Draw Something 2

So where did Draw Something 2 go?  My family is going through a Draw Something phase right now.  So I can scrape together a mediocre Draw Something picture, I guess, yeah, but… It dawned on my that I was much better with Draw Something 2 (DS2).  It has more colors, better tools, more things to unlock… It was all around a far better piece of software than DS.

And there is literally, like, no information about it on the web.  Google searches for stuff like, “What happened to Draw Something 2” really don’t yield any useful information.  Just mostly very positive reviews of the product, proving that I am not crazy–at one time it did exist.

So I emailed the company.  Unfortunately, DS2 is no longer.

Art with Friends 2 game has been closed since 2015. It’s data are no longer available. Over the past few years, we have had a great time working on Art with Friends 2, and we thank you for joining us on that journey.  As the Zynga family of games continues to grow, we have had to make hard choices as to where we can best strike a balance between supporting Art with Friends 2, and creating new games for you and others to play.  As a result of this, we’ve shut down the Art with Friends 2, to make room for future game offerings. I recommend you to play on Speed Guess Something, Draw Something 1 or Draw Something Messenger.

Advertisements

ExoDOS Playthrough, 1-9

So I’ve more-or-less decided to play through the exoDOS archive in alphabetical order.  It was either that or random, but the types of games I’ll encounter going through them alphabetically will essentially be random, but I’ll also be able to keep better track of my progress.  So that’s what we’ll do.  There’s no way in the world that I have time to give every game a full playthrough and a proper review, so I’ll try to breeze through them, adding mini-reviews grouped by alphabetical first letter.

The 11th Hour

[1/5 stars]

The first game in the collection you come to is The 11th Hour.  Or The 11th Hour: The Sequel to the 7th Guest, the way it’s referred to in the manual every single time it’s used, to the point of being ridiculous. We get that it’s a sequel!

Anyway, the ridiculousness doesn’t end there.  The entire thing is ridiculous.  The acting… The “atmosphere” mentioned in any blurbs about the game.  It’s not dark and spooky.  It’s annoying and ridiculous.  The puzzles are either completely random, unplayable without a walkthrough or basic “brain teaser” logic puzzles like trying to get chess pieces to where they need to be on a chess board or figuring out a random sequence of digits. Not what I’m looking for in an adventure game.  I had to abort this one.

 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

[1/5 stars]

Ostensibly based on Jules Verne’s classic.  The game begins with a fake news headline regarding the departure of the Abraham Lincoln to seek the sea monster off the coast of Queen Charlotte’s Island.

Right off the bat, there’s a huge “strike”.  I click on this thing that looks like a staircase, and it turns out that I flood the submarine that I’m on and have to go all the way back to the copy protection screen. Apparently you need to save very often in this game if this is going to be what it’s like.

And now I’m stuck on a boat looking at an island.  After being locked in my cabin.  Not exactly what I’m looking for.  I think I will hit the abort button on this one, too.  I promise they won’t all be like this!  Er… Actually I’m going to skip the next one in the list entirely on the premise that it doesn’t really look like what I would consider an “adventure game”.  So… Moving on, then…

 

3 Skulls of the Toltecs (1996)

[2/5 stars]

Hopefully this game can redeem the 1-9 games in the archive.  I’ve never heard of it, but the screenshots look decent, so I am hopeful.Asian

Well, after playing a bit… I guess it’s slightly better than the first few games I’ve played in the archive.  But still, in the opening sequence, I poison an old guy and then rob him.  Not promising. The game gets points for being LucasArts-ish, but in the end, it’s just not that interesting.  And the humor… I’m not PC by any means, but it seems it could be offensive to just about any one of any type of minority or religious persuasion, judging by the first, maybe… 1/10th of the game that I played.

 

3D Dinosaur Adventure

[1/5 Stars]

Not in any way an adventure game.  I admit, I got excited when I saw the screen for the “exploration” phase as it looked a lot like a Legend Entertainment / Magnetic Scrolls type of game, but alas, that’s not what it was.  I suppose this was probably an impressive piece of software for its time, and if someone is interesting in teaching their kids the naturalist/evolutionary view of the earth’s history it may have some value, but it is horribly out of date anyway.

 

4K Adventure

[3/5 Stars]

Blake.jpg

My first victory in this collection.  That’s not saying much–it’s described as “ideal for a complete beginner providing they
examine everything” in the Readme.  The puzzles are of the “look at x, find y, use it on z” variety.

This is really not bad for a game developed from scratch in Assembly.  Yeah, I don’t like that the “unknown input” message and the “item has no description message” are the same, and there are a few other minor flaws like this, but not bad, considering.

