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I don't know why I keep doing this, since everyone's probably downloaded it and completed it by now, but I uploaded yet another version of 5 Days A Stranger (1.2). I guess I'm just too much of a perfectionist. Yup. Anyway, this time around I made a few more piddling little changes, hopefully improving the user-friendliness of the interface once again by incorporating a few hotkeys. Full list of changes is on the page. Go look! I suppose I could have been a bit more thorough with my beta testing, really.
What else was there? Oh yeah, the Friday article. Since everyone else at L&E was doing a quiz, I did one too.
A newer version (1.1) of 5 Days A Stranger has been uploaded. This one hopefully grinds that horrible swimming pool bug into the dirt once and for all. Also a handful of minor changes detailed on the page. For once in my life I took some comments on board; some people complained about the interface being fiddly, so I added verb buttons to the status line. Instead of having to press two mouse buttons to change the current verb, now you need only press one! Your workload cut in half at a stroke!
I had the song 'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder stuck in my head for about twenty-four hours, and that really teases my sprouts. You know when it plays over and over again in your head until you're biting furniture and you suddenly feel like you would stop at utterly nothing to hear it, up to and including committing the most dreadful crime a man can commit?
The most dreadful crime a man may commit is no longer poisoning another man's mind and inducing him to kill his own mother, that's old hat. It's been upgraded to 'downloading tracks with KaZaA'.
Unfortunately, every song I download with KaZaA these days suddenly sounds like it's being sung alternately in English and in what I can only presume is the Cyberman language. It seems the record industry legal weasels have gotten their ungodly claws into yet another filesharing utility. I was actually forced to go all the way down the library to hire out a Stevie Wonder Greatest Hits CD, just for the sake of hearing one bloody song. Of course, I did find an unexpected bonus in the form of 'For Once In My Life', but that is neither here nor there.
It was while I was standing in the queue waiting to pay 90p for a one-week rental, that I wondered if I really was just as big a bastard as the record industry is making me out to be. I'll use a filesharing utility for a little while before the record industry sniffer dogs track it down and rip out its jugular vein, then leap gleefully and without hesitation to another filesharing utility which they don't know about yet. First Napster, then AudioGalaxy, now KaZaA. They can cut off all the heads they like, the roots always remain.
As I inspected the smiling sunglasses-clad potato face of Stevie Wonder on the album cover, I wondered if I was really the villain in this piece of drama. It's true that I'm depriving musicians of income, as well as the tossers who make the packaging, manufacture the CD and sell it from the counters of brightly-coloured Virgin shops. I know how I'd feel if I was a record exec whose ten squillion pound paycheck was minus a few grand because of inconsiderate freeloaders.
Then I took a look around myself, and realised that I was in a library.
Why hasn't the publishing industry come down upon libraries? You can get hold of any book, old or new, and read it completely free of charge. Surely they must be depriving big book execs of trillions upon trillions of ten pound notes they could be using to fill their swimming pools. And let's not forget the poor authors who only take away 10% from each book sold, 15% of which goes to their literary agent. Why, it's enough to almost get me a little bit incensed.
I suppose when you rent books from a library you're renting books that maybe a hundred other people have had their grubby fingers all over, and by not paying we risk catching the dreaded Book Death, or turning a page and finding a large semen stain on a paragraph describing Philip Marlowe's latest flirtations with a leggy blonde. But in my library you have to pay to rent out videos and CDs, and you run the same risk with those.
Books, videos, CDs, computer games... they're all media, serving fundamentally the same purpose. Execs should either go the whole way or not at all. Either charge a fee for each time a book is hired out, or let us rent out everything for free. Double standards are so gay. Look at those Christian so-called fundamentalists who only enforce the bits in the bible that refer obliquely to homosexuals being evil, while turning a blind eye to the passages which condone murder upon women who wear too much make-up and children who take the piss out of bald men. Don't you think those guys are a bunch of pissfucks? Do you want to be a pissfuck?
Either go the whole hog or not at all. That's advice a lot of people should heed, especially George Bush. Look, Mr. President, just accept that you're evil and move on. Drop the 'we're still the good guys' act, it's getting annoying. Once you've come out of the closet as a despotic warmongering sadist, you can bomb the fuck out of innocent people as much as you like and you won't even have to justify yourself.
So, I heard an interesting story. Apparently Hollywood are going to make a film about the Battle of Britain, in which it was won by Americans. I truly wish fervently to a God I've never believed in that I'm making this up. But I am not. They've got Tom Cruise in mind for the lead role, I understand.
The Hollywood reinterpretation (read: bastardisation) of history for the benefit of America's colossal planet-devouring collective ego has reached new heights. It used to be a little amusing in its pettiness. Then it got irritating. Now it's become rather worrying. If we let their heads get any bigger they could well start causing a hazard to passing aircraft and influencing the tides.
