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Audyssey;
Computer Games Accessible to the Blind
Edited by Michael Feir
Issue 4: January/February, 1997


++
Welcome

To all my readers, both new and old, I offer you a warm welcome to
1997, and to the fourth issue of Audyssey. To start the year off,
and also to respond more fully to a lot of your letters, I thought
it would be appropriate to build this issue around two themes. The
first of these is thoughts on the future of gaming. Quite a number
of you have asked for my thoughts on what kinds of games we're
likely to run into this year, and whether any new kinds of games
might emerge. You'll find my thoughts on this in the first of two
articles which I have composed for this issue. In the second, I
will discuss another subject which I have often been asked about;
Games as education tools. My thanks go out to Ken perry for a very
interesting article on muds, or, multi-user dungeons which are on
the Internet. they are also extended to Theresa Van Ettinger, who
gave us this issue's episode of Adam, the Immortal Gamer, as well
as some game reviews. My good friend Adam Taylor wrote an amusing,
if not wholly modest introduction of himself, and we also have him
to thank for our first contest. Last, but certainly not least, we
have J.J. Meddaugh, the manager of the Audyssey distribution list
on the Internet to thank for his short article about the new trivia
game which has started on the Internet. Good work, all of you, and
to everyone, keep those articles coming. 

This magazine is published on a bi-monthly basis, each issue
appearing no earlier than the twentieth of every other month.  All
submissions must be sent to me in standard Ascii format either on
a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via e-mail to my Compuserve address. I
will give my home address and my Compuserve address at the end of
the magazine. There are now several ways of obtaining Audyssey. To
subscribe to the distribution list so that you receive all future
issues, send a subscription request to J.J. Meddaugh. As he is
running several lists, be sure to specifically ask to join the
Audyssey list. His address is:
[email protected]
You can find all issues of Audyssey on the Internet on Paul
Henrichsen's web site at:
ftp.psnw.com/pub/users/h/henrich
All issues are also available in the disability forum on
Compuserve, and also in the gamers forum.

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 (908)-826-1917
E-mail: [email protected]

  Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your
fellow readers. They will also make my job as editor a lot more
interesting and true to the meaning of the word. This magazine
should and can be a highly interesting and qualitative look at
accessible computer gaming. To insure
that high quality is maintained, I'll need your written
contributions. I'm not asking for money here, and won't accept any.
This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always
remain so. PCS needs to charge a subscription cost to cover the
disks and shipping costs that it incurs by making the magazine
available on disk. I'm writing this
magazine as much for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your
articles, reviews, and letters, as well as any games you might care
to send me, are what I'm after. Send any games, articles, letters,
or reviews on a 3.5-inch disk in a self-addressed mailer
so that I can return your disk or disks to you once I have copied
their contents onto my hard drive. Please only send shareware or
freeware games. It is illegal to send commercial games. By sending
me games, you will do several things: first, and most obviously,
you will earn my gratitude. You will also insure that the games
you send me are made available to my readership as a whole. As a
further incentive, I will fill any disks you send me with games
from my collection. No disk will be returned empty. If you want
specific games, or specific types of games, send a message in Ascii
format along. *Never* *ever* send your original disks of *anything*
to *anyone* through the mail. *Always* send *copies!* This
principle may seem like it shouldn't even have to be stated, but
when it comes to just about anything related to computers, there's
always some poor soul who will act before applying common sense.
Disks are *not* indestructible. Things *do* get lost or damaged in
the mail, and disks are not immune to these misfortunes. If you
have a particular game that you need help with, and you are sending
your questions on a disk anyhow, include the game so that I can try
and get past your difficulty. If you can, I recommend that you send
e-mail. I have acquired a copy of the UUencode software, and can
send and/or receive files which are encoded via this means. This
way,
no money will be wasted sending me a game I already have, and
you'll get my reply more quickly. You are responsible for shipping
costs. That means, either use a disk mailer which has your address
on it, and is either free matter for the blind, or is properly
stamped. I can and will gladly spare time to share games and my
knowledge of them, but cannot currently spare money above what I
spend hunting for new games. I encourage all my
readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will appreciate
it. Up-load it onto web pages and bulletin board systems. Copy it
on disk for people, or print it out for sighted people who may find
it of value. The larger our community gets, the more self-
sustaining it will become.

++
Contents:
Welcome
Contents
From The Editor
Wrapped Up In Tomorrow
Letters
The Latest Finds
Tellnet Gaming
Adam, The Immortal Gamer
Portrait of a Gamer and Long Live the Gamer Contest
The Learning Game
Game Reviews
Chat Channel Starts Trivia Game
Contacting Me

++
From The Editor

Hello, everyone. I hope all of you had a good festive season. I
certainly did. A lot has happened in the past couple of months.
Thanks to some thoughtful suggestions made by a few of you,
Audyssey has been made easier to navigate through. Two plus-signs
will now proceed each new article or section. A single plus-sign
will indicate the beginning of a subsection, such as a letter or
game review. A few of you are starting to send me your articles. To
those who have, my deepest appreciation goes out to you for giving
me some very interesting reading. I encourage all of you to try
your hand at writing articles for this magazine. As you will likely
benefit from the efforts of those mentioned in the Welcome section,
so they might benefit from your particular points of view, or areas
of expertise. Due to a stroke of genius on the part of my good
friend Adam Taylor, the first official contest to be held by this
magazine has arrived. PCS has expressed a willingness to donate a
free game for a prize to a contest, so we'll be having more in the
future. The prize for this contest is having your episode of Adam,
The Immortal Gamer published in the next issue, and being the one
to earn the thanks of your fellow readers by getting Adam to reveal
the wizard's password to Nethack. If any of you have ideas for
contests, please send them my way.

A lot of you expressed an interest in maintaining the list of top-
quality games that I started in the last issue. While there's no
way I could maintain the top fifty games every two months, PCS
suggested that the top ten games be kept track of. I think that
this is an excellent way to encourage interaction among you.
therefore, I will accept one vote from each of you for games to be
included in the top ten. These votes should state the name of the
game being voted for, and offer a brief description of it as well
as a place where others can obtain it. These entries need not be
too long, but feel free to write out full reviews as well if you
like.

Well, folks, that's about it for now. Let's see some more articles
for the next issue, and of course, keep those letters coming. Have
a good start to the year.


++
Wrapped Up In Tomorrow
By Michael Feir

Over the past year, the universe of accessible games for the blind
has expanded largely in the same directions that it always has.
More interactive fiction has emerged, much of it of very high
quality. Screen-oriented games have been refined and improved, but
no completely new entries have emerged except one. The Vip611
collection, as well as the games by Jim Kitchen represent the only
additions to the word/card game categories. Two new elements were
introduced into the gaming environment. First, and most
importantly, PCS, a company which programs unique games for blind
players has emerged. It came out with an impressive collection of
games featuring simple interfaces and multi-media sounds. For the
first time, blind players with sound cards can put them to
entertaining use. Many of Pcs's games are also multi-player, and
while this quality is not entirely new, it is still all too rare.
Gaming is still a largely solitary experience for many blind
gamers. the other element is the start of the production of a CD-
ROM which is almost guaranteed to be accessible to the blind. it is
a collection of interactive fiction and related materials being
developed by members of a newsgroup on the internet dedicated to
interactive fiction. Based on this, what then can we expect in the
coming year?

