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It was time to move out and start your new life. The sounds of car horns and city noise were even more prevalent than you expected. But moving to the big city did seem pretty exciting. As you got out of the car a jogger accidentally bumped into you.
He apologized profusely and after you both got yourselves sorted out he went on his way. Scarlet went in to get your room key from the landlord.
After that you all grabbed your belongings and made it up to your room. You walked inside and you and your friends were immediately assaulted by a musty odor. Was this place previously some sort of drug den or something?. But you're not going to find a better and more affordable place to live in New York City. I can guarantee you that.
The two of you will be coming with me for a week for some professional training anyway. Claire is completely carrying you all with her voice. And that won't be good enough if you all want to make a career of this. As a singer she's great but as a band you all That said, what we're giving you isn't going to be enough to get by. So you'll all either need to make some money from paid gigs or find side jobs to help support yourselves.
But you're welcome to find a new one if you want something better. Rent controlled apartments in New York are a difficult thing to come by though. We were lucky to get hold of this one, so be a little more appreciative. Scarlet then turns to you. It has been a bit more difficult for you to play lately, your coordination just isn't quite there.
You also noticed that fingers have become a tad smaller. Your fingers are a different size, and the muscle memory won't be the same. You'll be fine with a bit more practice. It'll all come back. Also you needn't worry about your voice. The whole contract thing was confusing to you from the start.
You'll likely notice that people may be more willing to follow though with requests or be captivated by what you're saying to them if you really put your mind and feelings into it. Have you noticed anything of the sort yet? Be careful though, use in moderation.
I don't know man I didn't put off college to live in a shithole like this. Ignoring the complaint from Eddie Scarlet changes the subject. Just bring those along, anything else you need will be provided.
We're heading out now, and don't worry, you'll be back in a week. You'll also need some basic cleaning supplies for this place. There's a convenience store just around the corner from here.
Just give me a call on your cell phone if you have any questions. And then you were alone. But when you look in your handbag you see that your phone is not there. Your thoughts immediately go to the man who bumped into you outside of the apartment building. Now what do I do? Welcome to New York I guess When you wake up you feel a bit more energetic. You feel you're in need of a lot more practice. Way to go! It feels good to work up a sweat and your mood increases. JPG]] Local park where a lot of people like to get out and relax or exercise.
Or maybe find a dealer for some drugs or illicit wares. A good place to relax and enjoy a picturesque view of the city, smoke a cigarette, or people watch those down below you. You occasionally come across some interesting things to see in your wanderings, but unfortunately but find no landmarks of interest.
At least you got in some good exercise though. Where the services are overpriced but make you look and feel so good. It's sort of furnished at least. From how things look you're guessing the previous tenant was likely evicted, leaving a lot of their belongings behind. You take a quick look around through all the rooms and it's not petty. Going though the kitchen and bathroom you did notice a few unopened hotel sized soaps and shampoos, and the kitchen did have a few unopened frozen dinners.
You guess they may be safe to eat. I should probably check out that convenience store Scarlet mentioned. But at least you have a roof over your head and a budding music career. It's all rather expensive but it's so worth it. Use of these sound tracks does not constitue an endorsement of this game by the creators of these audio tracks.
All of these tracks have been compressed into mp3 format. Turn that crap off! Credits for these media are below. Use of any of these works does not constitute an edorsement of this work by their ownders.
After couple hours before your show you joined Eddie sitting at a table with your band's CD's spread out over it. Surprising considering nobody here has heard of us. I guess being the final act may have helped. Or are we just packing up beforehand? He'll take over. There was little to be gained from dwelling on this though, so you let the thought go and went back to the waiting room set aside for the bands. And before you knew it it was time for your set. It feels good to get out and be surrounded by people and nature.
The fact that you're getting some exercise in raises your mood as well. You take a turn around an unfamiliar corner and find that you're completely away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets.
