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AG Community Playthrough: The Space Bar

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Welcome to the Space Bar community playthrough, fellow adventurers. Smile The game was released in 1997, a great year for adventures, including a few other humorous 1st-person ones - Zork GI, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, GAG. In 1998 we saw Starship Titanic and The Quivering, but as far as I know there haven’t been any humorous 1st-person adventures since, at least not commercial ones. Sad… Thumbs Up

The Space Bar was designed by Steve Meretzky. People who haven’t played text adventures may not have heard of him. He was one of the most prolific implementors at Infocom in the ‘80s. Probably best known for Planetfall and A Mind Forever Voyaging. He also worked for Legend Entertainment and wrote the Spellcasting trilogy. Here he is in 1997, together with visual artist Ron Cobb and lovable Thud.

The Game
You are Alias Node, a human being on Armpit VI, a dismal backwater mining planet where an ore called Uptite is mined and refined into Upshot. Armpit VI is a “company planet”, so all government functions are controlled by the corporation, Amalgamated Vacuum. You are a member of the Amalgamated Vacuum Security Force (AVSF) – a company cop.

As an AVSF member, you are trained in an interrogation technique called Empathy Telepathy.  If you talk to a character long enough, and engage him on an emotional level, you can enter that character’s memories and relive a memory through that character’s eyes.

We’ll meet lots of fun creatures to interact with during our investigation. But as already mentioned in the thread Adventure Game Scene – Wednesday 11 July, the interrogation which takes place in the Bar is timed and the passing of time is turn-based. Meaning you have a limited number of moves in the bar until the unidentified “shape-shifter” you are after leaves the planet and escapes. Your only best strategy is to save the moment you enter the bar, explore everything as much as you like, exhaust the conversations cause they’re great fun, and when you’ve discovered a memory which triggers an Emp-Tel, restore and take the shortest route to that Emp-Tel. You should do this after every Emp-Tel, as soon as your human silhouette reappears.

The game is both linear and non-linear. When you first enter the bar, you can interrogate several creatures. (Some will not be available until later.) We’ll take them one at a time. The order of the Emp-Tels is not entirely up to the player though, I think it’s possible to mess things up here. We can safely start with Fleebix and Thud. My memory is not entirely reliable, so please correct me if I’m wrong, Lady Kestrel or VinceTwelve!

Running the game. It works fine on XP. So far no-one has discovered a way to run it on Windows 7.  Unfortunately there are no subtitles.

Manual. Useful for the keyboard shortcuts and for info on your PDA and Self-interaction (the white silhouette).

Disk swapping. According to the manual, it helps if you copy the folder called Bar from Disk 2 to the directory where the game is installed. Maybe the more technical participants know a better way to avoid the boring disk swapping?

Saving and restoring. Very important. Do yourself a favor and save often. Not just in the bar. You can die or be thrown out of an Emp-Tel when you make a wrong move.

Spoiler tags. Please use tags when appropriate. Please don’t discuss parts of the game we haven’t played yet. Need a hint? Just ask. This is one hard game.

My suggestion is to start playing on Wednesday 18 July. And then we will take the next 5 days to play the first interrogation and the Thud/Fleebix Emp-Tel. That will give everybody 3 days to install the game. If you need more time, just holler.

I’m looking forward to replaying and discussing this great game!  Heart Eyes

     

Now playing: ——-
Recently finished: don’t remember
Up next:  Eh…
Looking forward to:
Ithaka of the Clouds; The Last Crown; all the kickstarter adventure games I supported

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I’ll try to help you tackle TSB’s whims here, as I promised.

First of all, you should know that there’s a lot of disc swapping in TSB so I highly recommend you make some kind of images of your game discs (ISOs, NRGs, BIN/CUEs, MDF/MDSs, something like that), store them somewhere on your hard drive and use them (mount them in some virtual drive program - I use DaemonTools) to install and play the game.

You start the installation the usual way, by double-clicking the SETUP.EXE file on your CD 1 and there comes the box:


When you click Next, the program will warn you about the default game resolution and colo(u)r display mode:


If you’re using the right OS (mine is Windows XP SP2, btw) the installation will continue, but I got a message:


So I opened the drive with CD 1:


I right-clicked the SETUP.EXE, chose the Compatibility tab and ticked as shown:


After this the installation went on normally.


By default TSB is installed in C:\Program Files\SegaSoft\The Space Bar (I chose the folder I install my other games in and you can do as you please).


Now I was able to start the game and play it for a while, but when I tried to play it again tomorrow the following message popped up:


This is caused by the programming fault: the game is made to cope with maximum of 2 GBs of hard drive free space (the game was made in mid-90’s, remember), and my drive D (on which the game is stored/installed) has much more free space than that. So what do you do? You simply lie the game!

“How on earth could I lie a game?” you may ask, and let me tell you that you don’t have to do it yourself, there is a program for that (have you noticed that there is a software out there for almost anything?) and it’s called Resplendent Resolver (thanks to Davros from VOGONS forums who brought this great little program to my attention).

You will use Resplendent Resolver to make TSB believe your system is up to the task.

