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"How in the hell could Interplay release a game with such major, glaring, near-fatal flaws? Didn't anybody know? Didn't anybody care?" - PC Gamer Nov 98

"Running a close second in the shovelware market is Interplay, which also takes second place (after Sierra) as The Company Who Hates Its Customers The Most" - PC Gamer Feb 99

Got Game?  Get Refund!

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MAX2 CONTEST

Note: This contest has ended. There were no entries.

Special Note to fellow Webmasters: If you have a website, you are welcome to include this webpage (in full or in part) on your site.

Warning:  It is suggested that you print or save this page in case it has to be removed.  To make it easy for you to do this, all content for this contest is included on one long page (rather than cross-linked pages).

On Thursday, July 23 the MAX2 HEAVEN website posted a report at "high noon" that has since been removed. Over 8 hours was spent working on that report. Sorry that you can't see it now. However, that incident inspired this contest. (Note that the report was voluntarily removed, not forcibly removed ... and this contest is to find a replacement for it).

CONTEST CONTENTS

  1. Webmasters Note (above)
  2. WARNING (above)
  3. Inspiration (above)
  4. Who Can Enter?
  5. What Is The Contest?
  6. Fun For Single Or Team Alliance!
  7. How To Enter?
  8. Prizes?
  9. Deadline?
  10. Resources Provided For You!
    ...
  11. Who Is MAX2 QA?
  12. Bugs And Crashes
  13. Who Approves The Game & Patches For Release?
  14. Who Are The Bosses Who Set The Policy For Releasing A Game?
  15. Customer / Consumer Contact Information
  16. The Multiplayer Aspect Of MAX2
  17. MAX2 Milestones And History
  18. Customer Comments
  19. ...
  20. Who Will Judge Contest Entries?
  21. The COMALite T-Shirt Story

Who Can Enter?

You do not have to have a website to enter this contest, though if you do, it gives you an extra option.  You also do not have to own MAX2 or have been a MAX2 Beta Tester.  Everyone is welcome to enter.

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What Is The Contest?

The contest itself is extremely flexible, based on this concept:

The TITLE of the Thursday July 23 news report that was removed was:

aangelr.gif (2897 bytes) MAX2 QA ... or the story of KWAH ...

To enter the contest all you have to do is to write an Editorial, News Report or Story (serious, sad, funny, factual, hype, advisory, congratulatory or any combination) that has the same title!  Say QA 10 times really fast (or try to pronounce it) and you will understand the second part of the TITLE.

EXCEPTION: You might like to be creative and make up the title of your entry yourself. This is fine, as long as the entry is about MAX2 in some way.

This contest is to find a replacement for the report that was removed.  All entries should be text only (minimal graphics accepted only if essential to the entry).

This is your chance, so do a good job. Remember all the hard work put in by the MAX2 Team and the good game design. They are still working hard on it. The game, MAX2, has potential to be one of the best games of the year. A touch of humor can go a long way.

NOTE: Some of you may find this contest boring and would rather be off PLAYING MAX2 rather than writing about it. Nothing wrong with that. Others may find this contest challenging, and a good change of pace.

WARNING: Keep your entry in good taste. Remember there are kids reading these pages. Avoid any personal attacks and "flaming".

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Enter On Your Own Or As A Team Alliance!

Enter this contest on your own, or work as a TEAM ... become an ALLIANCE that submits one entry that represents your entire TEAM.

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How To Enter?

Anyone (or any team) who wishes to enter should send an EMail to CaptComal@hotmail.com to get the details on how to submit your entry. If you have a website, you are welcome to post your entry on your site as well (but still send for the details in addition to that). If you want to talk about this contest or your entry, please use the ALLIANCE MAX2 FORUM (interesting that one of the premier MAX2 websites is called ALLIANCE).

Entries do not have to be long. Short entries can be just as good.

NOTICE: Make sure to include the same notice that is at the bottom of this page with your entry.

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Prizes?

There are no prizes in this contest other than the satisfaction of entering and the fame that all entries will get on the official Contest Entry Site!

ATTN: We still need a site that all entries can be posted on ... it should be hosted in a country that allows freedom of expression (however, keep your entries in good taste with no personal attacks or "flaming" ... remember kids are reading these pages!) ... contact CaptComal@hotmail.com if you have a site and wish to volunteer the space to post all entries. I do not want MAX2 HEAVEN to be the site posting the contest entries since that might imply a bias.

The contest is merely for your fun and entertainment (and hopefully you will have a feeling of accomplishment as well). However, if there is a real "Knock Your Socks Off" entry, they might be surprised when a real COMALite T-Shirt arrives in the mail (courtesy of CaptComal - see the blurb at the end of this page about the pride in having a QUALITY COMALite shirt).

Many readers may enjoy the entries that can successfully put a positive spin on the MAX2 story more than a doom and gloom entry. Remember, the readers ARE the voters! Many want MAX2 to be the fun game that was advertised.

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Deadline?

