Spring Thing ’09 – Amy Kerns’ Realm of Obsidian!

April 8, 2009

[I don’t know if Pride and Prejudice requires spoiler warnings, but here you go, have one anyway – THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ALSO THE VERSION WITH THE ZOMBIES BELOW THIS LINE YOU GUYS]

I have just finished reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  It’s very good.  There are ninjas. Plus it makes so much more sense for Charlotte Lucas to accept Mr. Collins if you know she’s infected.

“It taught me to hope,” said he, “as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before.  I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have beheaded Lady Catherine without a moment’s hesitation.”

Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, “Yes, you know enough of my temper to believe me capable of that.  After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in beheading any number of your relations.”

Realm of Obsidian promises horror and gore and general not-being-everybody’s-cup-of-tea-ness, but probably far less in the way of weddings.  Oh well.  I shall perservere.

[actual game spoilers start here]

This is the story of a man named Nick.
A poor mountaineer came and kicked him in th- wait, no, sorry.  (Did anyone else use to watch Beverly Hillbillies all the time as a kid and now they’re not sure why?)

Okay, premise is that Nick had to move back in with his dad, who is acting strangely.  Somehow this makes him different from everybody else’s dad in the whole world.

Got a laugh from the Painful Death track listing, particularly Bendy-Straw Enema.  Call me crass, but that’s funny.

You emerge into the hall. To your surprise, you see what looks to be a shimmering blue force field to the west! It looks like this will be an interesting day.
Time to change my anticipation of what sort of game this is!  Also, this will not be of interest to anyone but me, but whatever it’s running on supports copy-paste.  I love that.

>x black object
Looking at this strange object, you realize that it’s the nose of a bear! You can look through the nostrils to the other side.
Whoa!  Weird!

Oh, sad, Riff just pointed out that I am thinking of crazy straws, not bendy ones.  I’m docking this game at least four points now.

My father’s notebook has five spells in it, each with an ingredients list, a required location, and a set of instructions for casting.  This no doubt indicates that I’ll need to find all of these ingredients and locations, and cast each of these spells at least once.  I really enjoy this kind of thing, which is fortunate, because it’s got a lot of ground to make up after the bendy-straw debacle.

Incantation: Off with your head,
As I eat lead.
Off with your head,
Now you are dead.

You’ll have to come up with your own witty commentary for this one, since I’m having some paralysis-of-choice issues.  Extra points if you work in a reference to the Algonquin Round Table.

Now you realize that your father must have constructed the pentagram to summon Auron! Only he must have met eyes with Auron and been hypnotized by him. Who knows where Auron could’ve taken him? The force field in the hall may be a link between worlds. You wonder if you could perhaps enter it and be brought to Auron’s realm?
Some games you are so much smarter than your character.  “The chamberlain is evil!” you scream at the monitor.  “Evil!  Also that’s a bomb!  Put it dow- no, not in your mouth, put it down on the… oh, for Chrissakes, let’s go find your damn leg again.”  This is shaping up to be the exact opposite of one of those games.

Implementation so far is pretty sparse.  There is not much in the way of room or object descriptions.  Thinking this is going to be more of an old-school puzzler, but there’s no reason those can’t have some ambience.

Yeah, just got my shit ripped up by a skeleton in a wheelchair.  Definitely old-school.  There should maybe be an epileptic warning on this mofo and I should maybe save my game a lot.

Points to this game for amusing randomized post-death messages.  I appreciate that if I’m going to die often.

>lasso zombie
I don’t understand the verb, “lasso”.
Some glorious day I will find a game that understands the verb “lasso,” and that game and I will skip merrily off to find some zombies.

I realize this is a text adventure and not an interactive fiction, but what do you think I want to insert the green token into?  Could it maybe be the machine with the slot labeled “Insert Token Here” that is in fact the only thing in this room one could insert a token into excepting one’s own bodily orifices?  I suppose it’s possible I meant something in my inventory.  What would be the negative consequences for assuming I meant to put the token into the token machine and not up my bum, though, if the token machine is right the fuck there?  My free will would be impinged upon?  I’d miss a valuable opportunity to screw up and lose the token forever, rendering the game unwinnable?  And do I realize the ridiculousness of typing this entire paragraph to protest having to type INTO MACHINE?

