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December 24th 2014, 03:46 AM
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
299: Dink's Nightmare Author: TGA Release Date: November 26, 2009

This was briefly known as "Super Dink" upon its original release. It's a good thing the original news post's link was updated, or I'm not sure if I would've been able to figure this out. What's worse is that since I made my list by going through both the news archives and the Files section, I had a separate entry on 12/3 for "Dink's Nightmare" (the date of its last update). I had no way of knowing at the time that they were the same DMOD. Trying to piece together the release history of DMODs is surprisingly tricky - again, I lament the fact that the files section lacks an "original release date" field. That brings us down to 16 DMODs for 2009.

When people use the word 'nightmare,' they usually mean to evoke extreme, often otherworldly terrors. Sometimes, actual nightmares are like that. Sometimes you dream of a huge spider chasing you through a swamp, making a noise so loud as it does that it blocks out sound entirely and the world goes mute. But in my experience, the stuff of nightmares is usually more mundane. I'm at school again - oh, that's right, I forgot that I had to go back and finish my diploma or something. Oh no, I've forgotten to go to all but two of my classes this semester? How could I be so stupid? They're really going to let me have it when I go in there. Let me tell you, the dread this scenario fills me with is very real, and can easily compete with the spider.

If the contents of this DMOD are Dink's nightmare, it's the second type of nightmare. Dink is just doing the same kind of thing he always does, fighting monsters... but there's no point to it, and it goes on forever. "Oh," thinks Dink glumly, "That's right. I forgot I was stuck here forever doing this. I was just imagining all that exciting stuff I thought was happening." And he settles into a powerful despair.

"Dink's Nightmare" is an endless combat-based DMOD like "Infinidink," but it lacks the scoring system and presentation of Wesley's project. Instead, it's more of a regular DMOD without any kind of story. Even "Infinidink" had a little intro area with some dialogue; the only dialogue in "Nightmare" is very dry and spoken by shopkeepers. A couple of the shopkeepers seem to have more interesting things to say... until you realize that their scripts have been taken directly from the original game. The things the lady from the Edge of the World shop says don't make any sense in this context. Ugh.

I suppose you could call the map a plus. I mean, it's big.

No really! It's huge!

The screens are quite plain, only containing borders, the monsters and an occasional bit of decoration - rarely more than one per screen, and many screens have none. There's no ending to the game, but there is a path that will take you from Pendo Island where you start through all the other areas, which are connected by caves. I think the path ends in the beach area, although I never made it there.

Since fighting is the only thing you do here, it's important that the combat be well-balanced. Unfortunately, it isn't. Most of the enemies walk very slowly and almost never attack you. Many of the enemies that do attack you have their attack wait set to 0, so they just get stuck in an attacking loop when they're close enough to you. That's easy to exploit, especially in the purple boncas, which can't hit you. As you go on, the enemies (there are no bosses) start having thousands of hit points each and take a very long time to kill. Worst of all, you'll eventually find your progress halted by the spikeys. They're set to increase their speed every time you hit them. Soon, it becomes impossible to evade their attacks even with the herb boots. It's a completely broken enemy.

Trust me, you won't get any farther than this.

As you might infer, I found "Dink's Nightmare" to be a total waste of time. Why, then, did I spend an hour and sixteen minutes playing it?

Well, there is one thing it offers - an unequaled chance to ramp Dink (the character and the game) up exponentially. There are many enemy types in this DMOD. You encounter them in sequence - small pillbugs, big pillbugs, small brown slimes, big brown slimes, small blue slimes, big blue slimes, and so on. The first enemies give 10 experience, but it increases by 10 each time until 100, when it starts incrementing by 100. Then 200, then 500, then 1000. Combine this with the fact that you can increase a stat by two points at level up instead of the usual one and with the megapotions that you find all over the place, and you can make Dink into quite a powerhouse. The weapons in the shop are denied to you until you reach certain level thresholds. This is partially undermined by the fact that the Edge of the World lady is included and will sell you a light sword whenever you please. Judging from a screenshot posted to the files page, the usual level cap of 32 seems to have been removed in this DMOD, allowing you to go as high as you please.

Here, for reference, is that screenshot (which I didn't take). It seems Hellfire's damage scales with your magic stat, which means it is possible - though totally unreasonable - to get past those spikies eventually.

I found myself numbly sucked into the process of making numbers go up. I have a history with this. Maybe you've encountered a concept known as the "idle game" - a game where you make progress even when you do nothing. Back in 2002, a game called Progress Quest satirized MMORPGs by requiring no input from the player at all - little did the author know they'd invented a genre of actual games. I've gone through periods of being hooked on games like Anti-Idle, Cookie Clicker, and a more recent game whose name I don't even want to mention because it's so addictive. Hell, it was an article begging the reader NOT to play it that got me hooked on this game I won't mention.