The deadline for contest entries is one week after this announcement is posted (that would be August 4), so work fast! Submit your entry early if you can, so that the volunteer who will post all entries can spread that work out, rather than having to do them all at one time.

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Resources Provided For You!

We realize that often researching a story takes MUCH longer than actually writing it, so we are providing you with a good supply of research that is already done for you ... we want your entry to be GOOD, but we want you to spend more time on the entry itself rather then on the research! However, we also realize that you may have enough material in your head already to compose your contest entry, in which case you are ready to start right now (just skip the rest of this page and get started)!

The resources below give you places to start ... they do not do all the work for you.

Enough of the preliminary stuff ... some helpful resources are below:

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Resources Provided For You

Who Is MAX2 QA?

Since MAX2 QA is part of the title, you might wish to know who these people are and what they do (QA is an Interplay abbreviation for Quality Assurance). There are at least four places you can start to get this information:

  1. http://www.interplay.com/max2/heroes.html provides the name of the Lead Tester.
  2. The readme.txt file in your MAX2 subdirectory includes the names of the Director of Quality Assurance, QA Manager, QA Project Supervisors, Testers, QA IS Manager and QA Technicians.
  3. Pages 84 and 85 of the MAX2 Manual includes a similar list.
  4. When you start MAX2, click on CREDITS on the MAIN MENU page to get a list similar to those above.

You may wish to cross reference them all to see if the list of names is identical or not ... if not that might be part of your entry!

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Bugs And Crashes

Reports about MAX2 Bugs and Crashes may be applicable to your entry since they might be related to MAX2 QA (which is the title of your entry, remember). Some can be found in these places:

  1. Bugs: http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/bugs.htm
  2. Crashes: http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/crash.htm
  3. Interplay Bug Page: http://www.interplay.com/max2/online/bugform.html

You may want to take quick look at that last reference ... take a close look at it.

It also might be interesting for your entry to look into how many bugs were reported during the Beta Test.   Sometimes in the STATUS REPORTS, Chris Taylor referred to bugs by number (find the highest number and you will know that there were at least that many ... and hopefully ALL of them were fixed before MAX2 was released). The Status Reports are at the Alliance site:
   
http://max2.gamestats.com/planet_x_html/status_page.html

The Status Page also shows the amount of work going on during the testing of the game as well as the vast number of people who needed to coordinate their work! MAX2 appears to be a very complex game!

You might wish to concentrate on the many things that have already been fixed in MAX2, rather than what they are still working on.

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Who Approves The Game & Patches For Release?

MAX2 QA might also be part of the title since the Quality Assurance person/team appears to be the ones who give final approval for the release of the game and for each patch. You might wish to ask Interplay if this is correct, but this message (http://www.interplay.com/max2/online/messages/291.html) from Meghan seems to confirm this (she is listed as the On-line Manager - MAX 2 on this Interplay webpage: http://www.interplay.com/max2/heroes.html)

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Who Are The Bosses Who Set The Policy For Releasing A Game?

Your contest entry may also wish to refer to the "bosses" of the company since they may be the ones to set the policy for when a game should be approved for release and bear the responsibility for company actions (if my understanding of big business is correct ... you may wish to confirm this yourself). What criteria is set that must be met before something is released? How important are financial aspects? Interplay is a public company - with SHAREHOLDERS, so what are the PROS and CONS in this regard? How about timing in relation to other games being released or time of the year? There are several places you can start, but these two Interplay pages should be good:

  1. http://www.interplay.com/interplay.html - This page includes this Recent Interplay Milestone: "Interplay Entertainment Corp., Inc. goes public (NASDAQ:IPLY)". From this we know that Interplay is a public company and not privately owned. We also know that it's stock is traded on the NASDAQ with ticker symbol IPLY. As a public company, customers should be allowed to contact the "bosses" referred to as "Principals" on this page (a few screens down from the top). You are provided with the names of 12 "Principals" at Interplay (CEO, President, etc).
  2. http://www.interplay.com/press/bios.html - This page gives the biographies of many of the "Principals" at Interplay. See previous page for a similar list. You may wish to compare the lists to see if they are the same ... if not that might be part of your entry.

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Customer / Consumer Contact Information

Your contest entry might want to inform customers / consumers about how to contact people at Interplay. Interplay provides us with this information (broken down to phone, fax, mail and EMail):

  1. Contact interplay staff by phone using phone numbers supplied on this webpage: http://www.interplay.com/contact.html
  2. Contact interplay staff by FAX using the FAX numbers supplied on this webpage: http://www.interplay.com/contact.html
  3. Contact interplay staff by mail using the addresses supplied on this webpage: http://www.interplay.com/contact.html
  4. Contact interplay staff by EMail properly referencing the persons name (see below). We can see from the various example EMail addresses provided by Interplay that the address ends with @interplay.com.