The most obvious thing to be expected is, of course, more of the
same. The largest infusion of new games will be interactive
fiction. If the past couple of years are anything to go by, we can
expect quality to remain at its current exceptional level, and
possibly, even to increase overall. Size and complexity of
interactive fiction cannot be measured since so many authors are
responsible for it, but we can expect more traditional offerings as
well as some unusual and radical experiments. I expect to find at
least a couple of games which surpass normal size expectations. The
Inform language will likely remain the platform for the highest
quality games, as it has for the past two years. However, the AGT
system, [adventure game tool-kit], could possibly make a come-back.
Two of the best AGT games ever made have been updated and re-
released for 1997. They are Shades of Grey, easily the best of the
AGT games, and Cosmoserve, another top-quality game.

The programmers at PCS have demonstrated a high degree of talent
and original thinking. They have quickly made a blend of
traditional and unique games, all enhanced by sounds and
descriptive text. In the near future, they plan to venture into new
areas of development, such as a war-games series, and a Dungeons
and Dragons line of games. They are currently working on refining
their mapping system, used in the Fox and Hounds game reviewed
later in this magazine. The company always welcomes ideas from
anyone interested in games for the blind. If they continue to
exhibit the willingness to try out new concepts and ideas, we're
all in for an exciting year.

For those of us with access to CD-ROM drives, it appears that we
might soon have something to use in them other than business
applications. The interactive fiction CD should be out sometime in
the next year. Apparently, many authors are contributing original
works to the CD. All issues of Xyzzynews will also be on the CD. As
more blind people purchase or are given computers with CD-ROM
drives, the interest which is beginning to emerge in making cd-rom
products accessible to the blind should continue. This growth will
take time, however. We should not expect a wide range of accessible
cd-roms to appear this year, or even next year. A trickle, perhaps,
but not more than around six titles.

In conclusion, I think some key changes have begun to happen, the
results of which we'll be exposed to in the next twelve months.
Interactive fiction, our oldest standby, will continue on its
exciting course of development, with its writers constantly
exploring diverse and new ways to entertain and challenge. PCS will
at last fill the void for those of us who look for unique and/or
classic games for our computers outside the interactive fiction
genre. The more they are supported by us, the community of blind
gamers, the better and broader their scope of development will get.
Jim Kitchen is another developer of games who might have some
surprises in store for us in the months ahead. If even half of the
rumors of buried text-based treasures on the Internet are true, I
and my fellow internet explorers might uncover some spectacular
finds. The strongest and most persistent rumors currently are of a
supposed sequel to Fallthru which was made, and of an advanced
version of the classic game Hunt the Wumpus. This version, which
I've seen and heard referred to only as Super-Wumpus, is apparently
out there somewhere, waiting to be found. Regardless of the success
or failure of this ultra-modern form of archaeology, the future
looks bright and full of new possibilities. As editor of Audyssey,
I look forward to covering events in the issues ahead.

++
Letters:

+
From Travis Siegel:
On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Paul Henrichsen wrote:

> I have been asked by Personal Computer Systems if I would post
their games
> to my ftp and web sites.  Well, they ar all there.  Yes!  There
are seven of
> them and all speech friendly waiting to be played.  There is a
shooting
> gallery, a bowling game, a scavenger hunt, monopoly, a football
game and
> more.  I am glad to help the folks at Personal computer systems
out.  These
> are some nice games.  My personal favourite is the shooting
gallery,

I'd also like to point out that I have a rather large collection of
text
based games at my ftp site as well.  I don't have them all indexed
yet,
but I'm working on it.  Anyway, the site is;
ftp://softcon.com/textgame/
It seems that most of these games came out before the file_id.diz
description file got popular, (and indeed, most of them before it
was even
thought of) so very few of them have descriptions on the index.htm
file
there, but feel free to grab whatever looks interesting.  I'll
eventually
get to indexing every file on the site, (over 9,000 of them) but
for now,
that's not happening, as I have lots of things to do.  *grin* But
anyone
with a computer (msdos compatible) can play these games, and they
all talk
to varying degrees.  Have fun.  There's about 120 games there, as
far as I
know, it's the largest collection of text games on the internet.

+
To Paul and Travis, I offer my hearty thanks and my full support.
Your efforts to make accessible games available and easy to find on
the Internet are very much appreciated by me, and I trust, by the
readers who will surely give your sites a visit in the near future.
I have yet to explore Paul Henrichsen's page, but have given Travis
Siegel's page an initial examination. He has managed to collect
some fairly rare games, including an excellent Monopoly game which
is very speech-friendly. He has also indicated his willingness to
expand his collection. I plan to send games from my collection his
way in the weeks ahead. If anyone else is planning to set up a site
on the Internet, or a bbs, and wants games from me, just send me
the disks to put them on and you'll get them. Also, send a message
telling me which games you want.

+
From:  Anthony Baechler
Hello.  I am a reader of Audyssey and like the concept of the
magazine but have a question.  Where can I find a large collection
of
games on the Internet besides interactive fiction (or text
adventure)
that can be played by the blind?  I am not interested in RPG or D&D
games.

+

The kinds of games that you and a lot of other readers are after
are somewhat limited relative to the amount of interactive fiction
and role-playing games out there. While you'll find shareware
and/or freeware trivia and word games relatively easily, finding
speech-friendly games of these types is another matter entirely. A
trivia game which works well with speech is yet to be found at all.
There are a few word games out there, and some sports and board
games. Jim Kitchen has programmed a fair assortment of these kinds
of games. Refer to his letter for further details. I might also
recommend the vip611.zip collection found in the disability forum
on Compuserve. It contains a number of games of chance, and also
has a good word game called Gegs which can effectively play many
different word games. I would hope that this wonderful collection
is available on the Internet, but have yet to find where it can be
found there. If anyone out there wants it, just send a message to
that effect and we'll see what we can figure out. That goes for any
freeware or shareware game I've discussed in my magazine. Also note
that PCS has made some games along these lines, and is planning to
make more in the next while.

+

From:  Susan Stokes
I would like to be added to the Audyssey distribution list.

I work with visually impaired students.  I am currently searching
for
text-based games for a 3rd grade student.

Thanks,

Susan Stokes

+

Finding suitable text games for young children can be a bit tricky.
The game which first springs to mind is Alice, based on Alice In
Wonderland. It is very well crafted, with points being scored for
such things as charity, the use of powers, and various other
categories. Excerpts from the book are also placed in the game, and
some offer clues to particular problems. You'll need to be able to
review the screen to play. For some reason, it doesn't speak out
directly, at least on my system. Adventureware came out with some
games for younger children. They can be found in the Gamers forum
on Compuserve, and are almost certainly somewhere on the ftp.gmd.de
site. PCS has made a version of Snakes and Ladders called Mobius
Mountain which teaches children Mathematics. This game can be
played by multiple players at once, so it may be especially
suitable for classroom situations.

+
From:  Ken Perry

Well I hope I got your address right I hate the compuserve
addresses to
much numbers to remember *grin*.  On with my questions.  First off
I love
your magazine and please subscribe me to it as soon as your done
reading
this.

