The Weekly Review - Edition 16
Welcome back to the latest published sets of the Weekly Review which ran sporadically in 2015 and then closed due to my lack of time. With the assistance of others I’m happy to begin publishing again in an effort to highlight the best and most interesting things this site has to offer. We are keen for anyone who is willing to write Articles, Interviews, Reviews, Short Stories or Special Sections on a regular basis to contribute, if you are interested please contact me, Seto or Lancelot. Thank you and I hope you enjoy this newest version of the Review!
- The Weekly Review returns again, publishing every Sunday!
- In Newbie Central newcomers Leek, Exbandivis, AtheistCat and Trashy_To_The_Max introduce their fantastic selves to the site!
- In the Lounge EndMaster continues his time-consuming but greatly-appreciated war to improve the quality of the site, aided by hard work of TharaApples!
- In the Parlour Room site members are still seeking assistance to beat that incredibly tricky Wall Mart Game!
- In the Writing Workshop Axiom continues to deliver great writing prompts and Bucky’s writing competition counts down to its deadline!
- In the Reading Corner Bannerlord reminds us what a fantastic series the Darren Shan books were!
Featured Article – Who are the most popular authors on the site?
After counting the number of player ratings on the 38 Top Rated Story Games I can now reveal what will surprise no one: the most popular author on this site is EndMaster by a long way. This master of writing has produced such masterpieces as the extremely popular Ground Zero, the fascinating Necromancer, the epic Eternal (a personal favourite of mine), the beautiful Death Song and his latest masterpiece Suzy’s Strange Saga. The most prolific publisher of high quality stories on this site his stories should be the starting point for any keen reader or would-be writer.
Sethaniel comes in second as the author of the site’s most popular story game Snow, a chillingly beautiful story, and for his ghostly tragic mystery Haunted. BerkaZerka is the site’s third most popular author thanks to his epic creation Dead Man Walking, the masterpiece of coding and fantasy writing Dungeon Stompage and the fiendishly difficult Aman’s Moustache. The fantastically likable Briar_Rose comes in fourth thanks to her masterpiece The Price of Freedom and her humorous puzzle masterpiece Tower of Riddles while SindriV comes in fifth for his fantastic Homo Perfectus story, easily the most popular series on the site and containing the flawless Homo Perfectus 8, the only story to receive a perfect 8/8 rating on this site.
Other authors in the Top Ten include applegirl at number six for her tear-invoking Farewell my Childhood Self, JJJ-thebanisher at seven for the much-loved Order of the Midnight Sun and The Tower, alexp (the site’s creator) at eight for his charming true love story The Proposal, madglee at number nine for his incomparable Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight and my friend Kiel_Farren at number ten for his masterpiece A Game of Life and Death. The stories of these talented authors are among the best this site has to offer and if you haven’t read them already you really should.
Other authors who have written stories in the Top Rated Category, in order of popularity, are thatguy (The Wal*Mart Game), simplesabley (The Secret of Daphne and Project Origin), Killa_Robot (Through Time), Steve24833 and Chase223 (Achilles and Achillles II: The Chykri), myself (Hunting the Ripper and American Outlaws: The James Gang), Ashen_Snake (The Devil’s Fire), Tanstaafl (Undead Persona), Gmmcghee (Avery M: Dead Man’s Journal) and casmith (Phoebe McGee). These very popular authors are also a talented bunch and their stories are both entertaining and well-written.
Featured Interview - Introducing ISentinelPenguinI
He is one of the most prolific and wittily lethal of the many dedicated conversationalists who roam our Forums; here in his second interview with the Review everyone’s favourite Penguinite gives his views on current events and some interesting background history…
Q: What are your thoughts on Kiel's demoddening? How would you propose something like this does not happen again?
A: My thoughts? Kiel was acting very out-of-character. I'm pretty sure he just got burnt out and wanted to publish his games in a place where he'd be more than just "EndMaster Famous". He'll show up on Cog or some phone app. Nothing we could really do to stop that, or prevent it in the future.
Q: Why and how did you find yourself at CYS?
