Keith Palmer (krpalmer) wrote,
Keith Palmer

A Burst of Adventure (Mapped, too)

Something about reading news about text adventures and interactive fiction every day but seldom getting around to playing any of those games I read about can get to me just a bit. On one trip to the Interactive Fiction Database, though, a new review on the front page managed to pique my interest and point me onward. For all the games I haven't played, I do still seem to have picked up enough knowledge of "familiar adventure genres" that a game promising to poke fun at "the psychological landscape of an incapacitated protagonist" evoked amused expectations. I downloaded Ryan Veeder's "Nautilisia" into my iPad's interactive fiction interpreter and started into it.

It did take me one try to get past the first, perhaps too-familiar weight of "trying to keep track of locations" and "wondering what to do with objects", but once I'd made the effort I was surprised by how fast I seemed to be moving through things (with the game's own interesting twist on the familiar "second person perspective" offering wry explanations of what "you" were seeing really meant), all the way to the conclusion. I had got there without needing to draw a map, although one final comment did have me restarting the game to begin drawing one, even if I mixed up my compass directions at first so that I had to start that over as well, only to wind up with things squeezed together in an almost familiar way. Around that point, though, I was also getting around to the game I'd noticed in the first place, "Wrenlaw." After "Nautilisia's" wryness, "Wrenlaw" did sort of leave me wondering first if something about its "unlock character insights by exploring a landscape" story was going over my head, and then if I'd perhaps misinterpreted that first review a little to suppose both games "sendups." I did hit on its conclusion all the same, though.

By that point, too, I'd managed to do something about the familiar problem of "when I do try drawing a map, the starting point I put in the middle should have been on an edge." I'd known about a mapping program named "Trizbort" for quite a while, but it was Windows-only. When I tried getting it to run with the "Wine" not-an-emulator, understanding it needed ".NET" to work, I'd found the "Mono" workalike software didn't very good running at all. I then tried installing .NET itself into the Wine "bottle," only for Trizbort to crash at just about any attempt to do something with it. Then, I happened to see a comment about installing .NET version 2 and version 4 one after the other, and after discovering the program demanded version 4.5 as well, at last I was putting a map together. It had a flavour of the moment I'd first got the VCC Color Computer 3 emulator running on my own computer.

In the meantime, I'd looked up some further games by Ryan Veeder and decided to try "The Ascent of the Gothic Tower." The title might have called to mind a few genre associations that weren't actually there, but there were some subtle and interesting comments on what sort of character you are in one particular game that involves poking around and picking up anything loose, and an intriguing development in the mid-game. To put this post together did mean pausing in this new exploration of adventure games, but I do have some better maps ready to hand at last even so.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Tags: adventure games, computing

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