The first question is do you stick totally with Dos games or do you
want
games for other OS that are playable by the blind I am a Linux
(free unix)
user and I have found many games that I can play in that OS. 

Second I noticed you have a few AGT Masters games and I wanted to
know if
you have more than just the few you have put in your book.  The
reason I
ask is I know the writer of AGT masters and I was a judge for 1
year for
the AGT contest so I have about 30 games and could get much more if
you
would like them some of the ones I have are Tempest (shakespeare in
a
game),  Pork, Cosmos (compuserve game).  and many many more if your
interested just write back and I will dig them up and we can work
out the
best method in sending them.

Third question do you happen to know PCS email address if they have
one it
sure would be easier to get a hold of them and I myself am a blind
programmer and would love to help or suggest if they need it.

Oh you mentioned muds in one of your articles and I wanted your
friend the
chess player to know that  I run a Commercial mud  made by the guy
that
made the first Diku mud and our mud will soon have a chess game
that he
can play with one of many of 30 to 60 players we have on from
around the
world.  I know the chess game will be accessible to the blind
because I
myself am writing it and if I can write it any blind person can
play it.
If he is a mud player just have him telnet on over to
valhalla-usa.com 4242
and ask for whistler I will take him to our test site and see what
he
thinks of the chess game.  When I am done my game board will have
chess
checkers and tic tac toe.  Of corse it is not any ordinary mud
since the
original writer of the muds is still working on this one it is the
best on
the net.


Oh I also have a blackjack game I dug up called ultima 21 if you
would
like a copy of that one to.

Well I am glad to see more than just me out there looking for good
games
please subscribe me to this magazine and if you want to publish a
linux
section let me know and I will dig up all the linux games I can.

Ken

+
Ken has raised several good points here, and has also provided us
with a splendid introduction to muds which can be found later in
this issue. In regards to the limitations to what this magazine
will cover, there are none. As long as blind people can play it
effectively by some means, it's fair game for Audyssey. I'm limited
to the use of Dos myself, although with the computer I'm getting
soon, I'll be expanding into Windows. With most of my readers
having Internet access, I'd say that there's a good chance that
many will find articles on games for Linux, Windows, OS2, and other
operating systems to be of interest. The only problem is that I
can't take the time to learn all these systems and explore all
these games. It's up to you, Ken, and others like you with your
areas of experience, to inform the larger gaming community about
these games and how best to play them.

In regards to AGT, I'd certainly be glad to look at more good games
in that language. I have a lot of AGT games, but not any more
written in the master edition format. I'd certainly like to see
what people have managed to do with the power provided by the
toolkit. A lot of my readers would also likely be interested. If
you can get these games available on the net, or know where they
can be found already, please inform me and I'll pass the info along
to all of you. Regarding PCS's e-mail address, it is:
[email protected]
 
+
From:  Jim Kitchen
Hi Michael,

I just finished reading the latest issue of Audyssey and I think
that it is great!  Like you I think that it is great that there are
games out there that will work with are speech synthesizers.  I am
trying to do my part by writing and sharing free ware games.  I
hope that you will take a look at them.

I have up-loaded the following files to the Blink Link BBS and I
believe that most if not all of them are also at the GBX BBS as
well and on the internet they can be found at:
ftp.clark.net in the directory /pub/poehlman

dosskunk.zip
dos text children's dice game plays sounds through PC speaker or
sound card has bios writes and built in macro keys for screen
readers

DOSLIFE.ZIP
dos text version of the board game life has bios writes for screen
readers

DOSMAMI.ZIP
dos text version of the game Master Mind with bios writes and built
in macro keys for  screen readers

DOSYAHT.ZIP
dos text version of Yahtzee for 2 - 9 players has bios writes and
built in macro keys for screen readers

SLOT34.ZIP
dos text slot machine 3 wheels 3 windows uses joystick or keyboard
create your own wheel characters and comments has bios writes and
built in macro keys for screen readers

DOSBJ.ZIP
DOS text black jack game play with one to six decks of cards has
bios writes and built in macro keys for screen readers

DOSPOKER.ZIP
DOS text five card draw poker machine has bios writes and built in
macro keys for screen readers

DOSCON.ZIP
DOS text concentration game for two players has customizable prize
list bios writes and built in macro keys for screen readers

DOSMULE.ZIP
DOS text colourful galactic drug sales game has bios writes and
built in macro keys for screen readers

DOSBSHP3.ZIP
dos text battle ship game has sound blaster sounds and bios writes
for screen readers

DOSFBALL.ZIP
dos text football game pick your team and qb then play an entire
season including playoffs and super bowl has bios writes for screen
readers

DOSREACT.ZIP
dos game that tests your reaction time to a changing colour or
sound
has bios writes and built in macro keys for screen readers

GOLF82.ZIP
1982 dos golf game now with sound blaster sounds bios writes and
built in macro keys for screen readers

                            Jim

+
Jim has contributed a lot of games to us, and his efforts are
certainly commendable. I have had the pleasure of trying some of
his games out, and was very impressed with Yahtzee and Life in
particular. I would urge all of you to give Jim's work a look, as
there is bound to be something of interest for many of you. Keep up
the good work, Jim, and please keep us informed as to what you're
working on.
 
+
From David Plumlee
To: Michael Feir

Michael, I want you to know how much I appreciate your magazine.
I have
down-loaded all three issues so far, and I am thinking about
getting some of the
games you mention.  More importantly, I am trying to get a friend
of mine who
also has a computer to look into some of the sources you mention
instead of
wasting his money buying games from the normal corner software
store.  He has
already bought some games that are so visually-intensive (read as
"speech-unfriendly") that he can't use them.  Worse still, he is
running in a
strictly DOS-ONLY environment and has an even less understanding of
Windows
than I do.  And, as you might guess, he becomes unhappy when his
off-the-shelf
game won't give him any meaningful speech.

I care not if it "talks" in that you get to hear the quizmaster
say, "Here is
the question," if the question is then shown ONLY on the screen.

I am working on a game that I have been writing to give a
visually-impaired
player a chance to play a bit of the time-critical style of arcade
games. When
I am finished with it, I'll send you a copy.  I think it may also
serve as a
"barrier awareness" item in that I have programmed it so that once
the
instruction screen goes by, there will be no current information
presented
on-screen.  Oh, there would be something on the screen, just as it
is in some
games that "talk"; only the information there wouldn't be of any
help to
actually play the game.  I plan for the "level of difficulty" to be
rather "self-adjusting," depending on the player's performance of
"right compared to
wrong."  I'd like to see a few sighted people playing something
that didn't
give them a screen, much as it is for us then all these visual-only
programs
don't give us any meaningful information.

I won't have my game finished for the upcoming magazine, but I plan
to work on
it from time to time.  The only programming language I have
available--and the
only one I know--is BASIC; and I have only interpreted BASIC at
that. But if I
manage to get plenty of comment lines into the program, it might
serve as some
help to beginners who like to see "inside" a game program to
determine what's
going on.

