Archive for August, 2010

Alter Ego: Male


Alter Ego is a 1986 life simulation game by Activison, designed by psychology Ph.D. Peter Favaro. The game gives you the opportunity to play your (or your alter ego’s) life from being born to dying, making decisions along the way that might or might not have impact on your subsequent life. It’s a bit comparable to the Sims, really, but stripped of the emergent behavior and boiled down to resolving interesting situations. It’s all text-based, too, so expect to read a lot.


How to play Teledisk games on a new OS


Way, way back in time, when floppy disks still existed and even were kind of popular (who can believe it), there existed a program named Teledisk. What it did was quite simple: take an image from a floppy disk, compress it and annotate it. This allows you to make perfect low-level copies of a disk and, for example, store these on your hard drive if you had such luxury. The image is just a file you can do with as you please. You could then copy the image back to a disk of the same size to have your disk back. However, as times evolved, we kind of quit using floppies, and Teledisk went the way of the dodo. But if you happen to have a game that is packed in a file with extension .TD0 or .TLD or something like that, you might want to play it again in these modern days. Here is a guide that might help you do it. It is not an easy guide since it features the command line (oh no) and you’ll need a bit of general computer knowledge to get it working. But that doesn’t scare us, does it?


Altered Destiny


Altered Destiny is an adventure game by Accolade. It was released in 1990, so we have to see this in context: this was between Space Quest 3 and 4 on the Sierra side, and Loom and The Secret of Monkey Island on the LucasArts side. I think we might say that this game was released at pretty much the absolute peak of the graphical adventure games. The control scheme incorporates a mouse in the “click here to walk here” function, but all other interaction is still text-based. Coupled with the fact that it’s often easier and more precise to use the keyboard to walk around, I wouldn’t want to call this game a point-and-click adventure game yet. Just a graphical adventure game.

Title screen. The journal or whatever in the background has absolutely no relation to the game.


The Evaluation and The Oath


Reality check time! A year ago, I had the (your favorite adjective here) idea of playing through all the old games I found in this pack of oldie DOS games. It was clearly going to be a longtime project. But how is the little project going now?

One year later, I’ve played 30 games out of the 893. That is 3.36% of the games. Perhaps more interesting, this means I need 29.77 years to complete the whole set. 30 years. By that time, I’ll be in the middle of my midlife crisis. Ouch.

So. Unless I want to be a slightly balding and unsatisfied-by-his-marriage semi-old man when I finish this, I need to go faster! I would like to make all sorts of promise like “in a month, I’ll have a lot less of other things to do”. But, while true, I don’t think that will have much of an effect really.

I will try a totally new system and I will base it on someone else’s system. Because systems you steal from someone else are the best ones after all. I have been following Carl Muckenhoupt’s blog for a while. Carl, aka baf, aka System Shock Programmer, aka Baf’s guide to the IF archive maintainer, aka a Hero. Anyway. He has a system he calls The Oath. It basically comes down to: I will complete all games I have, I will blog about my experiences and I will only buy new games in a ratio that decreases the stack of unplayed games.

So. An oath for myself. I don’t care about completion, I care about experiences. I don’t need to blog within 24 hours of playing a game. Also, calculating taxes is for people with too much time on their hand.

Starting on 1 August 2010, I will keep myself to the following policy for at least the next 12 months:

I will play all games on The List until I have a good experience of each. When I feel like I know what a game is about, and I think there is no significant enjoyment or experience left to be found in it, I will write a blog post about it. For each blog post I write, I will grant myself one (1) point. For each game or enhancement (in the form of expansion, DLC, or whatever) to a game I acquire, be it in retail, on distribution platforms like Steam or GOG, directly from the creator of the game, or any other way, I will subtract one point for every ten euro of the total cost of the game, rounded up. I will not purchase a game if it would give me a negative point total.

This oath purposefully excludes free (as in beer or speech) games and purposefully includes the whole piracy thing which I am not a part of anyway! Wew!

Now, I have a Starcraft 2 to earn! And some credit to build before I lose out on all kinds of promotions! Wish me luck.