Note: companies can employ various ways of using a persons name for their EMail name, usually a combination of their full or truncated first name and last name. Some typical methods (using John Doe as an example Interplay person) are:

Once you know one persons EMail address at a company, you then likely know how to figure out the EMail address for everyone else at that company. A good place to look for the ONE example is the webmaster, since that person often publishes his/her EMail address for people to report website problems to. You can find the EMail address for the Interplay Webmaster on their ONLINE message forum page: http://www.interplay.com/max2/online/max2board.html where you find this information:

"Message board and web suggestions should go to rberzins@interplay.com"

From this information, you can see that Interplay appears to use the first letter of the persons first name (R for Rachael, Ralph, Rebecca, Richard, or ??) followed by their last name for their EMail address (the last example for John Doe above marked "this one" was correct if this is true: jdoe@interplay.com). You may wish to verify this ... Interplay has a toll free 800 number that you can call (it is listed on the page you just viewed at the start of this item). They should be able to confirm how Interplay EMail addresses are setup. Another way to tell if an EMail address is correct is to send an EMail to it ... if it is incorrect you will get a message back with a subject "Unsent Message Returned To Sender" or some other error message. (Hopefully the EMail you send contains a real message that you would have sent yourself anyway).

NOTE: Interplay has several "generic" EMail addresses listed on their contact page that they prefer people to use for normal support issues.

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The Multiplayer Aspect Of MAX2

You may wish to include a look at the Multiplayer aspect of MAX2. To see how ready the MAX2.NET server was, read through the official IRC CHAT log of June 25 (remembering that MAX2 was seen in a store on that same date, and many stores the next day): http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/chat0625.htm

You also might consider referring to MAX2 advertising. For example, the MAY 1998 issue of PC Gamer ad on pages 74-75 which includes this in red letters: "Multiplayer capability (LAN, Modem, Internet) with Alliance Building".

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MAX2 Milestones And History

You may wish to refer to events that occurred leading up to the release of MAX2 and beyond. Here are some sources of information that might be useful to you:

  1. MAX2 Watch - reports of where MAX2 was selling:
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/max2watch.htm
  2. Status Page - These are the reports issued by Chris Taylor during Beta Testing of MAX2 as recorded on the Alliance site:
       
    http://max2.gamestats.com/planet_x_html/status_page.html
  3. Chat Logs - These are the logs of who said what at the official IRC Chats as recorded on the Heavenly site:
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/chat.htm
  4. Current News - Heavenly News from the last week or two:
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/news-summary.htm
  5. Current News - Alliance news for the last week or two:
       
    http://max2.gamestats.com/planet_x_html/body_planet_x.html
  6. July News - Heavenly News from earlier this month:
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/news-july.htm
  7. News - Alliance news from just before the Current weeks:
       
    http://max2.gamestats.com/planet_x_html/news.html
  8. June News - Heavenly News from June:
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/news-june.htm
  9. May News - Heavenly News from May:
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/news-may.htm
  10. Older News - Alliance news that is older:
       
    http://max2.gamestats.com/planet_x_html/older_news.html
  11. April News - Heavenly News from April (just started keeping the news in MAX2 Heaven then):
       
    http://members.tripod.com/~lenlindsay/news-april.htm
  12. You also should check the MAX2 HQ (but I can't point you to the specific page due to its frames):
       
    http://thunder.prohosting.com/~max2hq

From these pages you should be able to determine when MAX2 Betas were released, when it went GOLD and when it hit store shelves, among other events.

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Customer Comments

You may wish to refer to comments from customers (testimonials). There are two Message Forums that have collected a mixed bag of comments:

  1. Alliance MAX2 Message Forum:
        http://
    max2.gamestats.com/cgi-bin/forums/forum.cgi
  2. Interplay MAX2 Message Forum:
        http://
    www.interplay.com/max2/online/max2board.html

You also can solicit comments from customers by posting a notice to that effect on the Alliance MAX2 Message Forum:
   
http://max2.gamestats.com/cgi-bin/forums/forum.cgi

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Who Will Judge Contest Entries?

Everyone who is eligible for the contest can vote (and that means everyone). Only one vote per person (voting to be done by EMail to CaptComal@hotmail.com). Those who enter the contest may vote.  Discussion about the contest and entries can be discussed on the MAX2 FORUM. Each entry will be assigned an Entry Number (the author(s) names will not be used for identification).

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The COMALite T-Shirt Story

About 15 years ago, COMALite shirts were made. The original version was quickly distributed and the response was very good, so a second improved set of shirts were made. A COMALite shirt is an extremely high quality shirt.   CaptComal has 14 of them, and has worn them virtually every day for 15 years, and only one has been worn out.  The shirts are Royal Blue in color with white COMALite on the back and the COMAL mascot on the front (a turtle and his computer).

If MAX2 allowed Alliances ... CaptComal was considering having a COMALite TEAM!


If you find any errors please report them to
CaptComal@hotmail.com so they can be corrected. Thanks.
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[Official Interplay M.A.X.2 Site]
[Links]

NOTE: This website is only in its preliminary stages at this time.  Any comments can be sent to CaptComal@hotmail.com

This site contains material that is copyright (c) 1998, Interplay Productions. All rights reserved.