+
Good for you, David. I'm certainly looking forward to trying it
out. Keep us informed of your progress. Time-critical games which
are speech-friendly are indeed a most rare commodity, and I've had
more than a few inquiries regarding them. I can certainly
sympathize with your friend, shying away from Windows. I'm guilty
of the same crime myself. My father and I are always looking for
suitable cd-rom titles in computer stores, and a lot of caution is
required to avoid the disappointing result of obtaining an
essentially worthless game. I advise all of you to try and get as
much information about a game before you buy it from a computer
store. If you have ready access to a sighted friend who likes
games, a little less caution is required as most games which aren't
video games can be made somewhat accessible via a sighted partner.
Before spending small fortunes, look to the Internet and make
certain nothing catches your interest there. Remember also that I'm
always happy to recommend games which you might wish to acquire. 

++
The Latest Finds

+
New Additions to Jim Kitchen's Games:

Just today, Jan 27th, as I was putting the final touches on this
issue, the prompt action of J.J. Meddaugh alerted me to the
addition of a new Baseball game, as well as an update to the Golf
game. You have to use sound to know when to swing the club and bat.
Having no time to properly check these games out, I leave that task
to you, my readers. Way to go, Jim, and thanks also to J.J.
+
Fox and Hounds

PCS has just released a new game called Fox and Hounds. It is a
simulation of a fox hunt over Middlesex Downs. It is one of the
first games to make extensive use of their new mapping system. In
fact, they made it to teach people about maps. It is incredibly
simple to play, but not always so simple to win. Only a few keys
are required to play. To add varying difficulty to the hunt, the
player can select how much information he/she is given.

The game comes with excellent documentation, and also has excellent
on-line help for beginners. As with most of PCS's games, multi-
media sounds have been added to enhance enjoyment. They can be
heard through a sound card or through the pc speaker if you don't
have one. The price of this game is thirty dollars US. If you're
interested, you can contact PCS at:

Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton ave.
Perth Amboy N.J.  08861
Phone (908) 826-1917.
E-mail [email protected]

+
The 1996 IF Competition

A lot of the smaller games written over the last year were entries
in the 1996 IF competition. for a more detailed account of the
winners of the competition, I urge you to look up the tenth issue
of Spag, another magazine dedicated to interactive fiction. I
expect that Xyzzynews will also cover the competition results in
the next issue. I have decided to review the top three entries
here. All entries can be found in the competition96 section of the
if-archive at the ftp.gmd.de site. Enjoy, folks.
+
The Meteor, the Stone, and A Long Glass of Sherbet
Game written by Graham Nelson

this game won first prize in the competition, and most deservedly
so in my opinion. this game is a fantasy taking place in the Zork
universe. You are a diplomat representing a small but influential
city-state on a continent dominated by the powerful Northlands
Empire. this empire is on the verge of discovering magic, and that
would shift the balance of power too far in its favour. Your
mission is to find out about the secret work being done to harness
the powers of magic, and destroy the focus of these powers if
possible.

Although relatively small, this game has been written in a richly
detailed and humorous style. A lot of background information has
been provided to add depth and atmosphere to the adventure. The
documentation is most excellent, and the game also comes with a
built-in hint system for those of you who find yourselves in need
of them. I have yet to get the best score possible for this game,
despite having played it through twice. If you like fantasy,
chances are that you'll thoroughly enjoy this game. The file is
called sherbet.z5, and you'll need an Inform interpreter to run it.
The interpreter called frotz.zip, will do nicely, and it is
apparently the easiest one to find.

+
Tapestry
Game written by Dan Ravipinto

This experimental game won second prize in the competition. It
tries to create a game which is not based on solving puzzles, but
on exploring the environment. You play a man who has just been
killed in a car accident. The afterlife is a lot different than
traditional views would have us believe. You are given a second
chance to explore your past and either accept your guilt, try and
change things, or simply learn to understand and deal with your
mistakes. The issues of fate, commitment, and love are explored in
a most intriguing manner. The documentation is quite good, as is
the hint system. Unlike a lot of interactive fiction, this game has
three separate paths which can be taken, leading to three different
endings. I certainly hope that larger experiments are tried with
this idea. Tapestry will be found in a file called tapestry.z5 in
the competition96 section of the if-archive. Use an Inform
interpreter like Frotz.zip in order to play the game.

+
Delusions
Game written by C. E. Forman

This game won third prize in the competition, and offers us an
interesting look into the issues surrounding virtual reality. You
have volunteered to take part in testing out created realities in
an effort to rid them of bugs. the first reality you test is a
simulation of a lake from the viewpoint of a fish. that reality and
a small portion after it being as far as I've managed to get, will
have to serve as the basis of this interview. If this portion is
reflective of the rest of the game, then futurists and science
fiction lovers like myself are in store for some heavy-duty fun.
The descriptions are excellent, giving a good sense of what it's
like to "be" a fish. The technology, although sophisticated, is
described in easy terms. This is the first game I've come across to
feature a blind person.

It should be noted here that this is not the final release of the
game, but one especially made for the competition. The author plans
to up-load an official release fairly soon. the file is called
delusion.z5, and can be found where the previous two files are
located.

++
Telnet gaming:


Mud:

Do you love adventure games but find them lonely and boring?  If
the answer is yes there is a place on the Net for you.  Multi
User Dungeon games or Muds are the next step for all you avid
adventure nuts.  You might want to cut your teeth on normal zork
like games first to get used to your screen review software but
when your ready for the challenge Muds are only a telnet away from
you.  This of corse means you have to be hooked to the Inter net
and have the ability to telnet but if you don't already have that
capability I highly suggest you get it.  Finding a Inter net
service provider steps outside the scope of this article but if
enough people need help I will be more than happy to explain how
to go about getting a connection to the net.  For now lets get
back to Muds.
     Muds are servers on the net that you can log on and
adventure in hundreds to thousands and even millions of different
types of rooms and themes.  Most muds on the net keep a medieval
theme but if you look hard enough you can find everything from
modern warfare to future Muds like Starwars.  There is even a Mud
under development that is trying to one up Tradewars and is doing
a good job.  There are many different mud servers but they all
have about the same interface.  The following is a log of my mud
saying "Hi" to Audyssey Magazine:

shout Everyone Shout Hi to Audyssey Magazine!
You yell 'Everyone Shout Hi to Audyssey Magazine!'
Batlin yells 'Hi!'
Wynne yells 'Hi!!!!!'
Uthar shouts asking 'anyone out there got a dagger
sulucci?'
Shadddow shouts 'HI'
Gallion shouts 'hi Audyssey MAg'
Spag yells 'Hi Audyssey Magazine!!!'
Fitrus yells 'Kirsebaer!'
Dormitus yells 'Hi!'
Your blood freezes as you hear someone's death cry.
Zahra shouts 'Hiya People at Audyssey Magazine'
Your blood freezes as you hear someone's death cry.

Well while I was logging that two people died one room over from me
that is what
that you hear someone's death cry means *snicker*.

