A Quiet Weekend in Capri
Un Tranquillo weekend a
...a review by Inferno
you are listening to Laguna al Tramonto
written by Silvio Savarese
classical guitar performed by Silvio Savarese
synthesizer performed by Gey Savarese
When I was approached with the opportunity of reviewing A Quiet Weekend in Capri, I must say that my interest was more than piqued at the prospect. Keep in mind, when this game first reared its noble Italian head ~~ I knew absolutely nothing about it (truth be told); nor did I have either the time or inclination to find out. (My apologies, Silvio.) I merely thought that it was a simple "mystery" quest and put it way back on a virtual "to-played-someday-in-the-future-when-I-could-find-the-time" shelf that exists deep in the caverns of my mind. (Sorry, Gey.) I'm delighted to say that the encounter was well worth it.
“But, Inferno ---“, you might well ask, “a review … a year later?”
Sure, why not…? You don’t honestly think that -- when the blush and waggle of a new “Adventure Title” disappears after the game hits the streets of our “virtual neighborhoods” and the notoriety dies back down to a more normal turn -- that said issue is put up in the oblivion box… do you?
Silvio e Gey Savarese
This is a most interesting and talented Independent Development Team. Gey Savarese spent many years working for Texas Instruments and then later for Micron Technology where he was a "Research and Development" Director who designed integrated circuits in France and then later, in his own beloved Italy. Seems to me that here was “Il Patè Intellettuale" of this Dynamic Duo, designing an appropriate gaming engine, writing the code, implementing the game's rather interesting interface, and integrating the over 4500 digital graphics into its technical design. "The other half of the "Capri" team is Silvio Savarese, a young student of Cal Tech University who last January attained his doctorate in "Computer Vision". Ah yes! The indomitable “Dr. Savarese”." Bravo!"
But it is his story crafting and musical genius that has me totally blown away. My, it’s enough to make a father proud. Maybe we should ask him? Gey... how proud you must be of your son! But then, the converse surely must be true... Silvio how proud you must be of your father! Sorry, didn't know? I didn't either until just very recently. The Developers Savarese Extraordinaire are none other than a Father and Son Team. Most impressive.
Now how did they do it (and mind you, do it so well) across the miles? Through websites and emails, I would imagine. But I believe it was more than that -- one family member encouraging and driving the other until their business was complete and out of the love and "passion for the game", A Quiet Weekend in Capri was born.
Per Il "Caprini"
The price point for this marvelous virtual media project is right on target. Actually I feel that for what you receive it may be slightly underpriced. Sorry, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. While in the beginning this piece was promoted as an Independent ~~ by the time it came to me to look at it, the game had all ready been picked up by Got Game Entertainment. Well done you! I sincerely hope that GGE will encourage this Developer Family to create a series within this Adventure Travel genre. The gaming community should count itself lucky to have “La Camera di Savarese” within its midst... and speaking as someone who also makes their career in the travel industry, so should the Italian Travel Bureau. I am so impressed.
I Mezzi Di Vedio
The media itself, well the version I played anyway, published by Got Game Entertainment offers a "Virtual Tourist" presentation in which the prospective "day-tripper" can do some sightseeing on her own. This section offers the choice of passing leisurely though the environment with an Italian speaking Tour Guide with English subtitles for the characters that one will encounter along the way. (I personally recommend this one); even the characters you will meet along the way speak to you in Italian. Such spectacular local color! Incredibly fabulous scenery and unforgettable music... I just couldn't help myself, for I was immediately drawn in and held captive by "Il periodo magico del Savarese" ... The musicality of this beautiful language just heightened everything for me, especially since I'm very proud to say that it spoke directly to my Italian heritage as my Father's father was from Formia and the emotional feelings I experienced while playing managed to dispatch me softly backward to my blissful summers spent in Italy as a teenager. There is also, if one prefers, a total "Touristic Package" in English, whose voice-overs were quite well done. Lovely. The visual surroundings are nothing short of spectacular. Each one more breathtaking than the last. There are 4500 digital photos here. The Tour alone took me two days (...Gee a real weekend!) I wanted to take my time and drink it all in. Hmmmm Yum!
