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Let's Play Together: Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)

Well this is certainly an Infocom game unlike the others. No frotzing, no unwinnable situations, no feeding sandwiches to dogs (thank goodness). Released in the summer of 1987 for a bunch of different home computer platforms, Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It takes a different route than the standard "go on an adventure" sort of set up that most text adventure games present the player with. See, where other games have you advance with plot, Nord and Bert replaces this concept with puns. So many puns, word play, spoonerisms, turning the dialogue on its head, this is indeed the one game where the pen is mightier than the sword.

Also different is the game's structure: Instead of one definitive route from start to finish, players instead have the option to pick which scenario they want to tackle first and, with the exception of number 8, can play them in any order of their choosing.

And although it doesn't affect the game play, I think it's worth mentioning the game's severe lack of feelies when compared to its Infocom bretheren. A single booklet of cartoons was all that came in the package. This one's just kind of an oddball all the way around, which combined with releasing closer to the end of Infocom's lifespan, is probably why it didn't sell that well.

That all said, I'd like this to be a Let's Play Together and I'm encouraging comments and suggestions for things to try, ideas for puzzle solutions, or just dumb things you'd like to see the text parser react to. It's a silly game and I want it to be a silly experience.

------------------------------​

aturtledoesbite said:
>get ye flask
Mogri said:
I love this game. Never played it personally, but I love it all the same.
------------------------------


Alright, so once you've booted up the game, you're greeted with this screen above. There's not much context to speak of really: This is the wonderfully named town of Punster, and it is currently being run a foul of folks using their punning powers not for good, but for monstrous acts of mischief. It's your job to bring balance back to Punster and there's no time to waste! (Especially not on your word play qualifications, or how you got here, or your name even. It's fine, just move along!)

Functionally this screen acts as sort of a hub for the different scenarios you can pick from. Get stuck? You can come back here with the BEGINNING command and try a different one, but you lose any progress you've made toward beating the current scenario. This is also the screen you return to once successfully completing a scenario and getting the password that proves it.

Well, maybe we should go Meet the Mayor and see if he can help us get a handle on the situation.


Or maybe not! It looks like we'll need the passwords from the other seven scenarios first before being bestowed the badge of Best Belletrist and allowed to see the Mayor.

Okay Talking Time, where are we headed first?
  • The Shopping Bizarre
  • Play Jacks
  • Buy the Farm
  • Eat Your Words
  • Act the Part
  • Visit the Manor of Speaking
  • Shake a Tower

------------------------------​

Gerad said:
That cover looks vaguely Far Side-ish.
Let's Eat Your Words!
------------------------------​

aturtledoesbite said:
>get ye flask


One vote for Eat Your Words!
Anyone else?

------------------------------​

Daikaiju said:
consume thy verbage
Loki said:
Dracula said:
EAT the words
Kahran said:
Nice to see another Infocom LP here. That being said, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and say Eat Your Words.
Teaspoon said:
yummy words
yum
(thanks for doing this! I'm keen to see an LP of this game.)
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
Guys. Guys, I'm thinking I should have picked an easier game to LP. :( But, I'm pretty sure I've got a hang of the commands now!



Okay, so we're in a giant teapot? Yeah, why not. Let's see if we can get the waitress' attention.



@#$^&#! DADGUMMIT. Fine, I'll get the manual out. Again. For like the....thousandth time...

[Sounds of Ixo flipping through pages]

Here it is on page ten: "In many Infocom stories, you will meet other characters as you play. You can 'talk' to some of them by typing their name, then a comma, then whatever you want to say to them." Okie dokie. Let's try it.



Welp. Okay. Thank you Ma'am.

So we've got two floors to poke around in plus the kitchen. And a waitress who's great at small talk. What should I try next?
 

Vidfamne

BB (10) > 3^^^3
I'm surprised that the teapot score isn't capped at 20. Also guessing we'll have to suss out the café's real name at some point, or this is the strangest coincidence in a game about word games. Or a flavourful red herring. (I'd ask if English uses "teapot" this way at all, if I wasn't sure that every European word game I've ever heard of was originated by a Brit.)

The redundancy of "shadowy umbrage" makes the balcony suspicious. Inspect the neon sign. Go up.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
"Eat her rasp...."

that sounds dirty never mind


Aw. Fine. This game is absurd enough that it just might've worked.