     If your worried muds would be to hard to keep  up with or if
you have tried muds and found them to have to much going on on
the screen then don't give up.  When I first started I was annoyed
at all the "Spam" on the screen but I soon found ways to get rid
of it.  For those who are not already familiar with the word spam
that is what Mudders and online nerds call a screen that
constantly scrolls  with tons of stuff to read.  The first thing
you need to do when you get on a Mud is find out all the commands
that are
possible.  This can usually be done by typing "help
commands" or just "commands".  You then want to look through that
list of commands and find the communication commands on most muds
the commands are tell, whisper, say, chat, gossip, and shout.  Of
corse not all will be present on all muds but if you know they
exist it will help.  Now for the blind trick of the trade get
help on the communication channels and find out how to turn them
off this will almost totally get rid of useless spam.  After you
turn off the communication don't just rush into the game make
sure you read through the helps at least on the first mud you
try.  The most important rule of a mud is do not be afraid to
ask for help.  That's right instead of just having to read help
files all day you can talk to an older player and they might even
help you get your first few levels or some cool equipment that
will help you live longer.  The easiest way to ask for help is to
"shout help I am a newbie"  or you could ask someone personally
by using tell.  To tell someone personally just type who which
will list who all is on line then tell the person you want to ask
for help something like the following tell oldtimer help I am a
newbie".  Try not to ask for help constantly since you
wouldn't want to be tagged as a person that does nothing but try to
get help all
the time.  Well I hope this short paragraph helps you to log on
and start checking out Muds but incase your not still sure of your
self on Muds let me suggest you come to my Mud.  My mud is called
Valhalla and I can show you all the ropes of playing on a mud.
My suggestion if you have not played a mud before is to log on
as a Fighter or Warrior class human  with good alignment.  They
are easiest  to learn and to train.  After you master a fighter
type class then you can think of starting a Mage, Cleric, thief,
Paladin, Assassin or even a Sorcerer.
     Now that your all warmed up and ready to attack the mud
world let me give you some addresses  The following is a mud list
that you can
find on the net. Once you have the addresses and a provider it is
as simple
as typing telnet and the address for example the following would
get you to my mud.

telnet valhalla-usa.com 4242
      Huang's Premier DikuMUD List
      Last updated: August 5, 1996
      Newest online version is at
http://www.sure.net/~god/mudlist.htm

     --------------------------------------------------------------
     [*] Adding to the MUD List

     I am now maintaining an active list of Diku family MUDs. If
you
     know a MUD that is missing from the categories shown below or
is
     listed incorrectly, feel free to add yourself or correct the
     information by filling the form at
http://www.sure.net/~god/mudlist.htm,
     or by sending an e-mail to [email protected], with the following
information:

     1) the name of your MUD
     2) the derivative family that your MUD belongs to
     3) the MUD's domain _and_ IP addresses
     4) a summary of your MUD's unique features and offerings
        (will add this info to my mudlist in the future)

     If I cannot verify your entry, your MUD will not be added to
the list.

     --------------------------------------------------------------

                             Circle Derivatives

         MUD                Domain Address             IP Address
  Port
  Age of Insanity  newton.whit.org                  205.238.84.11
 4000
  Alvoria          conan.ids.net                    155.212.1.12 
 4000
  AnotherWorld     aw.pp.se                         208.129.66.10
 4000
  Archipelago      island.essex.ac.uk               155.245.180.15
24
  Cities of Glory  bucket.ualr.edu                  144.167.10.237
4000
  Dominion         persephone.cs.umsl.edu           134.124.30.27
 8400
  Dragons' Land    victim.earthlink.net             206.85.99.36 
 4000
  Eclipse of Fate  eclipse.argy.com                 206.152.2.45 
 7777
  Enertopia        pinternet.com                    206.126.34.1 
 4000
  Eternal          smith.syr.edu                    128.230.31.20
 4000
  LordMUD          eagle.dmv.com                    206.30.64.2  
 4000
  Moment in Tyme   tyme.op.net                      206.84.208.11
 6969
  MultiMUD         uhura.biologie.uni-freiburg.de   132.230.36.55
 4242
  Phoenix MUD      mud.token.net                    206.115.32.16
 4000
  Prime EvilMUD    dominions.ozramp.net.au          203.17.73.20 
 4000
  Realm of Magic   b11.informatik.uni-bremen.de     134.102.201.111
4000
  StrangeMUD       piglet.cc.utexas.edu             128.83.42.61 
 9332
  Tempus           styx.ph.msstate.edu              130.18.152.61
 2020
  Void             rosebud.umiacs.umd.edu           128.8.120.103
 4000
  Winds of Chaos   chaos.nlm.nih.gov                130.14.60.202
 4000


     --------------------------------------------------------------

                              Diku Derivatives

           MUD                Domain Address           IP Address
  Port
  Alter Aeon           sl9vg.dorms.usu.edu          129.123.230.80
4000
  AnotherMUD           mud.compart.fi               193.64.198.202
4000
  Apocalypse IV        sapphire.geo.wvu.edu         157.182.168.20
4000
  Arctic               mud.arctic.org               128.32.43.55 
 2700
  AustinMud            imv.aau.dk                   130.225.2.6  
 4000
  Banished Lands       power.uafadm.alaska.edu      137.229.22.121
4000
  Black Gamma II       imagery.kosone.com           199.246.2.5  
 4001
  Burning Diku         burning.stacken.kth.se       130.237.50.103
4000
  Dark Castle          jitter.rahul.net             192.160.13.8 
 6666
  Dark Chronicles      mud.iglou.com                192.107.41.6 
 4000
  Dark Realms          ftoomsh.progsoc.uts.edu.au   138.25.6.1   
 5000
  Dark Shadows         dsd.tchnet.com               198.109.196.250
6666
  Death's Domain       cybernet.cse.fau.edu         131.91.80.79 
 9000
  DeathWish MUD        dwmud.sj-coop.net            206.25.0.254 
 4000
  Delta DikuMUD        protonet.fi                  194.100.7.38 
 4444
  DikuMUD              altue.usach.cl               158.170.64.27
 4040
  DikuMUD I            gizmo.bchs.uh.edu            129.7.40.44  
 6969
  Dragon MUD           conan.ids.net                132.231.10.4 
 6715
  Duris:BloodLust      duris.mi.org                 199.177.127.66
6666
  Dutch Mountains      asterix.icce.rug.nl          129.125.14.130
4000
  Elite                xbyse.nada.kth.se            130.237.222.237
4000
  FieryMud             fiery.eushc.org              163.246.96.103
4000
  Final Level 2.5a     killer.pcjournal.com         205.216.203.61
7777
  FormosaMUD           mud.csie.ncu.edu.tw          140.115.50.84
 4000
  Gateway to Abaddon   user.tradeweb.net            206.228.208.150
2000
  GrimneMUD            grimne.pvv.unit.no           129.241.210.220
4000
  Harz-Site-Diku       bingo.in.tu-clausthal.de     139.174.100.14
4000
  Hercules MUD         sunshine.eushc.org           163.246.96.102
3000
  Holomud              sprawl.fc.net                198.6.198.6  
 7777
  Imperial II          mandrake.cs.hut.fi           130.233.40.66
 6969
  ImpMUD               spodbox.linux.org.uk         193.62.1.250 
 2150
  Kaos MUD             flower.aud.temple.edu        155.247.42.7 
 4000
  Medievia             medievia.netaxs.com          198.69.186.36
 4000
  MUME                 shire.ncsa.uiuc.edu          141.142.103.6
 4242
  Newark               cuy.net                      204.141.121.10
6715
  OpalMUD              opal.cs.virginia.edu         128.143.60.14
 4000
  Perilous Realms      www.com                      155.229.1.4  
 23
  PkMUD                rupert.mhv.net               199.0.0.13   
 5000
  Renegade Outpost     outpost.cnct.com             165.254.118.47
9999
  Rocky                features.mci.com             166.37.17.23 
 4000
  Shadow of Terror     zeus.initco.net              205.162.172.3
 4000
  Sloth II             ai.eecs.ukans.edu            129.237.80.113
6101
  Snebo-Land           odesha.isca.uiowa.edu        128.255.200.28
2477
  Valhalla MUD         valhalla-usa.com             205.217.32.194
4242
  the Ways             ?                            198.65.216.254
4000
  Wild Side            levant.cs.ohiou.edu          132.235.1.100
 1234
  Worlds of Carnage    dionysis.cu-online.com       205.198.248.13
4000
  ZeeMUD               pcnet3.pcnet.com             204.213.232.7
 4000

