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Greek School Adventure - Spoilers inside.  Maybe.

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Postby revgiblet » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:09 pm

Greek School Adventure by Dan McCurdy

After prompting and prodding from other forum members I've decided to post a review of Greek School Adventure, a recent new download on the site.

Greek School Adventure casts the player as a seminary student at Columbia Theological School tasked with the noble quest of attempting to pass their Greek class. It's the author's first game and he has clearly taken more care than most new authors. This is good.

In some ways I'm the ideal audience for this game. As a (currently ex) minister myself I will be one of the few people who might stand a chance of getting the 'in-jokes' mentioned by the author. The Baptist ministerial training process in the UK is clearly different from the Presbyterian US system, but who cares. It's all the same right? Except I managed to get all the way through my training without taking any Greek classes. All this aside, I'm the perfect person to play Greek School Adventure. No, really. I am.

I ran into problems right away with the game. The player begins in a darkened room and so begins the "switch the light on" puzzle. Except "switch the light on" doesn't work. Neither does "turn light on". However, "turn on light" does. I didn't need to turn the light on at first though, as the author didn't disable 'auto-complete' so I was able to raid the contents of my room by typing letters and seeing what nouns were automatically completed for me. That is exactly why I always disable 'auto-complete'.

Having got dressed, brushed my teeth (which is good for holiness apparently), picked up and read the note that had been slid under my door and wondered out of the room I was at a loss what to do next. So I ambled around the seminary for a while just looking at stuff until I got totally stumped and quit the game.

The map is apparently an attempt at realistically modeling the seminary site, and that's to be commended, but it creates a sense of aimlessness (my spell-check tells me that that is an actual word). As a sandbox playground it's a fine piece of work. As a game I found myself lacking direction. This wasn't helped by the lack of coherent conversation that the NPCs offered.

By far the most traumatic moment for me came when I found a copy of John Calvin's 'Institutes of the Christian Religion' and wasn't able to read it. Or take it. Or interact with it at all. I'm still shuddering just thinking about it.

On the plus side, the writing was of above average quality and I got the definite sense that there was an enjoyable game hiding there somewhere. Maybe it's my sympathies with the environment that the author has tried to create, but I had a good time wondering around and exploring every nook and cranny. However, one can only go on for so long without a sense of purpose.

All in all, as a first game Greek School Adventure shows plenty of promise and humour. I think that in this case 'less is more' and if Dan can provide a smaller map, more focus and fix up some of the bugs then he'll have written one of the best 'first-time-author' games that I've played in a long time. I'll await an updated version.
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Postby Dannymac247 » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:03 pm

You see, this is exactly the kind of imput I need. Thanks.

I completely forgot about the institutes... I think I put them in late one night with an idea for a random collect item and then never did anything with it afterwards. Oops. I'll work on that.

The "switch light on" phrasing quite honestly never occurred to me. I turn on lights, I do not switch them. Good to add that the phrasing, then.

There are also several instances where I may be asking too much of asterisks in the parser, making some tasks quite difficult to perform as the only command that works is one of the more unique phrasings that i threw in off the top of my head.

There actually IS a straightforward plotline hidden somewhere in this game, one that I thought was fairly straightforward. I'll have to look into ways to make it more so.

Thanks for the info... I'll keep working on it!
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Postby revgiblet » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:24 am

I've found one of the problems is that IF tends to be a cross-cultural hobby and sometimes Europeans and Americans phrase things differently from each other. Which can be annoying.

I remember reading a review of one ADRIFT game where the reviewer (an American) found it absurd that the player would have a washing machine in his kitchen (a very common state of affairs in the UK).

Tomato / tomato and all that.

(That doesn't work when you write it)
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Postby ralphmerridew » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:36 pm

By "washing machine", does that mean "thing used to wash dishes" or "thing used to wash clothing"?
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Postby J. J. Guest » Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:14 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:By "washing machine", does that mean "thing used to wash dishes" or "thing used to wash clothing"?

"thing used to wash clothing". Mine is in the kitchen.
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Postby DungeonFrog » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:06 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:By "washing machine", does that mean "thing used to wash dishes" or "thing used to wash clothing"?

Both :p
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Postby revgiblet » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:08 pm

'Dishwasher' for dishes, 'Washing machine' for clothes.
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