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Audyssey;
Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 28: April/May, 2001
Edited by Michael Feir and Rebecca Sutton

Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity

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Welcome
Welcome to the twenty-eighth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated to the discussion of games which,
through accident or design, are accessible to the blind either with or without sighted assistance. This time around, the
popularity of interactive fiction among blind gamers has gotten a tremendous boost with the freeware release of an
astounding and historically important masterpiece. Read two reviews of G. Kevin Wilson's Once And Future. Also,
Audyssey has gained another staff member who will be our guide to multi-user dungeons. Read his biographical
material and much more from him in this issue. Finally, after a long and arduous development, GMA Games has finally
released Shades of Doom to an eagerly anticipating public. The first ever complete action shooter for the blind can now
find its way to your hot little hard drives.

Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three plus-signs are placed above any articles or sections.
Within these sections, two plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller divisions are marked by a single
plus-sign. This allows people to use their search capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are interested in. For
instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three plus-signs. Each letter within it has two plus-signs before it.
Answers to letters have a single plus-sign before them.
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Distribution Information and Submission Policies
This magazine is published on a bimonthly basis, each issue
appearing no earlier than the twentieth of every other month. All submissions to be published in an issue must be in my
possession a minimum of two days before the issue is published. 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 Sympatico address. I will give my home address and my Sympatico address at the end of the magazine.
Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your fellow readers. This magazine should and can be a
highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure that high quality is maintained, I'll need your
written
contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes to submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them
grammatically or enhance their understand ability. I will never make changes which will alter the spirit of a submission.
All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great writers to have their work appear in Audyssey.
Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite young. Where possible, I try to preserve their
different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the Audyssey experience far outweighs any benefits
gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of life. Audyssey is a community and magazine built
on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal structural requirements for submissions. Within reason,
they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state who created the game being examined, where it
can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance, and any system requirements or other critical
information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be used gratuitously. Submissions not published
in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues if appropriate. Those who are on the Audyssey
discussion list should be aware that I often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel that they warrant it.
Anything posted to this discussion list that in some way stands out from the common and often lively ongoing
discourse will be considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the author's wish that it not be published. Until
now, this practice has been commonly consented to. From now on, it is now officially a policy of the Audyssey
community.
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 unless you are their creator or have
obtained permission to do so. 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. 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 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.
There are now several ways of obtaining Audyssey. Thanks to ESP Softworks, there is once again a distribution list for
those who want to receive Audyssey via E-mail. To subscribe to the distribution list so that you receive all future
issues, the direct Url to the subscription form is:
http://www.espsoftworks.com/forms/audyssey_to.asp
You may also refer a friend and pass onto them the current issue as well as an introduction e-mail explaining the
magazine in detail.  Then, if they wish to subscribe they
will be referred to this form.  The form is available from the Audyssey Magazine section of the ESP Softworks web-site.
To get there directly, go to:
http://www.espsoftworks.com/textonly/audyssey/audyssey.html
The Audyssey section also contains all back-issues of Audyssey if you want to get caught up with events.

James North of ESP Softworks now manages the Audyssey discussion list. This list facilitates discussion about games
accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey. All are welcome as long as they respect their
fellow community members and keep in mind that the topic of the list is supposed to be games. Other topics are allowed
within reason as long as they don't begin to monopolize the list traffic for too long. Newcomers should be advised that
traffic is frequently fairly heavy. To help those who are swamped with E-mail cope with this, there is a digest mode
available which sends one large E-mail per day at midnight PST containing the day's traffic. Anyone participating in the
discussion list will have issues of Audyssey automatically sent to them via E-mail. Representatives from all major
developers of games for the blind are actively participating on the list. All staff members of Audyssey are also
participating. If you want an active role in shaping the future of accessible games, this is where you can dive right in. To
subscribe to this discussion list, send a message to:
[email protected] with the words
'subscribe audlist' in the message body. Send a message with the word "help" in
the message body to the above address for a list of available commands such as
the command to switch to digest mode and receive one large E-mail per day. To
post messages to the discussion list, send them to:
[email protected]
It is important to keep the purposes of the above addresses straight. The
[email protected] address is where you send commands to subscribe or
unsubscribe and other automatically handled things to. You're sending commands
to a server which does not have the answers to all your game-related questions.
To communicate with live people, send a message to the [email protected]
address. Remember that these live people will not appreciate seeing commands
meant for the server as they are powerless to act upon them.

Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for easy on-
line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to visit:
 http://www.concentric.net/~sbobbitt

People can easily and quickly navigate through the various articles and reviews, and directly download or visit the sites
of the games that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for sighted people who wish to make use of Audyssey
and/or join the growing community surrounding it. The Audyssey community thanks Mr. Bobbitt for his continued
efforts on its behalf in this matter.

You can also find all issues of Audyssey on the Internet on Paul Henrichsen's
web site at:
www.henrichsen.org
J.J. Meddaugh has long been famous in the Audyssey community. He has now started
his own web-site called The Blind Community. All issues of Audyssey are there in
zipped files in the file centre.

Another source for back-issues of Audyssey and accessible games is provided by
Kelly Sapergia. He was our first interactive fiction expert, and has put his
Internet skills and resources to splendid use for the magazine. Visit his site
at:
http://ksapergia.cjb.net
If you have ftp access, all issues are also available at Travis Siegel's ftp
site:
ftp://ftp.softcon.com
Look in the /magazines directory.

For those of you who have trouble finding some of the software discussed in this magazine, or if you know someone
who doesn't have access to the Internet, but would be interested in the magazine, this magazine is now available on
disk. PCS has agreed to distribute Audyssey, as well as selected shareware or freeware software on disk for ten dollars
US per year. To subscribe to Audyssey on disk, contact them at:
Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton Ave.
Perth Amboy N.J.
08861
Phone (732)-826-1917
E-mail: [email protected]

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Contents:
Welcome
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
Contents
From The Editor
Letters
Audyssey Magazine Online
Dave Sherman's Staff Biography
My Experience with Computer Games for the  Blind:
Gaming, First Tentative Steps
Puzzles and Games
THE UNOFFICIAL DIRTY LOWDOWN ON MUDDING: PART 1
Free Game Winner
Don't panic!: A tribute to the games of Douglas Adams
News From GMA
News From ESP Softworks
News From MindsEye2
News From PCS
News From Zform
Game Announcements and Reviews
Contacting Us

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From The Editor:

At long last, it seems that the game droubt we've gone through has been well and truly ended. Two fantastic games are
chiefly responsible for this, and events that must remain unreported for now have, in my estimation, made certain that
we shouldn't experience another such dry-spell for many months to come.

The addition of a new staff member is always fantastic news from where I sit. I'd like to officially welcome Dave Sherman
into the Audyssey staff. He'll be investigating multi-user dungeons for us. As you'll see, however, his gaming interests
are quite diverse. Between Justin Ekis's and Dave Sherman's efforts, those in search of on-line entertainment should be
very well served indeed.

Speaking of Justin Ekis, you'll find his E-mail in the Contacting Us section of this issue. My opologies for not taking
better care to see that it was in the last one. Justin is quite eager to plunge in and help the Audyssey community, and for
that enthusiasm, I'm very grateful.

Unfortunately, the game I tried to have completed for this issue is not ready for distribution quite yet. Upgrading to
Windows ME from Windows95 has taken far longer than I planned, and effectively cost me two days time getting
everything ship-shape again. Anybody who chooses to perform a similar upgrade should not be as cocky as I was and
assume things will be all worked out in under three hours.

For her generous efforts which saved me hours of work, and for convincing me not to try and rush finishing the game
I've nearly completed, I have Rebecca Sutton to thank most sincerely. Because of her insights and willingness to face
drudgery, we have an excellent issue for your enjoyment here, and will have a hopefully great game for the anniversary
issue.

For those who are wondering, Rebecca and I are doing quite well these days. She is just getting her feet wet in the
Audyssey community, and has written an article introducing herself to the readership at large. We don't agree on
everything, thank goodness, so you'll find her purspective a refreshing one.

A final bit of news to report to you is for fans of Ancient Domains of Mystery. It seems that a group of testers has been
chosen and begun their work preparing the long-awaited version 1.0 for release. At this stage, it is definitely premature
to attempt a prediction of when this happy event will occur. However, the blind community is represented on the beta-
testing team. To protect confidentiality, I'm not about to reveal who took on this task on our behalf. However, I can tell
you that we are very well-represented.

This month, we were short on letters suitable for inclusion in Audyssey. Traffic on the discussion list was quite heavy,
and due to poor time management on my part, it is quite possible that I missed some jems searching through well over
2500 messages. Fortunately, more of you have come forward with articles and reviews to liven things up. Keep those
coming, folks. The days when I could pull stuff out of my hat at the last minute are long past. Life changes, as I've
found out to my great pleasure recently. As long as things proceed as they have been, I'd say we'll have ourselves a
splendid fifth anniversary issue. You can expect it published on July 27th, since Rebecca and I will be going on our first
vacation together soon after. That means that the deadline will be July 25th for material.

Now that our discussion list address has stabilised and things are
nice and lively, I hope that many more of you will chose to join us in
ongoing discussions on Audlist. Please consult the Distribution
Information and Submission Policies section for information on how
to join. Until next time, I hope everyone finds this issue to their liking. 

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Letters:

Traffic was extraordinarily high this month despite the move to a new server for the list. There were well over twenty-five
hundred messages. Rather than subject myself to ploughing through them individually as has been my custom, I've
decided to take a different approach this time. A great many of the messages were about more technical issues which
may prove uninteresting and/or downright mysterious to those not caught up in the discussions. Everything from Dos
versus Windows to the prevalence of virus hoaxes was discussed at length, and I firmly believe that we've all benefited
from these discussions. I, for one, have am very thankful that we allow this sort of discussion to take place on the list. It
clearly demonstrates that being interested in games does not mean that one isn't interested in other things in life. Quite
the contrary, in fact. For instance, one small debate was all about proof-reading. Some of us can get awfully lazy when
sending E-mails to the list. I must confess to a certain amount of this myself. I rarely spell-check E-mails and don't
usually edit them too thoroughly beyond making certain they're clear and understandable. That is, I make certain that
they sound right and that there are no immediately obvious blunders. Unfortunately, not all of us take such pains all the
time. Amid the somewhat heated exchange, David Lant's message came through which exemplifies how and why games
can relate to other areas of life and teach us about them:

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From David Lant:

Hi James.

In fact, international language experts have identified that the generic writing
style used in the Internet is tending to move away from formal constructs, and
toward the more casual forms.  Loss of capitalization, and increased use of
acronyms are just two of the symptoms.  Even in supposedly professional E-mails,
I am frequently flabbergasted by the poor spelling and presentation therein.  As
spelling checkers have proliferated, they have almost caused the very problem
they were intended to solve.  Many people just let the checker get on with it,
without monitoring whether its changes were valid.  I have seen some
spectacularly bad messages from senior managers that successfully pass through a
spell checker.

On the point of Braille, I remember being surprised when my physics lecturer
made a remark about people who were brought up using Braille, and never having
seen the printed text.  He said that intrinsically, they cannot spell.  At first
I thought this a bit harsh, until he supplied an example.
He asked us, "How do you spell the word 'knowledge'?"  Of course, we all spelled
it out as "K N O W L E D G E".  To which he answered, "No! In Braille, it is
spelled 'K'!"  Point taken. This is one of the reasons why I am still such a fan of
the text based interactive fiction genre of games.  At their best, they reinforce the
practices that go toward good communication and expression.  I'm still of the
belief that a story told in words can evoke so much more than the more direct
sensational approach.  A picture may paint a thousand words, but it is possible
to glance at a picture and not really think much.  Reading the words requires that
little extra commitment from the reader, encouraging them to actually use their
frontal lobe a bit.  That's just my personal view of course.

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A ton of messages were about Once And Future. This game was released as freeware and pounced on with a vengeance
by the Audyssey community. It's been quite a while since there have been so many messages on one game. Of course,
those messages mainly consisted of cryptic clues and pleas for assistance. Since most of our lives are full of this sort of
thing already, I've elected not to include them here. The game has certainly withstood the longevity test, and provided
those who tried to solve it with a good experience. You'll find two reviews of Once and Future, or OAF, as it's come to
be known as. Congratulations to Kirstan Mooney for being the first to cry "Victory!" this time around. Dave Sherman
and Kirstan chose to work on solving the game together, and have both stressed to me that this proved to be a far more
pleasant experience than playing alone. I hope that their reviews and thoughts on this will encourage more people to
give interactive fiction a try with one or more partners. Just because a game is designed for one player doesn't mean it
has to be played that way.