     --------------------------------------------------------------

                              Envy Derivatives

             MUD               Domain Address         IP Address 
 Port
  Ancient Realms          mud.nebula.net           206.106.134.10
 4000
  Chaos Wastes            mud.vistech.net          199.44.69.8   
 9999
  Commonwealth            cwealth.traveller.com    198.49.103.129
 8500
  Jolly Roger             xbones.greenwing.com     204.107.81.130
 5555
  Monster Mud             mud.idsweb.com           206.85.136.102
 1210
  Maelstrom               enigma.cybercom.net      205.198.80.66 
 4000
  Our Place [cool]        the.express-news.net     204.57.68.3   
 6543
  Outskirts of Insanity   the-link.net             206.25.198.1  
 4050
  Shadowlands             shadow-lands.com         206.160.192.100
4000
  TNT                     inferno.cs.bris.ac.uk    137.222.102.176
4000


     --------------------------------------------------------------

                              Merc Derivatives

         MUD                 Domain Address             IP Address
 Port
  Ages             ccsun44.csie.nctu.edu.tw          140.113.17.168
4444
  AnonyMUD [cool]  anon.corenet.net                  156.46.50.17
  7137
  Avatar           avatar.walrus.com                 206.24.16.2 
  3000
  Barren Realms    barren.coredcs.com                198.150.193.1
 8000
  Conch            ournet.oursc.k12.ar.us            165.29.134.4
  1995
  Dark Chambers    cal011102.student.utwente.nl      130.89.222.72
 4000
  DarkSide         rsls5.sprachlit.uni-regensburg.de 198.170.59.1
  7734
  Dragon Swords    karma.physics.iastate.edu       
129.186.117.106 1234
  Eyeball          mars.cimtek.com                   198.69.137.50
 4444
  Farside          farside.farsidemud.com            156.46.50.17
  3000
  Haunted Pass     lionx1.rdsnet.com               
199.234.116.210 6666
  Killer Instincts trolls31.ccm.itesm.mx             148.241.155.86
4444
  LegendMUD        mud.aus.sig.net                   199.1.78.16 
  9999
  Legend of Winds  ccsun44.csie.nctu.edu.tw          140.113.17.168
4040
  Mortal Realms    ?                                 204.162.115.56
4321
  Mystic Adventure mud.gel.ulaval.ca                 132.203.14.100
4000
  Turf             teaching6.physics.ox.ac.uk        163.1.245.206
 4000
  TurfUSA          imeid.com                         204.27.210.179
4000

     --------------------------------------------------------------

                              Rom Derivatives

             MUD                 Domain Address         IP Address
 Port
  Beyond Reality           neworder.cc.uky.edu       128.163.18.198
1234
  Carrion Fields           maple.can.net             199.246.170.4
 9999
  Chicken's Den [cool]     snack.p.lodz.pl           194.92.218.66
 7000
  Creeping Death           hub.eden.com              199.171.21.21
 6969
  Dragon's Haven           puck.nether.net           198.108.59.10
 9000
  Electric Dreams          dreams.iceworld.org       199.199.16.75
 4000
  Endless Nameless         mserv1.wizvax.net         199.181.141.2
 4301
  Eternal Twilight         dodo.crown.net            204.179.112.1
 9000
  Eternity's Trials        mud.moonlight.net         206.104.224.16
9000
  Evil Intentions          evil.linex.com            206.54.38.25
  9000
  Helliconia               mother.biolan.uni-koeln.de134.95.209.4
  9000
  Insane MUD               photon.stealth.net        206.26.140.7
  4000
  Khrooon                  khrooon.interpow.net      194.179.88.41
 4000
  Kingdom of Apracia       mud.hattiesburg.com     
204.238.121.150 4000
  Landsend                 landsend.dfwmm.net        207.16.54.195
 4000
  Labyrinth                amergin.org               205.161.30.222
9000
  MadRom                   hector.turing.toronto.edu 128.100.5.10
  1536
  Melmoth                  fascination.com           204.248.99.2
  9000
  Mirkwood                 haystack.ncsa.uiuc.edu    141.142.222.42
4000
  Moosehead Sled           sled.moosehead.com        204.148.144.69
4000
  Phidar                   cdsgw.crystaldata.com     198.49.103.129
9000
  Prophecy                 alastor.pt.lu             194.154.198.2
 4000
  Puddle-o-MUD             amber.greenwing.com       204.107.81.193
9000
  Quicksilver              res.com                   204.244.102.1
 9000
  Realms of Arcadia        arcadia.ior.com           199.79.239.13
 4000
  Rivers of Mud            rom.org                   198.68.17.122
 9000
  Sanctuary                gauss.sos.clarkson.edu    128.153.32.9
  9000
  Shacra Mud               cipres.cec.uchile.cl      146.83.5.130
  9000
  Shattered Kingdoms       mud.vividnet.com          206.149.144.4
 1996
  Times of Chaos           toc.pcix.com            
204.179.180.200 9000
  Web of Destiny           rabbit.cudenver.edu       132.194.10.14
 9000