Feeling nervous you hastily try to backtrack your steps. But before you can make much headway you hear a voice behind you. You can smell the aroma of the roasted coffee beans from the outside. It smells so good in here that it's hard to resist not ordering something.
Absent mindedly you happen to walk close to a sketchy looking fellow hanging out near a darkly shaded tree. In a low whisper asks says you Would you be interested in some shit? Perhaps he is a drug dealer, but you also don't know this guy and he could be an undercover cop as well. Perhaps some aftermarket pharmaceuticals could lead to some fun times, but are you even interested in this sort of thing?
You walk in and tell the person behind the register that you're answering the add from the paper and would be interested in working there. They hand you an application and point you to a table to fill it out. You do your best to play up your music knowlege as much as you can in the parts where you need to write about yourself. After about 20 minutes you've got the form all filled out and ready to hand in. The cashier thanks you and asks you to wait while they go get the manager.
It doesn't take long when an older man with long white beard walks up to you holding your application and glancing it over. Yes sir" you say back to him. You sit back down at the table while Jerry grabs his drink, says something to the cashier, and then comes over to join you. That's good, we definitely want sales clerks who have knowlege about what we're selling, but I'm going to be straight with you. You wouldn't be the first person to try to get a job here that's trying to make it in the music industry.
So if you're looking for employee discounts on equipment, you've come to the wrong store. We don't make a huge margin on the instruments we sell, so there aren't any discounts to be had. The thought had crossed your mind but that really isn't why you were looking to work here. You decide to be honest with him. If I can be surrounded by a bunch of cool instruments and interract with people who share the same love and passion for music as I do, then that's a double win for me.
Jerry laughs "Hah, that's a great answer from someone so young. I like you, kid. Will that be enough to make your rent? You can work Monday's though Fridays. Shifts are 8 hours long. Just be here before noon since we close at 8pm. Outside is a 24 hour ATM for any quick banking needs. Or if you need you can go inside during normal banking hours.
What Luck! Here you can deposit or withdraw money from one of the bank tellers. She punches a few things into a computer and has you fill out a few forms. Before too long you're all set. Once you're all set she tanks you for your business. Offers cheap and relatively quick transportation to all of the City's major destinations.
Hours of Operation: M-F 6am to 10pm. Diner is now closed. It's a lot of work but at least you feel like you're making some progress. He looks to be in his early 20's with dark hair and a slightly receeding hairline. His facial expression makes him look rather glum, but when he opens his mouth to speak to you his voice sounds friendly. I'm the daytime manager here at the Silver Pan. I need to be leaving soon but Rene, the woman you spoke to at the cash register, said you were looking to work here.
Is that correct? He takes the papers from you, looking down at them and giving you a brief synopsis of the restaurant and clientelle they serve.
He also discusses the responsibilities and pay for servers here. You listen attentively as he goes over everything. Shifts are six hours and you can work either mornings, mid days, or evenings. Seven days a week. You're expected to wear a uniform on the job and maintain a clean appearance. He also mentions that you should open up a bank account if you haven't already, giving you directions to a nearby bank. Then Jamie says "Oh I almost forgot.
I forgot to ask but do you have any experience as a server? Well the job is yours if you like. You grasp his hand and smile during your handshake. Afterwards he takes you into a storage room in the back to get you a uniform. He hands you a plastic wrapped bundle containing your uniform. Otherwise feel free to start tomorrow.
You seem like a nice girl, and the work may be taxing but not difficult with a little training. The job is yours if you like. But OMG it was delicious. You're a bit tired and dirty from the riggors of the job but at least you're satisfied that you made some money.
You're a bit tired and dirty from the day but at least you made some money. These closing shifts can take a lot out of you. You're about to head home when you hear some giggling from the back room. You walk over to see what the comotion is and you see one of the line cooks messing around in a very suggestive manner with some of the servers. Around him are your fellow servers Sally, Linda, and Veronica. Eduardo seems to notice you and yells over to you. They definitely notice you but pretend you're not there.
