of varying powers and abilities. Your task is to
lead an expedition down in to the bowels of the earth in order to find the
jewel and bring it to the druids.
While the plot is fairly traditional, there are some elements that give this
game a unique feel. Instead of the game starting at the beginning of your
quest, you begin the game on the final leg of your journey. At the opening
scene you are on the fifth layer of the earth's crust with Jacob, who,
besides you, is the only surviving member of the party of adventurers who
started this quest with you. When you play this opening scene for the first
time, you may think you are stuck in a colossal maze, but in reality, you're
not. This opening scene is actually an interactive prologue. Your
objective here is to ask Jacob about certain key subjects related to your
quest. Talking to Jacob will give you some useful information that you'll
need later in the game. Once you have asked these questions, the ground
will suddenly give way and the two of you will tumble down a sinkhole to the
final level. Jacob will be killed in the fall and the game will officially
begin. If you are playing for the second time or need to restart for some
reason you can skip the prologue by typing "bypass."
While I thought the interactive prologue was a good idea and well
implemented, it can be somewhat frustrating for first-time players. When I
started the game I thought I was lost in some horrific maze and the game
wouldn't let me do anything with my possessions. I didn't realise that this
was just a prologue since interactive introductions are not all that common
in games. After getting some help, I finally figured out what was going on,
but I think the author should have noted at the start of the game that this
first part was just a prologue.
The ending was kind of a surprise, but I liked it. I don't want to say to
much about it and spoil it for those who haven't played yet, but I'll give
you a little hint:
Sometimes, acquiring ultimate power is not the solution.
Okay, that might be a little vague and it wasn't a great hint, but I think
once you get to the endgame, you'll understand what I meant.
The puzzles are not very hard at all, in fact, most of the solutions are
quite obvious. I must also warn you that it is very easy to lock yourself
out of winning and there are several ways to do it. So make sure you save
Overall, this is a solid piece of work. It's not to hard, not to easy, it's
well implemented, and the text is well written. I would say it's a nice
distraction for a rainy day or a boring evening. You can download the game
at FTP://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode and look for the file jewel.z5.
Happy anniversary Audyssey!
Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia
"Adventure", or "Colossal Cave", was one of the first text
adventure games of all time. It was first made in the late 70's.
And it's still popular with Interactive Fiction players in the
late 90's. There are numerous versions available for just about
every computer platform. Even for a lot of the Adventure Game
creation programs, like AGT, and Inform.
And now, we have a new version of the game in TADS. Welcome to
One thing you're probably asking yourself at this point is
"What's so good about another version of the game?" Well, this
version is based on Dave Baggett's TADS version from 1993, but
with a twist. "Adventure 551", which I'll refer to as "ADV551",
features two games in one. One is a 551 point version by Dave
Baggett (which I've never tried, unless it was in the "Colossal
Cave Revisited" game), and the normal 360 point version. You can
switch between these two games with a single command.
Another bonus is that ADV511 will let you get rid of those
annoying dwarves, and the pirate who shows up at random to steal
your treasure. That made it more fun for me to play.
I've never been able to win Colossal Cave in any form, and
this one's no exception. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun
with this game. One thing I wish the author of ADV551 could have
done was to make it easy to get through the mazes without wasting
time walking around in circles looking for the exit. That's
infuriating! But on the bright side, the game is well written,
and I'm glad I downloaded it. I'm rating it 9 out of 10.
This game is available on the GMD.DE archive site in the
/games/TADS directory. The file is ad551.gam.
Wrestling League Simulation
Reviewed by Steven Cullen
Hello everyone, an all new and exciting sports game has emerged called
Wrestling League Simulation. This is one of the best sports games I've ever
played. The object of this game is to wrestle your way through the ranks of
wrestlers To be come a contender, and wrestle the world champion Jazzy Joe
Trophea. The game works like this, the game is turn-based. It starts with a
list of numbers and a list of corresponding moves. For example, press one to
put your opponent in a head lock. Press two to put your opponent in a leg
lock. The thing I like most about this game is that you can create an
unlimited number of your own wrestlers. You can decide whether you want the
wrestler to be made manually, which means that you give the wrestler a name
and a special move. You can also decide whether you want the computer to
make a wrestler. Each wrestler gets their own specialty move. You can decide
in what situations you want your specialty move performed. For example, will
your wrestler perform this special move while locked up with another
wrestler, or will you perform the special move while your opponent is down
in the ring. One of the things I like best about this game is that you can
give your wrestlers belts. You get to name the belt, and decide whom to give
the belt to. One of the other parts of this game I like is that you can make
tag teams. There are four different modes of play in this game human versus
human, human versus computer, computer versus computer fast, and computer
versus computer slow. I am currently using jaws for DOS and this game works
very well with speech. The only part of the game that my friends and I have
to criticise is the fact that there are no real sounds with this game. This
game would be excellent if only there were some real sounds included with
the game. Over all this is a great game with lots of replay value and will
provide for hours of fun.
Birth Of The Federation
Game by Microprose
Reviewed by Michael Feir
At last, a turn-based strategy game set in the Star Trek TNG universe has
appeared. Since no time restrictions are necessary, the game can be
considered one of the best in terms of sighted-blind teams playing together.
All aspects of the game are easily described by a sighted companion,
including placement of fleets and planets. Blind people can participate
meaningfully in all aspects of game play including combat.
Although containing small fragments of speech, the game will require a fair
amount of reading by sighted companions. Items such as combat results,
descriptions of various cultures contacted during the game, and other events
are indicated via limited spoken messages. However, item descriptions,
technical breakthroughs, etc, are not spoken.
Taking only one CD, this game presented no problems installing other than
having to change your monitor to 800x600 resolution while the game is
played. This change is apparently necessary for the video clips used
throughout the game. The sound is quite good, and each power you can play as
has a unique set of sounds for things. You can play as any of five different
major powers in the Star Trek universe. Each of these have different
strengths and weaknesses. Up to thirty minor races will be encountered by
the five major ones as they expand throughout the galaxy. These provide the
empire who wins them over via diplomacy or conquest unique advantages.
