IF Recommendations

4 views
Skip to first unread message

ji...@postmaster.co.uk

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
Hi, I haven't played IF games since owning a BBC Micro in the mid 80s. I
loved the Level 9 adventures and a number of others.

I recently bought a Psion palmtop, this can run Apple II, Spectrum and IBM XT
emulators, and runs Frotz.

I would like to hear your recomendations for some games to run on my Psion, I
would like to play some good IF on it.

I am just looking for a short list of top games, as the memory on the Psion is
limited and I don't want to fill it up.

Thanks in advance.

Jim

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

Chad Schultz

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
The IF-archive at ftp.gmd.de/if-archive has a lot. You may want to try
ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/inform, Which has Frotz games.

ji...@postmaster.co.uk wrote in message <78r2nc$b8u$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

Joe Mason

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
ji...@postmaster.co.uk <ji...@postmaster.co.uk> wrote:
>Hi, I haven't played IF games since owning a BBC Micro in the mid 80s. I
>loved the Level 9 adventures and a number of others.
>
>I recently bought a Psion palmtop, this can run Apple II, Spectrum and IBM XT
>emulators, and runs Frotz.
>
>I would like to hear your recomendations for some games to run on my Psion, I
>would like to play some good IF on it.

First, you should try Graham Nelson's _Curses_, which is the one the Inform
language was written to create. It's got Zork-like status around here.

Then, anything by Andrew Plotkin (A Change in the Weather, So Far, The Space
Under the Window, and Spider and Web).

Photopia, by Adam Cadre. Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry.

That should get you started. :-)

All of these are at ftp://ft.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode

Joe
--
Congratulations, Canada, on preserving your national igloo.
-- Mike Huckabee, Governor of Arkansas

dled...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
Here are a few reviews I did for an Amiga site, they should work on a Psion
too, with locations to download the games if they interest you. Also go to:

http://interactfiction.miningco.com/

as this site has a lot of good reviews. Be aware there are some really bad
games out there, either technically or plot wise, but also some very good
ones. Some people like certain games, others hate them its a matter of taste,
and how the complex you like your puzzles.

************************************************************************

Title All Quiet on the Library Front
Game Type Free RPG
Company Michael S. Phillips
Players 1
Compatibility Unknown
Submission dled...@hotmail.com

This game was entered in the 1995 Interactive Fiction Game competition, and
is a good introduction to modern IF. It only has about a dozen locations, two
dozen objects, and a handful of NPC's (non player characters). The puzzles
are generally simple, but it does suffer a bit from the guess the verb
problem i.e. you know what to do, but the computer only recognises one
sentence combination to do it. The object of the game is to find a reference
book by interacting with librarians, and get it past the electronic security
gates. There are also a couple of sub puzzles with highly dubious logic, you
need to know a bit about IF traditions to solve them. One involves a grue, a
legendary breast that can only survive in the dark, it was introduced in
early text adventures to stop players wondering around in dark locations
before they found a lamp, by killing them. An extra point can be earned by
entering a magic word, used in another early adventure game, nose around the
IF newsgroups and websites and you will learn it soon enough. This command
has even been implemented in the UNIX and other operating systems, as an in
joke. If you get really stuck, the best things to do are examine and search
all objects and locations very carefully, including using your senses of
smell, touch, and hearing. It's easy to miss some tiny clue, or exit to
another location. It's a lot more fun solving IF games on your own, then
asking someone else for hints.

Game code available from:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode/library.z5

This game requires an Inform Interpreter available from:
Workbench 2: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/itf/itf401-160-
amiga.lha
Workbench 1.3: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/zip.lha

********************************************************************

Title Balances (1994)
Game Type Free RPG
Company Graham Nelson
Players 1
Compatibility Unknown
Submission dled...@hotmail.com

This game is probably the most played modern Interactive Fiction Text
Adventure Game around. It only has about a dozen locations, two dozen
objects, and a handful of NPC's (non player characters), but is most
entertaining. It is loosely based on a sample transcript that came with one
of Infocom's Enchanter trilogy games, set in an age of magic and adventure.
The game supports their highly enjoyable spellcasting process. Most puzzles
are fairly easy to solve and logical, a few however have highly dubious
logic, and weak clues. There was a big fuss on the interactive fiction
newsgroup about one problem in particular. If you get really stuck, the best
things to do are examine and search all objects and locations very carefully,
including using your senses of smell, touch, and hearing. It's easy to miss
some tiny clue, or exit to another location. Then if this fails, try every
spell you have on every object there is, save first, as some spells have
highly detrimental results on you, or the object. It's a lot more fun solving
IF games on your own, then asking someone else for hints.

