The Return of Talking Time

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  #1  
Old 11-23-2009, 10:25 PM
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Default Let's Play Not Worth its Own Thread: Screenshot Edition

The place for putting LPs you don't think are worth their own thread, or an LP of a game's highlights, or something else cool you think of!

Microgames are limited to four posts per update. This should be obvious; this thread's only for small projects so any of you thinking of trying to work around the queue will have to try again some other day. Unless you work something out with me ahead of time or if something pops up out of nowhere, abuse will be met with a punch to the biscuits. And if it turns out you don't think you'll have enough time for whatever you have planned, perhaps it may be worth it's own thread after all.

Only one run of a game at a time. This is all in one thread, so keeping all of this organized is gonna be key. While there's no formal queue per se, please wait until the current game is finished before starting up your own.

Microgames must be wrapped up in one month's time max. I've been pretty lenient with deadlines as far as bigger projects go, but the idea here is to give fast, bite-sized LPs a chance to shine. You should have plenty of time to wrap up your game of choice so don't dawdle with your run, and make sure you're good to go before you start up! No one likes a lollygagger.

Once you finish a Microgame, you need to wait two weeks before you can start another. This is so the thread won't get locked up by a single person doing one microgame after another. If the two weeks pass and no one else has stepped in yet, then sure, you can go ahead and start another.

I think that's pretty much it. Have fun, and take it easy!



-Archived -
Aeroflux (Part 1/2) - Alpha Werewolf
Angband - dtsund
Covert Action (Part 1/2) - Taeryn
Daymare Town (Part 1/2/3/4) - Loki
Donkey Kong Jr. Math - Octopus Prime
Kung Fu - Octopus Prime
Magic: The Gathering - Alpha Werewolf
Minesweeper - Bongo Bill
My Hero (1/2) - Yimothy
Octodad - Umbaglo
The Oregon Trail - Rai
Pangya - MythrilMoth
Porrasturvati - Sky Render
Small Worlds (Part 1/2/3/4) - Kirin
Uncle Zebulon's Will (Part 1/2) - Foxeris
You Have to Burn the Rope - Sky Render

Last edited by Falselogic; 05-27-2013 at 10:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2009, 05:10 PM
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So we have a fine new micro-LP thread, and I think it's time we get things in motion. So we'll start with one of the most terrifying games ever. Few games will challenge you like this one. It's the epitome of difficult. It will haunt you night and day for months after you finally beat it.

Let's Play You Have to Burn the Rope!

Oh, you think I'm kidding? Just you wait.



You are cordially invited to suffer along with me.



An efficient title screen that doubles as a starting area. Clever developers. And here we have our mysterious and nameless protagonist, sometimes called Hat Kirby or other equally silly names. But he doesn't need a name.



Already you can see that this game pulls no punches. You don't even get to sharpen your skills on grunt enemies, you have to go after a big-shot super-baddy right off the bat. Gruesome.



To shame you even further, they give you this awesome axe-tossing ability and make it so you can't even kill the boss with it. Now that is brutal difficulty. Even Ninja Gaiden games at least make it so your basic attack does something.



The game tauntingly suggests you take a flamethrower to it. Yeah, too bad there's no flamethrower weapon.



I think they forgot 4. It helps if you're a massochist.



Oh wait, there's #4. If anything, that's the most cruel part of all. Most games you can just quit when you die and figure "at least I tried my best". But this game won't even give you that much.



Sure enough, as soon as you step into the room, the wall behind you closes off Castlevania-style and you're left to fight this monstrosity called the Grinning Colossus.



He's a mean bastard too: about 12 times your height, 7 times as wide, and he shoots MIND BULLETS! (That's telekinesis, Kyle...)



Tossing axes into his grinning maw doesn't do much, as he has a healing factor that's just insane. Seriously, you could toss for hours and he'd never drop below 80%. They weren't kidding about the whole "your weapons are useless" thing.



Oh, and did I mention he can air-juggle your ass? This guy is a bastard.



And in grand video game tradition, the solid stone wall is of course completely axe-proof. Well crap, now what?



Where did that torch come from? Ah who cares! It's not a flamethrower, so it'll be useless.



From up here, you can lob axes forever at him, but he'll never die and somehow your axes don't cut that rope. I guess they're blunt? That might explain why they do jack-all to the Colossus.



No salvation to be found on this side either. Well crap, now what?

Last edited by Sky Render; 12-06-2009 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:11 PM
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Yes! BURN THAT COLOSSUS! HAHAHAHA!



Oh come ON! He even knocked the torch away! Well, I guess the only thing left is to try a Kamikaze attack from above...



Oops, looks like the torch burned the rope. That can't be good.



Great. So I accidentally gave the Grinning Colossus a new hat. Do you feel pretty now, oh so pretty, Ms. Colossus?



Wait what



Are you kidding me?



That's right, we have a game that bald-facedly tells you how to win in a reverse-psychology effort to make you not try that because it's too obvious. EVIL!



So there you have it. You Have to Burn the Rope is exactly what it says on the tin, which is exactly what you would never expect from a video game.



Ah well, at least the ending theme is catchy.

Let's Play You Have to Burn the Rope!
The End







The Grinning Colossus will eat your soul...
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:48 PM
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Huh, so that's what this game is all about. I'd heard about it before, but never seen it. Definitely a fiendish bit of game design.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
I beat that game a few times just to listen to that song. So great.

Also, this mini-LP idea is a good one. I'm eager to see how it works out.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
That's right, we have a game that bald-facedly tells you how to win in a reverse-psychology effort to make you not try that because it's too obvious. EVIL!
This has never once occurred to me. I commend you for showing me a brand new side of this game.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:10 PM
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With the semester wrapping up, I've had a hankering to do something. Something quick and easy. Something that isn't Pokemon (Though I have something for that in the works that will happen sometime in the next month).

So, for the next microgame, I need a few things! Specifically, four party members, a month to begin in, and a favored auto company name. All of these are related.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
and he shoots MIND BULLETS! (That's telekinesis, Kyle...)
I heart this thread already.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:46 PM
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I heart this thread already.
We all need a little Tenacious D now and again.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:43 PM
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Mein Gott in Himmel, I have been craving a thread like this. So, through the maaaaaaagic of random selection, this is what we are doing...

Free refills of PUNCH! Let's (briefly) Play... Kung-Fu!



Kung-Fu is the courageous story of Tom; a Kung-Fu master whos girlfriend was kidnapped by the darkest of forces; his doppelganger; Mr. X. Is Mr. X Toms clone? Evil Twin Brother? The darkness in his heart made flesh?



No idea, but the answer is to come after five floors of PUNCHING! So Tom sets out, with a whole damn WORLD of faces to punch.



Tom doesn't exclusively Punch Faces, however. Though that is his specialty. Here, for instance, he is kicking the necks of purple and blue gentlemen.



But to prove I am not a liar, here's Tom Punching Faces of the purple guys. He earns TWICE AS MANY points for delivering some justice courtesy of chin-music.



But the Blue and Purple men are crafty foes for Tom; attacking from both sides in varying quantities. Here, one of his foes proves that he is beyond the shame of any yellow-hearted scoundral, and strikes back at Tom the only way he can; by tenaciously grabbing his groin, thereby preventing him from being able to excercise his medical practice of delivering medicine by Throat-Kick Injection! While struggling to fight off the conga-line of Purple and Blue Men, another despicable fiend arises and tosses a knife at Toms head; murdering him.



Tom is dead, but his brother, Tom-Tom is not. He learned at a young age how to dodge thrown knives. The Knife-Throwing Man is unprepared for such a tactic, and quickly succumbs to his own bout of Kung-Fu to the upper body. Giving Tom-Tom ONE THOUSAND points.



A short ways down the hall, Tom-Tom encounters the guardian of the first floor: Club-Man. But sadly, the combination of a Knife-Thrower, Purple and Blue Men and Club-Man overpower him, and he too dies.



Fortunately, the eldest of the threen Tom Brothers was nearby and picks up the fight against the heartless Club-Man. Though Club-Mans skill with a cudgel is prodigious, his swings are slow, and poorly aimed, wheras Tom-Tom-Toms body is a perfectly honed killing machine.



Club-Man stood no chance, and perished under Tom-Tom-Toms furious assault. Leaving the path to the next floor open.



Floor two had Tom-Tom-Toms ultimate challenge; yellow orbs that rain from the heavens. Tom-Tom-Tom defended this land, from all things dark and cruel. Now? He is defenseless-



-IN A LAND WHERE DRAGONS RULE!



Then a snake fell out of a pot, ran into Tom-Tom-Toms legs, killing him. Sorry Toms girlfriend, looks like you're going to be tied to that chair for a while.

THANKS FOR READING!
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:04 PM
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BEST LP EVAR.

This thread is so full of win it hurts.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:20 PM
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This is the greatest idea ever. Awesome LP.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:32 PM
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Last time, on They Are Co Oh right, wrong thread.

Anyway, to mark my first Microgame, I decided to do a quick run of a game very near and dear to my heart. A game that has taught me everything I know about surviving in the wilderness.

This is why I tried to kill everyone as soon as I could on this run. And hey, who knows, if this goes well, there may be other adventures. Join me, as myself and a group of carefully selected suckers experience…



This American Life/Death on the Oregon Trail



Look at that title screen. Majestic mountains, oxen, women with guns… This is ‘merica, boys and girls. This is ‘merica.



And here we have our list of travelers! First and foremost is me, I’ll be your captain this evening. I like warmth, safety, and good ole’ city stuff. This is exactly why I am climbing into a wagon and heading into the wilderness, dontchaknow.

I’m joined by Alice and Bob. They and a couple of friends are having an experiement! If Alice and Bob get on a wagon train headed west, how long until they decide that they don’t really want to go west? The answer may shock and surprise you!

Foo is really in this whole westward expansion for the money. He also wants to set up a bar in the Oregon county, to make sure the inhabitants get the proper amount of liquids. Clearly, nothing will go wrong while he’s here.

And finally, Charlie’s a rebel, a horse without a cause. He’s largely along to act as a bard, having claimed that he knows a song that with no end. We will put this claim to the test, I assure you.



So uh, yeah. We’re leaving in May! Because that’s the only month that had a vote. Honestly, I like leaving later, but hey, why not switch things up?



And here’s our pithy supply list! We don’t need food, clearly. However, we always want all the bullets and ox. The oxen are for when we run their friends to death, and the bullets are for obliterating the native species of the plains. Bollocks to them. If they wanted to live, they should have invented guns.

And thumbs.

The spare parts are actually just a holdover from my olden days. I would always break one of the pieces, but since I never had any spares, I would be delayed for entirely too long. And thus, I buy up their entire supply. I’m a banker, so I have money to burn.



May 1, 1848. A date that will live in infamy. Let’s manifest some destiny out there.



After futzing with a couple of settings, obviously.

The first setting, speed, is probably the most important choice one can make in the game. As much as I really wish I could discuss any of the other options, Grueling and Bare-bones meals are my bread and butter on normal games. Grueling will get you there all the faster, and bare-bones allows you to conserve food, so you don’t have to hunt very often.