I wonder who it could be? He clearly doesn't seem to care one bit about how he appears though. Before you can fully take in the scene he begins speaking. And uncomfortable few moments pass as he's looking at you. Nervously you ask. And I've yet to recieve such payment Or I'll find someone else easy enough. But if you could go ahead and take care of the payment that would be great.
Can't you just give me a little time? He begins to stare at you in a manner that makes you really uncomfortable, like he's considering something. If you could just get me the money that would be great. Maybe if you'd just let me use your phone and I could call If you're not out in a few hours I'll call the police.
I'm sorry but Goodbye. Frustrated and afraid thoughts of you frozen and starving on the streets, friendless and alone cloud your mind. Is this for real? You're about to become homeless in an unfamiliar city? Was this some sort of trick by Scarlet? What could she possibly gain from this?
Then it hit you You're not sure how exactly to use it, but you decide to try calling to him with some of the feeling and emotion that you use when you're singing. I'm sure we can work something out! He seems to stop in his tracks and turns around with a hazed and surprised expression.
Like he's seeing you entirely differently. Ok, we can discuss things some more. The two of you walk in together. You gesture over to your couch inviting him to sit down. You're also feeling slightly warm and ancy and your hand begins to move towards your breasts but you catch yourself.
This definitely isn't the time for that. You sit down next to him. I was told that this was all taken care of by the recording company before I moved in. But if you could please just give me a few days to get this sorted out, I promise you'll get your payment. No sorry. I have other potential tenants that will pay a heck of a lot more for the room than you currently are.
It just doesn't make any sense for me to let you stay here unless you're are able to pay me now. But what should I do. Maybe he'll be suggestable enough tive me an extension for a few days. But if that doesn't work then what? Maybe he'll let it go with a sexual favor? What the hell am I even thinking? You're just not ready for that, plus he's a bit old and gross. You focus your thoughts and look directly into Bill's eyes and say And you WILL be fine with that.
Yes that will be fine Just make sure I get the money in a couple of days. Unless there was something else to discuss. I'll be along. Just make sure that payment gets to me" He says standing up and heading towards the door. After he exits you lock the door. You feel a bit of relief but also you feel something Human eyes might not be reading all your Album), but keyword-scanning bots definitely are, and that data can be made available to a lot of organizations as needed.
So, yes, a theme of the book is the constant anxiety of unseen eyes upon you, and the struggle to escape from that glare. What kinds of powers and abilities does this PC have? That said, the player essentially has many of the classic ghost abilities.
You can learn a poltergeist ability to move objects around, or you can possess living people, or you can create havoc with electrical devices. Some of the most fun parts to write were sections in which the player has to deal with the fallout of any inability to complete all of his or her objectives. Also, the test game collection has been updated.
XTads is forever a work in progress. In the first round, anyone can nominate up to two eligible games in each category. You are asked not to vote for your own work, or to organise voters to support a particular game or slate. Hosted Games has a new game for you to play! Thrust back onto the world of the Soul Stones, discover all-new content with every companion and love interest available in The Soul Stone War. Catch a glimpse of future interactions with your companions after the main series is concluded.
Whether romantic or platonic, experience small, heartfelt moments between your main character and your friends and partners! Embark on a new journey of companionship, friendship, and love as you once more meet the friends and lovers you made along the way to fulfilling your fate.
Catch a small moment of reprieve and spend time with the companions in scenes that will not appear in the main series! What will the world be like after the threat is over? Who will you be, and how will you relate to the people who went through it all alongside you?
The time to dive back into the world of the Soul Stones is now. Morgan Vane developed this game using ChoiceScripta simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for yougiving you a share of the revenue your game produces. You rule over the vampires of a city in the heartland of the United States, and your decisions dictate the lives of mortals and immortals alike.
