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Audyssey;
Computer Games Accessible to the Blind
Edited by Michael Feir
Issue 3: November/December, 1996

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Welcome

Season's greetings to all of my readers, both new and old. Welcome
to a very special issue of Audyssey. This is the Holiday Special
edition, geared towards making your vacation time just a bit more
enjoyable. If you think material in this issue may prove useful or
interesting to someone, feel free to give this magazine to them in
any format. Post it to any bulletin board system, mailing list, or
internet site whose members might appreciate it. This magazine is
published on a bi-monthly basis. Because of serious time
constraints, I am hereby revoking the deadline of the fifteenth of
the month as the day on which the magazine will be published.
College is proving harder than I expected, and I can no longer
guarantee that the magazine will be ready on a given date. My
education must come first. Issues will never appear before the
fifteenth of the month, so anyone who wants to write articles or
letters has at least that long to submit them. Remember that just
because I didn't publish your letter or article in one issue
doesn't mean that I never will. Any submissions of articles, games,
or letters should be made to the appropriate address. You'll find
my e-mail address and my home address at the end of this issue.

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Contents:
From the Editor
Letters
What's on My Screen: A Tutorial on Screen-oriented RPGs
Adam, the Immortal Gamer
New Developments at PCS
Fifty Games for Gifts
Contacting Me

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From the Editor:

Hello, everyone. this issue marks the half-year point for this
magazine. Despite the severe time-crunch I have experienced while
writing this issue, I have enjoyed doing it thoroughly.
Unfortunately, this issue might be one of the last to appear at
all. It is certainly the last issue that I have made with goals set
out at the end of the previous issue. Don't worry, readers. You
aren't losing your sense of hearing, sight, or touch that you might
be using to read this. There really isn't a Coming Soon section
this time. I have no clue what to write about for the next issue.
I've exhausted my ready store of ideas. I don't want this magazine
to become nothing more than a simple listing of new games. Unless
I get lot more than the single article I've received from PCS Inc,
that's what the next issue might turn out to be like. I have
received many more letters expressing interest in my magazine, and
asking the odd question or two, but have received no articles or
reviews except the one mentioned above.

the reason I started this magazine was to form a community of
people who were interested in games accessible to the blind.
Communities are made of members who interact with and support each
other. I've certainly attracted a lot of readers, but you're not
interacting yet. I've been the sole author of nearly every article
and review in this magazine. I already know what I think about
games. I want to know what you think. What you think can do more
than influence me. It can influence other readers. What kinds of
games do you want to have made? One of the places my magazine goes
to is a company which makes games for the blind. You might
influence what they create. I know that at least one of my readers
is a programmer interested in making games. the only problem is
that he doesn't know what kind of games people want. Let him know
what you want, and it might actually be made. A lot of you have
expressed your willingness to search for games. That's great. there
is bound to be lots of them out there hidden away, but if nobody
has any idea what to look for, we'll never find anything. This
magazine is supposed to be about *our* reactions to what's out
there in the universe of games, not just my own. What issues
concern you? What games impress or annoy you, and why? What
difficulties are you having with particular games? Chances are that
either I, or someone else, will be able to help you. I've run
myself dry of ideas for articles now. It's entirely up to you to
keep this magazine going. I can probably think of one or two
articles per issue without too much trouble, but I've been doing
three or four, and I can't keep that up. This magazine should
remain insightful and thought-provoking. that's what games are to
me, and I have a hard time believing that I'm the only person who
views games as more than just entertainment. I was going to have
two episodes of Adam, the Immortal Gamer in this issue, but feel
compelled to save one of them for the next one in case neither I
nor you think up any ideas for him.

That's rather a grim beginning for what is supposed to be a holiday
issue, but it is necessary. Now that that pill has been swallowed,
it's time to get on with the good news. Compuserve has proven to be
a rather unreliable platform from which to launch my magazine.
Happily, a man by the name of J. J. Meddaug has kindly agreed to
take over the responsibility of distributing my magazine over the
internet. He is in charge of the mailing list now, and any of my
readers who want to receive future issues directly should send him
a request to subscribe to the Audyssey distribution list. His e-
mail address is as follows:
[email protected]

The last two months have been very dull as far as new games are
concerned. The best of the finds I've made are in the list of fifty
games which replaces the Latest Finds and Game Reviews sections
this issue. It looks like the 1996 If competition is drawing to a
close. Entries are beginning to appear on ftp.gmd.de in the if-
archive. Some of you expressed a concern about Xyzzynews, the
excellent magazine concerning interactive fiction written by Eileen
Mullin. A number of you have stated that you haven't bothered to
subscribe or download issues because you're afraid he's going to
stop publishing the magazine in Ascii format. Although this seems
to be a common trend in the games universe, remember that most
people still make interactive fiction in text. Eileen has assured
me, and asked me to pass on to you that the Ascii version of his
magazine is by far the most popular, and that it will always be
available in Ascii. I urge all of you to give Xyzzynews a try and
to subscribe to it, as I have invariably found it to be well worth
reading.

On that note, I'll close off my personal section, and turn you over
to some letters I have received from you over the past while. I
hope you enjoy the rest of this issue, and that you will become
contributors to future issues. I feel like I'm standing on a thin
wire which is starting to wobble. Give me the support I need to
continue the audyssey into the new year, and I'll do the best I can
to make certain that your thoughts are given a good forum. That is
my early New Year's resolution. If you hold up your end of this
bargain, I'll hold up mine. Best wishes for a happy festive season,
everyone.

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Letters:


Hi Michael:
I am Tamara Rorie and I was browsing Compuserve when I came across
your
new magazine.  I am a visually impaired computer user.  I was
always
interested in finding computer games but was never able to find
anything
that worked well with speech.  The games that I did find seems
simplistic
and became boring within five minutes of playing. 
I am so glad that you decided to start a magazine.  I will be
passing on
information about it to the computer users that I know. 
     I would be interested in finding out about any word games or
puzzles that you may have acquired or encountered.  I also
particularly
enjoy trivia games such as jeopardy.  finally, I am interested in
any
card games that you may no of.  I do have a card game called uno
that is
very speech friendly.  I would appreciate any information that you
could
send me.
     Good luck with the magazine and I look forward to hearing
from you.
Tamara Rorie

P.S.
I know that you stated that you would not except money, but would
you be interested in receiving blank disks.  This might be helpful
because some
of the people that contact you may not be able to send you disks.

Besides, people who have something to contribute for your hard work
and
knowledge should be allowed to.  Let me know if this would be
acceptable.

Well, Tamara, you've certainly raised some interesting issues here.
That speech-friendly Uno game is bound to be of interest to some of
my readers. When you manage to find it, please let me know. Also,
if anyone knows where it can be accessed on the Internet, that
information would be very much appreciated. I've already given
Tamara the information I have on word-based puzzles and trivia
games. Unfortunately, this information is quite limited. Aside from
the games in vip611.zip and Bridgepals, (See my list of fifty games
below), I haven't been able to find many card or trivia games out
there. If anyone knows of speech-friendly trivia or card games,
please let us all know about them.