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Sadly, the blind gaming community learned of the recent death of the renowned author and game designer Douglas
Adams. Most famous for the fabulous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books, he also helped to create a
number of computer games. Both his books and interactive fiction have been widely sampled and savoured by
Audyssey readers. One of our members remarked that the Infocom game about the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
produced by Douglas Adams in collaboration with Infocom was one of the first games he played at age seven. At age
49, Mr. Adams was still actively producing new works when his life was cut short by a heart attack. Certainly, I have
found the Hitchhiker's Guide to be an entertaining and inspiring series, and will treasure my copy of the BBC radio serial
for as long as I live. It serves to remind me to always look for the funny side of things no matter how dismal they might
appear, and has provided me with many sanity-saving and timely doses of laughter-coated wisdom. Before I leave you
to enjoy the rest of this issue, I'll urge any of my readers who hasn't yet given Douglas Adams their time to do so.
Many amusements and insights await you in the text he has authored.

          
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Audyssey Magazine Online: Announcement of Status
By James Peach

Hello Audyssey community!

Two months ago, I made mention of Audyssey Magazine's official Website.  Audyssey Magazine Online, was to be my
project providing an online presence for our favourite e-zine.  Well, I am here to announce that I am finally ready to have
the world see what I have been up to.

Why was I not ready before, you ask?  Well, at the time, I thought I was ready.  Everything seemed to be moving fully
ahead.  I ran into a snag at the last minute that put me back several weeks.  I could not register the domain,
www.audysseymagazine.com .  For some reason, it would not accept the billing email address (so I used my own).

So I put it off, trying to find a solution to this problem, and kept plodding along with the site.  By now, much of the site
should be available.  The HTML and textual versions of Audyssey Magazine, and even a voice chat environment,
should be awaiting you by the time you receive this magazine.  If for some reason it is not, please feel free to contact me,
and ask why.  Most likely, the reason will be associated with the domain registration; we'll wait and see.

If any of you have suggestions for things to be included in the Website, please pass them along to me at:
[email protected] and I will look into the idea.

I would like Audyssey Magazine Online to become a hub of activity, and a means to bringing the community of blind
and VI gamers together.  I hope that time will prove this enterprise successful.

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Dave Sherman's Brief Bio

Hi folks, most of you on the discussion list already know who I am. But I don't
even know how much about me the listers know.  So I'm here to give you a quick
bio on me.

I was born and raised in Upstate NY, near Albany.  Two years of college in
Rochester (right off of Lake Erie) was enough to chase me all the way out to Los
Angeles.  New York can keep its lousy weather to itself. I've been out here for
18 years now.

I finished up my engineering degree at UCLA, then got a temporary consulting
job, programming in Basic, for a local company dealing in fiber optics.  (No
further details on that ... I signed too many non disclosure agreements. <lol>)
I've done a bit of volunteer tech support work, in the L.A. area, for some
visually impaired computer novices.  As well as tutoring individuals in
Vocal Eyes, JFD,  and JFW.

Hobbies:  Well, besides the obvious one -- gaming, I play guitar, a little bit
of bass, and an even smaller amount of keyboard. Blues is my favourite style of
music.   I'm also a HAM (in more ways than one). My call is KF6JBD -- so if you
happen to hear me out there, either someone else is bogarting my call sign, or
you're within range of a repeater in the West L.A. area.  I don't have the funds
or the location to afford or install any HF gear and antennas.  All I own is a 2
meter / 440 dual handheld unit and a copper J pole, and a little 30 watt amp to
get my signal out past all of these buildings surrounding me .

Mudding is one of my favourite gaming experiences, and I'll do my best to help
anyone out who has questions. You can contact me at:
mailto:[email protected]
or on MSN IM, using that same address.

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My Experience with Computer Games for the  Blind:
by Rebecca Sutton

Since I've only been online for about a year, my experiences with
computer games are as new and limited as my experience with computers in
general.  However, it is nice to know that with the advancement of games with
sound , and text adventure games, there is something which is available and
hopefully entertaining for everyone.

My first experience with computer games began about four years ago when I met
Michael Feir at Lake Joseph Holiday Centre, a resort for the blind and visually
impaired here in Ontario Canada.  Mike introduced me to games such as a bear's
night out, the haunted theatre, and jigsaw.  I was captivated by the various
scenes and characters described  in the games, and felt that I was being
enveloped into another world for a short period of time.

As all of these particular games involve puzzles, I was eager to find the
objects necessary to obtain a high score in the game.  However, it is my
tendency to become impatient if I don't find what I'm looking for  right away. 
I also tend to become paralysed when I think that I've tried everything and
there seems to be nothing left to do.  Since Michael and I have gotten back in
touch and are now engaged to be married, I have renewed my interest in computer
games and hope that it will become almost as much of a hobby for me as it is for
him.

There is certainly a lot to be said for text adventure games since they can
enhance one's ability to solve problems, make decisions, and attain set goals. 
They can also help people to use their imaginations in a greater capacity than
they otherwise could in more passive aspects of life such as reading a novel,
which is my most favourite hobby.  these games also enable us to interact with
the characters in the game which is of course something you can't do when
reading a novel.

There is one drawback that I find which this type of game presents to beginners
in the hobby.  This may sound obvious, but with interactive fiction, the only
way to reach a high score is to solve all of the puzzles. This also means that
if you're new to puzzles and games in general, it can feel somewhat
disconcerting or frustrating when you are unable to solve any at a given time. 
Michael always tells me that I need to be patient and that I should not expect
to solve them in a hurry.  This makes sense, but I would like to be able to feel
that I have left a particular game knowing that I have achieved something.  It
would be helpful if I knew who some of the other novices were, so that I would
know that I am not the only one who is just beginning to learn about computer
games.

Although many people think that some of the games involving sound are somewhat
repetitive in nature, I quite enjoy some of them because there is always a large
chance that I will win at least some of the time. I like to play starfight with
others on the internet for example. It allows me to interact in a personal way
with the other player, without having to put a great deal of concentration into
the game.  This does not have to be a bad thing.  There are many of us who go
through times where we want to relax and have some entertainment but we don't
necessarily want to have to put a lot of thought into what we are doing.  I like
the satisfaction of knowing that I am able to sink someone else's ships and
there are many good sounds in the game.  similarly, if I am playing a game with
slot machines, I like the satisfaction of knowing that it is possible for me to
win a lot of money even though it isn't real.  I get a certain sense of euphoria
when all that money drops into the plate.

I would like to see more games which can be played by more than one
person.  games can be less intimidating when there is someone else to play with. 
I think both text adventure and sound games certainly have their place in
society and I certainly hope to be involved with both types.  Any encouragement
that you, the audyssey community can give me would be greatly appreciated.  I
can be reached at:
[email protected]
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share this with all of you.

+++
Gaming, First Tentative Steps
By David Russell

I purchased a new pc towards the end of last year, and one of the reasons for
doing so was to investigate the games available to those of us with little or no
vision.  Given that my computer knowledge was extremely limited, I spent the
first couple of months familiarizing myself with windows commands and getting to
know the internet.  I then felt confident enough to find out more about games. 
I found a couple of websites, one being ESP Softworks an the other being GMA. 
This was where I found my first mention of this magazine.  I immediately had a
look, but found it somewhat daunting, with much of what was being spoken about
meaning nothing to me at all.  However, I had to start somewhere, and enrolled
myself onto the GMA discussion list.

After following the discussion for a few days, I plucked up courage and asked
for help.  I received very helpful advice, and began with looking at the Games
for the Blind list.  I tried downloading some of their free evaluation games,
and was pleased to find that I had little trouble in getting the games to work. 
However, I soon wanted something more, and news reached me of Grizzly Gulch
Western Extravaganza.  It sounded reasonably straightforward so I purchased a
copy and had much fun playing it.  I still cannot get beyond the snakes, but I
will keep trying until I do.

Although I enjoyed Grizzly, there came a time when a new game was needed.  I
looked at ESP again and found a free download called Shell Shock.  Here, I hit
my first problem.  After downloading the game and getting the latest version of
Directx from the Microsoft site, the game refused to work.  I still have not
solved this one.

We can't win em all, I thought, so it was now time for Shades of Doom.  I had
heard much talk of this, and could not resist giving it a go.  I managed to
download the alpha version, and this is the game I can't stop playing. This is
definitely much more the sort of thing I was looking for.

I have been playing Shades of Doom for two months now, and can't wait for the
official release.  I have also purchased two other GMA games on cd. They are
Lone Wolf and Trek 2000.  I have hit a problem with these, which is connected
with the fact that I use my sound card to obtain my eloquence speech, and
therefore cannot play the game sound files.  I think I need to upgrade my sound
card, and will look into this when finances permit.

That is the state of play at the moment.  I would very much like to investigate
text adventure games, and my real love would be sports games, especially soccer
and cricket.  All the games developers seem to be in the States, so there
appears to be little chance of that at present.  I wish to try all kinds of
games, and will certainly do so in time.  I eagerly await Monkey Business from
ESP, and any other new games which come along.  I also have played and enjoyed
some of Jim Kitchen's free windows games.  I am not equipped to play dos games,
which seems to mean that a lot of games are not open to me.

My reason for writing this is just to say that it does not take a great deal of
computer knowledge to get started in gaming.  I am learning all the time, and
although it can be frustrating at times, it can be great fun also.

I have received a lot of help From Audyssey members, and must single out James
North, Jim Kitchen and Paul Nimmo who have all taken time to help me with my
problems.

If this article is accepted for publication, I would make it the first in a
series, explaining my further adventures in gaming for the blind. If it can make
the way a little clearer for the beginner, then so much the better.  If I can
ensure that one or two people do not make the mistakes I make, then it is
worthwhile.  It goes without saying that I would welcome any advice from those
of you who are more experienced than I am, but that is not my main purpose here. 
There is a great deal of fun to be had in playing games, and anyone with a
computer who does not at least give it a try is definitely missing out.

+++
Puzzles and Games
By David GREENWOOD

Some of these puzzles are harder than others.  Let's start with a puzzle that
should get your thought processes working.

1. You have 10 stacks of coins with 10 coins on each stack. One stack contains
the slightly heavier counterfeit coins. You know the weight of the real coins,
and the weight of the counterfeits. How will you determine which stack is
counterfeit if you can only make one weighing?

2. In the following sequence of letters, find the next two that would fit the
pattern.

O T T F F S S

3. A caterpillar climbs a ten foot pole. Each day he goes 3 feet up and 2 feet
down. How many days will it take him to climb to the top?

4. In most countries, is it legal for a man to marry his widow's sister?

5. There is a set of encyclopaedias containing twenty-six volumes.  Each volume
is one and a half inches thick, which includes the two one quarter inch thick
book covers, leaving a one-inch thickness of pages in each volume. The volumes
are arranged with A on the left and Z on the right.  A bookworm starts eating
his way through all of the volumes, starting with page one of the first volume,
and ending with the highest numbered page of the last volume. How many inches of
the books did the bookworm munch his way through?

+++
THE UNOFFICIAL DIRTY LOWDOWN ON MUDDING: PART 1

By Dave Sherman

I got my first taste of the internet several years ago when JFW for Windows 3.1 was first released.  I made that big leap
from DOS to Windows.  Right around the same time I got connected with my first ISP, The National Braille Press  (NBP)
was releasing an eight volume guide to the internet.  It was a book written by a gentleman named Harley Hahn.  It's title
was, "Harley Hahn's Internet Complete Reference".  And it 'was' a complete reference for it's time. I enthusiastically
studied all eight volumes to learn as much as possible about the net.  The one chapter which caught my attention the
most, was the last chapter of the text.  He had devoted an entire chapter to mudding.   Since that was where I learned all
of my basics about mudding, I'm going to refer back to this text throughout this series of articles in order to obtain
information.  I will not mention the book any further, unless directly quoting from it.  I would just like to give
acknowledgements and thanks to Mr. Hahn for all of his insight.
     Enough with the prefacing … let's get rolling around in the MUD.

What exactly is a "MUD" and what does that acronym mean?  Initially, when the first MUD was developed, it was an
abbreviation for "multi-user dungeon"; a term borrowed from Dungeons & Dragons.  However, over the years, as the
genre has encompassed a wide variety of themes, the term 'dungeon' has become inappropriate for many muds.  Hence,
the acronym now refers to multi-user domain, or multi-user dimension.

OK, so what exactly are these MUDS?  I'm going to assume that the majority of you reading this are familiar with text
adventures.  Well, MUD's really aren't anything more than fancy text adventures.  They are programs designed with
specific code (more on that later), that act like text adventures.  You'll actually find that a majority of the commands are
exactly the same as those used by TADS or Inform games.  The main difference is that these programs are run on a
server, and multiple users will log in at the same time, and interact on the mud.

Your character will explore areas (rooms), pick up items and use them, talk and interact with NPC's and other player
characters, buy and sell items, kill  mobs (monsters / NPC's), solve puzzles / quests, and gather experience points along
the way. 
     One of the ways in which muds differ from stand-alone text adventures is that you control how your character will act
and be portrayed.  You're not limited to a pre-written story line and game outcome / solution.  There really is no
"solution"  on a mud.  You role play a character, and the amount of role-playing that you do is up to you.  You can talk
to most anyone else in the game.  What you say and what actions you take define how your character is seen by others. 
Other players don't know me as Dave Sherman, they know Krux, or Myrthorn, or a whole host of other names / aliases
I've got on various muds I play on.

