Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Game 471: Mechanical Anarchy (1993)

That's a disturbing robot.
     
Mechanical Anarchy
United States
Independently developed and published as shareware
Released in 1993 for Macintosh
Date Started: 28 October 2022
Date Ended: 29 October 2022
Total Hours: 3
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (3.5/5)
Final Rating: (to come later)
Ranking at Time of Posting: (to come later)
    
Mechanical Anarchy is a shareware game for the Mac made by a couple of teenagers from Glendale. It does the job expected by a game of such description, which is to provide something mildly entertaining to do for a couple of hours while we're waiting to die. It is the creation of brothers Spencer (16) and Warren Lee (13). They developed it using SuperCard (a development environment for Macs.) They asked $10 for it.
  
The game claims to be set in a dystopian future in which humans, their every need catered to by robots, have devolved to a primitive state. And the robots have rebelled. Honestly, neither part is entirely clear in the sometimes-awkward text. It doesn't really matter, as the game world doesn't really reflect the story.
        
No robot shall ever competently play and write about RPGs.
      
You play a robot in the employ of a character called "the professor." The professor is worried that you'll short-circuit like the other robots, so he sends you on a quest to "contact your maker to find any viruses or flaws in your system." You start at Level 1 with no experience, no inventory, 25 hit points, 5 strength, and 5 defense.
        
The professor's house.
      
Control is entirely via the mouse except for movement, which uses the numberpad, and the "Attack" command, which uses the "5" key on the numberpad. The rest of the commands are clicked on screen; some work for the environment, some for inventory. The game was developed in black and white; some emulators show some of the buttons in color, but that seems to be an accident. Movement through the game is excruciatingly slow. Fortunately, Mini vMac supports speed scaling; I played at 16x for most of the game.
 
The professor's house is a single-screen indoor area. Once you exit, you're in a 24-screen outdoor maze, six screens across and four screens vertical. This tiny game world nonetheless wraps around on itself. Your goal is to make your way to the center of the maze, but that involves solving a variety of mini quests first. 
      
The game world except for the final screen, which I forgot to screen-capture.
     
As you explore the outdoor environment, you occasionally run into a combat. You don't see enemies in the environment; instead, the game seems to offer a small probability of combat every time you step in a new square. Combat takes you to a little arena based on the surrounding terrain. As far as I can tell, there's no way to flee combat. You fight until you win or die.
       
I'll bet that sentence has never been written before or since.
       
The bad news is, you die a lot. The game introduces new monsters every time you level up, and the highest level monsters are usually capable of tearing you apart in one or two combats. The good news is, when you die you return to the professor's house, all your inventory intact, and he heals you. Thus, you spend most of the game exiting the professor's house and hoping you make it to your intended destination before some demon destroys you. To offer some mild assistance, there are a couple of wells and at least one other NPC that fully heal you, plus some NPCs give you gas cans, which act as "full healing" potions.
    
Progress through the game is "gated" like this.
     
Yes, I mentioned demons. The game's monster list doesn't really reflect its backstory. From easiest to hardest, the list of enemies seems to go slimes, humans, murfs, elves, mutating oozes, radioactive slimes, mages, demons, wizards, droids, devils, mutants, samurais, ninjas, and armed guards. The hardest part of the game is when demons and wizards start to appear around Level 7. Around Level 11, I think, new enemies stop appearing, you find better equipment, and the endgame is a bit easier.
      
The message you get every time you die.
      
You get experience (somewhat randomized) for each successful combat. The thresholds you need to level up are also randomized. In my winning game, for instance, I had to earn 9 experience points to go from Levels 3 to 4 (27-36), but only 4 to go from Levels 4 to 5 (36-40). Generally speaking, the requirements increase as you level up, but so do the rewards, so it's rarely more than four or five combats between levels.

Acquisition of weapons and armor is another way you can get stronger, but there aren't many of them in the game, and some of them are weird. A rose bush is a weapon worth 5 points, for instance. A thimble is a defensive item worth 10 points. A cactus lets you attack for 15 points. 
       
The best weapon for a robot is clearly a sword.
        
The maze has a couple of NPCs and about half a dozen houses and other structures that you can enter, most of which have their own NPCs. The largest of the structures has maybe six screens on a couple of different floors. To get to the endgame, you must:
   
  • From a house east of the professor's, get a strange coin. ("The date on it says 1996. This thing's really old.")
  • Fight an NPC at a dead end in the woods and loot the skeleton key from his or her body.
       
