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Day of the Pidiot


"It takes an open mind to get your piece of the pi"

For years, High Schools have been celebrating March 14th (3/14) as pi-day, in salute to the number pi (approximately 3.14). Pi has been such a wonderful number for mathematicians, providing geometric theories and allowing complicated math concepts to be taught to teenagers and college students.

But as one small High School in the middle of nowhere prepares its festivities for pi-day, four teachers have been kidnapped! You receive a call and head immediately to the small town to investigate the case...

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
When you hand a QB programmer a High School Yearbook and a scanner, you know you're headed for turmoil. Day of the Pidiot combines some grainy scanned pictures with low-level artistry to integrate scanned pictures of High School students, faculty, and dogs in what would otherwise seem like a 16-color universe. Unfortunately, the blend isn't so refined as puzzle games like this usually go. The differences between what graphics are scanned and what is drawn are too noticeable. Also, some of the scans of people were in incomplete segments, so JdR had to draw in the legs and feet. The result is a sort of slipshod look to this game.

Another thing worth mentioning is the lack of animation in this game. During DoTP you'll find a lot of interesting items, but if you use them the right way there's no nifty animation that shows you just how ingenious your work is. Also, while travelling through the High School where DoTP takes place you'll notice that nothing seems to move. A little more action to remove the static feel would have been nice.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
N/A Day of the Pidiot does not come with sound and music, and while there's a possible 3-6 hour quest in your hands, the combination of concepts of this puzzle game are so distinct that adding sound or music won't really change the way this game feels.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvv
Gameplay in Day of the Pidiot is mouse-driven. You start off at the west end of a series of rooms, and you can walk to corresponding rooms by pointing and clicking your mouse at the left and right edges of the screen. Along the way, you'll find objects that you can pick up or use, people that you can talk to or give items to, or math puzzles that need to be solved. As you find out more and more what the items you have are used for, you get much closer to figuring out what happened to those High School teachers.

Where Day of the Pidiot really individualizes itself from anyone else is the use of math-related puzzles that are placed all over this game. This is one of the reasons why Day of the Pidiot received a "T" audience rating. Sometimes, in the middle of journey, a man may awkwardly ask you to answer some pretty difficult math puzzles that require some knowledge of algebra and geometry. Not only does getting through these math puzzles the bulk of DoTP's challenge, but it provides an unlikely dimension to what otherwise seemed like a pure item-gathering game.

There is some awkwardness though in this formula. With so many math puzzles integrated into the game's engine, I noticed my fair share of errors and glitches. Doors often can not be opened, and the game's walking system allows you to lose access to what would otherwise be simple answers to simple situations.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Poor) Day of the Pidiot really does put a lot more emphasis on its challenge and gameplay than its story... this is why Day of the Pidiot, although inspired by Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, and some other LucasArts Adventure games, is not a true adventure game. The implication of an adventure game is that you get to travel to many different lands to enjoy the experiences in each land you find. Day of the Pidiot misses this mark because the story really doesn't develop much further than "someone kidnapped four teachers, you must save them". There are also a lot of people along the way, but they all seem to be scanned, static, and they lack character or even the sense of humor that makes LucasArts games so fantastic.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Some of the math puzzles involved in Day of the Pidiot were a little frustrating, particularly the same puzzle I mentioned with Martin's bomb (not necessarily because the puzzle was difficult, but because the puzzle required plenty of clicking to reach the right answer.) And having to repeat those experiences again would almost seem like trying to do some extra credit in a Math class.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
Day of the PIdiot's saving grace. If the challenge in DoTP was divided into two elements, one element would have to be the math puzzles in this game, while the other element is the item-utilizing that takes place as you find some more items and find out how they relate to each other.

Yet neither of these two elements are particularly exciting. The math puzzles, most of which are based on famous problems, have equally famous solutions. If the game did not have item-utilizing to keep a little more of the brain occupied, seasoned mathematicians (to which the QB community must have a surplus) would be able to breeze through this game in an instant.

The reason the brain fails is the item gathering aspect of Day of the Pidiot. Unlike the math puzzles, which require logic and analysis to solve, you have to be a lot more creative than logical to figure out just what these items to do and how they relate to each other. The result is a devilish blend of challenges that will keep most gamers bewildered and constantly thinking.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Poor) With the combination of math puzzles and an unusual logic for the way items work together, the fun factor really comes to a lose/lose situation depending on your math skills. If you're a mathematician, you won't find the popular math puzzles that make up the bulk of this game very challenging. If that happens you'll start to notice how some of the things you have to do to save the teachers lack coherence. If your math skills aren't so great then you won't be able to enjoy playing the item-gathering part of this game because you'll be stuck trying to plug numbers into some equation. In either case, Day of the Pidiot ends up suffering in terms of fun factor.
Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: 3-6 hours Final Rating: 9/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wTo unzip Day of the Pidiot, open the self-extracting file "DOTPGAME.EXE" in the directory of your choice.
wOnce the game is extracted, play Day of the Pidiot by running "DOTP.EXE".

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