As to the question of blank disks, I'm not certain how useful they
would be there. No one who has wanted to send me anything has
expressed the inability to come up with the blank disks to do it.
I return any disks that people send me, so they don't lose out on
disks themselves. Currently, I have a fairly good supply of disks
myself. As to money, I think that must remain out of the question
for now. Hunting games is a hobby of mine, as is this magazine.
Although I certainly feel a responsibility to my readers, I don't
consider what I'm doing as a job. Money is of little interest to me
as far as this magazine goes. Although I don't have enough to spend
on the disk mailers, postage, etc that it would take to offer this
magazine on floppy disks, there is no need for that. As things
stand now, this magazine is free to all who it can reach and to all
who can find it. It is completely devoid of physical media, and
thanks to the internet, it is internationally accessible. I believe
that this magazine should remain free from all material concerns.
I'm not doing this for material gain, other than the games you
readers might send my way. Besides those, your thoughts on games
are all I want in compensation. Your varying perspectives will
deepen and interact with my conclusions, just as my conclusions
have apparently broadened your horizons to some extent. I've
explored games for years on my own, and this magazine is supposed
to be a means of finding companions on my journey through games. In
short, send articles rather than money. I'll be ever so much more
grateful.

Hi.  I am actually Jayson Smith, using my dad's CompuServe account.
I am writing in response to the "The Eight-Bit Adventure" article
which
appeared in the July/August issue of Audyssey. 
     My computer gaming fascination really came into existence when
I was
with my sister in our computer room about nine years ago.  She put
in a
disk of games on our own Apple IIE, and got to the Applesoft Basic
prompt,
and typed in the following command
RUN GREAT ESCAPE
and hit the return key.  I believe she had played that game before,
but
I'd never heard of it!  I was amazed that such a big and wonderful
game
actually existed.  During the course of that game, my sister got
bitten by
a puppy dog, and had to find the first aid kit within 100 moves or
die.
Unfortunately, she didn't make it.  Later that night she was
playing it,
and I just knew I had to play that game!  And so I did!  I spent
hours
upon hours playing that game during the next several months!  It
took me
longer to figure out that going north took me ten rooms towards
room 1,
etc. 
     I had to mature several years before I finally got the idea to
go
back to the basic prompt, and not Run Great Escape, but Load it.
And when
it was loaded, I typed in the command LIST.  And through my echo
speaker
came all the 'print's, 'input's, 'goto's, 'gosub's, and everything
else
that collectively made up the game.  It wasn't long before I
figured out
what variables the game used to store information such as what room
the
player was in, what room the villain was in, what room specific
objects
were in or the status of those objects, etc.  I then figured out a
way to
break out of the game while it was running, change the contents of
some
variables, and continue from where I left off.  For example, at the
basic
prompt, if I needed to get to a first aid kit, one command would
tell me
where the kit was, and it only took a few more keystrokes to put me
in
that room. 
     Eventually, I figured out how to make a routine in the program
which
would prompt me for the info such as what room I wanted to start
out in,
what room I wanted the villain to start in, and whether or not I
wished to
start out carrying certain objects. 
     Then, a few years ago, I decided to see if this old goodie
could be
converted to run on my IBM computer.  So I hooked up a cable from
my Apple
IIGS to my IBM, and I think within the day, I was playing Great
Escape on
my IBM.  I'm very glad I did that now, because soon after that, my
Apple
IIGS died!  Had I not converted this game over to IBM, it would
still be
on an old Apple disk which no IBM would read.
     If you would like to see Great Escape Revisited, I can send
you
either a file in GWBasic format, or a stand-alone executable.  for
best
speech compatibility, I suggest the GWBasic version if you have a
GWBasic
interpreter.  I thought it interesting that you started out with
The Great
Escape also!  From the instant I read your article about it, I knew
I just
had to respond!

HI, Jason. Glad I was able to bring back some good memories. YOu're
one of the few people who has directly responded to an article, and
I hope others will Join you in doing this. I must confess that
cheating would never have occurred to me. Sighted people are always
going on about cheat codes for various games. It's about time one
of us blind folks got into that act. Although cheating is certainly
not a good habit to get into, it can be fun once in a while. I
suspect a few people would be interested in your re-make of the
Great Escape, and I urge you to up-load it to an Internet site if
you can, so that it is broadly accessible. Thank you for that
marvellous letter. I look forward to more thoughts from you in the
future.

What's On My Screen: A TuTorial on Screen-oriented RPgs
by Michael Feir

Long before I started publishing this magazine, I was trying to
help new players of screen-oriented role-playing games become used
to the more graphical aspects of playing them. these kinds of games
are by far the closest experience blind people are likely to have
which can be compared to the thought-processes required to achieve
high scores in a complex video game such as Gauntlet. These kinds
of video games are not like the more famous ones like Pac-man or
Space Invaders, which are simply dependant on hand-eye
coordination, perception, and reflexes. For a long time, most video
games resembled the two classics mentioned above in these respects.
Since those earlier days, video games have gradually become more
complex, and involve more strategic thinking. Goals must be set out
and evaluated in games like Gauntlet. It isn't simply a case of
whoever has the fastest reflexes wins.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gauntlet, it is basically
a Dungeons and Dragons kind of adventure in which four players can
take characters into a dungeon. In each level of the dungeon, they
will find treasures, monsters, magic potions, food, traps,
teleporters, etc. They must keep track of the health of their
players, any special powers they have attained, their score versus
that of their fellow players, and a host of other factors. They
must think not merely reflexively, but strategically. Like all
video games, speed and reflexes are still critically important.
Players are timed as they progress through the levels of the
dungeon.

Screen-oriented role-playing games use text characters to make
graphical representations of the board. Different symbols and
letters represent various objects, such as the player, monsters,
treasures, places, doors, etc. They can be compared to video games
if the elements of time pressure and hand-eye coordination are
subtracted from a video game. Players of Gauntlet might have less
than half a second to make a given critical decision. Players of
Nethack have no such time restrictions. Screen-oriented games like
Nethack are turn-based, rather than time-based. The player makes
his/her move, and all active characters and monsters make their
moves in turns. A player being attacked by a monster need not worry
if he/she has to temporarily leave the game sitting there while
going off to attend to chores. The monster will not attack until
the player has taken or forfeited his/her turn. If a player is
being attacked by more than one monster, the other monsters may be
able to attack on each turn. For example, a player is attacked by
a zombie and a giant bat. The player attacks the zombie, and is
attacked in turn by both the zombie and the bat. The bat doesn't
have to wait until the player attacks him.

It must be remembered that these screen-oriented role-playing games
are not actually dependant on coordination. In all games of this
type, players must understand the basic concepts of attributes and
probabilities common to role-playing games. I've received countless
letters from confused players which say things like: "I was playing
a knight, and there was this bat attacking me. I tried to move onto
its square like it told me to do, and I somehow missed. I know I
hit the right button and moved the right way. I didn't miss, but it
said I did!" To all who are quaking with impotent rage for reasons
such as this, I urge you to do several things: A) Get a life! It is
just a game! B) Take a break and grab a cold drink. C) Stop and
think about what has happened. In our example, we have a knight in
armour swinging a weapon at a fairly agile flying rodent. There is
logically a chance of the knight missing. this is represented by
two opposing forces. The knight's strength, dexterity, and
swordsmanship will help him hit the bat. The bat's dexterity and
natural armour represented by its armour class will help it avoid
the attack. Chance is a factor in many other instances than
strictly combat.

