DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

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I finished rereading Fred Pohl's Gateway, which I'd started while on the way Boskone last weekend. The book is still enjoyable after all these years, even if I still shake my head over the fact that the smartest minds in Rob Broadhead's universe don't figure out what Heechee prayer fans are for until well into the sequel, when it was patently obvious to me halfway through this book. It occurred to me that the setup is similar to Stargate. Mankind stumbles across an artifact of ancient origin that allows interstellar journeys based upon coded settings that no one quite understands, so no one knows quite where they're going until they get there. The Gateway method of travel is via tiny ships rather than wormholes, and instead of soldiers it's civilian prospectors being sent out, balancing the massively good odds of dying versus the potential of a big payoff. Good stuff. Next up is another Nero Wolfe, Gambit.

Most of the rest of the weekend was sucked up by an old computer game (circa 1994) called the Superhero League of Hoboken, a very silly DOS graphic adventure game written by Steve Meretzky, one of the Infocom guys, probably best know for adapting The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy into a text adventure. It is about a bunch of third-rate superheroes headquartered in post-apocalyptic northern New Jersey, and I recall it got good reviews when it originally came out. I came across if a few years back on an abandonware site (abandonware is old software, mostly really old games considered to be too obsolete to market anymore), and it's been sitting on my hard drive patiently waiting for me to play it ever since.

It turns out to be great fun, especially if you happen to be from northern New Jersey. It's full of bad puns, and silly jokes, like most of Meretzky's games, and I enjoyed the heck out of defeating Dr. Entropy, Master of Chaos, over and over. There was also one thing in it that I thought was very cool. One of the missions the League has to carry out in their fight for truth and justice has them visit Washington's Headquarters in Morristown. When that came up on the mission board, I muttered a whoa a la Keanu, since Washington's Headquarters is less than a block from where I grew up. I used to walk by it every morning on my way to the train station to go to school. And they even used an accurate picture of it. Very neat to run across something like that in a computer game, possibly the neatest thing ever. At least if you're me...

There are some very funny story lines in the game. One involves the reanimated corpsicles of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin in a Yankee Stadium flooded by global warming. There's also a war between the library staffs of Yale and Princeton, as well as a very funny story line about a lunatic plotting the invasion of Afghanistan, which now seems remarkably prescient. The game is fairly easy as these things go, and great fun if you like that sort of thing.

There was also a quick trip up to Cambridge for dinner and margaritas at the Border Cafe with the Somervillains. As usual, it was a very good time.

I hear tell there's more snow on the way. Imagine that...
Tags: books, games, somervillains

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