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Cosmoserve

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Judith Pintar

GAME DEVELOPER:Freeware

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 1997, Judith Pintar

For those of you too young to understand what kind of game the title implies, I’ll just give it away: Cosmoserve is a very clever game that makes fun of Compuserve, the on-line provider giant of yore (think AOL with less snazzy graphics). You’re a part-time programmer who has to log on to Cosmoserve to get help on programming. Along the way, you’ll navigate the mazes of bulletin boards, deal with SYSOPs (System Operators), and use the very realistic DOS commands within the game.

As R.J. Wright, a programmer who also fixes indoor plumbing to make ends meet, you have several problems you must solve–and quickly. The major task at hand is completing the code for a program you must deliver to an important client first thing tomorrow morning. The clock is ticking, but the code won’t compile. And now you’ve forgotten your new CosmoServe password; how are you going to check your email to see if the technical support sysop has replied to your plea for help? You must also contend with mysterious computer viruses, gaining access to virtual reality mode, fraudulent charges on your CosmoServe account, and a dangerous online stalker. Almost all of the game’s 86 locations are online on the CosmoServe service or otherwise in the plane of virtual reality; you can also putter around R.J.’s house or the C: drive on your computer. Examining all the files in all directories on your hard drive is crucial to finding clues, as is entering each area on CosmoServe. The faux DOS interface was as much fun as the inside jokes about CompuServe. You must also keep an eye on the ticking clock so that you can be on time to rendezvous with online contacts at scheduled conferences.

The only weak point about the game is that you’ll often be at a loss about what to do next, due to the vast number of places to go to and things to read. Also, you are not automatically notified when you earn some points (which are awarded generously). Despite these shortcomings, Cosmoserve is a must have for every IF enthusiast. Definitely the very best game about on-line life I’ve ever played. Thumbs up!



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