GoGap: review

GoGap is Windows software for playing through professional games, and counting how good you are at predicting the next move. It is published by Boyixun in Beijing. The review copy was the "Fujisawa Hideyuki" special.

Installation was very easy. However when I tried to run it on two PCs running Windows NT, it did not load, but produced ten "ding" sounds. Presumably this is an error message, stating that it does not like NT, or high-resolution graphics, or something. But the manual is minimal, and gives no explanation of this.

I succeeded in running it on a Windows95 PC. It offers a choice of 100 professional games: the user chooses one of these games, and decides whether to try to predict the Black or the White moves. It then puts the first few stones onto the board, and asks you to predict the next move by clicking. If you guess right, it displays one of three gaudy and supposedly attractive female figures. If you guess wrong, it displays one of three ugly male figures. Either way, it then makes your opponent's next move for you, and asks you to guess your next move again. If you have the patience to persist to the end of the game, it tells you how well you have scored on the opening, middle game and endgame.

I did not find this process at all instructive. Normally I cannot guess where "Fujisawa Hideyuk" (this is what the program calls him) is going to play; and as the games have no commentary, I was no wiser after finding out. Sometimes I did guess correctly: if a professional has eight vital cutting stones in atari, it is likely that he will save them. But being given a "reward" for deducing this is fatuous.

By comparison with other game-record playing software it is poor. It does not even allow you to step back through a game to an earlier position. There are at least six free and shareware Go-game-record playing programs which I would prefer to use.

You might be tempted to buy it for the sake of the game records. I do not know if these particular game records are available elsewhere. Unfortunately they are in a proprietary non-ascii format, which cannot be understood by other programs. I believe that there are already too many different formats in use, and the decision to invent yet another is deplorable, and renders worthless the only potentially useful part of GoGap.

Conclusions: tasteless, sexist and unnecessary.

review by Nick Wedd, July 1997

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