The Dink Network

Crazy Old Tim Plays all the DMODs of 2003

August 2nd 2014, 05:54 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
--Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs--

Directory
1998 | HTML version
1999 | HTML version
2000 | HTML version
2001 | Article version
2002 | Article version
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008-2009
2010
2011-2015

You try rinsing it out, you try scrubbing it out, but you just can't get rid of Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs! I'm your host, "Man With Kittens."


Yay, kittens!

2003 was another year that saw the release of a great many DMODs (there are 36 of them on my list). This includes three that I have played before: "World of DinkC," "Green Voice in My Head" (a favorite of mine), and "Dink Goes Boating," the last DMOD by Simon Klaebe. I sampled these three during a visit in 2006; they are the last DMODs I have ever previously played, with the exception of a few 2014 releases. It's not a coincidence that they are also the 2003 releases with a score of over 9.0.

The "Evil Hero" contest also took place this year, producing five entries. On the other end of the spectrum, "Ghosts of the Cast: The Quest for the Axe of Destruction" (quite a title) is so poorly-regarded that its only review gives it a rating of 0.1. The Dink train rolls on.

145: Dink's Father 1: Quest for the Scroll Author: Mads Baardsgaard Release Date: January 3, 2003
"The wizard has throwed a spell on me!!"

Of the several loose ends left dangling by the original game, Dink's father is surely the most interesting. While Dink's mother assures him that his dad was a simple farmer, the wizard in the secret ice castle will tell you that Dink's line is associated with powerful magic. It's quite intriguing, and if anyone were to make a Dink Smallwood 2, I think it would be a shame not to pick up this plot thread.

"Dink's Father" does not, however. I'd bet that the author never even noticed it. It's implied in the original game that Dink's father is dead, but there's no mention of that here. I'd be willing to buy a revelation that Dink's pop is alive after all, but this DMOD doesn't bother to do that; instead, it opens with Dink going to search for him as if he'd just wandered out one day and never come back.

What can I really say about this one? I like what scratcher had to say in his review: "In a few words, this dmod sucks horribly." I've gone back and forth over whether to hand out the Award of Badness - I've decided against it, but I think this is as bad as a DMOD could possibly get without deserving the DFMAOB.


There are 110 map screens, but the map is mostly very empty. Even an area called the "dungeons of doom" is just a very simple maze with no enemies until some skippable ones on the final screen.

There is some combat, but it's all made incredibly easy by a light sword you're forced to get early on. Everything dies in one hit except for a couple of bosses, which are also impossible to lose to without trying despite taking many hits to kill. Everything has to be done in a precise order to progress, and there's no way for the player to figure this out but through trial and error. If you talk to an NPC or examine an item when it isn't the time to do so, they will simply fail to respond. Sometimes Dink will not be frozen during a conversation, and you'll have to sit around and wait for the text to disappear before the story will advance. Some things don't work at all. In particular, one item's script is not attached properly, making the DMOD impossible to finish without cheating. Some walls are placed poorly and not screenmatched, so you'll run into them seemingly at random.

The mod is longer than you'd expect. The author says he spent six months on it. All of the events in the game quickly blend together in my mind, however. It's all so dull and makes so little sense. The author displays a basic lack of understanding of Dink's world, mentioning Hawaii and the year 1974.


You'll "let him live?" I think that ship has sailed even further away than "the Hawaii" at this point.


This is supposed to be a volcano. At least it animates properly.

If you do cheat and reach the end, Dink will save his father from a bizarre spell where he has to stand on a non-animating explosion forever. Dink's dad invites Dink to live with him, and Dink agrees. It's not an ending that really demands a sequel, let alone two.

You may wonder why I haven't come down harder on this one when I've had nothing positive to say about it. Well, it certainly fails to reach mediocrity, but I've learned to distinguish between levels of terrible. The majority of this mod has a basic sort of coherence that is missing from the DFMAOB recipients. There are no "invisible wall" screen edges. The story, while boring and stupid, makes sense, using a strict definition of the word "sense." There are some catchy MIDIs.

I hope that, somewhere along the line, some kind of justice is done to this concept. I'm not holding my breath for it in the rest of this trilogy, though.
August 2nd 2014, 07:01 PM
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ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
And so begins another epic journey, cataloging your experience as you sift through the Dmod archives.
You have to wonder if someone'll make a Dmod as a sequel to all of this, "Dink and the Examiner" or something like that, where he has to follow in your footsteps somehow. Would probably be quite difficult to do, but hey, let's get that idea out in the open while we can

Looking forward to seeing more as always!
August 3rd 2014, 10:02 AM
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ThePunisher
Peasant Male
Kill Police Officers 
You look pretty sad there.
August 3rd 2014, 11:34 AM
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scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Both his hands are full of warm kitty. He coulddn't possibly be sad.
August 13th 2014, 09:44 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
146: Dry Author: Binirit Release Date: January 24, 2003
"...you will be facing a heck of a lot of screenlocks."

What the Hell did I just play?

This is the strangest DMOD I have yet come across. Sorry, "Goblin Trouble," you can't hold a candle to this one. It was kind of frustrating and exhausting, but it was certainly unique. If someone were to tell me that this were their favorite DMOD, I wouldn't argue with them. I could see this appealing to a certain very specific sort of person a great deal.


Trilobites. If you are expecting an explanation, you're playing the wrong DMOD.

"Dry" is so called because it takes place in a desert, but this is also the name of a major character in the DMOD. Dink's friend Dry is thirsty, and Dink must find water. This turns out to be an absurdly complicated task with many nonsensical steps.

This world is a bizarre one. Many of the graphics have been re-tinted, resulting in scenes so vivid that it kind of makes your head hurt.


For example, look at those neon pigs. It's nice to see more focus on pigs, incidentally. Ducks get all the attention.

Many things are placed in a way that defies logic. A hanging sign just sits there in midair. There's a toilet-cleaner blue sea, but you're told that it's actually just more sand; indeed, you can walk all over it without a problem. You'll be doing this a lot, so you might as well get used to it.


Poor Dink vainly tries to retain some sort of perspective on the universe.

Almost everything talks to you: dragons, rocks, the hanging sign, "sandfish," pigs, a roast chicken and more. Those things that will not talk to you are scripted nonetheless. Dink has an awful lot to say on the subject of tables in particular. Examining a certain table produces sixty-two lines of text, mostly Dink telling you that he bets you're sorry you hit spacebar and that you might think twice before doing so again.


I've often praised DMODs for their thoroughness in scripting various objects, but I've rarely seen it taken to this extreme.

You can't count on anything being as you might reasonably expect. This is a deliberate approach taken by the author, as she explains in the readme file - "I decided to let go all the presumptions I had about how things should be in Dink's world." This can be a strength. "Dry" succeeded in surprising me quite a few times, which already puts it ahead of quite a few DMODs. At its best moments, the odd dialogue reminded me of one of the more esoteric Monty Python sketches, playing around with language, what it means to have a conversation, and the expectations people have of one another. However, the text did tend to go on for a very long time without really saying much, and it could drag and get rather boring. Another problem is that the near-abandonment of logic made it difficult and frustrating to try and figure out what to do next. I messed around for half an hour, making absolutely no progress, before I gave in and used a walkthrough. Even with the guide, I spent nearly an additional 90 minutes before reaching the end. I was exhausted and had a fierce headache, both from the bright colors and the queer dialogues that had my brain viciously chasing its own tail.

To give you an idea of the kind of leaps of logic you're expected to take, there's a bit where you meet a pig named Sniff who wants you to get a hunter to stop killing pigs. When you talk to the hunter, he complains that if he stops killing pigs, he'll have nothing to do anymore. You need to go talk to somebody whose sole character trait is that he speaks French. Dink will ask the Francophone to teach his language to the hunter so that he'll have a new hobby. Well, of course, right?

And then there were the combat screens. You will indeed be facing a heck of a lot of screenlocks. The combat, which mostly involves throwing Joshriot's Bangerang Boomerang at things that can't hit you, is easy but time-consuming and pointless.


...in the naaame of spiiiikes! Before they breaaaak your heaart!

I think that "Dry" is a DMOD you should play, but not necessarily a DMOD you should attempt to finish. Some parts of it really are interesting, if only because I'd never have thought anyone would take things in quite such a direction. Plus, it really is quite clever at some times. You're likely better off calling it quits when it starts to bore, frustrate and confound you, though.
August 13th 2014, 09:59 PM
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leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
It's not called dry because the humor is dry? I haven't played dry in a long time. I don't really remember it well. I don't think I ever beat it either.
August 13th 2014, 10:02 PM
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That table... I accidentally talked to it twice.
August 15th 2014, 03:35 AM
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I really enjoyed Dry. It's certainly unique

"That table... I accidentally talked to it twice."

I feel you - I ended up speaking to that damn sandfish 3 times through mashing the spacebar too fast skipping the second time.
August 15th 2014, 10:37 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
147: Glenn's First DMOD Author: Glenn Ergo Release Date: March 17, 2003
"hey boss im gonna kill you"

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is part of the incredibly select group to have a rating of less than 1.0 (0.8) on The Dink Network.

Oh, dear me. You'd think that Mike Dingwell's example would have proven that a title like that can't be a good sign. At least this one isn't Glenn's only DMOD, so unlike Dingwell's, this title at least contains no unnecessary information.

That doesn't mean the DMOD is any better, of course.

*********This DMOD, "Glenn's First DMOD,"**********
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   **********On this day August 15, 2014********



Dink is so frustrated about this DMOD that he says this every single time you enter this screen.

This is a typical F-class DMOD. There aren't many screens, some dialogues fail to freeze you, there's no plot to speak of, and nothing happens upon defeating the boss. Like "Dink Forever," this is shockingly an updated release. Here is the changelog, which is more entertaining than the mod itself:

bugs fixed
when you talk to the girl in the house the game not crash

other changes
a few more scrips
edited some of the skripts
i have put stone`s around the hole world
tree new midis


I'll certainly cut the young Norwegian author a bit of slack for his English, but I am impressed by his ability to misspell "scripts" two different ways in two consecutive lines. The stones seem to be Glenn's response to the typical "invisible walls" complaint. They do manage to suggest a boundary, which is nice, but they look strange and have quite a few hardness gaps.

As for the girl in the house, while the game does manage to avoid crashing there, there's another error on that screen. This has the distinction of being a mistake I haven't seen anybody else make yet.


This house has got worse problems than 'litleness.'

See those grass tiles? Those are actually tiles stamped from the unused sections of the tile sets. When you do this, the tiles will display as whatever was on the previous screen. You can even observe this here, since there are two warps to this screen in the DMOD.


Liar! If you're so poor, how could you afford to redecorate the abyss around your house?

Congratulations, Glenn, on discovering a new way to suck that 146 DMODs had all managed to avoid. Incidentally, this girl tells you to go southwest to the boss, who is actually located to the northeast. I used to mix up east and west when I was younger, but I've never seen anybody mix up north and south before. Mind you, I don't see any compasses around, so she could just be mistaken.

The boss doesn't really fight you. With the "walking around NPC" brain, the only way he can damage you is if you walk into him on purpose. A simple misplaced bracket prevents the DMOD from having an ending. It's too bad, because we miss out on this scintillating exchange:

Boss: aaaawwww you sonuwabitch you killed me
Dink: you gaddamed right ahahahaha loser
Boss: i will have a revange

Maybe the unnamed boss's revange from beyond the grave is explored in one of Glenn's six other DMODs, but I doubt it. Gaddam it.

148: Dink's Father 2: The Kidnapping Author: Mads Baardsgaard (Lancemads) Release Date: April 1, 2003
"I have arranged this get-drunk festival"

It's hard to believe this wasn't a bad April Fools' joke.

**********This DMOD, "Dink's Father 2,"************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   **********On this day August 15, 2014********


Yes, this is even worse than the original. While it is larger, more organized, and more functional than pretty much everything I've given the Award of Badness to so far, I'm putting my foot down. There comes a point where a DMOD is so embarrassingly lazy and sloppy that it deserves no consideration whatever.

I doubt I'm going to upset anybody by trashing this thing. Its highest rating is a 3.4 from Glenn (yes, that Glenn), who describes it as "A Bad D-Mod."

I'm running out of tolerance for this kind of thing. This DMOD might have a (nonsense) plot and a (shaky, broken) structure, but it gets to me a lot more than something like "Glenn's First DMOD," which exists only for the purpose of releasing something and is therefore easy to laugh at. This, on the other hand, is a prime example of somebody really trying to make a game, but not caring enough to make it even remotely acceptable (or even possible to finish!). It's also harder to take this from a mod that isn't the author's first and has a reasonable amount of time between it and the author's previous release.

"The Kidnapping" takes place just ten days after the original "Dink's Father," and we are expected to believe that in that amount of time, several new, permanent stone structures have been erected in the town of Brooksville. That might seem like a small thing to complain about, but there's just no reason at all that the author couldn't have used a more believable amount of time instead. Dink goes out to get food for his dad, and he is suddenly overtaken by a spell of domination. Dink is forced to steal food from a neighbor, who soon kidnaps Dink's father in retaliation. The source of this spell is never explained or even hinted at; it happens because plot. Actually, it's possible that the author did it, because he is a character in the DMOD who informs you that he is omnipotent.


You're not helping your case there, man.

The mod isn't completely without positive qualities. There are a couple of lines that are mildly amusing. When Dink, unaware of what he's done while dominated, returns home with the stolen food, his dad remarks on what a great son he is, "Never stealing and such." The MIDI choices are quite odd ("Hotel California" for wandering around town?) but they're at least pleasant to listen to.


Tiling and hardness are a couple of the many ways in which "Dink's Father 2" fails.

The real reason this DMOD is so terrible is that it's a broken wreck. It wouldn't have been a good DMOD with more testing, but it would at least have been inoffensive. Several scripts have a broken talk procedure, and one of these procedures was supposed to advance you through the story, so beating the game is impossible. This happens near the end, and I didn't feel like fixing it, so I never saw the ending of this one. It's a mess even before you get there, though. For example, there's a place where you're supposed to pay a guard in order to proceed, but you can walk right through him - assuming he even shows up, which he sometimes does not. If you don't pay him, though, it's impossible to continue the game because other events will not trigger. Progression involves pure trial and error if you're not following the walkthrough, as the dialogue options you need will never come up until you've done something else with no logical connection whatsoever (this is a problem that the original "Dink's Father" had as well). Combat is never required, and some pillbugs you encounter early on will simply disappear when you kill them, awarding no experience and producing no corpse.

Probably the best thing in the DMOD was caused by an error on the author's part. There's a character in the game who is drunk - Dink asks him if he's drunk, he replies by slurring the word 'drunk,' and Dink is appalled. It's not interesting at all on its own, but for some reason, the script for this guy is attached to all the sprites on several screens in a certain part of the map. All of the tree stumps, tufts of grass and so forth immediately turn into drunk guys.


Dink: Lord of the Barflies.

At first I thought that the author was operating under the mistaken notion that releasing this trilogy was a good idea - that's the sort of delusion I was under when I released the Dink Forever trilogy and things like it. I was therefore surprised to find this in the readme file:

This is the second part of the Dink`s father triology (I don`t know why I make a triology,
it just sound so good I realize now that making a triology a your first DMODS is stupid.
But now I`ve started, and there is no way back.


Even Lancemads had figured out it was a bad idea. As hard as it is to wrap my head around, he seems to have thought that he was under some kind of obligation to finish a trilogy once he'd started it. Clearly, he didn't bother looking through the archives.
August 16th 2014, 07:17 AM
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DinkKiller
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
The world could always use more heroes 
My first D-mod is part of a trilogy too...someday they'll all be released. I never realized I was conforming to what a bunch of other authors had also done. Perhaps I should make it a four-parter series, just to shake things up a bit?
August 16th 2014, 09:21 AM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
I'm scared of the times when you'll reach my D-Mods. These D-Mods look godly compared to my early ones. Hell, at least you can call these D-Mods. I guess the only good thing about my early D-Mods is that each of them improved from the previous one.
August 16th 2014, 09:35 AM
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redink1
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
I think trilogies are appealing to authors because it allows you to etch out an overarching (albeit however unsatisfying and ill-conceived) 'plot', while being able to put off all of the actual details (mapping, scripting, characters) until some ill-defined 'later'.

