COMPUTER GAMING—GETTING HINTS IS HALF THE FUN
Most software companies gladly offer advice and hints about their products over the phone; there's usually a staff dedicated to that purpose. Dial the number found in the documentation, ask for customer service, and then ask away. You'll usually get all you need to know.
Read plenty of reviews in consumer-oriented computer magazines. This is the best way to familiarize yourself with products without even seeing them. Although reviewers can be rather subjective at times, the information may still be useful when it comes to choosing the best buy for your buck.
Computer stores usually have the latest games running on the showroom floor. You can test-drive them there to see if they're worth the investment. If you can't find what you're looking for on the floor, the salesperson will probably take the program out of the package for you to try. Don't be shy, just ask.
User groups also demonstrate games at their meetings. Mingle during the breaks and you'll hear a lot about software that others are playing. You might even arrange to see several titles at members' houses.
If there's a question-and-answer period during a user group meeting, that's a great opportunity for asking game questions. Chances are someone will have an answer for you.
Do you need some advice on winning? You'll find several books on specific games and strategy books on specific genres of games. A short list of these is below.
- A Flight Simulator Odyssey
- Flying on Instruments with Flight Simulator
- The Official F-19 Stealth Fighter Handbook
- 40 Great Submarine Simulator War Adventures
- Gunship Academy: Tactics and Maneuvers for Attack Helicopter Simulations
- The Official Book of Kings' Quest: Daventry and Beyond
- Realistic Commercial Flying with Flight Simulator
- Sub Commander: Tactics and Strategy for WWII Submarine Simulations
All of the above are published by COMPUTE! Books, Chilton Book Company, One Chilton Way, Radnor, Pennsylvania 19089; (800) 345-1214.
- King's Quest hint books
- Space Quest hint books
Both of the above are published by Sierra, P.O. Box 485, Coarsegold, California 93614; (209) 683-4463.
If you can't figure something out, chances are someone else already has. Your modem opens a new realm of game advice. Below is a listing of some places you might try.
- Log on to CompuServe and type GO GAMES. A vast array of game forums provide for almost every gamer's interest. You might also type GO IBMNEW and find a library of public domain and shareware games that you can download. Contact CompuServe at P.O. Box 20212, Columbus, Ohio 43220; (800) 848-8199 or (614) 457-0802.
- Sierra offers a 16-line BBS to answer many of your questions. Call (209) 683-4463. The service is free; all you pay for is the phone call.
- Origin has a dedicated Omega BBS. You can upload and download different cybertanks and ask questions about programming Omega tanks. The company will also answer questions about other Origin games. The BBS number is (512) 328-4128, and access is free—you pay just for the phone call.
- Local bulletin boards are a low-cost alternative to the online sources listed above because you don't have to pay for the service or the phone call. Try a local computer store for their BBS numbers. Once online, you can download the numbers of even more BBSs. Because the different BBSs offer a wide variety of emphases, you should be able to find what you're looking for.