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November 6, 2011 / jwaxo

Pipe Dream (Know What You Want)

I only let the best people guide green goo around my walls!

This post is not about Pipe Dream, and that’s the problem.

There was this really fun game on our cousins’ computer. They claimed that they got it for free, that it was installed when they bought the thing, and they had no idea where we could get it. But I was fascinated by it.

In the game, you were given a single tile with half of a pipe in it, the “start” tile, and a similar tile somewhere else on a grid-like board, the “end” tile. Your goal would be to use pipes, which you would get random pieces of, to connect the two tiles. After a set amount of time, green slime would start seeping out of the starting tile, and if you didn’t have a path of pipes to the end tile, you would lose. You would get green slime all over your lovely, clean tile, and everyone would laugh and switch places at the hotseat.

There were two problems with our attempts to capture this game for ourselves: 1) We couldn’t remember the name of it, 2) That was really it.

I can’t remember how many times we played it at our cousins’ house. At least three or four times, through Easters and Thanksgivings and other family gatherings. Every time I would get very excited and say that, as soon as I got home, I would look it up using our fancy new AOL keyword search and maybe download the game, or at least a demo.

I have no idea why we never thought to write it down.


After this happening several times, I eventually was browsing through the rack of cheap games in the bookstore of the outlet mall and saw a game that I swore was the one that we had played all of those times. I tossed the books I was going to buy to the way-side and happily plunked my collected bills down onto the counter for this very light and loose box. It contained a single 3.25” disc, which I plugged into the computer and installed.

The game was horrible.

And the problem probably stemmed from the fact that it was named Pipe Frenzy.

In cases like this, with a very simple game that originally was for the Amiga and was ported to all sorts of platforms, you can normally get away with something similarly-named. I mean, it’s not too hard to copy some very basic concepts and make a similar game, right? Incorrect. This game somehow got it all wrong: the slime moved at a dumb pace, it took forever just to place a single tile of pipe, and don’t even think about replacing one if it’s the wrong one. These problems, and a multitude of others, lead to a frustration headache and an eventual toss into the garbage. I honestly don’t think that I played it more than once or twice.

The lesson’s right up there in the title. You need to know what you’re buying, and to make sure it’s what you want to buy. If it isn’t, you might end up heartbroken.

Not to mention breaking the hearts of games all over.



Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous / Nov 8 2011 9:42 PM

    I once bought Unreal Tournament from a bargain bin, yes, the first unreal tournament. I found out after installing it that it was only half the game, nowhere on the package did it say that this was not the full game. Though, i suppose it also did not say it Was the full game either.

    • jwaxo / Nov 8 2011 9:47 PM

      This exact thing happened to me with Soul Reaver! The worst part was that I bought it on eBay, bid for it and everything. The case didn’t say that it was a trial, the disc didn’t… but sure enough, after the first boss “please purchase the full game!”

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