The downside to this, however, is that you’re more susceptible to disease and other problems. On the other hand, is it really a game of Oregon Trail if at least one person doesn’t get dysentery or a snake bite?

No, no it is not.



Of course, as soon as we set out, Alice and Bob lead us into fog. Stupid Alice and Bob. They’ll get theirs.



Ah, the Kansas River Crossing, the first major turning point of the game. As with the rest of the river crossing, you have four options. You can…









Right, so, as I was saying, there’s only really one option for crossing rivers. Fording. Running straight forward into the river is the only way to prove that you are a bad enough dude to tame the wilderness.

If you wanted to pussy out and consider “safe|” options, then fording is really only a safe bet for rivers under six feet deep. Anything above and your best bet is taking a ferry. Or caulking the wagon, if you’re poor. Of course, I also sometimes play a variant where I caulk and float on rivers below six feet deep and ford everything above.

I have won more games this way than I honestly should have. So let’s see what the consequences of my hubris are this time!
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:34 PM
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Nooooo! 10 oxen! However will we make up for this tragic loss? We also lost most of our bullets, three sets of our clothes, all our spare wheels, and one of the tongues we had in storage. And Alice and Bob decided to see who could drown first. In the end, the winner is truly the viewer.



Well, that’s tragic, but it’s not like we’ll ever see this message again. Ever.



I believe this is self-explanatory.



Of course, as it turns out, Alice and Bob aren’t the root of all our exploratory problems. It seems that song Charlie purported to never end really doesn’t end, much to the party’s chagrin. It seems we wandered off the trail for a bit trying not to listen to that obnoxious horse.

Damn puppets. Who gave them their rights, huh?



And here’s our second river! As you can see, the Big Blue isn’t quite as bad as the first river, but I think we really need to play it safe and-




Luckily, nothing of importance was lost. Though I am shocked. I’ve waded through higher and lost nothing. Tragic.



Hunting! Squirrels are hard to hit. Deer are easy! No buffalo yet.



Here we are, 12 days in, and we’re already a quarter of the way through. Truly, grueling is the “Win” button.



Welcome to Fort Kearney! You can buy things. We won’t, because we will live off the land and we have no need for modern amenities! Like clothes. Or bullets.



And somewhere along the way, Foo picked up typhoid fever. Is this the end for our intrepid explorer? Is this the end of Foo’s Bar!?



I really like Independence Rock’s picture. It’s pretty cool. Foo is still sick and everyone’s doing fairly poorly.



Another travel update! Most of the way through May, and we’re about half-way through the trail. See how quickly this goes? We even have a lot of food. Amazing!



It seems that Foo kicked typhoid fever in the neck and got better. Clearly the river gods made the right decision in taking Alice and Bob rather than Foo. Thank you river gods!
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:37 PM
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This is riveting.

I am riveted!
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:06 PM
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so you don’t have to hunt very often.
What the hell is wrong with you??

The Ford references were hilarious.
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:56 AM
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Default Uncle Zebulon's Will

So, here we are on my first Let's Play, and I've decided to run with something small to get the basic feeling for what I need to do to make this work. My choice of games for this run is fairly small. Uncle Zebulon's Will was written for the first Interactive Fiction Contest all the way back in 1995. One of the rules of the contest is that any entry has to be beatable in under two hours, so this should be a perfect micro game for this thread.

There is one little catch, this is a text adventure game after all and sadly I don't have the artistic skills show by Loki in his LP of Zork, so this is going to be pretty much all text all the time. To that end I'm not going to bother doing screen shots of the game itself, instead I'll just quote the relevant text as part of the message. Makes things a bit easier for everyone.

One last thing, the game itself is freeware, so if you can play along if you like.

So, with that out of the way, let's play Uncle Zebulon's Will!

Quote:
The news of your uncle Zebulon's death came as a shock. You've been out of touch lately, and since you left for college a year ago you haven't heard a word from him. During your childhood, however, your eccentric uncle - once the black sheep of the family, an unsuccessful alchemist and self-proclaimed wizard, reputed to be a very wealthy man - was your favourite relative. Perhaps you were his favourite nephew as well. You miss his stories of distant realms and the magic gadgets he loved to demonstrate...

You leave for home immediately on receiving the message, but the trip is long and you're delayed by the inevitable train strikes. When you finally arrive, you find your family in a state of frustrated confusion. Not only is your uncle's will written in a quite unsuitably sarcastic tone, seriously insulting most of your relatives, but it turns out there isn't much of an inheritance to fight over; despite a thorough search of your uncle's house, no fabulous treasures are found. The bequests for you and your cousins are almost pathetic: one small memento each, to be selected after everybody else have made their choices. Yet what is there to lose? At least you'd like to have one last look at uncle Zeb's house; maybe you'll find some treasure overlooked by the others, perhaps something magical...
"To my overly emotional sister, Jenny who grubbed with her husband, Hank, grubbed for everything they could get from me, and then cried crocodile tears when I needed sympathy. To Jenny, I leave a boot to the head... and another boot to her wimpy husband, Hank."

"...ah, but still, you are my sister, you have both admired my Rolls Royce, and since I no longer need it... I bequeath... another boot to the head. And one more for the wimp."

Quote:
Garden

You are standing just inside the gate of uncle Zebulon's garden, on the weed-infested gravel path that leads east up to the porch of the house. On the north side of the lawn, almost hidden behind the huge, unkempt rosebushes, is the garden shed. The bright summer sun glistens on the wet grass, and the air, fresh from the recent rain, is alive with the buzzing of insects and filled with sweet fragrances.
You know, calling him my crazy wizard uncle was always meant to be a joke, but after that will I'm not really very sure. I didn't realize just how much he didn't like anyone else in the family, but I guess he went a little stir crazy in his old age. I wouldn't have minded getting a little bit more than one small thing... I wonder if the house would count as a small memento?

I can still see a few of the cousins picking over the house, so I think I'll wonder over to the garden shed...

Quote:
Shed

This shed was used by uncle Zebulon for his goldmaking: strange experiments that could often be smelt from across town, even occasional explosions. Your uncle spoke very little of his experiments, and never showed any signs of making money out of them, yet people generally assumed that they were successful and a source of great wealth. In all other matters, your family regarded uncle Zebulon as a useless dreamer, even an embarrassment, but they took a certain reluctant pride in his reputation as a goldmaker.

As a consequence of your relatives' frantic search for valuables, the place is in an even greater mess than you remember. The workbench has been cleared of the usual odds and ends, and all even remotely useful tools or utensils have been removed. Large heaps of junk and broken glass remain in the corners, and in the centre of the room is a large, hideous statue of a three-eyed dog - probably some exotic idol brought home from your uncle's travels. You can't remember ever seeing it before.

On the workbench you see a scrap of paper.
Okay, that is one ugly dog... three eyes? Really? Well no one ever said he had any taste. Still, it's worth poking around in here if I can find anything interesting, and avoid the cousins as they trek out of the house.

Quote:
>x workbench

The marble surface of the workbench is pitted by acids, discoloured by strange chemicals and still sooty in places from the explosions that all too often ended uncle Zeb's experiments. In the exact centre of the workbench, a small bronze stand has been fastened to the surface.

>read paper

"I'm a great step closer to the goal: I have discovered an acid that actually transmutes noble metals into base ones. If only the process could be reversed!"
So you can turn gold into lead, as skills go that's not exactly worthwhile.

Quote:
>x dog

The statue is made of some dark, hard wood that must once have been nicely polished but is now rather scratched and dented. It depicts a huge, hideous dog - even though it's sitting on its haunches, it's still taller than you are - that seems to be staring in a slightly melancholy way at the workbench, as if lamenting the mess. It looks very much out of place in this shed.

Apart from its general ugliness, one thing about the dog immediately catches your attention: for some unfathomable reason, it has three eyes - two in the normal places, and one in the centre of its forehead. There is also something very strange about its ears.

The centre eye socket contains a blue glass lens.

>x left ear

The dog's ears look as if they don't really belong to the statue, but were added as an afterthought - and in a rather curious way as well. In fact, it seems as if both ears are fastened so that they can turn around their own axes. Curious indeed.

>turn left ear

As you turn the ear there is a distinct click. A loud humming noise comes from inside the statue, and a beam of blue light shoots out from its centre eye, illuminating a circle in the centre of the workbench. After a while, however, the light flickers and goes out, and the humming sound stops.
Well, that was... odd to say the least. Not only is it ugly it's a flashlight, or maybe just an odd looking reading lamp. Though why would you need a reading lamp out here in the shed is beyond me, but then again it seems like he was crazy, so who am I to argue? I'm not going to bother with the dog idol, not only is it ugly it won't fit in my dorm room.

Stepping back outside I'm greated by the last of my cousins walking off in a huff carrying an horrid looking painting of some kind of circus. I think he's taking it to sell for the gold frame, or maybe he just likes the circus, I'm not one to judge. Still now that the house is empty I'll have a chance to look it over to see if anything is even left.

Quote:
Porch

On this rickety porch, uncle Zebulon used to spend the long summer evenings, relaxing in his rocking chair and smoking his pipe. Your parents used to sneer at his laziness; why couldn't he use all that spare time to make his garden look a little more respectable?

The rocking chair is still there, right outside the front door of the house. It is not occupied by uncle Zebulon, though, but by a sneering, rather mean-looking demon.

The demon is picking his claws with a rather nasty-looking dagger.
A demon? Okay... I knew he was a wizard, but I didn't think uncle had demon's running around the place. I'm not sure I want to have to deal with him either. Still, he let my cousins past so I guess he should be harmless. Even so I'm going to try and walk past him while keeping as distant from him as I can.

Quote:
As you walk past the demon (slightly apprehensively, of course, you never know with demons), he looks up and nods at you. "Let's see, you must be Richard, right? My late master hasn't treated you very generously in his will, has he?" He quickly checks a list.

"Let's see. You're allowed to take one thing - not more - from the house through this door. Of course, your relatives have pretty much scoured the place for valuables, so I'm afraid there's not very much left for you." For a moment, you imagine you can trace some genuine pity in the demon's expression; however, it soon returns to his usual sneer. "Not that they found very much of value, either. You should have seen their faces when they realized the house wasn't filled with gold..."

The demon starts to wave you past, when he suddenly seems to remember something. "Ah, yes, this is for you," he says off-handedly, holding out a letter towards you.
Ya, sure, I'm Richard...

Quote:
The letter is written in uncle Zebulon's familiar hand.

"My dear Richard,

When you read this, I'm afraid I'll have left this world for good. By now you should have heard of my will and of the little jokes I have played on your relatives. I am sure they are all furious; they had hoped for far more. Perhaps you too are angry with me, perhaps you think I should have been more generous towards you?

Well, let me tell you this: you've always been my favourite nephew, because we share (I hope) the same basic outlook on life: it's all a rather cruel game, with rules that are there to be circumvented. Playing fair doesn't mean you shouldn't do the unexpected! I don't want to openly favour you before your cousins, but I think you're far more likely than they are to exploit the advantages of the situation. You may call it a little test, or game, or whatever. My final advice to you is: follow the rules by the letter and you may find that new possibilities open up.

Your affectionate uncle, Zeb."

