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May 29th 2014, 04:30 AM
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
123: The Creeping Sands Author: Simon Klaebe Release Date: June 16, 2002

"This would be more fun with some ladies."

With "The Creeping Sands," Simon apparently meant to create a DMOD in 24 hours, but he couldn't finish it in time and ended up taking "just over 72 hours", though not non-stop. I've got to say that it's a pretty righteous job for such a time constraint. Making DMODs is time-consuming.

It's not a tiny mod, so to make it so quickly you'd have to cut a corner somewhere. In this case, Simon chose to have very little text. The story is quite simplistic: the lands north of Castle Goodheart are quickly turning to desert, and soldiers sent to investigate have failed to return. Enter Dink, naturally.

Do you want to play a DMOD where you'll do lots of fighting and exploring? Here's one for you. The game sort of leaves you alone to contemplate your steady work. I happened to be in the right mood to be just fine with this. Yes, I'd say that "Creeping Sands" was a fun DMOD. Anyway, the fundamentals are sound. The fights get quite tough, and you won't win without plenty of grinding. I know I didn't. All of your old favorite SimonK enemies are here, genitalia-based and otherwise. And there are these weird eyeball things, which are creepy in a neat way instead of a gross one - a nice change of pace. I think these are new, but then, I have a really lousy memory.

The author made some downright weird choices in picking sound effects, replacing Dink's default sounds with loud, discordant notes that get pretty annoying after a while. The "select option" noise in particular is so loud and harsh as to be kind of startling. It reminded me of old shareware games like Jill of the Jungle. I thought that the odd sounds had a certain charm in that game, but they're terribly out of place here.

The setting brings back the desert tiles and sprites that I liked so much in "Stone of Balance," and there's a new feature - cacti that you can burn down with the fire spell like pine trees! Finally, something else to obsessively throw fireballs at. Unfortunately, I couldn't really tell which cacti would burn and which wouldn't without actually throwing a fireball at them.

Do you know that I set up these writeups, intending to write them immediately upon finishing my playthrough of the DMOD, and then reliably proceed to dick around on the Web for as many as 12 hours? I'm not joking; it's awful. I'm reading about the NBA, or following Twitch Plays Pokemon, or even lurking about sadly on the Dink Network forum - anything but writing. In fact, I tend to cycle through the same few websites over and over. I would actually have an easier time with this if the problem were that I forget about my writing project, but the opposite is the case. I can't forget about it. It directly motivates my dicking around. That unease I've always felt when putting my fingers on the keys, the little sickness that gets into me every time I see an empty 'page' - that's what's in my head the whole time. Okay, I tell myself, after I read this web page, I'll get back to it. Well, after this one. After this one, at least. Surely after this one. After this one. After this one. After this one.

I guess I don't have the discipline to crank something substantive out like Simon Klaebe did with this DMOD. Speaking of this DMOD, it was quite difficult, but it was a sort of difficulty I feel more at home with than the kind found in the mods I've been giving up on and cheating to get through. With enough grinding (mostly for money) and finding powerups, you can slowly work up to a point where the daunting final cave is just manageable. You'll then be able to meet the cause of the "creeping sands" - a nut that attacks by farting on you and restores itself by suckling at giant bouncing breasts. Sure, why not? You can't surprise me anymore, Klaebe.

That's what I said to myself, but I was wrong. After finally defeating the fiendish nut (those farts are DEADLY, man), you are given the option to view Dink's victory dance. At first, it's just some clever moves like the "fall" graphics turned into a series of rolling backflips, but then... well, um, graphically stupid image warning. My wife happened to be watching when this happened! She wasn't a fan.

You know, when I finally crank it out, it seems incredibly dumb how I've spent all day not writing - which is itself a distinct activity that preempts other things I might be doing - and maybe 40 minutes writing. It's not new for me, though. In college, I wouldn't do my papers, even huge assignments I'd had a month to work on, until just hours before they were due, and I usually got very good grades on them. In the end, was it really that easy? Was all my worrying for nothing? Or was all of it - the fretting, the avoidance, the dicking around on the Internet - part of the process? Could all of it somehow be integral to the way I write?

The craziest thing is, I honestly couldn't tell you.