A whole host of other features and parameters await the bold strategist who
tries this game. It is an understatement to say that the re-play value of
this game is nothing short of astounding.
This game is widely available in computer stores, and can also be purchased
on-line on the Web. It requires Windows95/98. Despite its lack of speech
output, Birth of the Federation has already provided my father and I with
hours of enjoyable play. We're not even close to winning our first game yet,
and are unlikely to be before playing through at least five hundred more
turns. I rate this game at eight out of ten for blind-sighted teams.
Audyssey's New Factory Floor
By Michael Feir
As of this issue, Audyssey is being produced on a brand new computer system
I have just acquired from the folks at Microcomputer Science Centre. Instead
of using Wordperfect5.1, Audyssey is now being made with MS-Word. I now use
MS-Outlook to retrieve my E-mail. This means that it is far easier to deal
with sending and receiving attachments, and it is now possible to receive
your submissions in pretty much any format you care to send them in.
Inserting E-mail messages and the like is now a much more simple exercise
than previously. Also, it is less likely that items will be lost as has
happened on a couple of occasions before. To anyone who may have sent
something which wasn't published in this issue, I would ask that you
re-submit it for the next one. I have turned my old laptop into a strictly
DOS-based machine, and thereby saved a ton of space on its hard drive.
Unfortunately, I had to format the hard drive to do this and may have
forgotten to copy a few files.
With far better access to the Internet thanks to Internet Explorer, I can
conduct better and more thorough net searches for possible undiscovered or
new games of interest. I will be able to follow up many more of your tips on
Internet sites. Keep in mind, however, that I have other occupations besides
editing and writing this magazine. I still rely on you, the readers, to keep
it alive. My staff are there to help you enjoy games and provide a core of
material for Audyssey. It is up to you to provide direction and ideas.
The computer I've obtained is a Pentium3 with a DVD drive and Soundblaster
Live with surround-sound speakers. I am running Windows95 at present. In a
nut-shell, a whole new world of possibilities has been opened up for me. I
can examine the latest commercial games for accessibility, and can fully
appreciate PCS's games with their excellent sounds. With my own line and
Internet access, I can now look at some of the Web-based games emerging.
Should any of my readers be sighted and want to send print materials, I can
scan them with Kurzweil 1000 software and an HP scanner I got with my
system. Please note that materials to be scanned cannot be hand-written.
They must be typed or printed via computer.
With these major improvements, I predict that Audyssey will better reflect
the efforts of those who contribute to its pages. The arrival of this new
gear is very timely indeed as seen by PCS's and ESP Softworks's intentions
to construct games for Windows-based environments. It is far easier for me
to edit a review or evaluate an article if I can experience what the author
experiences for myself. Of course, it also means that a wealth of new
distractions are within my grasp. I can only hope that future games are not
so spell-binding that they inhibit Audyssey from being published. As I get a
great deal of satisfaction out of producing Audyssey, this is quite unlikely
to occur. As long as you readers continue to submit your articles, reviews,
letters and ideas, I'll keep my end of the bargain and put out another
What will happen to my old laptop, you ask? I'll use it as my travelling
machine. With the 830 MB on its hard drive, I'll be able to carry around
practically the entire collection of text-based games and demonstrate or
share them with people. Writing has long been a hobby of mine, and the
laptop will now be my portable means of doing this. It'll be at Lake Joseph
Centre during the last week of August while I'm there on vacation. For those
who can come to Ontario during the Summer, Lake Joseph is a wonderful
vacation spot. I've often wrote articles and poems during the week I spend
there most years. Hopefully, I'll be able to attract more people to the idea
of computer games for the blind and to the Audyssey community.
PERSONAL COMPUTER SYSTEMS SOFTWARE OVER-PRICED
By Carl Mickla
During the last week of May and the first week of June, there was some
discussion of the cost of software that Personal Computer Systems charges,
and the quality of the games. I would like to start out by talking about
what a small software company must spend to produce a quality software
First a software engineer must be employed. Lets go cheep and say
thirty five thousand for one year. Then lets add in a programmer, again we
will go cheep with twenty five thousand. Then, throw in two thousand for
equipment and supplies. Now, this is really a low budget company that is
put together here. If you're counting we are up to sixty two thousand
dollars and these people are working at home. Notice, no support personnel
talking to dealers, customers, or potential customers, packing
orders, and dealing with any other interruptions. This is
strictly a two person show.
Lets say that they produce five programs a year, and lets sell them for
thirty dollars each. Then using PCS best year numbers and there best
program for each of the five games. fifty games times five is two hundred
and fifty games total. Now out of the two fifty one hundred and seventy
five were sold by dealers. The dealers get half of the game cost. That
means for one hundred and seventy five games two thousand six hundred and
twenty five dollars is made. For the other seventy five games two thousand
two hundred and fifty dollars was taken in. This makes a grand total
of Four thousand eight hundred and seventy five dollars total per year.
I hope prospective game programmers for the blind community are not
reading this. In order to break even with payroll and expenses, if the same
amount of games were sold, each game would have to be sold for two hundred
and forty eight dollars. How many of you would pay that kind of money? I
wouldn't, and I don't think anyone else would. Well, remember the less
games sold the more they must cost.
So, how are we going to make some games and put them out there for a
reasonable price? The first thing we do is get rid of the engineer and the
programmer. Then we find two semi-professionals and let them think they are
making a difference. What they do is produce the cleanest programs, which
work with most machines, return the money to anyone who is dissatisfied, and
try out new ideas. In return we will pay them thirty dollars per game, and
put up with some inconveniences like buying a game finding out it does not
work and requesting our money back.