[Your score just went up 5 points]
It's good to know that Richard... I mean I was his favorite nephew. I guess it's the thought that counts. Tucking the letter away I finally slip past the demon, making sure not to make any sort of eye contact, and enter into the house.

Quote:
Hall

Uncle Zeb's house isn't large enough to warrant a large entrance hall, but at least there is this small room, with just enough space for a coathanger and a narrow staircase up to a trapdoor in the ceiling. Wooden doors lead north, east, west and south.

You see a lead coin here.

As soon as you enter you realize, with a sinking feeling, just how thoroughly your relatives have searched the house for valuables - basically everything of value has been removed. The coin on the floor must have been dropped there by oversight.

>take coin

Taken.
Oh, swag! At least it's something, so into the pocket it goes. Maybe it will be worth something to someone. Heck, maybe it used to be gold at some point in time, you never know.

Okay, so where to go from here. Well, it my old dead uncle has anything of value he probably hid it, so let's check out the attic first. It couldn't hurt much anyways right?

Quote:
Attic

You remember spending long hours as a child exploring the mysterious treasures of uncle Zebulon's attic: looking through old sea-chests full of exotic souvenirs from your uncle's travels, trying on curious old clothes, hiding under strange pieces of furniture - and upsetting your mother when returning home covered in dust and with cobwebs in your hair. That was long ago, however; now, the attic just seems like a depressingly untidy storage space full of old junk and devoid of any mystery. Besides, it seems as if anything even remotely interesting or valuable has been carried away. A trapdoor in the floor leads down.

You see a packing crate and an old brass plate here.

As your head emerges through the trapdoor, you are greeted by a cloud of dust that makes you sneeze.
Rubbing my face and nose I try to clear it as I scramble up into the attic. There's not much to see, it's smaller that I remember it and from the look of it none of my relatives even bothered to look up here, not that there's much to look at. Let's see what this plate is, though I'll have to rub off some of the muck and dust.

Quote:
>read plate

It's an old, rather thin plate of Indian brass, slightly dented and probably not worth very much. On the tarnished surface you can just barely make out a rather clumsy depiction of a scorpion and some stars - probably an astrological reference, since the following text is engraved on the back side:

GOLD The Sun, Ruler of the Daylit Sky
SILVER Luna, Mistress of the Night
MERCURY Wing-footed Messenger of the Gods
COPPER Venus, Carnal Love
IRON Mars, Blood-red Bringer of War
TIN Jupiter, Ruler of the Gods
LEAD Saturn, Lord of Time Itself
Uncle Zebulon had some odd taste in souvenirs. Let's check out the crate at least.

Quote:
>open crate

Opening the packing crate reveals some wood shavings.

>search crate

You burrow through the wood shavings, raising a lot of dust in the process, when your hand touches something hard. It seems you've found a small teak box.

>open teak box

Opening the small teak box reveals a red glass lens.

>take lens

Taken.
A red lens huh? Looks like it's a match to the one in the dog, not that I'm sure what I could even do with this leans. Oh well, there's not much else up here to worry about. Still, I'll dig around a bit, just to be on the safe side.

On second though there isn't anything up that looks like it could hold anything of any sort of value, so back down the ladder I go.

So, now which way to go? I have three choices here, so eenie, meenie, minie moe. To the south!

Quote:
Study

You are in what uncle Zebulon used to call his study, but which also doubled as his bedroom. You remember this room as being full of books: bookshelves crammed with them, books on the overflowing desk, stacks of books on the floor.

Now, the bookshelves gape empty; the narrow, rickety bed is gone, as are the soft carpets. Only your uncle's desk remains, along with the smell of old books and stale tobacco smoke. The only door leads north, back into the hall.

On the desk you see a book and a crystal ball.

>x ball

It's about fifteen centimetres in diameter. Unlike ordinary crystal, it doesn't sparkle in the light; instead, it seems to glow with a misty radiance. You feel an almost irresistible urge to gaze into it, as if you were some common fortune-teller.

>x book

As you open the book and flip through the pages, you find that it's a piece of interactive fiction: a magic, heavily enchanted book where the entire story changes in response to choices made by the reader.

This particular one happens to be one of the great classics of the genre: 'Dork', the story of a young man entering a great underground computing centre, vanquishing the evil Hacker of Foobar, and finally becoming System Manager. Of course, the story may sound a bit childish - everyone knows that computers only exist in fairytales and that hackers are purely mythical creatures - but it's still immensely popular.

As you close the book again, a sheet of paper falls out of it and flutters to the ground.

[Your score just went up 5 points]
Wow, I just got this odd meta-feeling that I'm not all that comfortable with.

Quote:
>read writing paper

On the paper, the following text is written in uncle Zebulon's neat, regular hand:

The FIRST PORTAL deceives us all
By making pairs of singles
A perfect match! Yet all illusion
A total likeness! And yet
As different as left from right
Forever kept apart by glass
Until the touch of magic stars
Turns glass to air
And image to reality
When the light of the Moon illuminates
The Sun that never shines
Then open will the SECOND PORTAL
A dark, forbidding one, that scares
And rightly so! Yet victory
Awaits the one who enters it
The THIRD and FINAL PORTAL stands
In a lone and dreary waste beyond the worlds
Gateway to great adventures
Guarded by Gods of Time and War and Love
An offering for each, and you may pass
Each gift should match one guardian.

You can't help thinking that while Uncle Zebulon may have been a great storyteller, he was clearly an inferior poet.
You don't have to tell me what I'm feeling game, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what I'm feeling... which is that he's clearly an inferior poet. You win this one game...

Okay, so the book was a bust, but at least we can pick over the desk. You never know there might be something interesting inside of it... you know, other than empty pens and half used pencils with erasers that only smear the graphite instead of remove it.

Quote:
>x desk

The desk looks rather bare without all the stacks of papers and books that used to cover it (uncle Zebulon always had to clear off part of it when he wanted to write). It is made of oak and has a single drawer, which is closed.

>open desk

Opening the drawer reveals a green glass lens.

>take lens

Taken.
Another lens, that gives me a matched set, or a trio if you count the one already in the dog idol, and I don't.

You know, I've been pretty lucky so far with what I've been able to find. Sure it's all kind of useless but it seems like stuff is just laying around all over the place. It's best that I give everything a good once over so I'll double check the desk...

Nothing in the drawers. Maybe tapped under the desk...

Nope... okay, maybe under one of the drawers...

Okay, how about hidden inside the legs...

After an half hours worth of work I've determined there isn't anything else hidden in the desk. Though I have a rather nice collection of fine wood kindling if anyone needs some?

Right, back into the hall... which way to go next. Well I have a coin here, so let's give it a flip. Heads I go north and tails I go east. If it lands on the side I'll forge a copy of the deed to the house.

And... looks like I'm going to the north. Who uses cardinal directions inside a house anyways?

Quote:
Kitchen

The kitchen is probably tidier now than it ever was during uncle Zebulon's lifetime. The well-worn pine table and the large cupboard are still there, but all traces of atmosphere seem to have vanished along with the piles of unwashed dishes. Your relatives have evidently been hard at work, removing all the kitchenware and utensils, even the iron stove. They've left the kitchen sink behind, though - probably by oversight.

You see a large carrot here.

>take carrot

Taken.

>open cupboard

Opening the cupboard reveals a blue bottle.

>take bottle

Taken.

>x bottle

This bottle has an unusually wide neck - almost two centimetres in diameter - and is made of thick glass of a beautiful, deep blue colour. You estimate that it will hold about half a litre of liquid. It seems to contain a silver coin.

>take silver coin

Taken.
Seriously, a silver coin? What, just because it wasn't gold it wasn't worth taking. Really, this isn't that hard. Still, a silver coin is better than a lead coin, so at least I'm moving up in the worth. Otherwise there doesn't seem to be much worthwhile in here at all.

So back into the hall and to the east.

Quote:
Sitting room

After your relatives have gone over it, uncle Zebulon's sitting room looks curiously empty. Most of the furniture has been removed. Of all the things that used to give the room its atmosphere, just a few, obviously not very valuable ones, remain: the old armchair where you used to sit and watch uncle Zebulon entertain you with his magic (or "conjuring tricks", as your down-to-earth parents preferred to call it), your uncle's pipe rack, the large mirror on the north wall.

You see a green bottle here.

>take bottle

Taken.
Another matched set! I'm starting to get a good feeling about this, let's see what else I can find in here.

Quote:
>x mirror

You're a bit surprised that your relatives left this mirror behind, since it's probably quite valuable, or at least old. Perhaps its size has something to do with it: it's almost a metre wide and taller than you are. When you were a kid you used to fantasize about this being a magic mirror, and you imagined that when looking into it you could see into another world.

>x chair

It may not be a great looker, but this battered old armchair has always been your fave piece of furniture. On stormy autumn nights you'd relax in its comfy depths, cosy in front of the roaring fire, while your uncle would tell you the most hair-raising ghost stories or entertain you with some magic tricks (which you steadfastly insisted were real magic, even though your parents tried hard to convince you they were just sleight of hand).

Even today, a decade later, you feel an almost irresistible urge to sit in that armchair once more, just to recall the feeling of those long-gone days.

>sit chair

You lower yourself into the cosy armchair and relax with a contented sigh. However, it doesn't seem as comfortable as you recall it. Strange...

After a while, you realize that you're sitting on something hard. There seems to be something hidden within the armchair.

>search chair

You find a magic wand hidden deep inside the armchair.

(Don't feel too smug about it, though; I suppose nobody could have sat in the armchair without feeling the wand.)
I'll feel as smug as I want to!

Quote:
>x wand

This looks like a typical magic wand of the sort used by every wizard around the country: a narrow, tapering rod, about thirty centimetres long, and made of some dark wood, probably ebony. Your uncle used to have several, and you've often seen him point them at things, with various interesting results.

I've always wanted my own magic wand, there's so much you can do with one! You can zap people when they aren't looking, copy schoolwork and even prank your roommate back at the dorm. Oh yes, I was going to have so much fun with this.

>wave wand

Wands like this one are most effectively used by pointing them at things, not waving them around at random.

Okay, waving the wand around makes me look like a fool. I should test it out on something, just to be safe. That mirror isn't going anyplace and I don't think I can get out of the house with it, so no lose if something bad happens, and I get to see how cool I look doing it.

>point wand at mirror

The wand sputters, emitting a stream of brilliantly shining stars. Amazingly, the stars seem to pass straight through the mirror. They strike your mirror image, which is standing there with a wand in its hand, looking at you with a slightly silly expression. With a strange, tearing sound, your mirror image wavers and disappears.

Shocked, you look again. Sure, you can see the mirror image of the room, and everything in it, but not your own image. You take a quick look down at yourself, just to check - yes, you're still visible. Running up to check the mirror, you realize that the glass is gone; the empty frame forms a portal into a room behind, where no room ought to be.

[Your score just went up 10 points]
You know, I should have seen that coming. It would have been nice if I was warned about this sort of thing. It's not like you expect to have a magic door just sitting around inside the mirror? Okay, well I guess maybe some of you do, but why couldn't you have at least told someone about it.

Oh, wait, what was the first part of that bad poem again?