The majority of muds are accessible.  They are still text based.  But you'll find that they are, unfortunately, becoming
more and more graphical.  Most of the ones I've experienced offer the option of full colour ANSI text.  And even though
this doesn't effect a screen readers output, the visual player apparently can get some clues that we don't by the colour
of the text they are seeing.  And then there are those muds that are totally JAVA based.  I haven't bothered to mess
around with any of these (haven't seen much reason for wasting my time).

There are two broad categories of muds, action or adventure muds, and social muds or 'talkers'.   Each type has its own
purpose and draws its own type of player.  Social muds tend to be 'hang outs'  where people just come to chat.  They
are not much different than chat rooms or IRC; except that they do allow for the player to develop a character within the
mud and give it a description (perhaps far from one's true self – or even gender).  Also, these muds provide an
environment with descriptions which the characters can interact with (something not possible on a ordinary chat room). 
And these 'talkers'  often have more than just one room – allowing the character to wander the map of the mud.

Some socials are even designed as educational muds, portraying a virtual classroom. In essence this type of mud is
developed for 'socializing', and tend to draw a crowd which does not care for 'gaming'  and especially violent gaming.

Adventure or action muds are of a different nature.  There is still plenty of talking involved, but its not the main focus of
the mud.  The focus is on adventuring, conquest, gaining experience and raising in status or level. In the rest of this part
of the article I'll describe how to get started mudding.  What software is necessary.  And some handy tips on key words
to look for in the documentation once you are in a mud.

So how does one connect to a mud and get started?
Muds are run on servers, and users connect to them using telnet protocol.  Does this mean you use a telnet client to
play?  It's possible, but not recommended by me. There are plenty of client programs designed specifically for mudding. 
They make the whole process of mudding easier and more efficient, and thus more enjoyable.  As a blind mudder, you'll
find that your choice of a mud client is fairly limited.  There are plenty of clients available (some of the most popular
being ZMUD and Pueblo) however the GUI nature of these programs, along with the multiple frames tend to make them
nearly impossible to use by the blind.  My personal preference is a program  called GMUD.  It's been around for a while,
but it is fairly simple to understand and use --  and accomplishes most of the tasks desired by most mudders. 
(for more details about configuring GMUD, see my article "Mudding with Jaws For Windows  and GMUD " in issue #18
of Audyssey, and note that the article gives plenty of configuration tips that can be used with other screen readers
besides JFW).
To get a copy of GMUD, download it from :
ftp://papa.indstate.edu/winsock-l/mud/
FILENAME: gmd3219b.zip

One of the main purposes of a mud client is to have separate input and output frames.  This is so you can type your
input commands, while listening to the activity going on around you in the mud – without having your input  text get
mixed in with the output from the server.

To connect to the server, just insert either the IP address or the telnet DNS address in the edit field assigned to this
value.  Then put the port number in the proper edit field.  Then whack 'ENTER' on the Connect or OK button, and bam!
You should be connected. 
   If it's the first time you've visited a mud, you'll need to create your character.  The mud will ask you for a name, and
then a password.  If this name is not already in use by another character, you'll get a message about a new character,
and confirmation prompts about your choice of name and password.  (If you've chosen a name already picked by
someone else, and you type in the password you want to use – unless you are incredibly lucky, and guess that players
password, you're connection gets dropped for inputting an invalid password.  Just reconnect, and choose another
character name). The character creation process varies from mud to mud, and I'm not going to bother to get detailed
about it here.  You will usually be asked to pick a race (human, dwarf, elf, etc.), and a class (fighter, mage, cleric, thief,
etc.). 
(NOTE: these are just examples from a standard mud with a medieval  theme.  These choices may be completely different
depending on the setting of the mud).

Once inside the mud, you'll want to do a few things.  First get your bearings.  Hit 'l'  or type look and hit enter. 
You're probably going to be bombarded by all sorts of clutter scrolling in from the server.  A lot of that will have to do
with communication channels that are turned on, and which are in use by other players.  The first thing I do is to try to
shut down as many of these channels as possible.  Examples are things such as a gossip channel, auction channel, and
others.  Most muds have a newbie channel, and you'll probably want to leave this one on. 
     As a new character to a mud, you are considered a "newbie".  Regardless of the extent of your mudding experience. 
To shut down some of these extraneous channels, just try typing their names and hitting 'enter'.  Sometimes that's all
that is required to toggle these channels on and off.  If that's not successful, try typing the channel name with 'no'  in
front of it (i.e. – nogossip).  Some muds use this syntax to toggle channels. 
     Probably the most important word you'll need to remember is 'HELP'.  Typing help on any mud usually gives you
plenty to read and plenty to learn from.

You're also going to want to use the word 'help'  followed by certain words (commands), in order to find out information
about things.  For example, you might type "help channels"  in order to get assistance on the various communication
channels.
     Here's a list of key words to type in order to try to gather as much information about your new environment as
possible. 

Help
Info
FAQ
Rules
Policy
Newbie
Commands
Socials
Areas
who

I can't guarantee that every mud will have files with these names, but quite a few do.  You can usually find out the
basics of the particular mud by reading these files.

Pay particular attention to the rules, policies, or whatever files are available regarding conduct on the mud.  Try to read
this information as soon as possible after logging in.  It's best to know how you are expected to act in this new
environment.  Especially as a new character.  The administration usually frowns on newbies causing serious infractions
of the rules and policies, and will often kick a player off of the mud – deleting the character – if they feel like it. (There's a
reason some muds refer to their administrators as 'gods'.  I'll talk about that next issue, along with all of the other terms
used for the various admin. Staff).

Where can you get information and listings about muds?
There are lots of places on the net, but the best that I've found is a site called The MUD Connector (TMC).  It literally
has thousands of listings, along with a whole host of other resources related to mudding. It's address is:
http://www.mudconnector.com

Choose a subject that interests you, and put it into their search engine, and see what comes up.  (or you can pick muds
at random – by their name – as I often do <grin>).
The theme's are nearly endless.  If you've got a particular interest, chances are good that someone has created a mud
revolving around that theme. There are hundreds of medieval based muds, muds based on Star Wars and Star Trek,
muds based on the X Files, muds based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and other famous authors, post-apocalyptic 
muds, all sorts of sci fi muds, and on and on.
     Well, hope this is enough to get some of your feet dirty for now.  Next issue, in Part II of this article, I'll go more into
detail about mud themes, coding languages and how that relates to the style of mud, who's behind the scenes, and
more.

+++
Free Game Winner

This time, the free game goes to David Russell for his excellent contribution to this issue as well as his willingness to
provide a series of such glimpses into the trials and tribulations of a novice gamer. The courage to plunge in so
devotedly is certainly deserving of admiration and reward. Thanks David, for your efforts on behalf of newcomers like
yourself.     

+++
Don't panic!: A tribute to the games of Douglas Adams
Article by Jay Pellis

The passing of writer Douglas Adams was devastating to fans across the  world. 
The writer of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy series of books, Adams was a
legend in the sci-fi genre.  The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is about
the wacky adventures of a group of space travelers  and their trek across the
galaxy spawned a tv mini series, a radio drama,  as well as 4 more sequels. 
Douglas Adams also developed some computer  based games in the late 80's and
90's, namely the Hitchhikers Guide to the  Galaxy text adventure by Infocom, and
his later work, Star Ship Titanic.

*the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy*

In this humorous text adventure, released in 1984, you play many different 
characters in 5 different chapters or scenarios that make up the game.  You
start off just like the book, playing the role of Arthur Dent, one of the main
characters in the story.  When he groggily wakes up and walks outside his house,
he finds a bulldozer is ready and waiting to destroy it!  Well, Arthur isn't
going to take this lying down, so after getting past the  dozer, he finds out
that an alien race just happens to have the earth on  their list of planets to
be destroyed.  After Arthur and his friend Ford  Prefect escape by hopping
aboard one of the alien ships, the adventure begins!
This game is considered to be one of the Infocom classic text  adventures. 
Douglas Adams was in close development with the authors of the game, and his
humour shows in many parts of it.  The puzzles aren't as  obscure as many of the
larger interactive fiction games of today, but are  fun and quite easy.  The
interface is fashioned just like almost  all other text adventures.  For
example, a description may come on the screen that reads like this. "You are on
the bridge of a spaceship.  There are many computer consoles, and there is a cup
of tea!  Ford is here."
Then you may type something using the computer keyboard like:
"Get tea."
"You pick up the cup of tea. Ouch it's hot!  You quickly put it down." Using the
keyboard to type in commands like directions where you want the  character to go
or actions that you want them to do, you will have to solve puzzles using the
text descriptions, as well as items the character has in  his/her possession. 
Who knows, one of the puzzles might be how to cool off  that cup of tea!

*Starship Titanic*

Starship Titanic is based on the book of the same name written by Douglas 
Adams.  The book is about an alien race that set out to build the ultimate 
spaceship for a cruise line. Right when the ship was going to be launched
however, it was sabotaged, and the main parts of the computer intelligence  that
runs it was stolen and hidden in different rooms in the ship.  The  ship crashes
in to someone's house on earth, while a group of people was  looking to buy it. 
The house is destroyed but some robots come out of the  ship, and ask the people
if they want a free cruise, and the weirdness of  another Adams story begins! 
The game is played from a first person  perspective, which means the view on-
screen is shown as if you were  actually looking at it.  There is no actual
character to control.  The goal  of the game is to find the parts of Titania,
which is the artificial  intelligence that runs the ship.  You have free
exploration of the ship, and you must go from place to place, collecting
inventory items and solving  puzzles.  The interface is part mouse and part
keyboard driven.  Typical of  almost all graphical adventures, there is a cursor
on the screen that is  moved with the mouse.  It turns colours or highlights
when there is an  object to interact with, and a left click will do something
with the  object.  For example, if there is a tv in a room, clicking on it will
let  you turn it on/off or select channels.  The keyboard portion of the game is 
quite interesting.  All of the characters in the game are robots, such as  the
barBot in the bar or the deskBot on the main floor.  When you click on a
character, a small dialog comes up where you can type in a question such as:
"Ask BarBot about drinks."
When you type this in and press enter, the robot will respond, either  giving
you information or saying: "I don't know anything about that."
The text interface is an interesting way of asking questions but guessing  the
exact words that must be typed in can be very frustrating.  It's a puzzle in
itself!  It's more of an annoyance then a help however, since most of the time,
if the exact words aren't typed in, the character won't  know what you're
talking about. The game consists of mostly music with some sound effects such as
the rumbling of the ships engines.  There is music for almost every location, 
it's mostly classical, and it's quite good.  The dialog is pretty funny,
definitely of Douglas Adams calibre.  I couldn't enjoy it much though, since
half the time, I had to guess what to say to the characters.  I had  to resort
to a walkthru for the second half of the game.  One very  interesting puzzle
however is disarming a bomb.  When you enter a room,  there is a bomb with a big
red button to press.  If you press it, you'll have to disarm it by typing in
number Combinations.  There have to be over 500 of them to guess, and what can
be fun or frustrating is the bomb  taunting you throughout the puzzle!  Yep, a
talking bomb!  This was definitely the funniest part of the game.

These were 2 of the games that Douglas Adams developed.  He has worked in
partnership with infocom for a few more text adventures but Hitchhikers is the
only one that he had first say on what went in to the game.  Starship Titanic
was developed by Adams own game company called the Digital  Village.  More Adams
games were planned, such as a graphical adventure  based on the Hitchhikers
Guide to the Galaxy.  That game however has been  handed off to another company,
Pan interactive, who have changed it in to  an action/adventure.  However before
his death, Douglas Adams was  developing the game along with the company, and it
was more then half  completed.  Hopefully, this game will be released soon, and
contain the  humour and weird science fiction settings that Mr. Adams was known
for.

The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy text adventure is quite hard to find  now. 
It is available on one of the many infocom collections released in the early
90's, the Science-Fiction collection being one of them.  It is  not however
included on the MasterPieces of infocom cd-rom but hopefully it  may be released
as freeware soon.
Starship Titanic is a few years old now, and is still available in computer 
software stores such as electronics boutique.


+++
News From GMA

++New Game Announcement from GMA Games

Finally, it's here!  As of May 31, Version 1.0 of Shades of Doom is ready to be
downloaded.  There have been hundreds of changes and additions since its alpha
premiere, with new features such as joystick support, cheat code availability,
nine levels, original music, lots of new weapons and monsters, Braille-printer
ready maps, all commands available through menus as well as through keyboard and
joystick, more and better sounds, and much more.

Shades of Doom is a revolutionary Window's-based game for the visually impaired.
It creates a virtual reality using sound as it's medium. It features multi-
dimensional multi-layered sound, immersing the gamer into a world of action and
suspense set in the not too distant future. The game is self-voicing, and so no
screen reader is required to play this game.
 