I'm surprised that the teapot score isn't capped at 20. Also guessing we'll have to suss out the café's real name at some point, or this is the strangest coincidence in a game about word games. Or a flavourful red herring. (I'd ask if English uses "teapot" this way at all, if I wasn't sure that every European word game I've ever heard of was originated by a Brit.)

The redundancy of "shadowy umbrage" makes the balcony suspicious. Inspect the neon sign. Go up.
I don't know! The Teapot Cafe is in all caps, like a proper name after all. Let's leave not-Jenny to work her shift and head up the stairs.



Alright. So we got a carpeted upstairs with not a lot of headroom, and just a random smattering of things. Waitress Not-Jenny has decided to tag along I see. Ma'am, do you mind? We have a very important sign to check out. S'cuse us.



I can't imagine you'd manage to fit 350 persons in here, nonetheless angry ones. And I dunno about angry, but we do have at least one grumpy persons to contend with. There's only one thing to do for the situation...



Hey, lookit that! We're on the scoreboard now! And we have this ...hatchet. That's fine.

As an aside: Boy howdy does this game utilize a lot of puns, idioms, references, and other double-meaning jokes that may go right past some non-native English speakers. (I'm pretty sure there are a few of you hanging around.) So if at any point in the LP you need something explained, just push the button.

"Reading someone the Riot Act" comes from the Riot Act back in 1715, but means to threaten someone with consequences if they don't behave. Bedtime for Bonzo is a movie about Ronald Reagan teaching human morals to a chimpanzee; I am not kidding. Basically we're calling out the Waitress on her bad attitude, and the game's flavor text adds insult to injury by comparing it to that of a moral-less chimp.



Eh, it was worth checking!

I'm realizing now that Vidfamne was talking about the neon sign downstairs. Do we want to head back down to check that out, or take a look at some of this other stuff while we're up here?
 

Vidfamne

BB (10) > 3^^^3
Alternatively talk to or pick up the notedly ambiguous rake.

Also, thanks for the aside on the Riot Act and Bonzo. Due to the magic of the Internet, I had heard of the latter before, and not of the former.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
You're welcome! The game's only funny if you understand the references and wordplay it's making, and I want to accomodate when need be.

Alright. Let's examine the rake before we pick it up.



...





We now have:
  • 1 point out of 31
  • A hatchet
  • A rake
  • A grumpy waitress
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
There's no way you're not going to end up burying the hatchet at some point.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
There's no way you're not going to end up burying the hatchet at some point.
Chances are very good, yeah. But I think we still have a bone to pick with Not-Jenny before we do. I have something in mind for this rake first.



You can probably see where I'm going with this.



I had a feeling that's where that was going. We're up another point and we have some pie, but it does smell kinda burnt in here now. We'll call it even.

To rake someone over the coals means giving someone a severe scolding. Hey, at least we warned her ahead of time...
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
I bet there is.



Hm. An olive branch. Wonder if that'll have anything to do with the hatchet we've got. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think the only thing upstairs that we haven't interacted with at this point is the abandoned food, which sounds like a perfectly fine thing to do.



Okay, uh. I guess the parser is counting the slice of pie (of the humble variety apparently) currently in our inventory as "FOOD." The food left by the other patrons must be desserts. Guess we better specify.



...





We've poked around quite a bit upstairs, and are currently holding:
  • A hatchet
  • A rake
  • An olive branch
  • Just desserts
  • Humble pie
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
I guessssss. Let's at least go back to the ground floor to see if we can find what she's up to. Hope we don't drop all this stuff going down the stairs.



Our table with it's skimpy tablecloth, stands alone, but we shouldn't have to. Let's make sure there's no crumbs or stains before we sit down.



I'd say we complain about the inadequate table covering to the Waitress, but she's not gonna listen anyway.

To give someone the short shrift is to give them little to no attention or consideration. Which has been pretty apparent since we showed up.

Man, the service here is really starting to get to me. I wonder how she'd like it to be treated like this. Gosh darn it, it's time to turn the tables and see how she likes it!



"To bring about a reversal of the relative conditions of two contending parties."

We've gained another point, and a new found appreciation for the Waitress's capacity for cardio apparently. While she's doing jumping jacks over there, let's plan our next move.
 
Last edited:

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
We do still need to at least check out that neon sign, at Vidfamne's request.



A red velvet curtain and blue neon. Hope the food pairings are better than the decor. Let's get up and be nosy.



Comeuppance? Not comeupthestairs? Y'know, this thing looks like it was just hot glued onto the wall. I bet with some prying...



