Alien Logic

Copyright 1994, Strategic Simulations, Inc.

Design: Andrew Leker, Jon Stone, Jeff Moser, Kevin Stein
Engine design: Andrew Leker
Programming: Andrew Leker, Jon Stone
Artwork: Gene Hirsh
Additional Art: Sharon Stanbaugh
Cinematic Art: George Barr, Gene Hirsh

Alien Logic Thumbnail

Box Contents

41 page saddle stapled rule book
Data card with installation instructions, hardware requirements, rule book errata, keyboard shortcuts
SSI 1994 Summer Catalog
Customer response card
Hint line card

Supporting product: Clue book, 75 pages, perfect bound.

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Alien Logic was both a stand-alone computer game and an introduction to the world of Jorune. It wasn't a bad computer game compared to its contemporaries. It was a bit better in graphics, but the interface was considered more awkward than its peers. The player had one character to play, always a muadra, who got to explore the world. Players would seek keyed locations, and attempt to solve a simple puzzle at each location to gain information or equipment. Puzzles were usually of the "figure out what the person you are interacting with wants and give it to him" variety. The computer controlled characters had a limited number of short scripts they read as responses, and with time and sometimes with repeated encounters, the player could usually figure out what was needed to resolve the situation favorably.

Sometimes there would be combats. The screen would give you a side view with enemies coming from the left, right, or both. The character would fight with dyshas alone. Combat involved fast switching between left and right mouse buttons, selecting which dyshas to throw and then throwing them. Clumsy or uncoordinated players could sometimes succeed by selecting a single offensive dysha and throwing a constant stream of them at approaching enemies.

Some encounters were shanthic ruins, small underground complexes requiring exploration, jumping up, down, or over obstacles at the right moment, and occasionally battling monsters in order to obtain rewards. The final "boss" encounter required a bit of luck and a good sense of timing to defeat. After the defeat, the player got a post script and was ejected from the game, if our memory serves.

The quests were inflexible, so the game had little replay value, except to find the quests the player may have missed (not all of them were necessary to complete the game). The graphics were good enough for players to consider reloading the game just to see it again.

Alien Logic also served as an introduction to the world of Jorune. Players wandered across the face of Jorune, from the Ice Fields of Gilthaw in the north to the island of Drail in the south. Players were introduced to many of the peoples of Jorune, used Earth-Tec and Bio-tec, and the rule book included a lot of Miles Teves's illustrations from the role playing game. The CD-ROM included a Jorune encyclopedia, and the clue book included background information not found in any other Jorune product, including information on the seven shanthic isho schools and the locations of various shanthic ruins involved with great events of the past. (Wonder where the Eelshon She-Evid was created?)

Some distortions were introduced to make the computer game easier to play. In Alien Logic, all warps took you to "warp world," an otherdimensional space that allowed you to choose your destination. (In the role playing game, warps generally lead to a single destination.) In Alien Logic, one acquired new dyshas by paying a teacher to admit you to "weave world," another otherdimensional space. By expending crystals, one could draw the dyshas floating in weave world toward the exit portal. Once the dysha had been pulled out, the character knew it and could weave it as needed. This bears little resemblance to how dyshas are learned in the role playing game.

The plot of the computer game shared some elements with the first Jorune adventure module, "The Maustin Caji," a scenario where a figure from the past is released from suspended animation and must perform a series of tasks to set things right. Both games required players to solve several puzzles to obtain a "gomo giddyne," an item need to gain access to Salrough Gomo, a thriddle scholar of some repute. After this, the two scenarios diverged.

Alien Logic is available on-line as "orphanware," free game software to download. We have not tried to play it on a modern machine, but we suspect it would be a poor fit. For starters, the game was copy-protected, requiring owners to find keywords in the game manual to activate the game. For seconders, the game was well-known at the time to be finicky about hardware, required great patience to configure, and often needed users to create a DOS boot disk to be sure the proper drivers were loaded in the proper order. We suspect the game will only work on legacy systems.

Personal Note from the Curator

Alien Logic brought me into Jorune. I'd been curious about the world ever since I'd first seen the ads in Dragon magazine, but I knew my players would never go for it. When I read that there was a computer game for Jorune, I got excited, because I'd finally be able to explore Jorune without needing to convince my regular players. My disappointment at discovering that the game would never be released for the Macintosh told me it was time to take the plunge and buy the role playing book. I bought Alien Logic too, even without a computer to run it on. It took another two years before I had a chance to play it. The background tidbits in the rules and clue book may yet come in handy some day.

July 17, 2007

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