You don't have a lot of faith in your combat abilities, do you?
      
  • Kill a warlock in his house and loot the golden key from his body.
  • From NPCs behind the doors unlocked by the two keys, get a needle, thimble, and thread.
  • Find the tailor and give him the needle, thimble, and thread so he can make you a cloak (the strange coin serves as a cloak pin) worth 25 for your armor class.
       
'Cause what's a robot without a cloak?
     
  • Return to the professor, who says he'll open the gates to the castle to the north.
      
You could have done that all along?
     
  • Enter the castle. Get a sword from an NPC there, the best weapon in the game. Find and push a lever. This de-activates a force field between two pillars on a screen east of the professor's.
      
It sounds like the game is trying to trick me through flattery.
       
  • Go through the pillars, find a house, talk to the NPC inside, and get the endgame texts.

In doing all of this, I never found a legitimate use for "Jump." If you jump in either of the wells, you immediately die.
     
The person in the final house has a long monologue:
    
It's you, my creation! I am very proud. [Something I missed, but the gist of it was that although he or she "created" me, he or she did not program me.] The professor, your master, is the one who did the work. He programmed robots like you that like to take charge. But he can't be blamed because of a principle called human error. The professor made robots with more human features such as conscience. This made his robots even more powerful. This is what gives you your power. The only thing left to do now is stop. Just give up. Stop the war. Oh sure, wars will keep going on, but not with the robots. Because war comes from human pride, the only thing we can't program. So now, return in peace unto the professor, your master. 
        
Where did you "create" me? On your dining room table?
     
The game automatically sends you back to the professor's house. He simply says: "So, now you know the truth. You have done well in finding it, indeed." This is followed by a "THE END" screen.
        
You could have just told me.
      
The story doesn’t make a lot of sense—the developers seemed to be going for some kind of twist ending in a game that doesn’t have the narrative complexity to support it. But this isn’t the sort of game that you play for the story. Anarchy is at least competently programmed. I didn’t run into any bugs; the sub-quests flow easily from one to the other; the commands work sensibly; and the authors took time to add some touches like an “Inspect” button that almost always produces a description of what you’re holding or what you’re facing.
        
According to Spencer Lee, you can take "brown stuff" from the toilet and equip it as armor. You would never guess this game was programmed by teenagers.
     
GIMLET? Let's say 11. It gets 1s across the board except for "Gameplay," which gets a 2 for knowing how long a game this limited content deserves.
    
I reached out to Spencer Lee a few days ago, and he responded with enthusiasm, grateful that someone had dredged up the memory of this 30-year-old endeavor. He related that he, his brother, and a mutual friend learned HyperCard in the late 1980s. The disadvantage to HyperCard was that it required the application to run any game based on it. SuperCard could create standalone programs, so they convinced their friend's parents to purchase it, then did most of their programming at their friend's house. Lee says that they started and left unfinished a large number of RPGs with titles like Prehistoric Wrath Master and Castle Quest. They also tried their hands at action games and a pinball game. Anarchy was the first they were able to finish, with Spencer writing the program and Warren designing the graphics. Their primary inspirations were console games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, reflected in the use of slimes as the weakest enemies. He also notes that they "accidentally landed on the same aesthetic disparity that many Japanese games had when they came out in the west: cute characters on screen, ugly 'tough' looking characters on the game box."
     
The brothers submitted Anarchy to a shareware collection and were accepted. Later, they offered it on eWorld, an online service run by Apple from 1994 to 1996. They created a strategy guide with maps and clues and mailed it to the few people who actually sent the shareware fee.
  
We owe our thanks to commenter Teegan for recovering Mechanical Anarchy from obscurity. He's related in a few comments how he played it as a child and spent years trying to find it before discovering it on a compilation CD from MacAddict magazine. [Ed. My apologies for assuming Teegan's gender. Teegan is a "she."] This does not seem to be the original shareware CD that Lee mentioned, but rather a later disk that used the version the Lees posted to eWorld. The ReadMe file that accompanied Teegan's version was clearly written around 1994 or 1995, and the game lacks a bug that the Lees fixed after the original release.
     
Another title from the Lee brothers.
   
Lee says that the brothers continued to develop shareware, including a version of Connect Four called Super Connecto and a compilation called the Larry Larvae Activity Set, which offered a variety of minigames. By this time, the Lees were calling their enterprise SilverWare.
   