There is only one other thing which can cause confusion to blind
players of these games which is not dealt with in the game manuals
themselves. That is that a lot of these games, like Omega, Adom and
Moria, have scrolling maps. That is, the maps of levels or areas
are simply too large to fit on a single screen. When characters
move to different areas, the area nearest the character's position
replaces the map of the area for which there is no room on the
screen. I've received numerous questions concerning that aspect of
screen-oriented games, and there's really no way to properly solve
the problem. I find that the best solution is simply to deal with
the area on the screen, and slowly come to grips with how the
different areas relate to each other. The fact that a lot of these
games use the @ sign to represent all human characters adds to
confusion, as any search function of a screen review package will
locate the first @ sign it comes to when asked to do so. the
player's character is where the cursor position is kept, so ask
your synthesizer for the cursor position to locate your @ sign.

Once you understand what I've just tried to explain above, anyone
who is interested in adventure should be able to fully enjoy these
games. they are infinitely random, with so many varying elements
and situations, that no two games are alike. They are the perfect
mix of order and chaos. The last bit of good advice I'll give here
is to read the documentation and/or on-line help which comes with
the game. Most of the questions I get from players are answered far
better by these documents than any answer I could give. If anyone
has trouble with these games, don't hesitate to send me e-mail with
your questions. I'm always glad to help out when I can.

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Adam, the Immortal Gamer: The Quest for Enlightenment
by Michael Feir and Adam Taylor

>From nothingness, Adam suddenly finds himself surrounded by stone
walls. The floor is covered in small dots. He absently takes a step
forward, and finds that he can only move a dot at a time.

"Hey!" Adam bellows in a kind of panicked rage. "What's going on
here?"

A disembodied voice replies. "You must recover the amulet of
Yendor."

"Ah! This must be Rogue! I've won this game before. It's simplicity
itself! I'll run along and... Argh!"

Adam starts to run, and realizes that he cannot stop. He smashes
headlong into a closed door. "OOf! I'll have to be a bit more
careful in the future." He wields his sword and cautiously opens
the door. He steps through it and finds himself in a long and
narrow corridor. He starts walking down it, encountering nothing at
all. Becoming bored, he starts running down the corridor,
increasing his speed as he goes. Rounding a corner, Adam suddenly
comes face to face with an orc. "Hey! watch where I'm going! Wait
a minute! You're not a person. You're an orc!" The orc responds
with a snarl, before pulling forth a stout club and bashing Adam on
the Helmet with it. Adam winces with pain. "Ouch!" Adam quickly
kills the orc with a swipe of his sword. He marches past the corpse
and opens a door. He enters a large room with an exit in the top
wall. the room is absolutely barren except for a large chest
resting near the far wall. "Oh, goodie! A chest!" Adam gleefully
runs across the room towards it, with visions of amazing weapons,
heaps of gold, and assorted other treasures dancing through his
head. Being too intent on what the chest might contain, he fails to
see the faint outline of a trap-door hidden in the floor. He
screams in frustration as he plummets down through it.

Recovering his feet after a hard, stunning landing, Adam looks
around to find himself in a shop stocked full of items. The
shopkeeper welcomes him warmly, and encourages him to look around
at his fine wares. Adam proceeds to do this and soon begins to
suffer from temptation. There are all manner of weapons, wands and
scrolls around. Adam wrestles with temptation, but being no heavy-
weight, he is soon pinned down for the count. Forgetting all his
higher principles of honour and good citizenship, Adam starts
stealing the items from the shop. He takes everything he can carry,
knowing full well that he is unable to pay for it. He tries to
leave the shop, but is thwarted in his attempts by the shopkeeper.
In a fit of exasperation, he pulls out one of the wands he has
stolen, and points it at the shopkeeper. A ray springs from it and
strikes the shopkeeper, causing him to fade from view. "Oh, goodie!
He's gone!" Adam could not be happier with the results of his
little experiment. He boldly strides towards the exit of the shop.

"Where do you think you're going?" The shopkeeper's voice thunders
angrily from less than two spots away. Adam is surprised, and his
anger at being thus disturbed in the midst of his happy thoughts
results in him striking the shopkeeper with his sword. The
shopkeeper counter-attacks with several quick strikes with his
weapon. Adam is completely stunned by the first blow, and is killed
in short order by the furious and relentless assault. The shop and
his various possessions fade away. He is alone once more in the
void between games. As his consciousness is reconstituted, a
disembodied voice addresses him.

"so, Adam, what have you learned from this adventure?"

"Well, I was too careless in approaching the chest. If I had paid
more attention, I would have noticed the trap-door."

"Very good, Adam. In the future, you will hopefully value what you
have, and guard it, rather than incautiously attempt to seize what
you don't. What of your encounter with the shopkeeper?"

"I guess I shouldn't have tried to steal from his shop, but it was
only a game, and I needed all the advantages I could get in order
to win. I would never steal in real life."

"That is a good attitude to have. However, you are here because you
have effectively stolen in real life. In spending so much time
playing games, you took more time than you had to spend on them.
Your friends, family, and others have been robbed of the time and
attention you should have paid to them."

"I guess I never thought about it that way. I just thought of games
as pure fun, but I guess they can teach a lot of things."

"They can indeed, Adam. Games can and should be entertaining, but
their potential to help us learn about ourselves and our fellow
people should not be ignored. Keep that in mind in your future
adventures, and you will learn what you need to face life in the
real world."

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New Developments from PCS

                          Nov. 9, 1996
                           Carl Mickla
                    PERSONAL COMPUTER SYSTEMS
                        551 Compton AVE.
                     Perth Amboy, NJ. 08861
                       PHONE 908 826 1917
                   EMAIL [email protected]

     PERSONAL COMPUTER SYSTEM is working on a very large game
platform.  We are trying to enable blind gamers to play using a
computer map, with out needing a external tactile map.  Are aim is
to let the computer know where a player is at, by using X, Y,
references and zooming levels of detail.  The detail given would be
related to the scale being used.  For example, a detailed two
hundred fifty square yard block scale would be used to maneuver a
player's unit or party on the map.  If the player got confused they
could change the scale of the map to an one square mile per block.
This would enable a player to find their general location, and by
referencing the terrain around their area could get a pretty good
fix on their position.  Another tool which can be employed is a
function that tells the player what is in the bordering blocks
around their current position.  We have a function that tells the
player what the terrain is in a straight line from there current
position to the edge of the map.  We are working on connecting
sounds with each terrain type to reinforce the learning of the map.

     We do have a map demo available if any one would like to check
it out, and let us know their thoughts.  If any one would like to
make any comments or suggestions we are willing to listen.  We are
trying to produce games for the blind community, and any input
offered may help in producing fun, and quality programs.

     In the future P C S will be releasing a war game line and a
dungeon and dragon type game series.

OTHER GAMES:
ANY NIGHT FOOTBALL.  A text based game which makes you feel like
the coach.  You send in the play, but the quarterback might change
it on you.  COST 30 dollars.
MONOPOLY.  This game lets a blind person know every thing they need
to know, except how to win.  COST 30 dollars
MOBIUS MOUNTAIN. A math quiz and adventure game.  You climb up a
mountain with pitfalls and answer math questions to avoid trouble
or to gain advances. COST 20 dollars.
TEN PIN. Try your skill with ear and hand to knock down bowling
pins. COST 30 dollars.
SHOOTING RANGE. A good ear and quick reflexes are used to hit the
bulls eye, or smash targets at the skeet range, or just to go
plunking stuff at our junk yard. COST 30 dollars.

