Gabriel Notes

In honor of Gabriel Knight's tape recorder, I decided to try something new and different for the notes on the recent The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery episode of Watch Out for Fireballs! Instead of furiously scribbling in my notebook whenever something happened, I took a voice memo.

I had a few of reasons for this.

Because the game is FMV, I knew the performances would be choice. I wanted a way to preserve the inflections of certain lines, so they could be easier to recall later. This likely led to my neighbors wondering why the weird guy in apartment 1 was hysterically mangling German in a bad southern accent.

Also, because adventure games are so plotty, I knew I'd spend a lot of time writing down the ins-and-outs of what happened. I worried that the notes would be too complex or long. I wanted us to focus on hitting the highlights of scenes, rather than getting into the weeds of the plot. Summarizing scenes after they happened, and verbally processing them out loud, would help in that effort.

Finally, even though I am a creature of routine, I'm always looking for new ways to optimize the way I work. Experimenting is fun sometimes.

I played Gabriel Knight 2 on the PC that's hooked up to the TV in my living room. Because the game is primarily controlled with the mouse, I could get away with using Logitech Touch Mouse Server on my iPad from the recliner, keeping my iPhone's Voice Recorder app up on the phone next to me, ready to talk into at a moment's notice.

The complication comes from transcribing those notes into text, which is why I think I'm going to hold off on switching to this model entirely. I ended up having to listen to 40+ minutes of notes, typing an outline as I listened along. This probably doubled my outline-creation time, because (like most humans) I read faster than I speak.

It was a fun experiment, for sure, and I think it worked great for covering a game like Gabriel Knight 2. The neat side effect of this process is that it leaves me with an audio file that documents my entire trip through a game. I've dropped this audio file into a player below, in case you want to hear me mumble over the sound of an air conditioner.

  • Kole