By Sentient
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #6


This is another low-priced Quilled game, just going to show that nowadays you needn't rob a dragon's hoard in order to buy yourself an adventure.

From its description, this one seems not only quite original, but also rather topical as far as computer games go, since it puts you in the shows of a journalist in search of 'exclusive' stories - haven't we heard a lot about that word recently!

You start the day, as most days, in a comfy double bed, with the place next to you still warm (some people have all the luck - my fern mattress isn't all a bed of roses). What next? I tried 'getting up' which I couldn't do. I tried then to move in all four directions of the compass, UP and, in desperation, DOWN. I was told each time that I couldn't. Ho hum, it was going to be that sort of games. By this time the location description had scrolled off screen so I typed LOOK to see if I had missed anything. I was then told ... wait for it ... that I couldn't. I was flabbergasted. That simple, most basic command in the history of adventuring and I couldn't do it! And don't forget, this adventure has been quilled too! Bah!


I decided to quit and start again. After being asked whether I was going down the pub or whether I wanted another game I restarted. The location description was read thoroughly several times over to see whether I might be missing something important. The only thing I could really see of interest was the alarm clock, so I EXAMined it and was told that it was 7:45 am and that I'd broken it when I'd been aroused. I wasn't surprised either! When I went to TAKE it the prompt reply was 'you can't'. Oh well, this is to be expected I suppose.

I decided to EXAMine the furniture to see whether I could glean any clues on how to get up from the bed and leave the room. Honestly, if a day in the life of an average journalist started like this then no periodicals would ever be published, and the word 'exclusive' could well have been lost to humanity. Anyway, I commenced with the wardrobe and was informed that it had two doors and a drawer underneath. I tried to OPEN them all, but I was told I couldn't. So I tried to BREAK them ... I can't. Right, I thought EXAMine them ... can't.

I'd started getting pretty desperate by now so I though I'd try the bedside cupboard and the chest of drawers. Guess what? You can't do anything to those either - you can't examine them, break them or open them or anything else I could possibly think of. Now what was I, White Wizard adventurer par excellence, supposed to do? In desperation I decided to contact Sentient themselves ...


'It's all quite simple,' they said, 'just leave the room'. They also gave me a few more clues to allow me to get into the game. Thank goodness for that, I thought I'd go mad! A puzzle like that can be quite amusing once you have discovered the solution, but also extremely frustrating. If a situation begins with you stretched out in bed, surely it would have been more usual to have left the room by first getting up off the bed?

But having done so, I found myself on the landing. Three rooms were in front of me and there were some stairs. I now knew that I'd have to complete all the tasks upstairs before going downstairs, so I typed ENTER BATHROOM. The effect of this command was to lead me straight there. I pondered over this for a moment. There had been no mention of a bathroom in the previous location's description! Does this mean the programmer expects the hapless adventurer to guess his way into the next location?

Once in the bathroom I cleaned my teeth, had a shave and a wash (plenty of 'guess which words allow you to do the action' fun and games here I can say). After that it was back to the bedroom where I could now open the wardrobe and get some clothes. This seems faintly ridiculous, why couldn't I get them in the first place? Or is it that Sentient are trying to ensure their adventurers are always suitably clean before donning their apparel? Once I've done this I started to delve deeper into the game, but that only because I had been told just about everything. For an innocent adventurer it's just too much, you never stand a chance of getting anywhere.

There are no real problems so to speak, and the game is made difficult because the vocabulary is limited to only a tiny amount of words. If it had a bigger vocabulary then even the most stupid Orc could finish it in only one or two goes. I can't really recommend Scoop! to anyone apart from those who like playing 'guess the word', and even with its cheap price tag it's just not worth the money.

The White Wizard

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