Thanks to Teegan and Mr. Lee for the reminder that behind even the simplest games are interesting stories.
   
My coverage of BloodNet starts next; make sure you also check out the Adventurers' Guild for complementary coverage from an adventure gamer's perspective. Initial entries this Thursday!


53 comments:

  1. The first thing I thought of when I saw that title screen was that the mascot from the Major League movie poster had really fallen on hard times.

    I wonder if sending robots on pointlessly long fetch quests in lieu of simple explanations was what started the uprising in the first place?

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    1. I had forgotten about Major League. I think there must be some influence there.

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    2. Sorry, no conscious Major League inspiration…was just trying to make the robot look tough. I’d like to think that was a bit tongue in cheek (like the weapon names rose bush, cactus and even the culmination in just plain SWORD intentionally were), but I don’t remember. Probably not.

      I‘m pretty sure the sprite design came fist, though…and the Mohawk was a late stage design decision—we didn’t START with a “cool” Mohawk robot, ha—as a solution to the problem that it was difficult to tell which direction the character sprite was facing. We tried a hat, hair, then landed on a mohawk…the only solution where it was still clearly a robot. Then we drew the TOUGH version on pen and paper, used a handheld scanner, and created the mess you now see.

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    3. I just wanted to mention that my kids are the same age as what you and your brother were then, and I would be proud if they were to make such a solid little game (I'm proud for other reasons of course, but this would be something extra!).

      If you don't me asking, how long do you think it took from design to completion? And was it hard for you (and especially a younger brother) to stay focussed on this project? I know I would have been too busy playing video games as opposed to making them...

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    4. Ha, well in general it WAS tough for us to focus long enough to finish a project–we made many many more beginnings of games than completed ones, after all.

      If I remember correctly, this game was made, start to finish, in the span of 3 or 4 sleepovers at our friend's house. Some of those sleepovers might have been 2-nighters, so basically somewhere between 5-10 days.

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    5. Little brother chiming in here in reply to Anonymous. I feel it's worth mentioning that our parents were far from supportive of our projects and likely have no idea that we ever made this game. This was one of our various forms of teenage rebellion against our stodgy mormon parents.

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    6. Thanks so much for visiting, Warren. It's all the more impressive that you two managed to program and release this game in secret. What did your parents think when $10 checks started arriving at your house?

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    7. Well, there weren't that many checks, ha (I believe only 4 or 5)...but really it's not that they were against our programming endeavor, per se, but I think they just didn't get it. I tried to get my dad to try Mechanical Anarchy, and I think he lasted 2 minutes before excusing himself; but with Super Connecto, he actually played a few complete games with me, since the real-world board game connection made it something he understood.

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  2. Hmm, I might be misremembering or have missed them - and I'm sure other commenters will then point those out -, but I can't recall many CRPGs on the blog so far, in which the 'hero' / player character isn't a humanoid or some other 'sentient lifeform' (ok, including gods and similar 'beings', I think, and I probably just triggered a discussion on 'sentient'), but a mechanical entity.

    Sure, in other games the main 'character' is a spaceship or car and in e.g. 'Captive' your party / team consisted of androids. But it seems there was always someone behind or inside them at the controls. Here, the robot gets a task, but then, at least within the game world, appears to (be supposed to) be moving and acting 'autonomously' - within the boundaries of its programming.

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  3. I’m the ex-teenager who made this game with his brother. Just want to jump in and say what a thrill it is to have this game unearthed (even if it doesn’t bring much joy…ha). Thanks to Seth for featuring it and slogging his way through it. The last couple days have been a really fun trip…my brother and I have been reminiscing quite a bit about that time as a result.

    And also thanks to Teegan for searching for it and unearthing…I am very interested in your experience with the game (saw a couple of your other comments where you talk about loving it as a kid and coming to your senses later), as I was only aware of 4 or 5 people who had ever played it, based on the few pieces of snailmail (and checks!!!!) we got at the time.

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    1. Fellow HyperCard enthusiast here - I also made my first game in that program! Wish I’d known about SuperCard at the time as I would definitely have been making RPGs!

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    2. Ha, well…SuperCard was a big upgrade from HyperCard, but it was still built for the same purposes: creating a stack of pages that you can navigate between. Not so great for RPGs, or games in general, as proven by our example. While it WAS fun to push the program in small ways, we were just working with what we knew and had; I don’t weren’t aware of other programming languages even existing.

