The Dink Network

Crazy Old Tim Plays all the DMODs of 2001

August 2nd 2014, 04:50 AM
Bard He/Him United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
As I continue to play through all the DMODs and write about it, I'm now gathering my words together in article form. 2001 features "Back from the Grave," "FIAT," and a whole lotta demos.

Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs of 2001!

Welcome to the first "news article" version of the COTPATD project. It's always been part of my plan to consolidate these writeups into a format easier to read at once than a forum thread, for "posterity." Previously, this involved rather crude HTML (see 1998, 1999 and 2000), but redink1 has enabled me to post articles to the site instead. I have also moved all screenshots to the Dink Network server.

And now, the same old thing you've read before, but with captioned inline images.


Look over there, it's some more DMODs! Brought to you by the author of this cool new DMOD that you should go play if you haven't already. Plug plug plug.

On January 1, 2001, I cut whatever remaining ties I had to the Dink Smallwood community. I asked for my DMODs from 1998 (The Dink Forever trilogy, 2001: A Dink Oddyssey, and All Out Brawl) to be removed from the website, which people weren't happy about at the time, but honestly, I think I did everybody a favor. We're getting into really unexplored territory for me now. There are a couple more DMODs this year that I played when they came out, but FIAT was the last one before I stopped even lurking occasionally.

By my count there are 22 DMODs that were released in 2001. Coming as it does in the middle of Dink's prime (37 in 2000, 36 in both 2002 and 2003) that represents a bit of a down year, but it's still a healthy output that exceeds 1999's.

In January 2001, WinDinkEdit was released. All DMODs up to this point had been made using the original DinkEdit. Maybe some of you out there still use DinkEdit, but I sure don't miss it. No option to quit without saving, no way to view another map screen without going back to the minimap every single time... yikes. I don't miss it.

I'm happy to cover this year because finally, at long last, there's something for which "2001: A Dink Odyssey" is actually kind of an appropriate title.

PART ONE: "Let's pretend there's a point"


087: Dink Goes Wandering Author: Colin "Duck" Wyatt Release Date: January 4, 2001

This is the first of four mods titled "Dink Goes [Blank]ing." It's not as bad as "Quest for [Blank]."

According to the author, he made this because he "thought there should be more 10 minute Dink adventures." That sounds reasonable, but this isn't close to fulfilling that goal; the only reason it took me three minutes to put this down is the time I spent wandering around going, "Seriously? That's it?" I had this reaction not only because of how short the mod is, but also because there isn't really a clear ending.

You enter a house. A wizard there tells you to kill some pillbugs - okay. You go outside and do this, then return and tell him you've done it. He says "Good Job!" and you get 1,000 experience points. At this point, you've accomplished everything you can.

There isn't an awful lot on the few screens in this DMOD, and that combined with the lack of music really makes it feel more like a stub than anything finished. I did find something aesthetically appealing about the way everything was so boxed in like a series of rooms, but only because I was imagining how that concept could be used in a better mod than this one. The feeling of confinement was really the only thing that stood out, which is ironic giving the title - there's no room to wander here.

At least all the objects here are scripted, for a total of 24 scripts. Most things have a hit response, which I'm always for, and a decent job is done of running the fourth wall humor through its paces, particularly a scene in which Dink, a bookshelf, and a shelf of bottles converse about the author's utter control over their actions.

And now it's time for everybody's favorite plotless DMOD pasttime... Let's Pretend There's A Point!

[theme music plays]

After the player selected "Quit," Dink and the inanimate objects he had befriended found a way to throw off the yoke of the hated author's oppressive scripts. Sadly, the joke was on them, as the author had created such a tiny world for them that they had nothing to do with their newfound freedom. To this day, they pass the time by continuing to set the multiverse's eternal record for longest rendition of "X bottles of beer on the wall."

088: Explorations: Redink1's Basement Author: Dan Walma Release Date: January 5, 2001

"Oh dear! redink1 has a cruddy digital camera, and he kinda knows how to use it!"

I remember "playing" this one back when it came out. It's not so much a game as it is a simple demonstration of how a Myst-style point and click adventure game could be implemented in Dink using the mouse mode normally used for the title screen. There isn't anything to do except look at the blurry, grainy photos and see lines of description for a small number of objects. There are some cool things to see, such as an old Pepsi machine.

PC Gamer Magazine has an important place in Dink history. I remember this cutout.

Although it isn't immediately obvious, there's an interface here where you can switch between three modes: the default "move mode," where you click to change your view, the "describe mode," where certain objects will produce descriptions, and "action mode." Action mode only seems to do two things: it can make Warcraft III music come out of the speakers, and it can turn off the computer monitor on the desk.

Well, sorta.

I found the interface to be kind of frustrating. You hear the "can't click there" sound more often than not when trying to click around. To really make this concept work for a game, I think you'd have to make the cursor change based on where the pointer is using buttonon and buttonoff. I'd make it into an arrow when the cursor is in a spot where you can click to move, and I'd go ahead and make the move function something that's always active so you only have a button that toggles between action and examine. I think with those changes, you could make a pretty serviceable adventure game, which would be neat. This is a cool little tech demo, but you can't spend much time with it.

089: Goblin Trouble II Authors: Killerbee, WC Release Date: January 29, 2001

WC is listed as a co-author here, but I don't think there was any actual collaboration judging from the text "Remade By WC (Without permission)" in the readme file. Still, maybe that means I can actually finish this one. As an aside, it's too bad WC doesn't hang around here anymore, he was actually pretty cool.

I'll admit it, I was pretty excited to discover that there actually was a Goblin Trouble 2. The 1999 original promised a part two "in two months," but it's nice to discover a promised followup existing at all. Those of you who have been reading along may recall my enthusiasm for Goblin Trouble despite (actually in part because of) its brokenness and lack of a plot. The level of absurdity on display, the density of the jokes and the complete failure to take anything seriously combined to make it something special to me despite all expectations.

Dink apparently has the ability to speak pure white noise.

I wasn't as enamored of this part, although there were some flashes of the accidental "brilliance" from the original. The major problem is that there just isn't much to this one. It consists of a rather long cutscene, a few brief conversations and two screens of basic fighting. On the other hand, this time there are, without a doubt, goblins.

It is amusing while it lasts. The mod's short length is packed with wacky stuff like Dink stopping to take a rest because cutscenes are hard work and the author apologizing for "killing endangered species" when Dink attacks a goblin in the cutscene. Practically every object is scripted and has silly text for your enjoyment.

Dink is a trained professional fire-puncher. Don't try this at home.

New, absurd text is packed in everywhere, from the savebot script to the help blurb nobody reads in the escape menu. There is a new spell, the rotten fish magic. This is just a fireball, but the MSPaint graphics are a fitting change of pace.

The fish causes a green explosion upon impact.

Unfortunately, the mod stops short just as it gets going. According to the ending text, it wasn't finished due to "rude flaming from certain members of the Dink Community," and WC took it upon himself to get the DMOD into a playable state and release it in honor of KillerBee's effort.

While still buggy, this is less of a wreck than Goblin Trouble 1, but there's a lot less to do here. It's still worth a look for Goblin Trouble fans, of which I am quite probably the only one. Oh well!

090: Dink 007 Author: Nick Vervaeke Release Date: February 24, 2001

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is one of the incredibly select group to have a score below 1.0 on the Dink Network (0.5).

Let me try to see how many nice things I can say about this DMOD.

It has a MIDI of Bohemian Rhapsody! I mean, it really should have been a James Bond theme, and it's not the best conversion, but that's still pretty cool!

...Um... Well, there's... Hm.

Oh! There's a savebot in it. It works and everything.

...Yeah, I got nothing.

**************This DMOD, "Dink 007,"***************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day February 7, 2014********

"Dink 007" is the worst DMOD I have ever played. It makes "Dink Smallwood Forever," "Mike Dingwell's First D-MOD," and "Richrad's Attack" look almost good by comparison. It makes something like "Milderr!!" look like a friggin' epic masterpiece. I'm not trying to be silly here, these are facts.

What do I even say? It looks like this:

That random tree tile really ties the dark void together.

The only text relevant to the title is in the short intro, which you can make overlap itself by pressing the talk button. It says, "Before James Bond... Before James West... There was Dink 007." It's nonsense. If this DMOD worked (it doesn't), its "plot" wouldn't have anything to do with spies or secret agents. Then again, I once named a DMOD "2001: A Dink Oddyssey" for no good reason, so I guess this comes from a similar place.

If you had a bad DMOD Bingo card, you might be able to fill it all up with this one.

*Objects that should be hard simply are not.

It looks like Dink could work the duck like a puppet.

*The edges of the map have no indication you can't walk in a certain direction.
*Objects that should be scripted (NPCs!) are not.
*Depth que is never set correctly.
*Enemies are placed nonsensically and you are at no point required to fight them.
*Enemies are too difficult.
*Spelling is poor.

This DMOD is for 'morans.'

*Tiling is often bad.
*Impossible to complete.

I want to pay special attention to that last one. NOTHING works. Most NPCs in this mod simply have no script, but those few that are supposed to talk to you simply cause the game to freeze instead. Using WinDinkEdit to look at the .d files (!), I determined that this bug was causing me to miss out on such thrilling dialogue as "I will learn you magic" and "Ask further directions at te chief."

I didn't think it would get worse than this. Of course, I had yet to meet "Evil Empire." I was happier then, when the world was young.

091: Revenge of the Ducks 2 Author: Jveenhof Release Date: February 25, 2001

Make a series out of that little DMOD about being a duck? Sure, why not.

There's a duck walking back and forth on the title screen; I thought I'd mention this, since I don't remember any DMOD ever using moving sprites for the title before.

RotD2 is a step up from its predecessor; there's more to do, more map to explore, and a more involved story. This time we find Ronan the warrior duck attempting to rescue a bonca from an evil (sure) hunter.

Man, look at that duck lay down the law! This duck is a bad ass. I'm lovin' it.