++
Adam, The Immortal Gamer
this issue written by Theresa Van Ettinger
Adam looks around him, and finds himself in a building with a
variety of basic items nearby - some food, a lamp, a matchbox, etc.
He recognizes the game in which he is involved. "Oh! Colossal cave!
Hah! I know this one!" Taking up the items, Adam runs out of the
building, and nearly flies to the streambed.  Quickly unlocking the
door, he descends to the cave, continuing west along the corridor,
grabbing the cage and rod on his way.  When he gets to the bird
chamber, he is unable to take the bird. "Darn!" he swears, and
tries again.  He continues to have little success, and only
succeeds in scaring the bird in the process. Dropping the rod, he
finally succeeds in getting the bird in the cage.  He runs on,
completing the game as far as the part with the wumpus.  As he is
leaving the cloak room, with the wumpus right behind him, he is
attacked by a dwarf. "Oh man!" he blurts in exasperation.  "How
could I forget the axe?" He runs on, hoping to escape both the
dwarf and the wumpus.  Just as he is getting to the west side of
the fissure, however, the dwarf throws a lethal knife which strikes
Adam down.  As the scene fades away, the all-too-familiar
disembodied voice questions him. "Adam," the voice booms out from
around him.  "What have you gained from this experience?" Adam
pauses for a moment.  "Well," he finally replies, pensively.  "I
guess I always took the axe for granted.  Once I got used to
watching for it, I never really THOUGHT about taking the axe. I
just did it automatically." The voice replies, "Right, Adam.  Now,
how do you apply this in the future?" Adam takes a longer pause
than before.  Just when it seems the voice will repeat the
question, Adam responds. "I was overconfident," he says, as if
forming a confession. "Because I thought I knew exactly what I was
doing, I figured I could just whiz through it.  I guess I've got to
pay more attention to details, no matter how small, and to
understand the whole picture-- to watch out for everything that
might come up, whether I'm expecting it or not, so I don't overlook
some important factor." The voice answers him in it's steady,
resonant tone.  "You have spent so much time on these games, Adam,"
it explains.  "That you have neglected to pay attention to your
friends, your family, and your own needs.  You figured you could go
on with your games, and the world would just go on.  But it doesn't
work that way." Before going back into the void, Adam is given a
glimpse of the world as he left it.  His father is yelling at his
mother across the dining room table. "Rita, I told you those games
were going to get the better of him some day." His mother shouts
back.  "I didn't know it would go this far!  I thought he would
snap out of it, and everything would be OK!" ...    As the shouting
fades from his ears, Adam realizes how greatly his actions have
affected his family's relationships.  He made the connection
between his gaming craze and the world around him in real life.

++
The Portrait of a Gamer
by Michael Feir and Adam Taylor

Some of you have begun to suspect that our comic hero was not an
entirely fictitious character. You are, of course, correct. Adam
Taylor is a friend I met in high school. He is absolutely the most
aggressive gamer I have yet encountered. This aggression has
resulted in such memorable lines as Adam's battle cry of:
"Kill! Maim! Destroy!"

For as long as I've known him, he has always displayed a reckless
bravado when dealing with games. His sheer arrogance is made
evident by his refusal to read manuals before attempting to play
games. He just charges right in, and usually manages to pull off
miracles. He has managed to conquer Nethack and learn the wizard's
password. While he hasn't won Fallthru, he is confident in his
ability to do  so, and so am I assuming he can sit down and play a
non-graphical game for more than five minutes. Yes! He is sighted!
Gore and graphics are his meat and drink. However, he does take
some small interest in games a bit more accessible to the likes of
us. Without further delay, I now relinquish this keyboard to Adam's
ogre-like hands.

(Thunder crashes in the distance, and lightning shatters the
heavens. A rumbling is heard as a monumental man approaches.)
Greetings mortals. I am Adam, the Immortal Gamer. I guess that's a
good enough entrance for someone of my greatness. I suppose a touch
of modesty would be appropriate here. I come from Israel. My mother
was born there too, and my father is from England. So I get drunk
and tell jokes. My mother and father's names are Yael and Wallace
(not Rita or whatever). I'm not quite sure about my height, I
haven't been measured in years, but I know that I'll hit my head on
the roof of the bus when I stand, if that's any help. My build is
such that I can use it to great advantage when trying to acquire
things, usually by force. I'm not really much of a bully, but it's
a kick to make people fear you as one. I'm currently attending
Sheridan college in Oakville. My grades might not be awe inspiring,
but I'm keeping the same average as Mike. Which means either I'm
smart or he's stupid. I met Mike back in Meadowjail High School. If
I remember correctly, the first time I met him, he was playing
Rogue on his Eureka. We put many a lunch period into that game.
Mike with his cautious exploration, and me with my strongarm
tactics. I believe that is when I began to take interest in text
based games. Mike and I are always in competition when playing
games. Begin is one of our main battlefields, his pitiful score of
about 15, compared to my insane score of 89. I annihilated him in
Second Conflict, and humiliated him in World is Mine. Oh, well, I
suppose that's enough of me making fun of him.

Our little comic was based on me and my constant playing of games,
one form or another. We intend to cover all the memorable games,
and some of those that are less so. If there is enough interest, we
may consider using a game more than once. My character is portrayed
as a headstrong brute with no patience for tactics. A fairly
accurate representation if I do say so myself. Not that I can't
handle tactics - my favourite game is Master of Orion 2 for the PC,
and the entire game is tactical - but I prefer the more direct
approach.

My personal favourite games are Master of Orion 2: Battle at
Antares from Microprose. Ogre Battle from Enix for the Super
Nintendo, a great tactical war-game with endless replay value.
Daggerfall from Bethesda, which I must say has to be the best role-
playing game I have ever played. And last but definitely not least,
Nethack, which I can proudly say I defeated (and Mike hasn't,
hah!).

My e-mail address is:
[email protected]
I would appreciate any fan mail you have. And my birthday is on
November 17th, just in case you're interested.
I could be persuaded to share some of my infinite gaming wisdom
with those who take the time to write to me. And any suggestions to
the magazine would be accepted. (And if anyone wants any
"interesting" information on our glorious editor, they know where
to ask)
Just to prove to Mike how dangerous it is to relinquish control of
his keyboard to a person with my unique mental prowess, I now
announce a contest!

Long Live the Gamer!
I bet that many of those out there who play Nethack, would just
love to get their hands on the Wizard's Password. Well, you may
just be the lucky adventurer who does. All we ask is that you write
an episode of Adam, The Immortal Gamer before the next issue and
submit it. They will be judged by the Immortal one himself, and his
loyal knight Sir Michael of Meadowvale. The winner will have
his/her issue posted in the next edition of Audyssey, along with
the long sought after Wizard's Password. The two runners up will
receive honourable mention, and their issues will be kept on file
for possible future use.
For those of you who are clueless to what the Wizard's Password
actually does, let me shine my wisdom upon you (to hell with
modesty). It is the ultimate cheating tool for Nethack. Wish for
anything you desire. Identify any mysterious objects. Teleport to
any location you could think of. Summon monsters on which to
practice your combat prowess. Force the gods to do your bidding.
And more! If you've ever wondered what's so great about cheat codes
for sighted people, this will give you a very good idea.


Well, that is all the time I have to spare in this plane of
existence. Farewell mortals, I will see you again. Until then you
may read of my exploits in future episodes of Adam, The Immortal
Gamer. (Again there is the clap of thunder as the ground is torn
apart by forces beyond imagination. The fires of hell itself pour
from the cracks. The Immortal one steps bravely into the inferno,
to face the forces of darkness.)
 

++
The Learning Game
by Michael Feir

Having played computer games since around age ten, I can certainly
testify to how much computer games have taught me. Through playing
them, I have learned about such diverse things as temporal
paradoxes, what things and places look like, how some animals
behave, about historical events and people, and so much more. While
classic board games have often been used in classroom settings to
teach various concepts, it is still relatively rare for blind
children to be exposed to computer games through school, whether
they are versions of classic board games or not. Now that more
board games are being computerized in an accessible way, thanks to
people like Jim Kitchen and PCS, this might finally change. Many
board games were designed specifically to teach certain concepts.
Chess was designed to teach medieval strategy. Monopoly teaches
money management skills and also teaches people about the basics of
real estate. The game of life teaches life management in a limited
way. In fact, if we examine most games, we can probably find some
lesson to be taught in them, or, a lesson which can be taught by
them.          

