Robert Wm. Gomez's

No Holds Barred by Barry Devlin (6/10)

No Holds Barred by Barry DevlinThe ridiculous plot of this pulp trash novel is as follows: disgraced big city reporter winds up in small town; proves his investigative reporting skills in the local paper; is hired by rich media baron to do press for his corrupt political campaign...

Eye of the Beholder on Ms-DOS (7/10)

Big ol' space squid gonna get you! Eye of the Beholder, Screenshot

Eye of the Beholder is a real-time RPG dungeon crawl that borrows heavily from the mechanics of Dungeon Master. It's a completely mouse-driven experience in which the objects in the environment can all be used, picked up or thrown with a click. Combat is also real-time and is generally just a mad scramble backwards as you click your various party members' weapon hands and hope for "good rolls".

While the fights are frantic and fun, the real meat of the game-play is exploration, mapping, and puzzle solving. I went through a dozen sheets of graph paper drawing out each floor knowing full-well I could just grab the maps from the Web (the GOG.com version even includes a complete hint book). As tedious as it might sound to modern gamers, the act of plotting out the layout is oddly satisfying. I wish it could be done in-game à la Etrian Odyssey, but, if it's any consolation, I now have 11 floors worth of half-erased, taped together graph paper maps that are suitable for framing. Perfect for any lair!

Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans by Ben Shapiro (4/10)

I generally like the various Ben Shapiro "Destroys" videos I come across on the webs. He is an excellent debater and can take down just about anyone who crosses him. However, this book is not really worth the read. He has nothing original to add to the crowded field of conservative political screeds. The book is just a litany of left-wing hypocrisy and "they do it too, but much worse" finger pointing. I get it. Partisans disagree vehemently on issues. Welcome to reality, Ben. Now make YOUR case.

Apple ][ Graphic Adventure Part V

Now that my memory issues are seemingly under control, let's take a look at my modifications to the parser. Normally, in these types of graphical adventures the player enters two words in the form of VERB OBJECT. My interface limits the number of verb choices and allows the player to enter a verb with a single keystroke.

Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle (7/10)

This is a pretty good overview of the roots of (mostly) right-wing Internet subcultures and trolls with a little fair-and-balanced lip service given to SJWs too. I guess the main thesis here is that the Pepe crowd is the direct decedent of 60s left-wing transgressive counter-culture. The most extreme and abusive side of 4chan culture is on display and, as a reader, I was adequately repulsed by it. However, I feel there is a fun, creative side of the trolling culture wars that gets a little lost in her narrative.

Apple ][ Graphic Adventure Part IV

Previously I discussed the overall structure of my soon-to-be hit adventure game. Well, last night was a milestone. I managed to write an Applesoft program so epic that it overwrote the high-resolution graphics page. Compared to other programs I have seen, mine isn't that huge. Around 250 lines isn't that huge, right? Transylvania clocks in at 464 lines.

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver (8/10)

Apocalyptic dystopia from a libertarian perspective. Biases confirmed! In this story it's not war, plague or environmental catastrophe that brings the end times, it's the devaluation of the U.S. dollar. This is a far more likely scenario than we'd like to think and the author does a great job in showing how it would gradually affect a regular family. In the early parts it feels like a tale of what happens to all the normal people in the world of Atlas Shrugged.

808 (6/10)

Another one of these sub-culture documentaries which follows the formula: Identify sub-culture, show the originators, show the people who "took it to the next level", and finally show how this sub-culture has infiltrated mass culture. This time it's all about music that uses the Roland 808 drum machine. The big takeaway here is that, after an hour an a half, I don't ever want to hear another 808 beat again.

Strummin' Mental Part One by Various Artists (8/10)

Format: 
CD

The first Strummin' Mental CD compiles thirty or so surfy guitar instrumentals from the early 60s. The aesthetic here is raw, raunchy and fairly lo-fi. Punk rock for the beach blanket bingo set.

Apple ][ Graphic Adventure Part III

The previous post in this series explained how to get Graphics Magician images to display from Applesoft. Now, I'd like to go over the structure of the program listed in Write your Own Adventure Programs. The bulk of the program listing consists of the game data including objects, room descriptions, verbs and state flags. Most of the remaining code is comprised of a series of conditions that check how the player's actions affect the objects in the game world.

Apple ][ Graphic Adventure Part I

Having recently played the Apple ][ game Transylvania and its sequel, I was inspired to mess with the art program which those games used. The Graphics Magician was a huge hit for Penguin Software, but I never actually had a chance to use it when we had an Apple ][. I just remember it being advertised in every computer magazine I had.

Based on a True Story by Norm MacDonald (8/10)

He starts off with a typical comedian's memoir and, after about three pages, Norm gives up and go total autofiction. There's a grain of truth in every chapter, but each quickly descends into madness. It's not just cheap jokes (there's much of that, including the famous "Moth Joke"). Eventually, the fourth wall is broken and it becomes a smart, thrilling story.

Friday by Robert A. Heinlein (4/10)

Even as an audio book, this was a chore to get through. It's a tale of a future with super human artificial persons (the titular Friday), violent city states, and coporatized family structures. Oh, and lots of cringey sex talk. I suspect Heinlein was a swinger who wanted moral justifications for whatever dark seeded perversions he held. Unfortunately, he writes like a seventh grader and also has a seventh-grade boy's understanding of women. So dumb.

The Lady Hermit (9/10)

Cheng Pei Pei is great in the excellent swordfighting movie about a master in hiding who takes on a young apprentice with the hope that she'll help defeat her arch enemy. It's beautifully shot and has a nice love triangle sub-plot to appease girly Crouching Tiger fans. The martial arts are not the greatest ever filmed, but it more than makes up for it in gore and crazy miniature effects. Temple of Doom owes much to this movie's rope bridge scene.