Having driven off the hunter, Ronan sees to the bonca, but as you could probably tell from that screenshot, it's too late for her. (Hmm, a sad scene with a dying female bonca... that seems familiar to me for some reason...) She tells Ronan to take care of her son. This is how we come to have a duck riding a bonca named Billy. It's a hilarious sight. The sprites could be better - Ronan moves around all over the place. Then again, it would be a bumpy ride.

Because the other way around wouldn't go so well.

Ronan and Billy are best pals. It warms my heart. Both of them participate in everything you do. Billy isn't too smart, so he's always asking Ronan to explain things to him, which the duck does with patience and grace. There's such an air of cynicism around DMODs that you'd expect him to crack wise at his friend's expense, but this is actually nice to see. Anyway, this is a good vehicle for exposition while simultaneously demonstrating to the player how much the two depend on one another. Even when you attack, if you use "punch" (bonca tail), Ronan will shout, "Billy, hit them!" If you use the fireball, it's Billy who says, "Ronan, blast them!" It's adorable. Unfortunately, you're paused for about a second after using fireball, which is annoying.

The screens look pretty good, although there are some depth que problems (Jveenhof's old "bridge that constantly clips in front of you" problem from 9 gems returns), and some badly tiled screens toward the bottom of the first area.

Ronan, why is Billy drowning in wood?

Other problems with the mod include bad English (it's not so hard to get somebody to look over it, is it?) and no savebots at all, which got on my nerves when I died near the end (easy to do on your first try, when you don't know how to solve the puzzle yet) and had to start over. The mod also ends rather abruptly, when you really think you're just about to go to the next area. Still, this one won my moderate approval on the charm of its concept alone. I mean, if a duck and a bonca can be friends, given the animosity we've seen in the past between those species, maybe there's hope for us all.

PART TWO: Year of the Demo


092: A Town Over (Intro) Author: Anton Frolov Release Date: February 27, 2001

************This DMOD, "A Town Over,"**************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day February 8, 2014********

I owe "The Orion" an apology. "Goblin Trouble 2" as well. Every mod I criticized for being released in such an unfinished state that it didn't even amount to a credible teaser or demo did not prepare me for "A Town Over."

There are two screens. One of them has essentially nothing on it, but is blocked off on every side but one - Dink wonders how trying to wander to the next town could have teleported him here. On the next screen, a knight makes a fairy explode with his mind (no sound effect, though). Dink objects, and for this he is cursed with weakness and 'poordom'.

Oh no! Not poordom!

He disappears, and then there's nothing. Nothing at all but these two empty screens and your gold taking an awful long time to go down to 5 for some reason.

I think it's the DMOD that really got cursed with weakness and poordom, because it was definitely weak and poor. Hey-oooo! Next!

093: The Moneyspell (Demo) Author: Nick Vervaeke Release Date: March 8, 2001

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is one of the incredibly select group to have a score lower than 1.0 (0.9) on the Dink Network!

Oh no, it's the "Dink 007" guy again. Like me, he didn't learn the lesson to quit after one abysmal DMOD. How'd he do this time? C'mon, you already know the answer to that.

***********This DMOD, "The Moneyspell,"************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day February 8, 2014********

This is at least better than "Dink 007." I mean, it contains some things that actually work, including a plot concept that is at least kind of original. Dink must retrieve a spell for a wizard - a spell that makes money. The moneyspell. The wizard promises Dink that when he brings back the spell, the wizard will give him "half off" the money, which is a funny typo and a funny promise. Does the spell produce a specific amount of money, then? Half of what, exactly?

You're warped to a huge, empty, square map. There are four houses, each containing one person, but only one of them is at all relevant - it contains another wizard (he looks the same as the one at the start, which really makes you think he's the same one at first). He'll warp you to another screen where Dink faces a tedious fight against a giant bonca. Winning warps you back, and talking to the wizard again produces the same response as before. When you teleport to the bonca area this time (because you'll get sent there regardless of whether you agree to go or refuse), you're stuck, as there's no longer a bonca to fight. If the wizard script worked correctly, when you got back he'd tell you that the demo was over and the game would end.

Some of the terrible screens here look kind of interesting, in a way.

In a "if you were really here, your brain would be tearing itself apart" kind of way.

There's a variety of bad tile placement that I haven't seen before:

Look at those boncas, stamped all over without a single thought.

I get a weird feeling when I'm wandering through one of these really bad DMODs. It's not exactly the feeling I get when playing a really bad original game. I mean, the basic trappings of Dink Smallwood are here - the engine and the graphics that the original team worked hard on. More than that, as a player of Dink I have a certain emotional attachment to these things. I have a character and a vague outline of a world in my head. When I jump in, I'm ready to fill in certain details that may not exist. But there's a certain moment where it all falls away. I realize that I'm all alone in here, in this desolate thing without a purpose. It's like the bones and some of the skin of a familiar thing have been stood up. From far away, I might think that I recognize it, but as I get closer, the unease becomes deeper. Without that spark of wit or creativity that makes me feel a human connection, it is like a dead thing masquerading as alive.

"Moneyspell" is bad. Don't play it.

094: The Rings of Destiny (Demo) Author: Micheal Tolland Release Date: March 12, 2001

If I were to judge this mod by its intro, I'd be fairly impressed. The introduction cutscene is surprisingly long and features some neat graphic effects.

To the what? To the towing company? I understand, those fees for dragon-towing are STEEP.

You can't tell from the screenshot (which I admit I picked to show the unfortunate clipping of the text), but the water is scrolling underneath the dragon in a fairly convincing simulation of movement - an effect I'm not sure I've seen in a DMOD, and certainly haven't seen much. There are also some new graphics like this MS Paint black blob that expands and moves to swallow up the foolish wizards who summoned it to this plane. I was entertained.

What a way to go - killed by the ellipse tool.

Once the actual mod starts, however, it's a bit disappointing. I mean, the first segment works well enough, apart from some nasty tiling.

"Sure, that looks fine. Let's go with that."

There's a rather unresponsive little village that wants you to kill a "monster," which turns out to be a rather tedious fight with a giant bonca (tedious because you can't do more than 1 damage with your punch). After you do this, there's a cutscene with Dink leaving the village. It's set up fairly well, but it fizzles due to poor use of text.

I'm not just nitpicking or being pedantic when I complain about a mod's use of language - it really takes me out of the story. A couple of the characters here say things that might have been somewhat interesting, but because there was no punctuation and hardly any capitalization, I can't even remember the story at all. It's impossible to take seriously.

Anyway, after the cutscene, you come to a section mapped rather oddly with dull ground and rocks all over the place. There's a man in a bar there who has you do a few chores for him, but on one of them, I found myself unable to continue.

Most of the screens look just like this.

First, I should note that I ran into a major bug on my first run through this mod where the game stopped updating my stats. I couldn't take damage, gain experience, gain stats, or anything like that. I ended up restarting. When I got back to the area in question, I found that the next part features many screens full of slimes that took me down to 1 HP in one hit (and obviously killed me with a second). One of these screens would, for some reason, teleport you right into a rock any time you entered it, regardless of your entry point. The only lead I could find was a screen with a guy shouting for help. It seemed unreasonable, but nonetheless, after a few tries I managed to kill all the slimes without getting hit twice - nothing happens. I gave up at this point. I couldn't find any evidence in the scripts of a real ending, but maybe I just missed it.

I'm kind of tempted to say there was potential with this one, but it's so messed up that realizing that potential would take so much effort you might as well start from the intro again.

095: DWTD (Demo) Author: Hyper B Release Date: March 12, 2001

2001: Year of the Demo. I swear.

This demo doesn't feature a new title screen. It has a splash screen:

...but as it only shows during the loading of the title screen, on today's computers you hardly have time to see it. This does result in an unusual effect if you try restarting.

Thought you could escape from Hell just by going back to the title screen? Think again.

I wonder what that title stands for. Down with the Dink? Dink Wets Trousers Day? Don't Wake the Dalmatians? Damnation Was Tiresome, Dude? Given the content, I think the last one is completely spot on, and I am declaring it the official title.

This... thing begins with an odd little scene in which Dink is just taking a walk (you're told this twice) when he gets sent to Hell for... some... reason. I dunno. It's sort of explained that Dink was sent by mistake instead of some evil guy, but if you ask me, Dink has done plenty to earn it. The explosion that sends him there is silent, and there's no music. In fact, there isn't even a sound folder included with the DMOD. The effect is kind of eerie.

On second thought, maybe "Dink Wets Trousers Day" was the real title after all.

Hell is a superlatively strange place. It mostly consists of a series of small areas where not a lot happens, and then Dink is sent to the next one by way of silent explosion. To be honest, I kind of liked it. There's something I find appealing about a DMOD that's just a series of single rooms. I've seen it a few times, but none of the mods in question have been especially high quality, including this one... I wonder if anything exists to really show the potential in this concept?

One thing worth noting is that there's only one savebot in this mod, and it's in Dink's backpack. I don't doubt Dink would do this if he could fit one in there.

At first, Hell just seems boring, and Dink is helpless. In one area, you wander around the same four empty screens until the game decides you've done it for long enough; in another, you do the same on just one screen. I... could see this as a kind of damnation. Actually, I love a change of pace, so it did entertain me somewhat.

This is the question Dink will be asked on Judgment Day.

Dink offers up bemused comments in slightly broken English as you encounter several things, like a tough fight against a non-casting dragon, old acquaintances, and nonsensical riddles.

I don't even remember the answer.

At the end, you have to fight a lot of monsters in order to get to level 4 (this was tightly controlled - you must kill every monster their is to get exactly enough experience). Instead of opening the next area, however, this reveals the end of the demo. However, the knight who blocks you off actually invites you to cheat to get past him and fight a dragon! I did, and cheated again to beat the dragon, but aside from the dragon turning into a girl for some reason, there's nothing else.

I might have enjoyed this sort of silliness going on for a while longer. Ah well, it's not a huge loss. After all, Damnation Was Tiresome, Dude. But poor Dink, he really is stuck in Hell forever instead of Random Evil Guy. It goes to show, kids: virtue is for chumps.

PART THREE: Wherein I nearly give up


096: Milderr!! 2: The Adventure in Finland Author: Sharp Release Date: March 21, 2001

As promised, Milder FlatStomp travels to Finland, home of the evil Sharp. This is the first time a DMOD has been set in a real-world location, unless you count End of Time's apparent assertion that Windermere is located in Asia. That map is a nice touch.