Progress Quest was harmless because it really did require nothing out of you. These games have just enough interaction to keep you hooked on the little bursts of endorphins you'll get from their constant cycle of reward response. I only play these kinds of games when I'm really depressed; sadly, that's most of the time. They're such an easy way to turn your brain off, and you never want to "give up" on the time you've already put into them. These are the only sorts of games I've ever continued to play despite my open acknowledgement that I'm not really enjoying them. The only way I got out of each game was by deleting my save data, at which point the pointlessness of the whole exercise dawned upon me instantly - if it weren't possible to do that, I think I would have been trapped for good. Anyway, a similar impulse kept me playing "Dink's Nightmare" far longer than I should have, although a lack of consistent rewards and its ultimate brokenness kept me from really getting hooked.

It's fun to watch numbers go up, but when it's not directed toward any purpose, grinding in a video game can turn into a kind of numb, waking nightmare. After all, one of the themes I've noticed in my bad dreams is that of being required to repeat things, and unable to escape.

300: EvilDink Author: DinkDoodler Release Date: November 29, 2009
"Nice killing. I think I'll go into the backyard."

Well, would you look at that - 300 DMOD writeups! I think I'll celebrate by saying "D-Mod" from now on. More on this exciting base-10 milestone after I talk about this D-Mod.

"EvilDink" is the first of three miserably-rated D-Mods (had to catch myself there) in a row by DinkDoodler. It's not very good. DFMAOB, if you please.

**************This D-Mod, "EvilDink,"**************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day December 23, 2014********

The concept of "EvilDink" isn't bad. Dink, annoyed by everyone's constant requests and lack of respect for him as a hero, decides to kill everybody. That could be funny. Unfortunately, this D-Mod is another low-effort, one-minute affair. It actually received a patch in 2011 ("Version The Less-Suckier Version"), so it must have been even worse upon release.

What the... did you just lift a line from "Bill & Kill?" Wow! It doesn't even rhyme anymore!

There are eight screens in "EvilDink," and only two of them are intentionally connected to one another. Each screen is bordered poorly with fences or trees that are full of gaps. The idea is to kill anybody (nobody puts up significant resistance, and most die in one hit), but you're never required to do so. All you ever have to do is walk to the next warp. You don't miss any dialogue by not killing anybody. Even in this pacifist route, Dink still kills a room full of people in a cutscene - or so we're told. Actually, you can see the corpses before the screen fades down and the cutscene starts. I can't help but conclude that the voices we "hear" of people insulting Dink ("Oh, it's the pig farmer"), screaming, and then dying are just Dink putting on a little show for himself. It's sad, really.

Dink's turn to evil has coincided with him turning the color of soot for some reason. Maybe the errand that pushed him over the edge involved cleaning a chimney. This transformation occurs courtesy of Rabidwolf9's Dark Dink graphics pack, which is used without credit.

Dink's bloody rampage inexplicably ends with him surrounded by bombs. They don't explode or anything - I guess the moment that we see is frozen in time, despite Dink's idle animation continuing as usual. Nonetheless, this is apparently the "end of Dink Smallwood." Serves him right, I suppose. I never liked that dumb pig farmer anyway. And that's enough talking about that D-Mod.

For some reason I imagine the narrator of this D-Mod being Ben Stein. "So many bombs. And some of them could really use Clear Eyes. Wow. Also, evolution isn't real."

So yeah, 300 D-Mods. I got through that last hundred pretty quickly (3 months). I've only got 49 left on my list right now, although I'm certain there will be at least a couple more in two weeks. This is really what I've been doing with myself lately - get up in the afternoon, play D-Mods, stay up all night writing about D-Mods, repeat. I don't have any plans for other projects when I get done. Actually, I've been motivated to try and push through this for the past few months by the fact that I'm going to start looking for a job soon, and if I get one I obviously won't be able to do this sort of thing as much. Anyway, thanks again for reading. I'll be able to chat more in this manner when I get to the end.

301: The Defeat of the Terrorists Author: DinkDoodler Release Date: November 30, 2009
"I have had enough of those terrorists!"

REPUTATION NOTE: This D-Mod is part of the incredibly select group to have a rating of less than 1.0 (0.4) on The Dink Network.

This is currently the last D-Mod with a rating below 1.0. Does this mean I can retire the DFMAOB? No, it does not. Hey, speaking of which:

****This D-Mod, "The Defeat of the Terrorists,"****
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day December 24, 2014********

"The Defeat of the Terrorists" is even worse than "EvilDink," which at least had an okay concept and a poor attempt at screen borders. This time, there's nothing to even suggest a screen border, so you're left to guess which way you can go, and the concept is "Dink kills some terrorists."