Quote:
The FIRST PORTAL deceives us all
By making pairs of singles
A perfect match! Yet all illusion
A total likeness! And yet
As different as left from right
Forever kept apart by glass
Until the touch of magic stars
Turns glass to air
And image to reality
Okay... so he wasn't very good at poetry bit I guess the riddle makes sense, at least in retrospect. So now I just need to find a moon and a sun that doesn't shine. That should be easy... okay no it won't , how the heck does a sun not shine?

Pressing on though the mirror.

Quote:
Feeling like Alice in Wonderland, you step through the empty mirror frame. A curious wrenching sensation passes through your body, as if you've been disassembled into atoms and then rapidly put together again.

Moor gnittis

Well, what do you call a perfect mirror image of a sitting room? Superficially, this room looks exactly like its counterpart on the other side of the mirror, except for the eerie fact that everything's inverted, of course; there's an armchair, and a pipe rack, an empty mirror frame on the south wall, and a wooden door leading west.

You see a small glass flask here.

This room shouldn't be here at all. After all, you've seen your uncle's house from the outside many times, and it simply isn't large enough to accommodate one more room...

>x flask

This is a small glass flask, of the type often found in alchemistry labs. It contains a quantity of greenish liquid.
I wonder if this liquid has any value. My uncle did go out of his way to hide it in another world hidden inside a mirror. Then again, maybe it's just his acid that turns gold into lead. I could see that being the sort of thing he would hide back here.

Otherwise this room in pretty much the same as the real one on the other side of the mirror. Still, it might be worth looking around. I wonder if there's full house hidden back here as well as the sitting room? Well, no harm in trying I guess.

Quote:
You are quite a bit surprised to find that the door leads not to a mirror image of the hall, but to a narrow spiral staircase that leads up a circular stairwell with stone walls, and through a hole in the ceiling.

Tower room

You are in a rather small, circular room that seems to be the top floor of a high tower. Four large windows, one in each compass direction, give you a panoramic view of a wild and marvellous landscape: a mountain range of impossibly steep crags to the north; to the west, the sea; to the south and east a wide, sandy desert. Far away to the southwest, where the sea meets the desert, stands a fantastic fairy-tale city of marble and shimmering gold, needle-sharp spires and bulbous crystal domes. The scene is illuminated not by the sun, but by cold starlight from a sky like black velvet studded with diamonds; nameless stars in constellations you don't recognize.

In the centre of the room is a narrow marble pedestal that supports a curious mechanism. A spiral staircase leads down.

You see a scroll here.

>read scroll

My dear nephew,

I'm glad that you've discovered the way through the mirror, and into my secret tower. It's here, in the realm you can see from the windows, that I've spent most of my time the last few years, the time you and your relatives thought I was just pent up inside my house. I may not have collected much gold and belongings in your world, but in the world of Vhyl and the city of Cyr-Dhool are treasures beyond belief and adventures that surpass your wildest dreams.

The portal to Vhyl is hidden, but I have no doubt that you will find it. Once you've opened it, and passed the portal that's beyond it, your true inheritance awaits you, at the end of a quest I shall never have the time to finish. Your relatives have no doubt already removed what little there is of value in my house; what they have left behind, however, may be of more use to you.

With hope of your success,

your affectionate uncle,

Zebulon
So, not only was a he crazy, he was crazy and spending most of his time in a different world all together. Still, at least the view is nice, now I just need to work out whatever it is that my uncle was expecting Richard... um... me, to find.

I wonder what this odd looking thing on the pedestal is? It has to be a big deal, otherwise why hide it here?

Quote:
>x mechanism

This beautiful piece of intricate machinery seems to be a model of the solar system. On a large disk of black marble, studded with silver stars, the orbits of the planets are laid out as narrow tracks. The planets are represented by small disks of precious stones that move, ever so slowly, along their tracks, driven by some hidden clockwork. In the centre of the disk is the sun: a golden ball, resting on a small bronze stand.

>take sun

Taken.

>x sun

It's the size of a large marble - about a centimetre and a half in diameter - and surprisingly heavy. Surely it can't be made of solid gold?
What do you know, looks like I found some gold after all. Pretty small though, probably not worth enough to bother will. Then again it is a sun that doesn't shine, so I guess that part was easier then I had expected. Now I just need to find a moon to shine onto it. Too bad there isn't one in the sky outside of the tower, I'm pretty sure that would be a great way to go about solving this little problem.

For now I think I'm going back to the hall to see what I can make of all of this stuff. I'm pretty sure I've searched the house so I guess I need to put together all the pieces of the puzzle to find whatever it is that my uncle left behind.

Current Inventory:

You have a scrap of paper, a letter, a lead coin, an old brass plate, a red glass lens, a crystal ball, a sheet of writing paper, a green glass lens, a large carrot, a blue bottle, a silver coin, a green bottle, a magic wand, a small glass flask, a scroll, and a gold ball. (The book and the teak box are in the Moor gnittis)

(That will wrap up this update, more in a day or two)

Last edited by Foxeris; 08-01-2010 at 03:16 AM.
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  #18  
Old 08-10-2010, 09:04 PM
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Foxeris Foxeris is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Seattleish area
Posts: 239
Default Uncle Zebulon's Will

You know, sitting around and looking at my inventory isn't getting me anywhere, so let's see if there is anything I can do with it. Frankly I'm kind of stumped with everything I have here, but I'm sure if I poke around with things a bit I'll find the answers I'm looking for.

You have a scrap of paper, a letter, a lead coin, an old brass plate, a red glass lens, a crystal ball, a sheet of writing paper, a green glass lens, a large carrot, a blue bottle, a silver coin, a green bottle, a magic wand, a small glass flask, a scroll, and a gold ball.

Quiet the collection, but overall not that helpful. Well the best clue I have is the poem my uncle wrote.

Quote:
The FIRST PORTAL deceives us all
By making pairs of singles
A perfect match! Yet all illusion
A total likeness! And yet
As different as left from right
Forever kept apart by glass
Until the touch of magic stars
Turns glass to air
And image to reality

When the light of the Moon illuminates
The Sun that never shines
Then open will the SECOND PORTAL
A dark, forbidding one, that scares
And rightly so! Yet victory
Awaits the one who enters it

The THIRD and FINAL PORTAL stands
In a lone and dreary waste beyond the worlds
Gateway to great adventures
Guarded by Gods of Time and War and Love
An offering for each, and you may pass
Each gift should match one guardian.
Okay, we have the FIRST PORTAL down, that was the trick with the mirror. For the SECOND PORTAL we have the sun, now we just need a moon. As for the THIRD PORTAL, well, we have bits and pieces of it I think. Why couldn't he just tell me what to do instead of all this run around.

The plate I found in the attic might be of some help here.

Quote:
>read plate
It's an old, rather thin plate of Indian brass, slightly dented and probably not worth very much. On the tarnished surface you can just barely make out a rather clumsy depiction of a scorpion and some stars - probably an astrological reference, since the following text is engraved on the back side:

GOLD The Sun, Ruler of the Daylit Sky
SILVER Luna, Mistress of the Night
MERCURY Wing-footed Messenger of the Gods
COPPER Venus, Carnal Love
IRON Mars, Blood-red Bringer of War
TIN Jupiter, Ruler of the Gods
LEAD Saturn, Lord of Time Itself
So, we need to make an offering to Time, War and Love. Time is Saturn and Lead, and hey we have a lead coin. War is Mars or Iron, which I don't have, and Love is Venus, AKA Copper, which I also don't have.

On the other hand I still have a silver coin, but that's not much use to me here.

Quote:
>point wand at silver coin
The wand sputters, emitting a stream of brilliantly shining stars that strike the silver coin and explode with little popping noises, seemingly without affecting it. Quite impressive fireworks, but you can't really see the point of it all. Perhaps this is why this wand was left lying around?
Well, it was worth a shot. I'll just have to keep poking around my inventory to see if there's anything I might have missed.

Quote:
>x carrot
It looks rather dry and doesn't seem very appetizing.

>x blue bottle
This bottle has an unusually wide neck - almost two centimetres in diameter - and is made of thick glass of a beautiful, deep blue colour. You estimate that it will hold about half a litre of liquid. It is empty.

>x green bottle
This bottle has an unusually wide neck - almost two centimetres in diameter - and is made of thick glass of a beautiful, sea-green colour. You estimate that it will hold about half a litre of liquid. A neatly handwritten label says 'FILL ME'. The bottle is empty.
"FILL ME"? Now that looks like a clue! Now what could I put in the bottle. Well we have a flask filled with something.

Quote:
>pour green liquid into green bottle
You've always been careful when handling unknown chemicals, and you're not going to take any risks with this specimen. Prudently, you decide to keep it in its flask.
Huh, careful? When have I even been careful with chemicals... well I knew my science teach in high school always said I shouldn't mess around with them, but that was before the lab 'mysteriously' burnt down. Still, I guess it's better not to waste it just yet.

Well, I still have that useless silver coin.

Quote:
>put silver coin in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the silver coin vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty. A split second later, you hear a pinging noise from the blue bottle.

[Your score just went up 5 points]
Pay dirt! I can now take anything I want out of the house and the demon at the door won't be any the wiser. Damn I'm good. For now I'm going to go back looking over my collection of clutter.

Quote:
>x glass flask
This is a small glass flask, of the type often found in alchemistry labs. It contains a quantity of greenish liquid.
Oh right, Uncle's alchemistry! He found a way to turn metal into its base. Gold into lead. I wonder what it would do if I used this on a silver coin. What's the base of silver anyways? Oh well, I'm about to find out.

Quote:
>put silver coin in flask
The silver coin falls into the greenish liquid, which begins to foam and bubble with a hissing sound. Acrid green fumes billow out of the flask, making your eyes water. The reaction doesn't stop until all the liquid has boiled away. The silver coin seems to have grown darker and duller. In fact, it doesn't look like silver at all any more, but more like iron.
Another coin down! One iron coin for a god of war! Now I just need a copper coin. Sadly nothing in my inventory looks very useful for this task. What's worse is that I've been at this all day and there's nothing to eat but this carrot.

Quote:
>eat carrot
The large carrot looks rather dry and doesn't seem very appetizing. It doesn't smell very appetizing either. Come to think of it, you're not very hungry.
Well if I have nothing else to eat I guess I'm not hungry. Okay, that's not true, I am hungry and there isn't anything else put this inedible carrot around here. Well, I have a magic wand, what's the worst that could possibly happen?

Quote:
>point wand at carrot
The wand sputters, emitting a stream of brilliantly shining stars. The stars collect in a cloud around the carrot, which starts to undergo a curious transformation, growing smaller and rounder and redder and... When the stars gradually fade away, you see that the carrot has turned into a big, succulent tomato. Amazing - you must have found a wand of Vegetable Polymorphism!
The heck? What is this, King's Quest VII? I guess even this game can have some Moon Logic in it. Really, a wand of Vegetable Polymorphism? My Uncle really was crazy. Still, food is food!

Quote:
>x tomato
The tomato is large, red and looks much more appetizing than the carrot did.

>eat tomato
The tomato is just as delicious as it looks. As you take the last bite out of it, you feel something hard between your teeth. Surprised, you remove a copper coin from your mouth. How on earth did that get into the tomato?