Finland, Finland, Finland / Finland has it all.

Milderr!! 2 is much better than the original in that it's not so broken you can barely do anything. Indeed, apart from some hardness errors and a LOT of depth que problems, everything seems to work as intended, which is nice. It has the same weird drawbridge building exits, but this time you can't simply walk around them and mess up the game.

Although the game doesn't present this clearly to the player, the gameplay here consists of a series of tiny objectives you have to complete before the way to fight Sharp will reveal itself. Some of these are as simple as talking to a person, but they're all independent of one another. It's an interesting format for a small RPG/adventure game, actually, although not much is done with it here, and it's kind of disappointing that there's no way to really know that's what's going on without consulting a walkthrough. Examples of things you have to do include fetching some wine for a person with a drinking problem, helping somebody remember what their name is, perform a funeral, and fetch a "bokkomon" (pokémon) for a kid.

I was surprised by the relatively large amount of content in this DMOD, at least in terms of text. The Finnish cities and regions represented each have several buildings to enter (except Lapland, which seems to have an unfortunate problem with trees growing right in front of doors - I'd heard there was a lot of forest in Finland, but this is ridiculous), and there's almost always someone to talk to inside, even if they don't have too much to say.

Unlike last time, there's some combat here. You'll obtain the fireball spell and use it to fight Sharp. There are some boncas wandering around, and for the Hell of it, I fought enough of them to get to level 4. You can use the gold to purchase this an incredibly helpful (not really) guide to disguise.

Yes, 'don't hang out with your friends' qualifies as a disguise tip.

The biggest problem with "Milderr!! 2" is that in order to shape the map roughly like Finland (very roughly - the country's many large lakes are not represented, which is fine), there's a lot of empty space. There are screens that are completely empty - no sprites, not even a non-grass tile. What's worse, some objectives will require you to trek back and forth across the wide expanse, which is a drag. Another downside is that there are so many long pauses - waits of several seconds are common, as are sprites that stop everything to move at a speed of 1 and come in from way off screen. Many times I thought the game had frozen up, but actually I was just being made to wait ten seconds or more. Also, it's possible to get into a failure state, and I doubt I'd have finished without the walkthrough, as at one point you must talk to a tree without any indication this is so.

Still, I found this one interesting enough that I wouldn't call it a total waste of time. It's not well-made, but there's a savage cynicism to it that is bolder and more shocking than any DMOD so far. Slaves are casually sold without anybody understanding what your problem with this might be.

That isn't Dink, incidentally.

A girl at a bar offers Milder drinks until he falls asleep, and then apparently rapes him.

Honestly, I'm not terribly inclined to crack a joke about this.

You find a man claiming his daughter has psychological problems, and it turns out her problem is that she's a serial murderer. It's bizarre and oddly, kind of witty, although I didn't really laugh out loud. It makes me think that Sharp would be an interesting person to know.

Oh, speaking of Sharp, she escapes. A bunch of other characters join Milder and talk about how they'll have to have another part. They all turn to face the player (well, sorta), and say, "I think that big face is watching us. It looks disappointed." Maybe if I hadn't played the original that'd be true, but as it is, this wasn't so bad.

097: Okaly-D Dink (Demo) Author: Okaly-D Dude Release Date: April 6, 2001

"This game keeps the tradition of all Okaly-D games. It is fun, humurous, and pointless."

I can't find any evidence of other Okaly-D games, let alone a tradition thereof. The only thing that name makes me think of is the way Ned Flanders says "Okaly-Dokaly" on The Simpsons.

It's hard for me to explain, but this DMOD bummed me out. It's the closest I've come to giving up on the whole project so far. "Is it that bad?" you might ask - no, actually, it isn't. In fact, it's probably one of the better releases in 2001 so far (yikes). It just felt, to me, like a wall I couldn't climb.

In a bit similar to a scene from South Park, Dink's relationship with his toys soon sours.

Let me start by giving credit where it's due - I think this DMOD might have the most impressive intro of any so far. I mean, not a lot actually happens in it - Dink plays with dolls and an evil axe collects those ever-present chaos emeralds.

Now that pesky hedgehog won't stand a chance!

Visually, though, it's a smash by DMOD standards. Things MOVE! I don't mean move as in "move_stop()" either, although that's scarce enough (yes, I've been buried in complaints about the lack of movement in the Malachi the Jerk intro). They animate, they look like they're moving. I'm probably overselling it, but for a few brief moments, it looked like a cutscene from a game with proper animated cutscenes.

Anyway, that's your plot - that evil axe wants to take over the world or something. Horrors! Dink must stop having tea parties with his stuffed pals (actually, they were jerks anyway) in order to put a stop to this madness.

There's a lot of silliness going on here, and some of it is quite entertaining. For example, if you ring an unusually specific warning bell, you'll get sent to jail - but all you have to do to escape is punch the 'bars' (pillars) in front of you. Although the guard is standing nearby, he only offers up an unenthusiastic, "Don't do that." If you talk to him, he'll say, "Don't run away." I guess it's the honor system.

One wonders about the events that led to the installation of this bell.

Everyone you meet in this DMOD is seriously odd, but not all the jokes worked for me. There's a house with two fabulous guys who are an excuse to make jokes at the expense of fabulous guys. That CAN be funny, but here the joke just seems to be, "ew, fabulouss, they're the worst, let's get away from these deviant queermos." I found it aggressively unfunny and a bit offensive. I mean, their names are "Fudge" and "Pack," to give you an idea.

There was a neat item in this mod, a town portal scroll. It works like the one in Diablo. Using it takes you back to the town square, leaving a portal that can take you back where you just came from, at which point the portal vanishes. The portal back stays in place until you use it, even if you leave the screen, so it's quite nicely executed.

I wouldn't mind seeing a feature like this more often. It's something you'd have to account for in the design, though.

Time to get to the point. This was pointless, and at times humorous (honorable mention: a whorehouse called the "Little House of Whorers," HA), but it sure as hell wasn't any fun. First of all, there's the MIDI. There's just one that plays the entire time, and it sucks. It's an incredibly grating tune with a very short loop, and you CANNOT ESCAPE it. This is the 97th DMOD I have played, and the FIRST time I have resorted to muting the sound. Maybe this sounds like a minor point to you, but it wasn't to me. Playing Dink with the sound off isn't fun. I don't feel like I'm really hitting that pillbug, y'know?

Second, this feels really unfinished. While it is a demo, I think that a demo should feel finished within its boundaries. There are buildings you can't enter, and it really would have been nice to have Dink say "the Door's locked" or something like that. There's also a large area to the south of the map with nothing in it - it's boring, the enemies are too difficult, and it looks poor - maybe more was planned for this area, but I don't think you should have access to it in the demo.

Even for an unfinished section, I don't know how you end up with sand this ugly.

What really drove me crazy was that this mod just doesn't seem designed to be finished by anybody. The goals are quite unclear, and when you finally DO find something to do, the monsters are too tough and there's no way in the universe you could ever afford the weapons. You can find a bow, but you have to buy arrows, and before you can do THAT, you have to buy a quiver for 500 gold! At any rate, when I bought them, it glitched out and gave me a negative number of arrows forever. And even if you can get 400 gold to buy the sword (good luck), the game won't let you. Lord, a mighty swearing did emerge from my throat such as I've never done while playing this game before. I was cussing up a storm. Seriously, y'all.

After trying for over an hour and a half (argh, that is SO much longer than it sounds, particularly with the sound muted), I resorted to utterly shameless cheating. I then found out that even if you manage to get past the impossible BS that made me give up, even greater BS awaits you.

Tell me if this sounds OK to you: There's a room with some enemies and two pillar warps at the opposite side. One takes you back to the start, the other to a room with three pillar warps. Okay, I get it. The correct warp on that screen leads you to a room with FOUR. Ha ha, wow, this is going on longer than I expected. But this HAS to be the last room. Nope, five warp room! Okay, this is seriously trying my patience now, but I've already cheated to get here, so I'll keep at it until I get the right warp. Where does it take me?

Six warp room. And then seven, and then eight. YOU THINK I'M KIDDING? YOU THINK I'M MAKING THIS CRAP UP? FREAKING LOOK AT IT.


This is not an act! This is not a bit! I am genuinely angry about this! There are twenty-eight wrong choices here, and they all take you back to the start of the entire sequence! Why? WHY? I couldn't figure out the sequence after that, either, and I gave up.

I don't feel like being nice. I don't even feel like being fair. You want to know what I think of "Okaly-D Dink?" It can suck my balls. It can get down on its knees and suck them dry. I won't even wash them first. NEXT.

098: Evil Empire (Demo) Author: KillerRoy32 Release Date: April 19, 2001

I have not the words for the way I am feeling right now.
************This DMOD, "Evil Empire,"**************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   ********On this day February 23, 2014********

It wasn't long ago that I declared "Dink 007" the worst DMOD I'd ever played. I discovered in it a class of DMOD below even the likes of Dink Forever, Richard's Attack, and so on. Seeing something worse made me appreciate little things about those very bad DMODs that at least show you there was something there, some intention that the author had neither the talent nor the effort to follow up on. Enthusiasm, maybe? For example, in Dink Forever, the story with the pigs is... at least INTENDED to be mildly amusing. There's something there, even though it isn't much. In Dink 007, there was nothing.

Well, Evil Empire is even worse. It doesn't make 007 look good or anything - we really are at the bottom tier here - but it is marginally worse, and that fact amazes and confuses me. Why would someone upload a thing like this? Why?

There's a pig named Ben that tells Dink he has to go to a town called Endor - if Dink is willing to sit around and wait for the conversation, that is, since freezing is not employed. But the good news is that he has stat ups for Dink, and he'll give them out as many times as Dink wants! This was clearly not intentional, not that it matters. This is really the only thing that ever properly happens. Endor doesn't exist (I guess this is what was meant by "Demo?"), and you can enter what is purportedly a "wierd bar," but it's actually just four empty screens.

