Skyranch / Jack Driscoll (1999)

Floyd's Verdict: Is this some sort of freaking parody?

Herman Melville's Verdict: Since all my gayass adventures take place in male-dominated, limited scenery such as this I rather enjoyed what I could play of Skyranch. Mu-hu-hu-ha-ha!

My Verdict: This would actually be a decent game if re-written in Inform and had the benefit of some synonyms.


Game Information

Game Type: Custom for DOS

Author Info: Hm... couldn't find anything about him... there is a Jack Driscoll who is a professor at M.I.T.... you don't think...?

Other Games By This Author: None known

Download Link:



The Review...


With over a hundred new text adventures being written every year and excellent libraries, documentation, and newsgroup help available, it's perfectly reasonable to have expectations of the games we choose to play. The thing is, it doesn't always work out that way. Skyranch is completely lacking in professionalism. Many have stated that it did not appear as if the author was a native speaker of English. Valid, perhaps, but there has always been a percentage of the population that simply does not come across as fast, competent and skilled when it comes to the electronic word. We have all seen "the first e-mail" from our otherwise intelligent computer-newbie friends that looks like it was typed by a mentally handicapped, three-fingered snow ape. This is the type of voice Skyranch speaks with. We're actually somewhat lucky that the game is not written all in caps.

The game definitely has potential. It's about an experiment in the sky. As a survivalist type, you have signed yourself up to take part in the skyranch project. The real challenge isn't dealing with the lack of oxygen and air pressure as so much as being unable to concentrate on anything other than the dreadful sounds of heavy machinery.

One verb will usually do it for Skyranch. If Driscoll was made aware of the concept of synonym he no doubt thought, "bah! Who needs 'em?" Unfortunately, this does not bode well for the player. You absolutely have to go into the game with the understanding that the game's vocabulary is slightly better than Mystery House, second-level verbs are not going to be referenced and guessing the verb won't help you as much as getting a thesaurus and typing in alternate ways to express "exit" one by one.

The thing is, it's often extremely amusing to place yourself in a literary world where the author is not a superb writer of English. (The Walter Miller Home Page, or Fat Chicks In Party Hats website, for instance.) Driscoll's game offers this style of appeal. His description for the robot that follows you around ("Lloyd 2.0") ends with the robot telling you, "I will love you always." This apparently sincere expression of emotion in a sea of poor spelling and incorrectly used homonyms is funny. No one, short of the author of Annoyotron, really goes out and attempts to make a bad game. The