Annoyotron / Ben Parrish (1999)
|The Little Ugly, Evil Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict:
|The title is bloody accurate. It's the
most annoying game since "The Adventures of Tron."
|The Little Handsome, Good Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict:
sublime piece of crap.
|It's not that annoying, really.
|Ben Parrish is probably the funniest guy on the internet. Except for the
"Gaybot" of course, but I'm not entirely convinced that the Gaybot isn't him.
Actually, I'm kidding about the Gaybot. The first part, I mean. He is the author of Apartment F209 and this game's sequel, Aggravatron: Annoyotron II.
He also achieved a level of fame and fortune with the internet Pong Faq.
Ben Parrish is of course many things to many people. You, frequent visitor of the web
site "Reviews From Trotting Krips", may know him as the third, unofficial
Trotting Krip - the George Martin to Robb's and my Rolling Stones. No, that's not right.
The Brian Epstein to our ABBA? Ergh! The Steve Albini to our Steel Pole Bathtub? Ah, good
enough. What I like about Ben Parrish's adventure games is that though they all seem to be
basically uninteresting, they nonetheless do not fail to invoke a most peculiar warm,
fuzzy feeling inside the chests of those who would dare play them for any decent amount of
time. Warm, fuzzy feelings are nice sometimes, and they are not often incurred by
adventure games. Nay, not even Infocom games manage to convey this particular warm, fuzzy
feeling. Furthermore, when I play one of Parrish's seminal works, Apartment F209 or
Annoyotron, I do not feel that they are basically uninteresting because the author
is a fool. On the contrary, I get the feeling that instead the author is a genius who has
unlike most of us simply realized his true calling in life: to write mostly uninteresting,
sarcastic adventure games. As I play this game, I can't help but admire its author for his
refusal to involve himself in the interactive fiction rat race. What do petty wars between
the "experimentalists" and the "gamers" mean, after all? Nothing.
They're stupid. They're pointless. We shouldn't waste our time on it. Now, sure, Ben
Parrish could be out there working his heart out trying to produce an adventure game like
Infocom's or an experimentary work like Plotkin's, but why should he be? Why do we have to
judge games according to such impossible standards? Why is everything we come across
considered only in relation to other things instead of being seen as its own individual
entity? Guys like Andrew Plotkin and Adam Cadre have received the respect of hundreds
thanks to their journeys into the unknown reaches of interactive fiction, but lesser known
avante-garde types such as Harry Hardjono and Rybread Celsius have encountered only censor
and ridicule with their experiments. No doubt they sob into their pillows each night
before they go to bed, wishing only that people loved them like they love Graham Nelson.
And let me tell you: for every Plotkin, there's a dozen folks who have written adventure
games that wish they were just like him. Interactive fiction is world filled with
heartbreak and misery, much like our own existence on the planet Earth. Ben Parrish stays
above it all. I tip my hat to him. And then? Then I trash his games, of course!
I'll come right out of the gate with my "controversial" opinion of the day: I
think Apartment F209 is more annoying than Annoyotron. Yes. I know of no
more frustrating moment in all the time I've wasted playing computer games than that
moment wherein I encountered a certain suitcase that contained(I paraphrase) "a lot
of stuff." A lot of stuff. Heavens to Betsy! I enjoyed the cat and the hidden lot,
however. They give me that warm, fuzzy feeling that I enjoy so much. Robb really likes the
game for some reason, however, so if you want to hear more about it, go read his review.
Unless, of course, your name is Robb Sherwin or Ben Parrish, which it probably is, in
which case you've likely read the said review too many times as it is. I find Annoyotron
more interesting. The dominant feature of the game is the immense hallway that was likely
inspired by the western road in Enchanter. Yeah. Imagine the western road from Enchanter
without the funny signs. Even with the funny signs, the western road in Enchanter
was pretty annoying cuz it just made the player run out of water too soon and die a horrid
death(luckily, the death code is pretty forgiving in that game). The immense hallway(an
eastern hallway, incidentally) is fascinating to me. The game demands that you trot down
it time and time again - the first time I played the game I actually went down it about a
fifth of the way and then figured it was all a trick and started going back west, which
meant that later on I would have to go all the way again, and all the way back, and all
the way down again. Never before have I ever seen an adventure game which demanded more
physical effort from its players. Typing "e" or "w" a lot of times may
not seem to be that physically demanding to you, but that's only because you haven't
played Annoyotron. This game is a physical contest unparalleled in the annals of
IF. As one might expect, the physical challenge of the game is compensated by the complete
lack of intellectual content. Still, it is a real winner for those of you whose fingers
are stronger than your brains. Mine are. I've got ten fingers, y'see, and only four
brains! There's no contest! Annoyotron rules!
13 / 50
6 / 10
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