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A vastly superior game to the one it is based on and one that makes far better usage of the source material available.
Bored of the Rings is a downright silly game in places with the humour often verging on slapstick; that said, it is very, very funny and even when you're cringing at the bad jokes you'll still be laughing.
Too many empty locations (due to lack of memory from a time when computer games had to fit within a certain size limit) mar the game and stop it becoming the classic it should have been, but even with problems like this BOTR is a great game which everyone should try.
-- David Whyld
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The Commodore 64 text adventure Bored of the Rings (BotR) is an offshoot of Harvard Lampoon's great satire book of the same name. It includes most of the characters that go along with Frito but also manages to find goofy new names for each one of them. Frito's actually Fordo, for instance. The game even divides itself into three parts(passwords needed for the second two) and only marginally copies gags from the book. It does pretty well with the new sort of adventure; much of the game consists of picking up companions Traveling Ever Eastward before destroying the ring as in the trilogy. A serious game such as this, too devoted to the original material, would have been very dull. BotR, despite being a copy of a satire, manages to poke fun at its own genre and provide enough gratuitous stupidity and vulgarity to be memorable. Plus it doesn't take several whole days to finish unless you manage to get on the parser's bad side (it's a simple brute!)
Delta 4 Software cranked out a few goofy text adventures where it ignored words of longer than five letters and never was perfectly clear on what you had to type; as a whole they were worth it, but each game gives individual frustrations. In BotR, the worst is when you must GO LIFT and not ENTER LIFT. This non-satirical obtuseness, thankfully, is not pervasive.
You generally get points for clever actions and never just taking something or visiting a new room, and there are even optional puzzles, some involving guns. Something from Narnia will help in one of these. But the most challenging part of the game besides the puzzles and finding the right verbs (you must DESCEND TUNNEL and not enter it) is when you have silly locations that look like each other and need to navigate them. You can tell you've reached a new one when a new narrow picture pops up at the top.) The trial and error seems slightly pointless and is forgivable only because Fordo, your character, was established as a dupe early on by Grandalf and his uncle Bimbo.
There are shockingly few items to start out besides the hallucinatory beans from Tim Bumbadil, with emphasis on stumbling around bars successfully. You'll never have more than three items you can use at a juncture in such a linear game, and so it would be easy without the challenge of raking your mind for common verbs that have slipped your mind. Later on you'll find a swamp where the game doesn't bother to give you directions, and paths fork a bit. It's entirely possible you'll miss a direction to go from a location as well since the screen clears once you move away. There are also locations you'll run into and no matter what you do the next few moves your fate is sealed.
So the game's challenges are dominated by arbitrary concerns, but it gets the sort of things right that can help any piece of good satire stand out. The game is pretentious when you adjust your inventory and even invokes ancient prophecy to force you to sit through uncle Bimbo's party at the beginning, and all the people names and most of the player names work well. Aragorn's foil constantly discusses his family tree (more dialog would have been awesome) and is silenced by grumpy companions such as Legoland and Spam on the way to places like Isithard and Almanak. The events when you solve anything involve slapstick physical comedy and amusingly grave injustice, and you have all manner of degenerate forest spirits to creep you out and even break-dance, as well as a secret passage which doesn't help you one bit, and a signpost saying "Last Bridge 4 turns." You even get cool ways to die, which have the best pictures. And although the anti-computer jibes are the weakest (the ring you must destroy represents corporate computer interests,) the computer prison where people are forced to write budgeting software is a winner. Minor characters get unfair punishment, too, and the meeting with the Balhog is certainly not sappy.
Outside Infocom, BotR is really one of the better early ones I've uncovered. It would be disappointing if the game were fully faithful to either LotR or BotR, the books. It does well to drop in anachronisms instead of BotR (the book)'s fourth-wall deus ex machinas throughout. And given how early it is in the history of text adventures, and how badly other attempts I've seen fail, BotR does commendably well satirizing them. Yes, it's very on-the-nose and clearly below Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where the puzzles really made you laugh and think. But I still snicker at the final command to destroy the ring. If you don't have the time to play, read a walkthrough, and that'll give enough laughs.
Rematch, by Andrew D. Pontious
Average member rating: (87 ratings)
You thought you were such a great pool player. But Nick has beaten you once tonight already, and Ines is watching him more closely than you would like. So you challenge him to a rematch. "Sure, Kurt!" Nick laughs. "You break."
Illuminate, by Chris Conley (as Summer Del Mono)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
How odd, you don't remember seeing this exhibit highlighted anywhere, and yet it has such an elaborate presentation. Well, perhaps you have a few minutes to spare before lunch...
EXTERMINATE!, by Michael Martin
Average member rating: (4 ratings)