Or, at least that's what I'd think if I started/restarted a trilogy.
August 16th 2014, 05:22 PM
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DinkKiller
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
The world could always use more heroes 
I have no idea why I ever thought to do a trilogy. I think at one point, my intention was to have the epic be the end to the series, but once I planned it out and had a genius idea for a cliffhanger ending, then the trilogy became a thing. I guess that's what I get for not making it all up as I go.
August 16th 2014, 11:58 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
It has now been one year since I started this project. I've covered 150 DMODs from over five years in that time. I probably would've gotten farther if I hadn't taken a few months to make a new DMOD of my own. I'm still not halfway done, but I'm not that far off now.

149: Dinkablo II: Shadow and Flame (Demo) Author: Firelake Release Date: April 2, 2003
"Hit Diablo once for me."

This isn't a sequel to Kevin Zettler's barely-started alpha "Dinkablo" - I'm not sure how that would even be possible. Instead, it's based on Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo II, a game that I've played, although not in a very long time.

The first "Dinkablo" had little in the way of content, but it was still an interesting curiosity. Bunniemaster managed to recreate the town from Diablo closely enough that it was easily recognizable even though it had been a long time since I'd played that game. Unfortunately, "Dinkablo II" doesn't really manage this kind of trick. Instead, the areas are pretty generic Dink maps, but you're told they represent areas from Diablo II. Quite a bit of the map is made up of a series of nearly identical marsh areas, each marked with a sign like "Dark Forest" or "Cold Plain." Sure.


Here's one of the more interesting screens. Most of the screens look like this, but without the stones or the sparkle.

At the start of this one, some people urge Dink to go through a warp and go destroy Diablo. Who are these people? We have no way of knowing. The people Dink meets on the other side of the warp have never heard of him, so how do the others know to send Dink there? Despite having no clue he is, the people Dink meets seem to believe that he could take on the Lord of Hell.

There's an odd little segment where the game attempts to teach you how to play Dink Smallwood. Not only is this unnecessary, but the game does a comically poor job of this. There's a sign telling you how to move that you must move in order to reach, and another one telling you how to talk to or examine things, which you must examine before it'll say anything.


This could actually be a fairly funny joke, but to assume it is would be giving this DMOD too much credit.

The map is considerably larger than I would have thought. It's laid out reasonably well, but it suffers from quite a few tiling errors, a few of which create major hardness errors as well. There are a few dungeon-type areas that would be decent if it weren't for the tiling errors, but they seem kind of aimless and pointless. Each has a sort of ending you can reach, but there are no bosses, and only one of the dungeons is necessary to reach the "ending."

Although I don't have much positive to say about this mod in general, there's just one thing about it I really hated: its tendency to deliberately trap you in a dead end. There are several wrong paths that will make you restart the game, and they all occur before the first real save point (there's supposed to be a hidden one earlier, but I couldn't find it). Obviously, this is wretched, unforgivably bad design, and anyone responsible for putting such a dead end into a game should be spanked. Hard. With a spiked paddle.


Nooo! I thought I was only doomed temporarily!

...Speaking of spikes, I do want to give this DMOD credit for using the correct walk and death animations for the spiky things. They're called "Rollers" here, which isn't a bad name for them.

Here's an odd little note: the dialogue scripts in this DMOD may be based on the ones from "Dry." I suspect this because an unused script in the story folder is just a script from that DMOD with a few lines changed to be about Diablo.

The readme says that it's "sort of" possible to beat the game. You know what that means!


But Mommmm...

Dink pleads his case with the demon, but she insists that this is the end of the demo and that's all there is to it. Dink glumly concedes that he'll have to do everything over when the full version comes out. Fortunately for him, it never did.

150: Dink's Short Adventure! (Demo) Author: Jeremy Moore Release Date: May 3, 2003
"We are going to begin with a Tutorial."

REPUTATION NOTE: 1.0. Exactly. This is due to one generous soul giving it a 3.

Boy, 2003 must be backloaded. Here we are in May, and "Dry" is the only release so far of any note at all.

*******This DMOD, "Dink's Short Adventure,"********
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   **********On this day August 16, 2014********


1.0 is too high a rating for "Dink's Short Adventure," a title that appears only in the dmod.diz file. Text in the DMOD itself refers to the game as "Keeper's Short Adventure" for some reason. As for the title screen, it gives the title as "Your Title Goes Here," courtesy of Mike Snyder's DMOD skeleton.

This DMOD consists of an unfinished tutorial. I am glad that I played this right after Dinkablo II, because I have the opportunity to appreciate that this mod starts to do a much better job of presenting an unnecessary tutorial on how to play Dink. Text informs you how you should walk (you know, in case you've never played a PC game before) and attack without nonsensically requiring you to do those things first. Of course, I'm using a gamepad, so it's irrelevant to me, but at least it could've been worse.

Unfortunately, that's the best I can say. You're given an option to skip the tutorial, but it doesn't work. If you try to skip it, you'll end up stuck before even reaching what one might laughably call the "ending." After a short movement tutorial, you're told that you have to fight a monster, but all you'll encounter is a bonca with no script attached. You can punch it as long as you like, but nothing will happen, so you have to walk on by. You'll soon come to the game's sixth and final screen, where Dink is permanently stuck on an island where you can't do anything at all.


This is the truest this default line has ever been.

The description informs us that the author had planned a DMOD that was so large, he knew he'd never finish it, so he made this short one instead; incredibly, he didn't manage to finish this either. He can't have thought he was done when the bonca in his tutorial can't even be fought. Even at the height of my youthful cluelessness, I would have thought better of releasing something like this. This one has got a lock on worst DMOD of 2003... I hope.
August 17th 2014, 10:58 AM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Dinkablo 2 actually looks like an okay D-Mod. I've never played it, so I'd might even be interested to check it out if it wasn't a demo.

As for the "teaching how to play Dink tutorials", I had a similar thing in HH1. Later on I've been facepalming myself for it. I really don't get why I put it there.
August 17th 2014, 05:11 PM
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Arik
Peasant Male
 
For me, the attractive thing about trilogies as a jumping off point was that they allowed for grand ambitions while limiting the scope of your first d-mod. Given the very high likelihood that your first try is a) not going to be that good and b) not going to be very well structured, planning a trilogy means that you can make the d-mod working towards something while safe in the knowledge that it's a learning experience that won't hurt the later entries too much. I thought of the Friends Beyond modules as a model at the time - the first was short and basic, the second much larger and more ambitious without rewriting the rules for everything, the third an epic with a concept behind it that someone new to d-mods couldn't really have made.

It does seem to be community specific though - from my time playing Neverwinter Nights modules there were definitely a lot of serialised modules but not specifically trilogies. I think the Arithia games probably set a bar that people aimed for.
August 17th 2014, 07:28 PM
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scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
It does seem to be community specific though - from my time playing Neverwinter Nights modules there were definitely a lot of serialised modules but not specifically trilogies. I think the Arithia games probably set a bar that people aimed for.

I think this is true. On a forum I've been visiting recently, I've noticed a lot of people like to release their stuff episodically. Intro and a few quests, good enough for part 1. Three more quests, time to release part 2. etc. It's a format I absolutely loathe personally, but probably pretty neat from the modder's perspective. (Constantly releasing stuff and getting feedback, rather than half a dozen unfinished projects abandoned on your hard drive.)
August 17th 2014, 08:01 PM
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leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
On a forum I've been visiting recently, I've noticed a lot of people like to release their stuff episodically.

I think it'd be nice to release things in sections like that. You could create and release things in increments like that, and when enough are out, compile as many as you can into one and release that too. Alternatively you could update the file when you've finished the next part. I actually think this would be really good right now. Ya know what, I'm going to plan on doing this. Since my dmod has immense control over levels and stats it wouldn't be a problem maintaining the right numbers. Plus having to only worry about building one thing at a time will relieve so much pressure that I think I'll actually be able to write again. I'm going to try and finish up the first area soon and prepare for a release.

I think at this point, any release would be good for the site. I want to motivate people to work on their own projects.
August 17th 2014, 08:45 PM
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scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Hehe, fair enough. Dink is a special case for me, so I'd still play an episodic release even though I usually avoid those like the plague. Once the whole thing is out, it doesn't really matter, anyway. (Unless you ended every part on a huge cliffhanger, I suppose, like a good soap opera... Which would probably be an interesting playing experience)
August 17th 2014, 08:58 PM
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leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
Soap opera dmod. Lots of unnecessary capitalization, exclamation points, hyperboles, and predictable plot twists. I'd play that. Hell, I feel like I already have.
August 22nd 2014, 02:41 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
151: World of DinkC Author: Simeon Release Date: May 5, 2003
"Can't you see, it's DinkC Philosophy.."

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is part of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.1) on the Dink Network.

As I've said, I played this one back in 2006. I gave it by far its worst review, a 6.0. The next-lowest rating was over 8.0. Now that I've played the DMOD again, I think that I was too harsh eight years ago. I still don't think it's a great DMOD, but it's a pretty good one. What really let me down the first time I played it was my expectations.


Funny, the game usually just crashes when this sort of thing happens.

"World of DinkC" is a DMOD about a scripting error that creates havoc in Dink's world. I found this concept immensely exciting. I expected a crazy game full of simulated glitches, maybe a tear in the world through which you can see the code like in "Crosslink." I expected the DMOD equivalent of Strong Bad's virus email (which this predates). What I got instead was a mostly ordinary Dink adventure that uses references to DMOD authoring to drive the plot. In my disappointment, I became bored quickly. I now realize that it was unfair to judge the DMOD on what I expected it to be rather than what it was.

First, a note about the length: I hate to bring this issue up again, but if this is an "epic," I'm the Queen of England. I was a little iffy on a few other "epics" that took around three hours; this one took around two. It is clear to me at this point that the distinction is either really about the number of screens (over 550 here), or it's completely meaningless. I'm leaning toward the latter explanation.

There are a lot of NPCs in this mod, but most of them don't have anything interesting to say. A lot of the dialogue is of the dull, laconic "Hi. I think this place is nice" variety, and in some cases, dialogue is repeated. Still, there are some funny lines here and there, and some interesting bits concerning the central premise. The idea of "DinkC Philosophers" amuses me. It is fun, particularly for a DMOD author like me, to see the characters talking about how DMODs are made. The game walks a strange line by talking constantly about DMODs, scripting and so forth while still having the characters maintain that their world is real and not a game. It seems like a contradiction, but I think it actually makes the world more interesting than it would be if you were to tear down the fourth wall completely.


A DinkC philosopher ponders one of the most vexing mysteries of his universe.


I wonder if there are even this many copies of the physical reference in total.

The story isn't developed a lot further than the basic concept. The plot keeps moving, but events don't really build on each other very well. A lot of bad things happen and are presumably caused by the script error, but the exact mechanics of the error's fury are rarely clear. Fireballs appear, people turn into monsters, and lots and lots of people die, but the world seems rather stable overall. We do eventually learn that the Error has been caused deliberately by the efforts of some rogue goblins who have found a way to screw up the code using spinning-globe machines. At least the game is rarely confusing and almost everything makes sense, which puts it ahead of many DMODs.

There are some cool ideas here, but most of them don't feel fully realized. For example, Dink must retrieve an artifact called the "DinkC Amulet" that allows one to re-script the game from inside the game world. That is a really interesting idea, but - and this is a good example of the way this game's plot just sort of meanders around - although you spend a large chunk of the DMOD obtaining the amulet, it's never really put to much use. It certainly doesn't fix the problem - you eventually do that just by shutting down some machines, which is a lot less interesting than a device that alters the very DNA of the world around you.


"Amulet?" How would you even stand up with that thing hanging around your neck?

To find the amulet, Dink must talk to a DMOD author and enter his DMOD. The idea of a DMOD within a DMOD is also really intriguing, but not enough is done here to separate that segment from the rest of the game. It just feels like another area. A fake title screen of some sort would have gone a long way. Still, it's clever, and there's an amusing moment where Dink gets confused about which plot he's supposed to be following.


One thing I really liked is that there are a couple of puzzles that provide a new interface, which is a nice change of pace.

There were a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Eagles tunes in this DMOD (boy, would The Dude hate that juxtaposition), and I got to thinking once again about the pervasive influence of the 376 MIDI pack. A few songs were a bit misplaced here, but I've seen a lot worse. Sometimes I wonder how many of the authors who put these songs in their DMODs may not even have known what they were.

"World of DinkC" is a solid Dink adventure. Nothing about it is really bad. The map design is fairly good throughout, and although the game is generous with powerups, it doesn't feel unbalanced. The long sequence of bosses at the end is very challenging, but not unreasonably so. The final goblin boss still has some control over the Error when you fight him, and he uses it to spawn a lot of monsters.


Cleanup on aisle everything.


On my second try, the final boss, realizing he couldn't win, used his mighty glitch powers to put an end to the universe.


If it's that simple, couldn't you just go ahead and set &damage to 0?
August 22nd 2014, 05:43 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Always liked World of DinkC. Don't quite know what it is about the D-Mod. I guess it's just that it's a fun adventure, that knows it's not trying to be the best D-Mod ever, but just trying to be a simple and enjoyable Dink adventure. Even though the characters are quite bland, something about the D-Mod still manages to pull you into the everyday life of the error-ridden world.

First, a note about the length: I hate to bring this issue up again, but if this is an "epic," I'm the Queen of England. I was a little iffy on a few other "epics" that took around three hours; this one took around two.

I think for this D-Mod it's mostly about the map size, and that the D-Mod just feels like you're going on a big adventure, with multiple towns and people to visit, and lots of different quests. And even though I'm willing to bet that most people didn't beat this D-Mod in 2 hours on their first try like you did, the length does still seem rather short for an Epic, indeed.
August 23rd 2014, 09:47 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
152: Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero: Wasted Life Author: Nitronic Release Date: May 15, 2003
"You don't have a clue 'bout what's going on here, do you???
No I don't but you are going to explain it to me, right?"


This DMOD may hold the distinction of having spent a shorter time as a "lost DMOD" than any other. The author, upset about an associated MIDI pack being pulled from the site, had it taken down on May 23, but it was put back up on May 25. You can read about it here.

Now, this DMOD... this DMOD....

Damn it, this could have been so badass.

"Eternal Suicide" is probably the most ambitious DMOD project ever planned. This mod, which took me over an hour to beat, was such a small part of Nitronic's grand vision that it was intended as a "small prologue," not even worthy of being called chapter one. It must have been shocking to see any release at all after Nitronic talked as big of a game as he did. That kind of grand plan by a first-timer is usually pretty effective at preventing anything from getting done.

You can see it in what's here, too. Enough vague references are made that I can tell the author really did have a much larger story planned of which this was just a small part. The tone of "Wasted Life" is similar to projects that really do deserve the term 'saga.'

Furthermore, "Wasted Life" is packed with content. It takes the unusual approach of eschewing Dink's usual RPG world-building in favor of a linear series of action setpieces and puzzles. While this can be a bit of a letdown for an RPG fan (there isn't even any such thing as experience points in this DMOD), it succeeds in feeling very different, and more exciting, than most DMODs. Each sequence feels almost totally distinct from the one before it and quite memorable in its own way. The mod escapes the drab similarity that so pervades Dink games, and you don't spend long enough at one task to get used to it, either. This feeling is even stronger than it was in "Stone of Balance." This model of gameplay provides a stark contrast to the last DMOD I played, "World of DinkC," where the action felt quite similar throughout and sections often lacked a clear sense of identity or purpose.

At the very start, I was impressed. The intro, while confusing, had more life to it than the stiff bits of walking about that make up the usual Dink cutscenes due to the difficulty of scripting. There was a fight scene that felt like a proper fight!


It's more of a slaughter than a fight, really. But it looks cool for a Dink cutscene.

After that, the first gameplay segment is a crazy action sequence where you have to flee from ever-rising lava as you pick up items that give you a short burst of speed and Quake logos that function as strength potions. It's ridiculously difficult for being the first thing in the DMOD, but at least it's interesting and well-scripted.


Dink and I said this pretty much in unison as we simultaneously realized what was going on.

I admit I got kind of frustrated with the lava section, which offers little room for error and features powerups that have iffy hardboxes, so it's hard to know when you're actually picking them up. Still, I was impressed. I thought, for a minute or so, that this might be the best DMOD of the year so far.

And yet, "World of DinkC" is a far better DMOD than this one. It isn't close. "Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero: Wasted Life" is a tragic failure. It's a sad mess.

