Rowr! by Gunther Schmidl(2000)

The Evil, Ugly Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: Ha. I think this is supposed to be funny, but it certainly isn't. It sucks, it's stupid, and it should burn in hell.

The Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: This one was silly, but very funny in places too. I enjoyed it!

My Verdict: Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...THE ULTIMATE GENERIC MINI-COMP GAME!

Game Information

Game Type: Inform

Author Info: Gunther is an interactive fiction enthusiast from Austria. Frequent poster on the IF newsgroups, devoted IF-Mudder, and now a formidable IF writing fiend, Schmidl is a text adventuring FORCE to be reckoned with. His mostly IF related homepage can be found over here

Other Games By This Author: Only After Dark, lots of small mini-comp games(see homepage for complete list).

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

The Review...

Thousands of years ago, the almighty God of MiniComps paid a visit to one of the seventeen wandering tribes of lost text adventurers. Assuming the form of a black cloud, he floated down into the center of the camp, and began to speak in a deep, resonant voice that echoed across the dry land. Regrettably, however, the tribesmen were a wee bit thick in the head and at first mistook the mighty God for a talking black cloud. A few strategically placed lightning bolts soon convinced the tribesmen of the God's power and divinity - though they did still think the whole talking black cloud thing was pretty silly - and so the God proceeded to reveal his purpose in visiting the Earth. His motives were most certainly not social - a deity such as the almighty God of MiniComps is not the sort to go about schmoozing with mere mortals, don't you know, and especially not with geeky text adventure fans. Rather, it would be fairer to say that the God of Minicomps had descended down to Earth strictly on business. This God, being particularly blessed with the gift of foresight, realized that if someone did not come and lay down the laws for minicomps right bright and early then there was a good chance that text adventure mini-competitions would forever be without structure or meaning. His timing, some might say, was a little suspect - he could've waited for the first computer to have been invented, at least. Possibly even until Crowther & Woods did that crazy Adventure thing. But the God must have known what he was doing, as his dictates concerning the nature of the interactive fiction mini-competition have improbably remained in use to this day. In particular, there is one commandment laid down by that mighty deity on that fateful day that no mini-competition has ever strayed from since. Namely:

Thou shalt never host a mini-competition that does not include at least one silly, joke game.(And preferably more than one, if it's not too much trouble).

For outsiders not belonging to the cult of the almighty God of MiniComps, the strangely sacred event of the mini competition can be very difficult to understand. The name "mini competition" can imply two things: (1) the mini competition is not to be considered on the same level as The Competition, that fabled yearly event which is the center point of the IF year, and (2) the mini competition probably features games smaller than the norm. This is easy enough to understand, surely. But how come so many of the mini-comp games are silly jokes, the worst of the lot being silly, mostly incomprehensible in-jokea? What the outsider cannot understand is that for some the creation of a silly joke game is anything but a worthless waste of time - it is a truly religious experience! The more cynical among us scoff and growl, "But this is ridiculous! There is no God of MiniComps!" Well, tell that to Gunther Schmidl then. Do you think anything you can say will make him change his mind? The man is a true believer, I tell you, and I don't think there's a thing in the world that anyone could do or say that would dissuade him from his religion. They don't make many like Gunther, these days - there is truly fire in his veins, passion in his soul. And yet the lukewarm amongst us must criticize and denigrate his sincerely held beliefs...ah, poor fools, they understand not. For me, Rowr! was a deeply moving statement of religious devotion. In a way, it is more akin to an prayer than to a game. This makes it very difficult to review, especially in a way that does not offend all those damn overly sensitive Wiccans. Oh, "merrymeet" me foot!

No, Rowr! is not a truly representative game from DinoComp 2000. Unlike the majority of the other entries, this game doesn't take itself a bit seriously and does not appear to have been coded with the purpose of "furthering the goddamn art." It is a silly, nonsensical work about nothing in particular and it exists for no real reason, save to make overly analytical interactive fiction reviewers the world over stop a moment, scratch their heads, and ask themselves, "Er, just what the heck was THAT?" How should I describe the game to you? Well, the year is 9999, with the year 10,000 literally minutes away. You are in an alley in fleeting pursuit of a thingy dressed in red while the rest of the town/state/country/world is whooping it up in preparation for the decamillenium. The year 10,000 comes upon the world like a mugger in the park, and the world quite abruptly ends. Or something. I don't know. It's just that you suddenly get transported back to prehistoric times, where dinosaurs, eggs, and mysterious professors roam unhindered. It isn't really explained. I don't even believe the term "space/time continuum" was used at all. This new world you find yourself in is indeed strange, and fundamentally different from the world you've just come from. There are buttons you cannot push, containers that do not contain, and professors that refuse to lecture. But what does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It's a joke game, dammit. There is no point to any of it. Undoubtedly this is the sort of game I would hate with all my being if only the gameplay experience lasted longer than two minutes, but since it doesn't I kind of have a hard time even mildly disliking it. You type frotz rowr.z5, you type a few commands, you chuckle a couple times, and the game is over. No harm done. You simply type erase rowr.z5 and then move on to bigger and better things. There is no pain, there is no gain. Ah...but have you ever played Halothane?

The game appears to be bugfree, perhaps because Gunther decided to code it in as minimalistic a fashion as possible. Several times he even jokingly points out to the player his various (and clever) effort-saving implementations. As you might expect, the parser is not responsive at all. There aren't even very many clever Pass The Banana like quips to be found - it's all "follow the crazy plot to its illogical conclusion" from start to finish. So this one definitely goes into the "silly mini-comp game joke" category, and it is fair to say that it is a little more silly than it is genuinely funny. is perhaps one of only two DinoComp games that probably didn't take any longer than fifteen minutes to code, so it's not like we have any right to expect anything better than this. I mean, at least there are like three or four rooms. At least the game runs okay. At least we know that *somebody* out there played this game and laughed their fool head off the whole time they played. Only After Dark was kinda better, though.

Simple Rating: 2/10

Complicated Rating: 10/50

Story: 1/10

Writing: 3/10(Some clever bits scattered here and there, though there's not much writing at all. Pretty minimalistic.

Playability: 3/10

Parser Responsiveness: 2/10

Puzzle Quality: 1/10

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