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Fifty Games For Gifts:

As promised, here is my list of fifty games that would make great
gifts for blind people with access to personal computers. It spans
some nineteen pages, so there's bound to be something for everyone
in here. I hope you find the list of some use in the festive season
to come. Please note that I have not ordered this list at all, and
certainly not in terms of quality. All of the games listed here are
of so many different types that any kind of overall quality
assessment is impossible.
 
+ Nethack: (Numerous VARIATIONS. Get NH320RM.ZIP OR NH320PM.ZIP
FROM cOMPUSERVE. rM AND PM ARE REAL VERSUS PROTECTED MODE.
pROTECTED MODE IS BETTER FOR SYSTEMS WITHOUT MUCH MEMORY.)

Category, screen-oriented role-playing adventure
Good FOR AGES 16 AND UP.
Size: ROUGHLY 3.6 MEGS WHEN FULLY EXPANDED.
Legal STATUS: fREEWARE
Documentation/ON-LINE HELP: Excellent
Available AT: Compuserve, THE GAMERS FORUM

This GAME IS THE MOST AMBITIOUS AND USER-FRIENDLY SCREEN-ORIENTED
ROLE-PLAYING GAME EVER DISCOVERED TO DATE. It allows A SINGLE
PLAYER TO CHOOSE ONE OF A WIDE VARIETY OF CHARACTERS AND EXPLORE A
VAST SERIES OF DUNGEONS. High SCORES ARE KEPT TRACK OF, ALLOWING
FOR LIMITED PLAYER COMPETITION. There ARE MANY SPECIAL KINDS OF
ROOMS AND LEVELS, AND A LARGE NUMBER OF MONSTERS AND NON-PLAYER
CHARACTERS TO BE INTERACTED WITH. The ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE OF THE
GAME IS TO RETRIEVE THE AMULET OF Yendor FROM THE DUNGEONS AND
BRING IT TO YOUR GOD. Although THIS GAME IS OF THE HACK-AND-SLASH
VARIETY, THERE IS ENOUGH STRATEGY IN IT TO MAKE THE GAME
STIMULATING. Players WHO ARE FOND OF COMPLEX PUZZLES MAY NOT FIND
THIS GAME TO THEIR LIKING. Each TIME PLAYERS START A NEW GAME,
EVERYTHING IS RANDOMIZED SO THAT NO TWO GAMES CAN BE THE SAME.
Careful THOUGHT AND STRATEGY, AS WELL AS LUCK ARE NEEDED IN ORDER
TO WIN. Players MAY SAVE AND RESTORE THEIR GAMES, WHICH MAY EXTEND
OVER MONTHS. The AREA TO BE EXPLORED IN THIS GAME IS EXCEEDING
LARGE. A good working knowledge of your speech software's screen
review features is necessary. You will need the capability to
explore your screen character by character in order to make sense
of the ascii maps of dungeon levels and rooms which are generated.
 

+ Omega (file name is omega.arc)
Category: screen-ORIENTED ROLE-PLAYING ADVENTURE
Good FOR AGES 16 AND UP.
Size: roughly 0.7 MEGS WHEN FULLY EXPANDED.
Documentation/ON-LINE HELP: EXCELLENT.
Legal STATUS: freeware.
Available AT: Compuserve, GAMERS FORUM.

This game has a much broader scope than Nethack, despite its
smaller size. It takes place within a land containing a city,
forests, mountains, temples, dungeons, castles, and villages. Your
ultimate goal depends on the kind of character you become. Single
players may elect to generate random characters, or may answer a
series of questions in order to play themselves. They must explore
their surroundings and rise in status and power. The combat system
is extremely detailed, and the game even boasts a few puzzles other
than the ever-present one of how to defeat monsters. For the most
part, it is another hack-and-slash game. this game may lock up
occasionally, and force the player to reset his/her machine. This
occurs when players try and hunt for food, and as long as players
avoid doing this, crashes should be fairly rare. Requirements for
speech access are the same as those for Nethack. An added
difficulty is that maps of dungeon levels, wilderness and city
areas are so large that they scroll in four directions as the
player explores. 


+ Hack (file name is hack36.zip)
 
Category, screen-oriented role-playing adventure
Good FOR AGES 12 AND UP.
Size: ROUGHLY 500 K WHEN FULLY EXPANDED.
Legal STATUS: freeware
Documentation/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
Available AT: Compuserve, THE GAMERS FORUM

This game is a simplified version of Nethack. The objective is
virtually the same, as are the majority of the basic mechanics of
the game. However, features which lend complexity to Nethack are
not found herein. It is strongly recommended that players try this
game before they try Nethack. While special levels exist in Hack,
there are fewer of them than there are in Nethack. Requirements for
speech access are the same as for Nethack. Maps do not scroll as
players move as they do in Omega.

 
+ Fallthru (file name on Compuserve is fallth.zip)
Category, text-based role-playing adventure
gOOD FOR AGES 12 AND UP.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 480 K WHEN FULLY EXPANDED.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware(fully functional without registration)
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: adequate
aVAILABLE AT: FTP.GMD.DE/GAMES/PC/EAMON AS FALLTHRU.ZIP

This excellent adventure can be played by up to three players. You
find yourself transported to a strange land of fantasy. Your
objective is to find your way home. To do this, you must become a
warrior and journey throughout the vast territory of Faland and
gain the means to defeat a powerful demon called Zug. oN YOUR
TRAVELS, YOU WILL EXPLORE NUMEROUS DUNGEONS, CASTLES, INNS, CITIES,
AND GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS. yOU WILL ENCOUNTER BOTH FRIEND AND FOE.
nO TWO GAMES ARE THE SAME. tHE SCREEN IS DIVIDED INTO TWO WINDOWS,
AND PLAYERS WILL DOUBTLESS FIND PLAY FASTER IF THEY CONFIGURE
SEPARATE WINDOWS WITH THEIR SPEECH SOFTWARE. tHE NATURE OF THE
DIVISIONS ARE CLEARLY SET OUT IN THE DOCUMENTATION PROVIDED. 

+ Jigsaw

Category, iNTERACTIVE FICTION
gOOD FOR AGES 16 AND UP.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 400 k INCLUDING NECESSARY iNFORM INTERPRETER.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: eXCELLENT
aVAILABLE AT: cOMPUSERVE, THE GAMERS FORUM AND FTP.GMD.DE/IF-
ARCHIVE

