Friday, September 12, 2008

Flashback Friday: B.A.T.

When I think back to some really cool games I've played, I often go back to "B.A.T." That's short for "Bureau of Astral Troubleshooters." It was an adventure game with a huge scope of things to see and do, set in a gritty, futuristic world. What I remember most is the movie-like opening with a great theme song and the title spinning into place, something that's commonplace for today but very ambitious for a time that often just featured a static opening screen.

I didn't even remember the plot, so I had to look it up. You played a member of an agency called the Bureau of Astral Troubleshooters on his first assignment for the Confederation of the Galaxies. A master criminal scientist named Vrangor has escaped from prison, along with a small-time crook name Merigo. The two of them have hatched a scheme to blackmail the galaxy. Vrangor has hidden nucturobiogenic bombs in Terrapolis, the largest city on the planet Selenia. Vrangor has given the government ten days to transfer ownership of the city to him or evacuate the city. The player's mission is to find Vrangor and stop the bombs from exploding before the ten days is up.

* The game is set in the 22nd century.
* The game was originally released in 1990 in France, where it won "Game of the Year." The game was translated into English.
* The game boasted over 1100 different locations and characters from seven different species.
* The virtual city of Terrapolis had a wide range of services, such as a disco, restaurants, and a strip club. There was even an arcade with a playable mini-game called Bizzy.
* The player was required to eat and drink. Going hungry or thirsty for too long would cause death.
* The game was pure cyberpunk, heavily influenced by Blade Runner.
* The game featured a 3D flight simulator called DRAG to travel from place to place.
* The coolest feature in the game was a programmable computer embedded inside the player's wrist called B.O.B. The screen for B.O.B. actually showed the control panel in the arm with the surrounding flesh visible (Wish I could've found a screenshot for that). The computer could be programmed with a language similar to BASIC to do things like monitor the player's health or translate alien languages.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fun in a Call Center: Mechanically Inclined

ME: Are you calling for yourself or someone else?
MRS BITTER: My husband.
ME: Does he have an email address he'd like us to keep on file?
MRS BITTER: No. He can't even operate a telephone.

Something tells me that marriage is a wee bit strained.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Quote of the Week: Doobie Physics

Chris Taylor: Here's the problem -- although your theory no doubt sounds quite wonderful to you in words when you spark up a doob and run it through your mind, if you actually had bothered to get enough of an education to translate it into actual math that could be used to make predictions about the physical world which could be experimentally verified you would quickly find that it doesn't.
-S.O.G. on the arguments for or against time travel causality

[The idea for this feature was blatantly stolen from Maurice's Blog]