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    3. Oof, good job on that last sentence, me. (*I don’t think we were aware…)

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    4. Knowing how people are, if 4 or 5 of them sent a check, probably 100 times as many have played it at least briefly.

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    5. Thanks again for responding to my inquiry, Spencer. No matter what the game, it always enhances my coverage to hear from the author.

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    6. Oh, and in case anyone else is concerned (I received a couple of offline emails about that), Mr. Lee did not accidentally reveal my real name in his comment. He just made a typo for "Chet."

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    7. As someone who also tried my hand at making shareware RPGs at that age, I'm impressed by how coherent and complete it seems to be. I can't imagine how I'd feel if somebody dug up one of those old things decades later. I feel like both congratulations and condolences are in order!

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    8. Just a note that Spencer might have innocently revealed the cprg addict's actual first name in the original post above. If that's the case, it might be a good idea to delete the post.

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    9. Oops... Apparently, in between whem I loaded the page and wrote that comment, Chet posted about the name thing! Apologies all around.

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    10. Apologies for my Chet/Seth typo! But to triple-verify, it was just a typo/autocorrect…I do not know Chet’s real name…

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    11. AlphabeticalAnonymousNovember 1, 2022 at 2:13 PM

      Well, now we know that he isn't Seth. A few more hundred typos like this one, and the possibilities should be narrowed down substantially.

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    12. It would have really surprised me if Chet and a popular YouTube game reviewer by the name of Seth were the same person, due to how very different their styles are! :p

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    13. "My real name is not Seth - it was just a typo."

      Sounds exactly like what an incognito person actually named Seth would say...

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    14. Or his real name is an anagram of Seth... Hest

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    15. Hi Spencer!

      So, here's my tale, and I apologize for disregarding brevity: I was weirdly obsessed with Mechanical Anarchy as a single digit old kid in the nineties. As a HyperCard enthusiast, I suspected that it was made with HyperCard or some equivalent, especially when I accidentally leapt forward a couple "cards" by hitting the wrong keypress (I guess you forgot to lock that down). Later, I discovered it was SuperCard using ResEdit.

      I was always trying to make my own RPG, but never completed my projects. MA was kind of my benchmark for what I wanted to achieve (although I wanted to do something with a slightly less insane difficulty curve). I found the framing story and setting super cool, and my brother and I repeatedly tried to beat it without any luck, always crashing about when the demons started jumping out. Still, we were pretty mesmerized.

      I lost the MacAddict CD it was on at some point, and I couldn't find the game online anywhere. Up until a couple years ago, I would peruse the internet randomly to try and find a copy for nostalgia's sake. Finally, only recently, I realized that a lot of these old Mac CD based magazines were archived on archive.org, and after going through a few that I thought might be the same, I finally found it. It felt like a wormhole opened up to 1996. It was the culmination of almost two decades of fruitless searching, for a game that two teenagers made in SuperCard. I know, crazy, right? Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

      And you know what, the fact that Chet reviewed it, the fact that the creator is right here in this comments section...it's really all been worth the search. Mac games like this were a huge part of my youth. I used to spend hours downloading and playing random homemade amateur projects, and occasionally trying to make my own.

      I'm just very pleased to have made this modern connection to a happy time in my childhood like this. I know it seems silly that I'm making a big ol hoopla over what could be considered trivial, but it does mean a lot to me! So, thank you for your contribution to Mac gaming, Spencer, and thank you Chester for writing a good piece on it.

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    16. (Oh, random detail, not particularly important: I'm a woman!)

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    17. Some other brief thoughts on the game:

      I always wished there was more to combat than just walking up to the enemy and smashing it until someone died. I repeatedly would try other commands to no avail. I think I hit many different keys in the hope I would unearth a new move or something. I think this is what led to me knocking down the SuperCard facade and leaping through "cards."

      I also should have realized teenagers made the game, what with the "brown stuff."

      Speaking of SuperCard, I always wanted a copy of the software, but it was way out of my allowance budget. 😂 We had HyperCard, but as you probably know, HyperCard was already pretty obsolete by the mid nineties, color support being a complete mess, very slow, not even worth bothering with. There were some color add-ons you could get, some XCMDs that would add some color functionality, but by the time I got to that point, I had discovered C and BASIC. I used to wish kids today had things like HyperCard, but technically, they kind of do--Twine being a great example of a card based authoring suite with a scripting language, more or less.