tHIS EXTREMELY WELL-WRITTEN ADVENTURE IS AN EXPLORATION OF THE
TWENTIETH CENTURY. pLAYERS START AT A nEW yEAR'S eave PARTY AT THE
END OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, AND MUST TRAVEL THROUGH TIME TO
SEVERAL PIVOTAL EVENTS IN THE RECENT PAST IN ORDER TO STOP HISTORY
FROM BEING ALTERED. tO TRAVEL THROUGH TIME, PLAYERS MUST FIND THE
PIECES TO, AND SOLVE AN ENTIRELY TEXT-BASED JIGSAW PUZZLE. eACH
PIECE FORMS YET ANOTHER DOOR INTO THE PAST. hISTORICAL PLACES AND
PEOPLE ARE DESCRIBED IN STUNNINGLY FULL DETAIL. tHE GAME ALSO
PROVIDES FOOTNOTES TO THE VARIOUS EVENTS IN HISTORY WHICH DESCRIBE
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. tHIS GAME IS AN EXCEPTIONAL WAY TO LEARN
ABOUT TWENTIETH-CENTURY HISTORY, BUT IT IS MORE THAN THAT. tHIS
GAME ALSO FORCES PLAYERS TO FACE A MULTITUDE OF MORAL ISSUES HEAD
ON. yOUR antagonist, A STRANGER WHO ATTRACTED YOU AT THE PARTY, IS
NOT AN EVIL PERSON. hE/SHE, (tHE GAME IS TOTALLY GENDER-NON-
SPECIFIC), IS TRYING TO CHANGE HISTORY FOR THE BETTER. sHOULD
HISTORY BE PRESERVED? hOW FAR ARE YOU WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO
PRESERVE IT? wRITTEN IN THE iNFORM LANGUAGE, THIS GAME IS
COMPLETELY SPEECH-FRIENDLY. dOCUMENTATION IS PROVIDED WITHIN THE
GAME ITSELF, AND CAN BE ACCESSED BY ENTERING "HELP", AT ANY TIME.
If you should come across the game file by itself, (jigsaw.z8),
you'll need an interpreter such as frotz or zip204.exe in order to
run it. 

+ Spiritwrak: (game file is called spirit.z5)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR all AGES.
sIZE of game file: ROUGHLY 260 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: barely adequate
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archives

The age of magic has all but passed from the land of Quendor. Yet,
its power has not entirely faded away. You, a munk in an order
dedicated to the preservation of a neutral balance between good and
evil, must journey into a world gone mad in order to confront a
demon which the head of your order has accidentally unleashed on
the land. To do this, you must recover four pieces of a shattered
magic rod, and learn how best to use them. Only you stand between
the evil demon and the helpless land of Quendor. Ultimately, this
adventure is about faith in the face of adversity. It is full of
interesting places, people, and situations. It is quite non-
violent, and good deeds are always rewarded. If any game on this
list is in the spirit of the holiday season, Spiritwrak certainly
is. This is another game which uses the Inform language. You will
need an interpreter such as the one which comes with Jigsaw, or an
interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the game. Such
interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.

+ Theatre (file name is theatre.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE of game file: 192 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: absolutely first-rate
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

In the depths of an old and abandoned theatre, buried under dust
and time, a sinister plot is underway to allow alien spirits to
gain access to the world. You, a real estate agent, suddenly find
yourself in an evil web which is more binding than any constructed
by spiders hanging from the rafters of the old building. To
survive, you must thwart an evil witch, and uncover the strange and
dark past of the theatre and its creators. Scattered around the
theatre are the pages of a torn journal of a young architect, which
offer interesting and useful insights into the game. this small but
excellent game is very well-written. descriptions are richly
detailed, and the puzzles are of medium difficulty. A complete
short story comes with the game, and adds much to its atmosphere.
The documentation is the best I've ever come across. Hints to all
the puzzles are provided for those who need them. Anyone with an
interest in horror should find this game to be of interest. This is
another game which uses the Inform language. You will need an
interpreter such as the one which comes with Jigsaw, or an
interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the game. Such
interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.
 

+ Christminster Abbey (game file is cm.z5)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE of game file: ROUGHLY 230 K. 
lEGAL STATUS: freeware

dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

Your brother's urgent telegram has brought you to the town of
Christminster Abbey, where things are not as they should be. A
conspiracy is afoot inside the halls of Biblioll College, and it
turns out that your brother is somehow involved. Is he in danger?
You must gain entry to the college and unravel the conspiracy to
aid your brother. The town and university are full of interesting
characters, and places are richly described. This is one of the few
games in which the player character is distinctly female. The
documentation is quite good, and hints are available for desperate
players. This is another game which uses the Inform language. You
will need an interpreter such as the one which comes with Jigsaw,
or an interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the game. Such
interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.  

+ The Mind Electric: (mindelec.z5 is the game file)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE of game file: ROUGHLY 260 K
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

The Mind Electric takes place in the far future within a strange
computer system where your mind has been stored. you must escape
the containment grid where your mind is, and help in the assault on
the enemy base which houses the computer. You receive help from
your allies, as well as a strange cube you encounter in your
exploration. Can you escape before your mind dissipates and your
body loses its cohesion? The game has no playing instructions, but
provides a virtually complete solution within a hint system. Just
type help to gain access to it if necessary. This game is good for
all kinds of players. It helps to have some small knowledge of
computers. This is another game which uses the Inform language. You
will need an interpreter such as the one which comes with Jigsaw,
or an interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the game. Such
interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.

+ Sofar: (game file is sofar.z8)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE of game file: ROUGHLY 297 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: adequate
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive, or compuserve, the gamers
forum as sofar.zip.

In Sofar, you start in a theatre observing a play. This play
mirrors your life in some respects, as it deals with a lover's
betrayal. A strange breeze eventually lures you into a journey to
four strange worlds, and beyond them into other strange areas in a
quest to solve their mysteries and return home to find and forgive
your wife. This game is one of the strangest of those in this list.
The worlds you will travel through various shadows to reach
range in nature from the ancient to the bizarrely modern. The plot
seems barely held together by various performances that must be
seen. Many of the puzzles are fairly tricky. This game is for the
expert player only. This is another game which uses the Inform
language. You will need an interpreter such as the one which comes
with Jigsaw, or an interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the
game. Such interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.


+ Legends: (file name is legend11.zip)
Category, text-based role-playing game
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 2.7 megs when fully expanded.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: adequate.
aVAILABLE AT: (see my review in the previous issue for the location
I found it on.)

This is the largest text-based role-playing game yet discovered. It
takes place in a fantasy world of magic and danger. It involves
elements of role-playing games and interactive fiction. There are
numerous monsters to be fought and characters to be interacted
with. The only draw-back to this game is that it is prone to
crashes when a user types in a command that it doesn't understand.

+ Gnuchess, version 30f (file name isgc30f.zip)
Category, board game
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 1.7 megs when fully expanded if the hash table is
used.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: very good
aVAILABLE AT: compuserve, the chess forum.

This is a very powerful chess program with many features and levels
of difficulty. It uses text characters to display the board squares
and pieces, and moves are made with algebraic notation. Black
pieces are indicated by a star symbol, (shifted number 8) beside
the piece letter. Ranks and files are marked along the horizontal
and vertical sides of the board. One warning that must be given
here is that no announcement is made when a player is in check, and
no announcement is made when a piece is taken. it simply vanishes
from the board. The documentation and help are quite good, but do
not explain the basic rules of Chess. A working knowledge of the
game is essential to make use of this program. for the Chess buffs
on your Christmas list, this is just the thing.

+ Begin2 (file name is begin2.zip)
Category, text-based strategy game
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 340 k.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: unknown (I can send it if you want it.)

this is a spectacular space combat simulator which uses Star Trek
ships. Up to sixty ships, starbases, outposts, etc, can engage in
battle on a two-dimensional plane. This game makes use of bearing,
mark, range, course, etc, working around a 360-degree circle.
Careful strategy is needed to be successful. You are given full
control of a ship or docking facility, and partial control of any
ally vessels. Ships can be captured and turned against their former
masters. for people who love strategy and tactics, this is a superb
game. Some mathematical knowledge and a basic knowledge of the
screen review capabilities of which ever speech or braille system
players use to interface with their computers is necessary. Charts
must be examined constantly.
    