The Vampire Regent is a ,word interactive dark fantasy novel by Morton Newberry and Lucas Zaper, where occult political disputes and clashing loyalties tell the twisted story of a town designed for deceit. Manipulate the mayor so her projects align with your interests.
Provide nourishment and safety for the vampires under your rule while trying to preserve the secret of their existence, and face the enemies that threaten it. Drink blood at nightclubs and listen to rumors and tragedies—or make some of your own. Practice the centuries-old tradition of fencing and put your skills to the test. Quench your thirst for blood, power, or knowledge, and even find love… if such a thing is possible for a non-beating heart.
Zaper and Newberry developed this game using ChoiceScripta simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Here was one of the questions:. Where [do] you look for or find good inspirations, lessons and ideas for IF that come from as far from IF as possible absolutely no IF, no games, better if no pop culture, no media, no art.
Or, if I may put it better: how to enrich interactive fiction with inspirations, ideas and techniques originating in other fields, particularly in the most unrelated. This restatement makes the question much easier. There are lots of IF pieces inspired by events, places, crafts and activities, emotional experiences, or academic fields outside of interactive fiction — and many author essays about those processes.
The rest of this post collects links and excerpts on what authors found inspiring — and what aspects of their games were affected by the inspiration. Inspired by the trial of Adam Winfield, a whistleblower soldier accused of murder, the piece freezes a single battlefield moment and replays it from half a dozen violently conflicting perspectives. The taghairm ritual is probably my favorite magic spell. People practiced it because they hoped that it would work. Performing a taghairm is still about reshaping the world with your intentions, just like throwing salt over your shoulder, but the stakes are incredibly higher with a taghairm, and those higher stakes demand blood.
No matter what route you go, people will accuse you of destroying journalism, of narcissism, of desperation. The accusations will invariably fall on you, not the system. At one point I was worried that people would criticize the game for portraying a manic, delusional state in a positive light. The idea of consciously embracing your delusions as a meaningful life narrative and trying to pattern your life on fictional models is pretty far outside standard psychiatric recommendations.
Quite a bit of interactive fiction deals with unusual mental states. The protagonist of Harmonic Time-Bind Ritual Symphony is delusional, and its mechanics as well as its narrative reflect that. The post-mortem offers a wealth of detail about how and why it was built. Text-based games are, I think, particularly well suited to telling stories with intense subjectivity and atypical viewpoints.
I think I was writing a line, and it had the N-word in it. And that conversation just kinda got me thinking about the whole representation of Blackness in video games in general. And I thought, well, if no one else is going to do this, I might as well. I want to see this. I want to have this happen. It might piss some people off, it might make some people uncomfortable. Some games lean into the duality of voice, presenting texts that have both a familiar and an unfamiliar aspect.
My mother is Japanese and my father is American — white, mostly. I kind of liked throwing this personal thing out there but no one would really know how much of it was fake and fictional and how much was actually real and personal. Harry Josephine Giles makes the text of Raik shift from Scots to English or back on command from the player — though the English version is also a fantasy life, while the Scots version describes what is really happening.
A lot of it is to do with the history of Album) as a minor language, with the political relationship between Scots and English, with desire for a lost language and lost country, with the anxieties of dual language speaking and diaspora, and so on. Working with the languages of Scotland is a big part of her practicein interactive texts but also in non-interactive texts and live performances — a territory where language and politics meet.
The original idea for Dancing with Fear came one late evening in Cambridge, listening to Los Panchos while working on a translation.
When I was a kid my mother would play boleros on a record player while she ironed clothes, so boleros always remind me of her, and also of a family trip to Cuba in the late 90s. Character concepts can come from places very far from the main setting of a story — as witness the covert influence of French history on Dr Sourpuss Is Not A Choice-Based Game.
