Richard Gere's Verdict: I really wasn't able to implement all the actions I'd have liked.
Napoleon's Verdict: Simon Avery is very, very sick. Triste, non?
My Verdict: What the fuck was this all about? I'm frightened.
Game Type: Originally -- custom. Reviewed version was ported to Inform by Duncan Cross.
Author Info: Simon Avery apparently wrote this game for a company called The Guild. This was, as far as I can tell, originally a Spectrum release.
Other Games By This Author: Adult II, Boredom, Can I Cheat Death, Dances With Bunny Rabbits, Doomlords...
Download Link: ftp://ftp.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/GerbilRiot.z5
Simon Avery is a sick bastard -- but in a good way. He's quite obviously mentally insane, but still manages to bring the good by creating a unique world all his own. This is not always the case for video game designers. These days many of them are caught up in the special effects that colored lighting and nude patches give us and can be found, slack-jawed, exhausted and dehydrated, outside a Winger concert. This is because nobody intentionally goes to a Winger concert and nobody intentionally decides to spend large portions of their live secluded behind a radiation-slopping monitor writing video games. Inevitably one of the Fate sisters gives a "come-hither" look to the one drawing the string (they are lipstick lesbians, the Fate sisters, after all) and puts 2 and 2 together.
Look, I have no interest in seeing them, but they are playing in Wyoming and I absolutely can't believe that any band is playing in Wyoming. Even Winger. Wyoming isn't close to anything and less people live in the entire state than my hometown. I mean, Simon Avery has no interest in seeing them.
The Gerbil Riot of '67 puts the player in an insane asylum. The game's interface takes full advantage by not simply placing a ">" in front of you or a "What Next?" like some of the fruitier Level 9 games, but instead by actively asking for your advice. Humbly. Like "What now, mad one?" Or, "Your turn, Napoleon." Heh. There's something to be said for a game -- like Amnesia or Kissing the Buddha's Feet, for instance -- that does not adhere to the Infocom standard of placing a status bar at the top of the screen followed by moves and score. Is it a neat effect because it is different? I can't distance myself away enough to state effectively, but I will say "yes" regardless.
What doesn't work with the game is the manner in which most of the "puzzles" are solved. You basically run about giving different objects to different psychos. This game, however, was written in 1992 so it can be effectively excused for turning the player into a UPS runner. Every role playing game that has appeared since, however, has no such excuse... mostly because they are less honest about it and yet partly because they are not as funny as 'Gerbil Riot.
The game's laughter quotient is more goofy than clever, but it works. In its original format -- the Spectrum, for Chrissake -- I'd imagine that it was a nice change-of-pace from the usual lot of arcade conversions the masses had access to while falling quite short of the Level 9 and Infocom releases. The game probably has a niche audience, although it's neither the type of game I'd introduce someone to IF with nor prop to the text adventure veteran looking for something to play. Actually, upon further reflection, the ideal player is probably of no life whatsoever, wholly void of a family within 1600 miles and let's not get started on the topic of "girlfriend." This makes it the most depressing game I have ever played in my entire life by sheer association.
Simple Rating: 6.7 / 10
Story: 4.2 / 10
Writing: 7.9 / 10
Playability: 8.1 / 10
Puzzle Quality: 3.5 / 10
Parser Responsiveness: 2.0 / 10
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