+ The World Is Mine (file name is world.zip)
Category, text-based strategy game
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 300 K.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: compuserve, the gamers forum, library 12 (search for
keyword military.)

You and up to nine other human or computer opponents become the
rulers of competing countries. Your objective is world domination.
Control your country's immigration, taxes, spending, military
forces, intelligence and counterintelligence spending, and much
more. This game is completely menu-driven making play relatively
easy. However, a multitude of factors must be considered during
each round of play. There are three kinds of computer opponents,
making this game excellent for single players. The game is most
enjoyable when multiple players are involved. Games can be saved to
files on disk for later cessions of play. For those who enjoy
complex strategy, this game is a must. It is fully functional
without registration.
 
+ Adventure 550 (file name is adv550.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 250 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum, and ftp.gmd.de/if-
archive

This adventure is an expanded version of the game that started it
all. You are a bold adventurer seeking treasure inside a large
system of caves. Many puzzles and monsters lie in wait, as well as
several nasty dwarves armed with magical knives. Some of the
descriptions in the game are extremely well-written, and the
puzzles are of intermediate difficulty. A complete solution is
provided along with the game, and the game offers hints for a price
in points. The game lacks much in the way of plot, but makes for an
exceptionally good treasure hunt.
  
+ Space Mule (file name is mule.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 700 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: adequate
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum

You awaken to the sound of alarms on-board your mining ship. Your
ship has sustained major damage and must be repaired. this is a
game written using the master edition of the Adventure Game
Toolkit. To run it in a speech-friendly mode, enter "mrun mule /b"
for bios mode. Science fiction fans should enjoy this adventure.
Sound is available for people with Sound blaster cards. The ship
environment and systems are described in good detail. Pictures are
also available to make the game more interesting for sighted
companions.
 
+ Shades of Grey (file name is soggy.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 1 meg
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum and ftp.gmd.de/if-
archive

You awaken to find yourself captured by what appear to be vampires.
After escaping from them, you must find out what your goal is as
you go along. You have lost your soul, and must retrieve it before
taking control of your own and an entire country's destiny. This
game explores many different myths, times, and places. It's name is
taken from its moral outlook. there is no black or white, no
clearly right or wrong. All there is are shades of grey. Actions
which players make determine which of four possible endings, none
of which are defined as ultimately correct, the story eventually
reaches. For those who enjoy thinking through ethical issues and
solving mysteries, this game is for you. Being another game which
uses the Adventure Game Toolkit, you must type "run soggy /b" in
order to run it in a speech-friendly mode. the solution is
available on Compuserve and is likely also at the ftp.gmd.de site.

+ The Multi-dimensional Thief (file name is mdthief.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 14 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 600 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good.
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive, or Compuserve, the gamers
forum.

this is a hilarious and bizarre game which is full of jokes and
sarcastic humour. You are given a chance to join the multi-
dimensional thieves' guild, but must pass a test first. All you
have to do is get out of  a bunch of interconnected rooms. This is
by no means as simple as it might sound. All kinds of strange
devices and locations are described in fairly good detail, although
the emphasis seems to be more on amusement than thoroughness. This
is another game which was made using a version of the Adventure
Game Toolkit. To run it in a more speech-friendly mode, type "runf
thief /b". while the game comes with hints, they are in a hints
program which does not work well with speech. A complete solution
is available at ftp.gmd.de, or, from me. 

+ The Light: Shelby's Addendum (file name is shelbypc.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 650 K. 
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum, and ftp.gmd.de/if-
archive

Something has gone wrong with the world. A gateway between
dimensions has been opened, and it is having devastating effects on
life. You must explore the lighthouse where you are an apprentice,
and unravel the mystery of what has happened during your absence.
the fate of the world depends on your wits alone. Fans of science
fiction and mystery should find this game of interest. Descriptions
are extremely well-written, and many items are cleverly hidden.

+ gUMSHOE (file name is gumshoe.z5)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 143 K.  
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

This is a mystery story. You are a down-and-out private detective
in serious financial trouble. The case you take on could save your
business from bankruptcy. This game contains a lot of time-
dependant elements, and also contains many non-player characters
which must be dealt with. these characters tend to wander around,
adding life to this well-written game. All characters and places
are thoroughly described in the style common to detective fiction.
this game is by far the best free mystery game available, and
certainly rivals even some of Infocom's best mystery stories. This
is another game which uses the Inform language. You will need an
interpreter such as the one which comes with Jigsaw, or an
interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the game. Such
interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.
 
+ Waystation (file name is way.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 1 meg. 
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: adequate
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gaming forum and ftp.gmd.de/if-
archive

You are drawn into the far future, where the galaxy is under a
tyrannical rule. You are the only one who can free the galaxy from
the iron grip of the empire. Journey to three alien worlds and try
to figure out the many mysteries they contain. Who is the enemy?
The answer will surprise you. this game will be of interest to
older science fiction fans.

  
+ Gc: Thrashing Parity Bit of the Mind: (file name is gc.gam, but
it comes with other files which you will either have to track down
or ask me for.)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 20 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 580 K with all related files.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: could be better.
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

this is an extremely difficult but very amusing text adventure
filled with all kinds of non-player characters which wander around.
It takes place in a strange college where you must "get a clue", as
the game says. A lot of introductory material is provided in
separate files, although it doesn't directly help in solving the
game. The game itself was designed as an event in the MIT mental
olympics. It was to be played in groups, although it can be played
by single players. If there's anyone who you want to absolutely
perplex on your Christmas list, this is the game to get them. If
there's anyone upon whom you feel the need for vengeance as a
result of their giving you a seven-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle
last year, this game is the one to use. It is funny, but absolutely
mind-boggling. You have been warned.
 
+ Galactic Warzone (file name is gw72.zip)
Category, multi-player bbs door
gOOD FOR AGES 14 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 1.2 megs when fully expanded.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware(fully functional without registration)
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the pcbbs forum

This is a Tradewars-like game of space combat and trading. You are
a merchant in a galaxy at war. The federation and the Cabal are in
fierce combat. You and many other players can try and conquer this
universe, which can be custom-made in several ways. Be certain that
you access the sysop editor and turn on the auto-warp-linker
option, or the game may crash. The sysop documentation should be
adequate to get things running smoothly. After each player has
taken their turn, run the maintenance program to advance to the
next turn.
  
+ Land of Devastation: (File names are loda through lodh or so. Not
all parts are necessary beyond files loda through lodc)
Category, multi-player bbs door
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 2 megs for a basic working copy with no sound or
graphics.
lEGAL STATUS: fully functional shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the pcbbs forum

In the future, a nuclear war has been fought on Earth. The air and
environment have been polluted with radiation and dust. Scientists
managed to create a device which would have cleaned up the mess,
but this device was broken into seven pieces and scattered by a
band of robbers. You must explore this world full of mutants and
strange places and try to solve its mysteries and survive its
dangers. The world can be customized in many ways through the use
of game editors. the supplied environment, monsters, and non-player
characters are well described and interesting. Anyone into science
fiction or adventures should find this game to be of interest.