[Your score just went up 5 points]
He put a coin in a tomato... he was crazy and senile. Still, that gives me the copper coin I need to give to Venus, so that should take care of the THIRD PORTAL. Now I just need to find the second. I'm not sure there is much I can do with what I have. I still have the two lens, which seem to match the lens that was in the ugly dog idle in the shed. Let's see what I can do with that.

That means it's time to claim the blue bottle.

Quote:
>drop all
>take blue bottle
Taken.
That should be all I need to 'take' from the house.

Quote:
>w
Porch
On this rickety porch, uncle Zebulon used to spend the long summer evenings, relaxing in his rocking chair and smoking his pipe. Your parents used to sneer at his laziness; why couldn't he use all that spare time to make his garden look a little more respectable?
The rocking chair is still there, right outside the front door of the house. It is not occupied by uncle Zebulon, though, but by a sneering, rather mean-looking demon.
The demon is reading a newspaper, occasionally keeping an eye on the door.

>w
The demon gives you an amused look. "So, you've made your choice, have you?" Producing a clipboard out of thin air, he proceeds to tick off your name. "Let's see... Richard: a blue bottle. Well, I suppose that might prove useful some day. Or perhaps not. But who am I to question your choice?" With an air of seriously doubting your judgement, he lets you pass. "Have a nice day."
Good old Richard, I'm sure if you were here you wouldn't be to keep on this simple bottle, for now it's my key to getting whatever my Uncle left for you. Did I say that out loud?

Either way, I need to drop off the bottle and go get everything else I need from the house.

Quote:
>n
Shed

>drop blue bottle
Dropped.

>s
Garden

>e
As you step onto the porch, the demon looks pointedly at you. "What? Back already? Aren't you satisfied with your blue bottle? Remember that you're not allowed to change your mind!"

Porch

>e
The demon shrugs and lets you past.

Hall
Uncle Zeb's house isn't large enough to warrant a large entrance hall, but at least there is this small room, with just enough space for a coathanger and a narrow staircase up to a trapdoor in the ceiling. Wooden doors lead north, east, west and south.
You see a scrap of paper, a letter, a lead coin, an old brass plate, a red glass lens, a crystal ball, a sheet of writing paper, a green glass lens, a green bottle, a magic wand, a small glass flask, a scroll, a gold ball, an iron coin, and a copper coin here.
Time to start cheating the system.

Quote:
>put copper coin in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the copper coin vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty.

>put lead coin in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the lead coin vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty.

>put iron coin in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the iron coin vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty.

>put sun in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the gold ball vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty.

>put red lens in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the red glass lens vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty.

>put green lens in green bottle
As soon as it hits the bottom of the bottle, the green glass lens vanishes with a popping sound. The bottle is now empty.
That should do it, now back to the crazy Uncle's shed!

Quote:
>w
Porch

>w
The demon gives you a penetrating glance, but lets you pass without comment.

Garden

>n
Shed
This shed was used by uncle Zebulon for his goldmaking: strange experiments that could often be smelt from across town, even occasional explosions. Your uncle spoke very little of his experiments, and never showed any signs of making money out of them, yet people generally assumed that they were successful and a source of great wealth. In all other matters, your family regarded uncle Zebulon as a useless dreamer, even an embarrassment, but they took a certain reluctant pride in his reputation as a goldmaker.

As a consequence of your relatives' frantic search for valuables, the place is in an even greater mess than you remember. The workbench has been cleared of the usual odds and ends, and all even remotely useful tools or utensils have been removed. Large heaps of junk and broken glass remain in the corners, and in the centre of the room is a large, hideous statue of a three-eyed dog - probably some exotic idol brought home from your uncle's travels. You can't remember ever seeing it before.
You see a blue bottle here. The blue bottle seems to contain a copper coin, a lead coin, an iron coin, a gold ball, a red glass lens, and a green glass lens.
Okay, let's take a closer look at the ugly dog again.

Quote:
>x dog
The statue is made of some dark, hard wood that must once have been nicely polished but is now rather scratched and dented. It depicts a huge, hideous dog - even though it's sitting on its haunches, it's still taller than you are - that seems to be staring in a slightly melancholy way at the workbench, as if lamenting the mess. It looks very much out of place in this shed.
Apart from its general ugliness, one thing about the dog immediately catches your attention: for some unfathomable reason, it has three eyes - two in the normal places, and one in the centre of its forehead. There is also something very strange about its ears.
The centre eye socket contains a blue glass lens.

Right, and I have two more lens, time to get them back into place.

Quote:
>put green lens in left eye
The green glass lens fits perfectly in the statue's eye socket.
However, after a few seconds it falls out again. Let's see, was it 'red - port, green - starboard' or the other way round?
Don't be so clever game, it was only a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right the first time.

Quote:
>put green lens in right eye
As you move the green glass lens close to the statue's eye socket, you notice that it seems attracted to it with a surprising force, like a piece of iron to a magnet. It fits perfectly and stays put - in fact, you doubt that you could remove it again.

[Your score just went up 5 points]

>put red lens in left eye
As you move the red glass lens close to the statue's eye socket, you notice that it seems attracted to it with a surprising force, like a piece of iron to a magnet. It fits perfectly and stays put - in fact, you doubt that you could remove it again.
Right, everything is in place, let's see what happens now.

Quote:
>turn left ear
As you turn the ear there is a distinct click. A loud humming noise comes from inside the statue, and a beam of blue light shoots out from its centre eye, illuminating a circle in the centre of the workbench. The blue beam is immediately joined by a green one from the dog's right eye socket and a red one from the third eye, all focusing on the same area.

The beams flicker for a few moments, and then seem to gain in brightness. To your great astonishment, a clear, sharp image of your uncle Zebulon forms in the centre of the illuminated circle. This must surely be some powerful magic at work!

[Your score just went up 5 points]
Powerful magic? This isn't magic, this is just a fancy projection screen TV. True it's built into a very ugly looking dog statue, but it's still nothing special. Don't go around pretending like it's really magic when my cellphone can do the same trick... well mostly the same. I'm going to see if I can change the channel.

Quote:
>turn right ear
To your great astonishment, the image of your uncle disappears, and is replaced by one of fishes in an aquarium. To your even greater astonishment, the image comes to life, showing the fishes swimming back and forth.

>turn right ear
The image changes into one of a lone adventurer, carrying a sword, a brass lantern and a curious collection of sundry items, exploring a great cave system of twisting passages all alike. You recognize the scene as one from a popular historic novel called 'Zork'.
I just got another odd meta-feeling that I'm not all that comfortable with.

Quote:
>turn right ear
The image changes into one of a field of stars on a totally black sky. Suddenly, a strange-looking contraption appears in the middle of the image: it looks almost, but not quite, like a flattened ellipsoid joined to a flashlight. The scene changes to what is apparently the inside of the contraption, where people in ugly red and blue jumpsuits are running around.

>turn right ear
The image changes into one of again, a field of stars. This time, however, nothing more happens. You recognize the constellation of Gemini, with the twin stars Castor and Pollux.

>turn right ear
The image changes into one of a huge, purple, dinosaur (or, rather, an actor dressed up in a shockingly ugly dinosaur suit) walking around with an insipid smile on his face, surrounded by singing children. Curiouser and curiouser, indeed!
Change the channel!!!!

Quote:
>turn right ear
The image changes into one of the full moon, shining like a giant cheese in the middle of a dark, star-studded sky. The moon's image falls just on the bronze stand on the workbench.
Alright, we got a moon to go with the sun, and look, there's a little stand I never noticed before, how convenient.

Quote:
>put sun on stand
You place the gold ball right in the middle of the image of the moon, whose light reflects off it with a weird glitter.

You notice a sudden, cold draught, and a gust of wind slams the door shut.
No, that's not creepy in the least.

Quote:
>wait
Time passes...

The light from the image of the moon seems to have a strange effect on the gold ball: it's almost as if it had started to glow by itself.

>wait
Time passes...

The gold ball is most definitely glowing, with a warm, golden, slightly pulsating light.

>wait
Time passes...

The light from the gold ball has reached an almost painful intensity, and continues to grow stronger and stronger. Suddenly, there's a small explosion, and you're temporarily blinded. When you can see again, the dog has stopped shining, the gold ball is gone, and in the centre of the workbench there's a large hole.

[Your score just went up 15 points]
I do believe I have just opened up the SECOND PORTAL, now I guess we go on down to the third.

Quote:
>d
As you enter the hole, you are engulfed by total darkness. For what seems like an eternity, you sink through a dark void, until, finally, your feet touch solid ground. The darkness is replaced by greyish light, and you find yourself in a strange place...

Plain
Around you, a seemingly limitless expanse of flat, greyish ground, stretching away in all directions, uninterrupted by any mountains or even hills, unadorned by any tree, flower or even a blade of grass. Above you, the uniformly overcast sky, like the inside of a perfect leaden bowl, merging with the plain at the curiously indistinct horizon, a horizon that could be a mile away or a million. The air is still and dry, almost dead, with a faint smell of timeless dust. Not even the faintest breath of wind breaks the absolute silence. Nothing moves, nothing changes, nothing happens.
In front of you, seemingly in the exact centre of this dismal world, is a perfectly round, marble basin, filled with still, clear water. In the centre of the basin three colossal Greek statues stand looking out over the plain with their unseeing eyes, backs together, faces forever fixed in expressions of serene detachment.
A small, shiny object is lying at your feet.

>take object
Taken.

>x object
A metal cylinder, about the size of your middle finger, unexpectedly heavy, and cool to the touch. One end is smoothly rounded; at the other is a pushbutton of slightly darker metal.

>x statues
The three statues stand with their backs together, forever looking out over the desolate plain with unseeing eyes. Letters chiseled into the pedestal give their names: Venus, with robes flowing in an imagined breeze, long hair held together by a copper circlet; Mars, stony-faced, muscular, dressed in armour, an iron spear in his hand; Saturn, older than time, grim-faced under a dull leaden crown.
For being such a... bland place the statues sure are impressive, and they seem to match my coin collection so that's even better. Looks like this is the THIRD PORTAL. Now I just need to work out what to do.

Quote:
>x basin
The basin is about ten metres across and is filled with crystal clear water. At its centre there is a low pedestal with three marble statues. The surface of the water is perfectly still, like a sheet of glass through which you can see a gold coin resting on the bottom. There is an inscription on the rim of the basin.

>read inscription
"IN ME, O STRANGER, IS BOTH OBLIVION AND ADVENTURE;
DRINK MY WATER AND THY QUEST SHALL END IN SAFETY;
SACRIFICE AND THOU SHALT CONQUER."
Oblivion? I don't exactly like the sound of that, and how could Oblivion and Safety happen from drinking that water? At least it looks clean, so it can't be too bad, but I still would rather not drink that if at all possible. Looks like I'm going to have to Sacrifice something, say maybe some coins I happen to have just laying around on my person.

Quote:
>put lead coin in basin
The lead coin falls into the water with a faint splash and sinks to the bottom.