There are two major ways in which this DMOD fails. The first is that its "epic saga" storyline, with all its clear intentions of greatness, is an incomprehensible, awful wreck. At its best moments, it is unintentionally (?) hilarious, but most of the time it's just confusing and mind-numbing. Many characters are presented in such a way as to suggest we should know or care who they are. Who is Rahne, and how does Dink know him? What does it mean to "commit the Eternal Suicide?" Who is Lana, what's her relationship with Dink, and why is she such a bitch? Who's the guy who gets fatally poisoned in the opening cutscene, and what does that have to do with anything? Who's the guy that Dink meets and recognizes in the graveyard, and why should we care that he promises Dink they'll meet again in five years? The game certainly isn't going to tell us any of these things. It's just going to ramble on about "destiny" until it's blue in the face. The only thing I ever really picked up on is that Dink's quest is to kill the very last Slayer to prevent a whole new army of them from being bred and unleashed upon the world with evil intent. He fails.


This thing is supposed to be the father of all slayers. Okay.

Nitronic sees no reason to clue the player in on what's going on; it just happens, and it's up to you to try to understand it. The very first time you meet antagonist Lana, she tells Dink that killing the Ancients (of whom Seth was apparently the last) will have dire consequences. The dialogue is a real mess. And then we get this exchange:

Dink: You know of my destiny this time, don't you?
Lana: If you call:'Slaying the last slayer on this planet', a destiny?
In that case, Yes I heard of it!


I'm pretty sure this is the first time we learn about the last-slayer plot. These lines actually make a lot more sense than the rest of the conversation. And then there's this:

Dink: Your love is bothering me, Lana!
Everyone knows you've got a crush on me,
Just like everyone knows I don't care about you!
You're just a pain in the ass,
that's all you are to me!!
Lana: I do not understand, but I shall teleport you to the Avalon Heights!


She's not the only one who doesn't understand. Just what in the Hell is the history between these two? Your guess is as good as mine. And believe me, this is one of the most well-defined elements in the plot. There's a character named "Rahne" who is brought up repeatedly in an even vaguer way. Tal has it right. His review spews truth about this DMOD.


Dink didn't kill this guy, he killed himself. It's anybody's guess what the text might be talking about.

If the muddled, poorly-told story were the only problem, I would probably still be telling you this DMOD is awesome. After all, it's kind of funny to see these bizarre exchanges set to serious music. The other downfall of "Wasted Life" is much worse: it's almost unbelievably sloppy, buggy and broken. I can't understand how this game, which is full of impressive bits of scripting that would probably be beyond my abilities, is so riddled with errors that would have been easy to fix. Almost everything that ought to be a one-time event will occur again and again every time you return to a screen. If you aren't careful, it's possible to badly mess up the game in this way. Walls that are opened by some kind of switch will have to re-open every time you return to the screen, making you wait around. I couldn't even have beaten this game without cheating due to some very sloppy scripting. A certain cutscene would never come up for me because a couple of scripts use the same variable name for their local variables as an important global variable. Later, I had to warp past a couple of screens where invisible bits of hardness blocking the way to the next screen failed to disappear after boss fights.


While attempting to make sense of this quit dialog, recall that in 2003, GNU FreeDink didn't exist yet.

Even ignoring the bugs, some design decisions in this mod are really frustrating. The cutscene that would never trigger takes place in a graveyard scene. You can examine all of the graves to get a name and an age. You then have to answer a question at a door: which dead person was the youngest? One of them was just 1 year old, but this isn't the right answer, and you're killed for answering incorrectly. Instead, the way you were supposed to proceed was to examine a certain grave that has no name and then wander around until a cutscene triggers to tell you the name of the baby in that grave. This is poor, misleading puzzle design. It's a slap in the face to the player.


Saving takes some unusual forms here...


Finding the secrets is kind of fun, even if they're just more confusing cutscenes. And you're welcome!

I'll admit that I cheated at the final boss, which constantly bombards you with explosions while frequently spawning other targets and making the actual boss invincible until you destroy them. Unlike some other bosses, I think I probably could have beaten this one eventually it I'd kept at it for long enough, but by that point I was excruciatingly ready for the DMOD to be over.

I was more frustrated by this than any other DMOD so far, because there are glimpses of rarely-seen levels of potential. There are loads of cutscenes, and they're all impressively-staged. They seem almost cinematic, with cool tricks like a sudden white flash. I hate to be so negative as I feel like I've been being with these lately, but I left this one feeling dissatisfied.
August 25th 2014, 05:31 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
153: The Search for the Green Mushrom Author: Glenn Ergo Release Date: June 12, 2003
"you can search for a mushrom"
"A MUSHROM"
"yes a mushrom"


Y'know, objectively this is pretty terrible, but it made me laugh, so no Award of Badness this time.

In this very short romp, Dink is told to search for a green "mushrom" (it is never spelled correctly) that will make him irresistible to the ladies. He finds the mushroom, but its lady-attracting properties turn out to be a lie. Oh well!


YES!! FAKE

Yes, I got some real amusement from this silly thing. There are some stones blocking the path out of the first area and Dink has to do a little errand to get past them. A sign near the rocks reads, "sorry stones are blocking the way." Examining the rocks causes Dink to remark, "you rock my world." This is all so dumb that I can't help but laugh.

I do have to say that this is a big step up from Glenn's first DMOD, "Glenn's First DMOD." The concept, while extremely basic, is amusing. There are still lots of hardness problems, but at least the borders around the map now work properly and look normal. The map in general looks much better than Glenn's initial effort. Everything pretty much works as intended.


A little odd-looking, but much nicer than Glenn's first.

Even though this is another throwaway DMOD, it's nice to see a new author like this at least moving in the right direction. I wonder when I'll see another release from him... oh, wait.

154: Revenge of the Pigs Author: Glenn Ergo Release Date: June 12, 2003
"Go up the mountains and find a magician, he will prolly teach you magic"

Glenn seems to be the first person ever to finish two DMODs on the same day. The Mushroom DMOD might have been started on a different day, but both games were completed on the 12th.

I was shocked by how much better the grammar and map design are in this DMOD than in Glenn's first two attempts. They're still not great, but they far exceed what I'd thought he was capable of at this point. Well, it turns out I was right about that. Glenn gave this DMOD a major update in 2006, improving these qualities significantly. Now, whole sentences often go by without a single error!


These tiles from "Lyna's Story" are used well, at least from a visual standpoint.

This DMOD is so reminiscent of JVeenhof's original "Revenge of the Ducks" that I'd almost call it a ripoff. Just like in that one, you play as a young farm animal (here a pig named Kirg) who must go learn the fireball spell in order to kill a human responsible for killing many of your kind. This DMOD is even shorter than "Revenge of the Ducks," and a pig killing a person is not as funny as a duck doing so because pigs have been known to actually kill people on occasion.

Hardness is still sloppy, and the fight against the "sloughter" (not only is this misspelled, but referring to a person as "the slaughter" doesn't make a lot of sense) is a joke. He walks slowly and his touch damage is lower than your defense. Kirg turns into Dink upon pushing something, and "east" is confused with "west" in the dialogue. Although this mod is noticeably more competent than "Search for the Mushrom," I don't like it as much because it's not as funny.
August 26th 2014, 06:43 AM
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metatarasal
Bard Male Netherlands
I object 
Seems like I've not posted anything on this project in quite some while now. But don't worry, I still love reading about this.

It's nice to see that there are some DMODs out there that at least stand out from the average DMOD. Much more interesting to read up on these DMODs also because I've played more of them. To me it really sounds like DMODs are starting to look a bit different in 2003, maybe it's just me but it seems like DMODs don't make as many really simple mistakes anymore. (Totally messed up hardness, no music etc.) That makes them better at one hand, but also makes DMODs look alike more. Is this your idea too?
August 26th 2014, 04:00 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Thanks for posting, Meta. I'm glad to hear you still enjoy it.

DMODs are indeed starting to look different, but I don't think it's because basic mistakes are being avoided. Some mods still have no music, and a few of them still have totally messed up hardness. I think DMODs are looking different because more of them are going off in interesting new visual directions. "Dry" and "Eternal Suicide" are good examples.
August 27th 2014, 08:20 AM
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merder
Peasant Male Netherlands xbox steam
The Voice in the back of your head! 
I too enjoy reading yours and hope you don't stop till you're done (or drop but i'd say you deserve to live at-least a century)
August 27th 2014, 04:11 PM
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Arik
Peasant Male
 
I remember liking Eternal Suicide a lot, with the caveat that it was definitely a huge mess. I liked the feeling that there was more to the story that wasn't being directly explained to you, but that you could pick up on bits and pieces of, and I liked the way that every sequence was unique.
August 27th 2014, 08:54 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
--The Evil Hero DMOD contest--

Announced on March 12, 2003, the Evil Hero contest was the second DMOD contest held by the Dink Network, and the third DMOD contest overall. Unlike the previous contest, this one was to have some sort of actual prize.

Entrants were required to make a DMOD where the protagonist was in some way evil. Notably, unlike the previous contest, there was no requirement that this evil hero not be Dink. The requirement that the hero's graphics be taken from the original game was also removed.

The original deadline for the contest had to be extended in order for there to be at least three entries, but the extension more than did the trick. A then-record five entries were released on June 18th.

155: Computer Virus Author: Blue Release Date: June 18, 2003
"System shutdown in 2 minutes."

This hack came in last in the contest. In fact, all four judges ranked it as the worst DMOD in the contest. This must have been discouraging to Blue, who never made another DMOD. The mod's rating on the site is brought up from 4.8 to 5.1 by the author's own review.

Poor, poor "Computer Virus." It won no awards; it wouldn't have even if they'd given out "not dead last by unanimous vote" trophies. There, there, little DMOD. *I'VE* got an award for you.

...or at least, that's what I wrote here (giving it the Award of Badness) before I decided to go back and check the DMOD one more time. At first glance, it seems that this DMOD is completely impossible to win. Despite the great attack and defense stats you start with, you just don't have enough health to survive the fast pillbugs that fill most screens, let alone the Seth-clone boss at the end. But I went back and found that there is a secret path that leads to an area where you can find three gold hearts and buy elixirs, making victory not just possible, but quite easy. With a little luck, you might even win without using any of the elixirs. Knowing this, I'd have to say that this DMOD isn't quite bad enough to deserve the DFMAOB. Sorry, DMOD. I know you wanted an award really badly. Try to suck a little harder next time.

The idea of a DMOD about some kind of computer problem remains fairly compelling, but nothing of interest is done with it here. You're told "two minutes" early on, but there's no time limit involved. Some effort is made to depict a messed-up world, but it mainly involves sprites that cycle madly through all of the frames in their sequences. They do this far too quickly, and it hurts the eyes.

The dialogue certainly isn't very interesting, especially the attempts at humor, which are some of the flattest I've come across in a DMOD. You can find a Dink clone, for example, who has an arrow stuck up his butt, rendering him unable to fart! Hilaaaarious. At least three of the scripts talk about farting. I can certainly appreciate a good fart joke, but "stop farting and start fighting" isn't much of a joke.


More motherboards should incorporate this kind of security measure. ...Mmm, lasagna.

Another point against this DMOD is that it doesn't fit the theme of the Evil Hero contest very well. For most of the DMOD's very short running time, it seems to be about Dink trying (somewhat reluctantly) to save the world from destruction by the virus. It's only upon examining a sign right before the boss that our "hero" declares that he is actually Dink's evil twin, and after defeating the "virus overlord," he plans to become an evil overlord himself. It's a point that's very sloppily thrown in. Upon beating the game, we learn that this character's name is "Joseph Smalwood" (a misspelling, I assume). There's also a threat of a sequel, but it doesn't display due to a bit of nonsense code.

Here, look at it:

say_stop("`3Wait for Computer Virus II:The Dink Comeback.", X:313 Y:268);


Not sure where Blue got the idea that this would work. The code or the threat.


At least the boss arena is colorful. This guy says "YOUR SUCH AN A**HOLE" the first time you hit him, which I was immature enough to snort at.

Considering the theme of the contest, I'd have made the player be some kind of agent of the virus. Destroy the game world by messing up its logic. Now, that's a fun idea.

156: Beginning of Evil Author: Joeri van Eekelen (Magicman) Release Date: June 18, 2003
"No! More of those priests"

This DMOD came in fourth place in the contest. Hi, Magicman!

"Beginning of Evil" does some interesting things, but it ultimately is not very playable. I couldn't get anywhere near finishing it, and all the discussion I can find indicates that most people's experiences with the mod were similar to mine.

When an evil version of Dink is instructed by his mother to do his homework, his response (brutally murdering her with his bare hands) is perhaps a trifle excessive.


Then again, maybe he just didn't like her grammar.

Dink is soon given a series of tasks by somebody claiming to be a fallen angel; they tend to involve murdering more people. The first guy you have to kill doesn't turn into a corpse or anything, he just stops moving, which looks rather odd, but it's not a big problem.

No, the real problem starts when you get your second task - to fetch some holy water from a fountain to the south. When you attempt to do this, the screen will lock, and there is no way to ever get it to unlock without cheating. What makes this even worse is that there's another fountain to the west that you can get water from with no problem. If you do this, you will likely, as I did, assume that this is what you have to do, since the other fountain gets you trapped on a screen. Unfortunately, picking the wrong fountain means you miss out on a bonus of 5 attack and 3 defense, making the rest of the game insanely difficult. I managed to get quite far this way, but it is a tedious, frustrating affair, particularly because you have to fight nine (NINE!) screens in a row full of pillbug-like priests.

It doesn't get better after that. You'll end up in a confusing maze full of even more priests as well as boncas whom you won't be able to damage much if you haven't gotten the stat boost. After dying in the maze, I looked up discussion on the DMOD, found out about the stat boost, and went back and used the "unlock screen" cheat to get it. The fighting is indeed reasonable with the higher stats, but I still never made it out of that maze, which warps you around during screen transitions. After spending far too long looking for a solution, I gave up. Things apparently get even more frustrating after that, with a dungeon full of invisible holes that send you back. Pass, pass, pass. Yikes.

It's too bad this is so repetitive and frustrating, because the concept is entertaining enough. Dink ends up literally on a quest from Hell, cursed to immortality from his evil deeds. There's also a really neat graphical effect for teleporting where Dink appears to turn into a fireball. Unfortunately, I can't see myself playing this one again.


Hell is like Super Mario Bros. in that way.
August 28th 2014, 06:02 AM
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magicman
Peasant Male Netherlands steam duck
Mmmm, pizza. 
Ouch, yes. That game is buggy as hell, (har, har, har, I said "hell"). Sadly, back in the day, I couldn't reproduce most of the issues people reported, which made debugging kinda tricky.

There's a remake in the works that I still want to finish. It's progressing by one line of code and a sprite every two weeks, so I'll get there. Eventually.
August 28th 2014, 05:11 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
157: Rascal (Beta) Author: Blackduke Release Date: June 18, 2003
"One day... Dink felt like a..."
"a lying, stealing, bug killing, man slaughtering, rascal, who was amused?"


This DMOD placed a respectable third in the contest. It received the only first-place vote that didn't go to the winning entry.

"Rascal" has the single best concept out of all the DMODs I've seen so far. Dink is bored ("not amused"), so he decides to make a lot of trouble between a human settlement and a neighboring settlement of sapient monsters. This is very difficult at first. Despite each being surrounded by a wall and having a posted, armed guard, the two towns actually have rather pleasant relations before Dink gets up to no good. At first, Dink's efforts to get the inhabitants to turn on each other are rebuffed. Soon, however, through lying, scheming, and dirty deeds, the towns stand on the brink of war. And it all starts with one alktree nut falling across the fence.


Trouble brewing.

This game feels a lot more like a LucasArts or Sierra adventure game than a typical Dink adventure. It's all about figuring out what the next naughty thing you have to do is. You're awarded experience points when you sow mistrust and anger. Furthermore, every time you return to the starting screen, Dink assesses his current status. New modifiers are added to his statement as you cause more chaos. "I'm a... lying... bug killing... rascal! And I'm not amused at all!"


These options don't have any effect beyond increasing your stats as usual, but I found this very funny.

There's plenty of funny dialogue to be had. I particularly liked a couple of intelligent pillbugs who unwisely taunt Dink from behind a locked fence. In love with each other, the pillbugs congratulate one another for their insults against Dink.


