In the sadly degenerate modern moral climate, it's often hard to tell how a game or piece of fiction measures up to the standards we consider important. In short: is there cheese? If so, how much?
The rating system is as follows:
|Cheez Whiz||There is no cheese mentioned in the game.|
|Monterey Jack||Cheese is mentioned in the game, but not physically present.|
|Mild Cheddar||Some kind of cheese is an object in the game, but is not extensively described or used.|
|Chevre||Cheese is not only used in the game, but it is described in some detail, with attention to such features as variety, texture, color, and flavor.|
|Stilton||Cheese cookery or consumption is part of the game; or, failing that, cheese must be described in great detail.|
|Brie||The game centers upon cheese cookery or consumption.|
Silence of the Lambs 2, The Thief of Bad Gags, 2002. At first blush, this game may seem like an Annoyotron-esque torture device for cheeselovers throughout the world, promising what it never intends to deliver. But do not be dismayed; rather, explore, solve puzzles, and find yourself at... the creamery, with all the puzzles behind you and a room full of cheeses at your feet.
Yes, here is a game whose purpose is to allow the happy player to sample dozens of types of delicious cheese, each of which is described fully as to appearance, taste, and odor. Many famous types are included, but so too are rare and unusual varieties. Related styles of cheese are distinguished from each other, so that, for instance, the gruyere and emmenthal taste similar, but are differently described as to appearance.
Once you have explored for a bit, the game will allow you to ENUMERATE CHEESES, gaining a complete list of the contents of this substantial collection. There are a few trifling gaps -- the list includes neither Ardrahan nor Myzithra -- but on the whole this game exceeds all its competition in detail, color, and correctness.
Being Andrew Plotkin, J. Robinson Wheeler, 2000. This game won my heart with its unabashed use of cheese in cooking. The scene, though brief, does justice to the strength and power of blue cheese. Oh, and the rest of the game is fun too. Highly recommended.
Choose Your Own Romance, David Dyte, 2002. Forget about choosing the man of your dreams. This game offers you the ability to choose the right cheese -- than which no decision could be more important. The down side? If there is one, it's that it's possible on the winding course through this game to wind up with some other ending entirely that doesn't involve cheeses. And these endings are not clearly marked as losing endings even though, IMHO, they unquestionably are. So if you play, accept no substitutes: play on, play on, until you find the cheddar and the brie.
Deadline Sample Game, Infocom. Okay, so it's not a full game, just the transcript of a never-realized one. But said unrealized game has some of the finest cheese-related prose to be found in the world of Interactive Fiction.
Manna, Sam Kabo Ashwell, 2002, for Speed-IF 18. Cheese and wine exist in quantity, they form the two pillars of a great religion, and they save the lives of many people. The cheese on the shelves are described at considerable worshipful length. Alas, it is only a short speed-if game, and the cheese consumption is only implied, not actively indulged in. [Review courtesy of David Welbourn.]
Risorgimento Represso, Michael Coyne, 2003. The first game to my knowledge to offer a rigorous exploration of tyromancy. A number of cheese varieties are described in a depth reminiscent of "Silence of the Lambs 2", with the game missing a Brie only because there is some other point to the plot and the cheeses are not cookable.
Zork Zero Sample Game, Infocom. Again, not a full game, just a transcript. This one lacks the sensitivity to variety, the true gourmand's approach to cheese, found in the previous example. But in compensation, it features cheese in a recipe.
August, Matt Fendahleen, 2000. I don't recall encountering this myself, but David Thornley writes:
Ms. Short, I have to inform you that you missed a game with cheese. Matt Fendahleen's haunting August.z5, in Smoochiecomp, features cheese you can eat, with a comment on the crumbliness, which I think at least rates it a Mild Cheddar.On the evidence, that actually sounds like a Chevre to me.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Infocom. On the plus side: the cheese is described in detail. On the minus side: the cheese is nasty, being described as appropriate for use as an eraser. Parental guidance recommended.
Inform School, Bill Shlaer. Not only is there cheese, there is code for cheese, which is surely the substance elemental. Also, it might encourage others to include cheeses in their works.
