Our current game addiction is
Professor Fizzwizzle. We ended up buying the Windows version as Duncan still
has a Windows laptop.
To quote their website:
Professor Fizzwizzle is a fun, mind-expanding puzzle game, where you
take control of the diminutive genius, Professor Fizzwizzle. You must
help the professor use his brains and his gadgets to solve each
exciting level. Do you have what it takes to get past the Rage-Bots
and bring the prof back to his lab?
Perfect for teaching kids problem solving skills and great for the
grownups too. It comes with 230 built-in levels, with varying degrees of difficulty
and most with a story to go with them. But what makes the
game great (as opposed to just being good) is that it comes with a level
editor and you can create your own new custom levels and then play them.
You can also register and submit your custom levels to the
Professor Fizzwizzle community custom level website. Over the last weekend that's exactly what we did.
There's going to be moments in my life where I'm really impressed with
what our son does. I don't expect too many sporting moments. You know,
where the basketball player scores the winning three point shot with two
seconds left on the clock in the final period. (Just hours before his
cheerleader girlfriend accidentally kills him in a prank that went too far,
after she discovers that he's given her crabs and is sleeping with anything
with a pulse. Of course, she then gets
runs over by the obsessed school photographer who takes his dead body and
tastefully arranges it in her rental storage area and then kills herself
in a bizarre suicide pact, so it all sort of works itself out in the end. But I digress.)
One of those proud moments for me was when Duncan showed me the first
he'd created for Professor Fizzlewizzle. It was deviously tricky.
I gave him a couple of small
suggestions that would clean it up; he quickly modified it and we uploaded
it to the community website. Since then there have been 60 downloads.
Gaming in the Participation Age.
If there was one critisism of the game though, it's that there doesn't
appear to be a way to take a screenshot while the game is running. I'd
really have liked to have shown you what he'd created.
Also over the weekend, (and with a little help from some of my very alert
readers), I created a small Python script
that automatically downloads all the custom levels in one go. Hundreds of them. I've now
put them in the "custom" directory on Duncan's laptop for him to play with.
There are some truly clever examples here. I hope some of them migrate into
a future version of the full game.
As well as the the version for Windows, there are also downloads for
Mac OS X and Linux.
I was curious to see how well the Linux version did on my Ubuntu
system. I downloaded the demo version from their website (you get about
10-12 levels to play with -- unlimited time). I was slightly disappointed
that it didn't "just work" the first time. After I'd unpacked the compressed
tarball, I had to run a script that asked me a couple questions:
$ cd .../ProfessorFizzwizzleDEMO_1.02
Executable already built! Starting the game...
PROFESSOR FIZZWIZZLE - SOUND INITIALIZATION
\*\*\*\*\*\* PLEASE SELECT DESIRED SOUND SYSTEM \*\*\*\*\*\*
1 - OSS - Open Sound System
2 - ESD - Elightment Sound Daemon
3 - ALSA - Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
4 - NO SOUND
Input the number corresponding to the desired sound system and press ENTER: 1
\*\*\*\*\*\* PLEASE SELECT DESIRED SOUND DRIVER \*\*\*\*\*\*
1 - /dev/dsp1
2 - /dev/dsp
Input the number corresponding to the desired sound driver and press ENTER: 1
\*\*\*\*\*\* USING: OSS WITH DRIVER: /dev/dsp1 \*\*\*\*\*\*
Sound settings saved to file. To alter settings in the future, delete SOUND.DAT run the game.
For me, this was fairly easy, but I can just imagine novice computer users
struggling a bit. After you've had a successful run, it created a SOUND.DAT
file, so the next time you start the game it's just a click away.
Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable games I've played with Duncan.
Simple graphics, easy to use UI, with the occasional touch of humor (for example, when
Professor Fizzwizzle falls over or is waiting for you to do something).
I've found that the "secret" of the game is to fully understand what
each of the gadgets can do and their effect on all the other objects. Even then, you
can't alway predict some of the really creative things that the level
designers have integrated into each puzzle, so sometimes you are still stumped. In that
case, you can see a solution to the level and use that to then try to solve the level
I can't give you a better recommendation for this game then that Duncan
is still actively wanting to play it after two weeks from the initial
download. His ADD personality has usually got him wanting something new
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