A number of people have reached for historical settings, events, and situations to define their game worlds. Smaller translations also abound, some of them more still-life than landscape. Flametop by David Malaguti is a piece entirely about a guitar and all the many elements thereof; Queen of Swordsan Art Show piece about donning a full set of fencing gear. The IF Art Show attracted quite a bit of this kind of writing — all of the above are IF Art Show pieces — because it created space for these more illustrative kinds of work.
The continual challenge in writing A Beauty Cold and Austere was how to take concepts that are usually and concisely expressed in the static and often formidable language of mathematics and put them in an interactive, narrative form instead. Sometimes, the concepts of a totally unrelated field shape the whole feel and purpose of a game. Those curious about IF teaching might like this older mailbag post about pedagogical uses of IF.
The Gostakmeanwhile, extrapolates its entire very focused puzzle from an Andrew Ingraham line about how syntax carries meaning. The first words you translate in Endure establish some themes, so if you translate phrases about the Cyclops first, you establish a Cyclops-themed viewpoint on the text and other phrases about Odysseus and his men are translated more unsympathetically. The interface invites the player to choose which words they want to change from Greek into English, and what kind of spin they want to put on the translation.
Order of translation matters too: the words you translate first become the context in which you understand the later pieces. Endure is a close relative of First Draft of the Revolutionan interactive epistolary story. In both pieces, I was interested in exposing the choices — social, emotional, intellectual — involved in the process of writing.
The framing of choice, the amount of expressiveness and agency that the game offers, the selection of verbs that work and verbs that are withheld from the player: this is rich territory for communicating all kinds of different human experience. Some authors work heavily with expressive mechanics to evoke emotions or other sensations. For instance, Squinky specialises in aspects of social awkwardness and mechanics that reproduce or interrogate that sensation.
It is very difficult. It has overwhelming, unintuitive controls. I made this game to convey how bad I am at partnered dancing and also as a more general commentary on the performance of gender roles and how I again find those really really really constraining. Because, of course, you have to be a lady in this game. I was afraid to write it because the subject is so personal and so frightening. My grandfather suffered from dementia.
His decline was, for me, the stuff of nightmares. Much of who I am is tied up in mental pursuits and how I use words. Having that leach away is one of my worst fears.
Will Not Let Me Go shapes its choices very deliberately to capture the sensation of gaps within a thought. What I would like to highlight here is the way we let players express their choice… We do it by making people walk to A OR B.
There is a rather obvious metaphorical component in this, of course, but also a touch of embodiment: The player walks a path Septima would have walked with an air of finality at the end of her decision process, hopefully feeling an echo of the strong and conflicting emotions she would have felt while doing so.
Location-based interactive fiction maps against real-world geography, which can be both a constraint and an inspiration. These stories have something in common: ordinary people, precariously employed, being paid not much for work they know relatively little about. These works often explore how a particular medium constrains and reshapes communication, or satirise the types of communities that arise around these communication methods.
Sub-Q has a detailed interview where she talks about the piece. If the chorus comes again and again, polish that more than the verses which will only be seen once. Speaking of Katherine Morayati, she also gave a talk at the first NarraScope about what IF authors can learn from the formal features of music. Others have written about poetry as a model for the cadence of hyperlinks:. On the evidence, these inspirations can come from anywhere, but often they come from an area the author already knows well — an academic subject they teach, a hobby they enjoy, a location they visit, a mental or emotional experience that is part of their daily life, a topic in the news that is occupying their thoughts, another art form that they know intimately.
Equally, inspirations can apply to any aspect of IF. And sometimes those inspirations are very clear and specific from the outset. One thing did feel a bit off to me about the original question: it talks about getting as far away from IF as possible — ideally, away from pop culture, media, and art entirely.
Possibly that was just meant as a way of expressing the challenge involved. Nick Montfort has passed along some info on the status of returning to in-person meetups at MIT. The upshot is that it is still not possible for the fall semester. The Trope Tank has not yet been moved back out of storage. There are a couple of possible spaces where it might move to, but neither will be ready until October, and it will not be fully moved in for a few weeks after that. On top of that, MIT policy now requires that visitors be escorted by campus members when entering buildings.
