A Canon of IF?

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Chris Thi Nguyen

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Oct 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/8/99
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So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
discussion.

I mean a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF. This
is different from swapping lists of "my favorite IF." There's plenty of
truly enjoyable IF that improves upon previous IF. Like, Beyond Zork, which
is a great overall implementation of stuff that got created everywhere else.
I'm talking about revolutionary IF.

My list, unfortunately, is sorely lacking in the second, noncommercial half
of IF history. But it goes something like:

Adventure/Colossal Caves
The beginning - not really an astonishing example of the genre. But it
set a lot of IF standards, some of which quickly became cliches. A lot
like, say, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, the now semi-crappy book that
kicked off the mystery novel genre. (Sorry to any Moonstone fans.)

Zork
You know, like Chaucer. The first great.

Planetfall
First loveable NPC. First incidence of people reporting that they
cried.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
First truly great IF satire. Not just funny - actually made fun of
other IF, though never openly. With a parody peak - I'm talking about my
favorite moment in all conventional puzzle-IF, the babel fish puzzle, whose
out-of-control, tongue-in-cheek, near inane complexity felt like a perfectly
tuned parody of IF puzzles.

Suspended
A forgotten classic, I feel like, which came when Infocom was really
expanding the power of IF, swept into the dustbin by the rise of Sierra
On-line and the Graphics Horde. If you haven't played this one, you're a
brain in a vat and you have control of all these damn robots. One of them
has only thermographic vision, another is blind can only feel textures,
another can only see shape but not color, etc.
I almost see a parallel between this and some of the modernists. I
mean, maybe I'm totally off on my history, but didn't Faulkner and Joyce
turn out their stream-of-consciousness narratives at the rise of cinema? I
know that a lot of art history people see impressionism and cubism and all
that in painting as a response to photography being able to out-do all of
old-school painting's attempts at realism. The response in both cases is to
start doing what the other, newer medium couldn't possibly do. Movies can
show places better than books, but they sure as hell can't do
stream-of-consciousness.
When the graphics games start up, Suspended moves to do what graphics
games could never do - describe stories from the point of view of things
that see differently.

I'm sorry, I love Suspended, and no one else has ever heard of it. But it
was a tremendous innovation, and I thought it was really cool.

You know, I'm surprised that there was never an IF from the point of view of
a blind person. Or maybe there was.

And then, and then... at this point my knowledge peters out. The two from
the current phase from IF that I can point to are Photopia, for a variety of
reasons (although some people might argue that Photopia, more than other IF,
borrows from innovations from the standard literary world - Vonnegut's play
with time). And Spider and Web, for actually incorporating the weird
epistemological status of the game player - able to play a puzzle, fail, and
then try again - into the storyline and into the game character's viewpoint.

But what the hell else? I know there's got to be more out there. Someone
already mentioned Plotkin's one about the colors, I can't remember the name

Sorry for the length. I've been lurkin' for a while, and been thinking a
few things about IF.

-thi

Michael Brazier

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Oct 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/8/99
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Chris Thi Nguyen wrote:
>
> So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
> discussion.
>
> I mean a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF. This
> is different from swapping lists of "my favorite IF." There's plenty of
> truly enjoyable IF that improves upon previous IF. Like, Beyond Zork, which
> is a great overall implementation of stuff that got created everywhere else.
> I'm talking about revolutionary IF.

His list:
> Adventure/Colossal Caves
> Zork
> Planetfall


> Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

> Suspended
> Photopia
> Spider and Web

A few suggestions, off the top of my head:

Deadline
The first example of the "simulation" style of IF, with a large and
active cast of NPCs whose actions and interactions you are supposed to
observe, and influence, to achieve the game's goal. Also the most
successful IF mystery.

A Mind Forever Voyaging
Noteworthy because, while playing the game, you watch Rockvil (and by
implication the USA) evolving over time. I don't think there's another
piece of IF where the main action extends over several years, either
directly or (as here) through a framing device.

Trinity
The best IF Infocom ever made. It isn't in any sense experimental, but
it's so darned good that it can't be left out.

Curses
The first IF created with Inform, and the start of the Modern Era.

So Far
The first IF to concentrate on imagery and evocation instead of
narrative.

Anchorhead
A definitive translation of H. P. Lovecraft into IF. _Lurking Horror_
and _Theatre_ try hard, but never quite manage to move beyond the Zork
model of "wander the map and solve puzzles" -- largely because, I think,
the PC in both is merely the player's puppet and without a character of
its own. _Anchorhead_ gives a meaningful personality to its PC, and
also gives her a strong motive for digging into the town of Anchorhead's
mysteries and horrors. The player is therefore drawn in and feels
horror as intended (in the earlier works, the "horrifying" bits affected
me only as scenery, wierd and gruesome but not frightening.)

> If you haven't played [Suspended], you're a brain in a vat and you


> have control of all these damn robots.

Strange -- I've met many people who haven't played _Suspended_, and none
of them had ever been cryogenically frozen and plugged into a computer
complex. Or are all these "people" really carefully disguised robots
controlled from the cryogenic capsules?

--
Michael Brazier But what are all these vanities to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
X^2 + 7X + 53 = 11/3
-- Lewis Carroll

Alan Trewartha

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Oct 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/9/99
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In article <7tlqqi$c...@news-central.tiac.net>, Chris Thi Nguyen

<URL:mailto:t...@jahoopa.com> wrote:
> So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
> discussion.
>
> I mean a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF.
>
> Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
> First truly great IF satire. Not just funny - actually made fun of
> other IF, though never openly. With a parody peak - I'm talking about my
> favorite moment in all conventional puzzle-IF, the babel fish puzzle, whose
> out-of-control, tongue-in-cheek, near inane complexity felt like a perfectly
> tuned parody of IF puzzles.