The game captures the spirit of the pre-Infocom text adventures very well–but it does feel updated somewhat.  No mazes, and I wasn’t dying without warning at every turn.  I ended up with a score of 72–not sure what the max is.  I suspect there is something you can do with the fungus to increase your score, but I’m not sure what it is.  Anyway,  I reached the conclusion of the game, so I’m happy.  Also, just for the heck of it, I ran a few of the other .COM files in DOSBox–a fun little addition to the game. This one is worth checking out if you have a few minutes free some day.

 

The 7th Guest

[?/5 stars]

I had to defer this one for a later time.  After aborting the 11th Hour due to the fact that it sucked, I couldn’t see giving this one a fair chance.  Maybe at a later date.

 

9:05

[3/5 Stars]

The last game in the 0-9 series.  Next starts the “a”s.  A daunting task if I have ever seen one. I think I’ll split them into sub-groups.

9:05 is essentially a puzzle-less game in which you can play through a few different ways to experience a slice of life from a few different angles.  I’m not usually one to play a game through after reaching the end, but this piece is short, and replaying it seems like almost the entire point (you’ll only see what I mean once you have tried it). With that being said, there’s not really a satisfying ending.  I kept looking for ways to “win” but there were only other paths you could take–the most interesting one being the path that you probably took in the first place.

9:05 is the first piece of IF from Adam Cadre that I can remember playing.  Not that I’ve been purposefully avoiding his stuff–it just happens that I haven’t gotten to it yet.  I will definitely check out his other stuff–I see quite a few games out there.

exoDOS Adventures version 2

qf0JYD9.jpgIn what may come to be known as the worst possible thing that could ever have happened to my ability to be productive in this life, I have found the Internet Archive.

While clicking around, I found a world of interesting things ranging from old, forgotten consoles (and ways to emulate them) to full downloads of “abandoned” adventure games.  That led me to the exoDOS Adventure collection. Good bye, free time!

The exoDOS collection is an attempt to collect all of the great DOS software from “back in the day”.  I’ll be concerned mostly with the Adventure collection, but there are collections for simulations, RPGs, shooters, etc.  It’s amazing how well adventure games age–honestly, they are as fun today as they were then.  Try saying that about any other kind of game.  Try playing Madden ’98.  Exactly.

This collection is particularly interesting for a number of reasons.

  • It includes software from publishers that I always wanted to get my hands on but could never justify the expense for at the time.  Cascade Mountain Publishing.  Malinche.  Horror of Rylvania.
  • It includes Infocom games that even I wasn’t aware of.
  • It includes the most extensive collection of user manuals, box scans, disk scans, etc. I’ve ever seen.  Period.

Some notable absences…  The Myst games.  Copyright?  Probably.  Neverhood.  I can’t fathom why this wouldn’t be in there.  I don’t think it’s available in any other format. Also, the archive size is around 130 gigs.  Yes, gigs. So, make sure you have some space available.

I don’t see any better springboard to get myself back into some of those old games and mess around with them.  I’m still working out exactly how I intend to do it, but I will go through these games in some systematic way, and hopefully keep this updated as I do.

 

Get Lamp on YouTube

 

Get Lamp is currently available for free to watch on YouTube.  I’ve been out of the scene for a while, but last I checked you had to buy a copy to watch it.

It is very interesting.  I wouldn’t say there’s a lot or really any new information in it, but it is neat to see the interviews with the original Infocom people.  It was also kinda cool to see the regular modern-day IF authors–I’ve had email conversations with some of them and it’s cool to put a face to the name.

While you’re there, the related videos are also worth watching.  Jason Scott’s the Race to Undelete History in particular.

Codename: Iceman by Sierra [1 Star]

Title.jpg250px-20626-31360.jpg

I first learned of Sierra’s Codename: Iceman while killing time playing around with computers in the Sears electronics department.  It was one of the demo programs that they left running on one of their IBM-PC clones, along with maybe Microsoft Flight Simulator and some boring office programs.

One day my mom and I were probably out shopping at Alderwood Mall and I managed to get her to leave me in the electronics department for a few minutes so I could mess around with the computers. The game was

Volleyball.jpg
Earn a point playing volleyball

running, and I was able to input a few basic commands and movements before the older guy with white hair and garlic breath came over to see if he could help me.  I declined assistance and futzed around with the game without really getting anywhere, maybe reading a newspaper article and playing a game of volleyball.