You are equipped with a medical kit, a gun, a knife, and a computer to analyze
your surroundings, and you must make your way through the many levels of the top
secret military research base, and shut down the ill-fated experiment. You will
use the sound of the wind in the passages and rooms, the echo of your footsteps,
the sounds of nearby equipment, and optionally, the guidance from your
environment analyzer computer, to make your way through this dark world. You
will definitely want to collect better weapons, armour, and equipment to help
you succeed in this mission. Find the clues to shut down the experiment as you
make your way to the
ninth and most dangerous area.

Find out more about this game, and others at:

http://www.GMAGames.com

The game is available immediately, and it is selling for $35 U.S.

+++
News From ESP Softworks

This time around, there i sno official update from ESP Softworks. However, those of us on the Audyssey discussion list
that James North has set up on behalf of Audyssey know that he has been far from idle. He has set up a much better and
more stable listserver for the Audyssey list, and has also continued to actively participate on it giving lots of friendship
and helpful advice. He has also continued to work on a number of projects including the Monkey Business demo. When
is that coming? In a word, shortly. James is well aware that we've all been hanging by a thin thread of suspense for quite
a long time. You'll recall that one major problem James sited as a reason for slow progress was the lack of an office
where he could work undisturbed. It appears that he has now built one of these sanctums with his own two hands.
These aren't the actions of somebody who doesn't intend to follow through with his plans to produce entertainment for
us. I cannot reveal everything I've learned about his efforts since that would breach the trust which James and I have
established. Many obstacles have stood in his path. However, he's doing his utmost to overcome all of them and meet
his obligations to everyone in his life including the blind gaming community. Give James your trust, time, and patience,
and when all is said and done, he'll give you fun like you've never experienced. He has indicated that we'll be hearing
more from him directly in the next issue of Audyssey which will mark our fifth anniversary.
 
+++
News From PCS

No new games have emerged from PCS, but the lives of both Phil and Carl have
gone through some fairly drastic changes over the past while. Carl has been
hired by IBM, and still hopes to continue producing games in addition to this
once he's fully adjusted to his new happy circumstances. I have no doubt that
all of us in the Audyssey community will join me in wishing Carl the best of
luck, and in hoping that he is successful in continuing to produce games for the
community he's been a part of since it all started.

Phil's life has not been without its happiness and change. He is going to
continue to represent PCs on the Internet as he states in his brief message
below:

Hi Folks, Many of you know that I moved to Michigan.
Now I am changing my e-mail from the New Jersey ISP to my new Michigan one. It
is:
[email protected]
I hope to update all the PCS games, and our web site with this new address.
Sincerely,
Phil of PCS games


 

+++
News From Zform

Dear Zform Community,

I am pleased to announce the launch of the Zform Foundation website! The new
site features detailed information on the Foundation and our sponsors and can be
found online at http://www.zform.org.  The past
month has been an incredible one!  We began raising funds, presented our
technology prototype at a conference, and received another grant from LATDC! 
Please find below the latest update.

As always, I welcome your questions and thoughts.  Send them my way
via [email protected].

Sincerely,
Paul G. Silva (e: [email protected] | v: 413/587-2163)
Cofounder and Community Director, Zform Foundation

"Video games that bring the blind and sighted together."
http://www.zform.org

+++24 May 2001 Web Update
++ In Brief
* Zform begins fundraising campaign
* Zform presents technology prototype at LATDC's assistive technology
conference
* LATDC awards Zform a grant to fund continued development of
prototype
* Prototype to be displayed at NFB convention in July

++ In Detail
+ Zform Begins Fundraising Campaign:
To fund the development of our games and communities, the Zform
Foundation seeks donations from gifting foundations, corporations,
government agencies, and individuals.
We ask that all inquiries on donations be sent to our Executive
Director:
(Jeremie Spitzer, [email protected], 1-413-587-2024).

+ Technology Prototype Presented at LATDC Conference:
On May 4th the Lemelson Assistive Technology Development Center
(LATDC), a Zform sponsor, held its third annual forum on assistive
technology.  At LATDC's request, Zform presented a demonstration of
our technology prototype.  We're happy to report that we succeeded in
creating a virtual 3D maze that looks and sounds good, and that both
our blind and sighted staff can navigate through fairly easily.

+ LATDC Awards Zform Grant
After the successful demonstration of our prototype at their
conference, LATDC awarded Zform a grant to support continued
development of the prototype.

+ Zform to Publicly Display Prototype:
Zform will publicly demonstrate our latest prototype at the National
Federation of the Blind's annual convention on July 1-7 in
Philadelphia. If you're at the convention, drop by our booth.  We'd
love to meet you and show off the prototype!

http://www.zform.org

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
[email protected]

 

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

+++
Game Announcements and Reviews:
Above the full reviews which appear in this section, any new games which have not been fully reviewed yet will be
announced in the hopes that readers and/or the Audyssey staff will try out and review these games for us. Reviews of
games will not appear in any particular order. The only exception to this will be when we have more than one review for a
game. In this case, reviews will be placed consecutively so that it is easier to compare them. As with Anchorhead a few
issues back, I may wish to interject my own thoughts on a game should it provoke significant reaction or otherwise
prove itself especially noteworthy. When I choose to do this, you'll find my remarks above the review or reviews for the
game in question. Should a game have more than one review, two plus-signs will be placed above the first review and/or
my remarks. This policy will hopefully encourage people to try both the latest as well as some older games which may
have been overlooked. Just because something isn't hot off the presses doesn't mean that it is any less worthy of a
gamer's attention. Also, remember that it doesn't matter if a game has been reviewed before. If you have a different take
on the game than has already been published, send in your review and I'll consider it for publication. If a review fails to
interest you, simply skip to the next plus-sign. It's that simple, folks.

++
Once And Future took the list completely by storm over the past two months. The game proved to be a worthy one, and
discussion on it was continuous for quite some time. At last, Kirstan was the first to announce that she had completed
the game. It turns out that Dave Sherman and Kirstan worked together to solve the game. Both feel that this added
greatly to the fun of solving the adventure, and wanted their experience to serve as a guide to others. Their thoughts are
below in the following two reviews:

+
Once And Future
Game by G. Kevin Wilson
Reviewed by Kirstan Mooney
Available from:
ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/tads/oaf.gam
Fully playable without sighted assistance
Requires TADS interpreter such as Wintads


After weeks and weeks of playing Andy Philips game, Heroine's Mantle, I found
myself spending less and less time at the computer I was once glued to for
hours.  no days on end, racking my brain trying to solve very well hidden
solutions to puzzles.  Finally, after searching, reading what seemed like not
enough Emails, and filling in my time with things that could take my mind off
the
boredom from not playing an attention keeping, and exciting game, Once and
Future was announced as being released as freeware.  With a fluttering stomach,
and heart in my mouth, I eagerly downloaded and installed the HTML Tads
interpreter necessary to play the game, then downloaded Once and Future.  My
first impression of the game was that I had installed the interpreter wrong. The
garbled speech at the beginning had me thinking I would never be able to play
the game, and was doomed to a life of boredom once again.  Then, after pressing
the space bar for what seemed like eternity, the game began properly.  My first
disappointment was then encountered.  I was disappointed to find that there was
no actual recording of a score that could be beaten. I was not sure really how
well I was doing in the game, and had to do a lot of the scenes again and again,
in different ways, to find out which way was the way needed to get the highest
rank.  Avalon is a very well featured and described land of mystery, danger and
friendship.  The beginning scenes are very well written, as most of the game is,
and one of the opening scenes was, in fact, my very favourite scene, and I can
not honestly think of any other game that comes even close to the way the main
character, Frank, and the other characters in the story all interacted with each
other.  My
favourite scene involved Frank, coming back as his future self, and being able
to see what had become of his Army buddies.  Rob, which was one of his young
friends was captured in a camp, being guarded by a soldier.  What happened next,
with the assistance of a pebble, was both a very funny part of the scene, and
also part of the solution to helping Rob escape and live his life as he should
have.  Merlin of course, was a very colourful and occasionally mischievous
character, that was also well written about, and described.  Snookums, the mole
was a nice twist to everything, and made something that could have been quite
serious, turn into a fun and light adventure.

Fiearyland is a place of immense character, charm and danger.  Some of the most
memorable characters in this land would have to be, to me, the elf woman, the
old man, and of course the Queen.  Although I never felt as though this part of
the story was completed in the way I would of liked, it certainly had its
challenges, and a fair dose of intelligent speaking characters.  The more
venturing that was done in Fiearyland, the more of the land there was to
discover.  From the riverside, to an old woman's house, to flying to the moon, 
then meeting a fierce and nasty Hunter, with a lot of other nooks and crannies
full of secret treasure troves of the extended land and story.

After the return to Avalon, and the meeting of Lancelot and Galahad, even
another extension of the land is found.  Stonehenge is a part of the game that
is almost removed from the way the other 2 lands have been described, but at the
same time, a marvel of it's own.  Cad, Merlin once again, and even Cal the cute
wee cat, are all described and personalities changed around to fit this rather
daunting landscape.  Although it was at this point I thought for certain, I must
be getting near to the end of the game,  I was still left wondering if there
wasn't going to be another brand new land opening up before me.  Stonehenge was,
in my opinion, the place that Frank spent the least time in, but it played it's
own integral part in the game, and was just another twist to how this game could
keep opening and opening up before the game players eyes.

The many ways Oaf can be ended is both an interesting and, in my opinion slight
let down.  I am not one for wanting to replay a game just to find out how it
might end if I make one move another way, or miss another move out all together. 
I have managed to finish Oaf as a Lieutenant General, a Hero, and Knight of the
Round table.  All of these rankings had their own special way of ending, which
was nice, but I myself, would prefer to finish the game
on one level, and just have the option of going back one day, and replaying the
whole game over.

After just completing the absurdly difficult Heroin's Mantel, Oaf was a nice
fill in, and an enjoyable game all in all.

+
Once and Future
By G. Kevin Wilson
Reviewed by Dave Sherman     

When the news of OAF being released as freeware first hit the discussion list, there was a surge from everyone to grab a
copy of it.  I knew I had heard of the title before from a back issue of Audyssey, if I'm not mistaken.  But it didn't get my
adrenaline running, as it obviously did with others more familiar with this title.  Regardless, I jumped up to the incoming
directory of the if-archive site, and grabbed a copy.  I was sure that I'd look at it sometime in the next few days, and the
little bit of hard drive space it took up couldn't hurt anything.

Well, I think I got through perusing email, and taking care of other business a few hours later.  I had nothing better to
do, so I unzipped the file.  It was a *.gam file … OK, so we're talking about a TADS  game.  Easy enough.  I opened up
WinTads, and accessed the oaf.gam file.

You're playing a character, Frank leandro.  The game starts off with you and some of your army buddies in a tent in
Vietnam.  Where things go from this point … well, lets just say that Mr. Wilson has a vivid imagination.  I'm afraid I was
hooked on the game, only a few minutes into it.  The game was well written, and I now see why it took him four years to
release this title as a commercial game, back in the mid 90's.  The descriptions of the locations you will visit on your
journey are superb.  And the number of NPC characters is amazing compared to any other text games I've ever played. 
They aren't just pictures in a room description, but each NPC has its own individual personality, and how they interact
with you and the other NPC's is quite amusing at times.

If I was asked to rate this game, I'd give it a 10.  Sorry, I'm not one of those people who is able to break apart a game into
15 different categories, and give a few tenths of a point for each category, then add them up for a final score.  OAF
ranked a 10 with me for its detailed descriptions, ingenious puzzles, twisted but complex story line, and never ending
humour.

I started off working on the game alone, but soon contacted Kirstan off list, and we worked on the game together – all
the way to the end.  I missed the camaraderie that the discussion list used to exhibit, with everyone bouncing ideas,
hints, and teasers off of everyone else.  The list has become a competitive hunting ground, so Kirstan and I worked on
OAF  together, off list.
(And yes, <face is turning red> … I actually had to accept some hints and out right spoilers from a 'woman' <how
embarrassing> <just kidding>).

The plot of this game is still not understood by the likes of me.  I'm no psychologist.  If I were to guess where the plot
came from, I'd say, "a plastic bag full of some good Columbian foliage". (or from a magic mushroom ring)<grin> 
Frank wanders back and forth between the past and the future, reality and fantasyland, and a mixture of both. 
He is expected to "save the world".  And to achieve this goal, it's necessary to visit both the past , present, and future,
in order to 'learn'  from mistakes.