That sounds like a bargain to me at twice the price! Are you sure none
of you out there would like to give it a go! I assure anyone wanting to
open one of these low budget companies that there are plenty of games
waiting to be made. I can't claim there is a whole lot of money, but most
of the time you will be appreciated.
I would like to now talk about inconveniences and why you are asked to
put up with them. As you should know by now I do not have a software
engineer on the books. Not that I would not like to have one, but as it
was shown earlier you or I couldn't afford one. So, this means that I
cannot test our programs as extensively as I would like. I must make a
commitment of so many games by November to our dealers, and have the games
ready by September of the next year. I have been putting out about five
games a year,
and that is what I think is needed to have a chance to make the time worth
wile. I choose not to use many beta testers because there just isn't many
of the proper type, real programmers, or the extensive time it would take
them to fully test the games. I do put out full free working demos so that
you can try before buying.
Share ware sounds great, but I know many if not everyone does not buy it.
Share ware is like communism, sounds good on paper, but in practice it
doesn't work. Just ask many of the people who ask for a five or ten dollar
payment how much money they made, or how many share ware companies are
making it supplying the blind community. Share ware is great for people
who want to use and not pay, or for companies who get huge contracts from
the government and try to catch some additional sales. Their thinking is we
already made our money, and any sales from share ware is just icing
on the cake. So, occasionally I may produce a program that might have a
problem, and I depend on some of you to help fix it. If you don't want to
help, well, that is OK too. I'll refund your money, but if you are willing
to help me improve my games you will help yourself and others who may run
into the same problem. I feel that PCS belongs to its customers,
and for putting up with these occasional stumbles, I keep putting out games
for a fair price.
The companies which sell games to the sighted world sell
hundreds of thousands if not millions of games. They also have many
programmers working on a game at the same time. If I had that kind of
volume then I could give you more for the buck too. When two hundred and
fifty games is about the best to be done, then how can you expect much more
then what I am doing? Would you put out as much time and effort for the
same return that I'm receiving?
Those big computer gaming companies that sell millions of games still sell
their games for thirty, forty, and fifty dollars and even more. Why don't
the game companies who must be doing a bang up job produce games for the
blind? There isn't enough money in it for them. When someone says "PCS
games are over priced" I take exception to that. I don't think one can
compare a very small shoe string company with the productions from million
dollar companies. It is like comparing oranges and apples. Yes, PCS
not the same as the commercial games for the sighted world, but games for us
don't have to be. The big companies are not making any games directly for
our world and are not likely to either. I am trying to put out a product
which is new, fun, and exciting allowing us to have some enjoyment on our
computers too. I was not always blind and I know what the sighted world has
to play with. What the big companies are doing is fantastic and I can tell
that I could never program any where as good as they are. What I can say is
I am doing the best with the least and I feel that a fair product is being
PCS will be producing versions of games to work with Windows and DOS
without the aid of a screen reader. All the text that is usually spoken by
the synthesiser is recorded by a human. These games will be between ten and
thirty megabits in size, and will be on CD only. Now, here is the killer,
Because of the cost of producing recorded text, the cost of a CD writer, and
the time in putting everything together, These programs will be selling for
forty nine dollars. I know the cost is high, but we will still produce
versions of the games as we always have on floppy, needing
screen readers, and for this year at least the price will stay the same at
thirty dollars. As I stated earlier if the volume of
sales was larger then I could keep things the same, but it just
doesn't look like its going to get much better. Phil and I have
got to make more then lunch, dinner, and expenses. I know that producing
games is not going to be a full time thing in the far future, unless
something big happens. For now I am committed to this for at least the next
three years, and who knows what might happen by the end of that time.
I would like to hear from you, the people who these things
matter to. What do you think of our prices? Are you dissatisfied with the
quality? Is PCS missing something big? Send your thoughts to Michael at
or to PCS at
or write to
551 Compton Ave.
Perth Amboy, NJ. 08861
phone (732) 826-1917
I want to know what is really on your mind!
Free Game Winner!
This time around, the free game goes to Willie Phipps. For his excellent
advice on setting up Gmud to work with Jaws for Windows, he has well earned
the free game of his choice from PCS. Ms. Van Ettinger was a very close
runner up for having thought of the Audyssey community at such a crucial
moment amid the bustle of a convention. A note on how these things are
decided is doubtless in order here. If possible, I'll award the free game to
the person who makes the best written contribution to Audyssey for a given
issue. When articles and submissions of high enough calibre fail to appear,
the award will go to whoever makes the biggest discovery for the Audyssey
community. When I say "big" discovery, I mean in terms of its potential
impact on the Audyssey community as a whole. Last time, Robin Mandell won
when she discovered the first company other than PCS to offer games
specifically for the blind. Congratulations, Willie.
Adam, The Immortal Gamer: A Leap of Faith
Episode by Michael Feir
At long last, Adam has been induced to leave the confines of his city and
home. He has decided to take a skiing vacation with a bunch of his friends.
They are at the top of a mountain, and begin to ski down its snowy surface.
Suddenly, the ground gives way under Adam as he descends. He is caught
completely by surprise, and topples head over heels. His skis and poles go
flying off into the air, lost forever. Adam sees his whole life flash before
him in a serge of adrenaline. He has wasted so much time. So many
opportunities have passed him by in favour of his obsession with games.
There are so many things he wants to do, but he is forced to realise that he
is likely tumbling to his doom. He vows that if he survives, he'll try
harder to appreciate the real world. THUD!!!
Adam lands in a snow-covered patch of a roof. Recovering his wits, he
realises that he is resting against a steeple sticking out of a mountain's
side. Getting carefully to his feet, Adam notices a scroll sticking out of
the snow near him. He picks it up before going through the open window he
finds. Closing it behind him, he turns to see a number of munks staring at
"What are a bunch of munks doing at a ski resort?" Adam asks in a surprised
and tactless fashion.