But, I knew that I had to somehow get this game.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.  I don’t even think I learned the name of the game until recently.  So, fast forward 30-some years and now I am finally getting a chance to play it. All I can really say is, “wow, I waited 30-some years to play this?”

From what I was able to glean from the story for the short time that I played it, you are a Navy submarine captain being called back from some PTO (or whatever they call it in the military) in the tropics to assist with a hostage situation.

There are a few sequences in Iceman that are enjoyable, but the majority of the time in the game is spent trying to successfully manage the submarine simulations.  Maybe the controls just don’t translate well through DOSBox.  I’m not sure–but it put me on the thin edge of wanting to forge ahead through the game and wanting to give up.

Image
Some trademark Sierra humor

Ultimately, I had to call it quits after getting hung up on the part where you are supposed to decode a couple of messages.  After consulting walkthroughs and everything, I still couldn’t get it to work, and gave up. Part of this decision was based on glancing through the walkthrough and seeing just how much more head-pounding frustration was in store for me with the submarine simulations.

So this childhood memory had a somewhat unhappy ending.  There are many more, though, and I’ll be going back through some other games that I expect will be more enjoyable in the very near future.

Links for Code-name: ICEMAN

Alone Season 2 renewed by History Channel for 2016 – Alone

alone-tv-show

I. Loved. This. Show.

I’m not entirely sure why.  It certainly wasn’t the most exciting survival reality show.  Maybe it’s because it’s decidedly unscripted.  Unlike most reality television with their huge set of crew members filming everything, arranging everything, etc., this show stands out because there is no film crew or anything else–it’s literally just a bunch of guys in the wilderness, setting up their own camera shots, talking to the camera (not being interviewed).  It doesn’t get much more authentic than this.

Deadline.com has a good summary:

The series, produced by Leftfield Pictures, pits 10 hardcore survivalists isolated in the wilderness – no camera crew, no teams, no producers – on a single mission to stay alive. Self-documenting their experiences and carrying only what they can fit in a backpack, the survivalists are separated from one another in harsh, unforgiving terrain to hunt, build shelters and fend off predators.

Mostly I think what I like about it is this… I’m just fascinated by people “reconnecting” with themselves out in nature.  Away from phones, laptops, tablets, office buildings, televisions, etc.  It changes a person after they have been out there for awhile.  Watch season one of this show–you will most definitely see that.  What kind of changes would happen to me?  I’m dying to know.  Unfortunately, the demands of life are inescapable.  I’ll probably never know.

There are some other interesting tidbits in this article aside from the fact that the show was renewed.  Apparently (surprisingly) it is popular.  It was the #3 new non-fiction series in 2015.

“‘Alone’ is a groundbreaking series that has truly connected with audiences,” said Cabana. “In today’s crowded landscape, it is incredibly rewarding to see a new series break through the clutter and grow week after week.”

I’m excited to see season 2 of this show.  The second season often has many improvements, more funding, etc..  I can’t wait to see what they do with it.

via Alone Season 2 renewed by History Channel for 2016 – Alone.

Choose Your Font Wisely

coding_cover_051104308395

I hadn’t thought much about which font to use when coding before I stumbled across a recent article.

But why not?  I spend pretty much all day somewhere between Visual Studio, Code, Notepad++, and recently the PowerShell ISE.  Maybe the default font is OK, but this got me wondering if there was something that would give me a slight edge.

The article’s recommendation was Monoid, a new font face designed to be “clean, uniform, and precise,” so I went directly to this and tried it out.  It wasn’t long before I found what I feel is a critical issue.  Here is a small snippet from some PowerShell comments I was writing.  See how the m’s bleed together?  I hate that.  Is it and n and then an m?  An r, maybe?  It’s hard to tell.  The font is also just a little too skinny for my liking.

WhyIDon'tLikeMonoid

So rather than just going back with the status quo, I did a bit more digging… Found another article.  The top recommendation from this article is Inconsolata.  Again, it didn’t take me long to find something I hated about it:

WhyIDon'tLikeInconsolas

Yes, that strange line before Get-Choice is supposed to be an equal-sign.  Absolutely unusable.  I’m not sure, even, how that could happen… Maybe I needed to reboot after installing or something, but it doesn’t seem possible that a font could be available with such an issue.  Anyway, I decided to keep looking. 

One font that seems to come up a lot is Consolas, although there is some confusion on whether it can be installed for free or not.  It is the runner-up suggestion at Slant’s list of the best programming fonts.  This is the one that I have settled on for now and have been happy with it after setting it as the default font for all of my IDE’s and text editors.  It does seem to be available for free from here.