OAF is not going to be the easiest of games for a novice IF gamer.  There are quite a few complex puzzles, and this
includes both physical manipulation of certain items, as well as some pretty tricky mind games which require Frank to
perform specific tasks in an exact order. 
Also, don't expect to get through OAF in an afternoon.  It took me several weeks.  (Yah yah, so Dave L. probably got
through it in about two days – but I've already determined that he's an ET, so just disregard any boasting from him
<chuckle>).
And if it hadn't been for Jay pellis pointing out issue 16 of SPAG to the list, I would have overlooked a fair amount of
the game.  It would still have been  possible for me to finish the game, but at a much lower rank/score.
It turned out that issue 16 of SPAG was solely devoted to the release of OAF.  And all of the reviews in that issue were
written by the beta testers of the game.  So I picked up some knowledge that I would have overlooked without the tips
that the SPAG reviews gave me.
The majority of the puzzles in OAF are 'non-linear' (to steal a term used by the beta testers).  What they meant by this is
that most of the puzzles can be solved in any order.  There are only a few that require other puzzles to be completed first,
in order to obtain necessary items for a subsequent puzzle.  I found this to be true for the majority of the game. 
However, I  have to disagree strongly with this idea when you get near the end of the game.  I've played out the scenes
in a particular area of OAF several times, and have managed to end up with five different rankings, with all of the tasks
complete.  I still have not figured out how this is possible.

Also, supposedly the highest rank in OAF is Knight of the Round Table (OK, so there are some things related to King
Arthur in the game …  no more spoilers <lol>).  However, I reached the Knight of the Round Table rank, while there was
still one major event to finish before the end of the game.  As I proceeded to finish, my score/rank  was completely
wiped clean, I received the closing scenes, which Kirstan has informed me, go along with finishing up with a rank of
Hero (one rank below Knight of the Round Table) – and then I get a TADS runtime error.

So even after four years of development and beta testing, Mr. Wilson obviously missed a combination of actions which
would, in theory, lead to a final score higher than Knight of the Round Table.
Am I disappointed by this? Nah! I'm too arrogant to let that bother me.  it just reinforces my knowledge that I'm even
superior to the developer of the game himself. <rofl>

In summary, Once and Future is a very long, very detailed, and most important, very fun text adventure. Download a
copy, and take your time with it and enjoy!
Available at: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/tads/oaf.zip

+
Family Feud
Developed by GameTek
Requires some sighted assistance
Reviewed by Jay Pellis

On a recent hunt for games on the auction site EBay, I happened to find a  cd-
rom version of family feud.  I played a demo of it a long time ago, and  I
remembered the questions were spoken out loud by the host.  The price for
the game was $5, so I placed a bid of $10, and won the game.  A few days
later, I received it, and found not only that over 1000 questions are
narrated by the host but the game was semi-accessible with jaws for windows.

*the interface*

When the game is installed, it only copies a few small files to the hard  drive
in a directory called feud because most of it runs directly off of  the cd.  The
installation was quite speech friendly, with dialog boxes  asking me where to
install the game etc.  When the family feud icon is  clicked and the game
starts, the family feud theme music starts to play,  and some choices appear on
the screen.  First, a menu bar with a file menu,
where you can select to play a new game or load a previously saved game, 
however those choices are inactive for some reason.  When you click the  left
mouse button once, more choices appear on-screen, such as player  versus
computer, player vs player, practice, and an options menu.  The
player vs computer option pits player 1 against a computer controlled  family,
while player vs player lets you and a friend compete in the
game.  The practice mode lets the first player go through a game of family  feud
with out any other participants.  This is actually a very fun mode in
itself, since there are no computer controlled opponents who may buzz in to
answer a question before it is fully spoken.  Using your jaws cursor, you
can select a choice on the screen, and use your left mouse click button to
select it.  The options menu lets you configure every single aspect of the 
game, from the difficulty of the computer opponents, to how much time you  have
to answer a question.  This is also somewhat accessible with the jaws  cursor. 
For example, if you click on computer intelligence, you can select  from choices
such as expert or hopeless.  If you click on the C of the word  Computer
intelligence and read current line, the word after intelligence  will change
from good, to hard, to hopeless eetc.  Similarly, you can turn speech,
animations, and music off.  It is a good idea to turn animations  off, as they
interfere with jaws during the game.  As stated above, you can  customize game
rules, such as the time limit of the rounds, and how many  points are required
to end a round.  This is a little hard to access with  jfw.  There are places
where the time limit numbers can be changed but they  aren't marked well on-
screen, and they are hard to find even routing the pc  cursor to the jaws cursor
on places where the numbers are. After the options are taken care of, you can
click on start a new game,  select your family out of the 4 families, and start
the game.  You can also
customize a family by entering first and last names of father, mother,
brother and sister but this seems unnavigatable with the jaws cursor as well.
The game starts with the bulls eye round, where the host asks you questions, 
and you have to guess the number 1 answer to the questions.  The answers  were
taken from a survey that people were given, and one of the questions  may be
something like:
"Name something that firefighters wear."
After you hear the question, you can press the B key to buzz in or wait for
a new question to be spoken.  When you buzz in, you hear a beeping sound,
and you can type in your answer and press enter.  If you are right, you'll  hear
a bell sound, and if you're wrong, you'll hear a buzzer.  Also, if you  are
quick enough while the question is being spoken, you can read it with  jaws by
reading the bottom line of the window.  Sometimes the question is  longer then
one line though, and if this is so, jaws will only read the  last line of the
question.  After the bulls eye round, the families are  asked questions, to
which many correct answers can be given.  There are  over 1000 questions in the
game, so you probably won't encounter the same  question twice through 3 or so
plays of the game.  When it is time to enter
an answer after buzzing in, by reading the bottom line, you can read who  will
enter the answer.  With the Jones family, one of the names is Andrew,
so you might hear "Andrew enter answer."  If you get the answer wrong, you  are
given a choice either to pass or play.  By clicking on either, the  choices can
be selected.  Passing is either passing the question to the  next family or if
they have already answered, the host will go on to the  next question.  Playing
is letting the next person in the family you are  playing as answer in order to
get more money and points.  The final round  is the fast money round, where 2
people are selected from the family who  won the main round.  Each member is
then given a number of questions to
answer, and a time limit.  You don't have to buzz in in this round, just  listen
to the questions, type in the answers as fast as possible, and press  enter.  If
each member gets all questions correctly answered, they win the  money in the
bulls eye round jackpot.  If they get many wrong, they get 5  dollars per point
but still win the game.
 *voices, sounds and music*

The highlight of this game is that all the questions are spoken out loud by  the
host.  This is very similar to the way the You Don't Know Jack
questions are spoken in that game but with out the witty banter of the  host. 
The only problem I found with this is that when playing against the
computer,  the computer may buzz in before the question is fully  spoken.  If
this happens, you can read the bottom line with the jaws or pc
cursor, and usually be able to answer the question when it's your turn.  All in
all, a good job with the spoken questions. The sounds in the game consist of the
various bells, beeps and buzzes taken  directly from the show.  They play in
appropriate places, such as when you  buzz in or get a question right or wrong. 
There is also the sound of an  audience clapping when a round is over.  The only
music in the game is the  theme song that plays at the beginning and end, which
is also the same  exact version from the television show.  It can be turned off
however if it
gets annoying.
 *conclusion*

For a game released in 1994 when cd-roms were first emerging, this game is 
definitely a winner!  It may get slightly boring playing on your own but
with a group of friends, it's a great party game.  The amount of detail for 
such an old game is quite amazing, from the questions being spoken to the 
sounds/music, it's a fully interactive version of the tv show from that
time.  An added plus is the somewhat accessible nature of family  feud.  Many
things can be accessed by jfw, and if someone were to take the
time to write script files to make it even more accessible, we may perhaps
have a fully accessible gameshow on our hands.
The thing that turned me off about this game though is availability.  This 
could be classified as trying to find a MasterPieces of Infocom collection  cd,
no matter where you look, it can't be found anywhere.  I was lucky  enough to
hunt down the demo of it that I own, and I managed to find the  full version of
the game after a few months of searching.  There are many  versions of Family
Feud out for the pc, including a new version released by  Hazbro interactive
last year.  This new version however can't even touch  the older one, none of
the questions are narrated.  I may be wrong however  but after reading a few
reviews of it, that's how it seems.  This version I  reviewed is by a company
called GameTek, and it was released in 1994. Winning this game on EBay may be
your best bet for finding it but if you do  find it, you won't be disappointed!

+
TRADE WARS 2002
by Martech Software, Inc.
Reviewed by Dave Sherman


     Since Noel Romey started his Bulletin Board Service a few months ago, the topic of BBS's  and BBS games has been
a hot subject on the Audyssey discussion list.  When Noel first put up NER (Not Enough Reality) BBS, there was talk of
an old favourite game played on Bulletin Board Services years ago.  The game was called Trade Wars 2002.  I'd never
heard of it, and didn't even bother to look at it the first month or two of my playing on his BBS.  Well, after getting
burned out on some of the more popular games being played initially, I started looking at some of the others on NER. 
One evening, I decided to drop into TW 2002, and see what the game was all about.
I went to the online documentation option to read about the game.  After approximately 20 minutes of reading screen
after screen of detailed information (and realizing that I had only touched the tip of the iceberg), I decided to access the
documentation offline.  There was a file mentioned, along with a website. 
     Well, that website apparently no longer exists.  So I went to visit one of those handy search engines, and did a search
on Trade Wars 2002.  Boy!  I was shocked to say the least.  The web had oodles and oodles of information and personal
homepages devoted to this game.  It seemed to be almost a whole game genre within itself.  I did finally find a copy of
the documentation file I was searching for – but I found so much else.  Apparently BBS's never have died off … there
may be a resurgence of them as of late, but my research into TW 2002 showed me that at least this game never
disappeared, once it had first been released.  I even saw sites referring to TW 2002 Tournaments, which are run out of
Vegas, for … well, I never actually did bother to check to see how much people were willing to gamble on this game.  (I
do know it is quite addicting, and I am no where near ready for tourney play myself).
     So what's it all about?  Well, the title actually does a pretty good job of describing the basics behind the game. 
(Remember this game was originally designed years ago, so the year 2002  was more than six months away at the time). 
The game involves trading.  It also involves competitive trading (hence 'Wars'), just like in real life sales.  And the
'2002'  part means that you get to use a whole host of spaceships to carry cargo, protect your assets, attack other
traders or smugglers, and a host of other features available to the ships.
 Don't get me wrong, this game is anything but 'basic'  or simple.  It is a definite powerhouse strategy game,
with a myriad of options.  As with most other BBS games, TW 2002 is mainly menu driven.  (Simple enough, right?  Well,
you study the documentation for two days, like I did, before feeling comfortable about even going near the game). 
Actually the menus aren't that difficult, once you understand the basics behind the game and the three or four main
menus you can choose from. 
[If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy of this documentation, contact me at my email address listed in the staff
section].
 So what is the layout of this game?  Well, there is a grid system set up (the # of grids configurable by the
sysop).  I've found that most games choose an average of 5000 grid points.  But some larger games go as high as 20,000 
grid points.  Are these grid points all linked sequentially?  Nope!  That's part of each game which you, as a trader, need
to figure out.   You might be able to move from sector 4000 to sector 1 in just 7' hops' (a move from one grid location to
another).  You are given a limited number of turns per day, and each hop or 'warp jump'  takes a certain number of turns
to accomplish.  This is all dependent on the type of ship you are using, and the type of engine your ship has.
 What is in the grid sectors?  In most of them … nothing.  They are just part of the grid with warp lanes to other
grid sectors (a list of the sectors which can be moved to from a particular sector).  Obviously there has to be more than
just empty space involved.  The basic components which comprise the meat of TW 2002 are space ports (where you can
do your trading), planets (where the three different commodities of TW 2002 are mined / grown / produced, and one
'spacedock' where a player can do lots of things.
 The commodities are Fuel Oil, Organics, and Equipment.  The planets -- of which there are varying types
ranging from Terran or earth-like to arctic, produce these commodities as you colonize the planets.  There are eight
different permutations of the ports, based on whether they buy or sell a commodity.  None of the ports will both buy and
sell a single commodity.  So you might have a port which buys oil, sells organics, and buys equipment.  I'll let you figure
out the other seven possible combinations on your own <smirk>.
 A big part of this game is where the trading comes in.  One of the key strategic points in this game is to find
two adjacent sectors, both containing ports, which happen to be opposites of each other in regards to what they buy
and sell.  For instance, find a port that 'buys' organics and 'sells' equipment, then locate a port in an adjacent sector
which 'sells' organics and 'buys' equipment.  (The strategy in finding adjacent port sectors is to minimize your turn
consumption while moving back and forth between the sectors).  Then its just a matter of getting down and dirty and
trading.  You type in the amount of a commodity you wish to buy or sell, and the tradesman at the port will give you an
offer.  You can then either accept the default value given, or haggle with the tradesman over the sale.  The whole idea is
to buy low and sell high, thus increasing the size of your purse.  You then keep hopping back and forth between these
sectors, until you've either exhausted the ports supplies, or their prices are too high. The term used for this technique is
called 'port pair trading'.  That's just one simple example of a basic part of this game.
 The ultimate goal?  To take over the universe.  (No brainer, eh?)  To be the highest ranked trader with the
biggest net worth amassed.  I don't want to rewrite the entire manual here, so I'm going to throw out the rest of the
basics in fairly rapid fire succession … so watch out for the space debris!