"I am Brother Joseph. I lead this order in its failing attempts to preserve
the balance within the lands of Quendor. You have been magically summoned
here to help us rid the land of an evil demon who has escaped from
imprisonment within a magical rod. This rod has been sundered and scattered
about the land. You must recover all four pieces, and join them together to
trap the demon once more. Take this magic book and amulet, as they will aid
you in your quest."
Adam suddenly realises that he is now in the game called Spiritwrak. Being
somewhat familiar with it, he quickly proceeds through the initial parts.
The puzzle of the general store was child's play, although he did stub his
toe on one of the large wooden crates used to balance his weight in the
special hallway. Of course, Adam had to find out what Dorn Flakes tasted
like. The sugar rush transported him instantly to...
Greater Anthar, home of the Flathead Stadium and other attractions, is
bustling with activity as Adam walks around. he heads quickly for Flathead
Stadium to try his hand at golem wrestling. Just in case he needs them, Adam
takes a minute to memorise the spells to defeat the three golems from his
book. He also memorises the spell of healing a couple of times. Without
another thought for safety, he charges into the stadium. A burly man rises
to block him from passing, but Adam belts him in the head with customary
directness. The man responds by grabbing our protagonist around the neck,
and tightening his grip until Adam is forced to squeak out a humiliating
apology for his unprovoked assault. At last, the man lets go of Adam, and
allows him to proceed into the locker room.
"You look like a strapping and daring guy! Get in there and start scrapping,
kid.!" The coach practically pushes Adam into the field before scrambling
quickly to a safe vantage. The first round commences just as Adam manages to
orient himself in the large field.
The wooden golem arrives first to challenge the immortal Gamer. Twice as
tall as Adam, the wooden golem is comprised of strong lumber. It attempts to
smash Adam with a powerful swipe of its limb, but Adam nimbly dodges. Adam
attacks with maximum punch power, striking hard at the centre of the chest.
The golem is staggered by the blow, but otherwise uninjured. Adam prepares
to charge it again when a swift kick from the golem catches him in the face.
A multitude of slivers are embedded in Adam's pain-twisted visage. "Youch,
man!" Adam screams as he desperately tries to gain some distance. The wooden
golem closes with remarkable speed, and Adam is eventually forced to use the
Egdelp spell. In an instant, The golem is covered in waxy build-up. It slips
and topples to the ground, completely unable to rise again. "Knock-out!" The
referee calls out.
The pause in between rounds gives Adam a chance to cast the healing spell on
himself. This removes the splinters from his battered pate and relieves him
mightily. Suddenly, the second golem appears. This one is made entirely of
stone. Despite a towering ego, Adam instantly realises the futility of
attempting to attack such a creature physically. As he is forced to this
conclusion, the stone golem lunges at him. "Knarf-knockers!" Adam ejaculates
as he darts quickly out of the way. The golem slams up against the wall and
sparks fly. Quickly, Adam casts the Tossio spell. This instantly turns the
stone golem into a pile of delicious pasta. "Take-out!" The referee says
gleefully. "Yummee!" Adam says as he digs in with great gusto.
The third and final golem is made of iron. It is faster than the others.
Rolling quickly in, it attempts to flatten Adam. Despite a valiant attempt
to stave off injury, the golem is just too quick for Adam. It smashes into
him with enough force to catapult him to...
"Thought you'd drop in for a drink, did you, Sir?" Adam regains his senses
to find Delbin, a kindly bar-tender, gazing down at him. "Not too many of my
customers do that literally." Nervously, Delbin turns his attention briefly
away from the recovering Adam towards the trio at the bar. They stand around
a single glass of ale, each keeping one eye on the glass and the other on
"What's all this about?" Adam asks as he tries to appraise the three
characters. As Delbin gives his answer, Adam realises that the beverage is
being contested for by a wizard, a warrior, and a thief.
("Quite a situation we've got sir. Those three at the front of the bar all
ordered a glass of Special Borphee Ale. Well, with the shutdown of the
Brewers Guild in Borphee since the Great Change, I can't keep that
in stock, but I've got that one left there. Seems none of them's leaving
until they decide who gets the ale -- and let me tell you, those three are
folks who don't like to be disappointed!" Adam takes a moment to study the
situation, and observes the following:
The man in black makes a lightning fast move for the glass of ale, but is
countered by an equally fast move by the warrior. "Lose something, thief?"
the woman says. "No need to get violent, Morgan." the thief says.
The wizard looks at his companions. "Say, did I ever show any of you my
famous disappearing glass trick?" He starts to take off his wizard's hat,
but the gentleman and ranger stop him. "Don't even try it, Frobar." the
The female ranger fixates on the glass of ale. "Look you two, some of us
have better things to do, like fight wars." The wizard scowls. "Oh save it,
Morgan." he says.): [Taken directly from Dan Yu's Spiritwrak]
Not seeing any other way to resolve the situation, Adam looks through his
book of magic. Casting the Zemdor spell on the glass, he causes it to
triplicate. Three glasses now stand on the table. Rivalry is transformed
instantly into companionship as each of the contestants takes a glass of
ale. As the very capable trio disband and leave Delbin's pub, the atmosphere
and Delbin both become much more relaxed.
"A fine talent you have there, Sir. You have my thanks. For restoring
tranquillity to this here establishment, I award you this very special
drink. Enjoy it." And so Adam does...
What a major mind-blower! Adam reels violently from the effect of Delbin's
oh so generous flagon. He stumbles down a narrow trail, all but washed away
by waves. Rocks make the going even more tough. Suddenly, a wave catches him
completely by surprise. He falls into a hole and...
"Where am I?" Adam asks drunkenly aloud. Hearing the echo shocks a bit of
sobriety back into him. Well, enough to realise he is in a dark cave at any
rate. A hand grabs his shoulder, and Adam nearly clobbers what life remains
in the old hermit out of him. "You're here, my troubled friend."
"What gave you the first clue?" Adam asks in bellicose fashion. "Don't you
dare answer that it's the alcoholic reek, or I'll knock you on your rump!"