Pillbugs in love. Yes, this is what we've come to.

Unfortunately, no matter how much I enjoyed being a "Rascal," I was unable to finish this DMOD. Believe me, I spent a long time trying everything I could think of, but I eventually got stuck anyway. There's no walkthrough, and discussion on the forum only offers a few clues to earlier puzzles. It doesn't help that the mod is kind of buggy, and it's hard to tell whether it's always working as intended. There are so many variables being juggled around, and doing things in the wrong order might cause something to mess up, dooming your progress. Because everything that happens is so interdependent, even skimming the scripts didn't help me figure out how to win. There are also some hardness and depth que problems, but they aren't a big deal.


The mod features these nice "goblin house" interiors. I can't remember whether I've seen them before or not.

I won't say more because I don't want to spoil it. Despite its problems, this DMOD is too clever to miss. I strongly recommend giving it a try. And if you're cleverer than me and manage to finish it, how about writing a walkthrough?
August 31st 2014, 07:30 AM
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metatarasal
Bard Male Netherlands
I object 
Another contest! These are fun to read about as many of today's DMODs have come from contests. The evil hero contest didn't get the spectacular entries that the alternative hero contest got but it did get a lot of entries. The top 2 where also quite good, especially Mayhem was quite a nice change of pace.
August 31st 2014, 09:45 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Those Goblin hut interiors are sweet! Gonna use them now, for sure!
August 31st 2014, 10:28 PM
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scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
I think Quest for Arithia had those as well, just not as sophisticated - it was just the far wall. And yes, those are sweet. I've been using the dungeon brick walls for my goblin interiors, which is not very sweet at all.
September 1st 2014, 02:50 AM
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metatarasal
Bard Male Netherlands
I object 
Hmmm... Yes it might actually be an interesting idea to use these interiors for my DMODs as well.... Didn't think of that yet, but they are definitely an improvement over what I've been using thus far.
September 1st 2014, 05:23 PM
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SabreTrout
Noble Male United Kingdom
Tigertigertiger. 
Yeah, those look excellent.

I always wonder why when certain things don't become the standard.
September 2nd 2014, 02:06 AM
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metatarasal
Bard Male Netherlands
I object 
Because they haven't been used in very high end DMODs I suppose. Actually most things pass by without being picked up by anyone. I guess most people don't want to rely on too many outside sources.
September 3rd 2014, 04:12 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
158: Mayhem Author: Paul Pliska Release Date: June 18, 2003
"It doesn't get much eviler than this!"

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is part of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.0) on the Dink Network.

"Mayhem" is an arcade-style DMOD where you, the Black Knight, punish a town of rebellious peasants by killing as many people and destroying as much stuff as you can within a time limit. It finished a strong second in the contest.


You want points, don't you? Sure, everybody does.

This is a compact, dense experience that's really well put-together. The town is surprisingly big, and there's way too much stuff in it for you to have any hope of destroying most of it in six minutes, which is the longest time limit option. Going for a high score could take some very tricky route planning. If you can find and kill the hidden rebel leader, he's worth 200 points; you can also get 100 just for destroying a Dink Smallwood monument. I got a score of 607 on my first successful six minute run. It is surprisingly easy to get lost enough in town that you fail to get to the exit before time runs out, which results in no score at all.

The only problem I ran into is that if you leave the MIDI selection on the default 1812 overture, the title screen music just keeps playing instead, which is a shame.


There are lots of different locations for you to bust up; each of them has some unique features to make things interesting.

Most things can be destroyed for at least one point: plates, windows, torches. The only people you can't kill are the good guys who show up to try to stop you. A gold knight will sometimes turn up, but if you're really unlucky, you'll be facing Dink Smallwood. Dink is quick with a sword and can throw Hellfire at an alarming rate. If you see him, you'd better get out of the current screen as quickly as possible. Dink's AI here might be the best I've ever seen in an enemy for this game. He even tries to protect the townsfolk from you. A DMOD with an evil protagonist on a larger scale with a Dink like this as a boss would be extremely cool.
September 3rd 2014, 04:54 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Dink's AI here might be the best I've ever seen in an enemy for this game. He even tries to protect the townsfolk from you. A DMOD with an evil protagonist on a larger scale with a Dink like this as a boss would be extremely cool.

Then you're in luck. There are a couple of D-Mods, including some of mine, that have similar enemies based on the same scripting from Dink's AI in Mayhem.

As far as the game goes, I remember enjoying it quite a lot. Always wanted to create a similar style D-Mod.
September 5th 2014, 03:51 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
159: Twins Author: Binirit Release Date: June 18, 2003
"You Evil Alternative Hero that you are! You will not get away with that!"

"Twins" won the contest handily, nearly sweeping the first-place vote. It certainly has a compelling description: "Someone has to save the world. And someone is trying very hard. It's not you though!"

This entry came the closest in the contest to the concept that immediately occurred to me when I heard "Evil Hero:" the typical 'save the world from the bad guy' plot, but with the player in the role of said bad guy. This DMOD doesn't take a straightforward approach to this story, however. I found the angle Binirit took to be quite interesting.

As you might guess, you play as Dink's evil twin, but there's more to it than that. Wizard Martridge has an evil twin too ("Wizard Cartridge," which I found way funnier than I should have), and he kidnapped Dink's twin at birth, named him Dinc (pronounced the same), and raised him as a son. Dinc now happily does his "dad's" evil bidding, adding his own morally reprehensible deeds in along the way.


Martridge and Cartridge discuss their respective worldviews.

As the description says, Dinc's quest is to save the world from being saved by his counterpart, Dink. Through Cartridge, he serves a mostly-unseen overlord he calls the "Good Mistress" - though of course this same character is known to the good Dink as the "Evil Mistress." Dinc tries to help the Mistress's army bring about her goal of total destruction.

When I first saw the phrase "Evil Hero" in the name of the contest, I thought it was a contradiction in terms. Surely, I thought, "Evil Protagonist" would have made more sense. But "Twins" embraces the designation, presenting a character who is evil but, in a way, also a hero. There's no moral ambiguity in this DMOD - Dinc's actions, such as leading a frightened girl looking for help to her death - are inarguably evil - yet we see from his perspective that everyone is the hero of their own story. Dinc loves and is devoted to his adoptive father, who treats him well. Dinc's callous disregard for the lives of human beings is offset by the concern he shows for the monsters who fight on his side of the conflict. He beams with pride when he sees a field of human corpses, but when he encounters a tunnel filled with dead monsters, he's horrified.


Dinc admires the handiwork of his allies.


I just wanted to call this to everybody's attention - Susan the stone giant.

There may not be much moral ambiguity in "Twins," but there's plenty of ambiguity to go around nonetheless. The game itself does not feed you the plot as readily as I'm doing here. At the start, you don't get anything except Dink saying he needs to meet his father. You don't learn about Dinc's name being spelled with a 'c' until near the end. What really throws some confusion into the mix is the fact that Dink and his twin share some kind of mental connection, so one will "dream" they are committing the actions of the other. As such, you occasionally switch between them, and it isn't completely clear at first that they aren't really two sides of the same person.


Dink's quest features these lovely sunflowers. How nice.

And then there are the wizards. Despite being on opposite sides of a huge conflict, they maintain a close relationship with one another. Even though their views on morality are practically opposite, their methods are surprisingly similar. Dink and Dinc are both manipulated by the wizards, and it sometimes seems that both wizards care more about their personal disagreement than anyone who gets hurt in the process.

Another prominent feature of this game is that the player is often given a choice of what to do. Sometimes, one choice is wrong and the other one is right. At other times, it doesn't really matter very much what you pick. I thought I felt the game building toward an ending where the player would have to decide whether to accomplish the good goal or the evil one, but that's not what happens. In fact, the wizards make up, the Smallwood brothers meet and make their peace with one another, and everybody on both sides just kind of gets over the conflict and has a nice dinner party. This is kind of a bizarre ending when so much blood has been spilled, but then, this was kind of a bizarre DMOD anyway, so I was fine with it.


I think this is the only DMOD I've seen that features people in line to use the bathroom.

While I found "Twins" quite fascinating, there are some things holding it back. While there are a good number of new backgrounds, some of the maps are quite dull. The opening takes place in a rather clumsy woods, and a good chunk of the early game happens in a huge, totally nondescript cave. Combat mostly consists of rooms absolutely teeming with slimes, which are quite hard to get past if you don't find some very well-hidden megapotions fairly early on.


I hope you like trees!


No, they really aren't.


Some of the maps are good, though. This jungle is quite memorable.


While it wasn't as unique as the jungle, I really admired the unusual use of rocks in this scene.

And then there were some bugs. I ran into a particularly nasty one where talking to a certain character twice or choosing the wrong option when talking to him the first time causes Dink to stay frozen. I traced this problem to a missing bracket in the script, which I fixed. Dink's idle animation seems to be disabled throughout this mod, which is a bit unsettling when you're as used to him rocking back and forth as I am.

While "Mayhem" was definitely the most well-made DMOD in the contest, and I was intrigued as Hell by "Rascal," I think that "Twins" really deserved to win for the way that it dug into the theme of the contest and used it to tell a good story.
September 5th 2014, 09:26 AM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
I played Twins once. Never finished it. Quite honestly, I didn't get why everybody seemed to enjoy the game as much as they did. But this was back when I still had quite horrible English skills, so maybe I didn't understand the plot all that well, which probably threw the whole D-Mod off for me. Now that I've read this though, it seems very interesting and I almost feel like giving it another try.
September 5th 2014, 06:16 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
160: The Ghosts of the Cast Author: ThinkDink Release Date: July 6, 2003
"Dink That Knight Is Xela Cast,She Wants To Kill You!"

"The Ghosts of the Cast" is a pretty cool title.

So the mod's got that going for it.

Which is nice.

*******This DMOD, "The Ghosts of the Cast,"********
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   *********On this day September 5, 2014*******


I would like to point out that, while this DMOD has an average rating of 1.6, this is buoyed by the author's own review, which gives it by far its highest score, an undeserved 5.5. Without that artificial boost, the rating would be a more appropriate 1.0.

This DMOD is exactly what you expect it to be. I'm not sure what I can do to keep from repeating myself as I describe these worst-of-the-worst mods. Many things do not work, hardness is a joke, invisible walls at the edges of screens are everywhere, powerups are littered all over the place and have map-placed hardness, and the story is a mess. Also, I'm not sure winning is possible, as you seem to just get teleported back to the start.


The first thing you see is this house that has no hardness and no warp. A good first impression.

On the first screen you meet Libby, who begs you to kill some boncas. There's no reason to bother, though, because she won't acknowledge it. Nobody will acknowledge anything, because this DMOD never checks a variable. It's soon forgotten anyway as you meet Martridge. Here, the plot becomes that Dink has a large bounty on his head and the Cast are after him to collect it. Apparently the author thinks that knights of the Cast all have the surname "Cast," by the way. Despite Martridge's warning, the knights make no attempt whatsoever on Dink's life.

Soon, you start getting teleported around with a jarring effect - the screen fades down right after you walk onto certain screens, and you're sent to a new one. The plot changes again - now, Seth has come back in the form of a dragon. Dink is unimpressed, telling him that he has bad dragon breath, and also calling him "Beth." That was probably a typo, but who knows? Maybe it's a wicked burn.

You will encounter a couple of wizard-Seth clones (why? I thought he was a dragon?), but you don't have to fight them. You can proceed by just walking right past.

I couldn't reach the ending, but it threatens you with the second part "in about a month" (as if the author could have been so patient). It also claims to "unlock" a minigame called "Dink-Fightaz," which is unrelated to the DMOD "Fighterz." It's nothing more than a few fights, but what's really hilarious is what the author thinks constitutes an "unlock."


DINK-FIGHTAZ UNLOCKED
To Play Use Dink Edit To Add A Screen Above Your House
Then Use That Screen To Walk Up To The Arena


This is almost as funny as it is pathetic. He might as well have said, "to play the DMOD's super secret extra area, use Dink Edit to make it yourself."

161: The Ghosts of the Cast: Seth's Revenge Author: ThinkDink Release Date: July 7, 2003
"Well Seth Killed My Mum So I Thought Mums Out The Way..HERO TIME!"

Hey, guys. I'm sure you're all as tired of reading my dry rants about how certain DMODs suck as I am of writing them. Therefore, I have decided to take a different approach this time.

*ahem*

"The Ghosts of the Cast: Seth's Revenge" is a brilliantly transgressive mod that dares to question our expectations of DMODs, video games, and even media in general. Its low rating on the site (as if assigning numerical values to works of art were a valid method of criticism!) is just proof of its success at its true purpose. The artist's own review, which acknowledges the "faults" that, if they were not intentional, would make this DMOD easily deserve a rating lower than 1.0, nevertheless gives it a 5.0, a playful nod at the irrelevance of scored "reviews," which are really a means of self-expression and can never truly be about their supposed subject. The review should, in my opinion, be considered a part of the piece itself.

**********This DMOD, "TGOTC: Seth's Revenge,"***********
 ***********Has been awarded the prestigious***********
  ***[ALPHABET] MEMORIAL AWARD OF SECRET BRILLIANCE***
   ***********On this day September 5, 2014**********


You're probably expecting me to deride the community as fools and Philistines for failing to recognize this DMOD's greatness, but that wouldn't be fair. You see, part of the genius of "Seth's Revenge" is that it is designed to encourage misinterpretation. Any less-than-careful analysis is easily deflected from the depth of meaning to be found by a facade of incompetence. I can hardly blame the community for not noticing. If you pay attention, however, there are subtle clues, such as the DMOD folder being named "gotc3" despite this being the second part of the trilogy, that not everything is meant to be taken at face value.


Here, the artist employs mixed media to demonstrate complex emotion. The frown indicates sadness, but the use of an emoticon simultaneously connotes a certain playfulness.

"Seth's Revenge" presents the player with a "tournament" described as "Dink-Fightaz Round 2," as if it were a sequel to the minigame in the artist's earlier, admittedly more pedestrian work. Boldly, the game defies our expectations by presenting a series of screens containing monsters... but in no way requiring us to fight them. The "screen lock," the usual method by which DMODs enforce our compliance, is not employed. Again, it would be easy to mistake this for simple incompetence, but the "tournament" build-up subtly hints at the artist's statement. Confused by the disruption of the rigid structure we expect, we begin to ask questions. What is the relation between our input and the work of art? Does our input matter to the game at all, or is it a static thing, immutable, already laid out? Or does our input actually matter more in this case because our actions are not restricted? Is the message actually that a "game" should be whatever the player decides she should make it? Furthermore, this sequence draws attention to the ludonarrative dissonance inherent in the "screen lock" mechanic. We know what is preventing us from ignoring battles and moving on, but why does Dink stay? What meaning does forcing the player's actions into a rigid structure have to the story?


Is he? Ultimately, it is up to you, the player.

Next, we meet the antagonist Seth, who is referred to in the title. Ordinarily, this would be the climax of the story, but here it is just the midpoint. Seth appears as an old man and a dragon, but never as himself, further teasing the player and asserting that games can't be depended upon to gratify our expectations. You'd think that this would be a dead giveaway of the mod's true intentions, but even this can be explained away. Novice DMOD authors often did not know how the Seth graphics were loaded by the original game. While you talk to Seth, he sometimes turns invisible, highlighting the fact that games are merely illusions, and the only real thing is the player. Naturally, this work is not so boring as to require you to fight Seth.


Masterfully, the game rubs its meaninglessness and futility in the player's face.

The strongest part of the work comes after what in a traditional game would be called the "final boss." You begin to encounter a series of characters who tell you that various features are now "unlocked." In fact, you need not even talk to these characters to proceed to the features they mention. This is a thrilling, vicious takedown of the intellectually patronizing methods used by video games to stimulate artificial feelings of reward by gating off content that is, after all, there all along.


Here, the game tips its hand at last, beginning its most pointed meta-commentary.

The first "unlockable" feature is "an interview with Dink," a brief parody of the futility of asking artists questions about their work. Art, of course, is not to be defined by "word of God" from the artist, but is totally open to interpretation.

