In every artistic medium, there are works that defy the limitations of the conditions in which they were made to become timeless classics, creations that hold every part of their appeal countless years later. And then, on the opposite end of the scale, there are things like The 7th Guest. I’m not sure there’s a single game that we’ve covered on this blog so far that has aged as poorly as this. Like Predator and Tower of Babel before it, it suffers mightily from the issue of its primary selling point being the showcasing of shiny new technology that is now hopelessly outdated. But with The 7th Guest, the problem is exacerbated further by the technology in question being the wonders of CD-ROM and its ability to put actual real humans onto your computer screen, which the game then uses to present the world’s hammiest actors in the most cliché-ridden haunted house story known to man.
Category Archives: DOS
Star Wars is, and forgive me for stating the obvious here, an enormously popular film series. And it has been for a full forty years now. Everyone has seen Star Wars or, if they haven’t, at least knows the broad strokes of what it’s all about. In 1993, I don’t think I’d seen any Star Wars films yet, but I could have told you that Luke Skywalker is a Jedi, and he teams up with Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi and some robots to fight Darth Vader, who is his father. And the beginning of 1993, a decade after Return of the Jedi and a few months before the hype train started rolling for The Phantom Menace, is probably approaching the lowest ebb in Star Wars’ popularity, which makes it something of a curious time for us to have our first (spoiler alert: the first of oh so many) meeting with the franchise here on AAA.
Iain wrote this one.
It’s a little paradoxical that one of the most complicated game series that will pop up on AAA should also be one of the most casual. Casual, at least, in the sense of being the least tied down to those immersed in the medium of video games. The most arcane JRPGs or most layered RTSs have nothing on the impenetrability of Championship Manager. They definitely bear less resemblance to a business analysis spreadsheet. I try to picture coming into Championship Manager from a starting point of no relevant knowledge and can only imagine it being incomprehensible. There’s the rub, though – its complexity comes through piggybacking on football’s cultural dominance, and the resultant assumption that no one will come to it from a zero starting point.
Iain wrote this one.
What happens after you die? It’s an age old question that it’s difficult to get a proven answer to. If there is a consciousness that hangs around and can have some influence, it appears reduced to messing with Ouija boards and stuff and not convincing many. If faith leads to other answers, it’s well, faith. If consciousness stays on, uninvolved, as a skyclad observer before taking up life again, any knowledge transfer between the two is one way at best — if life is but one experience among more, it’s an utterly immersive one. Even what happens to the physical form seems likely to escape you post-death. Alone in the Dark answers that one for the character you play, at least. After he or she dies, their body gets dragged by monsters to some kind of altar below its haunted house and, though the process is a little fuzzy, eldritch horrors are unleashed as a result. It’s nice to know.
When asked what he thought of western civilization, Gandhi replied that he though it would be a good idea, or so the story goes. Meanwhile, in the world of Sid Meier’s Civilization, Gandhi is well known as a psychotic megalomaniac, prone to launching nuclear strikes on anyone who so much as looks at him funny. It’s the result of an oversight in the game’s programming; each AI-controlled world leader has base rating of 1-10 in a variety of characteristics, including aggression, in which Gandhi’s is set at 1. But a government choice of Democracy which, as a pacifist, Gandhi tends towards, will lower that aggression rating by a further two points. This sets Gandhi to -1, which rolls around and instead becomes a score of 255, because computers, and so we get Gandhi the destroyer of worlds. This might seem like something of a major failing, but given the scope of this game, it’s a wonder that the most notable bug is a bit of amusingly absurd mischaracterisation, as opposed to some utterly game-destroying catastrophe. Read the rest of this entry »
Iain wrote this one.
I’ve been into parodies almost as long as I’ve known any kind of stories. 1066 and All That, with its Bad Kings and its Picts living in brackets, was practically my introduction to history. As a pre-teen I loved Red Dwarf for its play on science fiction ideas as much as the bawdy humour. It didn’t take me long to take the short trip from J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne McCaffrey’s fantasy novels to Terry Pratchett’s take-off’s (and Piers Anthony’s — this was by no means all a good thing). And I was familiar with enough pirate stories, text adventure games and installments of King’s Quest to love The Secret of Monkey Island‘s riffs on pirates and adventure games alike. Read the rest of this entry »