Thursday, July 10, 2008

Take Another Look Thursday: Parte Quattro

Thanks to CBeth, who currently is Blogless (such a shame--a Smart Cookie like you should join the Blogosphere, C!), and Mr. Teacher for contributing to this week's Take Another Look Thursday. Remember--you, too, can be enshrined in The Scholastic Scribe's Summertime Hall of Fame! Just shoot us a review about anything to scholastic_scribe@hotmail.com, and we'll run it in Next Thursday's picks! So, sit back, relax, and read what these folks have to say!

Curly's Pub at Lambeau Field-Reviewed by CBeth
Avid football fans can't say they've seen it all until they've gone to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. Home to the Green Bay Packers for more than 50 years, "the frozen tundra" has made the record books, in more ways than one: It's the smallest NFL stadium; is home to record-breakers Bart Starr, Reggie White and Brett Favre; hosts games in the coldest temperatures (hence, its nickname), and received a facelift a few years back.
Good luck trying to go to Lambeau for a game...tickets are few and far between, the season ticket wait list is more than 20 years long, and scalping tickets can cost anywhere from $150-$600 dollars for a single (trust me, I did it this year to see Brett Favre tie the touchdown-passing record with 420 passes against the Chargers in September). Instead, come see the stadium's new, fancy lobby, its hall of fame, and then stop for lunch at Curly's Pub in the Atrium. Curly's (named for the Packers' founder and first coach, who was also a player) serves typical stadium food (burgers, brats, hot dogs, fries, onion rings) in a classier setting (the bar has several big screen, plasma TVs). The bar and dining room overlook the VIP parking lot at the stadium; so while you enjoy your lunch you can try to spot stars like Donald Driver in his Escalade. And try the cheese curds, they are to die for. After all, you will be in the land of cheese.!

The Dixie Chicks-Reviewed by CBeth
Country music's most controversial all-female band, the Dixie Chicks' melodies are classics. From their first album, "Wide Open Spaces" to their latest, "Taking the Long Way," the Chicks have grown and matured. For the more pop-country sound, pick up "Wide Open Spaces "or "Fly," where lead Natalie Mains sings upbeat tunes about love and heartache, dancing and even divorce and death in a sometimes humorous tone (my personal favorite is "Goodbye, Earl" off of "Fly"). The catchy lyrics will keep you singing from your house all the way to work, and will be stuck in your head the rest of the day. For a more classic-country sound, I would choose "Home," featuring fewer electric instruments, and more fiddle and mandolin. After the 2003 controversy caused by Mains and her comments about President Bush, the Chicks leaned more toward the rock side of music after being criticized by country fans. I think their latest album, "Taking the Long Way," is their best one. Their mature lyrics about their worldview and experiences reach out to their audience, but they still maintain their catchy appeal. And, for those of you who aren't hardcore country music fans, "Taking the Long Way" incorportates country sounds with more mellow, rock ones as well. Forget politics; these women are great musicians, with great records, and songs you won't want to stop listening to.

Zork-Reviewed by Teacher Man

One day, when I was in the seventh grade, a friend who lived nearby invited me over to his house to play a computer game. This was long before the days of Doom, Halo, Unreal Tournament, and the rest of today's so- realistic-it's-scary graphical games. Believe it or not, the game we played that day had no graphics whatsoever.

And I was completely hooked.

“You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.”

Welcome to the world of Zork. After playing a few times, I really DID feel like I could envision the white house, the mailbox, and dense, impenetrable woods surrounding me. For the early '80s, Zork and its kin were highly streamlined, devoting all of the memory on the floppy disk (remember those?) to story and logic puzzles, and not wasting a single bit or byte on needless graphics. As a new teenager, I didn't need to actually SEE graphics -- I could picture them in my head, based on the descriptions I was reading on the screen.

Zork was described as a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. Your character was simply "the adventurer." The challenge was to infiltrate the Great Underground Empire of Zork and abscond with its treasures. In the house, you would find a lamp (it's dark underground, after all), a sword of Elvish antiquity, and a few other items to get you started.

The command structure was quite simple, yet remarkably deep. If you wanted to exit a room by going north, you could type in, "Exit the room by going north," OR "Go north," OR "North," OR even quite simply, "N." If you found a diamond ring on the floor, you could say, "Pick up diamond ring," OR, "Get ring," or even sometimes, "Take it," assuming you had just referenced "it" by saying something like, "Examine the diamond ring."

In addition to being very understanding of what you the user were trying to do with each command, the program had several snide responses encoded. If you typed the word, "mumble," the program would respond, "You're going to have to speak up if you expect me to hear you." If you typed in, "kill me," your answer would be, "Suicide is not the answer." The program also recognized about four different common curse words, and entering any one of them would bring down the reply, "Such language, in a high class establishment like this!"

The game itself was what really drew me in, though. The descriptions of the rooms and items were rich, the puzzles were interesting and often complex, and the world of Zork itself was simply fascinating. I actually credit Zork with teaching me to type as well as I do. Playing often enough with commands like, "Kill troll with sword," or, "Give the jeweled egg to the thief," was instrumental in increasing my words per minute.

There were three parts to the original Zork series, and after I had completed those, I devoured anything else I could get my hands on by Infocom, the company who created this masterpiece. I was just as, or at least almost just as, enamored with Infidel, Enchanter, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos (though I always felt a little guilty after playing that one).

In high school, I got into the Sierra games -- Kings Quest, Space Quest, etc. -- which had graphics and were quite fun. Since then, I've tried my hand at Quake, and a few other online games. However, Zork will always be the gold standard against which I compare all other games.

2 comments:

Veggie Mom said...

Thanks for sharing! I think I'll submit a review this week--I'm stoked!

CBeth said...

Thanks for running my reviews! I feel out-of-place because I am blogless, but I sure do love reading your blog!

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