Fiiiiiiine. Maybe we can make good use of some of our inventory to make amends and get on her good side.



The olive branch is now out of our inventory. That helped resolve tensions a little... I think. Better keep laying it on just to make sure.



Oh dear.



Maybe... maybe we'll save the hatchet for now, and try taking the neon again.



Phooey. Let us dismantle your establishment! Is this an Adventure game or isn't it?! Adding another point is nice, but man c'mon. What say we cope with the frustration by eating our feelings?



And we're up to 5 out of 31. Neat. Maybe the Waitress would like to join us in our pastry pity party. Here y'go Ma'am, enjoy!

Eating humble pie is basically admitting you were wrong.



Three earned points in three turns takes us up to 6 out of 31.

This one means to get what you deserve.

Hm. Guess she doesn't like chocolate. Oh well. So we've got:
  • A hatchet
  • A rake
  • A questionable looking dinner.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
We already ate the humble pie, JP. And yet you expect more??

Fine.



D.....delicious. Hope it was worth the point we earned.

Y'know, a collective of lions. A pride. Now, swallow your pride and do that thing you think is beneath you.
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
I confess I only made it through the spoonerism one of these without abusing the hint system. Have we looked in the kitchen yet?
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
The farthest we've got is examining the curtain, and our general surroundings. ...but you know what else we haven't examined?



I have to admit, I wasn't expecting the mohawk. I'm not mad about it! Looks alright with that wool headband! Though... I think it would look even better if it were situated a little...lower.



That's- that's not sanitary! Is there a health inspector around??

This means faking someone out, intentionally misdirecting them.



Oh whoops. I guess we accidentally knocked that off when we ah...adjusted her headband. We're up a couple of points for it though!

So, to have a chip on your shoulder means you've got a bad attitude, kinda lookin' for a fight. So knocking that chip off's another attempt to improve her attitude.

Man, I'm still pretty full from that plate of pride, but I guess there's always room for cookies. What fortune did we get?



I hope it's good enough to put in the Depository!



Ah....huh.

Okay.



But! It's right...gah. Okay. Fine, have it your way Text Parser.

It wasn't served by itself though, so let's have a look at that salt.



At least the shakers get sorta filled. The other side work duties? Remains to be seen.

Guessing the thing to do with this is...



What are Horrifying Dinners? We Just Don't Know.

Double digit points tho, so that's nice.

To consider something with the understanding that it's probably not entirely true. Usually because you don't trust the source.
 

Albatoss

Assassin
(He/him, they/them)
I'm guessing something is up with the bird, but is the waitresses' mohawk also important in some way?* Besides just being rad, I mean.

*(lol, what a sentence)
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
I'm guessing something is up with the bird, but is the waitresses' mohawk also important in some way?* Besides just being rad, I mean.

*(lol, what a sentence)
Her mohawk might need some attention, or at least her scalp. Something's got her dander up.
Not a bad thought. Let's try it while we wait for ......dinner.... to cool off some.



A napkin, huh? This thing's almost as big as the tablecloth.

...that gives me an idea.

Basically to get someone going. Make 'em wanna fight ya. There's an origin theory that figures it refers to the dander / dandruff that would be stirred by a raising of hackles.





You've been given next to no attention. Or time. Or care. Bummer.

I'm guessing you'll end up eating crow.
Or rump roast. Or both. Likely both.

Does this roast even look appetizing?



Ahhhh....no. Of course not. Not that our other dish looks much better.

Well, best to try the not-so-burnt half I guess?



Roast's a bit dry. Could absolutely use some seasoning. Shame the salt shaker's empty.

This one's from the Bible. Specifically, the Sermon on the Mount. It's essentially the idea of responding to violence with pacifism.

Okay, we've put the crow off long enough. Through the lips and past the gums, look out stomach, here it comes.



It absolutely lives up to expectation. Bleck.

Having to admit you were wrong, especially concerning an opinion you've made well known. Unpleasant! Crows are scavengers, so eating them is also ...pretty unpleasant.

Ugh. Do we gotta get through this whole thing? I'm getting full.



Looks like we might actually be getting under her skin a bit.

So the Nitty-Gritty is considered just the essentials. To get down to that is getting to the root of an issue.



14/31! Almost halfway there!
 

Vidfamne

BB (10) > 3^^^3
...try turning the other cheek again. There's a pattern here.

(or is there? the stupid fortune cookie message seems to be a giant clue in hindsight, but then dander and short shrift seem to fall under the same category...)
 
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