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Merry Prankster Games

The Infocom Project: Infidel

Posted by , in Infocom 21 August 2014 - - - - - - · 584 views

Today I completed my 14th Infocom game, Infidel! For more information about my attempt to finish all of these games, see here: http://www.gamedev.net/blog/717/entry-2259971-the-infocom-project/

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So, Infidel. The good:
  • Unique, intriguing setting (Indiana Jones!).
  • Pretty small, focused adventure area, with relatively clear connections between puzzles. I didn't spend much time wandering around wondering what to do next.
  • I liked the descriptions of the rooms in the pyramid (spoiler?); very evocative of the setting.
  • Good puzzles (as expected with Infocom).
The bad:
  • Pretty small adventure is a drawback, too.
  • No NPCs, not much interaction or story progression.
  • Text-based hieroglyphics featured heavily. I only used them for one puzzle, and was unable to decipher them otherwise. Not a fan.
  • As with a lot of these early Infocom games, the space requirements and vocabulary limitations are frustrating… doing something _almost_ right often gives a "I don't know the word …" or some such.
Puzzle frustration: Moderate. I had one serious syntax issue, and another moderate issue. In general the puzzles were logical and made sense (at least in hindsight). I referred to Invisiclues twice, both times only needed a few hints to move along.

I'll slot this in towards the bottom of the list; a competent and enjoyable game, representative of early Infocom, but not rising above the rest.

Played Games, Best to Worst:
  • Enchanter
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Sorceror
  • Zork III
  • Zork II
  • Zork I
  • Planetfall
  • Wishbringer
  • Stationfall
  • Plundered Hearts
  • The Leather Goddesses of Phobos
  • Infidel
  • Starcross
  • Seastalker



The Infocom Project

Posted by , in Infocom 21 August 2014 - - - - - - · 712 views

Well, this may be of no interest to anyone, and certainly has little to do with my indie game development, but it's my blog, so there! A project I've been working on for decades has been to win all of the old text adventures by Infocom. These classic games were released during (and just before) my teenage years, and thus hold a special place of nostalgia for me. Wikipedia tells more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infocom, you can find a list of the games here: http://pdd.if-legends.org/infocom/fact-sheet.txt, and all the documentation here: http://infodoc.plover.net/.

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My copy of the games came from the "Lost Treasures of Infocom", volumes 1 and 2. I think I still have the floppy disks around somewhere. The official list of games has 35 canonical Infocom games. Right away I'm going to rule out three of the late games, Journey, Arthur, and Shogun, for a variety of semi-lame excuses:
  • They featured heavy illustration, rather than strictly text based (especially Journey, which apparently can be played without keyboard at all).
  • They aren't part of my Lost Treasures collections.
  • They are reviewed quite poorly (except for Journey).
  • I already have enough of these games to play!
I'm also going to rule out Sherlock, based on the "developed by Challenge Inc" tagline; Infocom was just the publisher.

So, that leaves me with 31 games. Prior to today, I had completed 13 of them. Let's make a list, in order of best to worst. I should note that this is a bit speculative (and very subjective!) as it has been decades since I played some of these, but based on memory:

Played Games, Best to Worst:
  • Enchanter
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Sorceror
  • Zork III
  • Zork II
  • Zork I
  • Planetfall
  • Wishbringer
  • Stationfall
  • Plundered Hearts
  • The Leather Goddesses of Phobos
  • Starcross
  • Seastalker
Games to Play:
  • Spellbreaker
  • Trinity
  • Beyond Zork
  • Zork Zero
  • Suspended
  • A Mind Forever Voyaging
  • Deadline
  • The Witness
  • Suspect
  • Ballyhoo
  • Moonmist
  • Infidel
  • Cutthroats
  • Hollywood Hijinx
  • Bureaucracy
  • Nord and Bert
  • The Lurking Horror
  • Border Zone
Next up, Infidel!





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