As soon as the coin has come to rest on the bottom, something strange happens: the statue of Saturn comes to life. The marble seems to soften somewhat; the aged head turns towards you, and Saturn speaks in a deep, hoarse voice. "Welcome, stranger, to the Portal between Worlds. A long way thou hast come, and yet the way that lies before thee is even longer."
He makes a gesture with one hand, and a sound like a whisper is heard; a faint breeze sets the still air in motion, carrying a smell of salt to your nostrils. For a moment you imagine hearing booming surf in the distance.

[Your score just went up 10 points]

The statue returns to its previous form, flesh hardening into stone again, the colour draining away.

>put copper coin in basin
The copper coin falls into the water with a faint splash and sinks to the bottom.

The statue of Venus undergoes a startling transformation: hard, white marble turning into soft, pale-olive flesh, frozen stone hair starting to flow like a waterfall, white, unseeing eyes suddenly filled with life. "Thou hast come to claim thy inheritance, and claim it thou shalt; but know that thy quest has barely begun."
Raising both arms towards the leaden sky, she brings them down again in a motion that somehow seems to tear the sky down as a curtain. The leaden overcast is gone, replaced by a glorious night sky, sprinkled with thousands of stars bright enough to read by.

The statue returns to its previous form, flesh hardening into stone again, the colour draining away.

>put iron coin in basin
The iron coin falls into the water with a faint splash and sinks to the bottom.

The statue of Mars comes to life with a clanging of armour. Mars' gaze remains as hard as before as he looks at you, saying in an incredibly powerful voice: "The end of the beginning has come. The land of Vhyl awaits thee!"
He makes a sweeping gesture with one arm. Around you, the plain starts to fade away, as when a painting is washed from a glass pane. Gradually, another landscape takes shape in front of your eyes: the greyish plain is replaced by sand dunes, the featureless horizon becomes dotted with palms...
You know, I'm not really Richard, I'm just saying. Not that it really matters now that I've done the job and sacrificed my three coins to all three gods. Still, if Richard comes by tell him I said... well he shouldn't have missed his flight!

Quote:
Desert
You find yourself standing on a desert road under a magnificent, star-studded night sky. Your hair is ruffled by a cold wind that smells of sand and salt; in the distance you hear the booming sound of surf. You recognize the view from uncle Zebulon's tower. Not a trace remains of your previous surroundings.

You let your gaze wander around the distant horizon, where palm trees are outlined against the starry sky. It is drawn to the silhouette of the fabulous city of Cyr-Dhool, a dreamlike mirage at the far end of a narrow road that winds across the desert of Noori. Drawn by a strong feeling that your inheritance awaits you inside the city, you start walking along the road, through the strange country of Vhyl.

You walk for an hour or so, feeling the cold, invigorating breeze against your face, letting the dry smells of the desert and the salty tang of the distant sea fill your nostrils. In front of you, now and then obscured by intervening dunes, steadily growing larger, you see the city of Cyr-Dhool, its many spires and cupolas glittering in the starlight like some gigantic piece of jewelry. As you get closer, you begin to wonder about the total stillness of Cyr-Dhool; not a single light shows in its windows, not a single movement is seen. Yet the city somehow doesn't seem dead, but rather asleep.

Finally, you reach the end of the road, in an open place just in front of the city's gates. The polished marble walls tower above you, gleaming coolly with reflected starlight. Not a single sentry hails you. As you approach the tall bronze gates, they swing open to leave the passage open into a broad, empty street. With a feeling of elation you enter the city to claim your inheritance.


[Your score just went up 10 points]

And thus ends the story of uncle Zebulon's will. Many adventures await you in the city of Cyr-Dhool - but that's another story!

***** You have won *****

In a total of 155 turns, you have achieved a score of 75 points out of a possible 75, and visited 12 locations out of 12.
And there we go, the end of a fairly short and still rather fun text adventure game. Uncle Zebulon's Will is a lot of fun as a game and short enough to play in a single sitting if you're willing to put a couple hours in. They story is pretty good and the puzzles aren't that hard to work out, though the wand of Vegetable Polymorphism is a bit silly. Still, that seems to be the only notable lapse in the logic of this game.

I hope you guys enjoyed this Lets Play. I know I'm still pretty rough of this and it's sometimes hard to make a text adventure game super compelling. I'm not the best as snark so I'm not sure it worked as well as it should have in places, but at least it was fun to do. I hope you found it entertaining!
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  #19  
Old 08-10-2010, 09:50 PM
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Dawnswalker Dawnswalker is offline
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Well, I found it entertaining.

So, was there ever another story, or did your-er, Richard's adventures just end there?
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  #20  
Old 08-10-2010, 11:14 PM
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Foxeris Foxeris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnswalker View Post
Well, I found it entertaining.

So, was there ever another story, or did your-er, Richard's adventures just end there?
Sadly I don't think this author ever did a follow up story. It's to bad, I liked his style.
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  #21  
Old 10-25-2010, 08:51 AM
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Yimothy Yimothy is offline
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Default Let's Play My Hero!

My Hero was released in 1985 in arcades and in 1986 for the Sega Master System. As far as I can tell, it’s not particularly well known or well liked. That’s a shame, in my opinion, because the game is sweet as. Just check out the box art:



(Seen here with a later imitator)

I played it as a kid, but I think it was on borrowed or rented copies. A few years ago I found a copy second hand, coincidentally on the same day I got GOD HAND (hence the photo). It’s still pretty great, in my opinion. But don’t just take my word for it! I went through my old video game magazines for some professional opinions. I don’t have any from the 80s, so no original reviews, but I did find a few short descriptions. Let’s hear from the pros:

In February 1995 Sega Power included a pamphlet entitled “The Hard Line” with a short description of pretty much every Sega game to that point. Here’s what they had to say about My Hero:
Quote:
“Knife-throwing, gut punching horizontal scroller. Unfortunately, the cartoon graphics are quite an eyesore, but the ninja action’s pretty decent. ***” (out of five).
A ringing endorsement!

Sega Pro included a similar segment in each issue, called “The Profile”. I got this from the October ’93 issue:
Quote:
“This game looks dreadful. It’s a really simple beat-‘em-up and not very taxing. If you’re the school bully type, you’ll love it. 64%” (out of 100%).
Not quite so ringing.

Personally, I think the game looks great, but I agree with Sega Power that the action is pretty decent. I can’t fault Sega Pro’s assessment that it’s simple, but I take issue with their view of the difficulty. Maybe I just suck, but I find My Hero to be super taxing. Also, I don’t think I’m the school bully type, but I love it anyway.

Alright, on to the game:



kshhhhhhhhhh...



Vwhommmm



de-dah!



Start!



This is STEVE and his lady friend REMY.



This is MOHIKAN, THE ENEMY’S BOSS. I think he’s the guy getting punched on the cover of the game.



He’s kind of a jerk.



As STEVE collects himself, a HOODLUM comes over and knocks him down. He’s kind of a jerk, too.



STEVE starts again, one life down.









This time he kicks that villain so far he sees the curvature of the earth.



No big deal.

Last edited by Yimothy; 05-04-2018 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Images restored
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  #22  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:14 PM
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Rek Rek is offline
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Default riichi ippatsu pinfu iipeikou itsuu dora 2. 8000 all!

Let's Play: Touhou Gensou Mahjong!

PapillonReel suggested this, and it sounded like a good idea so here we go. I imagine very few of you are familiar with Riichi Mahjong, so I'll have the Prime Minister of Gambling, Junichiro Koizumi commentating. So, let's get started.

For a full description of the rules, I suggest Barticle's guide or Osamu's guide.

Setting: A mahjong table appeared at Hakurei Shrine. Nobody knows why, but they're going to use it to play mahjong anyway. (Full version at the Touhou Wiki).


Reimu: I wonder who created this mahjong table...
Marisa: Isn't this better than the usual incidents?
Reimu: I wouldn't say so. It seems like my powers are being suppressed.
Reimu: I think this mahjong table is probably the cause.
Marisa: As Kourin says, I guess the only way to find out is to play mahjong.
Marisa: So, we need more players so I've rounded up a few.
Reimu: Who?


Chirno: Call her and she comes out flying! Gensoukyo's mahjong demon, me!
Rumia: It looks interesting so I came to take a look.
Reimu: We need 2 more players for mahjong, so it's okay to start with these things?
Chirno: I'm not a thing!
Marisa: When something happens, they're handy and useful as shields.
Chirno: I'm not a shield!
Rumia: What's a shield?
Reimu: It's going to get noisy, but let's get started.

Round: East 1

(manzu: 389, 8 at the end)

There are 34 distinct tiles in Japanese Mahjong, and a deck contains 4 of each.

Manzu (characters) suit 1-9, denoted as '4m'
Pinzu (dots) suit 1-9, denoted as '7p'
Souzu (bamboo) suit 1-9, denoted as '2s'
Winds (East, South, West, North)
Dragons (Haku, Hatsu, Chun - White, Green and Red)

After dealing, each player has a hand of 13 tiles. On their turn a player takes the next tile from the wall, then discards a tile from their hand. The objective is to form a hand of 3 sets and a pair. The final tile is not discarded. Each set may be a run in the same suit (3p 4p 5p) or a triplet or quad of the same tile (9m 9m 9m). Only the numbered tiles form runs.


This is distinctly average starting hand. I'll start by discarding the sha (west wind) because it's of no value to me.


(manzu: 889, 7 at the end)
With that 7m I've completed a single run, so I can discard the spare 8m. the 7p and haku are the next candidates for disposal.

Is Rumia trying to eat the tiles? The white tile is not, in fact, tofu.


(manzu: 789)
Both the haku and the East are worth points if I can form a triplet. The East is worth two, as it's both the round wind and my wind. There's one in the discards already, so I'll need to round up the remaining three. Chances are not good, but I'll take it and discard the haku anyway.


...Which Cirno took. I don't see a valid tactical reason for this, unless she's
got an otherwise hopeless hand.

Instead of drawing a tile, a player may call another player's discard. This may be a 'chi', forming a run (only from the the player to the left), a 'pon' forming a triplet (from any player), or a 'kan' forming a quad (from any player). A hand formed with called tiles is considered 'open' and is usually worth fewer points than the same hand formed closed.

Called sets are visible to all players. The position of the rotated tile indicates which player it was called from.



Not worth continuing to wait on the ton. Change it for a 2s 2s 4s wait - it can be finished with either 2s or 3s.


The 3s came out. I'm now waiting for either a 2p or 5p - none of them are in the discards, so ideally there are 8 tiles waiting to be discarded. Good conditions to declare riichi, so I do.

Riichi is a feature of Japanese mahjong. It is a declaration that you are one tile from going out. It costs 1000 points, but adds 1 yaku to your score, with the possibility of several more. However, a player may not change their hand after declaring riichi - they must discard the tile they draw unless someone wins or the tiles run out.

You can see that a player is in riichi from the 1000 point stick above their discards (see next screenshot) and a tile discarded sideways in their pond (the 2s in the next screenshot)
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  #23  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:15 PM
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A few turns later I drew the tile myself. It's a cheap hand, but I get a dealer continuation.

Cirno is is stuck waiting for a pair, and is effectively incapable of defending. Silly fairy.