One of the nicest things about A Quiet Weekend in Capri is the "non-linear venue" of it all. Which can be hard for some gamers, I know. But it works to a wonderful perfection here. And the landscape graphics of this magical island make the whole thing worthwhile. Not to mention the fact that the 37 characters which you will come across in all four sides of the project are the common citizens of this truly beautiful city. Again you'll have a choice, Italian with subtitles or English.
Insalata Di Capri
I have to tell you that I started the sightseeing portion of the game after a long stressful day at the airport (we had a serious delay). After finally reaching my humble abode near 11:00 PM, I changed into my comfiest robe and slippers, poured a nice glass of red wine, sat down at my computer and loaded up A Quiet Weekend in Capri. Now, my intention was really just to have a quick "lookisee" around the game world. I had the next two days off and had planned to explore the piece at my leisure for those two days. Well, you could just imagine my surprise when I looked up at the clock and realized that it was already 4:30 in the morning! I had spent the first five and one half hours of "Il Giro Parlato in Italiano" completely captivated.
Worse yet, I had also realized that I hadn't had anything to eat since lunch the afternoon before and I was famished.... Luckily for me, in the Tour I had just arrived at the "Ristorante da Tonino" and saw that lovely Capri Salad... it was all I could think about. In fact I was so taken with it, that I began to crave that "Insalata Di Capri” with such a passion that at 4:45, I was out the door to the 24-hour market around the corner Of course, being Italian helped. I grew up on this ambrosia of the Roman Gods.
~~Wal-Mart Superstore can be a beautiful thing when one is hungry and in search of the ingredients one needs while still clad in one's PJ's and slippers!~~
Let's see: Fresh Hothouse tomatoes, Fresh Whole Basil Leaf, Virgin Olive Oil, Romaine Lettuce, and of course Fresh Mozzarella ... I was able to snag it all save the cheese! Being a displaced New Yorker, I was very upset to find that there was no genuine Italian Olive Oil (only Spanish) and of course no fresh Mozzarella ...only prepackaged part skimmed rubbish. Alas! I would just have to improvise with what I could find. Of all of the states in the Union why did I have to move to Texas?
~~The word "Texas", here to mean the Largest State in the United States, a veritable country unto itself... land of Cowboys in tight jeans and Long Horn Steer and unfortunately for me, also the land of "fake-prepackaged-part- skimmed-pretend-mozzarella-cheese-food".~~
Somebody save me! Yeesh! I tell you now, if I had one wish it would be to obtain a can of genuine Italian Virgin Olive Oil and real Mozzarella complete with high fat and water content.
...But I digress.
Il Racconto del Ragazzo Della Drogheria di Mistero
Now when you've finished poking around the village of Capri and local points of interest, you can start on the "Adventure Game" portion of this marvelously brilliant piece of work.
You'll begin once again at the pier on the Mainland. Things seem to go along quite nicely as you return to the magnificent island. All things will seem quite like you remember. However,
~~ there just always seems to be a however, doesn't there? ~~
As you make your way to your hotel in hopes of beginning an utterly fabulous and quiet weekend... something wrong happens... something very, very wrong! Hey... where did everybody go? Maybe you should go back to the Piazzetta and ask?
I found that the interface for all portions of the project quite interesting and extremely easy to use. Presented almost as a “Desk Top” if you will, the “field of view” has a black expanse with the primary action and slide show graphics of sometimes varying sizes in the center. Underneath this (along the bottom) are various icon graphics which allow access to “the notebook” which records all conversations and holds many clues and hints, a “services” icon which helps you to begin or reload the game, a “map” icon, an ”inventory” icon, and a “scene” icon which allows you to see which scene number you are in. Clicking on the “services” icon will bring up a new “Desk Top” where one may Start, Save or Quit the adventure. But there is much more logically placed information here as well. In the center, one will find icons for “The Prologue” – this is very important, as it will give you two vital hints to keep you from wandering aimlessly around at the beginning of the game. “Instructions” – also vital, and simply done; here one will learn the technical aspects of how to enjoy the adventure to its best advantage. There is also a “Designers” icon and a “Credits and Information” icon -- both are self-explanatory, highly informative and well executed.