The map is the worst I've seen. This is why I say this is even worse than 007 - that DMOD's appallingly bad map did at least have some attempts to set scenes. There's nothing in this one - and a lot of it. Just take a look at the grass screens:

Why? WHY?

...and the shoreline:

It looks even worse in motion.

Nearly all of the screens are the same thing - a mess of grass tiles with random, pointless pillbugs (some of which have no script attached) or a few trees. Those knights instantly become slayers, by the way. And notice, if you will, that the interior screen on which you start is plopped down among the grass screens, so that it's actually possible to walk straight back into it. That one really made my jaw drop open.

This DMOD is really, amazingly, astoundingly horrible. I almost feel like the DFMAOB is too good for it. It's actually kind of funny - there's no level on which it doesn't fail, no trace of competence that may be located, not even the tiniest of clean spots that isn't contaminated with putridity. There's a MIDI, but it only seems to trigger on one out-of-the-way screen. There's apparently supposed to be some unintelligible dialogue in the bar, but the sprites to deliver it were never placed. I was able to further marvel at the depths of incompetence on display here by opening up the DMOD's folder. Here are some highlights:

*All of the scripts from the original Dink Smallwood have been copied into the story folder.
*There's an extra MIDI located in both the main directory and the story directory.
*Some new scripts are included that are completely empty.

I hope that this is the worst DMOD ever, right here. I desperately need this to be the worst DMOD. I don't want to see any that are worse than this. Please, I'm begging you, Dink Network. Let me have this one.

099: Dink Blackwood Author: Piotr Lanting Release Date: May 19, 2001

This feels almost like the template for a Dink Smallwood romp. The pieces are here, and they're assembled correctly, but somebody forgot to paint it in.

The title comes from the name of our protagonist. The description claims that the mod takes place on a different planet, but in the game itself, there's just one reference to the protagonist as "Dink Blackwood." I don't usually read reviews before writing these, but I had so little to say about this one that I gave the reviews a quick browse, and Binirit hit the nail on the head - "Dink has to fix a bridge" would have been a much more accurate title.

Indeed, Dink does have to fix a bridge. This involves finding a short cave and fighting a pretty tough stone giant boss.

I think it's made out of aquamarine.

Once you come back and fix the bridge, the DMOD simply ends, with D.B. prancing merrily back and forth over it like a moron, shouting, "Woohoo the bridge is back!" It's the sort of ending that makes you think you played a demo, but this was intended as a final release.

It's all rather spare. The few characters you encounter say the absolute least they could possibly need to in order to fulfill their role in the simple plot. There are a couple of touches of flair. The cave entrance looks cool:

I really like how this screen is composed.

The spikies inside are dormant until you step on them, which makes you tread carefully, and at last, we see the simple rain effect that redink1 demonstrated back in 1998 used in a proper DMOD, although it doesn't serve any purpose and stops almost immediately (it's too bad; one could build a lot of atmosphere with this simple effect).

It's a little on the abstract side, but it does look better in motion. It was exciting to play the demonstration back in `98.

Apart from some depth que problems, it all works okay. It's competent. The screens are slightly above average. I wouldn't recommend it, although I will say it offers a stiff but totally fair challenge. If you do play it, be sure to save using the escape menu, as there are no savebots to be found.

PART FOUR: Resurrection


100: The Legend of the Duck Authors: Chris McNeely, Ted Shutes Release Date: May 24, 2001


But before I talk about that, let's talk about Legend of the Duck. I had a pretty okay time with it, but as I've discussed before, that has a lot to do with my mood, and my life is sad enough that this feels like an accomplishment.

This is the only DMOD credited to Ted Shutes, but in fact, his work on this is just another bugfixing patch like his patches for 9 gems 2, Friends Beyond 2 and 3, and Birth of an Empire; the only difference here is that the patch has been merged into the main release of the DMOD itself with the author's permission. Aside from map problems (which Ted never did work on), this mod was pretty bug-free in my experience, and we have Ted to thank for that.

"The Legend of the Duck" grabbed me right away. Well, not right away - it had one of the dullest title screens ever, although at least it was classy - but close. The mod is apparently a story Dink tells to some younger cousins, and it opens with Dink... meeting a duck.

And here I thought nothing would ever top meeting the Duck from Friends!

When I saw Dink flip the Hell out over meeting a "Duck of Legend" that's never explained, I knew right away that I would be on board with this story. "Okay, sign me up," I said out loud, because I do things like that. Swear to God.

Dink agrees with me.

You see, this one doesn't have the best maps or gameplay, but with me, personality goes a long, long way. I kept laughing out loud at this game's outrageous personality. Everyone in it is so quick to react enthusiastically (whether in a positive or a negative way) that it just knocks me out.

I can't get over how inexplicably cheerful this comment comes across.

There are some memorable interactions with inanimate objects as well. For example, you start with no inventory until you encounter a "Well of wishes."

Dink: "I wish I had some weapons."
Well: "Use your fists, moron."

I was dying. Later, another well you find is less accommodating.

This former healing well is tired of being taken for granted.

Dink will even sass back at the player. This DMOD got on my good side and stayed there... for a while.

Untrue; it makes this text appear.

Anyway, the titular duck is actually a human who's been changed into a duck and wants help getting back to normal. Dink agrees to go way, way the hell out of his way to help this guy for... some reason. So follows a surprisingly long quest in which Dink mostly goes around asking people for help, and those people mostly tell him they can't help but he should try a certain other person. Almost every time, that person can't help either, but you STILL HAVE TO GO ASK. It's mostly a giant fetch quest where you rarely manage to fetch anything, to be honest with you, although I still found it quite amusing to a point.

That point is the snowy land.

Just using the middle of the road tiles looks pretty odd.

If you play this one, it might not be a bad idea to simply declare yourself the winner when you get there, because nothing satisfying lies ahead of you. The fetch quests get way more time-consuming, and combat finally becomes important, which doesn't end up being a good thing. There's a big tedious samey castle area where you have to undo a series of screenlocks by fighting boncas and slimes (there's a boss, but you don't have to fight him - and you shouldn't, he's absurdly hard anyway) and a bigger, even more tedious cave where you have to get nasty key parts from the insides of boncas, attempt to use them, go back and have them repaired, and yada yada. If you don't do things in the right order, you'll be on a long march back to where you just came from.

When even the DMOD author decides to just let you skip a boss fight with no consequence, you know it's gonna be BS.

This DMOD suffers from an unnecessarily large map. It's not as bad as it might have been because there's always a road to guide you (and you should stick to it, you won't find anything by exploring), but it's still more walking than I would have liked to have done. There's no way it should have taken me two and a half hours to finish this with the amount of content it actually has. Oh man, and I almost forgot - at one point it demands a thousand gold out of you for no good reason. Grinding that up from pillbugs took a while. I managed to finish without cheating, but the whole thing just about ran out of the good will that the silly dialogue had earned from me.

On top of everything, after all of that you come to the most anti-climactic, "screw you" ending yet. Duckman is returned to normal, and he and the magician who made him that way tell Dink they've got no reward for him, he leaves, and they have a good laugh at his expense.

I do enjoy trolling the player, but it's possible to go too far.

At this point, the DMOD seems to conveniently forget about its framing device. My guesses are 1) that Dink is taking out his frustration about this experience out on his cousins by telling them a lame story with a crappy resolution, and 2) that for this, they will later strangle him in his sleep.

Even so, I think this is underrated. I'd give it a seven. Wait a minute, did I accidentally write a review?


Where was I? Right.


Hard to believe it's already been over six months since I started doing this. In that time, things have picked up quite a bit around here. It had been several months since the last DMOD release back in August, but now we've had two in the same month, and more seem to be on the way this year. Redink1 even came out of hiding. I don't want to presume I had something to do with this, but I did at least make one of those DMODs.

I decided to make a DMOD while I was working on this, and although at times it felt like the development of "Malachi the Jerk" was going to go on forever, those four months now seem like a blip in comparison to the scope of this project. I've still got a long way to go. Two hundred DMODs will put us in late 2004; Three hundred will take us all the way to late 2009. That's a lot, and it's true that they mostly try to do the same thing. It's easy for my grip on this to shift. At times, it can be hard to believe that I'm spending my time hitting yet more pillbugs, that I'm looking at these same tiles yet again, and the pendulum of my judgment can swing in a rather harsh direction. Still, I enjoy it. It means something to me.

I've never had a lot of purpose to my life. To be honest with all of you, I'm here on the Dink Network to chase ghosts. When I was 12, I thought - for the final time in my life - that I was great, that I could do anything. Soon, I felt I'd brought shame on myself by making crap like "2001: A Dink Oddysey." It sounds dumb because it is, but every time I thought about Dink Smallwood, I thought mainly about how much I regretted being regarded the worst in the world at something instead of remembering the good times that I had. At this point, that reputation seems to exist only in my own head, which won't let it go. But then, that's what I'm like.

In 2009, I tried to kill myself. I'm still alive because the garage I attempted to fill with carbon monoxide had a tiny, hidden window that I never found until just a few months ago. I couldn't handle all of the pressure that I felt, pressure that I'd mostly manufactured. Since then, I admit that I've been drifting, floating through life, although I remain fixed in one spot in reality. I've never been good at finding a purpose. Call it pathetic if you want, but I am glad whenever I can feel useful. If my words have entertained or educated, I'm glad. I try hard to write well. As similar as going through so many DMODs can seem, I try to put a slightly different spin on each writeup so that I'm not just writing the same thing over and over. I feel like I owe it to you, my readers, and also to the DMODs themselves.

All those DMODs. Each is a piece of someone I've never met. The best moments are those when I feel I have connected with another human being through their work. The worst DMODs are those where I can't feel anything like that. Although I appreciate those mods that go out of their way to do something very different, the inherent similarity of the great majority of them produces an interesting effect. Like a control group in a scientific experiment, the things that stay the same make the things that change more relevant; they give a little window into the person who left them there. Not one of us will last forever. A few of the authors of these DMODs are already gone, but when I play them I feel like they're here with me, telling me jokes, challenging me.