TW 2002 allows for the development of corporations, allowing the CEO (or founder) to have certain special privileges. 
You can buy 'Genesis torpedoes'  to start new planets, and build your own little section of the universe.  There are
roughly 16 or 17 ship types to choose from.  They all vary in the amount of cargo they can hold, the number of shields
they can have, the max number of fighters you can put on them, the number of turns each hop takes, and lots of other
smaller details.

TW 2002 also allows for good and evil alignment.  You can be an honest trader, and try to amass your fortune the
honourable way.  Or you can go around robbing from the various ports and trying to get money and fame that way. 
Both alignments gain experience, and a boost in alignment for capturing or blowing up the ship of a character of
opposite alignment.  You can attack other ships, ports, and planets.  It's possible to buy atomic detonators and turn an
opponents hard earned planetary assets into space debris.
 As far as building up planets, well you need to visit Terra, in sector 1, and pick up colonists, then bring them back to
your planets.  The more colonists on a planet, the more commodities it will produce, and you can then concentrate your
efforts on selling your commodities, versus hustling between ports to make a living.  The planets allow for citadels to be
built on them.  These citadels are safe havens where you can park your ships, store money, and if the citadel is
upgraded high enough, have a fairly substantial, self sustained planetary defence system.
 There is an area on the grid which is controlled by the police in this game, otherwise known as 'the Feds'. 
Sectors 1 through 10 are part of 'Fed space', and you need to watch what actions you do in these sectors.  But they are
a nice safe area to get started in when you first join a game, and are looking to trade at ports.  Also, the spacedock is in a
sector belonging to the Federation.  The space dock is where you can buy ships, buy hardware to upgrade ships and
other various items of construction / destruction, hang out at the spacedock bar and drink, gamble, or relieve your
bladder and write on the walls of the stalls.  There is also a bank, police HQ, a cinema (not much good for those of us
who can't see), and other undocumented features which you need to discover on your own – the hard way.

So much for the sweet taste of the game.  Now a little taste of the bitter side.  Since TW 2002 is a BBS game, menu
driven, which requires actions such as the 'port pair trading'  described above, you'll soon learn that many  actions on
TW 2002 are very time consuming and tedious.  Sometimes it's almost enough to make one say, "forget this, too much
work for the little reward".   But it hasn't managed to scare me away yet.  I still find it intriguing. Several of us in the
community have been playing in a game on a BBS known as gameland.  Justin, Pooch, and Speedy – you all know who
you are … and there may be others that I'm unaware of from this community.  I didn't realize until last week that Speedy
was a regular from the discussion list.  Not until he ventured into a partnership in my corporation did he reveal his true
identity <little sneaky bugger>. Regarding the tedium of the game.  There are a few 'helper'  applications available on the
market for around $20 to $30.
These helpers will automate processes for you, such as port pair trading – thus substantially cutting down on the time
you spend carrying out these actions.  At the moment, they are all coded with GUI interfaces, making them inaccessible. 
If you're interested in TW 2002, see my article about SWATH.  This is a helper program, which is in the process of being
made accessible (thanks to the developers willingness to work with me in order to make his product available to anyone,
sighted or not.)
 No offence to Noel regarding the version of TW 2002 he has running on NER, but he has it set for a max of 250
turns per day, which get eaten up fairly quickly, when a ship consumes three to four turns per hop on an average.
Thus, most of us in the Audyssey community, that I'm aware of, are playing on a BBS suggested by Justin Ekis [web
based game staff member, if I'm not mistaken].
That address is: gameland.darktech.org port:23
The BBS has two different versions of TW 2002 running, a regular version and a GOLD version.  Apparently the main
difference is that the GOLD version allows for ship modifications, so you're not limited to the set number offered by the
standard version.
TW 2002 games are all over the place.  If you're interested, find yourself a comfortable BBS or TW 2002 server, and join
in!
Oh! And one final thing. Watch out for the Ferrengi!

+
The wonderful world of Gulf
Game by Jim Kitchen
Reviewed by Tim Kilgore


HI all,  I have been reading audyssey for quite some time but have never been confident enough to write a review of a
game before.  However, I thought I'd take the plunge and see what happens.

Imagine a warm, balmy, spring day in April.  It's Saturday and you're tired of the homework side of college, or maybe
you're just  tired of the drudgery of everyday life.  You want to get away, so you decide to head out to the gulf course
for a little fun.   Wait a second!  You have one problem, in your excitement, you forgot that you can't see, neither can
you drive a car.  So, you  do the next best thing. 

A few months ago you downloaded Gulf82c by Jim Kitchen so you decide to take it for a spin.  As you get in to the
game, you find that it has a very great setup with several greens to choose from as well as your handicap level. 
Basically the better you think you are at Gulf, the harder the game.  As a blind gamer, of course, you really like the sound
the game makes as it indicate the power level you are currently on.  After some experimentation, you find that you have
to hit the ball pretty quickly when you hear the range in pitch the tones are making. 

As some one who doesn't know much about gulf, these were my experiences when I first played the game. The sound
effects are great and really make you feel as if you are in the actual game itself.  I couldn't stop playing the game for
days!  This game has good replay value as you don't always know how hard you are going to hit the ball, how far from
the fairway you are, etc. 

I give this game 10 out of 10.  There isn't much I'd do to the game itself, except port it to windows.  With the technology
that's out now, you could even make the game more sound intensive.  Other than that, if you're looking for a good
sports game, and you have the technology to work in DOS, then give this game a try.  There is no reason why other
sports games can't be made just as well as this gulf game.


The preceding game can be played with no sighted assistance and can be obtained at http://www.simcon.net/jkitchen/

+
 geography
by Phil Grier
accessible without sighted assistance
available at ftp.nfbnet.org/bbsfiles/games/geo.zip or
ftp.bestmidi.com/pub/games/education/geo.zip
Reviewed by Graham Pearce

When I first saw the description of the game on the nfbnet  archive, I thought
"wow! An accessible geography trivia game!" But, as I soon found out, it is not
a geography trivia game in the normal sense of the word. In the game, you have
to think of a state, state capital, ocean, sea, country, or continent. When you
have typed it in, the computer will select a location whose first letter is the
same as your last letter. You proceed likewise, until either you can't think of
any more words, there are no names left or you have forced the game into an
unsinkable state. The game is rather addictive, and I confess to having spent
hours upon hours playing it.

There are a few problems though. For a start, the game demands you switch
between upper-case and lower-case letters constantly, and sometimes you have to
try a few times to type your word in. It also doesn't know as many names as one
might expect, it only recognizes states/provinces of the united states or
Canada.

Over-all though, geography is a brilliant game. It's not time-based, meaning you
have all the time in the world to type your guesses. I haven't actually won yet,
despite cheating by looking up words on the Language Master, which is a portable
talking dictionary. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a worthless piece of junk
and 10 is a rare gem, I'd give it an 8. I'd love to see it's concept put in to
other topics, like animals and plants. It is suitable for people who are 12
years old or more.

+
Myrthorn's Monthly MUD Picks
 Ah! … let me kick back on the couch with a bag of chips and a can of Coke.  There, now I'm more comfortable.
Yep, that's right, it's your old buddy Myrthorn here.  That gig with Ardrah and Muldred, and that beer chugging Brik
got to be too stressful for me.  All that work, for mere meagre financial rewards.  I decided to find a position which was
more my style.  I heard about this guy up in Canada, Mr. Feir, who was looking for a few good men to assist him.  Seems
he was looking for some people to help him write gaming reviews for his magazine, Audyssey.  I said, "hey, that's
sounds like my kind of magic -- and the pay is right too" <grin>.  I'll be making about as much as I was when I was
wandering all over the countryside, getting the hell beat out of me.

Well, you may be asking yourself how I'm going to give you a monthly MUD pick, when the magazine is only published
once every two months.  (Oh feeble one … have ye no faith in the wisdom of this wizard?)  That's all under control. 
You're going to get two reviews in each issue.  Hopefully those of you interested in mudding will find some of these
reviews intriguing, and perhaps give them a try.  I'm going to do my best to review both new, upcoming MUD's, as well
as dig up exciting MUD's that have been around for a while, but have gotten buried in amongst the thousands of
MUD's to choose from.
I'll also be delving into the different styles and themes available, so that you readers will be able to experience the
different varieties that exist -- and hopefully I'll also appease those of you whom have varying interests.  Some of you
like the quick paced, hack n' slash MUDS, while others find them repulsive.  Some people enjoy role playing MUDS or
even the strictly social MUDS, known as talkers.  I'll be touching on all of these areas, so no one feels left out.
The header info of most of these reviews will be taken directly (and partially edited) from the listings of The
MudConnector (or whichever service I happen to use to obtain the info about the MUD).  So to avoid any sort of
copyright infringement, I will give TMC credit for that portion of my reviews right now.

With that little intro about this new column out of the way, I'm going to delve right into this month's picks.
Both of my picks this issue are of relatively new MUDS.  They both are technically still in a semi-beta test mode.  So you
can expect some of the features to not be implemented yet, or perhaps not fully documented.  And expect bugs to exist,
until the coders iron them out.  (That is usually an ongoing process in any MUD).
NOTE:  Both of the MUDS this month contain 'mature'  content, and are recommended as 'adult only' MUDDS.  That
was not something I've done intentionally, and will try to avoid this in the future.  I just happened to come across two
MUDS, in the past week, which I felt may be enjoyable to others out there.
 SecretDestroyer MUD   [New Addition]
 Mud Created: February, 2001
Code Base: [Rom] Modded for months
Site: sd.hoka.dhs.org port: 4001
 [199.88.93.253:4001]
Admin Email: [email protected]
Theme: Fun
Avg. # of Players: Under 10
Multi-Play: No
Player-Kill: Yes
Quests Available
Character Approval Unnecessary
Role-playing Is Accepted
Clans Offered
World is mostly stock
Medium World (3,000+ rooms)
Sexually-Oriented and Adult-Level Violence
Mud is open to players for testing
(Home Page: http://home.mmcable.com/mdecker)

 
 Leave it up to that wacky Stan Bobbett to have given me the impetus to get back into mudding.  I hadn't visited any
MUDS in nearly six months, when Stan posted a message on the discussion list, seeking aid in finding the port for a
MUD he had heard about.  I managed to find the port number for him, and decided I'd give that MUD a peek, as long as
I had the address.  Well, I played that mud (Drasan) for about a day or two.  Then tossed it aside.  I'm a fairly
experienced mudder, and Drasan had me totally confused.  It was one of your typical ROM based MUDS that require
you to visit a 'trainer' in order to improve your skills.  Well, they had made things so complicated – that I had no clue as
to where the trainers for certain basic skills resided.  The docs were no help, so I wasted no more time with Drasan.
   However, now that my interest was peaked again, I went over to the Mudconnector (TMC), to try and find a mud that
was new to me and which sounded interesting.  Choosing one is not the easiest thing to do, when you have no specific
criteria in mind.  So I just went to their index, and picked a letter at random.  Then started skimming through the multitude
of names in order to see if any names happened to catch my fancy.  
   I ran across SecretDestroyer MUD, and decided to click on that link to get further info.  Initially, I had no idea what to
expect. 
After reading a short description on the mudconnector, I decided to log in, and create a character.  Surprisingly, the
hometown area of this MUD, was the exact same one as that on Drasan.  The town has  a different name – but the layout
is nearly identical.  (That's not totally surprising, since lots of MUDS tend to take code from others, and modify it.)  
Well, DS MUD had my interest right from the beginning character creation screens.  DS didn't have just the typical
human/dwarf/elf/halfling / warrior/mage/cleric/thief  race and class selection choices.  Yes, they did have humans,
dwarves, elves and giants to choose from, but you could also choose to be a wookie, ewok, robot, or moogle(?).  (I'm
just going to assume that the youngsters out there know what a moogle is, and us geezers are in the dark regarding that
critter.) 
The class selections weren't anything out of the ordinary, but SD does let you customize your character at the cost of
an increase in experience points needed for raising levels.  They let you "buy"  your available skills.  Every class comes
with a default set of skills, but if you want extras, you can choose them as options to practice and hone, all for the cost
of an increase in points needed to level.  I chose the customization route the first time around.  I had to delete my
character and go back and recreate it, without making any customizations.  I was like a kid in a candy store when I first
created the character, and I had to collect something like 7000 points to raise from level 1 to level 2.  And the pattern just
got worse as the levels increased, so that Wookie went back to the recycle bin of SD.
I recreated Chewbacon, and this time, SD even got my race straight (it was calling me a human when I did the
customization – though I had chosen wookie as my race).
    Well, this MUD is …FUN!  Just like their theme implies.  Friendly immortals, friendly players, and a bunch of fun areas. 
First, when it comes to training skills, -- well, SD seems to have closed down all of the guild halls and 'hidden'  trainers
… and they just have you come to the casino, in the temple, in order to train.
    What was that?  Casino? … in a temple?  Yep, right there off of the main lobby of the temple.  Same place, right in the
centre of town, where you go for healing.  (Yep, gambling is great for the soul – unless you happen to be a loser).
[Bzwzwzwzezwwzwzwzwzwzzzz zap!  -- don't go making fun of my silly humour, I still have those magic abilities tucked
under my robes.]

