So you want to climb a mountain? Oh, I’ll just bet you do.

Alpiner is simple in theory. Make it to the top of six mountains and you win. But if only it weren’t for those pesky snakes, trees, fires, skunks, bears, lions, vultures, bat caves, avalanches, and abominable snowmen
The mountains that stand between you and sweet victory in this game are, in order, Hood, Matterhorn, Kenya, McKinley, Garmo, and Everest. (The elevations of these mountains in the game match the elevations of the real ones.) So you begin at the bottom of each mountain and start climbing, but along the way you are confronted with a variety of obstacles (each one introduced by its own specific music cue). But don’t rush. I recently found a way to play this online after being out of practice for many years. And the one crutch I still lean on, the one childhood habit I still have in this game to this day is that I’m in a big rush to get to the topic which invariably gets me showered with falling rocks and nowhere to hide. The only way to avoid this is to develop patience and a calm strategy to navigate your way around the obstacles.

Say for example you encounter a bear on your climb. It should be easy to simply ignore the stationary bear and climb around him, careful not to step in the fire on his right. But this is of course minus those pesky yet fatal falling rocks. Once the rocks start falling, it makes each mountain less of a ho-hum climb and more of a hopping obstacle course. You have to dodge the rocks, but keep in mind the bear and the fire in your way, plus an unfortunately placed pine tree that just won’t let you climb over it. Add to that the fact that you also have to try to grab the green rings on the paws of the bears and the lions, keep an eye out for the abominable snowman at the Everest level, get sprayed by the occasional skunk, and try not to piss off the mama vulture by touching the nest that contains her babies, now you have yourself a challenge. You’d best be on your toes, because as the mountains get higher, the obstacles multiply and it becomes that much more difficult for you to arrive safely at the summit.

Now if all that isn’t enough, there are the voices. You as a climber have a male voice, and when you find yourself in unfavorable situations, he’s known to exclaim, “Yuck” or “Oh no!” And of course when you falls, he lets out a resounding “Heeeeeeeellllllllllp!” only to be greeted at the bottom of the mountain by her. The disembodied and smug lady robot that lives inside your computer. She mostly “guides” you through each mountain, often yelling a clipped “Look out!” or cautioning, “Beware, falling objects” as the rocks rain down. This is all just peachy, until you happen fall. As you hit the bottom, your once solid sherpa now taunts, “Did you mean to do that?” Or worse, “Harder than it looks, isn’t it?” It’s maddening. And there isn’t a once or current player of Alpiner that hasn’t yelled right back at Madame Know It All when she asserts, as only she can, “You’ve got to move faster!”

Oh shut up!

Sass Wagon

Sass Wagon (or Dana, if you prefer formality) grew up in Pennsylvania in the 80s and 90s. She kinda needs a haircut.

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