First download this free (now outdated but still efficent) utility from here.
Install it as any other program and start it (you’ll get a shortcut on your desktop after you install it).
There comes this:


Navigate to the place where your SPACEBAR.EXE is stored (the game folder, C:\Program Files\SegaSoft\The Space Bar by default) and select it:


Now go to Lie about you disk drives box and select the letter of the drive your TSB is on:


I selected as shown:


Now go to the Lie about the screen resolution box and keep lying:


After that you’ll have the option to test what you did (skip the processor, memory and other boxes):


If everything is OK, the game works, you can go on.
At the end the program will offer you to create a shortcut to game exe (with all the lies you made) and you do so:


I did not use this shortcut later however, since I noticed that after all the tweaking I did with RR I could start the game with the desktop shortcut I made to SPACEBAR.EXE:


I only had to do the following (before creating a shortcut): I rightclicked SPACEBAR.EXE (in game folder) and ticked as shown:


You can also make the desktop shortcut to SPACEBAR.EXE, right-click it and tick the same boxes in Compatibility tab. It’s all the same.

So that’s what did the trick for me and I sincerely hope it will help you too.
Have a nice playthrough!

     

Tempting as it was, I decided not to start attacking people with the crowbar.
Lewton PI

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Joined 2006-08-07

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Wow, maybe I’ll actually be able to finish the game this time! I’ll be out of town next week, but I’m going to make sure I’ll catch up with you when I get back. Thanks for hosting this, Fien. I look forward to it.

     
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Thanks Zobraks. Smile

I’m going to play the game on my old Win98 machine, which has no access to the Internet because it’s no longer possible to protect Win98 against the many threats in cyberspace. I copied the file Bar on Disk 2 to the game directory, just like it said in the manual, but it doesn’t seem to work. I still have to change CD1 to CD2 in the bar, and vice versa. Frown

     

Now playing: ——-
Recently finished: don’t remember
Up next:  Eh…
Looking forward to:
Ithaka of the Clouds; The Last Crown; all the kickstarter adventure games I supported

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Total Posts: 2624

Joined 2005-04-14

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Fien - 15 July 2012 10:08 AM

Thanks Zobraks. Smile

You’re welcome Fien. Smile
Let’s hope my cumbersome instructions won’t entirely put the folks here off of the TSB.
Thank you for an informative introductory post.

Fien - 15 July 2012 10:08 AM

I copied the file Bar on Disk 2 to the game directory, just like it said in the manual, but it doesn’t seem to work. I still have to change CD1 to CD2 in the bar, and vice versa. Frown

I haven’t tried that and probably won’t cause disc swapping is quick & easy with DT.
I just found my TSB manual and the game looks so complicated (I like that, don’t get me wrong) that this may be one of the rare occasions I read the manual (RTFM!) BEFORE playing.

I’m encouraged by getting more and more of what’s being said each time I replay a part. Luckily the actors are terrific and they pronounce the words well. And just when I felt happy for hearing and understanding Node and Maksh so well, I went into that bar again and the speech seems to be completely drown in the chatter (I wish that noise could be turned down). There are separate controls for music and audio, I wish they made it possible to turn the sound effects down without turning down the actors’ voices.

     

Tempting as it was, I decided not to start attacking people with the crowbar.
Lewton PI

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Joined 2008-01-09

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I’m looking forward to trying this again.  I’ll see if I can get it loaded up later today. 

As Fien said, saving frequently, especially when you enter the bar and at the beginning of each Emp-Tel, is definitely necessary.  I ran out of time when I played the game years ago and found myself in a place where the save I needed had been overwritten.  That meant I’d have to replay a healthy chunk of the game, which I couldn’t do then because of my own time constraints with work.  Now that I’m footloose and fancy free, I’m looking forward to catching that shape-shifter.

Fien,
I think I originally started with the bartender’s emp-tel and Fleebix & Thud came second, but the silly duo is definitely a good place to start.  One word of advice, if you offer to play catch with Thud, save your game.  Wink

     

If you can’t stir with the bad girls, step away from the cauldron.

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Joined 2008-03-28

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Zobraks, are your instructions for Win7?

     
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No, I have XP (SP 2), but you can try the described procedure on Win 7. It just may work.

     

Tempting as it was, I decided not to start attacking people with the crowbar.
Lewton PI

Total Posts: 183

Joined 2008-03-28

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I don’t have the game yet. But nothing works in Win7 so I don’t think I’ll buy it then. Frown

     
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I’d love to join in with the playthrough but I’m on Win 7 too!

     

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Joined 2006-01-03

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Hmmm….tempting. It’s been ages since I’ve participated a group playthrough, and this game has been in my collection for a long time waiting to be played. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at keeping up with the deadlines, but I might give it a try anyway.

     
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Joined 2004-09-28

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I’ve got it up and running on my Windows XP machine!  Count me in!  I love this game, and other that loading it up for an hour or so for a brief trip down memory lane last year, I haven’t played through this game in ages!

     
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chrissie - 15 July 2012 08:00 PM

I’d love to join in with the playthrough but I’m on Win 7 too!

Have you tried to install the game? What does it say?
I would try to start TSB if I were you - It’s worth it.

Is there a single person here who tried to install & play TSB on Windows 7?

     

Tempting as it was, I decided not to start attacking people with the crowbar.
Lewton PI

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Joined 2012-03-24

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I haven’t got the game zobraks! - but would go ahead & buy it if I know for sure it will play on Win 7.

     
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Joined 2005-06-02

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I’ve fiddled with the compatibility options but Win& refuses to start the installation and I get the same error message every time.

     

Now playing: ——-
Recently finished: don’t remember
Up next:  Eh…
Looking forward to:
Ithaka of the Clouds; The Last Crown; all the kickstarter adventure games I supported

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Total Posts: 2624

Joined 2005-04-14

PM

Fien - 16 July 2012 03:12 AM

I’ve fiddled with the compatibility options but Win7 refuses to start the installation and I get the same error message every time.

What error message exactly?

     

Tempting as it was, I decided not to start attacking people with the crowbar.
Lewton PI

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