The author of this game is regarded as a minor deity in interactive fiction
circles, having masterminded the creation and maintenance of the Inform
Interactive Fiction Text Adventure Language, and written several full size
games, while holding down a Mathematics Professorship of Oxford University.
Inform is one of about a half dozen really good IF languages, it is probably
the best, but takes a lot of learning, and has been used by software
companies such as Activision to prototype Graphic RPG's. Don't bother trying
to Email Graham, he is very busy and doesn't appreciate it, unless of course
you find an error in his language. I suspect if he replied to all his fan
mail he wouldn't have time to do anything else. If you want to find more
about IF consult the following very useful web sites, which will point you in
the right direction: http://interactfiction.miningco.com/
http://bang.ml.org/if-archive/

There was a long period at the time Infocom was taken over, where IF
disappeared, technology having passed it by, and all professional games
companies writing Graphic Adventures. But Text Adventures, like books have a
quality of their own, human imagination being far more powerful than a load
of fancy graphics and sounds. As Infocom said, "A picture is worth a thousand
words, we give you the thousand words". There was a hard core of fans who
refused to see the text adventure die, and started hacking away at the
Infocom Z Machine Code, which was never released. They reverse engineered it
and worked out how it operated, first building new interpreters, to run old
games, then languages so new games could be written. Also old games can be
decompiled, giving all the original text, and object tree, unfortunately most
variable and procedure names and reduced to meaningless opcodes. It is now
possible for one person to write their own text adventure, the interpreters
and compilers are free, technical and prose advice is available from
newsgroups, as are games testers. The only things you need are a lot of time
and patience, imagination, and a computer. Just about any type as the Z
machine was designed to operate on any platform, long before the internet.
There is also an annual contest were you can win prizes (not very good ones
mind), get reviews (good and bad), and get your work promoted. A few very
good games are even published by Activision. There are now hundreds of new
modern IF games about, the quality varies enormously from bug infested
drivel, to Shakespearean. Reviews give a resonable idea of what they're like,
but it does depend on taste as well. IF is one of the few areas where lots of
modern games are available for the Amiga.

Game code available from:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode/Balances.z5

This game requires an Inform Interpreter available from:
Workbench 2: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/itf/itf401-160-
amiga.lha
Workbench 1.3: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/zip.lha

*************************************************************************

Title Christminster (1995)
Game Type Free RPG
Company Gareth Rees
Players 1
Compatibility Unknown
Submission dled...@hotmail.com

This is regarded as one of the top ten modern interactive fiction text
adventures, largely due to it's prose, size, and complexity, and one of the
few new games available on the Amiga. You start off in the fictional Oxbridge
Town of Christminster, the first problem is to get past the gate and into the
college. This involves a complex problem requiring you to interact with
several NPC's (non player characters). Once inside you must try to find your
brother, and unravel a detective-like plot, with the help of several
university type characters.

Game code available from:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode/minster.z5

This game requires an Inform Interpreter available from:
Workbench 2: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/itf/itf401-160-
amiga.lha
Workbench 1.3: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/zip.lha

***********************************************************************

Title Lost New York (1996)
Game Type Shareware RPG, $12 registration for hints etc...
Company Neil deMause
Players 1
Compatibility Unknown
Submission dled...@hotmail.com

This is regarded as one of the top ten modern interactive fiction text
adventures, and one of the few new games available on the Amiga. You start
the game on liberty island as a tourist, the ferry service is closed due to
bad weather, so you have to find another way off. This way is a time machine
that transports you back in time, and lets you witness first-hand the
development of the city in four centuries. Make sure you collect all the
objects you can find before leaving each scene as you can't go back, and will
probably need most of them. This game has some nice touches like subway
trains pulled by steam engines, civil war veterans at the turn of the
century, and quotes from Mayors of New York e.g. "The spirit of pulling down
and putting up is abroad. The whole of New York is rebuilt about once every
ten year". There are a host of NPC's (non player characters) to interact
with, all though they only perform a limited amount of actions.

Game code available from:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/tads/lostny14.gam

This game requires a TADS interpreter available from
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/tads/executables/

********************************************************************

Title Robots (1995)
Game Type Free RPG
Company Torbjörn Andersson, d91...@Update.UU.SE
Players 1
Compatibility Unknown
Submission dled...@hotmail.com

This is a very simple game based on a game that came free with the unix
operating system, I saw a similar version on the Commodore Pet many moons
ago. It shows how capable the Inform Interactive Fiction Language is, making
it do something it wasn't really designed for, but giving the program the
great advantage of being able to run on any machine. What you have to do is
stop robots killing you by moving in any of 8 directions, they follow you
mechanically, so you are trying to get them to crash into each other and make
a junk head, once you have a junk head you can manoeuvre other robots into
it, hopefully destroying them all before they reach you. You can teleport at
the last moment, but may randomly land on a robot anyway and die. Each round
sees more robots, until they finally over come you, victory is more due to
luck than skill, but the game is surprisingly addictive for simple text
graphics.