"The putrecent olfactory aura generated by the copious stimulating
concoction was what first apprised me of your presence."
"Whatever that meant. How do I get out of here?" Adam feels the walls
closing in on him as the conversation echoes around.
"Go back the way you came." The hermit watches Adam scan the surrounding
walls. "Have you forgotten where you came from?" The hermit asks.
Although not meant as an insult, the question hits Adam hard. It penetrates
through his battered brain, and he remembers his real friends and the skiing
trip. As soon as this happens, Adam finds himself sitting at a table in a
lodge. A fire crackles nearby, warming him quickly. He and his friends are
seated around a large table, a feast set before them. Adam joins both in the
sumptuous meal and the even better conversation. Life has gained a new
vitality for him. This vitality leads Adam and friends on many more
adventures, just as Spiritwrak will take you on many more adventures. These,
however, are for another day.
News From PCS
With Kickboxing and Trek99 still fresh in everyone's mind, PCS has now
released a fantastic update to David Greenwood's Lone Wolf game. They are
also updating all their game demos to incorporate sound drivers which work
better and will allow those with Windows to use Windows sound resources.
You'll still need to play in a DOS-box or in DOS mode, but this too is on
the verge of change. Recently, PCS sent me a prototype of their first
Windows-based game. They chose to convert Kickboxing, and plan to convert
their other titles to Windows-friendly versions. These will not even require
the use of a speech package. They will feature recorded speech, and better
sounds as well. I think we can all look forward to an exciting next couple
of months. Without further delay, here are the details on the new Lone Wolf
game as set down by PCS. Hours before publication, I received word from Phil
that the Trek99 and Lone Wolf updates were sent to the catalogues and should
be available shortly.
New Lone Wolf Demo!
Changes Since Version 1
- Real sounds of submarine warfare!
Hear the sounds of your periscope, torpedoes launching, your Klaxon
horn and explosions!
Hear the sonar of destroyers hunting you!
- Two-dimensional Sound Blaster sounds.
You can here the props of your target going from your left speaker
to your right! If the sound is coming from
behind, the game slightly muffles and distorts the sound while
still maintaining different balance and volume. In very little
time you should be able to determine the direction and distance of
a sound, and hence, the ship or object.
- When hit, your submarine will not necessarily be destroyed, it
can sustain different degrees of damage.
- You can automatically set course to any ship or object.
- Many more missions with new challenges and targets.
- All radar, periscope, and sonar reports will be displayed from
left to right.
- Typing G followed by M, S, E, or D will give you the game
mission, game status, experience level information, and your
submarine's damage report respectively.
- The Home and End keys will centre elevators and rudder
- Page up and down keys have been added to control volume
(Internal sound driver only)
- Other sound drivers in Lone Wolf
If you can't use the internal sound driver, you can now choose one
of the external sound drivers.
You can pick or change your sound setting before you play the game,
or during a game.
The demo version contains the first two missions:
You are ordered to practice at the firing range just outside the
naval base. An assortment of classes of ships will pass from port
to starboard at various distances, angles, and speeds. You must
sink all ships to pass this test. You need not move from your
location, therefore only use your engines to change your firing
direction if needed. Make extensive use of your radar, periscope,
and targeting systems.
Urgent! You must locate and destroy all oil platforms in the Boot
Strait. It is strongly suspected that the area is mined. A
destroyer has been spotted patrolling the area.
The demo is ready now, but the full $30 version will be sent to the
catalogues after the July conventions.
Title: Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I
Authors: Muffy and Michael Berlyn
Parser: Inform/Z machine
Release discussed: 1 serial number 990223
Availability: Commercial, from Cascade Mountain Publishing, whose
URL is www.cascadepublishing.com Price is US$24
Game reviewed by Jayson Smith
To order the game, go to www.cascadepublishing.com, go to the
'software' section, select 'Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I' read about
it and click 'Order now!' to place an order. To do this you'll
need a browser that supports secure Internet connections. Netscape
and IE should do. Most versions of Lynx will not. Or you can call
them at the number listed on every page on their site. In either
case it should be delivered to your E-mail box, as a zip file
containing some executable programs that may or may not work on
your platform (any Zmachine interpreter can be used, I prefer
Frotz), a few PDF files (one containing the manual and one
containing virtual feelies), and the game file itself, called
dumont.z5. More about the PDF files later.
So what about the game? Well, it starts when you go to your
physics class and Dr. Dumont, your professor, takes you over to the
research zone to show you an experiment he's been working on,
called the Particle Accelerator and Reality Translation Integrator
(the P.A.R.T.I of the title). This machine puts you into the
subatomic world, but instead of seeing protons and quarks it loads
metaphors into your mind for what is going on. Dumont wants to
find the mysterious "Particle X" which has been eluding scientists
for years. He wants you to get in the machine so he can take your
body specifications, and you do so. He goes away for a moment,
which stretches out. As you look up to see what's going on, your
hand brushes against something, you hear a click, the machine's lid
closes, and... Well, looks like you've just sent yourself into
this subatomic world! You wake up in a bedroom with nothing but a
dirty pair of jeans. And there's some stuff in this world that
isn't real. You see a dresser in the bedroom but the drawers are
painted on it. And going south takes you into a bathroom where,
although the bathtub is very real, the sink, toilet and cabinet are
just painted on the walls. Such is the start of Dr. Dumont's Wild
Pretty soon, you realise that there are five elements you need
in order to shut P.A.R.T.I down, and the process of obtaining these
five elements is imbedded in the process of obtaining five keys, of
different shapes and colours. All of these objects play an
important part in shutting down the machine. Also pretty soon you
will realise that the lab, which should be one of the first areas
you will come to, is basically the centre location of the game.
