Good news and good feelings seem challenging to find right now, but I made a new episode of Lo-Fi Let's Play anyway -- thanks to your patronage, I was able to buy a new Blue Yeti microphone which will significantly increase the quality of the audio for the series, without sacrificing those keyboard taps I know you ASMR friends love.
The Alpine Encounter was apparently published by Random House in 1985 on several platforms, but this is the Apple IIe version. When I first gave this one a try I dismissed it out of hand -- we've seen way older games with way more worthy design logic, and this parser barely understands basic commands.
But in the end there was something about it. Maybe it's the expansively realized Swiss ski resort, and the interesting tensions it creates between the desire to relax and explore and the desire to get on with your mission (which is relatively opaque in itself). Maybe it's the way the passage of time dictates the movement of the inscrutable characters, like a sort of proto Last Express. Maybe it's the fact you can "win" the game, in a sense, in a handful of moves without ever truly "knowing" it at all. I've researched all kinds of sources on this work and it's actually looking likely that this is all there is to it. Who knows!
This weird game lets you undress to go swimming in a locker room appropriate to the gender you chose when you registered at the hotel, but does not let you examine or speak to most people. Its broken systems and reverse logic are compelling spaces for me right now, and perhaps they will be to you, too.
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