Speaking of closed down, Sd has no bank either.  They've eliminated the banking system altogether.  Your cash stays
on you at all times – even when you're killed.
And if you happen to get yourself killed, there's no need to go back out and hunt down your corpse, in order to retrieve
your lost gear.  Your corpse is automatically transported  (along with your soul) back to the main temple, and deposited
in the morgue, just underneath the lobby of the temple.  So when the gods give you a new body, all brand spanking new
(and bare naked) -- your old corpse is on the slab right next to you.  You just need to get your gear and get dressed, and
your back in action.

Well, let me give you a brief overview of some of the features (taken from their homepage).
- Report System:
4 Regular classes, 4 remort classes, each balanced in their own way. With every remort, you earn special bonuses.

- Unique Socials:
Lots and lots of crazy, unique socials for use on friends, enemies, or lovers! Most of the socials on SDMUD are unique
to us.

- AutoQuests:
Quest objects that are WORTH it to quest for.  With 3 quest ticks wait between quests, questing doesn't get very
tedious. Also, player settable NOEXP to stop levelling while you quest!

- Skill/Spells:
Many new skills/spells. Mages and Clerics have a spell called trispell which they can use to cast a spell 3 times with the
same mana cost. Mages get elemental shields, clerics get greater bless, Ares call, and other status enhancers. Thieves
get stun and circle, Warriors get stun and whirlwind.

- Token System:
Tokens for gold, exp, trains, practices and jackpots.
(hey, time to hit that casino again – and don't make me throw a magic missile at you this time).

For those of you unfamiliar with 'remorting', it's just a process, where you may keep your character, once they've
reached the highest level available.  You remort your character, and it's reset back to level 1.  But it's not like a brand
new level one character.  You still retain all your skills you learned from your previous incarnation, and are able to start
playing the character over again, in the new class you have chosen for the character. 
SD, allowing a character to remort multiple times, and having four remort classes available gives a player lots of time to
spend with a favourite character they may have created.

Most mobs don't just stand around in a given room, they tend to wander around a generalized area.  This makes it a bit
more fun – not finding the same mobs in the same locations, every time you visit them. 

Since this MUD has only been functional since February, it tends to go down quite often, for maintenance reboots.  The
imms are constantly working on it, and fixing bugs.  However, its not often that SD simply crashes.  If an immortal is
going to reboot.  They usually tell the players, and ask if anyone is in the middle of anything complex (such as a difficult
quest).  They are willing to wait until they get the heads up from all the players that everyone is 'stable', then they pull
the plug.  Its usually just a quick reboot, so you're able to log right back in.

As far as the adult content on SD, it is pretty much limited to strong language used by the players.  (i.e. – feel free to use
that filthy tongue of yours, that you use in everyday normal life … no offence intended towards those of you who
refrain from such actions in rl).
There are some prostitutes wandering the city streets, but I haven't seen any 'explicit  descriptions of sex'  or even
reference to any sexual acts initiated by these mobs.  However, some of the players will occasionally use some of the
socials to evoke certain actions.  But again, I don't consider it to be very explicit.

 The designers have thrown in a lot of areas to make SD unique, and … well, fun.  Some place to go where you can get
away from the usual medieval RP / PK mudding, in standard medieval areas.  They haven't eliminated them altogether,
just placed wacky rooms (such as the casino) right off of the standard medieval rooms.
All of the players I've run into so far seem to have the same basic mentality.  They're looking for a fun place to mud on,
and get away from the tedium of the thousands of other traditional ROM based MUDS. Sd supposedly supports a clan
system, and most other features associated with ROM's.  But with the small player base at this point, all of the players
I've met just play as lone characters, or group together, to gain experience points.  But I haven't seen any clans
designed yet, and don't even know if the designers have implemented the clan system yet.

SD is a lot of fun.  It's got a long ways to go -- but if you're burned out on the standard medieval theme ROM based
MUDS, give SD a try!!
---

And if you're looking for something different, keep on reading …

Zone Runner: TDome X
 Mud Created: June, 2000
Code Base: [Unknown] Zone Runner is based on TDome ][ and TDome 3.
Site: tdome.net 3939 [199.2.139.13]
Admin Email: [email protected]
Theme: Post-Apocalypse, Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Sex, Guns, and Drugs
     Avg. # of Players: Under 10
Multi-Play: No
Player-Kill: Yes
  Quests Available
Character Approval Unnecessary
Role-playing Is Encouraged
 Clans Offered
Detailed Character Creation
World is all original
Huge World (15,000+ rooms)
Generally Adult-Oriented
Mud is open to players for testing

Before I interject my personal review, I'm going to include the developers own description of Zone Runner.  They do a
good job of luring potential players.

You are a lowly outcast, seeking your fortune in the chaotic city known as the Zone. Before the Great Wars, this was a
magnificent city, the crown jewel of an advanced civilization. For hundreds of years the wastelands and
ruined cities have been the hunting grounds of savages and mutants. Now, the old technologies and cultures are again
rising up to take back what they once lost.

Zone Runner offers an incredibly unique game world with features unlike those found on any other mud. As a player,
you will have the opportunity to mass wealth, to buy businesses and hire mercenaries and buy robots to literally take
over the world. Enjoy spending quality time with a joint and a
cheap prostitute. Drive around town in a Ferrari, or cruise the lake on a sleek waverunner.

Who  you are is up to you - would you rather be a muscle-bound brute, a skilled computer hacker, a shrewd
businessman?... the choice is up to you.
 
The first thing I will say is that this MUD **is**  adult oriented, no questions asked.
After creating your character, the first screen you are met with is an informal disclaimer, explicitly explaining this, and
saying that if you are under 18, or offended by adult material … then drop your connection now!  That is the only
warning they will give, and what you see after that is up to you.
(OK, phew!  got that legal stuff outta the way).

I found Zone Runner to be an exhilarating change from all of the mudding I have been doing for the past five years
(since I started mudding).  There's only so many times that you can turn yourself into a dwarf and go around hacking up
elves and goblins.  About a year ago, I started looking at these post apocalyptic MUDS, because they were one of the
few MUD genre's that I could think of that would take me far away from medieval fantasy land.  Zone Runner is the
sequel to the original Tdome (ThunderDome) which has been around for eight years).  I ran a search on TMC a year ago
for post-apocalyptic MUDS, and am surprised that the original Tdome didn't show up then.  I only discovered it when I
encountered Zone Runner (and as of yet have not even logged into ThunderDome for a look.  I will include the TMC
info on ThunderDome at the bottom of this review.)

Once your character is created, and you get through their own version of 'MUD school' -- you are dropped right in the
middle of a bustling city, turned on its head.
Remember, since this is a post-apocalyptic  MUD, even though The Zone has the 'good'  side of town, and the 'bad' 
side of town, its all pretty beat up and infested with shady Characters.  Crooks, gangsters, swindlers, hookers, drug
dealers, addicts, beggars, and even the lowly politicians and salesmen appear …and of course, the worst scum of all –
lawyers.  There are also plenty of law enforcement officers and professional, white collar types in amongst the crowds. 
This is a very fast paced game, with all of the mobs constantly on the move.  The Zone is a very busy city, just like New
York or Los Angeles. 
You need to keep a close eye on your wallet,  especially when politicians are near.  They like to dig deep into your
pockets – and they don't bother to ask you first in Zone Runner.

As in all MUDS, you start off at level one.  In this case, that means that regardless of what your long-term expectations
for your character are, you're going to start off in the streets begging, stealing, or bashing heads yourself.  There are
many different stores and buildings in the Zone.  Deli's and Café's, pawn shops and junk dealers (Fred Sanford to be
exact), Electronic stores, Radio Shack, bookstores, warehouses, the stock exchange, City Hall, hotels, plenty of bars, a
mall, drug stores, a high school, and on and on.
 As with most MUDS, there are skills for you to learn, and you need to study them over and over to become an expert in
a particular skill.  And this is where you are able to develop your character into whatever exact niche you wish for
him/her.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of skills.  As you learn basic, rudimentary skills the possibility to
learn more and more specialized skills keeps opening up.

The overall goal is for you to become a citizen of one of the six cities in Zone Runner, and to become a professional in
some area.  You can open your own businesses, or you can do something similar as to what I am attempting with my
character – to become a professional computer hacker and drug lord, with some façade of a legitimate business up front.

Don't forget about those cops.  They are there for a reason.  Along with a resume you can put together of your work,
there is also a rap sheet that follows you around.  I learned to be a professional pick pocket in MUD school.  The one
thing I learned the hard way is that you never  do anything  illegal when there is an officer in the same room as you.  I
assumed a pro pick pocket could easily steal some money, without being detected.  If the victim doesn't realize its
happening, then how does some cop manage to catch you in the act?  Well, that was the first thing I did in the game. 
Attempted to pick pocket a citizen, and got arrested.  The second thing was to get thrown in the slammer for 104 hours
(MUD time)!  You have the option to plead your case in front of a judge, but I was sorely lacking in the knowledge of
the documentation at this point because I had just begun.  Well, I had plenty of time to read documentation while sitting
in jail <grin>.

I haven't begun to explore much outside of the main city of The Zone, but the help files list five other cities, located at
the four cardinal directions from the Zone (with the Zone at the centre), and a fifth city to the southeast of the Zone. 
Each of these cities has it's own special focus of commerce, whereas the Zone is a conglomerate of a little of everything.
And there is all the space in between these cities, along the abandoned highways.  Thanks, but no thanks, I didn't
design this character as a fighter.  Think I'll take a bus to those cities, when I'm ready to go.

Now for the part of the game which I personally am still the most intrigued by.  The process of character creation.  I
could spend all day making up characters using their system – its that much fun.
 You start by picking a name, password, and gender  (OK, that's a given on any MUD).  Then comes your next choice –
character type.
Cyborg - artificially enhanced human, Mental - human with enhanced mental abilities, Mutant - human with biological
enhancements or deformities, and Savage - standard human.
Your next choice gives you a choice of ethnicity.  There are seven choices: Afro, Asian, Euralt, Latino, Mid Eastern,
Mongrel (mixed), and Scando.

The next few choices define your skills at the beginning of the game.
What did your parents do for a living?
a. white collar
b. blue collar
c. what do you mean, work?
d.  what do you mean, parents?

How did you spend your time as a youngster?
a. reading, playing music, etc.
b. tinkering with stuff
c. exploring the great outdoors
d. fighting and causing trouble

Are you religious?
a. dutifully studied Holy books as a child
b. parents taught you the ancient rituals of your religion
c. the mind is more powerful than any religion
d. there are no gods except technology

How do you get what you want?
a. put a lot of thought into a good plan
b. try to scam a way to get it, or just steal it
c. I beg, borrow, or sell my sister to get it
d. I just bash heads to get it

From all of these choices, your character is drawn up by Zone Runner's system, and your attributes and skills assigned
to you.
Once you get into the game, and into their version of 'MUD school', you'll discover that you have four categories of
skills: fight skills, commerce skills, mental skills, and miscellaneous skills.  They have four teachers, one for each
category, and you have to go around and use your initial # of training sessions to learn as much as possible from these
teachers.  It is possible to push one of these skills up to level 3, while still learning, so watch out.  I accidentally pushed
my commerce level to 3 before I had trained all of the mental skills I had wanted to, and now am in desperate search of a
trainer in the city that teaches some of the rudimentary mental skills.
If any of the categories goes to level 3 while in this initial area, your character is dumped into the main square of The
Zone, and you're on your own, off and running!

This is a huge MUD (as far as the number of rooms are concerned).  It's fairly new, and there are a lot of areas which are
already built, but not implemented and functioning yet.  I'm not going to recommend this for any of the youth reading
this magazine.  The developers have made it quite clear of the theme of this MUD, and their stance on its use.  (I'm
taking a stab in the dark here, but from what I've read, it sounded as if they had taken quite a bit of heat concerning the
original ThunderDome MUD.  So they post warnings right up front, to attempt to avoid problems with net censorship). 
If you are under 18, and decide to play it,  get your parents approval first.  The immortals of Zone Runner are quite
serious about infractions. 

I live in Los Angeles, and deal with this sort of environment on a daily basis.  But what I experience is **no where's** 
as extreme as the environment portrayed by Zone runner.
The actions and language used on Zone Runner is extreme.  It doesn't offend me.  It may offend others.  I am able to
distance myself from Zone Runner, just as easily as distancing myself from a medieval MUD.  To me, its no less violent
to kill a human in medieval times, as to do so to a modern day human.  These are just games, and I'm able to distinguish
the difference between a game and reality (though I do admit that a lot of what is portrayed in ZR goes on every day in
modern day life right now).
Would I want to have to face this environment in real life? No.  But can I safely fantasize about being in that position,
while sitting at my keyboard – with my copy of Zone Alarm <snicker> up front, to protect me from its evil? Sure.

