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Empire Deluxe

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New World Computing 1993
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Empire inspired a whole generation of programmers to do similar games. The concept is simple, yet addicting: Start with one city, build up an army and conquer the whole (unknown) world. That's it. Plain and simple. Maybe you've had this many times before, but certainly not often that well done!


Energie-Manager

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Rauser / BWMi 1993
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Amiga

Just a little more than ten years ago (in 1993), there was no 'Internet' of today's proportions. Computer magazines coming with CDs full of stuff were still uncommon, too. To be exact, the first 'one-shot issues' of this kind appeared in early 1994 in Germany. So, 1993 was still a year of game demos being spread on floppy disks, and those were available on quite a few magazine covers.


Engineering Jones and The Time Thieves of DSPea

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Prentice Associates / Harris Semiconductor 1991
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Freeware
System: PC

Archaeology is the search for fact […] So forget any ideas you've got about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and "X" never, ever, marks the spot. Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading.


Epic Pinball

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Epic MegaGames 1993
Genre: Action, Sport
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Shareware
System: PC

Another pinball game to introduce. Epic Pinball, like its name says, is epic for a pinball game on PC. This game was made by Epic MegaGames in 1993, now known Epic Games (Gears of War, Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal Tournament). It was never released initially in retail stores. It was distributed as shareware with one table named Android, then you could order the game available in 3 packs with 4 tables each. So here the description of each tables + my little review on each.


Epic: The Adventure Begins

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Digital Image Design / Ocean 1992
Genre: Simulation, Action
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Epic – announced and hailed as a Wing Commander killer… and at release, it was actually well-received by most of the mainstream press. Apart from a couple of minor voices spoiling the party. In spite of a well-known development team which had already been responsible for the well received F29 Retaliator and would go on to universally lauded simulations such as TFX. What went wrong with this one?


Erben der Erde – Die große Suche

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Dreamer's Guild / New World Computing / Softgold 1995
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga
The fable genre somehow always feels old-fashioned and preachy. Not the best foundation to build a modern-day game on, one may think. Though according to someone at Wikipedia, Inherit the Earth at least appealed to a specifically weird audience with this approach. Let's try to put attraction or revulsion towards anthropomorphic animals aside for the sake of this review.

Eric and the Floaters

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Hudson Soft 1983
Genre: Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: MSX

Having problems with floaters? Not to worry! Eric is in the house and that means floaters will have to go! We provide our customers with best service and free insurance against partial damage or complete loss of property if incurred. Don't wait any longer, call now: 1-800-GET-BOMBED! Wondering what the original Bomberman game was? You are now beholding it! Though, only the japanese release happens to bear the familiar title and I personally played the european version which accounts for the currently chosen name.


Eric the Unready

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Legend Entertainment 1991
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

The story is not very original: As a idiotic knight on the king's court, you have to rescue the kidnapped princess. We had that several times before, as well as comedy.
Eric the Unready is more based on allusions to classics of film and gaming than on an intriguing plot. Serious things (Star Trek) are used as well as other satires are quoted (Monkey Island) or carried on (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) without envy. Of course, that is sometimes done better and sometimes worse. The recognition is high is any case. You will notice the most (and in my opinion best) humor only if you step aside from the normal solution. You can try every silly action you want, the game will recognize almost everything and comment it.


Escape From Santaland

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Jason Ermer 2011
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

Publishing a Christmas-themed game in early October? Strange choice for sure, but then, the supermarkets are already full of chocolate Santa Clauses, gingerbread and stollen. I'm always wondering who is buying this stuff at this time of the year. On the one hand, sure, why not? But the inevitable effect is that you will be fed up with all this ultra-sweet stuff by the time Christmas actually comes along. But I disgress.


Escape from Summerland

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Joey Jones / Melvin Randasamy 2012
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

One major problem with the Annual IF Competition is frustration or at least a general disinterest setting in after playing through dozens of games. So it happened that I did not like Escape from Summerland at all initially: Why is this game on rails, forcing me to go into specific directions when others are mentioned as well? If I can't go anywhere else, just teleport me there! What the fuck are these stupid smileys doing there after every parser message? This is going to be bad! That's what I thought… until I understood what the game was actually doing: It was giving me an extremely helpful introduction to what the game would be about! The railroaded movement showed me the steps which I would have to retrace (in reverse order) later on in order to escape. The seemingly stupid parser responses after the first perspective switch characterised the second playable protagonist in a way that her relevant abilities would become clear immediately. In retrospect, I have only praise for this introduction to the game. Here it is: The example of non-interactive interactivity used for a good purpose!



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