+ Shoot96
Category, sound-based game
gOOD FOR AGES 10 and up.
sIZE of full version: unknown
lEGAL STATUS: commercial software
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: PCS Inc. (See article in this issue for contact
information.)

this attempted simulation of a shooting range allows players to
choose from various types of weapons and four different kinds of
sports shooting. Players must attempt to anticipate when the
correct time to strike a key is in order to hit targets. Success
requires a very good sense of timing and quick reflexes. People who
are tired of strictly text-based games should find this a
refreshing change.
 
+ Monopoly96
Category, board game
gOOD FOR all ages
sIZE of full version: unknown
lEGAL STATUS: commercial software
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Pcs Inc. (See article in this issue for contact
information.)

The classic and always popular game of Monopoly has been
computerized and made speech-friendly for the blind by the folks at
PCS. All information is spoken to players as it is required. the
interface is quite simple to learn. for added amusement and
identification, sounds have been added to the game. Up to four
players can participate. This game would be a fantastic idea for a
family with one or more blind members.
 
+ Any Night Football
Category, text-based sport
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE of full version: unknown 
lEGAL STATUS: commercial software
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Pcs Inc. (See the article in this issue for contact
information.)

this is a turn-based and text-based game of Football. It uses
actual statistics to determine outcomes and probabilities, so a
good knowledge of current football teams is a definite bonus in
playing. Description of game action is vivid and fairly well-
written. The interface is simple to learn. Football fans, this game
is definitely of major importance.
 
+ THE hOLLYWOOD mURDERS (file name is hollywoo.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE of shareware version: ROUGHLY 2.2 megs.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware (You must register to get the full version
with the entire story.)
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum

This game puts you in the role of a private detective. You must
travel through Hollywood and solve a murder mystery. The game is
very large, but a lot of the size is taken by graphic images and
sound files. It seems to be fairly well-written. The descriptions
are quite good, at any rate. Graphics and sound can be turned on
and off as required. Mystery fans ought to appreciate this one.  
+ fALCON'S eYE (file name is fe.zip)
Category, multi-player bbs door
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 800 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fully functional sharEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the pcbbs forum

This is a game of conquest and good rulership which takes place on
a fantasy world. You are in charge of a county which you must try
and make the best county of all. To do this requires careful
economic management and planning of developments such as town
halls, markets, etc. Population must also be maintained and made
good use of. This is by far the most complex simulation of this
kind, even compared to The World is Mine. Many more factors and
options are provided. On-line help is extensive and well-
implemented. The game is entirely menu-driven and turn-based.
However, players are under a customizeable degree of time
restriction. Lovers of fantasy and strategy should find this game
quite enjoyable.
 
+ Second Conflict (file name is sc270.zip)
Category, multi-player strategy game
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 360 K. 
lEGAL STATUS: fully functional shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum

Players are admirals in an interstellar war for control of the
galaxy. Each star system can contain up to ten planets, which must
be completely conquered before ownership of a star system is
attained. Players control fleets of ships, troops, missiles,
scouts, and the factories of their empires. Random galactic maps
are generated each time the game is played, and many parameters can
be customized and changed from game to game. Random events add more
excitement to an already intricate and absorbing contest. Up to ten
human or computer opponents can participate, and there are several
levels of intelligence which each player can have. The map of the
galaxy is composed entirely of text characters, but it is not
strictly necessary for game play. One odd bug in the game can
occasionally ruin games in progress, so it is advised that players
save the game fairly often. Registration entitles players to more
starting scenarios and a powerful game editor and scenario
designer. Lovers of strategy should find this game of great
interest.

 
+ Master the Market: (File name is market.zip)
Category, text-based strategy game
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 130 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good.
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum

This game can be played by up to ten players. It is a simulation of
a stock market. There are several ways to play the game, including
time-based, ongoing, or until a player obtains a certain amount of
money. Stock prices are effected by random news events, and players
must watch for trends which appear. Visual charts are offered, but
are not necessary for playing the game. Anyone with an interest in
economics should find this to be right up their alley.
+ wORLD (file name is world.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 150 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum.

You have been chosen to explore a strange, alien world. You must
gather as much information as you can to take back to your ship.
the world has been divided into different biological environments
suitable for various creatures. This game is made around 1987, and
is apparently regarded as a classic. It lacks the complexity of an
Inform game having a fairly simple parser, but it is fairly
detailed. Science fiction fans should like this game.
 
+ Supernova (file name is probably nova.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 360 K.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: fair
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, ibmspecial forum

You are a miner on a world which is running out of ore. You end up
caught in an adventure involving aliens. This game is very tricky,
and no solution exists as far as I know. It has sound effects,
which add atmosphere to the game. Limited hints are provided, but
they cost points. Registration entitles players to help. Science
fiction and conspiracy fans with a good deal of patience and
intelligence might be able to figure this on out.
+ pLANETS: THE eXPLORATION OF sPACE (file name is teos.zip)
Category, multi-player bbs door
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 830 K.
lEGAL STATUS: sharEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the pcbbs forum

this game puts from one to a high number of players in command of
merchant ships which travel from planet to planet. It is
essentially a game of buying and selling cargo, but has other
elements such as combat and adventure built into it. Many options
for customization of the game universe and game play are present.
It is entirely menu-driven and turn-based. It is somewhat simpler
to play than Galactic Warzone in terms of navigation through the
universe. However, it is also a bit more limited. The game is good
for single players and/or groups.
 
+ Landing Party (file name is lparty.zip)
Category, text-based role-playing game
gOOD FOR all AGES
sIZE: ROUGHLY 160 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good.
aVAILABLE AT: unknown. Ask me if you want it.

This is a menu-driven role-playing game suitable for all ages. You
must pick a customizeable team of crew members to join with you on
an expedition to obtain crystals for your ship. You will encounter
various creatures and situations on your way to the mines where
crystals can be bought. Although simplistic in style, this game's
sheer randomness makes it interesting. It is slightly humorous, but
not overly so. Younger science fiction fans should find the game
interesting. More experienced players might tend to become bored
with it after a short time.

+ Wizard's Castle (Files are castle.exe and castle.doc)
Category, text-based role-playing game
gOOD FOR all AGES.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 60 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Unknown. Ask me if you want it.

this game is an excellent introduction to role-playing games. It is
simple, but totally random. You must explore a castle of eight-by-
eight-by-eight rooms and find the hidden orb of Zot. You must also
attempt to leave with as much gold and as many special treasures as
you can. the game is quite humorous, but is mainly concerned with
exploration and killing monsters rather than puzzle-solving.
Younger adventurers will find this game entertaining.
+ Mutants: (File name is mutants.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 50 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/games/pc

This adventure takes you to a city under attack by mutants. You
must defend it against them. Considering the game's small size, the
background information provided is quite good, as are the
descriptions of locations. Descriptions are short, and the game
appears to be fairly small. the vocabulary is fairly easy, however,
making it more accessible to younger players. The parser is simple,
and players might have to spend time figuring out the correct way
to say things.
 
+ tHE sILVER cLOUD (file name is scloud.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 160 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: fair
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/games/pc

You awaken seriously wounded in a futuristic building. Your first
objective is to attempt to take proper care of your wound. After
that, you will have to discover the rest. The parser of the game is
quite good, and so are the descriptions of the places and items you
will find. it seems to be a cyber-punk kind of adventure. Anyone
interested in this genre should find the game quite interesting. 
+ gLOBAL wAR: (file name is gw.zip)
Category, multi-player strategy bbs door
gOOD FOR AGES 14 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 330 K.
lEGAL STATUS: shareWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, modemgames forum

This is a game which strongly resembles the classic board game
called risk. It can be played by up to nine players per game, and
multiple games can be ongoing simultaneously. Players must attempt
to take over the world with the armies in their control. New armies
are received each round from countries and continents owned. A
knowledge of geography is a definite advantage in this game.
Strategy fans who favour minimal complexity will like this game.

