Hill 160 by Mike Gerwat

Right away I encountered the fairly common grammatical error of using “it’s” for “its”.  Also encounter a few run-on sentences, misspellings/typos, etc. as I play onward. Pet peeves aside, I appreciate the research that must have gone into making this game.  The amount of items in my inventory was impressive and gave it an authentic feel, but also a bit overwhelming. I played through for a bit just wandering around, died a few times, decided this wasn’t enjoyable enough to continue, then decided to start over with the walkthrough.  I was glad I did, there turned out to be a lot of depth to the game that you don’t see just wandering through. 

Actually, I played part way through the walkthrough, then realized that it contained over 700 commands!  At that point, I raised the white flag.  I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a work of parser-based IF, but I think this would have been much more successful as a CYOA.  It really kind of feels like that anyway with the very specific flow of the story and the things you must do, and without the walkthrough, I just don’t know how I would have known to do most of the stuff that was required.  The descriptions are very nice and do make you feel as though you are in the WWI trenches. Score: 6.


Tea Ceremony by Naomi Hinchen

A down-on-her-luck low-level diplomat must win over an alien aristocrat for the purpose of securing a few votes in Earth’s favor.  Already, you can see, the story is a bit deeper than many IFComp entries.  Assuming you can successfully fulfill the diplomatic requirements of the Glorpians, you should be able to win the alien over and save the day.  Overall, this was well-done.  Not a lot of glitches—the text (grammar, etc.) was well-polished. The only thing I didn’t care for was the actual making of the recipe. I admit I just followed the walkthrough for baking in the kitchen.  It was already onerous to just type it in from the walkthrough… I can’t even imagine trying to do the logic to figure it out.  Not the type of puzzles I’m looking for in IF—maybe it’s just not my “cup of tea”.  Score: 7.

Sky Kid, an Arcade Game

I’m still trying to place where Sky Kid might be in the chronology of my life.  I think it may be a bit later, but (since I know I played it on the NES which came after the Atari at least) I’m going to blog it now because I’ve been thinking about it.

Ah, pizzerias.  Godfathers…. Round Table… Pizza Haven.

Round table was the best.  They had a unique pizza that I have never seen anywhere else.  Not sure what it was… The sauce, maybe?  The slices were cut into ultra thin and long triangles, but they held together nicely.  And Round Table had a cool “sword in the stone” thing going on at the entrance to their establishments, with a sword that looked like it was buried in a large rock, and the temptation to grab it and give it a yank as you walked in or out was hard to deny.  And they had a nice arcade room.

But Sky Kid wasn’t at Round Table—it was at Godfather’s.  The arcade section here was smaller, and included other cabinets like Punch Out! and Star Wars, among others that I don’t remember.  Pac Man, maybe?  Ooh, bonus—I think they had one of those little sit-down Pac Man tables where you could take turns playing across from a friend while eating pizza.

So, but Sky Kid was a fun game.  Fun enough that I eventually bought it for the NES later.  I remember plopping tons of quarters into this game, but I never got far in the arcade.  I think the only arcade game that I put enough in to actually beat was TMNT, and that was much later in life—probably high school.

Typical of older games, Sky Kid is very simple.  You basically fly around and try not to get shot while shooting down other planes/tanks and bombing the fortress at the end of the level.  Button 1 shoots, and button 2 does a loop, a move that you can use to evade shots sometimes.  Or end up colliding into another plane and possibly crashing.

It had a surprising amount of Easter eggs and fun little things. 2014-10-23_122337 For example, shooting the happy, dancing girls at the end of the level  This would, for some unfathomable reason, turn them into happy, dancing ghosts. 

imageFlipping around the sun would turn it into a moon, and this would change the level to night. 

At the beginning of a level, sometimes there would be dancing girls that would send up some love (and increase your score) if you would loop over them.  image


imageDoing a flip just above the Pac Man billboard would give you a medal.

imageLooping around the statue of liberty swooshes her dress up a little bit.

imageAnd here, shooting a couple of helpless penguins turns them into polar bears.  So I think you get the idea.

Geeky book club

Yep, I was the kid who owned this book. I think I got it from some geek book club thing where you could pick like 5 books for $1 and then had to buy like 5 more a regular price or something. This was, of course, much later than the point in time that I am currently working on. What were the other books I got? I want to say that I got some kind of electronics projects book… Can’t remember what else.

Mystery Mansion

Do you remember the board game Mystery Mansion?

Ahhh, yes, I do remember this game. It was actually pretty fun. I’m trying to think of where I got it… I’m thinking I just picked it up for a buck or two at a garage sale. I remember playing it at my old house in mill creek, so it was probably back in the atari days or maybe early 386.