Pass The Banana / Admiral Jota (1999)

Donkey Kong's Verdict: <beats chest> Gimme that damn banana, kid!

Robb's Mom's Verdict: Robb. It's your mother. You really have to stop cursing so much on your little website. I didn't bring you up that way, did I? Come on now... your father didn't bring you up that way. Did he? Someone at work said that anyone in the world can read it... do you want the entire world to know you're a potty mouth?

My Verdict: Fuckin' game at least made me chuckle.

Game Information

Game Type: Inform

Author Info: Admiral Jota doesn't show up on my game radar. Harr! Snooch! Ahem. Dunno who he is.

Other Games By This Author: None known

Download Link: Coming, promise.


The Review...

What kind of navy is Admiral Jota running here, anyway? That's got to suck, somewhat. "Ensign, we need our best men on this right now. Get rid of all this grain." "But sir! The hungry! They need it!" "Son, I don't give a damn one way or the other. You're holding nine crates of grain!" The Admiral puts his finger up his bum and runs away. But wait.

Pass The Banana, you see, was an entry in the 1999 Interactive Fiction Competition.

The competition, well... there are different types of competitions. What it's not is a yearly hand-picked tournament where the hobby's best and brightest attack each other in digital war. It's kind of an open field where anyone can enter a game. Since there is a two-hour limit for judging, the competition is going to get a lot of experiments.

Pass The Banana is one such experiment. It's about you, a robot, a monkey, a giant flaming head -- ah, yes. The giant, flaming head should be explained.

An entity by the name of Luc French predicted several trends, locales, actions and outright nouns we'd be seeing in the competition this year. One of them was that a game would contain some manner of a giant, flaming head. He did so before the effective deadline date, so in a stroke of mad genius like eighty guys said, "narf! Gonna put me a giant flaming head in my game!" Some of them even got around to coding it up before the deadline and submitted it. I mean, Luc is funny. Luc makes a lot of great comments, writes a lot of poignant posts and the hobby would be the worse without him. He's obviously not the problem here. I don't get all these dudes lining up three deep to put his dick in their mouth, though (sorry, Mom!!).

I guess the mindset that slags Pass The Banana is one where you've been playing the comp games for four years and eagerly anticipating another Edifice. Nothing at all wrong with that. Something like 'Banana comes along and -- I'm guessing, here -- the player thinks, "Fucking Christ! Waste my goddamn time, huh? I wanted to see horses with magnums, leather goddesses and blind robots and you try to pawn THIS off on me? I'll tell the good Admiral where to cram his seamen -- " (sorry, Mom!!!)

It is a game, though. A stupid one, sure, but it's pure gaminess can not be denied. The obvious actions are pretty much all accounted for. The game reminds me of Knight Orc (sorry, Ben!!!!) insomuch that the characters are going to do wacky stuff whether you actively deal with them or not. Just watching them is fun. They really bounce off one another -- sometimes literally. Typing "melvin, hello" yields "I'm programmed to pass bananas, not be your robotic monkey butler." Totally unexpected. Goofy. But hell... sarcasm from a stupid robot who engages in probably the dumbest task in any video game, ever? (Um, except for when you have to move those shit-towers around by clicking and only clicking in Zork: Grand Inquisitor. Sorry, Mom!!!!!)

I liked Melvin the Robot. I liked the monkey. OK. I hated the damn flaming head, so I tried to pawn off all my bananas on the damned hellspawn atrocity. I mean, I wasn't going to saddle up my buddy the sarcastic robot with all the fruit, huh? Hell, no. I was gonna make that damn, leering head so fruity I could spread him on my toast. I --

-- and it was through that thought process that I realized that I enjoyed Pass The Banana. It was the only game of the competition that allowed you to play it in only a manner that you could. It was the only game that I saw that allowed for any sort of personal expression. That has never been IF's strong suit. Pass The Banana kind of showed me how that weakness might -- and it does, of course, only hint at it -- be turned around.

There was a moment, a long time ago and a world away. A moment where I came back down from the ecstasy I made with the girl I loved. She got off the bed, lit a cigarette and was actively watching me. Her eyes narrowed. I made some glib remark. She took a puff, inhaled deeply and said, "why do you get so goofy after we have sex?" I looked at her. Somewhere, a mirror broke into a thousand flying pieces, a wolf brayed to the moon, Charon got knocked out of its orbit  and children became bedpan-riddled geezers. She exhaled, having delivered her line, and never took her eyes off me. I fluttered, looked away and with that, allowed myself to be destroyed. She gave me the hammer less than two months later. It took forever to get over that comment.

It appears as if I did, though, and I only really knew it after playing Pass The Banana. When I realized that it was coming off as kiddy drek and that I didn't care because it was so -- well, so damn goofy... well, Admiral Jota's world is one I wouldn't mind chilling in, not for escapism, but for the dorky laughs. And it's great to be able to laugh at whacked out shite like that again (argh, sorry Mom!!!!!!).

I've played at least a thousand of these things. These "video games." And Pass The Banana, while short, is a fuckin' riot.

And I'm not sorry about that at all.



Simple Rating: N/A

Complicated Rating:

Story: 2 / 10

Writing: 8.5 / 10

Playability: 9.6  / 10

Puzzle Quality: 2.0 / 10

Parser Responsiveness: 8.5 / 10

Reader Remarks

Robb sprach the following on November 17th, 1999

Hey, I wonder what happens if I submit a comment to a game that doesn't yet exist on RTK? Er. anyway. What I wanted to say is that the whole flaming head and monkey butler thing probably existed on ifMud before Luc made his message public. So don't look to me for in-depth cant reporting and ignore everything in this review. Thank you.

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