A game consists of an East round and sometimes a South round. This game will have both east and south. Within each round each player has a hand as dealer. The dealer is always the east wind; the round wind only changes after all 4 players have dealt. Each player's personal wind is on the periphery of the blue box in the middle, the round wind is the big one in the center. If the dealer wins a round or the round is drawn and they are one tile from going out ('tenpai'), they remain as dealer for the next hand.



1 han for riichi, 1 for menzen tsumo, 1 for pinfu. 1300 from each player. A very cheap hand, but it'll do.

The score of a hand is calculated on base points or minipoints (fu, the bottom left) and multipliers (han, bottom center). Fu are based on things like hand composition (triplets are worth 2, 4 or 8, quads are worth 8, 16 or 32), difficulty of the wait (finishing with the pair is worth 2), and a few other things. 20 is the minimum possible.

Han are the major points, mostly awarded for patterns in the tiles (yaku). Each han basically doubles the score of the hand, though this is reduced after 5 han. A hand must contain at least one yaku to go out. The most common yaku are:
Pinfu: All runs (not strictly correct)
Tanyao: No terminals (numbers 2-8 only)
Yakuhai: set of dragons, own wind or round wind
Itsuu: Run of 1-9 in a single suit
Menzen Tsumo: All 14 tiles self-drawn
Riichi: Described earlier.
An itsuu is worth 2 han with a closed hand, 1 if open. Pinfu is not possible with an open hand. The others are worth 1 each.

Calculating score from this is too complicated, so just consider that each yaku doubles your score up to 8000 points.


East 1, 1st continuation

(manzu: 1 3 4 5 8)
A fairly good starting hand. One completed run, two with two-sided waits. A tanyao might be possible, but I'll focus on getting another renchan (continuation). The west wind can go first because it's useless. The 1m is overlapping with the 3m, so it can go next.


(manzu: 3 4 5 5 6)
2 completed sets, 3 with 2-sided waits. A tanyao (no terminals) is looking good about now.


Rumia may be up to something. Cirno is... being Cirno. With another red dora this hand will be worth another 3900 points or so. The plan is to call it, then drop one of the 2p later as the pair. If I'm going to call here I need to dispose of the east wind or I won't have tanyao.

Dora are a major scoring element in Japanese mahjong. Each one in the hand is worth an extra han, but a yaku is still required to go out. The red 5s are all dora. At this table, the red dragons (chun) are also dora. Finally, the tile after the open tile in the middle of the screen is also a dora - in this case, a 9m.

If a player declares a kan (quad), the next dora indicator is flipped over. If a player goes out on a riichi, the tiles under the open dora indicators also become available leading to a maximum of 8 dora indicators. They stack, so if the same dora indicator comes up 4 times a single instance of that dora tile is worth 4 han.



Or this could happen. Discard the 2s, then wait on either a 4m or 7m. My hand is open, so riichi is not possible.


(manzu: 3 4 5 5 6, 3 at the end)
Cirno activated her power. She hit herself, so she can only discard her drawn tile for 3 turns. Silly fairy.
Decision time. I can discard any of the tiles with arrows and still be in tenpai. The options are:
3m: no change. (4m x 2, 7m x 4 available)
5m: Double pair wait (shanpon) on 3m (1) and 3s (2). One will be the pair, the other will upgrade to a triplet. Probably not going to get me any more points, and waiting on too few tiles.
6m: middle wait on 4m (3). On a closed hand the identical runs (iipeikou) would be worth an extra han, but on an open hand it's worthless.
Obviously it's better to stick with my current wait and discard the 3m I just
drew.


I drew the winning tile myself.


Tanyao, dora 2. 2000 points each player, and another dealer continuation.


The field as it currently stands. Still at least 8 hands left, unless someone busts out first. To be continued.

----
If you'd like to try playing, I suggest gamedesign.jp's implementation. It has arabic indices on the tiles and has a list of yaku. The most important point for new players is: Don't call just because you get a prompt ('ron' is fine though). You can very easily make your hand unwinnable.
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  #24  
Old 11-01-2011, 02:11 PM
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Lucas Lucas is offline
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Wait, you need at least one yaku to score points? How come all the mahjong minigames I've played in video games never told me that? No wonder I've never been any good at mahjong.

Well, the yaku thing and the whole "it's godawfully complicated anyway" thing too, I guess.
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  #25  
Old 11-06-2011, 04:55 AM
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We resume from East round 1st hand, 3rd dealer continuation. Reimu has a solid lead against the other 3. I've now covered enough of the rules to explain the special abilities of each character. So clockwise from the bottom:
Reimu: Can't be ronned for 3 turns. Very useful as it allows discarding dangerous tiles to progress in tricky situations.
Rumia: Turns her side of the table dark - neither discards nor called tiles can be seen. Can be dangerous if used well.
Cirno: For 3 turns a random player will only discard the tile they just drew (tsumokiri). Can hit herself.
Marisa: Turns a single type of tile in her hand into dora. Useful, but in most cases not particularly powerful.


(manzu: 1 7)
Not a great starting hand. The 8s 9s wait requires a single tile to complete it and doesn't upgrade easily. The two Easts are will be worth 2 han if I can grab one more.


(manzu: 7 7)
I decided to get rid of my 8p as I'm holding too many pairs. The next tile I draw is... another 8p. Oh well, keep discarding.


Marisa has declared riichi. I don't want to get hit with an ippatsu, so I discard the 9s. The 8s will be next.

Ippatsu is a yaku paid for going out within 1 turn of declaring riichi. It's worth 1 han. It does not apply if any player makes a call before the next discard.

An important rule in riichi mahjong is furiten, or 'sacred discards'. If it's possible to go out on any tile in your discards, you may not call ron to go out on a discard, even if it's not the same tile. Going out by self-draw is still permissible. This rule is the basis of defense.

While winning hands is important to get ahead, not dealing into another player's hand is about the worst thing a player can do. Nothing can be done about a player going out on self-draw, but if a player deals in they pay for the entire table, making it significantly harder to catch up. Pulling apart a hand to avoid dealing in (betaori, folding) is a common, if frustrating, tactic.



I want to get rid of the hatsu (green dragon, under cursor) to make room for something more useful, but there are none on the table, making it a fairly dangerous tile - chances are somebody is waiting to call it, and it wouldn't be a bad wait for Marisa. If that is indeed her wait it will add one han to her hand. I discard the similarly useless 8s, though it's not particularly safe either.


Got the 3rd chun (hatsu), which is also a dora - if I can finish this it'll be worth over 15000 points. Discarding the 8p is safe at this point, as I've discarded one already after the riichi, and it wasn't called. My previous 4 discards were all in Marisa's discards, and so were safe.


CIRNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
There were no manzu tiles in Marisa's discards, so discarding one is fairly dangerous - it usually indicates a honitsu/chinitsu (one-suit, possible with honours) hand. None of that here, but it's still 8000 points (riichi, tanyao (no terminals), 2 red dora). Knowing Cirno, she's probably not making any attempt to defend.

As I didn't win the hand, we now progress to...

East 2


(manzu: 1 2 2 3 9)
My wind has now rotated to North. This hand looks set up for a chanta - 1 terminal in each set (2 han closed, 1 han open). Ditch the useless winds first.


(manzu: 1 2 2 3 6 8, 5 at right)
This is Rumia's power. You can see a pon of pei (north wind) poking out the side (under the hand cursor).

Notice how the wait progressed. It started as a 8m 9m wait - fairly annoying. I got the 6m, and changed it to a 6m 8m wait - same tile, but it can upgrade. I then got the 5m, converting it to a 2-sided wait. Observing this pattern in opponents' hands can give you an idea what they're waiting for, but it doesn't usually happen sequentially like this.


This was unexpected. Cirno's power hit Rumia, temporarily disabling her power. Why am I still holding that west wind?

In any given hand there are at least 2 winds that will not be worth points. In most instances they can be disposed of first, to allow more useful tiles to gather.

On the other hand, they can be useful to have, especially if there's at least 2 of them. They can fill out a non-suit hand or an all-terminals hand, or can be kept to prevent another player calling them.



(manzu: 1 2 2 3 5 6 7)
My hand is finally shaping up, but Rumia is looking dangerous (chun for yakuhai, 3 dora for 5900+ points) and Cirno could have toitoi (all sets, 2 han), plus a triplet of her own wind (1 more han), chanta (terminal in each set, 1 han) or honroutou (all terminals, 2 han) for 8000 points, more with dora.

The odd red 8p in Marisa's pool is the result of her power. They don't normally exist.


(manzu: 1 2 3 5 5 6 7)
Cirno's on a pair wait again. The addition of the east wind is worth an extra han, for 12000 if that last tile is a terminal. All the 9s are extremely dangerous right now.

I'm at tenpai (need a 4p or 7p), but riichi would be a waste here. With only 7 tiles left I'll probably just lose my 1000 points.

The round ended in a tie. Cirno's wait was 2m. The dealer (Marisa) isn't in tenpai, so we progress to East 3.

If a round is drawn, the players in tenpai receive a total of 3000 points from the other players. Two are in tenpai here, so they receive 1500 each. If a single player is in tenpai, they receive 1000 points from each of the other players. Using this it's possible to to win a round without winning a single hand.

If a hand looks like it's going to be drawn it's sometimes worthwhile to start calling tiles to reach tenpai, even if it's not possible to go out. The bonus will still be paid.


East 3


(manzu: 1 2 3 4 4 6 7 8)
Nothing of interest. Cirno won with hatsu (green dragon) and a single dora, for 2900 points from Rumia.
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  #26  
Old 11-06-2011, 05:01 AM
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[b] East 3, 1st continuation]

(manzu: 3 4 5 6 7, 8 at right)
A solid starting hand. Only need 2 tiles for tenpai, a 2s or 5s, and something to finish a pair. If I discard all 3 winds I can go for riichi and tanyao, possibly with pinfu.

A solid basic strategy is mentanpin. This means:
menzen tsumo: No called tiles. This allows the riichi and pinfu.
tanyao: No terminals. A very easy yaku to assemble.
pinfu: All runs and a 2-sided wait. The easiest waits to create and complete.
With a riichi and single dora this is good for at least 7900 points.



(manzu: 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, 9 at right)
Easy 2-way wait, but no tanyao. With my lead it's better to try push the game along than to go for big points. Declare riichi so I've got something to go out with, and hopefully cause the others to collapse their hands.


Thankyou, Marisa. First discard after I riichi. Riichi ippatsu and one ura dora, 5200 points.

East 4


(manzu: 3 4 5 7 9)
An almost complete starting hand, worth approximately bugger all. My priority is speed, so that's not a problem.


(manzu: 3 4 5 6 7, 8)
I could riichi at this point, but I'd be stuck on a pair wait. The 6s is no good because there's only one left (I'm holding one, Marisa discarded the other 2). Rumia might have discarded a 5s, I can't tell. I'll let this 8m pass. If I get a 7s and don't break up the 5m 6m 7m I'll have sanshoku doukou, the same run in each suit (2 han open, 1 closed).


I ended up finishing on a pair wait anyway - a 9s. Terminals are a slightly better wait than inside tiles (they get discarded because they're harder to connect), and I can't see any on the field. I activated Reimu's power just in case. Cirno dealt in immediately. Riichi and ippatsu, 2600 points.

South 1

(manzu: 4 8)
OK starting hand, with tiles clustered together. Good chance of tanyao.


