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If you’re of a certain age you’ll be aware of text adventures. These simple games were both fun and frustrating in equal measure, requiring the player to use stock commands to guide the character through the situations encountered, and telling a story in the process. The fun was derived from these games being a kind of interactive fiction, while the frustration emerged when simple commands were misunderstood or ignored.
Text adventures went the way of the dinosaur when video games started supporting graphics beyond blocky depictions of flat landscapes. But for certain scenarios they still stand up to scrutiny. When you’re testing to work for MI6, for instance, being a support agent to a spy on missions similar to those a certain James Bond often finds himself getting involved in.
Are You Ready To Serve?
As you may or may not be aware, a new Bond film is playing in theaters at the time of writing. Titled Skyfall, it sees Daniel Craig return as Bond once more. Whenever a new Bond film is released, the promotional push for it is huge. Sony, which is distributing the movie in many territories, has taken the bull by the horns with this one and commissioned a text adventure game loosely based on the character of James Bond.
The James Bond text adventure game takes the form of the British Intelligence Officer Exam. As the name suggests it is framed as an intelligence test to determine whether the player is fit to work for MI6 – officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – which is the British government department dealing with foreign intelligence. Spooks, in other words.
When you visit the numerical domain of the game you’re asked, “Are You Fit To Serve?” and clicking on “Please Proceed” begins the game. You’re then informed that, “The following exam has been designed to test for the five most important skills required for acceptance into MI6.” “Simply getting through each simulation does not mean you have passed that section. In order to succeed, you will have to attain the best possible outcome. Be alert to everything that happens. Being an MI6 Agent means being able to see opportunities that others do not.”
And so it begins…
At the start of the game you are told to either type questions or instructions in order for your agent to understand you. Typing Help brings up options to view a Map of the current location, a list of everything in the Inventory, the Sitrep (situation report), and Objectives (the overriding aim of the current mission).
The missions include evading capture by enemy combatants, diffusing a bomb, and decoding messages. Each mission has a number of different outcomes, and it’s your job to find the best solution for each mission in turn. The important thing to remember is that you have limited time to complete each mission, and then a limited number of tries to find the best solution to each problem.
- Use simple language with clear, positive directions. The game will primarily pick up on keywords, so in order to save time you can drop most of the extraneous connecting words.
- The agent always happens to be carrying Sony products, and these are invariably meant to be used in the missions. Check the inventory and use what’s at hand accordingly.
- Listen to the agent’s responses to your instructions or questions as they often signpost the correct way to proceed.
- Don’t be harassed by the red time warnings or pleas from your agent to hurry up. Just follow the strategy you think is best and see what happens.
The British Intelligence Officer Exam was commission by Sony and developed by Hide & Seek. The latter has done a great job at creating a believable title that works as a game in its own right but also helps promote Skyfall. I have to say Sony went a little over the top with the references to its products, with Xperia phones and tablets, as well as Vaio laptops, playing a central role in each mission. Even Bravia televisions make a cameo.
Then there is the need to divulge an email address in order to proceed beyond the first mission. If you’re not comfortable doing this so then don’t. And even if you do then you may want to just use a secondary email address that’s valid and accessible but which you don’t mind having spammed. These two blips aside the James Bond text adventure is more than worthy of your time and effort.
If you have played the James Bond game, how did you do? Please let us know your thoughts on James Bond, text adventures, and this title in particular in the comments section below.