A: I wanted to write a Warrior-Cats-like Wolf story, actually. Sort of a Rise of The Yellowstone Empire, except with animals killing each other, and there'd be dispersal bears and cat clans that you could recruit or fight with. Then I turned 14 and realized that the majority of the characters were neon-coloured lesser-furry cancer type AV, so I figured Viking Penguins were a smarter motif to stick to. Anyway, I tried to make it a regular game first, with Game-maker. Realized I was shit at game-maker, and tried text adventures, realized there were too many branches I had to cover, and the path of least resistance in the world of Game Development was the technical "Game" I often found in the library back when it wasn't cringe-inducing to read RL Stein. I found the nicer and least dead of the websites available and I've been plugging away at all my game-making attempts ever since.
Q: Do you have any goals for the future?
A: I hope to publish some bigger stories and learn how to play Dwarf Fortress properly.
Q: What is some advice you would like to give pertaining to writing, forum-going, or anything else related to CYS?
A: I'm not a good general advice-giver. Something has to set me off; I need a problem to solve. Besides, it's only funny when I criticize people directly!
Featured Review –Tower of Riddles, a Puzzle/Mystery by Briar_Rose (Published 2012)
This is a game written by one of the most likable members currently active on this site and displays a zany humour, interesting but varied puzzles, good use of pictures and an awesome array of riddles and puzzles, all of which can be overcome by logic, deduction or just trying the different options until you are lucky enough to get the right answer (making mistakes is also worth doing in this game as the author has taken the time to think of creative and usually amusing fates for those who choose poorly).
The premise of this story is exactly what it says in the title: you have been mysteriously imprisoned in a tower. There are riddles. To get out of the tower you need to solve these riddles. That’s it, a straightforward idea with no surprises in store and at 6/8 in length it isn’t overly long either, taking about 10-20 minutes to complete (for most, possibly hours for some). The writing is the key to the big enjoyment factor here: the puzzles are original, the characters are creative, the various rooms are interesting, the pictures are well-selected and the entertaining jokes are near-constant right to the end.
Is it featured? No and probably rightly not. It is a game rather than a story-game and there isn’t much of a plot beyond get out of the tower; however this is a game with such attention to detail and fun writing it is a pleasure to play. To write something like this takes time and effort and to write it well, with a consistently upbeat tone and humour throughout, is particularly challenging as (spoiler alert) writers are only human and get weary.
To all the writers of 20-30 page puzzle games or quizzes who finish in one or two hours, publish and then wonder why their creations don’t get player ratings higher than 3/8 I would recommend this game as an example of what can really be done with this particular genre. Tower of Riddles thoroughly deserves its 7/8 rating but if you do decide to try it yourselves be prepared: some of the puzzles might be trickier than you think!
Featured Short Story – A Zombie Story by Seto
Seeing your first dead body is supposed to make you freeze with shock, but it seems that fear had another plan. Upon seeing the 'body' with its head buried in the bloody-viscera of someone's torn stomach, my instincts screamed at me to run.
It was like living in a twisted, eerie nightmare.
I passed what I was sure was the third burnt Five Guys sign in the last hour. The light was dimming and I knew I only had about thirty minutes before the sun completely sank over the horizon. Yet, I still had no idea where I was and I needed to find shelter as soon as possible. A good sense of direction wasn’t a trait I prided myself on any day, but trying to navigate in a labyrinth of crumbling skyscrapers was beyond my comfort zone.
"Shit..." I groaned as I looked around for any crack in the debris. 'This can’t possibly get any worse,' I thought.
Hearing a growl behind me, I cursed again. The universe was making fun of me for sure. I cautiously turned around, sweat trickling down my spine, and faced the newly deceased Zeds. Their fresh injuries were still oozing dark blood.
“Well, I stand corrected...” I muttered to myself.
As the Zeds clambered out of a nearby, overturned bus, I found myself wishing these zombies were just like the ones on shows and movies - slow and quiet, unlike these Zeds in front of me. They were much faster- even faster than the ones I had killed earlier- and screamed so loudly that I was sure they could be heard on the other side of the city. The empty buildings created perfect acoustics for their haunting “voices”.
The Zeds lurched at me with unsteady steps, oblivious to the glass crunching beneath their bare feet. My heart hammered against my chest as I turned to flee. I ran until my chest began seizing. I wasn’t extremely out of shape, but I didn’t train daily like the other kids that were chosen to be front-line soldiers.