The upshot is that in-person meetups are still too much hassle and risk for the rest of this year. Until then, Zoom meetings will continue! For all that it was a period with some significant sparks of heat and lightwe might reasonably call the time between and the Dark Ages of Interactive Fiction.
It was only in that the lights were well and truly turned on again and the Interactive Fiction Renaissance began in earnest. This was the point when a number of percolating trends — the evolving TADS and Inform programming languages, the new generation of Z-Machine interpretersthe serious discussions of design craft taking place on Usenet — bore a sudden and rather shockingly verdant fruit.
It became, one might say, Year One of the interactive-fiction community as we know it today. This first edition of itorganized by an early community pillar named G. Kevin Wilsonwas a relatively modest affair, with just twelve entries, six in each of the two categories into which it was divided: one for TADS games, one for Inform games.
This division would fall by the wayside in future Comps. The entries did prefigure some of the self-referential experimentation to come: Undo by Neil deMause placed you at the very end of a deliberately broken, corrupted game and expected you to muddle your way to victory; Mystery Science Theater Presents Detective by C. Forman made somewhat mean-spirited, television-inspired fun of a really, really bad game released a few years earlier by a twelve-year-old author; The Magic Toyshop by Gareth Rees took place all in one room, thus becoming the perfect treat for mapping haters.
The games below evince no concern whatsoever about keeping their playing time down to a couple of hours. Neo-classical interactive fiction, if you will. If your preferences are anything like mine, the games that follow will be heaven for you. In fact, let me close this introduction with something of a personal plea. You haven't seen your brother Malcolm since he received his fellowship at Biblioll College - pressure of work was his excuse not to come down to London. So when you received that telegram from him you leapt at the excuse to Album) up to the university town of Christminster for the day and visit him.
Indeed, the connections between the games go Beer - Terrible Tim - Hardcore Sick And Terrible (File still: Graham and Gareth were not only both Oxbridge academics but friends who helped one another out creatively and technically. But going too far with this line of description is doing Christminster a disservice. Switching to Land Economy was Cambridge jargon for failing maths. None of this need be taken overly seriously. Thankfully, Christminster runs on plot time rather than clock time: the story evolves in response to your progress rather than placing you in thrall to some inexorable turn counter, in the way of the polarizing early Infocom mysteries.
This leaves plenty of time to poke at every nook and cranny of the musty old campus and to enjoy some ingenious puzzles. But by all means do try to carry on, as the Beer - Terrible Tim - Hardcore Sick And Terrible (File like to say. You find his front door unlocked and John nowhere to be found. Pretty tired from your earlier drive, and also buzzing a bit from the beer you drank, you quickly doze off in the living room.
It is now morning. Although the shortest game featured in this collection of reviews, it would be considered medium-sized today, with a typical play time in the range of two to five hours — i. But no self-respecting member of the interactive-fiction literati would dare to release a game that opens like this one today.
Make that half a step removed: note that the guy whose apartment you wake up in and the author of this game are the same person. Luckily, good old John tends to partake in just about all of them on a regular basis, so his apartment makes a pretty good hunting ground. Its prose treads that fine line between breezy and tossed-off, its thematic aspirations are non-existent, its puzzles are enjoyable but never breathtaking.
In the end, maybe it just comes down to being good company. Beyond that… well, if it it never does anything all that amazingly great, it never does anything all that egregiously wrong either.
The real John Baker disappeared without a trace after making this modest little game — good luck Googling that name!
Just drop me a line, John. Lethe Flow Phoenix. A cool wind whips across the peak you stand on, sending tiny dust-devils whirling about your feet. The stars above you seem especially bright tonight, their silver light reaching across generations to speak to you. It is midnight, the hour of magic. The moon is not in sight tonight. All is still. All is waiting. Perhaps it was a mistake to come and camp out here on this night. Not something you could have predicted in advance, of course, but still Still, you packed your bags up, tossed them next to the one-man tent in your trunk, and drove out here to spend a few days and get your life sorted out.
