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About the Story
"What ever happened to those legendary punk rockers The Laughing Kats? If you can discover the terrible secret lurking in the HeBGB rock club you might just become a star." [--blurb from Competition '99]
16th Place - 5th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1999)
A fun little game that blends the punk-rock club scene with Lovecraftian horror, often with amusing results. You're seeking a nameless chord lost deep within the bowels of a nightclub. The Alan parser isn't great, but it's good enough that you shouldn't need to guess the verb or the syntax often, and the writing is terrific--vivid and extremely funny in places. Some of the puzzles are a mite peculiar, and there are some rough spots, technically, but on the whole this is plenty of fun.
-- Duncan Stevens
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
The game combines the trappings of the Seventies New York punk rock scene with the sort of Lovecraftian pastiche that seems to have become all the rage in IF since the success of Anchorhead. I'm an avid rock music fan, so the former theme grabbed me immediately. The Lovecraft stuff, on the other hand, gets old pretty fast. Mayer obviously knows and loves the music, and the emphasis is on the New York punk scene -- these themes could have sustained a game easily on their own. As I played through the HeBGB Horror!, I found myself really enjoying the punk parts, and wishing that the various "eldritch horrors" and such could have been edited out. I'm not sure how much the game wanted to parody CBGB, or how much of an homage it intended for the Lovecraft bits to be, but I think it may have achieved the opposite of its ambition, as the music parts felt mainly like homage, while the Lovecraftiana, with its various generic rats, tentacles, and gibbering masses, felt more like a parody.
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The bleak humor of "HeBGB Horror" fits the frequently-frustrated actions of the player character. The PC may try to emulate his music idols, who all have names like Blitz and Yngvie, but Mayer ensures that the PC's successes will go awry, just as his world will get weirder.
In New York's Bowery district, occult horror and punk music intertwine. Weirdly angled floors and walls enclose sagging, decaying furnishings, used by pierced, drugged characters, who gather to listen to screeching and wailing music.
Atmosphere and wit are plentiful in "HeBGB," but synonyms are not. A more robust vocabulary might help a player better navigate the peculiar problems a wanna-be punk rocker might have with eldritch horrors.
Though most of "HeBGB's" puzzles are clued, many are also obtuse. You may, for instance, have problems understanding the relationship between dried cheese and frayed telephone cords, or distinguishing between the uses of a pin and a pen, throughout this game.
Nevertheless, "HeBGB Horror" is weirdly fun and strangely satisfying.
This game is all about punk rock; you are at the HeBGB, based on the actual birthplace of punk the CBGB.
The game is underclued in many ways, but with the walkthrough, it was fun.
You have to learn about an old punk band, become a punk, and find a mystic lost chord. The map is pretty simple, but the puzzles can be pretty hard.
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Eric Mayer on 16 May 2008 at 7:44pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item