 
+ tHE pATH TO fORTUNE (game file name is windhal1.z8)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE of game file: ROUGHLY 300 K. 
lEGAL STATUS: non-crippled shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

Journey to a fantasy world and become Erin, a young apprentice to
a dwarven blacksmith is forced to become a hero and save his town.
There are many non-player characters in this game which must be
interacted with. They are all very well developed, unlike in a lot
of other interactive fiction. This game is largely based on
learning what motivates these characters. the descriptions in Path
to fortune are enchantingly detailed, and the game is full of good
humour. Registration entitles players to help in solving the game's
many puzzles, some of which are a bit difficult. One thing which
might frustrate some players is that the game keeps track of the
time of day In Windhal, and certain things only happen at specific
times. This is another game which uses the Inform language. You
will need an interpreter such as the one which comes with Jigsaw,
or an interpreter such as Frotz in order to run the game. Such
interpreters can be found in the ftp site listed above.

+ Vip611 collection: (file name vip611.zip)
Category, text-based games of chance
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 700 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, disability forum

This collection of games is composed of a speech-friendly casino
containing several casino games, a game of Yahtzee, a solitaire
program containing several versions of Solitaire and complete
instructions on play. You'll also find a deck of talking tarot
cards with descriptions of each card and plenty of instructions on
their use. Craps and Twenty-one are also included. Last but not
least, there is a word-game called Gegs which can play a bunch of
different ways. This package is small, but has something for just
about everyone.
 
+ Bridge (file name is bridgepal.zip)
Category, card game
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 240 K.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: thorough but designed to be printed
rather than read.
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum

This appears to be a very good bridge program. It has several
options, and is entirely text-based. The documentation for it is in
small text files which are numbered. Each such file is a page of
the manual which is supposed to be printed. The game of Bridge
itself is explained, as well as the program. It is therefore a
viable way of learning to play the game. Anyone interested in card
games may find this amusing and possibly useful.
 
+ Cannons and Catapults (file name is knk.zip)
Category, text-based strategy game
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 160 K.
lEGAL STATUS: shareware
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum or possibly the pcbbs
forum.

You are the king of a castle, and the computer is your rival. You
and it must attempt to conquer each other in any of various ways,
while managing your population. The game is actually a bbs door,
and player's scores are kept. Although uncomplicated, the game is
complex enough to present a challenge. You and the computer start
with random amounts of supplies each game, so different strategy
will have to be used. Younger strategy or medieval fans will
appreciate this game.

 
+ Alice in Wonderland (file name is alice.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 10 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 300 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum and ftp.gmd.de/if-
archive

Based on the book by Lewis Caroll, this adventure allows the player
to be Alice. You must earn points for power, charity, and various
other categories in order to win. You can read parts of the book
which might furnish clues to the puzzles in the game. Younger
players will find this game delightful, as characters are quite
well developed, and places are well described. One gets the same
feeling as when reading a story-book.

 
+ Golden Flutes and Great Escapes collection (file name is
gfge.zip)
Category, text-based role-playing games
gOOD FOR all AGES.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 240 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: non-existent for some games.
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/games/pc/eamon

this collection has several very simple and small text-based games
which cannot really be called interactive fiction due to their
randomness. Readers who have read the first issue might recall my
autobiographical account of my first experience with one of the
games (the Great Escape), in this collection. That classic and more
simple games are in this collection. Other games include Quest for
the Golden Flute, Mars, and Treasure. Younger players will likely
draw deeper enjoyment from these games. They are an excellent means
of introducing youngsters to computers.

+ Dungeon (file name is dungeon.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 700 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum.

This is the original version of Zork, before it was altered from an
on-line adventure game into the Zork trilogy of games. As with all
games written by the authors of INfocom games, the prose and
attention to detail are of the highest calibre. The parser is
noticeably lacking in power when compared to Inform games or
Infocom's works. However, the game is exceptionally large and
combines elements from all three Zork games, plus a few more
puzzles. On-line instructions are provided, as well as some other
information. A complete solution is available from ftp.gmd.de, and
if you plan to give the game to someone, I strongly suggest that
you get hold of it. The game dungeon can also be found at the same
site.
 
+ Time: all Things Come to an End: (name of game file is
tatctae.z8)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 18 and up.
sIZE of game file: ROUGHLY 380 K. 
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: adequate
aVAILABLE AT: ftp.gmd.de/if-archive

In this gripping story, you are hurled by your experiment with
temporal travel far into the future. You witness a murder, and your
only means of possibly returning to your own time seems to lie in
unravelling the motives behind the murder. the portrayal of a
possible future England is as vivid as it is chilling. Corporations
seem to be dominant and all too powerful. Will time and fate catch
up with you, or can you survive to find your way home? Puzzles in
the game are of a rather difficult nature, and correct solutions
are not always apparent. This game will keep its players thinking
for months. Science fiction, cyber-punk and suspense fans will find
much to attract them into this game. This is another game which
uses the Inform language. You will need an interpreter such as the
one which comes with Jigsaw, or an interpreter such as Frotz in
order to run the game. Such interpreters can be found in the ftp
site listed above.
 
+ Iron Ox
Category, multi-player bbs door
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 1 meg.
lEGAL STATUS: sharEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the pcbbs forum

this game is a kind of clone of an old classic game called Mule.
You are a colonist on a world with other colonists who are
competing with you for resources and land. this game allows players
to commit some dishonest acts, but does not allow for much violent
competition. Computer players can have various levels of
intelligence, and combinations of human and computer players can be
involved in games of various sizes. Alliances may be struck between
players. Registration allows players to access some of the games
more advanced features.

+ Supreme Ruler: (file name is sruler.zip)
Category, text-based strategy game
gOOD FOR AGES 12 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 150 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: good
aVAILABLE AT: compuserve, the gamers forum.

this is a simplified version of the World is Mine. (See above.)
Human and computer players take control of countries which must
compete for world domination. Only one kind of military force, the
army, is used. Players who found The World Is Mine to be too
complex may find this game more to their liking. Computer players
can be normal, aggressive, or defensive, and up to ten players may
participate in a game. Games may be saved for later play.

+ tHE Star pORTAL (file name is portal.zip)
Category, interactive fiction
gOOD FOR AGES 16 and up.
sIZE: ROUGHLY 540 K.
lEGAL STATUS: fREEWARE
dOCUMENTATION/ON-LINE HELP: excellent
aVAILABLE AT: Compuserve, the gamers forum and ftp.gmd.de/if-
archive

this game is another science fiction adventure in which you
discover a mysterious and highly secret portal capable of
transporting you to numerous alien worlds. Being the adventurous
type, you decide to see where it takes you. There are several
environments and aliens. Puzzles are fair on the whole.
Descriptions are not as good as in other games, but are good
enough. Younger science fiction fans should find this game
enjoyable. It is another game using the adventure game toolkit. To
run it, type "run portal /b".

+
Contacting Me

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

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

I have recently acquired a copy of UUencode and UUdecode for dos,
so you may send files to me via this means.



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