Monday, March 07, 2005

You Are In a Non-Descript Room

A good friend of mine - and by good friend I mean demented sociopath that won't leave me alone - recently linked me to Habeus Dorkus, an amusing online text adventure starring Harvey Birdman. Using the old Infocom text adventures as a foundation and an eclectic mixture of mind-altering substances as inspiration, the game challenges you to explore a world entirely described by text. It's an amusing diversion and as far as I'm concerned, any game that enables you to capture miniature prostitutes (hint: use the shrink gun) is completely worthy of mention. Now, playing a game that assaults the player with reams of text may sound archaic and unpleasant to some, but there was a time when that passed as legitimate entertainment. All you needed was a good story and a healthy dose of...



Of course, there is an inherent danger involved with text adventures. The ones that had slightly lower aspirations often recreated the feeling of being trapped in a foreign country without a means of translation. Communicating even the most basic concept became an impossibility, resulting in a flurry of waving arms and strained vocal chords - a situation that applies both to the metaphor and poor text adventures. Indeed, the latter construction can destroy a man's soul if left unchecked.

You are in a non-descript room.
>> look room
You are in a non-descript room.
>> examine room
There is a table.
>> look table
The table resembles a small table, with several table-like qualities.
>> examine table
There is a button.
>> look button
The button practically begs to be pressed.
>> press button
Invalid command
>> push button
Invalid command
>> use button
Invalid command
>> stomp button
Invalid command
>> lovingly caress button
Invalid command
>> savagely slam button
Invalid command
>> punch button
Invalid command
>> vehemently abuse button
Invalid command
>> obliterate button with mighty fists of rage
You successfully activate the...no wait, Invalid command.
>> examine button
There is no button.
>> yes there is
No, there isn't.
>> it was just there a moment ago
You are delusional.
>> fine look under table
You see a swirling vortex of interdimensional translucence looking upon a world torn between untouched beauty and industrial terror.
>> enter vortex
Invalid command
>> jump through vortex
Invalid command
>> crawl towards vortex
Invalid command
>> is there a vortex
No.
>> examine room
There is a computer, connected to a monitor and keyboard. It is switched on.
>> examine computer
You read the following text on the screen. "You are in a non-descript room."
>> type look room

And that would be the point where you type "commit suicide" in the command prompt of life.