PROJECT: Binary code addiction as a means of controlling
SCIENTIST: Prof NORMAN NUTZ Phd, Bsc, KP.
EQUIPMENT: C64, Amiga A500, Cray-2.
ASSISTANT: The Geek
asked me to do something he considers quite difficult
(no, not find a good bit in Star Trek V): explain to
you what an adventure is. Hah! I've been playing them
since I was flaming whip-high to a Balrog, if I can't
tell the diff between a hobbit and a dwarf nobody can.
But wait a mo, maybe Mr Wynne isn't as silly as he looks;
I mean, there's a lot more to state-of-the-art adventures
than those around when I was a lad. The modern hero
can no longer rescue the princess by simply typing N,
Dig or Kill Dragon. Today's games are far more sophisticated,
utilising icons, animated graphics and double clicking.
Cynics might say conventional adventures are almost
dead, but I prefer to welcome a dramatic new era of
much better presented games.
success of the 16-bit machines has much to do with this:
the bigger machines are capable of so much more than
merely hosting games with great parsers and digitized
graphics. Now you can nave all the puzzles of a trad
adventure plus animated graphics and sampled sounds.
And why strain the player's typing fingers when a simple
point 'n' click with the mouse performs the same task?
appreciate that those who are 'really into' text adventures
may begrudge the changes, but look around you: When
was the last time you were spoilt for choice at your
local adventure store? If you don't modernise your thinking
and come to terms with the fact that text adventures
are a dying item you'll get left behind and have to
rely on home-grown for your entertainment.
don't mean to belittle the efforts of the home-grown
market 'cause some good games come from this sector,
but big money companies are abandoning text-only adventures.
It's rumoured Magnetic Scrolls are concentrating on
business software and plan to release just one adventure
a year, Level Nine have quit adventures altogether for
the animated RPG/arcade style of game, even Infocom
are going more and more towards RPGs.
changes began on 8-bit with games like Shadowfire, an
icon-driven adventure which have not been brilliant
but hinted at what the future held for adventurers.
Other games that paved the way for today's adventures
come from the likes of Sierra On-Line (King's Quest
series) and Lucasfilm (Maniac Mansion). These sound-enhanced,
icon-driven, animated graphics adventures have to yet
more sophisticated games such as reviewed this issue.
what is an adventure? It's up to the individual really,
but here are a few pointers to help you ensure you stay
an adventurer and don't accidently become an arcade
addict: the game requires mapping, you use text (or
icon equivalent) for controlling your hero most of the
time, you have an inventory to which you can add or
subtract items, there's a save game facility, no high-score
table and you need to sit and think about the game to
make progress. Stick with these criteria and you may
hold your head high and brag to the world that you're
an adventurer. Due to games like Drakkhen you may have
a lot of company!