Today’s Quest: Recover your stolen hi-tech home entertainment device. Then we’ll discuss the future of physical media in Table Talk and I’ll update you on interactive fiction competitions. Tally ho!
First time here? Adventure Snack is a game series I email to subscribers. Play quests for free, twice a month, and turn your inbox into an adventure!
How to Play: To recover your DVD-VCR combo player, you need to figure out the Secret Word. Here’s how you do it…
Read the story. There are four blanks in the last paragraph.
Fill in the blanks with the correct Fightin’ Words below.
The first letters of the four Fightin’ Words spell out the Secret Word!
Click the Secret Word in the story to get back your beloved dual-media player.
There are hints below to help you solve the puzzle. Good luck on these streets!
Last night, some sick freak stole your combination DVD and VCR. How will you watch the goddamn Snorks now? You have episodes on VHS and a FULL season on DVD, but it's not on any streaming platform. Amazon Prime has a PAGE for Snorks, but says it's unavailable. This injustice makes you want to PUKE.
You chase down a FOUL character, Vinny the Squealer, and corner him in an alleyway. You reach behind your leather jacket, unsheathing your signature katana. As you grab Vinny's shirt, his thin mustache reflected in your mirrored blade, he nervously lives up to his NAME. But he's mumbling, and hard to hear...
"Ohhh, hey... you... So, uh, word on the street is that you're... uh, extremely _____. I don't blame you, alright? This was an ____ crime. If someone stole my 11 year old DVD-VCR combo player... where the VCR ate every other tape... but it had uh, sentimental value, I guess, I'd be upset, too. Maybe I wouldn't... kill a guy, but, but, uh... I don't know nothin' about who did it, and I ain't _____ to you! You ain't gonna _____ me, right? Uh, please?"
Get Vinny to name the thief! Fill in the blanks above with the correct Fightin’ Words below.
No word is used twice. (Four of the ten words are used.)
Grammatically, only some of the words will fit into each blank.
A notepad might be helpful!
Put the Fightin’ Words in the right order. The first letters of the four words spell out the Secret Word. Click on that word in the story above.
The Substack app on iOS now has a Chat feature, where I could post little bits of content between quests, like game recommendations and in-progress work, and we could talk more throughout the week. I’m trying to decide whether to try it out, so in the spirit of a quest, I’m putting the power in your hands!
When your quest is complete, it’s time to debrief. Join your fellow adventurers at the virtual D&D table we call the comments section. While we talk, I’ll turn on my “Enchanted Forest Monster Battle” Spotify playlist.
Discuss one (or all) of today’s topics in the comments:
🧩 This quest was more puzzle-y than story driven. Did you enjoy the challenge?
📺 Was there a show or movie you watched repeatedly on home video growing up?
🤬 What’s a word or phrase you use when you get upset with someone?
📼 Do you still own physical DVDs and/or VHS tapes? I have a collection of DVDs, which I’ve pared down over the years to merely six folders. Lately, my library of rare and strange VHS tapes has grown thanks to an amazing VHS store in Los Angeles called Whammy! Why do I have physical media in the age of streaming? Am I a media hoarder? My collecting philosophy in the comments section…
GLOWING REVIEWS FOR PSYCHIC APPLEBEES!
I enjoy entering friendly competitions. They bring people together for a shared purpose, challenge everyone to do their best, and give them all a reason to gloat and/or grouse for weeks afterwards.
Last month, I entered Use Your Psychic Powers at Applebee’s (UYPPA) into IFComp, a competition for interactive fiction writers that’s run for nearly 30 years. Judging continues until November 15th.
You can be an IFComp judge! If you love playing video games and want to affect the course of interactive fiction history (!), learn more by pressing the button below.
So far, I’m very happy with how my IFComp is going. As of this writing, UYPPA has the most public reviews of any game competing in the show and the critiques are universally positive!
“Delivers an entertainingly goofy night on the job.” –Bitterly Indifferent
“This is an entertaining and frequently funny game, one that wins major points just by combining psychic phenomena with Applebee’s.” –Through the Shattered Lens
“I normally just play games through once, but I felt compelled to play this game three times in a row... I'd replay it again, just to see what other funny content is hiding in other people's thoughts.” –Interactive Fiction Database
In fact, the IF community has been so supportive, I felt emboldened to enter another competition last month. ECTOCOMP is an annual game jam where IF authors make short horror games, so I entered a slightly beefed up version of You Are a Zombie Yelp Reviewer into the show, made using the Ink engine. (The same engine as UYPPA.)
By next quest, I believe I’ll know the results of both competitions, so expect an exciting and/or expletive-filled update in two weeks!
I buy VHS tapes that were specifically meant for a VHS release. I love VHS board games, promotional tapes, and educational videos, because I feel like I’m experiencing the media the way it was originally meant to be experienced.
So, for example, I don’t need a VHS copy of Cruel Intentions, but a VHS promo for Cruel Intentions where the cast sexually manipulates the viewer, a video store owner, into stocking Cruel Intentions at their store? I’d pay a surprising amount of money for that, apparently!
I had fun getting past the challenge. Design wise I found it a little strange since I could only narrow down most of the blanks to a 50/50, but word three could only be lyin' which meant it had to be full. You can solve the whole puzzle off of word three alone without bothering to fill the other blanks, but without that I don't think I could have solved it in the first place.
Tried out all the endings as usual. I see we both hate Free Guy based on the foul ending, if you hadn't I would have joked about not being able to see it being a good thing. Got forced to see it by family and was vindicated in my assessment of it as a movie about video games written by people who know nothing about video games. The use of the # in the name also got me chuckling.
I'm in the generation that's just young enough to have experienced the twilight of DVDs. My family still has a decent DVD collection, though now we pretty much only pull out the White Christmas DVD around a certain holiday. We used to have this neat portable DVD player too.
Personally I'm a fan of physical media, it can't be taken away from you. Also I miss a lot of the stuff that went into DVDs. The design of the menu, the names for different scenes in the scene select, the bonus features, it's a lost world some people today don't even know existed.
DVDs were my introduction to old TV shows like Get Smart, Green Acres, and Gilligan's Island, I remember the Get Smart DVDs had optional commentary from 99's actress. I also remember loving the bonus features for Lion King 1/2. There was this choose your own adventure thing where you went on safari with Timon and Pumbaa, I had a lot of fun with it.
I didn't watch the movie itself, but looking at the details for the Jungle Cruise movie on Disney+ made me a little happy because I saw the extras section included DVD style extras. Also I just found out that Lion King 1/2 also has some of its DVD extras on Disney+, including the choose your own adventure safari. Though they're missing the gameshow extra, but if I'd had to pick I'd save the CYOA safari over Lion King Jeopardy too.
(EDIT: Spoke too soon, it's not the CYOA adventure they have on Disney+, it's a different educational bonus feature. NOOOOOOOO!)
This has me pondering, is there some sort of group or website dedicated to preserving these DVD extras? I'm mainly familiar with video game preservation, but it seems to me that these extras are in need of similar efforts. Also DVD based board games, I had a Lilo & Stitch one based on the animated series.
As an ironic side note, right now my personal media preservation quest actually revolves around digital media. Nintendo is taking down the online stores for their old consoles so I'm trying to get stuff only available there while I still can.