You were awakened in the middle of the night by something. The desert was too quiet, too dark Like a sleep walker, you stumbled to the cliff nearby. You stood for a minute, catching your breath, and looked around. Behind you, at the other end of the shaky dirt trail, your car and tent wait patiently for your return.
In other directions, you have a wide-open view of the desert, and can see it stretches in all directions, until it touches the feet of the mountains. The missing moon, Beer - Terrible Tim - Hardcore Sick And Terrible (File, does not concern you, nor does the fact that you can see as well now as if it were there. You absentmindedly take another step forwards.
If possible, the night becomes even more quiet, and the stars even brighter. Another step, and then another. You stand silently at the very edge of the cliff, looking outwards. Then the ground gives way. Not even screaming, you fall from the edge of the cliff. When you are rescued in mid-air, the event seems almost natural — bluesilver wings surround you, feathers caress you, and merciful darkness embraces you.
You awaken, and find yourself in a grassy field. The sun is shining brightly overhead, and a brook babbles gently as it flows along. A small tree grows in the center of the field, its branches ripe with apples. One always seems to find one or two games of this stripe, generally the products of younger scribes whose earnestness is almost painfully palpable, sloshing about in the lower rungs of any given IF Comp.
Alas, their attempts to reveal inner truths through surrealistic imagery tend to come off as more banal than profound — rather like reading the diary of that angst-ridden fifteen-year-old so many of us used to be. Yet it turns out to be far better than one would ever dare to hope. Shiovitz has a knack for devising and describing beautifully twisted landscapes, through which he then proceeds to thread a series of deviously satisfying puzzles.
At times, this game almost plays like a textual version of Mystwith much the same atmosphere of stately desolation and the same style of otherworldly but oddly logical dilemmas to overcome. And then, around the halfway point, Lethe Flow Phoenix turns into something else entirely. I hesitate to say too much more here, but will go so far as to reveal that aliens from outer space — as opposed to just alienated humans — suddenly come into the picture.
Again, this development should be disastrous, but somehow it works. The game manages to maintain your interest right up to its happy ending. Yes, the author of Lethe Flow Phoenix is clearly a young man, but this particular young man is also an observant, talented writer. Lethe Flow Phoenix pairs heart with craftsmanship, and the results are pretty great. A strangeness has fallen. You first became aware of it with the darkening of the skies: the majestic, threatening storm clouds that seemed on the verge of deluging the earth in a torrent, yet hung motionless, impatient, as though awaiting further instructions from some unseen and malignant higher power.
Of course Holcroft had on many occasions disproved to you the existence of such higher beings with his charts and calculations, and you do not believe in such foolishness as ghosts, gods and goblins, but events such as those unfolding before you now are causing you to question all that you have learned.
First the clouds, then the sudden silence of the birdsong, and the people. Where were the people? The village was deserted as you passed through. Not a soul to be seen.
You knew you had to alert Barclay and Holcroft that something was terribly wrong with the balance of things, but before you had reached even the main gate an impenetrable mist had rolled in from below the cliffs and obscured the path to the lighthouse. You decided to wait in the drum shed until the mist had lifted, rather than risk life and limb on the cliff walk, but you were weary from your journey and fell into a deep sleep. When you awoke it was near nightfall.
The mist had barely dissipated, but your task was too important, so you took your chances on the cliff walk regardless. It was so dark. In the two years since beginning your apprenticeship you had never known the Regulators to neglect their duties.
On the contrary, you found them to be slavishly by the book. He had obviously never cleaned the septic tank every month for two straight years.
When, at last, you reached the courtyard entrance, something even stranger happened. You began to feel suddenly and inexplicably weak, as though the very life were being drawn from your bones. You had to see Holcroft.
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