Next, Dink is met by several screens full of attacking enemy ducks. At this point, the "screen lock" is employed, and the game begins to feel conventional, and perhaps even a little bit "fun." This is all just to set up the artist's greatest statement of all - the ending. "DINK'S DEATH UNLOCKED," the game tells us, eradicating the difference between victory, reward and failure. Even this new, strange promise isn't fulfilled - the final screen is simply full of duck enemies. Dink's death is in no way assured. You might think you have won if you defeat the ducks, but your prize is nothing but a lack of closure.

You may not enjoy "The Ghosts of the Cast: Seth's Revenge," but simple enjoyment is not its goal. This is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, and I invite you to challenge yourself by playing it.
September 6th 2014, 09:57 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
162: A Knight's Tale 2 Author: SabreTrout Release Date: July 7, 2003
"Well that was a bit of a laugh wasn't it?"

Our old pal Jarvis the knight is back, and you know what that means...


Yes!

This is an action-filled romp in which you mostly just fight things - boncas, gnomes, goblins, knights. You don't have to fight everything, but you might as well. It's not like there's anything else to do.

There's a gag at the start where Jarvis's big entrance is spoiled by a MIDI of the Bubble Bobble theme. Not only does Jarvis have the man responsible fired, he also refuses to participate in the DMOD until his stats are raised. He extorts a further stat raise out of the author later on.


Jarvis may not be large, but he is most definitely in charge.

It's a really simple outing. I enjoyed it. There was lots of stuff to beat up, it was well-paced, and Jarvis made plenty of wisecracks. The game was quite easy except for the end boss, where SabreTrout (a Milder sprite) turns on you for some reason. He spawns many clones of himself, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. I think it took me five tries, but I managed to win by focusing on keeping my distance.


Yeah, suck on that, you fish person.

There were a couple of little problems I ran into. There's an enemy knight early on who's stuck in some hardness. Later, there's a sign with no script attached. Man, I hate that. Still, it's pretty well put together overall.

Included in the DMOD folder is a very short story in which Jarvis brags at a tavern about killing some goblins. The people don't believe him, but Jarvis doesn't care. I think this captures his character in a nutshell. He ain't about to give a damn.

163: The Ghosts of the Cast: The Quest for the Axe of Destruction Author: ThinkDink Release Date: July 10, 2003
"Theres Ment To Be A Axe Down Here"

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is tied for the worst score on all of the Dink Network - 0.1 out of 9.9.

By this point, I think people were getting sick of ThinkDink and his "trilogy." Without an author review to inflate the score, this one has really hit the bottom of the standings. Only one person ever cared enough to leave a review.

***This DMOD, "Quest for the Axe of Destruction,"***
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious**********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS******
   *********On this day September 6, 2014********


I'm not sure I agree that this is the worst of the trilogy. At least the screens in this one have borders. At least the NPCs move around. At least the wizard Seth clone this time has some new dialogue for once. At least I found it possible to finish.


Not as hard a quest as defending this DMOD.

None of that matters, of course. 0.1 is still an appropriate score for this. The map consists of a huge boring spiral. The screens are just copied and pasted over and over. Most of them contain nothing but a few fir trees. The NPCs have brain 10 (horizontal-moving monster) for some reason, and don't freeze when you talk to them. No variables are ever checked, so everybody says the same things over and over. There are no screenlocks, so all you have to do to win is walk to the end. At least you start with some herb boots.


I found this buggy slayer. What fun.

The story involves Dink having to retrieve a legendary axe of some kind in order to put Seth's soul to rest for good. If you want to get the axe, you'll have to "fall" off a "cliff" - actually, you just walk down a screen and the nauseating fade-right-after-the-transition from the first part happens. You can get the axe (as many as you want, in fact) and some potions, but it's just a regular throwing axe, and it is in no way needed to defeat Seth, whose defeat is in no way necessary to win the game. I also once had Seth keep moving and attacking instead of disappearing when I defeated him.

On the screen after the Seth fight, you can talk to a little statue for a little text concerning Dink banishing Seth forever using the axe.


I didn't even have the axe when I took this screenshot.

After that, despite the fact that the story of the trilogy has drawn to a close, there's a pointless extra section where you can fight - or more likely just walk past - a bunch of dragons on some more copied and pasted screens.

Here's an oddity concerning this trilogy. Part 2 contains all the scripts from part 1, and this part contains all the scripts from the first two parts. They aren't used, they're just there. Even so - and even though all the scripts from the original game that are used are pointlessly copied over - there's still only 52 scripts here.

Yeah, this one isn't terribly impressive. I think you're safe skipping it.
September 6th 2014, 10:08 PM
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ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
The Dmods with imported sprites do have a nice charm to them on some occasions, AKT2 certainly was one of them.
Although your third screenshot is a repeat of "It's bloodshed time!" at the moment
EDIT: Ninja-Fixed'd as I was typing the post!

It's an unfortunate inevitability that some people won't take to learning enough about scripting to fully complete a Dmod; With a little refining and tons of proper scripting, it probably could have actually been something decent.
That being said, the same could apply to almost any of the low-rated and/or bad Dmods out there.

I'm still enjoying the heck out of your series mate, you're doing a fantastic job keeping each new piece unique and entertaining. Well done
September 6th 2014, 10:11 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Thanks, I appreciate your comments very much. Sometimes I wonder whether or not people are still reading this. >_>
September 6th 2014, 11:08 PM
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leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
I tried to comment after reading #161 the other day, but I guess it didn't end up going through. I enjoyed reading that one. I think you should get a writing job.
September 7th 2014, 02:29 AM
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DinkKiller
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
The world could always use more heroes 
I check TDN at least twice a day to see if you've done a new write-up on some D-mod that likely hasn't been played by anyone in a number of years. Your writing continues to be amusing to read, and please don't stop!
September 7th 2014, 05:09 AM
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Quiztis
Peasant Male Sweden steam bloop
Life? What's that? Can I download it?! 
Yeah, I read it from time to time! Continue this crazy journey!
September 7th 2014, 09:45 AM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
AKT2 is actually one of my favourite D-Mods. It might be short, not super polished and the gameplay might only be pure fighting, but the humour and silly storyline are just too charming for me. I also always found the SabreTrout clone reference at the end quite funny.

And man, The Ghosts of the Cast trilogy rivals the suckiness of my own D-Mods.
September 7th 2014, 05:14 PM
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cocomonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
It's a reference to something? Went over my head.
September 7th 2014, 05:45 PM
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I know I haven't posted a lot lately, but I do still read these as they come up.
September 7th 2014, 06:50 PM
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redink1
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
There were a lot of sabretrout clones on the board at one point.
September 8th 2014, 12:09 AM
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ThePunisher
Peasant Male
Kill Police Officers 
I like how a Knights tale used the WC2 footmen

I just wished Redink1 fished the DinkCraft mod.

WC2 is probaly the best RTS ever.
September 8th 2014, 01:47 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
164: Victim of Life Author: Glenn Ergo Release Date: July 15, 2003
"My friend has been kidnapped but nothing big"

Once again, I forgot to run my screenshot grabber when playing this one. Sorry, folks. I didn't replay Cloud Castle for shots, I'm sure as heck not replaying this.

"Victim of Life" (what a nonsensical title) is a pretty unremarkable mod where a friend of Dink is kidnapped and Dink must save him. It's pretty bare bones, but the mapping is decent. It'd easily be Glenn's best mod so far if it could be finished.

The interesting thing about this one is that someone attempted to fix it. A user called GOKUSSJ6 (Come on, 6? Even Dragon Ball GT only got to 4) released a patch on June 20, 2009. This patch is a bizarre little artifact for several reasons.

1) This is quite a rare occurrence. I think this is the only time anybody other than Ted Shutes patched somebody else's DMOD.
2) Of all the DMODs out there that could use fixing, why this one?
3) Nearly six years had passed!
4) The attempt made to fix "Victim of Life" is a failure.

Trying to fix the DMODs out there is a noble goal - I might do it myself if I thought there were more of an audience for old DMODs - but sadly, Mr. Goku is no Ted Shutes.

For one thing, although the text file included with the patch lists "grammar fixes" as one of the improvements, the state of the text still leaves much to be desired. It is improved over the original DMOD, but it's still quite sloppy, with many punctuation errors and several spelling errors left intact. One change I found amusing was the name of Dink's kidnapped friend. A review complained at length about the strange original name of "per," so the patch changes it to David. Okay.

The big problem with the patch is that the patched mod is impossible to finish, whereas I think the original may have been finishable. This, ironically, is not due to a bug that's been introduced, but due to one that's been fixed. The unpatched DMOD has a huge bug where it starts you near the end of the DMOD. The patch fixes this bug, but fails to fix another one that prevents you from getting past a certain point without cheating. It absolutely blows my mind that someone could set out to fix a nearly six-year-old DMOD and not notice this.

Some players probably never got to the area where the problem occurs. There's a tricky puzzle first where a guy named Kyle tells you to find his axe, which has been stolen by a bonca. You have to find and push on a certain rock. This is tricky, but not unreasonable, as he tells you he had just been using it for logging when it was stolen, and the rock is on a screen with several tree stumps and fallen trunks.

When you find Kyle's axe, he agrees to fix a bridge (that old standby; it's even in "Malachi the Jerk") for you. When you return to the bridge, it appears to be fixed, but you can't cross. I cheated my way across and won shortly afterward. Dink's friend thanks him for the rescue, and the DMOD is just over. Like I said, the bizarre patch situation is the only interesting thing about this one.

--The Dink Smallwood Source Code--

Ever since Dink went freeware in late 1999, people had been asking Seth to release the game's source code. As much freedom as DinkC gave DMOD authors, people still felt the clear limitations, and knew that the only way they could escape them was to reprogram the game. Seth kept declining, saying that the code was too big of a mess. Well, on July 17, 2003, he finally released the code.

Here are a few of the reactions people had at the time:

"Coding that bad should not exist." -jothki
"Maybe Seth was just joking... maybe this isn't the real source code. Can't you guys compile it and check?" - [Alphabet] guy
"I wonder how it even runs." - WC

WC was tons of fun. Here are a couple more WC quotes from the source discussion:

"I have seen segments of this code (a few pages worth), and I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot poll with a condom on it."
"You are all fudgetards."

Ah, what fun.

Despite the apparently appalling state of the code, some people still dreamt big. They wanted to bust Dink wide open, to make anything possible. The major problem with such ambitions (apart from the code being so difficult to work with) was that such sweeping changes couldn't help but break compatibility with older DMODs, and new DMODs made to work with such a project wouldn't work with other versions of Dink either. My favorite out-there suggestion that came out of the initial discussion was a Nintendo Gamecube port.

The two biggest things to happen to Dink since the release of the source code release are Dink version 1.08 (2006) and GNU-FreeDink (2008, although there was an earlier attempt in 2004). Beuc also ported GNU-FreeDink to the PSP in 2011, which is very cool. These are big and important steps forward for Dink, but a lot of the potential that people spoke of before and after the release of the source remains unrealized. Then again, a couple of Dinkers still have ambitious projects in the works, so who knows?
September 8th 2014, 03:59 AM
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Just want to say I'm another one who hardly ever posts but reads and enjoys all of these
September 8th 2014, 02:06 PM
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SabreTrout
Noble Male United Kingdom
Tigertigertiger. 
Yeah. I may not post, but I am reading and enjoying all of these.
September 9th 2014, 04:49 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
While writing #164, I realized that these little writeups should really link to the downloads in case a reader would like to try a certain DMOD for themselves. Therefore, I went back and added links to the whole project.

165: The Rivals Authors: ThinkDink, DareDink Release Date: July 22, 2003
"What Ever N00b"

"DareDink" is ThinkDink's brother. According to TD, his brother had absolutely no knowledge of DinkC scripting prior to working on this DMOD.

This is a definite improvement over ThinkDink's "Ghosts of the Cast" series. That's more of a statement of how bad GotC was than anything else, though. This is still the pits.

*************This DMOD, "The Rivals,"**************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   *********On this day September 9, 2014*******


Judging from this DMOD's absurd 6.7 average, which would still be 6.2 even without the typical inflation by ThinkDink (who had the unmitigated gall to give it an 8.8), many seek to reward obvious improvement with overpraise in the hopes of encouraging further improvement. Not me, though. I am a bad man without mercy, and this DMOD is still lame. Even if you disagree this deserves the DFMAOB, you have to admit that score is utterly pineapples. I mean, End of the World is definitely better than this one, and there's no way EOTW deserves anywhere near a 6.


Dink is to peace as nature is to a vacuum.

ThinkDink had learned a bit since his earlier mods, which never really did anything at all. The GotC mods rely on telling you things are happening and counting on you to pretend they really are. This one at least has some vendors who sell you things and a boss with screen lock at the end. I guess that's a step in the right direction, considering that this actually came out just a couple of weeks after the original "Ghosts of the Cast."

"Rivals" starts you off with no items at all, not even the fist. Just north of the start, you can find several people who will sell you items and magic. The fists are free. Enough money to pay for everything else can be found one screen further north. Here, for the first and only time, ThinkDink finally attempted to check to see whether the player had already done something - too bad it goes all wrong. When you talk to a vendor to buy an item, each vendor's script checks whether you have the herb boots for some reason. The herb boots are a free gift with your purchase of the throwing axe, so you can't get either of those twice. But you can get multiple copies of anything else on sale provided you get it before the axe and boots, and once you've gotten those, you can't get anything else at all.


I always wondered why Dink never has two.

The map also shows slight improvement, but it's still quite boring with loads of copied and pasted screens. There are some burning houses that look OK, but houses are still strictly decoration with little to no hardness and certainly can't be entered. By now, it's clear what sort of design ThinkDink likes - a very long, thin path - a big loop in this case - with the same enemies over and over that you're not required to fight. All of his mods follow this basic pattern. Even if you did feel like stopping to fight the enemies, your axe and boots would make short work of them.


A couple of screens are lined with hedges that have the bonca script attached to them, so they all turn into boncas. It's a confusing sight.

The story is awfully thin; it's better developed in the description than it is in the mod. All that really matters is that an evil wizard named Darknoth has laid waste to a village and you've got to go kick his magical ass. If there were any "rivals" around, I didn't notice them.


Darknoth thinks he's a big deal, but Dink has seen this sort of thing several times in ThinkDink's DMODs alone.

Darknoth isn't hard to beat even if you never got any magic or fought any of the enemies on the way. You do have to fight him - what a change of pace that is! - but the screen unlocking is the only thing that happens when he dies. This means that if you leave and return, he'll be there again as many times as you'd like to fight him.

This might have been a first step toward eventual competence if ThinkDink had kept going, but this is his last DMOD. Oh, well. I can relate. The "Ghosts" trilogy and its followup closely mirrors my own Dink Forever trilogy and 2001: A Dink Odyssey in several ways, and I'll bet ThinkDink was a lot like me: too eager to get his work out there to take the time to learn how to do anything correctly.
September 9th 2014, 10:00 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
166: Blood Scorpions Author: Simeon Release Date: August 15, 2003
"Ain't it great, I just love my blood scorpions!"

"Blood Scorpions" is the last of Simeon's three DMODs, and it's my favorite of the three. It's just a fun DMOD, and something about it makes it very distinct in my mind, although I'm not quite sure what. Perhaps it's the slightly unusual setup.


Graphics from "Stone of Balance" and "Dry" are well-employed to create the desert setting.

Dink wants to join a group of knights sworn to protect a desert town called "The Town of the Ancients." I don't think the Ancients in this DMOD are the same ones the original game was talking about. Anyway, before Dink can join, he has to pass three trials. The first is a timed race through a short course, the second involves fighting some monsters, and the third has you burning down some cacti. The real challenge behind the second and third tests is that you've got to find yourself a weapon and some magic first. You can't leave town until you pass all the trials, so it's necessary to spend some time exploring the town.


The town has some interesting features, like this museum dedicated to the scorpions.

The town is in big trouble because someone has stolen the magical orbs that used to protect it from the hordes of "blood scorpions" (there is a weird and horrible reason they are so called) that roam the sands outside. Without the orbs, it's inevitable that the town will be overrun by scorpions. This is exactly what happens, and there are so many of them that all Dink can do is run and hide. You've had a bit of time to get to know the town and its residents, so it is a little jarring when the scorpions come and kill most of them.


Things could have gone better.