Infidel Sample Game, Infocom. Again, not a full game, just a transcript. The cheese is really just a prop here, but I have to give points for the inventiveness with which it is incorporated into puzzles. (Really, I'm beginning to think that the Implementors were unusually sensitive to the Message of Cheese, and that this hidden but definite mandate informed many of their stories.)
Krakatoa Tuna Melt, David Welbourn. Krakatoa Tuna Melt (from SpeedIF 10^-9) features a cheesemaking puzzle fairly prominently. The cheese isn't terribly well-described, but I'd imagine the emphasis on the process of cheesemaking rates at least a Chevre. [Review courtesy of Jake Wildstrom.]
Party to Murder, David D. Good, 2002. For several types of cheese which can be eaten, together with dialogue on the topic of cheese. Note however that said dialogue is described as 'boring'.
Various games from the XYZZY SpeedIF., 2001. It is perhaps unsurprising considering the promising premise of this SpeedIF (that a XYZZY award ceremony is taking place on the anniversary of the invention of cheesemaking), but most of these games contain cheeses and cheese references. Different varietals are named, though the SpeedIF parameters prevent them being as fully implemented as one might imagine -- the only thing that prevents this series from ranking even higher on the cheese scale.
1893: A World's Fair Mystery, Peter Nepstad, 2002. Features the Canadian Monster Cheese, the world's (then) largest cheddar cheese, on the top of which you can stand. However, the only hunk of cheese you can take from it cannot be eaten, but is instead used in an all too-common puzzle. [Review courtesy of David Welbourn.]
Above and Beyond, Mike Sousa. Cheese is an object, used for a certain purpose.
Glossary, Caleb Wilson, 2002, for Speed-IF 18. A worshipper gives you cheese. You can eat it, and it is "not bad." It's not his best cheese, is it? [Review courtesy of David Welbourn.]
Jarod's Journey, Tim Emmerich, 2000. The protagonist begins his journey with various supplies, including cheese. Sadly, despite this promising beginning, the power of cheese is not further explored.
The One That Got Away, Leon Lin, 1995. There is a ball of strange cheese, brought along to tempt the fishes. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be tempting to humans.
Phred Phontious and the Quest for Pizza. Haven't played it myself, but my correspondence assures me of its eligibility:
Just read your Cheese Reviews, and I'm surprised you left out "Phred Phontious and the Quest for Pizza" - it includes cheese as an object. (Not to give out too many spoilers, but it involves milking an animal and then turning that milk into cheese.) -- Lucea Lilliputia
The Suffering Supplicant, Peter Berman, 2002, for Speed-IF 18. If you know the right prayer, your god gives you a cheese wedge. Which sounds great except that a) the cheese is neither described nor edible and, b) you have to give the cheese away. You can, however, pray for more. There's also a Cheese Guy who says "Cheese" a lot. [Review courtesy of David Welbourn.]
Unnkulia X, Valentine Kopteltsev, 2000. One object is described as being made of cheese here, but the fact is not really exploited. Indeed the description is rather unappetizing. Puts cheese in a bad light. Not recommended.
YAGWAD, Digby McWiggle, 2000. Cottage cheese (a degenerate form, really) is present, but represents negative forces and is associated with other undesirable foods. Arguably this is anti-cheese propaganda.
At Wit's End, Mike Sousa, 2000. There's a pizza; cheese seems implied.
Cheeseshop adapted by David Welbourn, 2001, from Monty's Python's famous Cheeseshop sketch into an interactive room on the ifMud. Many many varieties of cheese must be named by the player, and the quality of the Camembert is described at length, but since no actual cheese can be obtained, we cannot rank this game(?) any higher. [Self-deprecating review courtesy of David Welbourn.]
Colossal Cave, for reasons described here:
Was just introduced to your Cheese-friendly Ratings Page. Fun!
I was surprised I couldn't see a reference to the quintessential Colossal Cave/Adventure game. I distinctly remember the "Swiss cheese" room with exits in every direction. It's been a while, but it may have even been a small maze.