101: Back from the Grave (Demo) Authors: Stephen "Sphinx" Morton, Striker Release Date: May 28, 2001

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

For the first time, for a reason other than player error, Dink DIES. Oh well; at a hundred DMODs, he had a good run.

And that's the case for the Dink in this DMOD, too. We've dealt with a lot of different Dink continuities, but the intro to this one implies that Dink has done almost all the stuff I've gone over here so far. He laments to his pig, Oinker that he feels like he's done it all already. I can see where he's coming from; I feel the same way at times when playing DMODs. On the strength of its kickass premise and witty, observant dialogue, however, this DMOD never had me feeling that way.

So close to Oinky! Did you guys do this on purpose? Probably not.

Back from the Grave was made by Sphinx and Striker.

Sphinx suffered from a nasty skin condition known as JPEG disease.

Oh, is it "The" Striker? I'll have to remember to address him that way on the forum.

According to the readme, Sphinx is responsible for the concept, some early mapping and some graphics, and Striker did nearly everything else.

I loved this DMOD. The writing is just the best I've seen. I laughed more times than I'd care to count. The gameplay and sense of humor both reminded me of adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island, and I was going to say that even before I saw a reference to that in the game.

PROTIP: Don't try to just walk through this pillbug.

Yes, the focus here is strongly on puzzles, and for the most part, this worked rather well. The puzzles actually make you think and are amusingly odd. There was just one puzzle that was too obscure for me, and I had to find the answer on the forum. It involved a fireplace.

Where Dink's standard action RPG gameplay was relevant, though, it tended to be really hard and unforgiving. You will jealously guard your life points in this mod, and it's easy to lose quite a bit of progress if you're not careful (for one thing, as the Help text in the escape menu that nobody reads will tell you, don't hit the savebots - you can kill them).

It wasn't the gameplay that was really special, though, it was the writing and the presentation. There are boatloads of text here, and I assure you it's worth reading it all, whatever warnings the game itself might give you. I was impressed by a solid sense that a story was being told at all times.

As for presentation, this game just does cool things with the graphics, both new and old. The inventory screen is a bit odd, but cool.

Help, I'm trapped in this inventory screen, and even my weird-looking muscles can't save me!

Dink's magical zombie body cracks me up. A combination of new and old graphics are used to create really fresh effects throughout the DMOD that made me stop for a moment and admire them.

Even something as simple as a set of stairs made from the shelf sprite really made me take notice:

Well put, undead Dink.

I thought I'd seen it all at this point, but here's a good example of how you can really push the envelope and create new and interesting views that help make your world a memorable one (this, of course, is the sort of thing I'm utterly rotten at).

Walking through the plot seems like the wrong approach when talking about this DMOD. If you're curious, Dink returns to what remains of Mystery Island, where he's killed.

Owww, right in the foot! Still doesn't seem like it'd be fatal, but what do I know?

He's brought back to life (sort of) and has to quash a nasty goblin rebellion. There, you're caught up. To me, this was more about the many great moments that made things so enjoyable. Like how you could try to walk the wrong way over and over early on, and keep getting new responses.

I can be both!

Or the cool factor of having a Mystery Island type robot walk around and fight with you. Honestly, so many of the screenshots I took just seem to stand well on their own. Even out of context, I can't get enough of this:

Many a DMOD author has failed to realize this exact point.

Or this:

Note that the power is immense, not the stick.

Or this:

I ought to just remember this one and put it into all kinds of DMOD reviews.

or this.

My skin too, but, y'know, priorities. EXP doesn't grow on trees!

It just felt so perfect to me. The courtroom scene:

Uh... that is... hm.

and its aftermath.

To be fair, she was a pretty crappy lawyer.

The in-jokes.

That old death-faking rascal.

It's too bad, then, that I didn't manage to win without cheating. I know, I know, I'm getting absolutely awful about this, but screw you, the boss is TOO DAMN HARD. You have to fight three waves of goblins (a certain character is supposed to help you, but their attacks don't actually work) and then a boss goblin that throws clubs at you with no healing and no ranged attack of your own. After my first abject failure, I went back and found a couple of powerups I'd missed, and I even went through the agonizing process of grinding to level 5 on the wimpy experience given out in this demo, and it didn't help. Four long, legitimate attempts later, I rendered my verdict. Too hard.

But it doesn't really matter. It's not about the ending (which tells us, with refreshing honesty, that this is unlikely to ever be finished). This was a blast, and if you haven't played it yet, you should go do so.

102: The Hunt (WIP) Author: Thom C. Vedder Release Date: June 7, 2001

Oh man, it's this guy! I didn't expect to hear from the author of "Pointless" and "Scar of David 2" again. Actually, I quite liked Pointless. That one's still worth a download.

The readme tells us that this DMOD is an experiment and proclaims, "There is no overused plot, not washed up dialog and no attempt to create a game just because I like to tell really stupid stories. This game is meant to play, and play it you shall."

Well, you've got that right, Thom. Play it I did, but there wasn't a lot of point to doing so.

"The Hunt" is a test for a system wherein Dink receives "credits" each time he kills a monster. This is in addition to the regular experience points. You can use credits to raise your stats or to buy weapons or the fireball spell. It's also possible to trade 1000 gold for 100 exp (what a ripoff!).

I suppose this system could be implemented into a DMOD to give it a different feel where grinding is very important and you have clear targets to grind towards. Here, there's no point at all. There's absolutely nothing to do or accomplish, and I think that in the few words I've written above, I've already given you as good an idea of how the system works as you'd get from playing it (or showing you screenshots). There is no reason to download this at all.



103: The Spy Number 13 Author: Scratcher Release Date: June 21, 2001


This one came up when I was doing my 2002 topic! Just what I needed. And wouldn't you know it, I originally reviewed it on its thirteenth anniversary, too. Happy Birthday, "Spy Number 13."

This DMOD by Scratcher was until recently a lost DMOD, but since an updated version was released just a few days ago, I gave it a go. And you know, it wasn't bad. I found it to be a fairly entertaining romp.

Mission accomplished!

This DMOD stars a goblin secret agent sent to infiltrate the headquarters of the Humans Plotting Detachment Against Goblins, which is a terrible name. It reads like the kind of name that is stretched really, ridiculously far for the sake of a cute acronym, but it doesn't spell anything. All the more reason to infiltrate them and ruin their plans, I suppose.

Mind you, HPDAG isn't even the worst name in this DMOD.

In order to avoid getting caught, I spent nearly all of the DMOD wearing a suit of armor. This was, for the most part, enough to prevent the soldiers from suspecting my true identity, and frankly, I can't blame them. How does that goblin fit into that suit of armor? This must be some kind of goblin magic of which I was previously unaware. The armor also gives you plus 5 defense, so you'll obviously want to wear it even when the jig is up.

Apparently "You died" isn't good enough. This DMOD wants you to know that your failure is complete in every sense.

The focus here seems to be on challenge, and I must admit that I saw the screen above quite a few times. On the other hand, I never really found myself saying, "bull****, this is completely impossible," which is a position I've found myself in quite a few times in DMODs. It helps that I found nearly all of the secrets (hint: hit walls). One particularly dirty trick this DMOD pulls is that all of the savebots are invisible. They do hum in the new version, however, and they'll briefly turn visible if you hit them.

Don't blink, or you'll miss the rare and elusive savebot.

The toughest part comes when you're confronted by several knights who have figured out who you are. Some of them move very quickly and they all hit very hard. They won't ever target each other, so it's tricky to run laps around them and get them to wipe each other out. Even after that, you'll still have one strong knight to fight. The knight's hardbox is quite different from Dink's, and as I played this DMOD, I got used to a different way of fighting. Whereas horizontal fighting is better for Dink, when playing as the armored knights, you're better off aligning yourself vertically with your opponent and striking when there's still lots of space between you. If you're good, you'll hit before they get close enough to hit you back. Anyway, this scene is very strange. After you defeat the knights, your cover goes back to working perfectly for the rest of the DMOD. One of the knights even escapes the screen whatever you do - he really doesn't warn the others? It's definitely best not to think about anything in this one.

The final boss is Dink Smallwood. It's a long fight that gets a bit dull, especially since the MIDI cuts out a couple of minutes in. It took me six tries to finally beat down the pig farmer, but the most evil part of the DMOD was still ahead: a timed alarm.

shut up shut up shut up get out of the way

It is just barely possible to get back to the entrance before your thirty seconds expire. When I pulled it off on my second try, I hit the warp just as the failure message was triggered. This was pretty infuriating, especially since, like so many other things here, it doesn't make any sense for Dink's death to somehow trigger an alarm... but not immediately. HPDAG had it coming for being so very, very dumb.

This is what you get if you don't make it in time. See how close I was? The line between meaningful and meaningless is slim indeed.


On June 28, 2001, I finally admitted to myself that I was never going to finish Crossroads, and I made the mistake of emailing the "Crossroads mess" to redink1 rather than leaving the trailer well enough alone. I happen to have some of the text from the email here.

"Oinky II turned out to be a 200 year old pig named Merlin who belonged to a powerful wizard who lives in a dimension where time does not exist. Zink and the dream wizard return for a boss battle."

Wow. Is my pig a wizard? Is my wizard a pig? I don't remember this at all. I think that Malachi the Jerk is clearly a better DMOD than Crossroads was ever going to be, so I guess things worked out OK.


104: Dink vs Zagor (Demo) Authors: Chris and Jim Arapidis Release Date: June 30, 2001

Dink knows the score. Yes, this is another DMOD. Another DMOD in which Dink is sent on a mission by a King (it's apparently King Daniel's brother, but I'm pretty sure even that or something like it has been done before). Another DMOD featuring an evil wizard. Another DMOD in which Dink must fight goblins. Boy, is this ever another DMOD.

...Nah, I'm not touching this one.

In other words, there isn't a lot to make this one stand out. I will say that, considering that the description calls it a "short, really short demo," it's surprisingly substantial. It took me forty minutes, and I attained the rarely-seen level 6. The maps are decent, even quite good in spots:

Pretty, but it must be a pain to keep up.

...until you notice the many depth dot errors.

Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner...

It wasn't a bad DMOD, but if you've played DMODs you've seen it all before.

One thing that kind of interested me was the challenge. The early game is filled with enemies you aren't well-equipped to challenge. You've got to be careful while finding powerups and leveling up. It was tough and kind of fun for a little while. I liked how there were lots of powerups to find, but for once, it felt balancing rather than unbalancing.

Some other things held this one back in addition to how "samey" it was, though. The spelling was pretty bad, and many buildings had doors you simply couldn't enter. There's at least one part with an invisible (edge of screen) wall. Overall, it just wasn't that interesting.

And then there's the boss, Trog the goblin. He's so fast, strong and tough that I am convinced he's not supposed to be beaten normally (although if that's the case, locking the player in with screenlock was a bad idea). Even filling my inventory with elixirs didn't help. You can find a throwing axe, but due to Trog's defense, he's invulnerable to that attack. The only shot you have at beating him is if he gets stuck on the edge of the screen, which he's prone to do. I found, however, that you don't have to fight him at all. Thanks to the invisible wall I mentioned earlier, you can glitch right past the hardness blocking off the section after him and move on to the final section of the DMOD.

Really, this one wasn't bad, but it left so little of an impression on me that it's already fading from my mind. At least the core gameplay was solid. You don't encounter a lot of DMODs that put you up against such a stiff challenge without feeling unreasonable.

105: The Other World - Nature BattleFields (Trailer) Author: Chen-kuang Su (Mimifish) Release Date: August 29, 2001

"It became colder and colder..."

I had the release date wrong on this one when I set up my DMOD list; July 2, 2002 was when an updated version was released fixing a small bug. The release date here is stated in the readme file that comes with the DMOD.

"The Other World" is an ambitious project that never came to fruition. Mimifish says that, as of the original release of this trailer, quite a bit of progress had been made: "...the DMOD (main game) has already had more than 100 map screens. Almost every screen is very different and detailed. More than 50 scripts were finished. There have been more than 250 new graphics files already." The plan seems to have been for a DMOD on the scale of FIAT. All that's left for us to see is this trailer, which apparently lasts ten minutes if you lay off of the talk button, which I didn't.

The beginning of this trailer does some impressive work setting an ominous mood.

This looks really cool ingame.

Photographs of thunderstorms are worked into the scene in a surprisingly effective way, and there's a snow effect that is the best weather effect in a DMOD up to this point.

Another scene that looks good in motion. Considerable effort was obviously put into this effect.

It seems that Dink's world has been suddenly plunged into a new ice age. The King sends for Dink, and why wouldn't he? I mean, look at those stats.

As a comment in one of the scripts asks, is the mod THAT easy, or are the enemies THAT hard? We'll never know.

Also of note are these neat path-through-snow tiles. Mimifish has said that anyone is free to use their work, so these could be handy for the non-artistically-inclined author working on a winter setting.

These tiles would have avoided the awkward look of the snow area in "The Legend of the Duck."

The title comes into play when Dink learns that the ice and snow is caused by an imbalance between his universe and a parallel universe. He is to be sent into the other universe, but there is no guarantee that going there will help anything, or, for that matter, that he'll be able to come back. The situation is so bleak that they try it anyway. Now that's a setup! I'm interested! ...and the trailer ends.

Ahh! Destroy the evil chinchilla!

I've talked before about how easy it is for this sort of project to peter out. It's something to think about when you play a big, ambitious DMOD that actually was finished - it's worth remembering that it could have been one of these.

106: Revenge of the Ducks 3: Enter the Smallwood Author: Jan Willem Veenhof Release Date: September 16, 2001

Ducks, ducks, ducks. You could say that their very inclusion in the original game was enough to guarantee they'd be the focus of many DMODs, but there's more to it than that. A 2002 experiment found that, worldwide, ducks were considered to be the funniest animal. What is it about ducks? Is it the way they waddle? Is it that quacking sound? In Dink's world, it's probably the fact that you can punch their head clean off.

In the conclusion of the oddly named "Revenge of the Ducks" trilogy (oddly named because it looks like the revenge of just one duck to me), Ronan the Duck and Billy the Bonca finally meet Dink Smallwood, something I'd been anticipating since the original (heck, I thought the "revenge" was going to be for Dink's duck-killing ways back in Windermere). Not much really happens, though.

I have to be blunt here - this DMOD is seriously overrated. RotD 2 was much better, and it isn't like I loved that one. I don't think it's terrible, but it just comes off as mediocre and lazy. You walk through maps so sparse that it feels fair even for me to say so (which is saying a lot), killing pillbugs. That is all you do. It took me about twenty minutes, but that's because I chose to hang around beating up pillbugs for some reason. You could easily do it in under five. Treelines are ended poorly with standard tree sprites that you can burn down, thus going where you aren't supposed to. I found at least one screen that locks and then won't unlock. There's a goblin who seems like he's supposed to be a boss, but since the screen doesn't lock, there's no need to fight him, which doesn't make any sense in the context of the story.

There's still the annoying thing where you pause when you shoot a fireball, but I came to a bit of a new perspective on that. You could argue that magic in Dink is broken in the first place. When you're having trouble with a fight, the best thing to do is always to abandon the hit and run tactic and hang back and shoot fireballs. If you're patient, you'll win, unless you're unlucky enough to be fighting an enemy that casts, shoots, or is extremely fast. With this little handicap, shooting fireballs becomes kind of dangerous, and getting a shot off without getting hit requires more precision. Maybe JVeenhof was actually balancing out the game.

While Dink is not the subject of their revenge (some guy named Xanatos is the big bad in this series), Ronan and Billy are still massive jerks to him, which is kind of funny, I guess.

Actually, I doubt any self-respecting fabulous person would dress anything like Dink.

They end up working together to destroy a common foe, which is nice, although it's kind of lame you don't get to fight an actual end boss.

Fatso here is brutally murdered by some text, though.

Playing as a Duck riding a bonca was still a tremendous idea, but RotD 2 did it better. This one had less structure, less of a plot, and is easily skippable.

107: Secret of Parizaya Author: Christiaan Janssen Release Date: September 21, 2001

I couldn't nail down the release date of this one. September is all I'm sure of.

Christiaan is a well-known member of the Dink community. I think I used one of the MIDIs he composed in a minor spot in "Malachi the Jerk." This was his first DMOD.

This is the most over-the-top title screen in the history of Dink. The lens flare isn't even the least subtle element.

Secret of Parizaya (Check out that crazy title screen!) is the second lowest-rated epic on TDN. The gap between it and the third-lowest is considerable. The rating is currently 6.8/10. This includes a review by the author, which always kind of bugs me. I did the math, though, and the rating would be 6.7 without his review, so I guess it isn't a big deal.

First of all, this isn't an epic. That isn't a value judgment, it's just a measure of length. "Malachi the Jerk" is definitely a longer DMOD than this one despite having fewer screens. "Parizaya" hits the 768 maximum by including quite a few pointless empty screens that are never used, by the way. In the original game those kind of screens were there to make the in-game map look better, but when you press M in this DMOD, you get this:

Somebody has spilled various sauces all over this memo.

Early on, I was planning to make a mild defense of "Parizaya." Parts of it can be quite fun. The maps, while LOOKING rather odd, at least do so in an original way.

I'm not totally sure what's going on here, but at least it doesn't look like every other Dink screen ever.

The overall layout works pretty well and reminds me of the Legend of Zelda series. A few spots even look memorable in a good way.

I like this screen; it's visually interesting.

There were some nice stylistic elements, like text announcing the parts of the story or the name of the town you were entering. Ultimately, however, my patience ran out as the problems I ran into piled up.

I'm not sure I should bother talking about the story. You're a not-Dink from the far future, and your Uncle Skull Rage (I bet the family never expected him to become evil) has kidnapped your parents. It makes zero sense and isn't even terribly coherent. I tuned it out for the most part.

This is really all you need to know.

There's this awful sound that comes out of your speakers throughout this DMOD for absolutely no reason at all. It starts at a low rumble, and proceeds into a mix between a monster roaring and something throwing up. It made me want to cry.

There are some pretty terrible-looking screens and a number of bugs to contend with. There was a screen that always caused the game to fade down and never fade back up. There were flame boncas like the ones previously seen in Birth of an Empire, but they lacked special frames and couldn't hit you. Worst of all, the second-to-last boss simply doesn't work and leaves you trapped. Most of the bugs are not major, but they add up and get quite irritating.

An example of a terrible-looking screen. I'm not sure what Christiaan was trying to do, here.

The biggest problem is the weird difficulty spikes you run into. When you mix them with the scarcity of save points, it forms a potent and aggressive herbicide that targets the promising shoots of fun and wipes them right out. I couldn't beat the final boss. It has 500 HP and 25 defense. Sure, there's a comparable boss in "Malachi the Jerk," but that mod had the flame bow and automatic bow lore. Here, you can't get bow lore at all, and I really can't imagine how I was supposed to deal damage to the boss at all.

I'd say that with quite a bit more polish - minor things, really, like more care in enemy placement and balance and fixing a number of bugs - this could be a really solid DMOD. Not a great one, but really solid for sure. As it is, an experience that started out as fun became overwhelmed for me by frustration.

That was kind of short, so please enjoy a 2001-era GameFAQs review of this DMOD. Please note that number scores and opinions from 2001 GameFAQs do not necessarily apply to current reality.

"Pretty dumb overall, but contains certian good features that make it enjoyable... for a while"

A review of "Secret of Parizaya" by SSJ_Psycho_Vegeta
Posted 9/28/01

This game is you being a guy from a thousand years in the future. But, it is kind of confusing, because the guy that you are looks exactly, like Dink smallwood. That was a very bad feature, but there are soem features that are kind of good, like gameplay. Other features, like sound, were bad. Overall, it is a middle of the line kind of game, neither good or bad.

Graphics: 7

The Graphics were okay, when you consider that, Dink Smallwood is four years old, so how good can the graphics be? Even still, all of the colors were colored in nicley, which made it more enjoyable, to look at. However I don't think, that graphics like these, could ever deserve more than seven points.

