Archive for the ‘Macintosh’ Category

Pipe Dream

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Pipe Dream (a.k.a. Pipe Mania, or about a thousand different clones), I’m constantly surprised that more people haven’t heard of it.

Pipe Dream is a puzzle game that does away with the standard ’sort things and make them disappear’, and instead has you creating a network of pipes from random pieces to contain the flow of a mystery liquid. What the liquid is changes in each incarnation, but it really doesn’t matter what it is.

The liquid will start flowing shortly after the stage starts, with the length of this initial delay diminishing as the levels progress. Depending on the version and the level, you will have one or two goals to achieve: make the liquid flow through a certain number of pipes, and make the liquid flow through a certain number of pipes while making it to the end pipe.

It sounds easy enough, but you can quickly start to panic as you realize that the liquid is slowly but surely progressing and you aren’t getting the piece you need to connect the two halves of your pipe network.

Not that that’s ever happened to me.


Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

About a week ago I found out that Shadowgate started life as a game for the Macintosh. I was probably unaware of this since I never actually owned a Mac or used one for more than about an hour. Shadowgate is one of those games that I saw in just about every NES video game guide. The game seemed to be at least marginally interesting. Shadowgate is a point-and-click adventure, which is really just one step up from a text adventure, and all that means is that instead of just getting a description of the room you’re in, you get a description of the room you’re in and a picture of the room you’re in. A picture you can poke, prod, and explore.

Shadowgate tasks you, some guy whose name I forget, to enter some wizard’s castle, whose name I also forget, to solve puzzles in a precise sequence to simultaneously prevent him from summoning some crazy netherworld beastie and become king of the land. And trust me, when I say precise sequence, I mean precise sequence. More often than not, if you do the wrong thing then you = dead, which makes the game slightly more frustrating. Try to get the dragon’s treasure without having a shield = you dead. Break the wrong mirror (there are three) = you dead. Go through a trap door without tieing off a rope to lower yourself down = you dead. Don’t have the mundane item that’s the answer to the obtuse riddle the sphinx-lady gives you = you dead. You let your torch go out = you dead.

You die. A lot.

That’s partially understandable, if you didn’t die and restart from your last save so often, the game wouldn’t seem very long. The constant deaths and restarting the game increased replayability at the cost of broken controllers and sleepless nights spent wondering what to put in Bottle 3.

Knowing all of this, I still wanted to give the game a try, but to this day I’ve never seen the NES incarnation ‘in the wild’. Fortunately, a Game Boy Color port (Shadowgate Classic) was released some years after the NES faded into history. I played it almost constantly for about a week, trying to catch up on the several year old story, before the puzzles became too obtuse for me to solve without resorting to online assistance.

Was it everything that I psyched myself up to believe it was? No, not really. Was it a good game? Up until the part where the clues range from non-helpful to nonexistent, then it became slightly annoying. But I was too invested to put the game down, so I hinted my way through the last 5% or so of the game. It was worth it.