Dino Hunt / Admiral Jota (2000)

Comp 99 Judge's Verdict: Yes, my beauties! We have won! Having destroyed Jota in the competition we have now turned him into author of a mediocre piece of everyday non-fantasy drek!

Arthur Shawcross' Verdict: Hm... normally I simply enjoy greasing the slammers on filthy prostitutes, but the Young Admiral paints a very pretty picture of a playground where I could harvest young boys -- um, girls.

My Verdict: What the fuck is this?

The Review...

Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers for Dino-Hunt!

Game Information

Game Type: Inform

Author Info: I'm not convinced that Admiral Jota is a singular, sentient being, but rather -- like Cecil Collins, of www.straightdope.com fame -- an amalgam of several talented individuals.

Other Games By This Author: Pass The Banana and, uh, "a parody of a game that doesn't exist called Cell"

Download Link: The entire Dino Comp 2000 package(650 KB) includes this game and a lot of other great ones.


I find, these days, that I am a chief supporter of two major Schools of Entertainment Thought. The first is that Keith Geffen and J. M. DeMatteis should be responsible for all the fiction currently produced on planet earth. This often gets me questioning, over-stretched smiles at work and thrown into the "discard" pile when I mention it on college application forms. The secondary school of thought is that the work of interactive fiction authors are invariably judged on what games they have previously been responsible for. Someday I hope to reach that critical "nineteenth date" where I can bring up aforementioned manifesto to someone that has more or less committed herself to spending the night. Unfortunately date eighteen is "pet my tapeworm" so I'm working against a stacked deck. Or something.

Because it's really true. The game that got me into "90's IF" was I-0 and as a result I have tried to disrobe every single PC, NPC and pet I have encountered since. For instance, it wasn't remarkable that I had spent a half-hour trying to do it to Wendy in Photopia because its author had previously written such code when I had tried and failed previously in Human Resources Stories, Cattus Attrox and Ralph. So Dino Hunt by Admiral Jota was the first dragon-comp game that I loaded after getting my filthy, tapeworm-cooing fingers on them.

The thing is, while there are a couple lines in Dino Hunt that got a grin out of me, it's not really the madcap affair that Pass The Banana was. Is this fair of me? No. Definitely not. I was disappointed, but it had nothing to do with Dino Hunt itself. The game concerns a little kid who wants to play dinosaurs. Two of the methods used in getting the plastic dinosaurs are somewhat uninspired, however the use of a basketball and hoop displays potential.

Invariably, the best part of the game is invoking the xyzzy command. Instantly, the player is given a clue that the game will require three plastic dinosaurs to be completed and we are treated to a scene with some seriously terrible fucking lizards. I had expected that sort of dreamy horror throughout, but really, it was the only bit of it that I could find.

What I desperately hope is -- and I am fairly confident that this is not the case -- that the hundreds (er, dozens) of dismissive Pass The Banana reviews I read on Usenet didn't turn the Admiral into some sort of kinder, gentler and systematically cliched IF author. Right now I can go into any software store in America and buy a "nice" game that is fit for the whole family. Jota, however, has a talent for designing totally fucked up games that only make sense when you are higher than a Nepalese kite and twice as angry. So I swear, if you lot turned him into the IF equivalent of Disney I'm going to hunt each one of you down and repeatedly cram barbed wire-laden bamboo up your overtight asses.


Simple Rating: 2 / 10

Complicated Rating:

Story: 2 / 10

Writing: 6 / 10

Playability: 8 / 10

Puzzle Quality: 2 / 10

Parser Responsiveness: 8 / 10


Reader Remarks

Greg D'Avis sprach the following on May 1st, 2000:

Cecil Collins is doing the Straight Dope now? I suppose he's got the time, what with the broken leg and jail time and all, but what do the Dolphins have to say about this?

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