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    18. "I'm just very pleased to have made this modern connection to a happy time in my childhood like this. I know it seems silly that I'm making a big ol hoopla over what could be considered trivial, but it does mean a lot to me! So, thank you for your contribution to Mac gaming, Spencer, and thank you Chester for writing a good piece on it."

      It doesn't seem silly to me at all, as I'm right there with you: the last few days have been an absolute treat for me, bringing back wonderful memories, and just imagining how thrilled 16-year-old me would have been. Learning there was somebody out there who had that kind of connection to our game is just such a lovely out-of-nowhere surprise.

      About 10 years ago or so, I googled the game for the first time, curious if it existed anywhere online, to find just one result, a forum post from ~2000 from somebody asking if anybody knew where they could find the "classic Mac game Mechanical Anarchy" (I'm guessing that was your post). At the time, I figured a reply would get lost since the post was so old, but was just really happy and surprised to see the word "classic" next to our game. I shared that post with my brother and Will (the other member of our programming sleepover group), and enjoyed that moment as well, but figured that was the end of the story.

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    19. "I always wished there was more to combat than just walking up to the enemy and smashing it until someone died."

      We did, too! We tried and tried, but could never program decent AI. It was one of the central challenges, iterating on a battle system with each new game, as that was key to whether we felt like the game could be FUN (although at that age we had a looser definition after being brought up on some really punishing NES games, ha). Our big accomplishment with MA was that it was our first time having an enemy be even smart enough to walk towards you, although, as you point out, that is the only thing they were capable of.

      Besides our own programming failings, I think this was also a limitation of SuperCard, as the program would really chug when scripts became too long. Even still, we were happy to have the program (and only lucky enough to because Will's parents were very supportive in what we were doing).

      And also thank you for reminding me of ResEdit! We used it the same way, trying to figure out tricks projects other people had made. I had completely forgotten all about that.

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    20. "Oh, random detail, not particularly important: I'm a woman!"

      My apologies, Teegan. I've got no excuse on that one. I assumed gender.

      "And you know what, the fact that Chet reviewed it, the fact that the creator is right here in this comments section...it's really all been worth the search." See ? How can you not be romantic about RPGs?

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    21. Thanks again everyone! This has been a real treat. I need to talk to my brother about this, myself, he will be amused, if he even remembers!

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    22. Oh, and also, as a side note: that WAS my forum post asking for a copy of Mechanical Anarchy. Someone did email me a .sit file with a folder named Mechanical Anarchy, but it was an empty folder. Maybe their idea of a joke. 😂 The search continued.

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    23. "I can't imagine how I'd feel if somebody dug up one of those old things decades later. I feel like both congratulations and condolences are in order!"

      Ha, yeah... day late and a dollar short indeed. But as Spencer pointed out, it's given us an unexpected and quite trippy ride down memory lane.

      We had pretty much zero feedback once we put it out there, so this is a pleasant surprise. And the fact that anyone would go to the trouble to run it on an emulator is beyond me - the two nerdy brothers who made it haven't even gone to that extreme.

      Mechanical Anarchy was mostly Spencer's thing but I did the graphics, and I'm fairly certain our friend Will worked on it as well, although I don't know in what capacity or why he isn't credited.

      This was the one that we finished, but there were dozens of other games which we poured countless hours into, abandoning them once we got in over our heads with the code and the limitations of hypercard. I wish some of the others existed in some form. There were some real goofy concepts at play!

      As I recall, fairly shortly after finishing MA, we threw in the towel with designing games, and making music on our recently acquired four track cassette recorder became the next fixation. I stuck with the music, but sadly, game development was left in the dust :(

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    24. Oh, and to commenter Teegan:
      thanks so much for your comments here. It's been really fun hearing that someone gave a shit about this thing we made as kids. If we had known that someone was mildly captivated by our game back then, we would have been over the moon.
      I've had similar experiences revisiting old media that haunted me as a child only to find it fairly one dimensional, but there's usually an undeniable strangeness that pulled me in in the first place, and I can often still understand why I might have been pleasantly bemused by a thing.

      I'm glad we might have offered a bit of that strangeness to the world in this tiny way :-)

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  4. Anarchy is at least competently programmed. I didn’t run into any bugs; the sub-quests flow easily from one to the other; the commands work sensibly; and the authors took time to add some touches like an “Inspect” button that almost always produces a description of what you’re holding or what you’re facing.

    That's what I like. A game that works. Especially the Inspect button working. It's usually one of those features that works for the first 30 minutes of the game and then they forget about it and it doesn't work thereafter. Immensely frustrating, especially considering the trivial effort it takes to write a sentence.