Not much really happens here, but the room has eight exits each of
which goes to a different area. All of these eight areas of the
game are important, and each has its uses and puzzles that you need
The game is pretty much open from the outset. As far as I can
remember, there is only one area of the game which must be solved
before you can solve one other area. Other than that, you can do
most of the stuff in whatever order you want. There is a built-in
hint system. It is not adaptive, which means you can get hints for
puzzles you've not even seen or heard of yet. However, it does
have a function which will let you turn hints off for the rest of
the game, if you feel you may be using them too much or don't want
to get tempted and spoil the game for yourself. However, once this
is done, the hints are disabled for the rest of the game, and even
saving and restoring won't bring them back. So if you need a hint,
you either have to restart, or restore to a point before you
I'd like to talk about one problem I had with the game, being
a blind person. This concerns the PDF file containing the virtual
feelies (the equivalent of little things that come in game
packages) to help you along. There is one area in which you need
to consult a flyer that comes with the game. You need to get some
instructions on how to proceed so you can solve the puzzle in
question. The only problem is that the flyer is apparently
incorporated into the PDF file as a picture and not as text, so a
PDF to text converter won't convert it (at least the one at
[email protected] didn't). At this area of the game
you'll either need to have some sighted help or ask somebody else
who either has the info or has solved that puzzle already in order
to proceed. Also, this puzzle is crucial to your completion of the
game and without solving it you won't have everything you need.
I'm sure it was implemented in this way to provide some degree of
copy protection, as some of the older games did with actual print
or other thingies. Still, it can keep you stuck until you get help
if you're blind.
There's another little part of the game that requires you to
consult your game manual to find out how to properly do something.
But thankfully, the manual translates quite readily into ASCII text
In summary, I think this is a great game, well worth the $24
I paid for it. I wish that solving the puzzle requiring the flyer
were a bit easier for blind people, but I do know that this was
probably put in not only to be a good puzzle but to provide copy
protection. It is still a good game and I'd recommend it to
anybody wanting to play some great IF. It is very professionally
done, and I have not found any major bugs. Yet! So if you've got
US$24 that you're trying to find a good way to spend, and you want
to play some great IF, then Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I. may be
just what you've been looking for!
Lords of Time
Reviewed by Justin Fegel
You are sitting in your living room working on a project when there is a
blinding flash of light. You look around, but nothing obvious seems to have
happened to you or your surroundings. As you scan the room you notice a
picture of a kindly old man Hanging on the wall. As you examine it the man
suddenly steps out of the picture and reveals himself to be Father Time. He
tells you that you have been chosen to save the world from the meddling of
the evil Timelords who wish to change history to meet their own ends. You
have been unaffected by their attempts to alter time and therefore, you must
travel through history to collect nine sacred artifacts and throw them in to
the cauldron at the end of time. Each of the artifacts will be marked with
the picture of an hourglass so you will be able to recognise them.
This is a large game with a lot of locations and objects to manipulate.
There are nine time zones you must travel to in order to complete the game,
which is about right since you need to find nine key items. I thought the
method of time travel was pretty cool! The time machine is a giant
grandfather clock. There are nine cogs that represent each time zone. To
travel to a particular time zone, you just turn the cog that represents that
time zone and that's it. Some of the time zones include the Roman era, the
medieval era, the Ice Age, and the future.
Lords of Time is the first in a trilogy of games known as the Time and Magik
Trilogy. The second two games in the series are Redmoon and the Price of
Magik. I haven't played much with these two games yet, but from what I've
seen of them so far, they have more of an rpg feel to them. There are
creatures to fight and there seems to be a lot of spell casting. The manual
that Level9 distributed with the trilogy is publicly available at
ftp://ftp.gmd.de in the /if-archive/level9/manuals directory. The manual
contains a background story for each of the three games. Reading these
stories is a good idea because they contain information that is not directly
available in the games themselves and you will have a better understanding
of what's going on. For instance, the background story for Lords of Time
gives information about the Timelords, Father Time, how you were chosen, why
the Timelords wanted to control time, and what happened after the Timelords
were defeated by you.
The descriptions of locations and objects were good, all most at a par with
Infocom. This game also has lots of well designed puzzles, most of which are
straight forward and logical. It might not hurt however to play with the
solution file close at hand as there are some tricky spots. You can find
solutions to Level9 games at
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/level9/hints/solutions. Another thing that
impressed me about the game was how large its vocabulary is. Level9 games
have been known to have large game dictionaries, sometimes containing more
than 1,000 words, and I believe it! While playing the game, I don't think I
once had to rephrase a command or try to guess at a verb or a noun. This
made the game even that much more enjoyable.
I played this game using the Level9 Interpreter which I wrote about in Issue
17. This interpreter is available from ftp://ftp.gmd.de in MSDOS and Windows
versions. Look for the files l9dos.zip or l9win.zip in the directory
/if-archive/level9/interpreters/level9. Lords of Time is included in a
collection of level9 games compressed in a file called level9.zip which can
be found at ftp://ftp.gmd.de in the directory /if-archive/games/spectrum.
Unzip the compressed archive and look for the file time.sna. If you'd like
to give Redmoon and the Price of Magik a try, they are also included in this
archive. Look for the files redmoon.sna and price.sna. To download the
manual for the Time and Magic trilogy, look for the file TimeAndMagik.zip in
the directory /if-archive/level9/manuals.
Echoes From Audyssey's Past
By Michael Feir
While searching for material for this very special issue of Audyssey, some
one pointed out that I might want to pick something previously published in
Audyssey and put it in this issue for further reflection on where we've been
and where we're going. For this issue, I decided that "Within An Old White
House", a poem I wrote in university about interactive fiction, would best
complete this issue. It reflects on how Infocom once held centre-stage with
its text games, and how the commercial world has all but passed them by. The
leap from text to graphical games was a large one for the general gaming
public. As Audyssey moves into its third year of existence, blind gamers are
about to experience a similar leap forward to Windows-based games making
extensive use of the audio capabilities offered by sound cards. Unlike the
fans of interactive fiction, we are not in danger of losing what we already
have. Interactive fiction will continue to be produced. So will DOS-based
games. We can look over this threshold without any trepidation what-so-ever.
