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Ugh, stop twitching
prodly the puffin
software Posted 2001-02-08 09:04:12 by Jim Crawford
Like many diehard pokey fans, I'm subscribed to the pokey-themed Indeed mailing list.

To me, the most interesting part of this list is not the multitude of messages that read simply “GUN!!!” but the multitude of pokey-related projects that have been spawned.

For instance, the Pokey Compilation album (to which I contributed four songs), and NuttyX, the Superious Operating System -- powered by delicious candy (which was apparently created by doing s/Linux/NuttyX/g on a snapshot of the Linux source tree).

Pokey “bootlegs” have been created to quench the thirst for fresh pokey now that the flow of new official episodes has reduced to a trickle.

There have also been several games. My unfinished Rolf, for one. The mac-only Mutton Kombat. Also, Frank Force released a beta of a platform shooter.

In 1999, Craig Timpany announced to the list that he was working on a text adventure based on his bootleg, Prodly the Puffin, using Hugo as the development platform. Being a text-adventure aficionado, I offered to beta test.

I did finish the game myself. Except for the final puzzle, I think.

Eventually we came across a bug related to the player's body parts that occurred only in some interpreters. The author of Hugo maintained that it was a feature. Work on the project stopped until I offered to port it to Inform about a year later.

I translated the game and then did bugfixes and added features for about four months, with fairly constant input from Craig and, later on, several beta testers. The aim being to enter it in the Sixth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, which we did manage to pull off.

It still had it's problems, but we managed to make one of the worst one amusing, and the next worst, I would argue was a feature.

The results of the competition are in. It placed 35th out of 53, which is really quite good for such nichey material. Judging by the reviews on the newsgroup, response was about what we expected. There was at least one one-line dismissal, a good bit of “what the hell was that?” and some “that was funny and fairly well made. i'm shocked!”

The review that stuck most in my mind was Paul O'Brian's. He didn't much like the game, but he went to the URLs in the Authors' Notes section and loved Pokey. Obviously there was something lost in translation.

For Craig's detailed analysis of the competition results, see Evidence of a genetic factor for Pokey Aptitude in 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition results.

Here's the game: z-code binary (70k), inform source (49k). Read on if you don't know what to do with the files you get by unzipping them.

The game is compiled into the byte code format invented by Infocom to port Zork to microcomputers. To play it, you'll need to download a Zip Interpreter. For MS-DOS/Windows machines, I recommend DOS Frotz (not Winfrotz. especially not console-mode winfrotz). For other machines, this directory is the place to start.

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