Gameplay: 6

I know that I said, that, the gameplay was good. And for a while, it was. But twords the end of the game, it got so hard, to play, that it was almost impossible. It was hard, when you get to the last levles it was really hard. I did appreciate how the gameplay required a lot of stragity to win, which is why, the score is still six even thogh the end, was almost impossbile.

Sound: 4

Not all of the sound, was bad. There was music from Final Fantasy VII, which is obviously the best music. Some of the other music, was good also. But some of the sound, WAS SO BAD, that it made me want to stab my ears off. IT WAS SO SO BAD. There was this sound that would not shut up, for the whole game, and in one part there was this person who said, Hi, it's me, some dumb name, over and over and wouldnt stop, ever. The sound was a poor feature, in this particular game.

Buy/Rent: Neither

One good thing, I can say about this game, is that you do not have to buy it or rent it. Just download it, and you can play it for FREE. Even Dink Smallwood, which used to cost $20, is free now. So in the end, you really do not lose much, to try it, except spending a lot of time if you still have 56k.

Overall: 6

This is a middle of the road game. You could play better games, and you could play worse. This is a game, that could go either way, with people, but its still free, so you should, download it, and try and see, if you like it or not.

Thanks, SSJ_Psycho_Vegeta. It sure is a good thing that all of your reviews from thirteen years ago are committed to the Web for all people to see forever.

108: Doomsday Author: Kbot man Release Date: December 2, 2001

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is one of the very select group to have a rating below 1.0 (0.4) on The Dink Network.

So, Kbot man. Quite a name you've got there. What have you got to say for yourself?

"You're a ghost. So simple. So boring."

Accuracy! Let's give him a hand, everybody.

*************This DMOD, "Doomsday,"****************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
   *********On this day April 11, 2014**********

"Doomsday" is an insanely underwhelming effort. For some reason, it won't show up in DFArc at all. I could only get it to run by typing "dink -game doomsday" at the command prompt. Tragically, this approach broke my screenshot-taking solution. It's too bad, because there are genuinely interesting sights in this one. Really!

Let me start with what isn't here.

1. Scripts. The STORY folder is empty - that's right, this DMOD does not employ a single script. Furthermore, no sprite has one of the original game's scripts attached to it either.

2. Hardness. Not a single sprite or tile has hardness of any kind. The only thing that may impede the ghostly Dink are the edges of existence itself. This also means that there are no warps.

3. The status bar. Status is never drawn in this DMOD. I'd have used the chance to noclip everything over the rest of the screen and make larger, more involved scenes, but haha, that would take effort!

There also aren't any new MIDIs, but there've been plenty of DMODs with none at all, and this does at least employ two from the original game.

Those things are so basic. I never thought I'd see something released as a DMOD that lacks all of them. Oh, the release is labeled as a "Beta," but I know bullshit when I see it. This isn't so much a beta as an afternoon spent messing around in DinkEdit and then released for the Hell of it.

What we do have is an awful lot of screens with the default awful grass tiling and, in some cases, a few other types of poorly-done tiles. Upon some of the screens (less than half) have been placed a variety of sprites, many of them animated using brain 6. Naturally, you are unable to interact with any of them in any way.

It isn't the worst DMOD ever. I wouldn't put it higher than third place in that category. There was something almost effective about it.

Unlike the "Beta" nonsense, I actually buy the "ghost" premise as more than an excuse for how little work has been done here. Between downloading the mod and playing it, I'd forgotten Kbot man's statement, but within a minute of loading the DMOD, I felt like a ghost. And I have to tell you, It felt terrible. An endless futile longing. Complete impotence, without any ability to influence or accomplish anything. I am not kidding when I say that this DMOD is an existential nightmare. As somber music plays, Dink's spirit wanders hopelessly among grim tableaux. Corpses, destruction and fire abound in bizarre and nonsensical scenes. And you - you can't even die. Why would you have a status bar? It's no good to you.

Maybe you've heard of the movie The Room. It's become famous for being hilariously ineptly made. People have turned it into a cult comedy favorite based purely on how nonsensically terrible it is. A few years ago, I watched it, and I saw it differently than everyone else. It's awful, yes, but every so-called "review" I've seen, despite going over the movie in exhaustive detail, completely misses the point of the movie, treating it as a collection of plotless scenes.

In contrast, when I watched The Room I was chilled to the bone by one of the most excruciating stories of human cruelty I've ever seen. Tommy Wiseau actually had one hell of an idea - if only someone competent could have executed it. Even as messed up as it is, it's still a powerfully stomach-turning story - I can't imagine what it would be like if actually done well. The Room was a story of an unstable sociopath manipulating the men in her life using joyless, empty sex, and some of the elements for a great story were definitely in place, buried under a mountain of incompetent filmmaking. (I wrote more about that movie here.)

"Doomsday" isn't much like The Room - for one thing, there's a lot less effort put into it. But both works remind me that sometimes, a powerful idea can be seen in the very worst work out there. Dink's ghost wandering in a world where he can never accomplish anything is such a good idea that it resonated with me even in this absolute abortion of a DMOD.

109: True of Life Author: Timo Jyrisoo Release Date: December 2, 2001

True of Life is a very short DMOD remarkable only for springing dragons on you that will instantly kill you and for having you fight Seth when beating him is completely impossible without cheating. If you did enough grinding (waiting for the same enemies to respawn), there's a flame bow you can buy for 2000 gold, but you still wouldn't be tough enough to survive Seth's magic attacks. At least, that's what I thought the first time I played. There's actually a trove of power-ups to find that makes winning possible.

Tough Luck? Time Lord? Total Loser?

Incidentally, the title screen instructs you to "save Fred." This doesn't go so well.

The only way he'll be saved is by preserving him in formaldehyde.

I would like to draw your attention instead to the pants-ruiningly hilarious dialogue. Ol' Timo was 12 years old and Estonian, so I don't really blame him for mangling English, but the results are magic. They really are.

I don't see anything wrong with filling up the rest of this writeup with dialogue from the mod. Remember to shout everything as you read it out loud, because exclamation points are many and periods nonexistent. Everything here is copied verbatim. You may find that lazy, but I wanted you all to read this stuff without having to play a boring, impossible DMOD.

Asking an enthusiastic local for directions:

Dink: Hey! My name is Dink Smallwood! Do you have saw Fred?
James: My name is James Eastwood!
Fred went that house!

Hitting him up for cash:

Dink: Do you have money?
James: No!
But go that house and then go east there is money!

At this point I was nearly crying from laughter.

Encountering Fred:

Dink: Can you hear me?
Fred: ..Dink!
Dink: What happent?
Fred: ..Ss..
Dink: Who?
Fred: ..Ss..

Me: Ooh, a lady?


Me: Shetland pony?
Actually, this turns out to be the worst attempt to say "Seth" ever.

Asking Fred "are you death:"

Dink: Are you death?
Dink: Good!
Fred: ..but!...
Dink: What?
Fred: ..nothing..!

This exchange is so amazing. I can't begin to imagine the thought process behind it. Did Fred just fake Dink out while dying in a pool of his own blood? Did that just happen? Sweet Fred... your burns were too sick for this world.

Asking Fred "who kill him:"

Dink: Who sseett?
Fred: ..Look...out..Dink...he goming...
Dink: Okay!

(Seth appears)

Fred: OU NO! IT'S HIM!
Dink: What Seth!
Seth: Yes I am seth!

The rest isn't terribly interesting - mostly swearing - but I have to admit I wondered if Seth had played this one and hoped against reason that he had.

And now, some Dos and Don'ts for "True of Life."

DON'T: Play "True of Life."
DO: Record a dramatic reading of the dialogue from "True of Life" and put it on the Internet.

As the ending reminds us, "YOU ARE HERO!"

110: Dinky Dimensions 1: FIAT Author: Dan Walma Release Date: December 11, 2001

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is one of the select group to have a rating of 9.0 or better (9.2) on The Dink Network.

I think that this one might not mean the same thing to a lot of you as it does to me.

I mean, you might really like "FIAT," or maybe you don't like it so much, but I remember it mostly as something that was "coming soon" for what felt like forever.

"FIAT" is a prequel to the 1999 mod "End of Time" (the continuity of the "Dinky Dimensions" series, also known as the "Cast Awakening" series, among other names, is a can of worms I'll open in another writeup), and had been in development for over two years. I was an enthusiastic follower of Dan's DMODs and had played all of them, so I anticipated his planned epic more than anything else. Although I'd been out of the community for nearly a year at this point, I would still lurk occasionally, and "FIAT" was the reason why. When it came out, I had to reinstall Dink Smallwood in order to play it. I played it, had a great time, uninstalled Dink, and didn't touch it again until 2006.

Y'all are probably sick of my soul-searching by now, but I can't think about this one without looking back at what it meant to me, and what it meant was being able to put Dink behind me for good. I had some dark thoughts in my head wrapped up in this game - thoughts about what kind of person I really am. I wanted to stop checking the Dink Network, but the excuse I would make for doing it anyway was, "Well, I haven't played FIAT yet."

Now I've played it twice. I told myself when I started this project that I'd take it at least this far, and see how I felt. Right now I feel pretty good about taking it the rest of the way.

I think Dan must have felt the same way the rest of us did about the ever-impending release of this DMOD, if not more so, because the initial release version was 0.99. Even the current version is 0.99j. A version 1.0 was planned, but never happened. If anybody thought that it was weird that I released Malachi the Jerk 1.1 just two days after 1.0, you should know that "FIAT" went through seven updates before 2002. Anyway, it's still easy to see why the number that usually marks an initial release has continued to elude this DMOD. It's by no means terribly buggy, but it crashes. Yes, it crashes and it's not always obvious why. It seems like one of those annoying things that varies from person to person and is difficult to reproduce in order to fix. Save often, folks. I did, so I never lost much progress.

This is one of my personal favorite DMODs. There's so much cool stuff going on with the gameplay, primarily the elemental mechanic that the story revolves around. All the standard monsters - the pillbug, the slime, the bonca, the spiky thing, the slayer, and the stone giant - have five different element-based varieties with different stats and the appropriate elemental weakness (the dragon also has a few different versions). It amounts to the most variety in enemies I think you'll ever encounter in a DMOD, and it's a lot of fun seeing all these different enemies and switching your weapon and strategy to suit them. Oh yeah, and there are these weird spine-worm things.