"Blood Scorpions" is a linear DMOD once you leave town, with backtracking often impossible. I fought an awful lot of scorpions. Health restoratives are tough to come by unless you're lucky enough to have a scorpion drop a big heart. It isn't a hard DMOD, but it does require you to play somewhat carefully. The only thing I disliked about the mod is that, at a couple of spots, you're told to go look for something and given no hint at all. There's a certain rock you have to push and a certain, out-of-the-way cactus you have to burn down in order to proceed. It's not a big problem, but it's pointless to make the player hunt around in this way.


There are quite a few screens that really stand out and look interesting.

While I thought Simeon's first two DMODs were good, they didn't seem to resonate with me quite as much as they did with others. Fortunately, "Blood Scorpions" really did click with me, and I found it to be quite an entertaining Dink adventure.

167: The Attack of the Army Author: Glenn Ergo Release Date: August 21, 2003
"After the army chooseed a new leader
It has happend many horible things"


An average rating of 5.2 is enough to make "The Attack of the Army" Glenn's highest-rated DMOD. For somebody with seven published DMODs, that's a bit unfortunate.

This one is competent in a basic way that I do appreciate after playing those ThinkDink mods. Everything pretty much works as you'd expect. I didn't encounter any serious bugs. There's a house you can walk straight through, depth que is frequently wrong and the tiling is lousy, but what else is new?

"Attack of the Army" is one of the least interesting DMODs out there. Even "Rise of the Rebels," which I described as the least interesting mod I'd seen, had a bit more going on. There's a pointlessly big, mostly empty map. You have to fetch a couple of items - they're just lying around on the ground. One of them is a green mushroom. There are actually two of these on the map, but only one of them can be taken. There's no explanation for this.


The only non-boring screen is this bizarre little arrangement.

There's a "secret" huge stash of powerups, but it's very easy to find. This is good, because it's probably impossible to get past the first enemy you have to fight without it. There are three such clusters of powerups in the mod, and when you get them all, everything becomes extremely easy. Dink has to fight a rogue army of knights, including a boss who's just a bigger and tougher knight, and then it's over.


The titular attack of the army.

I mean, truly, what could I say about this DMOD? I guess I could make fun of the text.

King: Your quest is to kill the new leader
Dink: What happens if a desagree
King: You want to be a hero right
Dink: Yes of course
King: Then you dont desagree
Dink: Understand


I certainly "dont desagree" with reviews that describe this DMOD as lackluster and poor. I do think that ThinkDink (of all people!) was a bit too harsh with his 1.0 review that calls it the "worst DMOD ever." It's just a boring, empty thing, and there's really no reason at all to play it.

168: Bloop the Fish 2 Author: Anony Mouse (SabreTrout) Release Date: September 2, 2003
"Made in a couple of hours, because I was bored..."

SabreTrout admitted to having made Bloop the Fish 2 when I went over the original in the 1999 COTPATD forum topic. He had this to say: "I knew how bad Bloop 2 was, hence no uploading it under my own name! I just thought it would be funny if someone made a sequel to such a unique - and poor - d-mod."


I did find the title screen pretty funny. It starts out as just a black screen, then Bloop slowly swims in.

It is kind of funny. "Bloop the Fish" was, no matter what anybody says, a very bad DMOD, but it was a lot more memorable than any other very bad DMOD, and something about it seems to catch people's interest. It seems crazy that somebody would make a followup to such a DMOD more than four years later. Of course, that's nothing compared to IplayDink's Bloop remake coming out in 2014, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

"Bloop the Fish 2," if you were to evaluate it as a DMOD, does a slightly better job at the same thing as the original. It reuses Instalite's graphics, but adds a new sandy beach for decoration and new jellyfish enemies that don't really do anything. It uses screenlock, so unlike the original, there's a point to fighting the sea urchins. It even has some ending text that actually displays, even if it's just to say it's a joke and insult you. I was kind of disappointed in the lack of a shark boss.


Same type deal. Twice times, twice times.

On the other hand, it doesn't make any sense to evaluate "Bloop 2" as a DMOD. SabreTrout wasn't trying to make it any good. As a joke, it's pretty funny in concept, but there's not much to the execution (although I did enjoy the title screen). For a better DMOD and a funnier take on the same joke, see 2014's "A Fish Named Bloop."
September 11th 2014, 05:46 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
169: Bane of the Magi Author: Ric Release Date: September 4, 2003
"I NEVER COULD UNDERSTAND THE LIVING."


Something seems a tad suspicious here...

"Bane of the Magi" is a game that presents you with a couple of choices that effect the story and gameplay. Dink can be either good or evil, either a warrior or a mage, and he may also choose to learn the way of thievery. All of these decisions are independent from one another. This is handled a lot more successfully than "Friends Beyond 2," which conflated the warrior/mage decision with the good/evil one. This mod doesn't involve totally separate paths like that one did, but if you enjoy it and don't have 177 DMODs lined up to play like I do, it might be worth playing a second time to see how the other characters treat Dink differently when he's evil.

The game starts out assuming you're good. You have to go around killing a lot of innocent people before it decides you're evil. People might notice and comment on the fact that you've done lesser misdeeds, but the good/evil switch is a binary one, and you really can't flip it on accident. It is possible to become "good" again by giving money to beggars. I played as good Dink. It sounds to me like being evil makes things a bit more difficult for the most part, as you have to sneak around with characters who are glad to help you if you're good.


On a couple of occasions, the DMOD scales Dink down and reduces his speed to convey a scene on a grand scale.

The warrior/mage choice is presented more directly, in a choice menu. If you decide to be a warrior, you can only have one spell at a time; conversely, if you decide to be a mage, you can only have one weapon at a time (both of these restrictions are in effect before you make your decision, which isn't explained and just seems like a weird bug). Furthermore, you can talk to a certain character to receive a new spell or weapon after each level up depending upon which path you choose. This goes up to level 8. I liked this feature, as it gives you a good reason to gain experience. As you might guess, there are new weapons and spells. New weapons include a sword that heals one point of health when you strike an enemy and a bow that stuns foes. New spells include invisibility, healing and a warp spell. I chose to be a warrior, but I think either choice would be fine. It's possible to buy any of the weapons or spells at any rate. If you wanted to be a mage, I'd stick with the throwing axe as your one weapon. It's what I used the most anyway.


Nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything.

A hidden character you can find will teach Dink how to be a thief. This seems unrelated to whether you're good or evil, so there's no reason not to do this. As a thief, Dink can pick many locked doors and has a secret/trap sense. If you press the H key, Dink will tell you whether there is a trap or a secret nearby, and traps will become visible. In order to pick some locks, you'll have to increase your thievery skills by stealing little piles of gold that people have lying around. I think thievery is required in order to get the herb boots.


This waterfall looks pretty good despite only using the default graphics.

This DMOD can be quite difficult to figure out on one's own. You aren't given much direction early on, and I wasted a lot of time trying to stumble upon the way to proceed. There's a walkthrough on the Dink Solutions and a "BaneHints.txt" file included in the DMOD's directory; you might want to read both of these, as each contains information about the DMOD that the other does not.

Much of the DMOD is set in a fairly large (for a DMOD) town. The people are oppressed by a guy who calls himself the "Bringer of Light." If you're evil, you apparently end up on his side for a while, but you still end up having to defeat him in the end, which is kind of disappointing. I would have liked to see a good and an evil ending. There is a sort of evil ending, but it's unconnected to which path you've chosen. When you beat the end boss, you get the implement he intended to use to take over the world - a powerful weapon not meant for mortal hands. When you hit an enemy with it, they're struck by powerful lighting. If for some reason this fails to kill them in one hit, the lightning continues to strike them until they are dead. If you go around killing the townsfolk with this, eventually you'll get a bad ending. For me, however, the game would always crash.


The Duck Gods punish Dink for his transgressions by crashing the game. Harsh, but fair.

There's a surprisingly big quest here. Dink must travel to the afterlife in order to retrieve an artifact. He must travel through both Hell and Heaven.


Charon ferries Dink across the river Styx. With the background a simple black, the boat travel is shown by moving all of the OTHER objects on the screen. This effect works better here than in other attempts I've seen previously.


A chilling sight in Hell: the damned march into the flames...


...And emerge as skeleton warriors.


I approve of those brick paths made from the dungeon floor tiles.

As much cool stuff as there is going on here, this one does have several drawbacks. Although there are a large number of NPCs in each location, nearly all of the NPCs in an area use the same script. As a consequence, the people don't seem real, and the game feels empty. These generic-NPC conversations aren't very interesting, either. Occasionally, you'll run into an NPC who won't respond to your talk command at all.

Furthermore, the game is quite buggy. My warrior-master would keep handing out the same weapons over and over if I kept talking to him. At level 8 he gives you a +5 defense potion, and this can be repeated. I experienced a few crashes, and the game fails to check whether you have any inventory space when you get important key items. Some NPCs who will talk to you have touch damage, so it's easy to get stuck in a conversation while taking damage constantly. There's a simplified map of the town without a location marker that you can access by pressing the P key, but for some reason you can access the same map by pressing the regular map key, but badly off-center and with a meaningless location marker.

With some more polish, this one could have been a certified classic. Even as it is, it's worth your time, and I'm kind of surprised to see this one not getting more attention. It didn't even have any screenshots. If you've missed out on this one, why not give it a go? I really do recommend following the walkthrough and hint file, though, as the game can be confusing without help.
September 11th 2014, 06:04 PM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Ah, Bane of the Magi. I keep confusing this one with Magicman's Beginning of Evil, for some reason.

I quite liked Bane of the Magi, but it really is buggy as duck... There are only so many freeze/crash bugs I can take in a single dmod before I call it quits. Looks like I missed some pretty cool stuff, too. (The ferryman/hell stuff doesn't seem familiar)
September 12th 2014, 03:22 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
I turn 29 today (the 12th). Wheeee~

170: Kill the Hippies... Again Author: Joshriot Release Date: September 6, 2003
"the damn hippies took my house."

Joshriot is back with more hippie-killing action. This time, the hippies have gone too far: they've stolen Dink's uncle's house!


Those hippies are TALENTED. They could make a service out of their house-stealing skills.

The hippies in this DMOD are quite a nasty foe. They constantly will chuck fireballs at you, which can kill you in a hurry before you get any powerups. There are three powerups in this DMOD: a disco ball, which is a megapotion, a "no" sign, which gives you a big max health boost, and a smiley face, which restores your health.


Some hippies they are, burning down trees like that.

At first, I couldn't figure out what to do. Look around the small map all you like - you won't find any house. Killing the hippies doesn't seem to accomplish anything either, as they come right back when you return to the screen. Well, it turns out that if you kill (or witness the death of, since they'll kill each other as well) at least 12 hippies and talk to Uncle Ernie again, he'll remember that the hippies didn't steal his house - he traded it for a Pokémon card. Then, Dink says he wants to kill more hippies, and the opening dialogue plays again.

This one would work a little better if the hippies didn't come back when killed, but at any rate, "Kill the Hippies" didn't need a sequel.

171: Bishop's Quest Part 1: Enter the Hero Author: Matthew (Hance) Release Date: September 25, 2003
"Boga Boga, LA Ma Ca!"

Hance may be the oldest DMOD author. His profile says that he's 62, although I don't know when it was written.

This is a really unusual DMOD, but that doesn't stop it from being dull, just desperately dull. Even having to write about it is a chore. Ugh.

There's very little for you to actually do in "Bishop's Quest." There's no room to explore, just a perpetual hallway of closely blocked-in screens. For the most part, you just advance from one cutscene to the next. The cutscenes rarely contain much action - they're just lots of talking. I do think you could make an interesting DMOD that fits that description, but this ain't it.


Practically all the screens are ringed by these stone-block borders. I think this is more an element of presentation than something that's meant to be literally present at the scene.

Dink has to help a pious bunch of folks overthrow an oppressive Kingdom of some kind. Dink is quite eager to help and seems to share their faith in God. That doesn't offend me or anything, but the story is almost absurdly boring. There's way too many names to keep track of. My brains turned to mush and I soon began to fail to follow it. There are a lot of words being spoken, but not a lot happens. I've read Proust and it was more exciting than this. It doesn't help that the spelling is bad - for example, 'pilgrim' is consistently misspelled as 'pilgram' - and the way the English language is used is just odd. God is consistently referred to as "the God," for instance. "I wish to please the God," says Dink. None of this helped me get into the game or understand its story.


Um... sure.

I might have been able to put up with the situation if things worked properly. "Bishop's Quest" just doesn't function in the way you expect a DMOD to function. "Buggy" doesn't cover it, because that implies that something is working properly in the first place and then stops doing so. There are other DMODs of which this is true - "Ghosts of the Cast" comes to mind - but they're generally low-effort, short and pointless little trifles. This DMOD obviously has had a lot of effort put into it, and seeing such disregard for the way a game is supposed to work in something the author DID put thought into is a new and troubling experience. I felt uncomfortable playing this DMOD.

For the story to work at all, the game depends upon you following its set path exactly. If you turn around and go backwards, you will see previous cutscenes again, and sometimes get stuck as a result. There's one place in the game where you're instructed to take the paths at a crossroads in the order they're numbered, 1 through 3. Nothing actually forces you to do this. If you'd like a shorter path to the ending, you can take the number 3 path first and the game will proceed just as if you'd gone through the paths correctly. The story is so muddled that I doubt you'll notice anyway.


Have fun trying to make sense of this map.

It's like you're expected to pretend there's a game here. I'm reminded of those "game books" that include combat, and you're expected to roll some dice and proceed to the appropriate page if you lose as if anything were preventing you from just assuming you won. Those work much better than this, though. At least they have rules and state them to you clearly.

The worst part - imagine me grabbing you by the shoulders firmly and really hammering this point home - the WORST part is that Dink is often not frozen for the cutscenes. This means that you can't press space to skip through the dialogue, so the scenes are interminable even with FreeDink's speedup feature. What's worse, if you slip up and press the talk button anyway, you'll get stuck in many cases and have to load your previous save (by the way, even savebots, which are represented by a lion's head, annoy you with a bit of conversation before allowing you to save). I finally gave up after this happened to me for the fourth time in a row during a long sequence of cutscenes that I think might have been the ending.

One nice thing I could say is that effort has been put into making the screens look interesting. Some of them look quite nice, actually, distracting border aside. Some buildings seem to have an open patio leading inside, which is creative and looks good. There are quite a few new graphics here, but they look quite poor and don't fit in with the Dink graphics at all. There's an enemy from one of Simon Klaebe's DMODs, but it isn't implemented properly. It's just one frame that slides around and disappears when it's supposed to attack.

Right now, I am thanking the God that I don't ever have to play this DMOD again.

172: The Quest for Food Author: Glenn Ergo Release Date: September 30, 2003
"Indeed, my life quite sucks these days."

You know, in a way it's kind of impressive that Glenn kept cranking them out like this. This is his sixth DMOD in 2003, tying Mike Snyder's record for most DMODs in a calendar year from 1998! Dan Walma had five in 1999, and JVeenhof had five in 2000. All of those guys had better output than Glenn, of course, but the point is that few have had the motivation to put out DMODs at such a rate. I guess I had five in 1998 too if you count the content-free "All Out Brawl," but you really, really shouldn't.

"The Quest for Food" is very short and simple even compared to some of Glenn's other DMODs, but at least almost everything works properly. This is likely because Glenn updated the DMOD in 2006. He also took the opportunity to update the text, which, while by no means perfect, is a good bit more comprehensible than some of Glenn's earlier mods. The only error I ran into was a pillbug that was stuck inside its own hardness.

So: Dink has had his food stolen by an evil wizard, so he is on a quest to go beat up the thief and retrieve his groceries. At first, Dink is stuck in a small area that manages to be annoyingly empty despite its size.


Dink's way is blocked by an impressive obstacle.

Although Dink can't move the roadblock, all he has to do is talk to a woman named Jessica and she does away with it. How she does this when Dink clearly could not is not explained.

Most of the game is taken up by a short trip through a cave in which Dink must fight some fairly tough pillbugs and boncas. After that, you can easily beat up the wizard and the DMOD is over.


Victory!

This one was inoffensive, I guess. It reminded me of some of the very early DMODs.

Next: The Green Voice in My Head.
September 12th 2014, 04:34 PM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Happy birthday, mister! And I'll say it once more that you're awesome for putting these up!