It's bad enough that they make these films, but they could at least keep them to themselves. No, they actually sell them all over the world and expect us to look grateful. That's like taking a shit on someone's carpet, then picking it up and expecting them to eat it.
I don't think people realise how big a problem this could be. Let me explain. Thank you. About five hundred years from now, there'll be very little evidence of current modern history. Textual accounts will mostly be dust and all eyewitnesses will be long dead. There may, however, be a few DVDs of films like the wanktastic U-571 knocking around, having been mass produced and everything. In making these films we're allowing Hollywood to pervert the historical awareness of future generations. Am I really the only one who considers these things? The problem's already in operation. How many Americans would say that it was the Russian contribution that really turned over the outcome of World War 2?
So, apparently the Merkins are going to win the Battle of Britain for us, now. I think their problem is that they've never really had a conflict that would make a good film. They've never been the plucky underdog. It's hard to feel for the hot shot pilot when he's being backed up by eleventy billion of his fellows and five hundred tonnes of atomic bomb. They have no genuine plucky underdog stories, so they have to nick everyone else's.
Not that I think this is a bad thing. By all means, you're the most powerful country on Earth, help yourselves to all our favourite legendary battles. In fact, here are some more ideas for you to consider.
British troops - all of whom have thin moustaches, smoke pipes and use the word 'blimey' a lot - are being forced out of France by the occupying Nazi forces! It's up to American serviceman Jack Rugged (Bruce Willis) and his team of small American boats to get across the channel and rescue those poor hopeless limeys before they trip over their own teapots and shoot each other in the foot! Thrill as Jack brings hundreds of grateful Brits to safety, shoots an evil British commander secretly working for the Nazis, and kicks Hitler in the face while smoking big cigars and making hilarious wisecracks!
"SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC"
Plucky explorer Hank Scott (Brad Pitt) is out to prove something; he's going to get to the South Pole with his best pal Billy-Bob Oates (Matt Damon) in order to win the heart of his love Betty-Sue (Julia Roberts) and buy his very own pig farm in Louisiana! But he finds himself racing against some Dutch bloke (Jude Law)! Can he get there in time? Of course he can, you stupid fuck!
The evil Britons have amassed an enormous army with which to crush the innocent invading Roman forces! Led by the monstrous Queen Boudicea (Dame Judi Dench), who once kicked a puppy really hard, it seems that all hope is lost for the plucky Italians, until the unexpected appearance of a platoon of American soldiers, headed by a macho but sensitive guy with a heart of gold named Jesus Christ (Mel Gibson). Using his American street smarts, can Jesus and the Romans bring an end to the British tyranny once and for all? Let's cross our little fingers and hope so!
So yeah, 5 Days A Stranger. Someone told me about a bug wherein you can drain the pool before day 2, so I uploaded a newer version that fixes that. Any more you'd like to bring to my attention? I promise I won't bite your face off.
Just a quick update today to let you know that I've uploaded a little FAQ for people who are stuck and also too thick to work things out themselves. And here're a couple of other items of note, too.
1. By Some Extraordinary Coincidence, I have been informed that I have once again made it into print, this time mentioned along with AGS and Odysseus Kent in some magazine called Game Maker that I've never heard of. My legacy expands with each passing day! I just hope people don't flock here expecting to find me knocking out games regularly like some heavily pregnant sow.
2. I have a confession to make. During the early creation of 5 Days A Stranger, while I was still reacquainting myself with AGS and putting together walky sprites, I actually went to the AGS messageboard and posted once or twice under an assumed name when I needed a little help. I won't say what name I used, in order to engineer a destabilising situation of suspicion and distrust. Ha ha. No clues.
About a hundred million billion people have mailed me irately pointing out great steaming piles of inaccuracies in last week's thing about Australia being better than Britain. I would probably feel shame if I gave a toss anymore, but I don't, so I don't.
I got the LucasArts Entertainment Pack a few weeks ago. Mm-mm yummy! Four delicious slabs of manbeef adventure goodness. Why, it's so great to go back through the heady days of adventure history and catch up on old times. It almost makes me want to make...
...oh, crap, it happened again.
Yes, I wrote another adventure game. I've been working on it for a few weeks, which explains why Angular Mike has been absent and my updates have been generally shit. And in a bold move, this one ISN'T a comedy. It's called 5 Days A Stranger and I made a page for it here.
I'm not going to make excuses, nor am I going to embarrass myself and say "This is absolutely the last adventure game I ever make, honest". I guess I can't turn my back on AGS permanently. It's just, you know, sometimes I get the urge to make a game so I make one. They're pretty rare instances and making games just takes up too much time, so don't expect any more anytime soon. Since I'm leaving the country next month it's a pretty safe bet not to expect any more ever, but I've been wrong before.
That's it, I'm off. Play the game. Have fun. I'm thirsty.
material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw