Monday, November 19, 2012

"Cyberswine", Windows, 1997.

OK, enough with the blogging of popular games; it's time for an (apparently justifiedly) obscure rarity. Even terrible flyspeck console games gets fetishized by collectors and, well, Seanbaby, but PC development is really the pit to which there is no bottom. Hence we present to you: the "Cyberswine" interactive movie.
THE FATE OF CYBERCITY RESTS IN HIS HANDS...
AND YOURS
Introducing Cyberswine, the interactive Multipath movie where you control the action.
Cybercity is about to be annihilated by a destructive plague. Only CYBERSWINE--part cop, part machine, full boar hero--can save it. Teaming up with renegade Lieutenant Sara Lee, can CYBERSWINE find the source of the Grid Virus and stop it before it's too late? It's up to you. You have to command him how to act. Don't just watch the action. Control it -- right from your PC. With hundreds of plot paths leading to different endings, watch Cyberswine again and again! With Multipath, you're in control.
Ask for Cyberswine and other Multipath Movies at your local computer retailer.
The folks at Choice of Games have published a few articles about what makes for compelling choice in a game; they should know, as it's not only their bread and butter (their all-text games consist of nothing beyond compelling choices interspersed with infodumps) it's even in their name! But not all choices are compelling -- it's only due to the tremendously elaborate follow-up that Meanwhile's opening inquiry of "chocolate or vanilla?" passes.

The vaunted "Multipath" technology here doesn't seem to add up to as much fun here as, say, a round of Dragon's Lair would -- though time-based decision-making is in effect, players arrive at the exact same ending in about the same amount of time even if they traverse the entire game hands-off (what was that about hundreds of plot paths leading to different endings?); options offered yield only superficial change without altering the plot one iota and the main narrative interactivity here is the same as in the CGA ZorkQuest interactive comics -- deciding when and how to alter the display the camera offers rather than what the characters do or where they go, with the curiously tech demo-y input of viewing the events from any angle.

Gee, that was a long sentence.

In any case, there's hardly any point in tearing this game a new one; by its very name and premise it has already done everything in its power to predispose us against it, so in that sense, it is a success. I like to often tout interesting failures over boring successes, but that overlooks a big grey area of equally-unworthy boring failures.