My hand is looking ok, but I'm very worried about Rumia. Chun (red dragon), Round wind (south), 3 dora (the chuns). I'd be very wary of discarding pinzu (dots) right now, as she could be building a honitsu (single suit plus honours, 2 han open) as well. If she lands that it'll be 12000 points, so I'm folding. The chun is a perfectly safe tile because it's the last one and the other 3 already form a set. After that I'll try to stick to tiles I can see in her discards.


(manzu: 1 2 2 3 5 6 7 2. The 2 being at the end indicates it's the winning tile)
Cirno dealt in. Rumia was probably aiming to improve the wait (with a 4m instead of the 2m she would be waiting on 1m, 4m, 7m for the pair), but got lucky. 12000 points from Cirno. Cirno's going to bust out at this rate.

South 2
Boring cheap hand. Self-draw for 2700 points.

South 3

The chuns (red dragons) are a good start, allowing me to play this hand open. I don't need it, but I call a kan on the 4s.

Koizumi: A normal hand uses sets of 3, so if a player declares a kan the number of tiles must be adjusted by drawing one more. Going out on the extra tile provides a yaku, Rinshan Kaihou. If a player draws all 4 tiles they must still declare the kan to get the extra tile, but their hand can remain closed. Like any other call, it can't be broken up later and it's visible to all players. It's valuable as it's worth base points, and opens another dora indicator.

There are 3 ways to form a kan. The first is to draw all 4 tiles. The second is to call a 4th tile, is in this example. The final way is to extend a called triplet - this may only be done if the 4th tile is self-drawn.



(manzu: 4 5 6)
I can't see what the tile is, but I've got the option to go out, so it's the hatsu I need to finish the pair. This was meant to be a fast hand, but there are only 2 tiles left in the wall. Anyway, 8000 points, all from the chuns.

South 4 (last hand)

(manzu: 3 4 5 8, 7)
Rumia being annoying again. Her power makes it hard to play open - if she discards a 6m or 9m I want it, but if it fits with the 3m 4m 5m it'll break up that set (but will still be a set). Remember, she's the only one I can call chi off.


(manzu: 3 4 5 7 8 9)
I had the option of going for ikki tsuukan (run from 1-9), but I'd rather finish this quickly. I have to choose a central wait; I choose the only one that can upgrade (the 1s 3s would be furiten if I got the 4s).


I'm the only one in tenpai; 3000 points, and the round is over. First hanchan complete, with an overwhelming lead.

Final scores:
Reimu: 64800 (+43)
Marisa: 24600 (+0)
Rumia: 24200 (-10)
Cirno: 6400 (-33)

No surprises here.

Next time: Chen, Ran and Orin. Hopefully with more strategy.
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  #27  
Old 07-23-2012, 01:16 PM
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Mogri Mogri is offline
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Smart Kobold, the conclusionation

Last time, I got creamed by some smart kobolds. Let's check in and see how I'm doing.



Ah. It looks like I've killed me some younglings and obtained a bow. What is the secret of my success? Well, the surest way to catch the kobolds unawares is to sneak past the entry guards (if they don't have LOS when you enter the warren, they won't alarm) and chase down the first kobold that notices you. You'll run through a ton of traps, but they won't kill you. The kobold will lead you to the weapon caches, where you'll be able to assault a ranged unit before its jerkmode AI kicks in. I am holding four bows.

If you kill babies in plain sight of adults, they'll change their AI a bit. I don't really know the details, but I think they get more aggressive.



The bow is a pretty bad weapon, incapable of killing a kobold in a single hit. It does, however, let me dispatch mages at range, allowing me to acquire this fire wand. It's much stronger.



And I finally chase down the last kobold (relaxin' in the mess hall). This is the first time I've beaten this game, so I'm a little surprised there's no fanfare. Note also my "improved" ice wands. The game is supposed to intelligently pick up items or ignore them, depending on whether the one you have is better. It seems to have screwed up in this case. I can't see anything better about the ice wand.



And here's our victory screen! A little... underwhelming, isn't it? Let's keep in mind that this game, like the Earth*, was created in seven days. This is really a high-concept game. I love the idea of Tucker's Kobold RL.

Next up: POWDER. Let's get religious!


* Ha ha! I kid. The Earth was created in just six days.
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  #28  
Old 07-23-2012, 01:43 PM
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Lucas Lucas is offline
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Why would the gambling den(izen)s of the capitol be shuddering at your return? Last time you were there you went into so much debt gambling you had to flee the area!
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  #29  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:51 AM
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Let's Try to Avoid Playing Hi-Ho Cherrio

My only real memory of Hi-Ho Cherrio is of playing it at my grandmother's house as a kid. I remember liking it at the time, so when my wife picked it up for my son's third birthday, I wasn't as apprehensive as I should have been.

The premise of Hi-Ho Cherrio is that you're picking cherries from a tree. You want to reach a total of ten cherries, but occasionally (read: with inexcusable frequency), your basket will be attacked by a dog or bird, or you'll just tip it over. These actions cause you to lose some or all of the cherries in your bucket.

The game is played by spinning a spinner and executing the action indicated thereon. There are seven spaces on the spinner:
  • Cherries (1 - 4): Put the indicated number of cherries in your bucket.
  • Dog/Bird: Remove two cherries from your bucket.
  • Bucket: Remove all the cherries from your bucket.

And so I'm sitting there, wondering how long I'm going to have to play this abomination of a game, and I use "play" and "game" loosely in this case, because what little interaction the game involves has been obviated by the fact that Weston has decided to take care of both the spinning and the cherry management. (This edition of the game has a different color for each player, calling the fruits cherries, oranges, blueberries, and apples, despite all of them being identical aside from color. The winner is expected to announce "Hi-Ho Cherrio" regardless of the fruit he was collecting.) Because I'm not actually participating in the game, I run a few calculations in my head. How many spins can you expect the average game of Hi-Ho Cherrio to last?

The easiest way to do it, maybe, is to figure out the expected number of spins to win based on the number of cherries already in your bucket. Let's call F(x) the expected spins to win if there are X cherries in your bucket. The simplest case is F(9), which looks like this:
4/7 * 1 + 2/7 * (1 + F(7)) + 1/7 * (1 + F(0))
In other words, 4/7 of the time, you need just one spin to win -- any of the cherry spaces. 2/7 of the time, you'll lose two cherries, so you'll take one spin plus however many it takes to win from seven cherries left. Finally, 1/7 of the time, you're back to zero, meaning it'll take one more than however many it takes to win from zero.

But this approach is problematic, which we discover when we do the piecewise approach to F(0):
1/7 * (1 + F(1)) + 1/7 * (1 + F(2)) + 1/7 * (1 + F(3)) + 1/7 * (1 + F(4)) + 3/7 * (1 + F(0))
F(0) is defined in terms of itself. If that were the only issue, then we could resolve that -- math is a powerful beast, and it lets us do stuff like that. The real issue is that every value of F(x) is defined in terms of some other value, and while we could use substitution to define all of them in terms of F(0), what we would end up with is an enormously hairy function that would be a pain to resolve.

So I start thinking of another approach: what is the expected number of cherries you gain from each spin? Again, this depends on how many cherries are in your bucket: with no cherries in your bucket, you don't stand to lose any, but with nine cherries in your bucket, you could potentially lose all of them. Fractions are our friends here.
  • 0 cherries: 1 * 1/7 + 2 * 1/7 + 3 * 1/7 + 4 * 1/7 + 0 * 3/7 = 1/7 + 2/7 + 3/7 + 4/7 = 10/7 ~= +1.42 cherries
  • 1 cherry: 10/7 - 3/7 = 7/7 = +1 cherry
  • 2 cherries: 10/7 - 6/7 = 4/7 ~= +0.57 cherries
  • 3 cherries: 10/7 - 7/7 = 3/7 ~= +0.42 cherries
  • 4 cherries: 10/7 - 8/7 = 2/7 ~= +0.28 cherries
  • 5 cherries: 10/7 - 9/7 = 1/7 ~= +0.14 cherries
  • 6 cherries: 10/7 - 10/7 = +0 cherries
  • 7 cherries: 10/7 - 11/7 = -1/7 ~= -0.14 cherries
  • 8 cherries: 10/7 - 12/7 = -2/7 ~= -0.28 cherries
  • 9 cherries: 10/7 - 13/7 = -3/7 ~= -0.42 cherries

Incidentally, we can generalize this into two functions: one for X <= 2 and one for X >= 2. (When X = 2, it doesn't matter which we pick.)
  • X <= 2: +(10 - 3X)/7 cherries
  • X >= 2: +(6 - X)/7 cherries

At first glance, the prospects look grim here. We reach cherry equilibrium at six, and the odds indicate that reaching ten cherries is unlikely to happen. However, what the above numbers fail to indicate is that you have a chance to win starting with six cherries. (The numbers also fail to indicate a player's willingness to nudge the pointer into a space that does not contain the bucket. Mathematical models are flawed in this respect.)

Now, I am not a statistician: I am a computer scientist by background. The go-to method for a computer scientist to determine the odds of something happening is what's called the Monte Carlo method: you do whatever it is you're trying to do millions of times and figure out the average result. We could play hundreds of games of Hi-Ho Cherrio and document our results, but that's not only tedious but also counterproductive to our goal of avoiding playing Hi-Ho Cherrio. So we make a computer do it for us.

Here is a Javascript function that returns the number of spins it took to win a game:
Code:
function hihoCherrio() {
   var cherries = 0, spins = 0;
   while(cherries < 10) {
      var spin = Math.floor(Math.random() * 7);
      switch(spin) {
         case 0:
            cherries = 0;
            break;
         case 1:
         case 2:
         case 3:
         case 4:
            cherries += spin;
            break;
         default:
            cherries -= 2;
      }
      if (cherries < 0)
         cherries = 0;
      spins++;
   }
   return spins;
}
And here's a function that runs that function a hundred thousand times and tells you how many spins it took, on average, to win:
Code:
function monteCarloCherrio() {
   var total = 0;
   for(var i = 0; i < 100000; ++i) {
      total += hihoCherrio();
   }
   alert("Average spins: " + (total / 100000));
}
If you want to run this yourself, you can copy the following and paste it into the address line of your browser. Your browser may hang for a second while it calculates.
Code:
javascript:{var total=0;for(var i=0;i<1e5;++i){var cherries=0,spins=0;while(cherries<10){var spin=Math.floor(Math.random()*7);switch(spin){case 0:cherries=0;break;case 1:case 2:case 3:case 4:cherries+=spin;break;default:cherries-=2}if(cherries<0)cherries=0;spins++}total+=spins}("Average spins: "+total/1e5)}
The unceremonious result is that it takes around sixteen spins to win a game of Hi-Ho Cherrio -- if you're playing alone. Minimally, I will sit there while Weston spins for both of us; usually, my wife will also be present. We can expect to sit there for nearly fifty spins, after which Weston will want to do it again.

And again.

Then again, I spent longer writing this than I spent playing Hi-Ho Cherrio last night.
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  #30  
Old 11-20-2012, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Let's Try to Avoid Playing Hi-Ho Cherrio
fuck. yes.
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