Bishop's Quest reminds me a lot of The Rise of the Goblins. That, too, is mostly just walking a straight path and watching lots of cutscenes. But at least you can take that one as a deliberate comedy with occasional playing, rather than a serious D-Mod, which I remember Bishop's Quest tried to be. I hope when the time comes, you'll find RoG at least a bit more positive experience.
September 12th 2014, 06:16 PM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Bishop's Quest and APEX (Hance's second dmod) are weird constructions. I actually signed up as a beta tester for one or the other, but I never got any testing done, and Hance released the dmod a few days later since I hadn't responded to his email.

I still feel a glint of regret about that - not not testing the dmod, since that's not what it needs (virtually every screen has bugs that a blind bat couldn't miss), but the fact that I didn't try to explain to Hance that the dmod has some serious fundamental problems, and try to get him to see them. At the time, I think I was just utterly baffled.

I'm still kind of baffled. I can't comprehend the thought process that results in putting together a dmod the way that Bishop's Quest was put together. Is it an age thing?

Do old people not only create dmods differently, but play them differently as well? How would another 60-something feel about Bishop's Quest? Would they enjoy it a lot more than as young folks? Or is bad design just bad design?

Er, anyway, happy birthday! Still enjoying reading these.
September 12th 2014, 07:01 PM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
It's kind of crazy to think that if Hance wrote his profile description around the time he released his D-Mods, he'd be around 72 years old now. Maybe it's just me, but somehow seems hard to imagine.
September 12th 2014, 07:47 PM
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Happy Birthday man, my birthday was actually on the tenth.

Twenty three years old here...
September 13th 2014, 05:40 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
173: The Green Voice in My Head - Part 1 - Hangover & Agony Author: Raven Release Date: September 30, 2003
"What's your problem??"
"A little green voice."
"SBV: A drinking habit, if you ask me."


REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is part of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.3) on The Dink Network.

Here we go. I've been waiting for this.

I played this DMOD back in 2006 and wrote a positive review. Although I recommended the DMOD highly, I did take a moment to mention the problems I'd encountered - there were several ways for the player to make it impossible to proceed, not all of which were obvious. Happily, Raven updated the mod in 2011 and fixed all of the problems I had encountered. He states in the patch notes that "[t]he main idea of the rewrite was to assure that player can not get stuck in the game without realizing this." Judging from the notes, he really went all out with this, not just removing dead ends, but in some cases adding new ways for Dink to get out of them. One of my favorite DMODs is now even better!


"Hangover and agony." This game delivers on its promises immediately.

This DMOD is based around the unique idea that Dink has a separate personality sharing his body. It isn't a green voice in his head, exactly - other people can hear it speak through his mouth, albeit in a different voice than his own. The voice, which is known as the Smashing Barrels Voice or "Mr. SBV," cannot directly make Dink do anything, but it can speak when he doesn't want it to. Mr. SBV seems to be the source of Dink's strange compulsion to attack inanimate objects, particularly barrels (obviously). What's really interesting about this is that Mr. SBV is not a rather clichéd "evil voice." A lot of Dink's problems are his own fault. The game starts with Dink in a town he doesn't recognize, having gotten so drunk the night before that he doesn't remember a thing. It's made clear that the drinking binge was all Dink's idea. Some of the trouble Dink is in is due to Mr. SBV's urging that he smash barrels, but most of it is entirely his own doing. Sometimes, the green voice even tries to talk Dink out of doing unwise or evil things, but he rarely listens. At other times, the voice is honest with people Dink is trying to lie to, and this usually works out in Dink's favor. The bickering between Dink and his green voice is brilliant, and a constant companion throughout the DMOD.


Dink surveys Mr. SBV's handiwork. The latter may have more influence when the former is drunk.

He's not called the Smashing Barrels Voice for nothing. Dink buried his claw sword while drunk and can't remember where. Mr. SBV remembers, but won't tell Dink until he smashes 30 barrels. The claw sword is necessary to progress, and finding/reaching the 30 barrels in the first segment is an interesting challenge. You can keep smashing barrels throughout the rest of the DMOD, of course, and if you manage to smash all 196 of them, you'll get a special bonus at the end. You get to choose the bonus, but the cool one is a hellfire spell that does damage based on the amount of barrels you've smashed. You can't put it to much use here, sadly, but it was planned to be present in the sequel.


Raven manages to make some attractive and interesting screens without a lot of fancy graphics work. This one just uses the original graphics and Mike Snyder's famous tileset.

Dink's main goal is to get himself out of the mess he got into while on the sauce. He seems to have signed up for a tournament where combatants fight to the death. His first opponent is set to be a very powerful evil wizard, and Dink knows he hasn't got a chance. In order to survive the fight, Dink must not only make himself much more powerful, he must also drug the wizard's food with a magical poison that saps the majority of his magic power.


This is what happens if Dink tries to enter the tournament too early.

Unfortunately, in his attempts to extricate himself from this mess, Dink ends up in an even bigger one. He ends up mixed up in the machinations of an evil god called Moks'Hel. The god was defeated thousands of years ago by a good god called the Raven, but Raven died in the conflict, and Moks'Hel is making his comeback. Too weak to act directly, he has his agents gathering the pieces of the Raven's powerful weapon. Dink ends up helping the bad guys do this before he really realizes what is going on. It's a fairly common video game plot, but Raven does a good job of making the threat seem huge and serious while maintaining a high level of comedy at the same time.

Speaking of that, "Hangover & Agony" just oozes wit and charm at such a rate that you wonder if you should follow it around with a mop. Its sense of humor targets my funnybone with devastating precision. I think - and I don't say this lightly - that I find it even more amusing than the original game. There are so many clever ideas here. Since Dink can't remember what has happened, you have to purchase the intro to the game from an enterprising guy who has a stock of DMOD intros sitting around in boxes. Another character talks about methods of money gathering in an RPG world - such as finding piles of "adventurer's gold" and starting a fight between slayers - in rhyming folk sayings, as if these are ways of the world that everybody is used to. I don't mean to imply that it's all fourth-wall humor, though. Some other gags I particularly liked were a woman who tells you to kill the slimes in her basement and then locks you in there with her collection of brave knights, an area being named "the Forest of Very Mad Slayers" and a character who just loses it laughing when he learns of Dink's stupidity.


;_; You're a meanie.


The world map. This game does a lot with a relatively small number of screens.

The game is divided up into two sections: the town of Armend and the desert land of Niv. There's a different feel to the gameplay in each section. Early on, the focus is on figuring out how to progress incrementally, which usually means finding more money. Money is scarce in the early game because those naughty NPCs have been breaking the rules and taking the piles of adventurer's gold for themselves, and you absolutely need every single coin you can find. In the second part of the game, you still need all the gold you can find, but not because it's in short supply - rather, because you need a LOT of it. No, more than you're thinking. Seriously, more than that. More. Keep going.


No, really, a lot.

When a certain character asked for 300,000 gold, I was sure it was a gag. I thought back to the original Pokémon games, where you were told that bikes cost a million Pokédollars, which was one more than you can actually have (the bike ends up being free with a certain item). I thought this would be the same, because I had forgotten that the gold counter expands if you manage to collect a hundred thousand gold. I mean, in 172 DMODs plus the original game, I had never once accumulated that much, although I'd gotten close once or twice. Can you blame me for thinking that 99,999 was the maximum?

To get so much cash, you'll have to find a LOT of huge piles of treasure lying around. It's not too hard to get 250,000 gold this way, but you're still going to have to make up the difference by slaughtering hordes of enemies. It's a bit grindy. I didn't mind, but I know that some people might.


Here's one of the many treasure piles in the game. It isn't one of the bigger ones.

The ending sets up quite the epic story for a sequel. A lot of these planned sequels never even start development, but Raven did a lot of work on "The Green Voice in My Head - Part II - The Siege" in 2011. He hasn't been seen around here since early 2012, so it's probably foolish to hope that the followup will ever be finished. Ordinarily, in this kind of case, I go ahead and assume that it's never happening. In this case, however, I am going to tell logic to stick it where the sun doesn't shine and hold out hope. I'm not giving up on this one. I can't.


The climactic tournament scene.

Incidentally, the ending is also very funny. I cried laughing at the villain who plays air guitar when he gets nervous.



Flip back and forth between these two images quickly to see the air guitar'in for yourself!

Y'know, I'm kind of ambivalent about gushing over this DMOD the way I've done. It's possible to ruin things for people in this way.

"This pie is amazing. It's so good that you're going to have to redefine your entire concept of pie."

"It's okay, but it's not changing my life."

(Paraphrased from
Too Much Coffee Man )

I mean, it might not grab everybody in the way it does me personally. I had a blast, but having to struggle step by step to figure out how to advance isn't for everybody, and neither is grinding. It's not like the mod is without flaws, although I find them to be in short supply since the 2011 update that did away with nearly all of the problems I originally had with it. Still, there are some hardness and depth que errors. And humor, of course, is a subjective thing.

For my money, though, this should be considered one of the top DMODs. I'd put it up against anything else I've played.

---

And with that, I am halfway done. There are 173 more DMODs for me to cover as of this writing. There will hopefully be a few more by the time I catch up to the present, but I feel safe in assuming that I'll never be less than halfway done again.

2003 is the sixth year I've covered. There are still 11 more years to cover, obviously, but only sixty-nine DMODs have come out since the end of 2007. Only six have come out since the end of 2012, and that's if you count my recent "Achievement Unlocked Edition" as a DMOD (I do, but I can't blame you if you don't).

It's taken me nearly thirteen months to get this far. I hope that I can finish by 2016, but you never know how things shake out.
September 14th 2014, 04:29 AM
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Halfway done, nice
Also, (late) happy birthday! To both of you

I don't think I ever finished Green Voice, can't remember why... must try it again.

Speaking of older Hance people, I wonder what happened to Lance? He used to be around here a lot and then just seemed to vanish.
September 14th 2014, 09:18 AM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Congrats on reaching the halfway point. I can't believe you've gotten so far, and that you've already almost covered what I consider to be the best years for Dink.

The Green Voice in My Head is just one of those D-Mods I never really got into. I just couldn't understand what other people saw in it. I think it's a great and well-made D-Mod, no doubt, but not quite as awesome as everybody keeps saying. I never actually ran into any of those "problems" you encountered, just couldn't get into the whole idea behind the D-Mod. Everything seemed somehow too random. I did give it a chance though, and decided maybe it'll eventually grab my interest, but then the D-Mod ended before I really even felt it began.

Speaking of older Hance people, I wonder what happened to Lance? He used to be around here a lot and then just seemed to vanish.

There seem to be lot of people in a certain time-period who just suddenly disappeared from this site, sadly. Ducklord, LadyValoveer, Lunacre, Simeon, MadStalker, to name some. I also remember there was a guy who was a very enthusiastic D-Mod player and never posted on the forums except for files discussion threads. We desperately need someone like that here again.
September 14th 2014, 09:40 AM
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scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
I wonder about Hance AND Lance both. The way they posted was very similar (and the names, obviously). I don't think it was the same person, but I wouldn't be surprised if they turned out to be siblings, or something like that.

Also, chalk me up as someone who couldn't get into Green Voice. I played it for half an hour, maybe, and never got past the first task of finding the barrels. I just found the task utterly dull. I generally hate formulaic quests such as "gather X amount of Y", "find seven different McGuffins in seven different lands", etc, so it's probably that.

I know some people really love that dmod, though, so I've been meaning to play it farther along sometime... Sometime when I'm really bored. Possibly never.
September 14th 2014, 09:47 AM
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leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
Madstalker has popped up recently. He came into chat a few times.
September 14th 2014, 01:14 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Sheesh. Nobody likes Green Voice? Tough crowd!
September 14th 2014, 01:27 PM
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merder
Peasant Male Netherlands xbox steam
The Voice in the back of your head! 
hello coco I'm nobody
September 14th 2014, 04:49 PM
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ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
I enjoyed what little I managed to do in GVIMH, but I can be counted among those who wasn't able to finish it back when the bugs were still present. I haven't played it since but it's on my To-Do list of Dmods that come highly recommended.
September 15th 2014, 02:39 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
174: Dink Nukem - Darkland F**d Up! Author: Martijn van Sliedregt Release Date: October 24, 2003
"HAHAHAAHAHA"

Martijn is the author of "Gorack, Umtar and Shreik" and the surprisingly decent "Three New Heroes." This, on the other hand, is a poor effort. In fact, I think I'm going to give Martijn another one of these for his collection:

*************This DMOD, "Dink Nukem,"**************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   ********On this day September 14, 2014*******


What might you expect out of a Duke Nukem-themed DMOD? Duke making some of his trademark reference-laden wisecracks as he mows down monsters? Sorry, this Duke is completely mute except for one word ("very soft *yeah*") when you win, which you will not do without cheating, because your shotgun is wimpy, the minigun you won't survive to find isn't much better, and the enemies have far too many hit points. Also, the first time I played, the game crashed on me.


Just like in the DMOD, nothing in this PNG file animates. Also: why Homer Simpson?

Duke has no walk animation; he just slides around. At least the author thought to flip the image so that you can tell whether you're facing right or left, but there's still no indication whether you're facing up or down. A single frame (well, two - it's been flipped as well) of Duke pointing his gun and the muzzle flashing is included. It's rather crummy-looking, but if it were implemented, it would still be better than nothing. It isn't used at all. The bullet simply emerges from Duke. You don't feel like you're firing a gun at all. It's not like it would have been hard to make it better. "Counterstrike CTF" did a much better job of putting a gun in a DMOD, and I doubt a superhuman amount of effort was put into that one.

The enemies in "Dink Nukem" all have just one frame and slide around. Nothing looks good. The maps are nearly featureless. Duke turns into a tiny, dying Dink when he dies. It's the tiny part that really weirds me out.

I cheated up 50 points to each stat, and the enemies STILL took annoyingly long to kill, bolstering my belief that winning without cheating is actually impossible. If you return to any screen you've already been to, the enemies will be back immediately. There's no dialogue at all except for a few lines at the boss.

This DMOD is like Bloop the Fish, if Bloop were impossible to beat and had no charm at all. Basically, what I mean is that they're both totally pointless DMODs with new graphics. At least Bloop's were original.

Whatever indignity Duke might have suffered in the reception of Duke Nukem Forever is nothing compared to this. I'd hate to be Martijn when Duke gets his hands on him after seeing "Dink Nukem."

175: Dukie's Shooting Gallery Author: Dan Walma Release Date: October 25, 2003
"Say, do you want to watch me go target shooting?"

No damn way. I can't believe that there are two DMODs in a row, released on consecutive days, that both feature Duke Nukem. Well, it isn't a coincidence. Dan was inspired by the previous crappy mod to release this minigame, which he had made for a collaborative project that was abandoned. So I guess something came out of "Dink Nukem." Here, the Duke is meant to represent Dink community member Dukie, "everyone's favorite Dink Network staff member from Belgium who isn't Kyle" according to the description.


Of course!

This is a mouse-controlled game where you slide back and forth along the bottom of the screen and click to shoot tiny fireballs at enemies who run past. There are four levels. At the end of each level, the game will tell you how many shots you fired, how many enemies you killed out of how many there were, and your accuracy percentage.


There's carnage aplenty to be had here.

The controls are quite smooth, and it's nice to see a mouse-controlled mod for a change. It makes me think that Dinkanoid could have been a lot better with mouse-based control. There isn't really anything in the way of a goal here, though. The game keeps score, but it doesn't pass or fail you. It's almost impossible to lose. I say "almost" because if you let an entire level go by without firing a single shot, the game will crash as it attempts to divide by zero in order to determine your accuracy percentage. As long as you fire at least one shot, even if it doesn't hit anything, you'll pass through the game just fine.

Anyway, it isn't hard to get nearly all of the enemies (a few quick ones might sneak by in the back). You're better off madly spraying bullets, as some enemies move too quickly for you to really aim at them.

There's a little intro that's kind of amusing. Dink claims he needs to find Fruity Pebbles in order to solve some puzzle, but that turns out to be totally unrelated to anything. You can say "no" to Dukie when he asks if you want to watch him go target shooting and the DMOD will end, a gag I have always enjoyed.

There's not enough here to keep you playing, but it's neat to see a mouse-based shooting game nonetheless.

176: North Author: WarPlague Release Date: October 25, 2003
"My name is Dumbo the Mighty."

I never know what to expect when I go into these romps from a first-time author with a rating in the "fair" range. Will they be awful, or just mediocre? This one isn't so bad. It has a couple of things going for it.


I like this title screen, particularly the buttons.