If this sounds like a game you would enjoy, then have fun with it! 
And since it is still in its testing stages, I'm going to include the info for the original ThunderDome here, so you can
play a similar game – which has hopefully gotten most of its bugs ironed out.
 ThunderDome
Mud Created: January, 1993
Code Base: [Custom] TDome v.2
Site: tdome.net 5555 [199.2.139.13]
Admin Email: [email protected]
Theme: Chaotic Future
Avg. # of Players: 50 - 74
Multi-Play: Yes
Player-Kill: Yes
Quests Available
Character Approval Unnecessary
Role-playing Is Accepted
Clans Offered
World is all original
Huge World (15,000+ rooms)
Sexually-Oriented and Adult-Level Violence
Mud is fully operational

  Entering its 8th year of existence, ThunderDome can now boast of being one of the longest running MUDs in the
history of the internet.  In those years,
ThunderDome has done much to advance the quality of game play, while adding much to the notions of what a diku-
style mud should be. Tdome offers a dark,
and at times, humorous perspective on a futuristic world set sometime after the earth's destruction. Human society, 
formed mostly of roughly governed
gangs, must now contend with aliens and mutated beasts for control of tdome's 12k rooms. Toward that end, players can
choose between 13 different classes,
and are allowed to log 3 of these characters on at once.

Guns (over a dozen are offered) and magic vie for superiority in the tdome world, while biological implants and learned
skills offer additional methods by which a character might improve his lot in a life filled to the brim with
danger and adventure. Inexperienced players soon learn that the inherent danger can be tempered by joining one of
tdome's many gangs which offer a variety of advantages. Sanctioned gangs have their own bunkers from which to
operate, and which offer cut rate rent costs and equipment repair.

If you are the sort that enjoys walking on the wild side, come seek the challenge of survival in a world gone mad. There
should be plenty of room to accommodate you...Hell isn't half full yet. :)

Until next issue … happy mudding!!!
-- Myrthorn

+
Tenchu
Developer Activision
Requires sighted assistance
Available version reviewed for the sony playstation
Available at computer software stores.
Reviewed by Jay Pellis

Centuries ago, Ancient Japan was a land of hard times.  Warlords were  fighting
for power, and to become Shogun, the all powerful lord and ruler
of Japan.  The lords used many weapons, both human and artificial to  fight. 
One of those weapons was the Ninja.  Warriors who were trained at a
very young age not to be noticed, to do what had to be done, then leave as
fast as possible.  Lords hired these ninjas to go on secret missions or do 
other deeds for them, such as assassinating other enemy lords, steeling
secret war plans, and many other things.  The ninjas had a code of honour,
not to harm the innocent, to kill as little as possible, and if they had to
kill others, it had to be done quickly and quietly.
The story of Tenchu is that you play either a male or female ninja, and you
must go on 10 missions for your lord.  They range from rescuing a kidnapped
princess, to getting aboard a Portuguese pirate ship, and assassinating the
captain.  The ninjas have many weapons to use against their foes, such as
the male Rikimaru's sword, and the female ayames daggers.  If you choose
Rikimaru, he is quite slow but his attacks are strong and damaging.  While
Ayame's faster attacks may be a bit weaker, her quick speed makes up for
that.  Rikimaru is the character that my friend and I chose to play as, and
it worked out in the end, since he was able to destroy the harder enemies  with
ease.
You can buy items before each level such as smoke bombs to blind enemies,  and
grenades to destroy obstacles in you're way.  The plot thickens soon
however, as the ninjas learn that the fate of the world is in their hands,
and they must save earth from an evil force that will destroy it otherwise.

*The Interface*

This game is considered to be an action/adventure.  You are placed in a
3DWorld where you can move forward, backward, left and right.  First off,  this
game requires sighted assistance throughout the entire game.  Similar
to the review of Metal Gear Solid for the playstation done by James Peach
in an earlier issue, the blind individual can't actively participate in
controlling the game.  However, this does not detract from the gaming
experience at all.  When playing the game, various buttons on the  controller do
certain actions.  For example, the X button will jump, while
the square button delivers an attack with Rikimaru's sword.  Movement is
very critical in this game, and some fast reflexes on the control pad can
get Rikimaru out of some very sticky situations.  For example, the first
level has the ninja out to destroy an evil merchant who has betrayed his  lord. 
If he moves quietly throughout the town he is in, using the various  controller
buttons to crouch and hug the walls of the nearby buildings, he  won't be
detected by enemy guards.  A small meter at the bottom of the  screen is the
detection meter.  Stealth is the name of this game, if a
guard must be killed, Rikimaru can sneak up behind them, surprise them, and 
strike them down with one fatal stroke of his sword.  If he isn't careful 
though, you may hear a heartbeat sound which indicates that guards are
looking for him.  They may have heard a dog barking or the death scream of  the
last fallen enemy.  The guard might say "Hey, where are you!"  When  that
happens, you can choose to step out from behind a wall and fight the
guard in a one on one battle or stay in the shadows, hoping they don't see  you
and go back to what they were doing.  If the meter turns red, they have  found
you and will chase you around the level.  If there is a river nearby
though, you can lure them in the water and they will drown.  Many things  can
alert enemies to your presence but on the other hand, they can be
helpful to you.  If there are dogs around, it's best to dispatch them so
they don't alert the guards that you are near.  If you do get in a fight  with
many enemies however, you can lure the dogs over with a dog bone, they
will take a bite out of the guards for you, and hopefully help you get out  of
the battle unhurt.  Even though the entire game is based on stealth,
there are many huge levels to explore.  From a dark forest with wolves
where you must fight them and a bear, to having to sneak inside a castle,
the levels are quite diverse.  At the end of most levels, you will  encounter a
boss character that you have to fight.  These characters are a
lot stronger then regular enemies, and quite hard to defeat.  The merchant  in
the first level may look and sound like a feeble old man but his gun can  shoot
you from afar if you aren't careful.  Before and after each mission
and boss fight, there are movie like sequences called cut scenes.  In these 
scenes, a narrator tells you the mission objective, and the characters in  the
game talk to each other.  Also, there are many dialogs with the
bosses.  After they are defeated, they usually give you some vital piece of
information that will lead you to the next mission or advance the plot.
 *Voices, sounds, and music*

There is music for everything in the game, from the main title screen, to
each missions separate song.  The music is very well done, with Japanese
instruments influenced by a western feel, with some songs having pop rock  beats
but still having a Japanese like quality to them.  The music fits
it's mission appropriately, with quiet haunting melodies for the forest  level,
while slow menacing music plays when on the pirate ship.  The sound  effects are
also a highlight in this game.  You can hear the enemies  calling out to each
other when they are trying to find you, and when you  are in the forest, wolves
howl off in the distance.  One feature that I  found interesting that has been
used in games before is that if you are  walking away from enemies, there voices
get fainter as you get further away
and closer as you approach them.  You can also hear the swing of Rikimaru's
sword, and when it connects with an enemy, you hear them moan in pain or
they scream when they are killed.
The voice over acting is what really tells the story however.  After the  first
few missions, the game seems to be almost like you are in one of
those old samurai movies.  The storyline gets better and better, with more 
characters entering the plot.  They may speak with fake Japanese accents  but
the good voice acting is another way for the blind player to experience
the game. *Conclusion

*

This may not be accessible to the blind with out lots and lots of sighted 
assistance but it shows what is possible in video games today.  The ancient 
Japan setting is well represented, from the music to the sound effects.  If
you know a sighted friend who enjoys action/adventure games or just general
action games such as doom, ask them to play this game with you.  The  artificial
intelligence of the enemies is quite good, and this is a game
where it's not just shoot your way through the monsters, you have to be
careful of what you do when you do it.  The stealth factor is what also  drew me
to this game.  if this was implemented in to a later released
action/adventure for the blind using sound, it would skyrocket the replay  value
and make the game very very fun to play.

+
Review of the gameland bbs
By Justin Ekis

There is no better way to start my bbs series than with a review of the gameland
bbs. This has to be one of the best bbs systems I've ever seen. Here are the
addresses you can use to get to  this great system.
1. gameland.darktech.org
2. gameland.thebbs.org
If you don't know about telnet and how to access it, you can e-mail me at:
[email protected]
 and I'll explain it.

The gameland bbs is, as the name says, a virtual game land. This place has more
games than I've ever seen in one place. This bbs has more than 60 different
games crammed onto it! That would  keep any gamer  busy for a very long time.
I would strongly recommend this fantastic bbs to anybody.

the ratings.
Signup and logon: 8. gameland gets an 8 for ease of signing up and logging on.
When you first go to the gameland address, the graphics on the screen make it
hard to read anything. Just enter new and press return and the rest of the
process is very accessible. Then, the next time you go there, ignore the opening
screen and enter you're user name, press return, wait a few seconds, enter
you're password and press return.
Accessibility of menus: 9. There are some more annoying symbols on the menu
screens, but you should be able to find you're way around it. Note: use you're
jaws cursor or mouse cursor to move around the options.

Speed: 9? It seems that while the system is generally fast, some games slow down
at times. I haven't played anywhere near all of the games, so I can't give an
accurate speed rating. I'll guess and give it a questionable 9.

Number of games: off the ten point scale. As I said, this system is packed with
games. A standard ratings scale from one to ten can't hold it. Lol

Overall: 9.75: An absolutely fantastic system.

Individual games summary
There is no way I'm going to go over all of these games. The system has a
listing of the top five games, so I'll talk briefly about those.
1. Lord, legend of the red dragon. AA role playing game. You're job is to make
you're way through 12 levels and kill the evil red dragon at level 12. It's
really hard, but fun. This bbs gives you a choice of three different lord games
to play. I can't really tell the difference between them. Lord accessibility: 9.

2. space quest server. This option actually telnets you to another address
dedicated to the game space quest. I don't like it much,  but I didn't play it
very long. From what I saw, you will understand it better if you are familiar
with how to deal with tables with you're screen reader. Space quest
accessibility: 7?
3: Trade wars 2002.. A futuristic trading game, lots of strategy involved here.
Trade wars accessibility: 10.
4: usurper. Another role playing game. Try to fight you're way through 100
levels and eventually kill the supreme being at the level 100 dungeon. I
consider myself an expert at this one. This bbs gives you 2 different usurper
game choices. The main game is a bit easier, but kind of boring because it's
been running a long time and most of the players are at high levels and there is
nobody low enough to fight without you getting squashed. I don't play it
anymore. The classic style game is harder to start with, but it's a lot more fun
later on. This is my all-time favourite game. I'm currently the king on the
classic game. Usurper accessibility: 9.
5 planets: the exploration of space. A spin-off of trade wars. Planets
accessibility: 10. 

Check this one out for sure. You won't regret it.

+++
Answers to Games and Puzzles

1. Take 1 coin from stack 1. Two coins from stack 2. Three coins from stack
3 and so forth. Weigh all the coins. Divide the excess weight with the
weight of the counterfeit coin.

2. The letters stand for one, two, three, four, five, six and seven.
Therefore, the next two letters would be E and N, for eight and nine.

3. Eight Days. On the 7th day he will be 7 feet high + 3 feet=10 feet

4. It wouldn't be an option as he has a widow. It must mean he is dead.

5. Thirty-six and a half inches.  Since the first volume is on the left,
page one of that volume is on the right of the book.  The opposite is true
for volume Z.  This means that the worm only eats through the cover of the
first and last volumes, and eats through the covers and pages of all the
other twenty-four volumes.

+++
Contacting Us
I can be reached in three ways. The easiest is via my Sympatico E-mail address.
My e-mail address is as follows:
[email protected]
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:
(905)-814-0608
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:
[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. Also,
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

Jay Pellis is an avid fan of graphical adventures and console games. For those
of you wondering which Sega or Nintendo games are at all enjoyable to the blind,
he's the one to turn to. He can be contacted at:
[email protected]

Justin Fegel has resigned his official position as an interactive fiction staff
member. As such, he will be sorely missed. However, Justin plans to remain
active in the Audyssey community. Therefore, those who need guidance with
interactive fiction may still benefit from his experience. He can be contacted
at:
[email protected]
Kelly Sapergia is our 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]
James Peach is responsible for maintaining our new official homepage. Your
feedback will help him make our site a better place to be on the Web. He can be
contacted at:
[email protected]
Randy Hammer conducts an ongoing search for worth-while mainstream games that
can be enjoyed by blind players with sighted assistance. He will also review
commercial games and shareware produced specifically for the blind, such as that
from ESP Softworks, PCS, and eventually, Zform. He can be contacted at:
[email protected]

Justin Ekis is our new web-based games expert. He will search for and report on
on-line games like Utopia and Archmage. He is also going to keep a close eye on
the re-emerging BBS scene. You can contact him at:
[email protected]

Dave Sherman has become well-known on the Audyssey list and has now joined the
Audyssey staff as our multi-user-dungeon expert. Interest in muds has popped up
again and again in the Audyssey community and elsewhere among the growing net-
savvy blind community. Thanks to Dave's efforts, newcomers will have another
expert to turn to for guidance. Dave will also report on the various different
MUDs out there and steer us to the more blind-friendly ones. You can contact him
at:
[email protected]



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