QUANTUM GARDENING Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K cassette
By Jonathan Cauldwell, for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K, on cassette.
The pig breeding season is once more at an end and Eadwig Addlethorpe
has turned to his other passion at this time of year: growing tulips.
Eadwig's garden is not like any you will have seen before, for he is
relentlessly pursued around the trellises he erects by last year's crop of borlotti
beans, and there are deadly giant bees roaming the area too. Thankfully
Eadwig has devised an innovative method of dealing with these problems:
For any event at which there could be more than one possible outcome
the universe splits into two or more alternate realities. In one universe
team A might win the Interstellar croquet tournament, in the other it will
be won by team B. Sometimes we even make a choice as to which of these
alternate realities we should enter - should we take that new job as a yodelling
dumpling arranger or stay in our present situation as a blancmange
flinging trebuchet operator? Other events such as the weather seem random and
out of our control. Eadwig, however, has dicovered that he has the ultimate
power to decide which future alternate reality he enters - decisions which
would not, on the face of it, be his to make. He may have a choice between a
future where snails attack his plant, or one where it rains all day and
the snails decide to go snorkelling instead. In order to ensure the best
results Eadwig simply chooses to enter the version of the future where his
plants thrive. It's free, completely organic, and no pygmies are
harmed in the process.
Eadwig can move up and down fixed ladder positions, and left and right where
platforms exist. In addition, he can lay down new sections or remove old
ones at will. Any rainfall which lands on the platforms will run laterally
until it encounters a gap in the platforms - in this way rain may be
directed onto Eadwig's plant, usually located at the bottom of the screen.
The universe is splitting all the time and Eadwig can see the choices before
him in the form of a board game surrounding the main play area. Dice drop
from the top of the screen, and Eadwig chooses which alternate reality he
enters by selecting one. For example, should he pick up the die which has
landed on a 5, his position will move 5 places around the board, whereas
collecting the die showing 3 will progress him 3 places. Each square
he lands on represents an alternate universe with a different effect, represented
by the icon on the square. Spiders take care of pests, trowells
are handy for digging in hamster jam fertiliser, and rain makes plants grow.
Be wary of snails. As for the other symbols... well, you'll have to work
those out for yourself.
After every two levels Eadwig reaches a bonus stage where he can increase
Ultimately, Eadwig's choices lead him towards a more chaotic and
disordered universe and this manifests itself on later levels.