I remember when I first set out on this Gaming Pathology journey. According to my master spreadsheet at the time, I had around 80 games in my collection that were not in the database. My MobyGames records state that I contributed 106 games in 2007 and 30 games so far in 2008. Yet, my spreadsheet currently reports that I possess around 110 unentered games. Therefore, I recently resolved to not purchase anymore games until I have made a significant dent in the unentered games in my stock. And then there’s all the screenshot recon to be done!
So I have been reorganizing my computers recently. Most notably, I have decommissioned my Windows XP machine that was my central hub for this Gaming Pathology experiment. In its place, I have created a Windows XP VMware session on my Mac Mini. VMware Fusion for the Mac is supposed to have some nifty features for emulating DirectX so that gaming in a virtual computer won’t be such a drag. However, the virtualization program was quick to tell me that my budget-minded Mac Mini, with its economy class Intel graphics chipset, does not necessarily support all the latest and greatest features.
Somehow, I don’t think that this will be much of a problem given the types of games I often play, the bulk of which seem to be based on Macromedia Director. In fact, I thought I would eschew covering a new game for the time being and try one that I have been wanting to play for awhile: The Lost Island of Alanna, a Cherry Coke promotional game.
Unfortunately, as a result of my recent attempt at a full-on Mac conversion, I am still at a loss with regards to a decent graphics workflow. At the same time, I am also fighting with the newer image capabilities of the WordPress blogging software driving this site. Please accept this single screenshot that highlights what happens when running this 1998 vintage title on Windows XP without setting the compatibility mode to Windows 95:
As mentioned, this game came out in 1998. I was excited to snatch this up for cheap on eBay, even though the game has a decent entry already (refer to said entry for better screenshots, which do not vary significantly from the ones I could post). I should have read the MobyGames entry a little more thoroughly. It seems that this game was heavily dependent on materials available at a now-defunct cherrycoke.com URL. I can certify that the game’s eponymous island is pretty much impenetrable without the clues on that website. The Wayback Machine doesn’t help much since I can’t find any front pages for the site that mention Alanna.
Again, though, I should have done a little more homework before my purchase, for there is a complete walkthrough available, listed through MobyGames. Not only that, but the walkthrough author saw fit to post an entire copy of the game at the top of the walkthrough. So, by all means, download it and give it a whirl, especially if you thought Myst was an unparalleled masterpiece.
While the walkthrough reveals every single detail needed to complete Alanna, it also contains a specific deep link into the old Cherry Coke website. This is invaluable for web forensics via the aforementioned Wayback Machine and thus I was able to locate the original online companion materials for this game. Behold: The Standlake University of Cultural Anthropology project on Alanna.
The Standlake University research notes appear eerily authentic. This represents a marvelous impersonation of a dry, boring academic website. Keep in mind that there are some people who believe that video games are supposed to be fun.
I’m ecstatic to report that I finished this adventure game, including the sliding tile puzzle, and I am unashamed to admit that I followed the walkthrough to the letter. I wasn’t going to bother until I noticed that the walkthrough actually had a 71-step process for solving the sliding tile puzzle. The same website, apparently specializing in adventure game walkthroughs, even has software for solving sliding tile puzzles.
- Myst, Alanna’s most obvious influence
- Taco Bell Tek Kids— now here’s a company that knows how to do promotional tie-in video games