Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 12:43 on 26-03-2013, Jules V.O.
That is a shame. The question of how a complete charlatan managed to accomplish what the Wizard had accomplished deserves an interesting and entertaining answer.
at 00:34 on 26-03-2013, Cammalot
The more time passes, the more obnoxious I find it, and the sorrier I feel for the actors. I don't care how good you are or how many people acclaim your work, some plotlines and dialogue are just not rescuable.
at 21:54 on 25-03-2013, Melissa G.
Oz was really bad. Like, there is very little positive I can say about it. Just bad.
at 00:30 on 25-03-2013, Robinson L
In other news, the Robinson L clan (minus my Dad) went to see "Oz, the Great and Powerful" the other day. I have not seen such a thoroughly abominable televisual clusterf*** since "Let's Kill Hitler." And at least that had a mostly likable protagonist.
at 16:03 on 21-03-2013, Andy G
Regarding gamebooks, I think most only ever have one "successful" outcome but multiple ways of getting there (main honourable exception I can think of is Heart of Ice, which has four different successful endings). The format does seem very inappropriate for the Aeneid in particular: isn't the entire point that Aeneas' fate is laid down and none of the choices he makes (or for that matter any of Juno's interventions) make any difference? Unambiguously, he just has to follow down what fate decrees for him.
at 23:33 on 20-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
Anyone read Adam Roberts' New model army? I feel like I may have missed something because I wasn't that taken with it but people seem to like it a lot.
at 21:13 on 18-03-2013, Axiomatic
Wasn't there a kickstarter for a CYOA of Hamlet that would let you try different strategies, and also let you play as Ophelia?

Yes, there was. And it got half a million dollars. There'll also be a little prequel where you can play as Yorrick.
at 20:55 on 18-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
How is it a choose-your-own-adventure when half of your choices make you lose?

Yeah, one of the things I found most annoying about it was that the only way to win is to exactly replicate the plot of the Aeneid regardless of how sensible it is to do that. The most egregious example being where you can do something that causes your rival Turnus to get killed, which is exactly what you want, but if you do it you lose because that isn't how it happens in the poem.
at 04:50 on 18-03-2013, Bookwyrm
The "have fun" part was not part of the page response. I just forgot to erase it before I posted.
at 04:49 on 18-03-2013, Bookwyrm
Same here. The one I remember most was a Trick-or-Treat choose your own adventure. I distinctly remember one really amusing choice from that one. You're confronted by a monster in an empty swimming pool (I think) and you have two choices:
A)use the yellow flower you picked up earlier or
B)use a rope to escape.
If you choose the rope the page basically says this:
"Nice try. You know darn well you didn't pick up a rope earlier. The monster attacks you and you die. Maybe that will teach you not to cheat."Have fun!
at 02:10 on 18-03-2013, James D
It sure was! I can't remember which one, though. Never owned any myself, always borrowed them from the library or just read them in the store.
at 21:28 on 17-03-2013, Bookwyrm
Oh, the ones I remember reading as a kid had branching outcomes with some death endings. Except in those cases you died after making a few choices instead of dying after choosing one of two options every single time. By the way, did that example you give happen to come from a Goosebumps choose your own adventure book?
at 20:24 on 17-03-2013, James D
In most of the choose-your-adventures I read as a kid, almost all of the choices resulted in instant death. There were maybe 2 or 3 outcomes that actually resulted in survival, and some of them were usually still pretty bad. I remember in one, my fictional friend and I got turned into dogs, and my mother found us and took us home, not knowing who we were. So we just lived out the rest of our lives as pets. Maybe this one isn't very good, but its structure at least doesn't seem at all unusual for the oldschool type of choose-your-adventures.
at 20:04 on 17-03-2013, Bookwyrm
Choose-your-own-adventure? How is it a choose-your-own-adventure when half of your choices make you lose? Also, why does marrying Dido automatically end in a loss? Couldn't you use your new found power to create a town for your displaced people? Or work with the Carthaginians to take Troy back? Isn't the point of a choose-your-own-adventure game supposed to be that your choices create wildly different scenarios, instead of one story line with a bunch of dead-ends?
at 19:13 on 17-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
No knowledge of Latin is required to appreciate how astonishingly bad the Iris project's Aeneid choose-your-own-adventure game is. Those who do know Latin will also appreciate how bad the Latin in the game is, which means as a fun way of helping children practice their vocabulary it fails on every level.
at 01:17 on 16-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
Shakespeare changed my plural "you" to "thou". :( He also changed "what will" to "what wilt".

Yeah, Shakey's grammar has gone downhill in the last few centuries.

But the point of that was?

I think it's probably meant to be a way of demonstrating how Googledocs works to people who haven't used it before.
at 23:17 on 15-03-2013, Fishing in the Mud
I'm getting tired absolutely fatigued of Poe's weak adverbs.
at 23:13 on 15-03-2013, Ibmiller
Dickens and Dickinson did get into a more extended edit war when I type "Dickens."

But the point of that was? I already use Google for a ton, but I don't understand how that's supposed to make me want to use it more?
at 22:32 on 15-03-2013, Melanie
Shakespeare changed my plural "you" to "thou". :( He also changed "what will" to "what wilt".

...Then I typed in "Shakespeare" and Shakespeare edited it into "the handsome and lovely Shakespeare". And then Nietzsche edited it to "the dreadful and lonely Shakespeare". Sadly, that seems to be the end of the edit war.
at 20:53 on 15-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
Well, here's a new way to make writing frustrating: get Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Dickinson, Dickens, and Poe to help. All at the same time. (Via ladysaviours.)
at 16:28 on 15-03-2013, Arthur B
To be fair, both the articles argument and your examples only work if you look at a subset of the games published in any particular era.

Lee Bettam can get plenty of top-notch adventure games that are being published today (Gemini Rue and The Walking Dead are excellent), but it'd require Bettam to cease paying attention to AAA titles. This shouldn't be hard: the AAA market gives you plenty of reasons to mostly ignore it.
at 16:14 on 15-03-2013, Axiomatic
I'm not sure what's worse, the golden age of video games or now. Because right now, video games work by giving you a waypoint that shows you a glowing quarter, and an objective box that says PICK UP THE QUARTER, and then you get an achievement when you click the context-sensitive action button for the prompt "Pick Up The Quarter", immediately followed with a new waypoint that shows you the way to the drinks machine.

In the good old days, of course, you had to combine two rocks in your inventory to create a piece of knapped flint, which you used on the branch to create a stone knife, which you used on the rubber ducky you'd picked up earlier. Then you cut open the ducky to find the hidden quarter inside. However, using the quarter on the drinks machine killed you unless you polished it to a fine sheen beforehand. And of course there were no hints that told you any of this, anywhere. And if you picked up more than two rocks from the quarry that let you pick up as many rocks as you wanted, you drown when you cross the river, five hours of gameplay from now. And there's no way to get rid of rocks in your inventory once they're in there.
at 11:26 on 15-03-2013, Arthur B
Today on Wrong On the Internet: some dude thinks we'd go back to the golden age of adventure games if people stopped making games for profit.

Because, of course, the products of LucasArts and Sierra were basically labours of love.
at 17:24 on 13-03-2013, Cammalot
Be wary of the ones marked "successful" -- some are big fat lies. Hilarious big fat lies.