Stab the Demonic Wolf with what?
A small piece of fairy cake, and definitely not this knife.  Which, it turns out, works about as well to stab something with as a small piece of fairy cake.  Also I need to stop picking up Britishisms, ’cause now I’m hungry for fairy cake without actually knowing what it is.  S’like angel food?

I’m having fun so far.  I just thought I’d mention that.

What good would attaching the soap to the rope do (even if you could)?
Ask Urban Dictionary.  (Not safe for work.  Wait, actually, why am I thinking it’s less safe for work than this very blog?  It’s got a big ol’ FUCK right at the top of it!)

You can’t cut the soap with the knife.
Wow, they weren’t kidding about this knife not being very sharp.

I’m stuck and the hint system has nothing for me.  Realm of Obsidian, I see you on the laters, schmokey-dokey?  Schyall right.

(twelve years later)  It’s been a few days since I touched Realm of Obsidian, days that have been primarily spent MyBruting.  (There is nothing wrong with that and I do not have a problem and I can stop any time I want and and and your mother.)  Oh, and except for my lone pupil TV’s Frankenstein you all suck for not loving me enough to join my dojo.  Who got to you first?  Was it Plotkin?  I blame Plotkin.

Where were we?  Stuck in some tunnels?  Sounds about right.

Sorry, Realm of Obsidian, I’m cheating a little.  Where’s the walkthrough?  Oh, hey, there’s a manual?  This is a nice manual.  Every time you die Bill Pullman screams.  I learned that from the manual.  It all comes together.

Seriously, there’s a walkthrough, right?

There’s really no walkthrough?  Sigh.  All right, let’s see if this zombie strangles.

Nope, no such verb as “strangle.”  What do you mean I can’t hit it with the tape player?  Shit.  What else have I got?

…I didn’t try playing it death metal?  I could’ve sworn I tried playing it death metal.  Thanks, hint system, for teaching us to laugh about love again!

My very own vampire bat!  Wesley Willis would be proud.

The bladder looks familiar to you, so you remove it.
I used to date its sister.

I’m a little worried about leaving this tape running because I’m not sure whether or not the game’s keeping track of the batteries.  It would be the evil old-school thing to do, for sure.

The Worm wants to see me in court?  This can’t be good.  Noooo, my items!  My Holy Spam!

The ogre bailiff retreives your things with another wave of his truncheon. All your items are then returned to you.
Yellowed Spell Scroll: You drop that as your hands are full.
And now it’s locked inside the courtroom.  Awesome.  Good thing I’m twitch-saving.

Well, there’s the end of the preview.  I don’t really understand why people release preview games.  Is advance hype somehow necessary or desirable for IF?  Why not just, you know, wait to release it until it’s done, and I’ll get excited about it then?

Let’s see, how to feel about Realm of Obsidian?  I’ve got no beef* with old-school puzzlers, and this one had some nice personality.  The environments were so sparsely implemented, though, that minor differences between cookie-cutter bits of tunnel seemed like massive clues (oh my God, there are pebbles! This means something, I know it!) and the game had nothing really special about it, if you get me.  I will probably play it again when it comes out for good and proper, though, if I can be arsed.  Maybe it’ll have something special in it by then.

Hmm.  The last and only demo game I judged did not get a score (there was a lot less of it, granted) and I think it’s going to make my life easier if I just never score demo games and call it a policy.  And a taxi.  I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore.  I’m so wasted.**

* This is slang meaning one is fine with something, as opposed to “got no truck” which is slang meaning one is not fine with something.  Beef is the opposite of truck, which means if you ever see a beef truck, it’s undergoing a massive identity crisis and you should be nice to it.  Actually your instincts should tell you to be nice to it anyway, in hopes that it will give you beef.

** I’m not, in actuality, but that’s so very much the logical next sentence I couldn’t resist typing it.  Also, Barack Obama has a Twitter.  I keep thinking he should tweet “Dude, I don’t even know what I’m signing right now.  I am so wasted.”  He won’t, though.  It’s sad.

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