Those without the latest computers will not suddenly find themselves with
nothing to do. Let me assure all of you that Audyssey will continue to cover
all kinds of accessible computer games. I hope all of you enjoy this look
back into our past, and also stay a part of the Audyssey community as it
enters this unknown territory we call the future.
Within An Old White House
by Michael Feir
I sat before my great machine, and gave a woeful sigh,
Countless icons filled the screen, but none would catch my eye.
Each icon ran a game I owned, from Doom to Daggerfall,
But none of these could rescue me, for I had won them all.
My case was grave and serious, since I could not afford,
To purchase any other games and keep from being bored.
My bank account was empty and my credit cards all maxed,
Any game worth paying for would be so steeply taxed.
Desperately, I donned my helmet, and got upon my bike,
And aimlessly, I rode along the paths where others hike.
Within the woods, I lost my way, far from the beaten trail,
Darkness neared, then stars appeared! My legs began to fail.
Fearful of the woods at night, I slowly peddled on,
Searching for a sheltered site where I could rest till dawn.
I came upon a small white house, its entrance boarded closed,
With all my might, I could not pass the obstacle they posed.
To have safe haven near at hand with access thusly blocked,
Was very hard for me to stand, With helpless rage, I rocked.
I paced in fury around the house, and hadn't gone too far,
When all at once, fate smiled on me, A window swung ajar.
With ebbing strength I forced it wide enough to clamber through.
A kitchen lay around me with its table set for two.
Physically exhausted, I collapsed into a chair,
An older man walked in and took the other that was there.
"I don't get many visits," Said the hermit with a chortle,
"Eccentricity compelled me to board up their standard portal."
"Rest here, my weary traveller, Feel free to help yourself."
He motioned to a bunch of tasty food upon a shelf.
We ate and talked of many games, our claims to private glory,
Of reality's far too frequent stings, and of my tragic story,
He conversed with great intelligence, in a diction quaint and kind,
His thoughtfulness would always be engraved into my mind.
At length he rose up from his place, and headed off to bed,
First showing me a couch where I could lay my weary head,
I rested well that starlit night, but had some freakish dreams,
Of darkened realms deep underground, explored by lantern beams.
My brass lamp shone on wonders, an many terrors too,
My ears took in a dragon's roar, and the gurgles of a grue!
I walked across a rainbow, above a waterfall,
And ballooned up a volcano's core, behind an icy wall.
Waking from my dreams, I was quite startled through and through,
To discover that a part of them seemed absolutely true!
I looked around the living room, and as the hermit snored,
I saw a trophy case, a rug, a lantern and strange sword!
And as the morning sun came up, bestowing warmth and light,
The hermit came with rueful cheer and asked about my night.
I told him all that I had dreamed, and requested he explain,
This world that I had visited, so full of joy and pain.
He moved aside the oriental rug upon the floor,
I gaped in disbelief when this revealed a closed trap-door.
I helped him heave it open, since the effort made him frown,
He took the lantern from its place, and with me ventured down.
The cellar in which we found ourselves brimmed with forgotten junk,
Amid the mess, the man possessed a rusty iron trunk,
I helped him hoist the tarnished box into the living room,
He opened it with care and took its contents from their tomb.
The old computer he unveiled was piteous to behold,
I would have laughed had he not shown it reverence due to gold,
He plugged it in and turned it on, Its screen was black and white,
Its ancient disks could not hold more than half a megabyte.
"The tale I have to tell you happened in the recent past,"
"There was a firm whose every game was intricate and vast,"
"For years they were successful, and proceeded with aplomb,"
"But I doubt you've ever heard of them, for they were Infocom."
"Zork was where you were last night, They made that universe,"
"It inspired many gleeful shouts, and many a-vengeful curse."
"Just give me half a moment, and I'll show you what I mean,"
"These days what you will shortly view is all too rarely seen."
He put a disk into the drive, and entered a command,
And while the system worked he placed a book into my hand.
My fascination grew quite strong as I began to find,
Details of the fantastic place which occupied my mind.
I closed the book and found that I was thoroughly ignored,
The world could end, but he'd still bend before that old keyboard,
My anger quickly cooled and gave me cause for private shame,
Our ages were quite different, but our passions were the same.
Despite my small deduction, I still felt rather vexed,
When I looked to see my dreamscape and discovered only text!
"Take the very best in modern sound and animation,"
"And what is there will not compare with your imagination."
Doubtfully, I played his game, My choice was quickly made,
I had to find more of these games so rare and seldom played,
I almost asked the hermit why this company had died,
But the answer cut me to the bone before I even tried.
These pioneers were swept aside by new technology,
Graphic games won market shares for their simplicity,
Time turned its page upon this age of thought-provoking fun,
And Pac-man's maze became the craze obsessing everyone.
"The look upon your face tells me you've understood my story,"
"You comprehend what caused the end of Infocom's brief glory."
"But don't despair, Just be aware they've left a legacy,"
"Their games have been preserved upon the Masterpiece CD!"
"And if you can't afford to buy a copy of it yet,"
"Loyal fans have made new games and placed them on the Net!"
"And though their works are gratis, they are to a large degree,"
"Free from major glitches, and quite high in quality."
"Return now to your youthful life with my earnest benediction,"
"And do be sure you search the web for interactive fiction."
1. The gamer bemoans his seemingly inescapable fate. Despite having an
enormous quantity of games at his disposal, he still faces the prospect of
2. Due to previous expenditures, now devalued in the face of boredom, the
gamer lacks the financial means to purchase yet more games to fend it off.
3. Driven to drastic measures, the gamer rides his bicycle off into a nearby
forest. Failing to maintain a sense of direction, he eventually finds
himself lost. As night arrives, his legs grow weary from his continual
4. Afraid of spending the night in the open woods, the gamer searches for a
less exposed place to spend the remainder of the night. He comes upon a
house like that found at the start of Infocom's game "Zork I: The Great
Underground Empire". As it is in the game, the gamer finds the front
entrance to the structure boarded shut. As the player of Zork cannot remove
them, neither can he despite the use of all his strength.
