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Tiny IF Roundup: This was going to be a whole game roundup but I got distracted BY WORK. Yes, my leisure time was sucked up by book work. I don't know if this is a problem or not. Seems like it might be this early in the book process.

Anyway, I'm just going to review one game, an IF game, and I'm cheating because it's a game I played and liked when I was younger. It's called Crusade Adventure and it came with AGT as a sample game.

I'm a little surprised that no one has written a program to convert AGT code to Inform. AGT and Inform are abstruse in opposite directions, though, so maybe I'm the only one nostalgic enough about AGT to be interested. And as I look at these old games I become less interested. AGT runs just fine in a DOS emulator, after all.

I remember Crusade Adventure as being full of action, with a caving section more sophisticated than Colossal Cave. Well, it's not full of action, it's full of the action-evasion. And its caving section is only sophisticated in that it's a small adjunct to a larger map. The game relies heavily on random events: you can avoid some puzzles (including a fairly clever one) by relying on chance. The map is disjoint, and you have to use a magic word to move around.

Unlike most AGT games, Crusade Adventure is pretty nonlinear and has good atmosphere that I associate with Sir Walter Scott. Unfortunately, it turns out I only associate the atmosphere with Sir Walter Scott because the game makes explicit reference to Ivanhoe, in what might be the most jarring anachronism I've ever seen in an IF game. As Mark Twain would say, "the genuine and wholesome civilization of the nineteenth century is curiously confused and commingled with the Walter Scott Middle-Age sham civilization". I've never read any Scott but his "dreams and phantoms" fit well into an AGT setting: misty woods, suits of armor, talking skulls.

I remember playing a very slightly racier version of Crusade Adventure. But the one on the IF archive is fine because it makes this game stands in stark contrast to the all-out sleaziness of E. L. Cheney's GAGS games, also often distributed with AGT. There was one really disturbing one set in an ultra-sleazy San Francisco that featured lines like: "Lucy's firm young breasts are the center of your focus, You'd love to play around with them, but do you have the time?" Oh, gee, look at the time! A web search reveals that E. L. Cheney now draws cartoons about golf.

As a palate cleanser for the sleaze let me offer more of Twain's Fennimore Cooper-class vitriol against Scott:

It was Sir Walter that made every gentleman in the South a Major or a Colonel, or a General or a Judge, before the war; and it was he, also, that made these gentlemen value these bogus decorations.


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