    I'd rather have a working game with minimal story than a rich story attached to a buggy, unfinishable game with baffling puzzles and subquests that the developers never completed.

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    1. Agreed.

      "especially considering the trivial effort it takes to write a sentence"
      I think this is where things usually went wrong for small development teams: there are many things that are trivial to implement, but if the game is too large the little tasks add up to something that's too big to program. Limiting the scope is the solution then, but I suppose most people prefer to create large scale adventures. Especially in a time when game development wasn't yet soothing you could learn in class.

      +1 for the developers to get this right.

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  5. "No robot shall ever competently play and write about RPGs."

    But that's not what machines are made for! They were made to compute, to count!

    "Once you exit, you're in a 24-screen outdoor maze, six screens across and three screens vertical."

    My point exactly!

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    1. Tee-hee! Good one...

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    2. That post. I'm giggling like a schoolgirl now.

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  6. "...provide something mildly entertaining to do for a couple of hours while we're waiting to die."

    Look at this, folks, he's starting to sneak some existentialism into the blog ;)

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    1. That may be what the robot on this game thought about the quest too

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    2. Marvin the Paranoid Android

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  7. Incredibly nerdy post about some emulators showing colors and some not for the buttons:

    The original Macintosh QuickDraw for reasons I didn't understand then or now actually had 8 colors defined in the API and you could instruct it to draw on screen in any of those colors. Every Macintosh that had it, though, only had monochrome monitors, so no matter what color you picked, you got black or white. (When they introduced the Mac II it had a completely new version of QuickDraw that supported 256 colors, not just 8.)

    My guess, as a person who was also a curious youth with a Mac at the time, is the developers were playing around with the 8 defined colors and set them on the buttons-- a sensible emulator would ignore that, since the actual Mac did, but I could definitely see an emulator deciding to "correctly" draw the color.

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    1. I appreciate the additional information! I didn't quite understand why that would have been happening.

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    2. The 8 original QuickDraw colours allowed for colour printers to be used with the B&W machine in a somewhat useful way.

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    3. I appreciate your post, which might have some clue to the real explanation as to why some emulators show color in the buttons. We made this game in strictly black and white, even though we were working on a color Mac. This was in order to save precious disk space…after the 400kb required to build your SuperCard doc into a standalone application, you were only left with 1mb if you wanted to fit it on a diskette (which was essential, as snailmail was our only distribution option).

      We’d built some of our earlier attempted RPGs in color (from my memory it was 16 at first, then 256 shortly after—though I’m inclined to trust your “8”) with full screen bitmap graphics for the overworld screens and for the large character sprite. We would run out of disk space after only 4 or 5 overworld screens and realize the game would be impossible to finish. If we had figured out how to chain multiple disks together while keeping the player’s stats/data, this blog post would instead be about “The Prehistoric Wrath Master 3” (the game would have also been trash, but that title…)

      So, with MechA, we shrunk our play window down, decided to utilize icons rather than bmap graphics, which were a fraction of the file size…but were also only in b/w at that time.

      I don’t recall adding any color to our other windows…we were definitely on a 256 color Mac by that point, and knowing us we would 100% have added color to the drawing of the punk rock robot in the about screen…pretty sure we made a conscious decision to keep everything monochrome.

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  8. While I continue to be impressed by what teenagers are able to achieve with limited tools and time, I also hope that there aren't too many more shareware-bundle games on the master list.

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  9. My recollection of Blood Net is that it's a nightmare. I wish you the best of luck with it.

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  10. This is a secret 'how not to do it' for future robot overlords. Makes sense.

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  11. Even if they're usually not very good, its always neat seeing Macintosh exclusives. You never know what you're going to get, whereas DOS or even Amiga ones tend to follow along certain lines.

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  12. The comments on this game have made my day, showing the power of this blog in reuniting people over long-ago shared nostalgia, no matter how trivial.

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    1. agreed! as one of the authors of the game, it's been fun to wax nostalgic. We had some good times attempting to put a game out into the world. Even though it's not a fun game per se, it's really great to finally hear from some people who tried it out.

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  13. I see you're getting closer to Betrayal at Krondor (1993). I can't wait until you start writing about it, it's one of these games me and my brother will remember forever. Story, music (!), combat, everything is great. You're in for a treat.

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I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters. I will delete comments containing profanity on a case-by-case basis.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.