5. The cruel irony of his circumstances infuriates the gamer, resulting in
the bodily undulations he recounts. Unwilling to give up on the structure
entirely despite being balked by the boards, he walks around it in quest of
another means of ingress. Like the player in Zork I, he finds this in the
form of an old window left slightly ajar.
6. Despite his near exhaustion, he is able to force the window open wide
enough to allow entry. He finds himself in a kitchen, as does the player in
Zork I. Incidentally, there are no chairs in the house in the game, nor is
there an old man living in the house.
7. The old man greets the gamer by informing him of how infrequently anyone
visits the house. he then goes some way to explaining this lack of company
when he describes how his obsession with the Zork games has prompted him to
board his front door and leave his window open instead to conform with the
white house in Zork I. the hermit then offers the gamer rest and food. The
"tasty food" referred to by the hermit can actually be found in the building
found in Colossal Cave, the first computerised text adventure ever created.
this adventure would be crucial in inspiring the creation of the original
mainframe version of Zork, now known as Dungeon.
8. The gamer and hermit are better acquainted through long and worthwhile
conversation. the hermit displays intelligence, eloquence, and kindness to
the gamer, who is deeply effected by the affability of his host.
9. Growing sleepy, the hermit shows the gamer to a couch for him to sleep
on, and proceeds to his own bed. The gamer sleeps well, but has strange
dreams. These dreams are of places and events in the Zork universe. In the
Zork trilogy, the player is constantly in need of a source of light, which
is usually a battery-powered brass lantern. Almost all of the Zork trilogy
takes place in underground settings of various kinds.
10. The gamer briefly recounts the contents of his dreams. The dragon is
found in the second game of the Zork trilogy, "Zork II: The Wizard of
Froboz". Grues can be found in most of Infocom's fantasy games. They are
said to make sinister gurgles, and will devour adventurers foolish enough to
explore in darkness. The rainbow and waterfall are found in Zork I, and the
icy wall and volcano core are in Zork II.
11. The gamer awakens to find more evidence of the hermit's obsession with
the Zork universe. The items mentioned are found in the living room and
attic of the white house in Zork I.
12. The day dawns, and the hermit makes a cheerful entrance. The gamer asks
him to shed light on the mysteries surrounding the house and his dreams.
13. As the player does in Zork I, so the hermit moves aside a rug to find a
trap-door. The gamer helps him open it, and taking up an actual replica of
the famed fictitious lantern found in the Zork trilogy, they proceed
downwards into the cellar of Zork I.
14. Unlike the empty cellar in Zork I, the hermit's is full of junk. The
iron trunk is a chest found in "Zork III: The Dungeon Master". The hermit
requires the gamer's help to get it up into the living room. In Zork III,
the player must trust a pirate in order to salvage anything from the chest.
15. The computer described by the gamer in such a deprecating manner is
modelled after an Apple II E, one of the earliest popular home computers on
which games like Zork could be played. Old five-and-a-quarter-inch floppies
could normally hold around three hundred and sixty kilobytes. This is far
less than half a megabyte, which is comprised of one thousand kilobytes.
16. The hermit begins his explanation by telling the gamer about Infocom.
Despite enjoying a period of phenomenal fame and success, Infocom has since
faded largely into obscurity.
17. The hermit reveals the origin of Zork, and prepares to show his
attentive listener one of the Zork games.
18. The hermit gives the player a manual to one of the Zork games. Infocom
took extraordinary pains to provide players with plenty of background
information and documentation to its games. The Zork documentation largely
consisted of historical information, a realistic travel guide, and a
financial report from the dominant corporation in the Great Underground
Empire, or GUE.
19. The gamer emerges from being engrossed in the book to find that the
hermit is completely absorbed in the game he had originally loaded for the
gamer's benefit. The gamer is originally angered by this, but this quickly
turns to shame as he recognises that he is similarly guilty of ignoring
those around him while playing games.
20. The gamer is angry at having his expectations dashed by discovering only
text on the old screen. The hermit responds to the gamer's ire with
Infocom's response to similar surprise and questions regarding the lack of
graphics in their games.
21. The gamer quickly finds himself hooked on interactive fiction, and is
led to wonder why such good games could not support the company which made
them. Before he can ask, he intuits the answer of why Infocom collapsed
22. The gamer realises that graphical games, far easier to grasp
intuitively, spelled the demise of Infocom. As graphical games became more
refined, Infocom's text games were unable to attract such large numbers of
entertainment-seekers. In truth, Sierra's graphical adventures were a more
direct threat to Infocom's survival. As the King's Quest, Space Quest, and
Police quest games emerged, they provided a midpoint between the simple
video game and the brain-taxing and completely non-visually stimulating text
23. The Masterpiece CD referred to by the hermit is produced by Activision,
and is called the Infocom Masterpieces CD. It contains thirty of Infocom's
best games, and can be found in computer stores.
24. The hermit gives the financially strapped gamer further cause for
celebration by telling him of the many free works of interactive fiction
obtainable from the Internet. These are mostly found at:
The entire Zork trilogy can be found at:
Hints and documentation for these games is available at:
25. The hermit ends his lecture, and tells the gamer to return home and try
these games for himself.
I can be reached in three ways. The easiest is through CompuServe.
My e-mail address has recently changed to a much easier one for you to
remember. It is now:
You can also call me via telephone. I have voicemail, so you can
leave a message if you fail to catch me at home and off-line. I'll
do my best to return calls, but won't accept collect calls. My
number is as follows:
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
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:
Or, you can check out his homepage on the web:
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
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:
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
Kelly Sapergia 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:
Michael Feir, Editor of Audyssey
E-mail: [email protected]