One of the things "North" has going for it is that its original graphics are pretty good, and do a decent job of fitting in with the Dink graphics. They're not so great that I wonder why everybody hasn't used them, but they are good enough to make this one stand out from the crowd a bit.


This graphic has a remarkably smooth animation. It looks like he's dissolving into a puddle of ketchup, mind you, but still: remarkably smooth.

This DMOD is short, too easy, sloppy, and the plot is a wreck, but it still works on some level as a breezy Dink adventure. While some of the attempts at wit fail (references to those Budweiser "Wazzuup" commercials weren't funny at the time and have gotten worse with age), there's some personality here, and I laughed a couple of times. A famed Slayer warrior who is supposed to help you is named Dumbo the mighty. The author gives up on the plot to such a degree that the King at one point complains he doesn't have his script. Dink eventually declares, "But the plot sucks." In the context of a short and easy mod, this kind of silliness was fun for me.

Like I said, though, it's sloppy. There are loads of hardness errors, including one that lets you skip a fair portion of the DMOD. Several screens have "invisible wall" edges that go nowhere. At the start, you're told to go east into the woods, but if you go west instead, everything proceeds as if you'd seen the plot event that happens if you went east. You recruit the slayer "Dumbo the Mighty" to assist you in a war against the goblins, but as soon as you do, this plot thread is dropped and never heard from again.

You have to fight quite a few goblins, which is kind of fun, but feels a bit easier than it should be. Still, after having to fight 8 goblins with my fists, I did enjoy getting my hands on a light sword and mowing down the rest of them. The final boss, on the other hand, is a big disappointment. He only has 10 hit points - that can't have been intentional.


No way this guy was supposed to have 10 hit points.

This isn't a recommendation - it's more like a statement that I am just fine with this DMOD's existence. It shows enough skill that I would have looked forward to further DMODs from WarPlague, but in the 11 years hence, there haven't been any. Too bad.
September 15th 2014, 07:00 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
177: Anarchy Halloween Party Author: Joshriot Release Date: October 31, 2003
"...people have been saying that you suck."


It's fun when authors modify the initial loading screen.

"Anarchy Halloween Party" is another brief Halloween DMOD whipped up in a very short amount of time. But before we talk about that, let's talk about anarchy itself. What does that even mean?

The word 'anarchy' has had negative connotations of lawlessness and disorder for centuries, but at least in the ideal, that isn't the way it's meant by its proponents. Anarchists oppose not order, but authoritative government. They feel that people who are governed are not free, and that order is better brought to society by voluntary cooperation. Anarchy as actually practiced has even involved voting. The problems with this ideal are obvious, and I'm sure as Hell not an anarchist, but I do think it's worth acknowledging that the traditional concept of anarchy is distinct from the common usage as "a state of chaos and disorder."

The use of the word in this DMOD has little to do with government and everything to do with f***ing s*** up. This use of the term goes along with punk and hardcore music, and can probably be traced back to the 1971 punk album Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. The title screen features a totally incomprehensible track that my wife recognized as 90s hardcore band Aus-Rotten.


I know YOU are, but what am I?

This DMOD is divided into a few different (very short) sections. First, Dink walks through a "haunted house." The halloweeny graphics are pretty cool and set a fun atmosphere, and each room has its own little concept going on, like a room where all the pieces of furniture float one by one into the fireplace. At the end of the house, Dink comes across the guys who apparently run it, and there's a really unfunny fabulous joke. Dink calls the guys "toilet drinking queers." I would be just fine not ever seeing another joke of this type in a DMOD, to be honest.

Dink is employed to scare the visitors to the premises. First, there's a minigame where you've got to pop out of a coffin and scare people as they walk by. The people have to be past a certain point when you pop out for you to scare them - the game is picky about this. You've got to scare ten people in a row without making any mistakes. It took me several tries.


A successful scare.

Finally, you're told to wander around in the woods and scare people. Dink's costume in this segment is pretty great. I love how crazy-looking it is. You can't actually follow the instructions you're given, though. Instead, counterintuitively, what you actually have to do is go around killing everybody. When you kill someone, a word or two will pop up in the top right corner of the screen, saying something like "chaos" or "violence rules."


I laughed at this guy who thinks it's part of the show - until you start on him.

The last person you have to kill is out of your reach. You have to go into your inventory and equip a magic marked "graham crackers" (???) and kill her that way. Then, you're told to "kill bob," the guy who instructed you to go scare people. The problem is that attacking Bob does nothing. At this point, I was pretty convinced that there was no ending to the game, and I wasn't alone in coming to this conclusion, judging from the reviews. But then I found DuckLord's walkthrough, which tells you that you have to punch the torch behind Bob. This triggers a very short ending and a bitmap promoting a project called "Anarchy Hobo Party" that was never finished.


Nope.

I don't really have much to say in conclusion, but I would like to note that the majority of the scripts are in a subdirectory within the /story folder. I had no idea that Dink would even let you do this.

178: Agathian Sea Traders Author: Martijn van Sliedregt Release Date: November 18, 2003
"SIR, THERE ARE PIRATES HERE, COME QUICK!"

"Agathian Sea Traders" is a game where you buy various commodities, travel to other ports, and sell your goods, hopefully making a profit. This is especially difficult because traveling itself costs you 100 gold. All of this is done by clicking buttons.


This is what the interface looks like. There's no animation in this game.

It reminds me of a game I played on a graphing calculator in high school called "Drug Wars," where you traveled between locations buying and selling drugs in a similar fashion. It didn't have any graphics, but some graphing calculator games were surprisingly advanced. I think it would've been possible to make a passable version of Dink Smallwood for the TI-89. Damn, I could write a whole essay about graphing calculator games. But I digress.

I always find it interesting to see DMODs going for a different type of game, particularly one controlled by the mouse, but there's very little to do in "Agathian Sea Traders," and even somebody who enjoys this kind of game is bound to get bored quickly. Martijn says he made this DMOD in 18 hours - while that's kind of impressive, I wish he'd spent a bit more time. Other games of this type tend to have a number of events that will occur and maybe some backstory, but there's almost none of that here. The only event that can happen here is that there's a very small (just over 1%) chance that pirates will show up during your travel and take all your goods (though not, curiously, your gold). This event consists of a bitmap with nothing but text. It must be frustrating to have this happen. I guess it has the effect of adding risk to hoarding supplies and traveling too frequently, but the 100 gold travel cost kind of already does this.

Each port has its own MIDI. That's a nice touch, but I would have liked for, say, the location to light up on the map as well. The game doesn't have any way of letting you know prices are higher or lower than they were before, so it would be impossible to really play this without taking lots of notes. Making money is very difficult here, as the sell costs are usually quite low, and this game lacks the mechanics you usually see in this sort of game where there will be either too much or too little of a certain commodity on a certain market, enabling you to buy at unusually low and sell at unusually high prices. At any rate, there's no objective to achieve. The only ending that exists is the one you get for running out of money. The losing graphic is kind of amusing, but there isn't much motivation to play when there's nothing to work toward.


You'll probably see this before too long.
September 16th 2014, 07:25 PM
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magicman
Peasant Male Netherlands steam duck
Mmmm, pizza. 
I like how there's screenshots with (almost) every game. And I see you've been submitting some of them for use on the file page as well. That's twice as awesome.

And I'll definitely have to check out the Green Voice again. What stuck with me from back in the day is "Nice map. Game-breaking bugs.".
September 16th 2014, 08:19 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
179: Dink Goes Boating Author: Simon Klaebe Release Date: November 24, 2003
"So how does this boat thing work?"

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is part of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.4) on The Dink Network.

"Dink Goes Boating" is another 'TMOD' - a DMOD meant to teach the player about DMOD-making. I messed around with it a bit back in 2006. It has more of a quest to it than your usual development file.

This is another mod that claims not to work in true color mode. I got tired of not being able to take screenshots of certain DMODs, so I went and commented out the lines that prevent the mod from starting in that mode. I didn't have any problems as a result - not in FreeDink, anyway.

The main feature of "Dink Goes Boating" is tutorial mode, which you can turn on or off at any time by pressing the 'T' key. When tutorial mode is on, talking to nearly anything that has a script will result in a conversation between Dink and the object about how the object's script works. These conversations aren't dry, either. It's funny to see Dink talking to these random things about how they work, and the DMOD runs with that and gives personality and life to the exchanges.


Some objects will take you step by step through their script, explaining what each line does and why it is used.


In a few cases, use of the map editor is discussed as well.

This DMOD obviously isn't meant to be a comprehensive guide to making DMODs, nor does it try to take somebody who knows nothing about the subject and walk them through the process of making one. For that, you should try Robj's tutorial videos. However, "Dink Goes Boating" is still a valuable resource that can teach you a lot about DinkC and the Dink engine. I learned a few things I didn't know, such as what the point of setting the range for the fireball is (it affects how wide an area the fireball can hit). Simon covers a lot of ground here that even the updated DinkC reference doesn't touch upon. The inability of custom procedures to recognize local variables is mentioned (incidentally, this is because that crazy Dink engine goes ahead and creates another instance of the current script when you call a custom procedure), for example. The tutorial also discusses clever tricks you can use to work within the engine's limitations, such as the very useful ability to store information using an editor-placed sprite's "editor sequence" and "editor frame" values. Simon gives credit to a couple of authors who came up with these sort of tricks, namely Paul Pliska and "Big Ted" Shutes.


I haven't mentioned it yet, but Dink also goes boating in this DMOD.

With tutorial mode off, this seems to be just a slightly odd romp without a whole lot to do. Dink has to purchase a boat and find gold in order to buy bigger boats (the boats are from "Pilgrim's Quest"). To get the frigate, he must fight some octopuses, who do put up a spirited fight and can take you down quickly if you're not careful. After getting the frigate, you can access a new area, where the DMOD mostly abandons its instructive purpose and becomes a romp about the Dink Network.


A gathering of Dink Network regulars.

Quite a few members of the community appear here, including Kyle, Tal, Paul Pliska, Ted Shutes, Redink1, WC and others. The community noobies are represented by ducks running around with their heads cut off, which is pretty funny. A few of the community members will answer a bunch of questions, which I assume are little interviews conducted by Simon Klaebe for this purpose. You can learn a lot about the history of the Dink community here. There's a reference to the old Medar board on bladekeep, which was the place to be for Dink discussion before the current Dink Network message board came along. There's also discussion of the Anon wars on the Dink World website, which I got mixed up in myself (as discussed way back in the "Gung's Attack" writeup). The leader of the Anons is identified as "Crystals of Power" author Chris Martin! Kory is featured as "King of the Noobs," and you have to fight him as a final boss. You can collect his head and bring it back to WC, and at that point you seem to have accomplished everything you can.


Kory is a Seth-like who summons noobs to attack you. He also spits out lines of DinkC code for some reason.

"Dink Goes Boating" was also made to take advantage of redink.exe, a modification of the engine made by Dan Walma. A launcher .exe is included to run the DMOD in this version of the engine, but the colors looked all wrong on my computer. It's too bad - I would have liked to see the pillbug that constantly changes the palette. I'll bet some of the features from redink.exe eventually made it into Dink version 1.08, also made by Dan Walma.

This mod is a really cool project, and I think anyone with an interest in DMOD authoring should check it out. One of the best ways to explain a creative medium is by using that medium itself, as I learned when I read Scott McCloud's great comic about comics, Understanding Comics. Simon Klaebe does a really keen job of bringing the explanation into the game - the script walkthroughs are an inspired touch. Quite a few of the actual scripts are also packed with comments to explain what everything does, so you can learn even more by taking a look through them.

--

And that about wraps it up for 2003. There were--

Oh, wait. It looks like there's still some unfinished business to take care of.

180: Unfinished Business Author: GameHampe Release Date: December 10, 2003
"The D-MOD author must be crazy."

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Gamehampe is the creator of "WinDinkEdit Plus," which adds new features to WinDinkEdit. These were probably carried over to WinDinkEdit Plus 2, which I've used extensively.

"Unfinished Business" is another one of those romps that just isn't very good. Hardness errors are common (you can walk through houses and at least one savebot), there are tiling problems, and you'll run into an invisible wall every time you try to go in a direction the author didn't want you to go. On the plus side, a few of the screens look interesting.


I like the idea of a home set into a cliff wall.


I also like the way these skeletons are put together.

The story isn't worth talking about, really. Goblins are mentioned as a threat, but none of them appear in this DMOD. You have to find a tunnel made by somebody named "Dunk Ballwood" to get to the end. Although there are powerups galore, it isn't necessary to fight a single enemy in order to win. It's supposed to be required to fight a certain boss in a cave in order to get some gold to pay to cross a river, but there are multiple ways to just walk around the river, one of which doesn't even feel like exploiting a hardness bug.

I got really stuck at a certain point. You're told to go find a key, but not what the key goes to. I guess the powerups do come in handy, because there's a dragon on the screen where you get the key, and although you don't have to fight it, you do have to wait around until the text "got the key" disappears, or the game won't think you have the key. Anyway, most of the doors in the game are "locked," so I had a tough time figuring out where to use the key and nearly gave up. It turns out that you have to backtrack a lot. Once you're past this obstacle, the odd ending, which lacks an end boss, isn't far off.

--

And that about wraps it up for 2003. There were a few great DMODs, including my personal favorite "Green Voice in my Head," and there was quite a turnout for the Evil Hero Contest. On the other hand, a good chunk of the year's output consisted of the work of Glenn Ergo and ThinkDink. I keep setting new records for handing out the Award of Badness - eight of them this time (counting "Seth's Revenge" - yes, I'm afraid the [Alphabet] Memorial Award of Secret Brilliance was meant to be ironic). I don't know whether bad DMODs are getting more common, or whether I'm just getting more curmudgeonly as I continue to play absurd amounts of Dink games. I'd like to say that this will probably remain the record year for the DFMAOB, but let's face it, 2007 is still out there.

--Awards--

*Evil Empire Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Terribleness: Dink's Short Adventure! by Jeremy Moore

It faces serious competition from ThinkDink's "Ghosts of the Cast" series, but ultimately, nothing else from 2003 is quite as pointless as this unfinished, broken tutorial on how to play Dink Smallwood. I can't imagine what the author was thinking when they uploaded it.

*Quackers's Medal of Humor: Rascal, by Blackduke

The concept and dialogue of this mod just amused the heck out of me.

*Sandfish of Strangeness: Dry, by Binirit

My writeup of this one might have read a little harshly, but I think this mind-bending mod is one to be experienced. Binirit throws out every assumption you might reasonably make about Dink's world, and the result is baffling, but memorable.

*Portown Plaque Recognizing Unrealized Ambition: Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero: Wasted Life, by Nitronic

Nitronic had such a grand vision, and you can tell he had a lot of the skills necessary to implement it, but this one is just buggy, sloppy and confusing.

*The Ice Wizard's Award in Storytelling: Twins, by Binirit

This one intrigued me with its approach to the "Evil Hero" concept. It kept the story ambiguous at first, but unlike "Eternal Suicide," it still brought it to a satisfying conclusion.

*The Bronze Pig: Blood Scorpions, by Simeon

This is just a solid, fun Dink adventure with plenty of polish.

*The Silver Duck: Dink Goes Boating, by Simon Klaebe

A DMOD that teaches you about DMOD authoring is a great idea, but very challenging to pull off. To nobody's surprise, Simon takes it and does a fantastic job.

*The Golden Pillbug: The Green Voice in My Head - Part 1 - Hangover & Agony, by Raven

This was a triumph. It's clear that not everybody is so keen on it, but this one pushes all my buttons. It's my vision of what a DMOD ought to be.
September 18th 2014, 08:53 PM
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redink1
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
I peeked ahead for what 2004 has in store, and I was surprised to see that Cloud Castle 2 and Initiation were released within 4 days of each other. I don't remember that at all.
September 18th 2014, 09:01 PM
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magicman
Peasant Male Netherlands steam duck
Mmmm, pizza. 
Oh, yes. The two were prime competitors for some kind of monthly/quarterly award. Really awful timing, that. They're both excellent.
September 19th 2014, 02:29 AM
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Arik
Peasant Male
 
I remember that, mostly because I was thinking haha, wow, we're going to get crushed in the DOTM.
September 19th 2014, 02:31 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
I won a DOTM once. Crossroads Trailer tied with Friends Beyond 2, and they split the award. I will never know how.