The Boggit

Author: The White Wizard
Publisher: CRL
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #17

The Boggit

Funny, isn't it - I bet Ocean spent thousands and thousands of pounds on developing Hunchback - and it'll cost you about a tenner. Then along come Delta 4 and, with the (free) aid of the Quill, they write a game that they sell for £7.95. Now is that daylight robbery, or is it not?

Nossir! 'Tis not! For this tale of Bimbo the Boggit and his valiant encounter with Daug, his wanderings with Grandalf and Thorny, is full of wit, invention, and sheer rudery. I can recommend it to anyone who is fed up to the teeth with all things Tolkien. Even better, I can recommend it to everyone who still think that there's nothing better than having hair between the toes.

The Boggit is an entirely irreverent look at Muddle Earth. Like any good satire, the game sticks closely enough to the original (with occasional derivations from its successor, Lord of the Rings, as well) to get in some cruelly funny jabs at it. Furthermore, I was not only impressed by the humour but also the quality of the game itself. The puzzles are clever and logical - but by no means easy. For the most part they are of the best kind - the sort that, when you crack them, you shout 'OF COURSE!' instead of 'WELL SO BL**DY WHAT!?'. And, as with Bored of the Rings and Robin of Sherlock, the programmers have squeezed the very best out of the Quill and the Illustrator, so that you can, for example, TALK TO other characters - though their responses are pretty limited. But then the responses were pretty limited in The Hobbit as well.

The funny thing is that The Hobbit was an enormously complex piece of programming in its day, whereas The Boggit is quite the opposite. But then someone pointed out to me today an interesting fact about so-called 'intelligence' in computer software. 'Imagine', they said, 'a robot that goes right through a maze without making a single mistake. Looks quite clever, but when another robot goes through the same maze, makes mistakes, and then carefully corrects them before reaching the end, that second robot seems even more intelligent than the first, though in reality it may well not be.' The same principle applies with The Boggit - the characters may not be as 'intelligent' as those in The Hobbit, but when they open their mouths the hysterical things they say make them seem a lot more so! And certainly a lot more 'human'.

The Boggit is in the now familiar Delta 4 three-load format - you can move between sections of the game without necessarily cracking all the puzzles as you confront them. It's a great game, and even if Delta 4's development system had cost them a thousand times less than Ocean's, their game ends up being better value at only a couple of pounds cheaper.

The White Wizard

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