Personally, I think we learn a lot more from adventure games than
from any card or board game I've ever played, but it is an
unconventional form of learning. I say this for a number of
reasons, which I will outline in the following paragraphs:

     Perhaps the most pervasive reason why adventure games
constitute an unconventional means of learning, as well as the most
damning reason as far as the open-mindedness of educators is
concerned, is that these games have been almost uniformly labelled
as impossibly complicated at best, and downright malevolent at
worst. I once met a young student who had shocked his fifth-grade
teacher out of her wits with how much he had learned about the
trials and hardships faced by pioneers settling North America. Only
a day earlier, this same teacher had warned my young friend not to
play too many computer games, or she would have a talk with his
parents. The guy tried to explain that the games were teaching him
a lot of interesting things, but the teacher would have none of
that. Like quite a few people back then, she  thought that
adventure games and role-playing games were Satan's answer to the
modern-day tool-kit. She was now faced with a kid who knew all
about covered wagons, horses, Indians, bandits, oxen, hunting, and
even a little about frontier medicine. Quite accidentally, while
attempting to give the best answers he could to the teacher's
questions, the kid revealed the material that the teacher was going
to spend the next few classes covering. As the class ended, she
called the kid back for a little chat. Having my own question for
her, I stayed in the room.

     "Alright, young man," The teacher began, her voice dripping
with suspicion, "How did you learn all that? You were only given
your text-book today. Your parents aren't historians, are they?"

     "Well, you see," The kid began, sounding as if he was about to
confess to a capital crime, "I, uh, played a computer game called
Oregon Trail, and it was all about pioneers." The kid was left
waiting for the proverbial axe to fall, and the teacher was left
speechless. In the wood-working shop down the hall, someone
hammered on a nail three times, the noise sounding like a judge's
gavel. That was just too comical a coincidence for me. I cracked up
laughing. I don't know whether it was the noise, or simply having
her preconceptions turned up-side-down. Whatever the reason was,
she started laughing as well.

When I speak of adventure games, I use it as a broader term than
interactive fiction. Interactive fiction as the words are currently
used, refers to games which are in fact enhanced stories. These
stories have puzzles built into them, and may also have multiple
endings. the plot of these stories must be advanced by solving the
puzzles, or making choices. When I use the term "adventure game",
I refer to those games, as well as other games like role-playing
games and simulations. Oregon trail is not interactive fiction as
much as it is a simulation of a journey along the Oregon trail in
the days of pioneers. Fallthru is an excellent example of an
adventure game which is well-suited to teach a variety of things.
It is designed for up to three players, and is also designed to be
cooperatively played. Teachers could easily use a game like this to
teach mapping skills, risk and/or resource management, the benefits
of cooperation, and many more skills. Jigsaw is an excellent piece
of interactive fiction which is a fine introduction to twentieth-
century history. It was so much more interesting for me to play the
section on the Titanic, than it was to read about the ill-fated
ship in my rather dry text book.

If anyone wants to discuss this issue further, I would be more than
happy to participate in such correspondence. Before I close off
this article, I will offer some general advise to any teachers,
professional or otherwise, who want to try and use computer games
as education tools. It is always best to become familiar with games
yourself before you use them in a teaching situation. This will
save time which might otherwise be wasted in figuring out problems
which might arise. In the case of interactive fiction, you will
rarely want students to play the full game during class time. If
there is a particular point in an interactive fiction piece which
you want students to play through, get to it yourself before hand
and save your position. Give each student a copy of your saved
position, and get them to restore to it. this way, they can start
right where you want them to, and with the items you want them to
have. Don't try and walk them through every step, however. Let them
explore a bit on their own as long as they stay in the general area
of the game which is important to what you're teaching. An example
of this is the Titanic scene in Jigsaw which I mentioned earlier.
Another is the coal mine in Sorcerer, where I learned all about
temporal paradoxes. When dealing with simulation games such as
Fallthru, or The World Is Mine, be sure to familiarize yourself
with how they operate, and all of the commands a player can use.
Play the games on your own to get a sense of how they work. Most
importantly, try and anticipate possible points of contention or
problems which might come up, and figure out how to solve them
ahead of time.      

++
Game Reviews

+
PIRATE'S PARADISE (file name is pp.zip)
Review by Theresa van Ettinger
Documentation/online help: Available at: Compuserve: The Gamers'
Forum

You are a low-ranking pirate seeking to overthrow and eventually
become the Pirate King.  You attempt to acquire as much gold as you
are able through combat or other means in order to gain better
weaponry and/or armor and raise your statistics.  The only drawback
is the border of the menu, which is composed of O's, but these do
not actually interfere with the game itself.  It is totally
menu-driven, and you can save up to five games.  It is mostly won
through paying attention to and control of details.  It is a good
game if you want something which does not contain too many puzzles,
as in many text adventures.?
+
SIX LETTER WORD GAME (File name is 6ltr40.zip)
Review by Theresa van Ettinger
Documentation/online help: good.  Available at: Compuserve:
Disabilities Forum, library 5
The Six Letter Word Game is a logic-based game in which the player
attempts to guess a word which is chosen by either another person
or a computer.  To direct the player, the number of
correctly-placed letters is given next to each guess in the
list.The player begins with a high score and is deducted for each
time she/he makes a guess.  It is entirely speech-friendly, and
also contains a table of all-time high scores, as well as listing
the high scores for the day at the end of each round.  This is a
good game for those who enjoy both logic and language.

++
Chat Channel Starts Trivia Game
by J.J. Meddaugh at the Audyssey circulation department
 
The blindtalk chat channel on Internet Relay Chat has been a
popular hangout for the past couple of years.  Recently, a new
feature began on the channel.  Every Saturday night at around
9:30 eastern time, geniuses compete against each other in a
nonstop game of trivia.
 
Most games consist of questions that the host types on the screen
from various categories including, geography, history,
literature, and sports.  The first person who types in a correct
answer gets a point for that question.  In addition, one can
wager some or all of their points on bonus questions that
everyone can answer.  THOUGH the person with the highest score
doesn't win a prize, they get to brag about their victory for the
rest of the week.  That is, until the next Saturday rolls around.
 
Internet Relay Chat or IRC allows people to talk to each other
by typing messages on the screen.  When a person types a message,
the other people in the same channel see it right away.  In the
case of trivia, the question is displayed as soon as it is typed.
 
Directions for joining the game vary depending on your type of
Internet
connection.  If you have a shell account, type
 
irc nickname irc.dal.net
 
Replace nickname with a nickname. Put a dash after your name to be
sure
that no one else has taken it.
 
Then type
 
/join #blindtalk
 
to join the channel.
 
Windows/PPP users will have to install special software to use IRC.
Go to www.mirc.com for info on the most popular program for PC
WIndows
platforms.  It does reportedly work with speech software. Then,
join
the #blindtalk channel as described above.
 
By the way, I am the host of the game. What a coincidence. If you
have
any questions, email me at [email protected].

++
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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