I made myself run a little bit more after catching my breath and turned left on the next block. I forced myself to continue a few more minutes until my legs burned so badly that I had to stop again to rest. I looked back and saw, to my relief, that I had lost them.
As my heart settled, my mind blocked out the ever present threat of the Zeds and refocused on the task I had been assigned: finding the meds in the morning. However, right now, my main priority was finding shelter. Hoping to be able to avoid the nastier groups of Zeds and panting heavily, I looked at my surroundings. To my relief, the area was very familiar to me, even with the crumbled brick walls at certain areas.
I sat down on the steps of what used to be my favourite library, stretching my legs out in front of me. I remembered reading somewhere that it had been a theatre one hundred years before it was “renovated” into a library. Despite all the dust and a few broken windows, it was still standing. I knew this would be the perfect place to hide out for the night.
I got up, my heart rate steady again but my body sore, and walked up the remaining steps. The thick wooden door hung stubbornly on the hinges, slightly open, though, with the chaos the rest of the city was in, I didn’t think much of it. I tried to look inside, but it was now too dark to see anything more than the velvet drapes and the shadows of rows upon rows of bookshelves that I remembered walking up and down, trying to pick a single book out of all the choices. We were only allowed one leisure book a month, but sometimes I snuck into the back rooms with more.
The homey feeling dissipated slightly as the recent events rattled in the back of my mind. I had to be careful; I couldn’t risk getting hurt. Someone could be in there, I thought. Maybe with the same hope as mine - a safe place to sleep. Or the Zeds could have snuck in there for whatever reason. Then again, I knew I couldn’t risk getting attacked by a bigger and nastier group of Zeds on the outside. It was either face the city and its hordes of Zeds or face whatever was in this building. I chose the latter. And good thing I did, too.
As soon as I stepped inside, I heard the distant sounds of growling and screaming Zeds. “Good thing the Lurkers aren’t out yet,” I muttered, shuddering. Lurkers had better night vision than the newly turned Zeds; the virus had mutated them beyond recognition. They were some of the real monsters. I remembered a grown man, tall and muscled, yet they had managed to take him down easily. Two of the Lurkers found him hiding in an alleyway and tore him apart starting from his legs and working up. At the time I thought they enjoyed the man’s death screams, but really they were using him to lure out his two companions which they ate as well. I wouldn’t have lasted half the time they did, I’m sure.
I froze as I heard a rustling sound coming from the right side of the library. Vague silhouettes of books stacked tall suddenly looked more and more ominous in the darkness. I slowly skirted around the opposite bookshelves, avoiding the shuffling noises. A door banged somewhere behind me and I turned around, only to come face to face with something I wouldn't have expected.
A young girl.
I relaxed my tightly wound body and lowered my guard against the bright light her electronic torch was giving out. In her other hand she held a baseball bat, not unlike my own, except that it was covered with barb wire. It was like time stopped for a few minutes as we gauged each other. I took the initiative and backed away slowly. I would go to another part of the library and hope that there were no more surprises. Maybe I would actually get some sleep tonight.
I felt a sudden hard blow to the back of my head. The momentum forced my body to the ground. Black dots clouded my vision, but I remained conscious long enough to roll over onto my back and see a man raise the heavy object again--that I faintly recognized was an encyclopaedia--before he brought it down on my head again and I slipped into unconsciousness.
I licked my lips, my tongue rough against the cut in the corner of my mouth where my teeth had ripped my gums. I grimaced at the taste of the dust and the blood. The whole side of my head throbbed and a faint image of a large book barrelling its way to my jaw flashed in the back of my mind. I never knew how dangerous and heavy those books were until last night. When I woke up I was hog tied and laying sideways on the cool hardwood floors. The room they left me in was small and somewhat dim, the only light filtered in through the window. I could barely move without my wrists grinding against the rough rope. I mentally groaned. Just great, now Sarge would be worried when I wasn't back by morning. I didn’t even know if these people were murderers- human murderers that is. I had survived this long and I would rather keep myself alive one more day.
A pile of bags was set up along the far wall; I was on the opposite side. I’m guessing when they knocked me out they threw my bag in with their own. I started wiggling my body towards my bags on the other side of the office, wincing as the sore muscles in my legs cramped from the effort. These people knew what they were doing. Having made no progress, I stopped trying to inch my way to the bags and sat down and tried to think of another way I could get out of this situation.
