First of all: Happy New Year!
The ArianeB game is 10 years old.
But in those 10 years, several things have changed, and it isn't finished yet.
Forward he cried
Those who have played the online version of Ariane Dating Game recently, and I mean the first Ariane Barnes incarnation that made this walkthrough blog a relative hit, may have noticed that some features have changed. One thing is that the images (well, almost all of them) have been blown op from to 800 x 500 pixels to 1000 x 600 pixels. This seems to be a good thing as (cheap) monitors get bigger and bigger and download speeds get faster and faster (even on mobile devices), but that is not all...
The clickable, but invisible, hotspot zones (also called image maps for those who still remember html courses) have been replaced by easy to spot links. The good thing is it has been made possible to play the game on tablets and phones like that, because with a fat finger you can't hover over an invisible link. The other thing however...
Well, I would be daft to forbid the Creator to make the game tablet-friendly, but I can't unthink the impression that this is another case where new technology leads to a further nivellement par le bas instead of creating an intellectual boost of the masses. I'm sorry, but this is the time of the year I get my annual Frankfurter Schule identity crisis.
Little by little the original (and rather cute) Ariane #1 graphics are being replaced by their modern equivalent, starring the new Ariane who can be seen in SITA. This will obviously enhance Ariane's corporate image, but it does look like a frankenmix operation to me, a kind of smothering like the KGB used to do on old USSR pictures containing people who fell from grace for one reason or another. I caught the term frankenmix on a music forum where it was used to describe a remastered, updated and modernised release of a sixties music track by using digital technology and effects. Despite the record company's press release that it is still the same track, but cleaned up and enhanced in the way the musicians originally wanted it to sound, but were unable to do in the sixties, it actually is a frankenstein-like amalgam, like a field of corn that is slowly contaminated by its genetically modified equivalent. Matilda Mother, from Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, comes to mind that was released in a 2010 alternative mix, rumoured to be a patchwork of different takes and third millennium digital wizardry.
Careful with that axe, Abe
Plutarch already raised the question around the year 75 in his Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. He writes that the ship of Theseus was preserved as a museum piece by the Athenians, who gradually replaced the old planks by new ones. The Theseus' paradox became a popular subject among philosophers: is the ship in the Athenian harbour still the original or it is a new one? The same paradox also appeared in popular culture centuries later as George Washington's (or Abe Lincoln's) axe. Whoever the president is, he is (apocryphally) cited as follows: “I have used the same axe for decades, I only had its handle replaced three times and its head twice...”
But the main proof that ArianeB, version 8.0 or whatever it will be called, will be different can be found in the underlying script. In all previous ArianeB versions alcohol played an important role. In order to get her in the sack, to use a politically incorrect term, Ariane had to be fuelled with alcohol. The difficulty was to find the right amount of alcohol and if my memory serves me well, the ideal was three glasses, lunch included, see: Steak Dinner.
This no longer will be necessary, although beer and wine can still be consumed in the game. Ariane's motives to get romantically involved with the player are now unlocked by a combination of four different personality traits: nice, smart, funny, and sexy.
The introduction part of the game (which was kind of lame anyway) has been rewritten giving you two opportunities to demonstrate a trait to Ariane. The first is immediate and obvious: “Compliment her looks” = Nice, “Give her a hug” = Sexy, “Say something smart” = Smart, “Say something funny” = funny. You then have a choice to kiss Ariane. She will react negatively to the kiss, but you can explain/apologize in a smart, nice, sexy, or funny way. Or you can choose to read a smart, nice, sexy, or funny poem. These are less obvious. Taken from: Date Ariane 10th Anniversary Edition (Part 1)
The trait that has the most points will influence the rest of the game and some hints are given away at the latest Ariane blog post. I haven't started yet matching the 40+ walkthroughs on this blog to the anniversary version, perhaps I will once the debugging stage is over. Perhaps I won't. For the next months playing ArianeB online will be a somewhat psychedelic experience as her face and clothes will change from page to page, from picture to picture.
ArianeB 7.2 - old look
ArianeB anniversary edition - new look
As long as the transition has not been fully completed, and the script has not been fully debugged, the download link at the official ArianeB page still points to version 7.2. I can only say to those vintage ArianeB lovers to grab a copy of 7.2 while you still can.
Because the tenth anniversary edition of ArianeB may be announced as still the same, but she will not be the same any more... RIP Ariane...
More information (at arianeb dot com):
The controversy between the old and the new Ariane has never been explained better: Ariane Barnes: Aspiring Video Game Star.