Not gonna lie, they creep me out. They're pretty easy to handle, though.

You can also imbue your weapons with the power of the five elements. Furthermore, there are the special weapons of Snedfee and Gimac, a couple of heroes whose parents must have been big fans of anagrams; these are random drops that will increase your defense or magic by ten points when equipped and are enormously useful. All this results in quite the full inventory, somewhat compensated for by the fact that up to five potions, bombs etc. will stack in the same slot. There are keyboard shortcuts to use these items, but I didn't use them because they're not so convenient for somebody who uses a gamepad like me. I wish I could have assigned "buttstomp" to a button, but that's not something the engine really allows for unless you put it in the map's place.

I really liked the way the world was laid out. At no point did I ever feel lost. Big expanses of land with points of interest dotted throughout are not found here; instead, the map is quite purposeful and no two areas feel quite the same. You always know where you're going.

Incidentally, apparently the founders of the Magik isles were also huge anagram fans.

The plot, of course, leans so hard upon the "elemental macguffins" trope that I considered installing guardrails, but it does so with wit and style, making for an enjoyable time throughout.

For some reason, wizards talking about magical disasters in this manner amuses me.

The air temple has a striking visual design.

There were frustrations, naturally, such as the infamous spell-stealing pig, which got a little old, but nothing got on me so much that I stopped having fun, which is a common problem. I did get stuck a few times and referenced the most popular guide on DinkSolutions. In every case, I had been on the right track and missed something stupid like a stick hidden behind a wall.


Things do get rather dark at points, memorably including a rather teeth-grindingly explicit description of people getting tortured to death, but I thought it worked pretty well. It's nice to keep the whole "you have to save the world" thing in perspective.

Sometimes, I think Dink probably doesn't sleep so well at night.

For those of you inexperienced at playing RPGs, the answer to this question is 'yes.'

I want to say that this DMOD featured the first boss fight that you're required to lose (as in, hit 0 HP) in order to continue, but when I think about it I'm not completely sure that this hasn't happened before.

There's one unfortunate bug I ran into that I felt was worth mentioning. There's a minigame you have to play where sounds will play and you have to quickly press the correct direction that corresponds to that sound. Well, when I got there, even after multiple tries it refused to freeze Dink for this event. I could still do it, assuming that I never pressed the talk button.

See? Not frozen. Not an insurmountable problem, but a big one nonetheless.

There are loads of secrets and things to find in this one. I only found some of them on my own. I did go out of my way to get an ultimate weapon, which is quite a bit of effort but very useful, and nets you a bit of extra ending in which a wizard talks to a fountain. So that's nice.

The fountain actually was not doing so well, but it didn't want to burden the wizard with its problems.

What more can I say? Dink came.

He saw.

He conquered.

It was so bad ass.

FIAT himself did take me two tries due to a certain hard to dodge attack. Anyway, you guys should all play FIAT, it's a good DMOD. I mean, you probably have already. But still.


Oh right, there's also some extra games here. Let's start with the only one I actually found on my own.

Ed the SCV 2: Dan Walma (you know, the nice guy who set it up so I could post this here) is a huge jerk and he's going straight to Hell. Anybody who's ever played Ed the SCV 2 knows what I'm talking about.

Okay, I'm kidding. Sort of. The original "Ed the SCV" was a romp that showcased some nifty, unusual weapons. This one is a bomb-centric puzzler that kicks you in the pants and then flips you off.

Silly Ed, that is clearly not a pumpkin!

Ed, who as you may recall died at the end of his original DMOD, is resurrected with the task of killing evil sinner Dink Smallwood. Nice, right? I thought this was a great concept and was really looking forward to it. Well, after spending twenty minutes trying to figure out what to do, I looked it up and found out I was supposed to talk to a pillbug, which is complete bull**** because there are tons of pillbugs and the rest of them don't talk. Given that information, I was able to construct an unspeakable device.

What the Hell kind of sick parades has the designer of THIS thing been to?

There's no payoff.

That's right!

Not only do you not get to kill Dink, but Ed dies again in a stupid way. Again. Then the DMOD tells you to press Alt+F4 to quit, and after a minute and a half, it starts insulting you. But there's got to be a cool secret waiting and OH MY GOD:

This really happened to me. To be honest, I laughed very hard.

I'm in Hell. Hell is where I am. YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS, CAPTAIN REDINK1.

I must admit that I went ahead and cheated to see the rest of the secret minigames. I mean, I want to be thorough here, and I've still got a lot more DMODs to play. I don't agree with the review on that file, incidentally, that calls FIAT "so bug filled it's impossible to gain those secrets without cheating anyway." It's really not that bad.

Exterminator: Click to drop bombs and prevent the pillbugs from crossing the screen. The difficulty ramps up quick, and I couldn't hack it. By the way, pillbugs aren't insects - they're crustaceans. But, y'know, we do call 'em "bugs" anyway.

I heard this DMOD was buggy, but this is ridiculous! DO HO HO HO HO!

Dinkaxian: A little side-view shoot-em-up. Cool idea, but it is a little frustrating how slow the ship moves. At any rate, several waves in it became impossible to continue because some ships were indestructible.

If they've GOT explosion-proof ships, why didn't they send those first?

Dinkemon: An attempt at a Dink game of Pokémon. This one begins with a great intro that presents Dink's trip to the Darklands exactly as it was in the original game - until he gets to the Seth area and Milder has already won, resulting in Dink's humiliation. It was absolutely priceless, I gotta tell you.

If you play this after Dinkaxian, the status bar gets all confused. You move at the slow ship speed, too.

In this game you wander through the main DMOD's map, challenging the NPCs to Dinkemon battles. You directly control your pillbug instead of using turn-based commands, but it's still quite different and interesting. It's hard to get much of anywhere, though, and there's not much to really accomplish in this unfinished minigame.

Pillbug used skitter! It's not very effective...

FIAT Gladiator: Apparently based on the trailer for the movie Gladiator. There's actually a little story here about a man named George's quest for freedom. You start with pretty much nothing, and have to earn money through fights to buy yourself equipment and stat increases so you can make MORE money from fights and move up the tiers until you can buy your freedom.


I spent like an hour and a half on this minigame (!) and really dug it. I've always wanted a Dink experience like this. I mean, there was Dink Arena, but something with a goal to work towards. This was almost exactly what I was thinking of, although I could think of a few improvements. For example, at certain levels, you could have little plot events happen in the setup area. This is just a minigame, though, and a dang good one. The ending is short but satisfying.

Just for asking such a stupid question, yes I will.


The minigames might not seem like much individually (except Gladiator, that was great), but together, they're a showcase for all the different kinds of ideas for games you can make in the Dink engine. Mike Snyder threw down the gauntlet with "Dinkanoid" way back in August 1998, and from then until here, Dan was the only one to pick up the torch (uh, I guess the gauntlet caught fire while it was on the ground) with games like Alliance Command, Frogger, and Dinkers. DMODs mostly tread roughly the same ground, but if you're willing to wrestle around with DinkC and the graphics, you can still do so many things that are new and untested.

I spent a lot of time playing "FIAT" and writing this. My end time on the main game was 9:21, not quite topping my 9:42 mark from Stone of Balance, but I easily logged over 2 more hours on the minigames. I also hit level 18 in the Gladiator minigame, setting a new record for the highest level I've ever hit during a DMOD that starts you from level 1.

I also took way too many screenshots. You guys want to get nuts with screenshots? LET'S GET NUTS.

Today I learned many things.

I learned that Dink is really good at counting.

I learned that even Dink has his limits.

Simon Klaebe would later differ on this point.

I learned that books suck when you try to read them by staring at the back of a bookshelf.

I learned that Dink takes magazine fandom very seriously.

I learned that falling through a roof kinda hurts.

I learned that regurgitation has more uses than I previously thought.

I learned that ducks play the long game.

I learned that trees are unimpressed by cutscenes.

Yes, I'm just cheekily showing off a bug here.

I learned that I am extremely unoriginal.

There's something similar in my mod "Malachi the Jerk."

I learned that Dink has 3 ducks loaded in his whistle.

How does he fit them all in there?

I learned that logs floating on seas of Pepto-Bismol are a good place to do headstands.

I learned that pigs are holy warriors.

And persistent spell thieves.

I learned that Tal is a prophet.

I learned that somebody set up us the bomb.

I learned that fields of work are distinguishable mainly by smell.

I learned that this community is still great after more than 15 years. Thanks for reading 108 writeups, everybody.

---2001 Wrap-Up---

I think it's safe to say that 2001 wasn't a very good year for DMODs.

Like Crosslink in 1999, FIAT did come along at the very end to provide the year with a real classic, but at least 1999 had a number of interesting mods by Dan Walma as well. 2001, well... Back from the Grave was really good. I had a pretty good time with Spy Number 13. Revenge of the Ducks 2 is kind of charming, despite its problems. After that I have to start reaching a bit, frankly. I kind of liked "The Legend of the Duck," but I don't think I'd go recommending it - you see my problem.

And oh my Dead Dragon Carcass, the amount of absolute bottom-of-the-barrel garbage. Dink 007, A Town Over, The Moneyspell, Evil Empire and Doomsday all received the Award of Badness, and man, they EARNED it. Dink 007 was by far the worst DMOD I'd ever played when I got to it, so it was a real kick in the crotch when I discovered that Evil Empire is even worse. Evil Empire is so bizarre in its badness - nothing works, nothing happens, everything looks like crap, and even the directory contains strange errors (having all of the original game's scripts in the story folder). 2001 is the year when DMODs finally found rock bottom and set up camp there.

Of course, from what everyone tells me, 2001 is but a brief lull before the Dink renaissance really took off. That's interesting to me, as FIAT marked the end of my Dink experience. It's pretty much all new to me from here on out.

I considered giving out some kind of end-of-year awards, but really, FIAT would sweep everything related to being good except Best Writing, which I'd give to Back from the Grave. Evil Empire takes Worst DMOD, with Dink 007 its only serious challenger. Let me know if you can think of any more categories and I might use them for 2002.

See you next time...