To be continued…
The Special Section is a place where anything humorous or funny can be put and today I’m going to give some of my favourite Understatements. Though often associated with the British the Understatement is a staple of comedy used in all cultures and these are some that I think are particularly fantastic.
In 1982 a plane flew into a cloud of volcanic ash which stopped all four of the plane’s engines and turned the Boeing-747 carrying 263 passengers into the world’s biggest glider. Captain Eric Moody came onto the intercom with this fantastic message for the passengers:
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damndest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.”
Also in 1982 the Government of Argentina sent its army and navy to invade the Falkland Islands which was defended by about 100 British soldiers. The Governor of the Falklands, Rex Hunt, received this fantastic telegram from the UK Government:
“We now believe that the Argentine task force will assemble off Cape Pembroke by dawn tomorrow. No doubt you will make your dispositions accordingly.”
In 1970, 20,000 miles from earth an oxygen tank exploded on board the space rocket Apollo 13, immediately making the survival of the three men on board extremely unlikely and prompting Astronaut John Swigert to come out with this famous (and often misquoted) line:
“Ok Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
On announcing the surrender of Japan in 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed around 200,000 people Emperor Hirohito came out with this great piece of understatement:
“The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.”
After encountering the famous explorer Stanley Livingstone who had been missing for six years and when they were the only white men for hundreds of miles his discoverer Henry Stanley came out with this famous (and probably contrived) line in 1871:
“Dr Livingstone, I presume?”
When asked to explain how Usain Bolt managed to break the world’s 100 meter sprint record in 2008 fellow athlete Walter Dix had this fantastic explanation:
“That man was fast.”
Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon was asked to describe his experience of surviving the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and came up with this gem:
“It was rather a serious evening you know.”
Australian Olympian Janine Shephard was asked to describe her experience of being hit by a truck which broke her spine in six places, nonchalantly describing it as:
“I was having a really bad day.”
When the Delta 2 Launch Vehicle from Cape Canaveral exploded spectacularly on take-off, raining debris over several square miles one rocket scientist described it as:
“We have had an anomaly.”
While watching a simulation of the rocket that would be taking them into space Astronauts Alan Sheppard and John Glenn were a little taken aback when the space craft suddenly exploded. Not missing a beat Sheppard turned to Glenn and casually commented:
“I sure hope they fix that.”
Idea by Jaystarcat, Article, Review and Special Section by Will11, Interview by ZagHero and Short Story by Seto.
Finally, thank you to you, the Reader, for taking the time to read this Review.
This was my first time reading the Weekly Review, and I must say that I'm very impressed with the quality of it :D
Thank you for mentioning me as well! I was rather surprised, pleasantly so.
Amazing, as always. Next time, maybe Steve or someone else for interview.
Yay, the review's back! Good to see, Will11. It was always one of the best things the Forums could spew out.
I miss the joke and funny quiz section. This was absolutely flawless, though--I wouldn't change it for anything!
AYT texted me saying 'You're on the Weekly review Volume 16.' I assume I should feel special for being added... so thanks?
Thank you everyone for the great feedback and yep, there's more emphasis this time on recognizing the contributions of various site members and welcoming new members. We might bring the Jokes and Quiz sections back in the future but at the moment an almost daily overdose of Haribo has robbed me of the mental agility needed for these sections if someone who is less easily distracted by brightly colored sweets in ridiculous shapes (what the hell is up with the egg? It's a food already!) would be able to contribute those sections I would be very happy. Thanks again to everyone who read it, Jaystarcat for thinking up the whole idea and Seto and ZagHero for contributing stuff, see you all next Sunday! :D
So nice to see a real newsletter again after the travesty of the last one.
Wait, what happened to Kiel? Can someone enlighten me?
It's a lot to get into here but there was some behind the scenes admin stuff that he and his sidekicks basically forced out into the open and then there was dumb drama and he ragequit.
Did he delete his account and his stories?
Dang I was editing. More specifically, he was temporarily demoted because of a shared admin alt he made, then he turned off PMs when 3J tried to talk to him and had a couple of his internet girlfriends spreading rumors so 3J made an announcement to clear things up. This being CYS, showers of shit and tears ensued and Kiel has started pulling his stories down.
Sorry about that.
Well, damn. That sucks. Losing a good member is definitely a bummer.