The only thing I will tell you is that I had an absolute blast trying to figure it all out. There are puzzles, tasks and mazes (the nuclear village is one big maze at first until you get your bearings) but the map will mark key points as you speak to people and discover various objects. The puzzles are inventory-based for the most part. Some are mechanical as well, but none of them impossible. A very colorful, combination- mechanical-inventory-based- visual-cryptograph puzzle, which combines elements from various areas of the island, an audio cryptograph which is hysterically well done and yes, there is a “tonal puzzle” using musical notes. These were particular favorites of mine, yet the best by far was the maze at Villa Jovis...but then, I’ve always had a penchant for mazes. All in all, I found the game’s challenges to be interesting, sometimes humorous and always entertaining. They each fit within the storyline in such a natural and refreshingly fascinating manner, seeming to add a solid base to the structure and logic of Capri’s parallel universe. And I have to mention that I truly enjoyed the fact that sometimes these conundrums required me to revisit a place more than once
Signs and clues are there, all you have to do is look carefully and listen to everyone, well, everyone that is, except one person. But, you'll be okay --- after all you have your notebook with you!
I must also mention here, the strong musical prowess attained by Silvio for A Quiet Weekend in Capri’s Soundtrack. Many gamers may not have realized that the third CD is a separate entity all to itself. For it is here that we can sit back and listen to the lyrical expressions and moods of Silvio's enchanting music.
The music tracks are highly imaginative, and reflect the ambiance of the island itself. Though each one is an individual piece; you can still hear and feel the obvious emotional thread which holds them together. It brought back to mind all that I remembered of Italy: her mesmerizing landscapes and vistas, her wondrous culinary styles, her majestic wines, ancient and fascinating culture and her strong and creative people. This especially holds true for the bittersweet and haunting strains of Laguna al Tramonto, which brings a tear to my eye whenever I hear it. It has become a consummate favorite of mine. Thank you, Silvio for reminding me of an ancestry to which I had long forgotten and am so very proud to be a part of now.
When playing A Quiet Weekend in Capri, do yourself a favor and choose the Italian version when you play either the tour or the game ... but hopefully both -- immerse yourself in the whole Capri experience while you play. Fix yourself a delightful Insalata Di Capri and treat yourself to a bottle of good Chianti. Salut!
...Then, when you're finished with your "quiet weekend", surprise your loved ones by cooking an authentic Italian supper and play Silvio's music CD during dinner and before you know it, you'll be saying:
“Ah! Quanto è bella questa tranquilla isola di Capri!”
Ciao, Ciao, Avventura Bella!
Minimum System Requirements
Windows® 98SE/ME/2000/XP or
Windows® 98 equipped with Windows Media® Player
XGA monitor with true Screen Area/Resolution 1024 x 768(standard screen)
or 1280 x 800 (wide screen) and 16 millions of color
740 MB free Hard Disk space
CD-ROM reader 16X
Soundblaster™ Live Player 1024 or equivalent Audio card
Suggested System Requirements
XGA monitor with true Screen Area/Resolution 1024 x 768(standard screen)
or 1280 x 800 (wide screen) and 32 millions of color
800 MB free Hard Disk space
CD-ROM reader 48X
120 MB RAM
Soundblaster™ Live Player 1024 or higher
This document may not be distributed without the express
written permission of the author and the content may not be altered in any way.
For Questions or Comments Please write to: INFERNO Copyright ©5 /2005 INFERNO
graphics and sound with kind permission,
property of Gey & Silvio Savarese
all rights reserved