When I received an email from the New England Classic with the subject “DazQuest Press Copy,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had spoken with the game’s co-creators, but you never really know what you’re going to get until you’ve spent some time playing the game. The press copy came in the form of a zip file whose capacity for viruses Google was unable to scan. Would the New England Classic have sent me a virus instead of the video game we had spent 90 minutes discussing? I wouldn’t put it past them. But, with Windows Security Defender humming in the background, I unzipped the folder and opened the Chrome HTML file. I was greeted by a black screen with UIS style font that read “Loading…” and below, in red font—which I would later understand signified clickable links—“Start!”
DazQuest is, first and foremost, a story-based game. While there is opportunity for choice-based outcomes and dialogue trees, the end result is fairly linear. This does not mean, however, that completion is guaranteed. Mini-games and potential death stand in the way of victory in DazQuest. But, what will really have players restarting their copy of the game is the varying choice tree. Throughout the game, players will have the chance to take their characters to different locations, or choose different quest items, which may affect their individual experiences—sometimes much later in the game.
The game begins, logically, at “Chapter 1: ’Dazzed and Confused.” The player’s character wakes from a deep slumber—perhaps paying homage to the text-based, en media res, introduction of many entries in the long-standing Pokemon series. The alarm clock is blaring Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” but it is not yet clear why. The developing text draws the players in, compelling them to click on in search of the answers to their questions. Questions like “Why is my character listening to Twisted Sister’s ‘I Wanna Rock?’” and “Wasn’t that song spoofed in the 2004 animated classic The Spongebob SquarePants Movie?” and “Why does my character have so many satin robes?” But most importantly, questions like “Who am I?”
DazQuest answers these questions with “Because your character is a huge Sisterhead,” “Yes,” “Because it’s safe to say that you’re a bit of a strange person,” and “You are Steve Addazio, the award-winning head coach of the Boston College Eagles Football Team,” respectively.
Here is where DazQuest gets interesting, and where the name starts to make sense. You play as Addazio, and you’re spending an adventurous day in the life. The Doug Flutie statue outside Alumni Stadium has been stolen and it’s up to you to track down the missing BC icon.
Gameplay in DazQuest is scarce, but welcome when it does appear. A highlight of DazQuest is the mini-game called Garfield: My Big Fat Diet, which is available to play on Addazio’s iPod Touch. The gameplay is simple, but enjoyable, conferring a sense of success and accomplishment upon completion of all 10 levels. This lack of more traditional gameplay does not detract from DazQuest overall. What the title lacks in button-mashing, quick time events, and time challenges, it makes up for in compelling narrative and engaging dialogue. Characters seem to leap off the screen. This is unsurprising, considering the hard, no-nonsense look that Classic creators took with the portrayal of these real-life BC personas. It’s clear that the writers of DazQuest did their research. You start off at Addazio’s home, located in Dennis, Mass. This quiet Cape Cod town is the real-life location of the football coach’s residence. There are options for character customization in the form of wardrobe selection, but each choice is something players can picture the man himself wearing.
The soundtrack for DazQuest is also unparalled. Featuring 8-bit remixes of famous songs like “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” and “Fly Like an Eagle,” DazQuest is certainly a game to be played in class with AirPods in your ears.
DazQuest is a recent addition to the often-forgotten choose-your-own-adventure style of games like The Secret of Monkey Island or the TellTale games series. Fans of more traditional games and indie platformers alike will enjoy DazQuest, even if only for its personal and shockingly intimate presentation.
Featured Image by The New England Classic