Celine Kalante (kjorteo) wrote,
Celine Kalante

A gaming update of Biblical proportions

Both Sara and I are, by necessity, spiritual, but neither of us is formally religious. However, we are retro kusoge enthusiasts, so of course I own the Wisdom Tree collection on Steam.

But that's... people know about that one. I mean, it's on Steam. It's right there. What if we want to go deeper for our Biblical edutainment?

When I was younger, visiting my grandparents who happened to own a CD-i to entertain the grandkids, they had this game about Jonah and the Whale. The main "game" is mostly just a half hour or so cartoon, but it had some side minigames and stuff so they could pretend it was interactive. You know, as CD-i cartoon ports and edutainment titles do.

One of the side games was a first-person room-based clicky thing where you play a shepherd whose sheep have all wandered into Nineveh. You click around walking from room to room looking for them, trying to round them up. The catch was that you had a time limit, and BAD END If you didn't escape the city before sundown because I mean it's Biblical Nineveh, it's a bad place to be after hours. I can't remember whether your remaining daylight ticked away in real time or with every room transition.

The other major gimmick was that it had these... like... if you saw something that looked like danger or trouble, anything a good young innocent person should be staying away from (a dingy back alley, people off in the distance having a fistfight, etc.) then... well, there were certain things you clicked on that just took you to an image of a dark room with Scooby Doo evil glowing triangle eyes as a sort of "Trouble" placeholder. You saw the evil eyes and the game played a warning chime, then deducted a bunch of time as punishment, dropping you off in a random room afterward.

The idea was get as many sheep as you can and get out, but stay out of trouble because the time deduction and random teleport tend to mess up your plans.

I was (perhaps unsurprisingly) terrible at this game in my younger days. I could maybe at least find the exit and get out safely about 75% of the time, but my sheep count was usually pathetic. If I found the exit with a few hours of daylight to go, I usually ended the run early, because it wasn't worth going back in and potentially getting lost.

Some of the "this will lead to the danger room" cues were incredibly obvious, and of course I fell for them anyway because "don't stick your hand in this intriguing but dangerous Bad Idea" is an irresistible woodrat magnet. Even if I had better self-control, though, I remember a good portion of trouble warps being poorly signaled and unfair.

I fondly recall this game to this day, for two reasons. One, I've never seen such strongly mixed signals regarding exploration before or since. To find a decent number of sheep involves a fairly thorough scouring of the city... ah, but not too thorough, because you have to avoid the bad things that get you in trouble! You have to leave almost no stone unturned, which makes certain side roads and alleyways a bit of a guessing game. There's something hidden back there, but is it something you want to find? It's not good game design, but it is fascinating game design.

And two, this being a CD-i game, the animations have to be seen to be believed. It's not quite a YouTube Poop, but it is close.

That leads me to what has been a big source of frustration for a very long time: This game has to be seen to be believed, but you can't see it. It's so obscure that the Internet just does not have it, at all. Maybe I'm bad at searching, but I've found nothing on YouTube, it was missing from all the sketchy ROM sites... even the Internet Archive doesn't have it. Until now, I've been reduced to peeking around eBay and Amazon third-party sellers, looking for someone who can sell me a physical for what would undoubtedly be a fortune (protip: never be a rare game collector) with the eventual goal of ripping and dumping it myself.

All because I want you guys to know what I'm talking about when I talk about the damn sheep game that badly.

Well, this morning, something happened.

This set was on eBay. It's mine now. Kinkshame me if you must, but yes, I just bought the entire CD-i I Can't Believe It's Not Wisdom Tree bundle.

You might have noticed this whole entry up to this point was about the Story of Jonah, specifically its sheep game. "You mean Interlight made more of these," you ask? Yeah, news to me too, and I'm the one who was interested in collecting one of them.

I'm excited. We'll see what happens--the next step is to wait for them to arrive, and to make sure they can be ripped and emulated. But... if this works? Not only will I be able to show off the sheep game, but like... who even knows what these other discs hold? What if the Story of Samson has some kind of, I don't know, goat game or something that's every bit as amazing, and we never knew?

Not to mention I very well might be onto something new here in the world of digital preservation. I collect games, but I've never had an impressive collection before. I have a couple things that shot up in value a bit, like Earthbound and Mega Man X3, and those are cool and all. However, I've never been the kind of high-level collector you see in "GROUNDBREAKING DISCOVERY: This collector just found a completely undiscovered Mother prototype no one has ever seen before" videos. Those guys have always made me feel inadequate about what's on my game shelf.

But... no, this is something. This is big, potentially. the Internet doesn't have these. (Well, okay, AVGN featured one of them to predictably shit all over it and I'm kind of grouchy about that. Still, I'm told that even he mentioned there being three Interlight Bible games in all, and I just bought six. Either he misspoke, or I will soon have three that even he didn't know about.) If this works, I'll be that Pokemon scientist resurrecting Aerodactyl from fossils. We're talking possibly, like, an actual discovery here!

We'll see. I mean, I just won the auction this morning and haven't received anything yet, so let's try not to get too worked up before we know this will work out.

It's hard not to be excited, though. I mean, eeeee.

In the absolute least impressive case, this is similar to DavidN bringing Masterspy to the Internet's attention, only with an entire series of games. In the best case..? Well... maybe, just maybe, I'll get one of those discovery headlines after all.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/437516.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
Tags: interlight
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