Monday, May 15, 2017

DOCTOR WHO: The Doctor and I are totally Skype buddies.

I run very hot and cold on Skype bots. I've tried all sorts, from creepypasta storytellers to weird meme makers. And they keep me entertained for an evening, but it isn't long before I've unfriended them and gone about my usual business of hassling actual humans.

Then someone had to go and tell me there was a Doctor Who Skype bot. And honestly it could have been the stupidest thing in the world, but I would have been on board. Fortunately for me, it is the exact opposite of the stupidest thing in the world.

The contact is simply called "Doctor Who Bot," but the actual experience is The Saviour of Time -- an interactive adventure in which the Doctor touches base with you via Skype to get help reconstructing the Key to Time. Bill and Nardole are with him, of course... but the main event of the experience is you.

So how do you help the Doctor from the other end of a Skype chat? Simple: pop-quizzes and point-and-click adventure. The bot uses the Skype interface to send you short videos (some involving voice work from Peter Capaldi, some simply showing off the beauty of the ever-growing Key). Sometimes you'll be asked to steer a space buggy. Sometimes you'll be asked questions in quiz format -- these can range from show trivia to science knowledge to riddles from a mysterious shadowy figure.

Oh. Right. There's also a mysterious shadowy figure.

Overall, the bot is well programmed. The adventures happen in "episodes" that are currently being rolled out, meaning you can take things at your own pace and won't be pestered if you leave things alone too long. It also has a fairly wide array of responses for just about any sort of response you can throw at the Doctor (note: don't get sarcastic or he gets cross). If toying with the responses would potentially break the game, you get an in-character request to keep your answers simple so as not to break the immersion.

So far, there are three episodes out. They're short, fun, and relatively silly, All you need to take part is a Skype account. Just add Doctor Who Bot, look for the little "verified" check mark next to the name, and you're ready to roll!

This should be plenty to distract you from the heartbreaking reveal at the even of the most recent episode... right?