Anyway, I think it deserves at least a "Monterrey Jack."
Fine Tuned, Dionysius Porcupine (aka Dennis Jerz), 2001. In this game, you play Troy Sterling, daredevil adventurer. Without revealing too much of the plot, let it suffice to say that an ancient spirit takes possession of one of the characters quite late in the game, and begins uttering nonsensical phrases - a shameless reference to cheese among them: "The cheese of the short goat is spoiled, and our rings of wheat are sodden." Alas, the cheese is no longer edible, and not physically present in the adventure. [Review courtesy of Jacqueline Lott.]
Galatea, Emily Short, 2000. Obviously the reviewer is biased.
No Time to Squeal, Mike Sousa and Robb Sherwin, 2001. Clearly Mike Sousa is beginning to feel the power of Cheese, as this is the third mention of one of his games on these pages. Unfortunately, the cheese is only a menu item. But we feel that the consistency of Mike's dedication is a mark in his favor, and perhaps he is trying to sweep the cheese boards by appearing in as many categories as possible. We await his Brie-rated game with anticipation.
Janitor, Peter Seebach and Kevin Lynn, 2002. There is a book whose title alludes to cheeses, but it doesn't seem actually to be about cheese. In fact, it seems to be about (ugh) management. Still. Mentions cheese.
Out of the Study, Anssi Raisanen, 2002. Cheese appears on a shopping list present in the game. Pytho's Mask, Emily Short, 2001. Well, it's de rigueur now, right?
Savoir-Faire, Emily Short, 2002. Cheese is present and varied, but disturbingly peripheral and tersely described; while various meals may be cooked, none of them require cheese. Even worse, at one point it can be given to a rat. The protagonist, although he dreams about cheese when very hungry (but *only* when very hungry, mark you) is also small-minded enough to refuse to eat cheese before a meal. Evidently, a serious error of focus has been committed here. [Review courtesy of Sam Kabo Ashwell.]
The Tale of the Kissing Bandit, J. Robinson Wheeler, 2001. The cheese is present here in name only, but presented with in such a delicately pedantic context that this reviewer's heart was won.
Thorfinn's Realm, Roy Main and Robert Hall, 1999. There's again a pizza; cheese seems implied.
Tinseltown Blues, Chip Hayes, 2002. Contains a giant swiss cheese prop made from plywood and foam rubber with the notation "Hold for E. Short." [Review courtesy of David Welbourn.]
Obviously there are too many to name. But the following are games whose obvious cheese potential went shamefully unexplored.
Cheese Adventures, The Mighty Achoo, 2001. A Quest game. I have been unable to play it myself due to the lack of cross-platform Quest support, but offer instead a couple of quotes passed on to me by an assistant (Gunther Schmidl):
> northThe evidence, unfortunately, suggests that the game is more preoccupied with the dairy cows (and, er, dairy bull) than it is with the fine nuances of cheese flavor and production. So much potential, so ignored...
You walk past the shriveled corpse of slug.
You dance wildly into the Milking room.
You can see Bessy the Cow and Ultimate Cow here.
> look at ultimate cow
The massive cow leans over you. It's udders swaying gently in the wind.
Jigsaw, Graham Nelson, 1995. There's a food item in this game. It is portrayed as being eaten by a mouse. It's not cheese. Enough said.
Land of the Cyclops, Francesco Cordella, 2002. Contains the following exchange:
They're the cheeses of the Cyclops, looking very good at sight.
It would be useless.
XYZZY Awards Presentation for Best Setting, Stephen Granade, 2000. This isn't a game either, but it deserves a dishonorable mention. Boy does it.
The Legend Lives, David Baggett, 1994. Cheese purists may want to stay away from The Legend Lives!, which continually refers to a synthetic substance known as Cheez. For instance, there is a gun called the "Cheez Blaster," and even an entire planet made of nothing but synthetic Cheez (a.k.a. the "Cheez death star," where the villains reside). On the other hand, the game does at least contain one hunk of real cheese. Evidence suggests similar items throughout the Adventions Unnkulia line. [Review courtesy of Greg Boettcher.]