If you know of any other variants of this game please Email the author, as he
is interested to know how many there are. He is Scandinavian and very helpful
regarding IF related subjects, there seem to be a lot of them on the
internet, probably due to the climate. I only really included this review
because I found some of the quotes in his source code very amusing: "ROBOTS":
Another abuse of the Z-machine, Copied Right in 1995-1997 This program is
free. By all means, do fold, spindle and mutilate. Be aware, however, that
removing my name from it may cause irreparable damage to your karma. If you
do redistribute it in any form, please drop me a note. I'd love to hear about
it! If you think you can make money from it, you are more optimistic than I
thought.

Game code available from:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode/robots.z5

This game requires an Inform Interpreter available from:
Workbench 2: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/itf/itf401-160-
amiga.lha
Workbench 1.3: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/zip.lha

*********************************************************************

Title Spacestation
Game Type Free RPG
Company David Ledgard
Players 1
Compatibility Unknown
Submission dled...@hotmail.com

First I would like to thank Activision for giving me permission to use
material from Infocom's Planetfall game, which they now own. This game was
entered in the 1998 Interactive Fiction Game competition, and is a good
introduction to modern IF. It came 19 out of 27, not too bad for only 2
months work on and off, with scores ranging from 2 to 7 out of ten, so you
can see how much reviewers tastes vary, it also depends on how much effort
they put into playing the game. One puzzle was completely lost of most
people, due to instinctively doing a action which solved it. Most complaints
were that it was based on someone else's material, too small, too easy (some
people liked it easy though), and incomplete. I was complimented on the
robustness of my code, and recreating the transcript so well. It only has
about a dozen locations, two dozen objects, and one very complex and
entertaining NPC (non player character). The puzzles are very simple, as I
think RPGs are more fun if you solve them yourself without having to use
hints.

They say it is bad form to review your own game so I will use material from
reviewers of my competition version. I have improved it quite a bit since
then, and will expand it more in the future, so will leave out stuff
mentioned that I have now fixed. The object of the game is to search a
spacestation, free a character, and escape. The game is closely based on the
Infocom Sample Transcript for Planetfall, people who have played Planetfall
and Stationfall find the game more entertaining and nostalgic, and get more
of the in jokes. I left some blank descriptions for exits that didn't exist,
using 'Unimplemented!' to signify them, people liked the idea of blank
descriptions, but thought unimplemented was sloppy programming. It was in
fact an in joke, as Infocom refer to the game writers as implementers in
several of their games, it has now been replaced with bulkheads. People also
complained I copied the game idea, but so have quite a few other authors,
probably not as closely, but I still had to code it, and fill in the blanks,
which is difficult if you are trying to keep it exactly the same. I have now
added a lot of new material of my own. Anyone wishing to view the original
transcript this game is based on, just Email me, so you can spot the
differences. I think you might have some fun guessing which bits are by Steve
Meretzky, and which bits are by me. But solve the game first, before you ask
for it. Also please report any errors, and possible improvements.

Game code (latest version) available from:
http://members.tripod.com/~dledgard/space_st.z5

This game requires an Inform Interpreter available from:
Workbench 2: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/itf/itf401-160-
amiga.lha
Workbench 1.3: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/zip.lha

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/frotz/AmigaFrotz232Std10.lha


In article <78r2nc$b8u$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,


ji...@postmaster.co.uk wrote:
> Hi, I haven't played IF games since owning a BBC Micro in the mid 80s.
I
> loved the Level 9 adventures and a number of others.
>
> I recently bought a Psion palmtop, this can run Apple II, Spectrum and IBM XT
> emulators, and runs Frotz.
>
> I would like to hear your recomendations for some games to run on my Psion, I
> would like to play some good IF on it.
>

karvic

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
If you can run it, I would recommend Anchorhead - one of the best games I've
seen in a VERY long time - download it from the if-archive.

Karvic


ji...@postmaster.co.uk wrote in message <78r2nc$b8u$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

Magnus Olsson

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
In article <78r2nc$b8u$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <ji...@postmaster.co.uk> wrote:
>I would like to hear your recomendations for some games to run on my Psion, I
>would like to play some good IF on it.
>
>I am just looking for a short list of top games, as the memory on the Psion is
>limited and I don't want to fill it up.

You could check out the Readers' Scoreboard at http://welcome.to/spag

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages