I’ve played through most of the XYZZY Best Game nominees, and I’m trying to finish off the last group of them.
I see that Mike Snyder has been nominated 3 times for this award, once for Lunatix, once for Distress, and once for Tales of The Travelling Swordsman (only 4 or 5 others have been nominated that many times). I really liked Distress because of the haunting setting and the story, and I’ve heard Travelling Swordsman is great.
But Lunatix, his earliest nominated game, was apparently a homebrew parser. I’d like to play it; does anyone know a way to get it running on a PC laptop?
The easiest way to get it running is to install DOSBox (dosbox.com/) and use it to run the .exe file. It’s a bit fiddly but not too hard. Quick instructions: after you’ve downloaded and unzipped luntic11.zip, run DOSBox and command
mount c path/to/luntic11 (where path/to/luntic11 is the directory on your computer where you unzipped the game)
It seems to take a while to load even on a modern computer, so don’t worry if it looks like it’s doing nothing at first.
Yeah, it will work in DOSbox (just tested it). Might be easier to play in all text mode though (lunatix.exe /t). The readme should have some other command line parameters that might help.
It runs faster if you speed up clock cycles with CTRL+F12. I sped it up until the music started crackling, then backed it down a bit (CTRL+F11) for a pretty responsive game. I exited and restarted at the higher speed, and it only took a second to load, versus several seconds at the slower speed, so doing that should help a lot.
You’re probably going to want the walkthrough: http://www.sidneymerk.com/lunatix.txt
I don’t know if I should say thanks for playing it, or just apologize for it in advance.
And if you use D-Fend, the frontend for Dosbox, it gets even easier to configure. Though you’ll probably only want to do that if there are more DOS games you’d like to play.
Wait, Sidney Merk = Mike Snyder?
Thanks for the help! I really did like Distress, by the way, and I started the Travelling Swordsman today. I’m at 13% progress, and I really enjoy it. Thanks for making good games and a good website! Thanks Juhana, as well!
Oh thank God, I thought I was the only person to be flabbergasted! I just erased before I posted.
I’m mentally berating myself for not noticing that anagram sooner!
YOU’re mentally berating yourself? Wait until Andrew Schultz finds out!
By the way, for those interested, I got the game to play using DOSbox, and it has three panels: one with graphics, one with room descriptions, and one with gameplay/storyline. I also tried all-text mode, which included interesting techniques with colored text. I only meant to play it for a second to see if it works, but its really interesting.
I finished the game (I play most games with a walkthrough to see the story). Definitely worth it; I’ve added a review for it to my review queue (which will take a break during IFComp).
As a quick review, Lunatix is a mid-length exploration game, where the inmates of an asylum have taken it over from you, the director. They have their own government, money, language (in one instance), economy, etc. The parser was much better than I was led to expect, approximately the level of an Infocom parser.
The puzzles mainly consisted of exploration puzzles, conversation puzzles, and 4 password/code puzzles, the last of which weren’t too hard. The conversation ones seemed the hardest. The puzzles are a great example of Classic 90’s Style, which is one of my favorite styles (this means you have a bit of trouble figuring out the first few puzzles, then get many puzzles on your own, then need a walkthrough for the last bit or occasionally throughout the game).
You have an inventory limit of 7, but the map is easy to traverse, and if I had to drop an item, I could pick it up again soon. I didn’t need a map (although I did use the walkthrough).
The setting is great, and the game was nominated for Best Setting (as well as Best Writing, Best Story, and Best Game). The setting reminded me of One Eye Open without the gore. I enjoyed the writing, especially the descriptions and conversations of the inmates. The ending was a bit anticlimactic, but the penultimate scene was great.
Anyone who wrote The Scroll Thief, well, I’ll just say they have better and bigger things to think of .
I can’t remember for sure, but seeing Sidney Merk may have been one of the driving forces that finally pushed me to write the Slate games. Regardless, I don’t think I saw the anagram either. Trivia
And also I still get a kick out of the smart people who missed Ned Yompus. I think I always will.
Also, DosBox is super awesome. I’ve played so many old games at fast speed on it. Ultima IV, the Magic Candle series…