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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Six: The Ordeal

“We must presume they don’t leave anything to chance.” – The Doctor

“The Ordeal”, the sixth of seven episodes featuring the first appearance of the Daleks, places both the Doctor and his companions through two different types of wringers. For the Doctor and Susan, their ordeal is nothing less than to wage a battle against the Dalek city with meager resources, trying to destroy key infrastructure before the Daleks can turn the tables on them. For Ian and Barbara, their ordeal is a labyrinth of caves far beneath the Dalek city– and by episodes’s end, they had still not discovered a way back to the surface. There is a ton of good in this episode, including good character moments for both Susan and Barbara, establishing them as more than just an adjunct to their male counterparts. But the episode drags on, particularly the parts with Ian and Barbara in the caves. But there is a nice feeling of tension as we build toward a climax in the next episode.

More thoughts after the break and the recap. Continue reading

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Mystery House (1980)

The first post for my second game has just gone up on The Adventure Gamer, “Mystery House“. This 1980 game for the Apple ][ is considered the first “graphical adventure” game ever made, ushering in an entire genre of games which peaked in the 90s per persists to this day. The second and final post will go out next week. Meanwhile, I have completed several more for “Operation Stealth”. All of my “The Adventure Gamer” posts are now being linked off the menu above. Regular updates on this blog, as well as Coat of Many Colors, will resume in December.

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Operation Stealth (1990)

One of my favorite blogs has been The Adventure Gamer, written by “Trickster”. It is a travelogue of sorts, a series of posts as he played through forty-five classic adventure games. Recently, Trickster has stepped down and turned over the keys to the blog to his fans and community. In the spirit of keeping a blog I love running, I have volunteered to contribute a series of posts on Operation Stealth (also known as James Bond: The Stealth Affair), a 1990 adventure game by Delphine Software. You can find my first post here: Real Spies Fly Coach.

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Coat of Many Colors: The Ghost of Samuel

Over on Coat of Many Colors, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to write about– not because the bible has a lot of “spooky” stories, it really does not, but because the ones it has are so deeply ingrained that you stop seeing them. This year, I looked at one of the bible’s true “ghost stories”: King Saul and the ghost of the Prophet Samuel. There is also a witch thrown in there for good measure.

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Wizardry: Proving Ground of the Mad Overlord (1981)

In the beginning, there was Wizardry. No, not the very beginning because someone had to come around and invent the Apple ][ first, but when it comes to home computer role-playing games, it is difficult to get older than the first Wizardry game. Richard Garriott had not written Akalabeth, the precursor to Ultima. Might and Magic and The Bard’s Tale were both half a decade in the future. No, if you wanted to find a multi-character dungeon crawl, you were stuck with Wizardry.

The amazing thing is, it has aged pretty well. It’s damned difficult, but at this point not impossible. I have played through the first level (of ten, I believe); read on for my thoughts so far.

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Coat of Many Colors: The Book of Esther and the End of Haman

Over on Coat of Many Colors, I have just posted Part 3 of my incredibly delayed look at the Jewish holiday of Purim: the End of Haman. (You might also be interested in parts one or two.) It is as close at the Bible gets to commenting on government bureaucracy gone crazy as the King of Persia is unable to countermand his own order to kill all the Jews and instead must order the Jewish citizens to fight back. A great story, no matter what time of year it is.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Five: The Expedition

You all realize, of course, we cannot succeed against the Daleks alone? – The Doctor

After an action-packed outing last time, Doctor Who switches into a different gear for “The Expedition.” This episode does a great job closing up plot threads and setting the table for the conclusion of this serial. At times, that makes this episode more like “The Exposition” than an “Expedition”, but it is fine. These classic episodes of Doctor Who do like to breathe, but I am not finding the pacing to be too far off at all. Not “modern” Doctor Who, of course– but it does not need to be.

We have some fantastic interaction between the main cast as they debate how far they should go to get home, some sensible strategizing, and closure on a Dalek subplot. On to the recap!

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Coat of Many Colors: Asaph the Psalmist, and his Son Joseph

Over on Coat of Many Colors, I have started a brief series on everyone named Joseph in the bible, in honor of my grandfather and namesake. The first of this is an obscure musician-prophet in the time of King David. I wrote a post about him, as well as his very famous (for biblical musicians) father. Read all about Asaph the Psalmist (and his son Joseph) right here.

If that isn’t interesting enough, it also features a character named “Heman” who, as far as I can tell, does not have the Power of Greyskull.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Four: The Ambush

“Make no attempt to capture them. They are to be exterminated. You understand? Exterminated.” – The Daleks

This episode was fantastic. We had two great action scenes, the Daleks did not act particularly stupid this time, and the plot came full circle with the re-introduction of the TARDIS’s “fluid link”. Better yet, this episode finally sees the Daleks getting scary. I suspect the challenge will be keeping up the tension as we have three episodes left in this arc, but I try to keep remembering that the original viewers did not know how many episodes were left.

Even more important to the history of the show, this episode marks the very first use of the Dalek catch-phrase, “Exterminate!” On to the recap.

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