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Story Machine (Spinnaker Software)

DoctorSpuds

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Ladies and gentleman… I have returned, and today I’m going to be doing something a little different. A little while back I played ‘Story Machine’ by Spinnaker Software for the C64, and it was probably the greatest thing I ever experienced as a player and peruser of retro videogames. Today I will not be reviewing the gameplay, sounds and graphics; I will be doing something else. The game has a story generator and I’ll be transcribing five stories for all of you today. I’ll include screenshots if you don’t believe some of these really happened.

 

 

Story #1.

FLOWERS ZOT HOUSES SOON.

SOMETIMES THE HOUSE WALKS.

THE END.

 

Story #2.

THIS BOY KISSES ROCKS LATER.

NEAR THE DOGS TREES NOW DANCE.

THE BOY HOPS SOMETIMES.

THESE DOGS DANCE

THE END.

 

Story #3.

NOW HOUSES DANCE.

FLOWERS HOP LATER.

BUMPUSES ZOT LATER.

FLOWERS NEAR THESE BOYS HOP TO FENCES NEAR THIS…

(the computer was unable to complete this story, it confused itself.)

 

Story #4.

APPLES JUMP SOMETIMES

THE APPLES WALK.

FENCES DANCE TO STORES SOON.

TREES KISS SOME APPLES NEAR THE STORES.

THE END.

 

Story #5.

FLOWERS NEAR THE CATS NOW SING.

BUMPUSES SOMETIMES KISS BOXES.

SOMETIMES THESE CATS WALK.

SOME BOXES KISS THESE FLOWERS SOMETIMES.

THE END.

 

Okay… I’m absolutely speechless. This software produces some of the weirdest and nonsensical crap I’ve ever seen. I don’t even understand how kids in the 80’s could have gleaned any education value from this at all, though this was most likely meant for entertainment purposes, which it is... Very. Today it is one of the most entertaining pieces of media I’ve ever seen, the amount of times my jaw hit the floor is comparable to the amount of frozen pizzas I’ve eaten in my lifetime. C64 collectors NEED to own this game, if only for the sheer ridiculousness of it. Compared to some stories I've seen these are tame, if you get the chance plug this game in and grab some popcorn because shit is gonna get weird.

 

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Perhaps you were supposed to have a parent with you to discuss the story, what it really meant, if it made any sense and so on? I believe I've tried this software a few times but just like in your third story, it never completed. I've used Story House from Creative Sparks, which presents a much more linear and predictable story with just a few bits one can configure. I suppose it makes more sense, but also is more constricted. There's also Kermit's Electronic Storymaker which I haven't tried and may or may not require a KoalaPad to operate.

 

There are also various movie maker/creator programs which tend to be aimed at teenagers and not exactly fall into the same category though there is a little overlap between these categories.

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I was 8 years old when this was released in 1983, so the right age for it, nearly. I remember a lot of zotting and wumpuses when we played with it. It was educational, at least for for me, because it got me thinking about how it worked under the hood, and how it could be improved in the future. The news about DALL-E (a program that generates images from text) today had me thinking about it again. 

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