Yes, Dink sure does hate him some terrorists, so it's off to the brilliant green fields of Pakistan (it really does have some nice-looking valleys, if Google Image Search isn't lying to me) to kill them all. You know, that is a really great idea, Dink. You've got to wonder why nobody has thought of just killing all the terrorists before. I mean, it should be easy to do since terrorists are well-known for gathering in clearly-labeled terrorist headquarters...

...Like this one...

...and even if they didn't, you could probably just kill a bunch of people in the hopes that you get the terrorists in there somewhere. Everybody knows there are absolutely no ramifications whatever to killing people in foreign countries. I mean, it's not like your violence could inspire hatred in others, potentially driving them to terrorism as well. No, the terrorists emerged whole from the mouth of Hell, and once you send them all back there, the problem is solved. Great job, Dink!

Mr. Doodler's D-Mods are all sorts of broken. The intro plays again every time you enter the first screen, filling your inventory up with claw swords. It also sets your strength to 15, so it'll dull your claw sword if you've already got one equipped. You can see anything again by returning to a screen. DinkDoodler (wait, is he implying that he... doodles Dink? Gross) also has an annoying habit of making signs tell you what they say when you enter the screen, but do nothing when you examine them.

The terrorists' massive underground lair consists of eight screens laid out from left to right. It contains rooms full of armor-clad terrorists whom you don't have to fight. You can also enjoy a lovely tour of their facilities, including:

*The famous Dead Body Room (souvenir "I survived the Dead Body Room" T-Shirts available in the lobby)
*Dining hall - with dead bodies on tables, because terrorists, like their cousin the chupacabra, feed on their victims
*The Bomb Room - Oh, THIS is where the bombs in "EvilDink" came from
*A room warning visitors about giant pillbugs in the next room - gee, that was thoughtful of them

The actual giant pillbug room features two giant pillbugs, which are incapable of movement. Even if, like me, you feel sorry for them and walk right into them out of pity, they don't do enough touch damage to worry about. You can easily slay them for an unbelievable bounty of 3000 experience points each. Given that they come back to life when you return to the screen, this is the easiest way to level up ever, no matter what I've said before. I got to level 11 in two bored minutes.

God, they're just big wet sacks of experience. They pop like water balloons!

The only enemy you "have" to beat is the boss. He's easy because, like the other terrorists, he never attempts to hit you, although he does take a bit of time to bring down. Winning produces the message, "Finally, the terrorists were conquered." There's supposed to be another line about quitting using the Alt+Q keyboard shortcut, but that pesky old die procedure problem prevents it from displaying. Anyway, if you liked fighting the boss, you can do it again and again by leaving the screen and returning.

Don't miss the author's review of his own D-Mod; it is a corker. You can go behind the scenes and learn of his passion for killing Pakistani terrorists with a sword, as well as hearing about how "The Defeat of the Terrorists" can bring people together by having something to hate for everyone.

302: The Bonca Hunt Author: DinkDoodler Release Date: December 5, 2009

In the proud tradition of authors like ThinkDink, Skull and me, DD understood the importance of releasing several lousy D-Mods in a short period of time. You have to establish a reputation, after all.

***********This D-Mod, "The Bonca Hunt,"***********
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day December 24, 2014********

You know, despite that Award of Badness, I do recommend downloading this D-Mod, because it is funny as Hell. I considered not giving it the Award for that reason, but it's such a masterwork of badness that I feel I'd be doing it a disservice by holding back.

All the elements of terribleness are here, including what have become DinkDoodler's signature flaws. Signs do nothing after you enter a screen. There are no screen borders, not even on indoor screens. Events are repeated if you go back. Hardness on the only house in the D-Mod is a mess. Enemies don't have to be fought and are ludicrously easy if you do. What's supposed to be a house interior is actually a huge expanse of tile with doors floating in empty space.

Yes, we are definitely in a house. Also, if the top of the screen is north, the door we want is actually to the east.

Dink keeps coming across people killed by boncas. Every time, he has a really over the top reaction, and a dying person gives him powerups. This happens over and over until it is very funny indeed. You end up with absurd stats, yet Dink keeps insisting he needs to get stronger in order to handle the totally ordinary boncas. It has a lot to do with the fact that it's after 3 AM and I was in a silly mood already, but I laughed myself silly. I just... look at these screenshots.

Well, if you insist.

HAHAHAHAHA. WHAT. WHAT. I mean, not Dink's cousin Larry! He was my favorite of Dink's cousins! I even liked him better than Dink's hot cousin Charlene! You'll pay, you bonca dinks!

That's what SHE said! She was a succubus, you see.

Wow. Thank you, DinkDoodler. We all appreciate your contribution.