Not to mention the fact that the program actually lied to you! Is this
the first instance of an "unreliable narrator" in IF? It was only a
simple (some would say frankly annoying) deception, but it's still
rare that the narrative talks to the player directly AS a narrator, and
not say as the author.

I like to see games that play with the role of the narrator, and the
notion of progression through a work. That's why Spider and Web was
so impressive (in the case of the former). And though Photopia was very
well written, I don't think anyone would claim it was innovative.


It's hard to say what's been milestone IF in terms of technical progression
and what has been merely popular and/or commercially succesful. What
would anyone say about MYST now? It was hugely influential, almost
phenomenal. Not the first graphics-based IF, but it was the first
to do that rendered virtual world thing, wasn't it?

Maybe this is your IF Tolkien, without being too unkind to Tolkien as MYST
has NO story to speak of, but in terms of influence and invented-worlds
there's a reasonable analogy going on there.

RIVEN was a better game, but there was no innovation other than the
number of CDs it took up! "Lord of the Rings" anyone? :-)

Then there are the experimental innovations which are obliquely influential,
in that they free up the possibilites. Space Under The Windows and Tempest
perhaps.


I'm going to shut up now.
--
Mail to alant instead of no.spam


okbl...@my-deja.com

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Oct 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/9/99
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In article <ant09140...@alant.demon.co.uk>,

Alan Trewartha <al...@no.spam.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>>And though Photopia was very well written, I don't think anyone would
>>claim it was innovative.

I would. It's the first game (I've played) where the "I" in "IF" was
almost purely show, but you didn't know it. That is, the whole thing
could have been done in hypertext, but IF conventions were used to
create a sense of involvement you wouldn't get through that medium--even
though (in actual fact) there were no puzzles and, at best, limited
interaction.

In the various "What is IF?" threads that have emerged over the years,
one constantly hears that the point is the narrative. However much
people like puzzles and believe them to be important, you don't hear
complaints about puzzles being *too*well*integrated* with the story, or
that a game needed more arbitrary puzzles. This to me suggests that
the superior (i.e., most important) aspect of IF is the narrative

"Photopia" demonstrates that the puzzles can exist only in the mind of
the player, but as long as they're perceived as puzzles, you get the
increased level of involvement in the story. (We probably should note
that it failed miserably for some people, and the reasons for that are
probably also important.)

But I don't know of an earlier, influential work like that. (I have seen
some aping of the work in this year's competition, though.)
--
[ok]


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Aris Katsaris

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Oct 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/9/99
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Alan Trewartha <al...@no.spam.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ant09140...@alant.demon.co.uk...

> And though Photopia was very
> well written, I don't think anyone would claim it was innovative.

I think that many people have claimed it. I believe the only other piece of
so-called
"puzzleless" IF we've previously had was "In The End" and that did contain a
puzzle
(the final guess-the-verb move). Photopia also, unlike Spider in the Web,
could be
considered a meta-IF, or a commentary on IF. Which is again unique.

> Then there are the experimental innovations which are obliquely
influential,
> in that they free up the possibilites. Space Under The Windows and Tempest
> perhaps.

Space Under the Windows has been innovative but I wouldn't place it in the
list
of influential games/milestones because noone has followed up on the
experiment
as far as I know... Neither would I put Tempest there.

Aris Katsaris

Nick Montfort

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Oct 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/9/99
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I would particularly second the suggestions of Adventure/Colossal Cave,
Zork, Suspended, Trinity, and A Mind Forever Voyaging. The other works
mentioned certainly make some advances as well.

One I would add to this list is Mindwheel, because of its literary
qualities. It's not an Infocom work (rather, it's from
Broderbund/Synapse, using the BZT or "Better Than Zork" Z-Machine-like
virtual machine) and therefore difficult to obtain and often neglected.
The particular puzzles were word games that were not to many people's
taste, but the writing itself -- including comments from a pocket frog
companion, timed "atmospheric" text describing events, the mental
landscape that represented four dead characters -- is really far beyond
anything in the above works. It's not just good writing, but also suits
the interactive experience. I'm a big fan of A Mind Forever Voyaging,
which is very powerful conceptually and really amazing in how it moves a
city through time. But the writing, even in that more serious work, is
just not very good -- not nearly as good as the underlying concept.
Perhaps Mindwheel, rather than the later hypertext Afternoon, is the
beginning of overall "serious" electronic writing.

-Nick M.

Howard Sherman

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Oct 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/9/99
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Commercial IF groundbreakers:

Zork (Naturally)

Cut Throats :Not advanced IF as we know it, but it was an excellent early work
that got everyone out of the "take sword" mode. Honorary mention for Deadline
and Suspended for much the same reasons.

Enchanter:Added a new element and dimension to the conventional adventure genre.

Spellbreaker: Picking up the new tradition set by Enchanter and taking it to a
higher art form.Masterfully written, devilishly hard.


Non-commercial high water marks:

I-0 - Groundbreaking. New genre, new style, new direction.

A Change in the Weather: Adding a new touch of elegance and style.

I'm sure there are tons more out there. I'm a little behind in some of the new
releases :)

Howard

http://users.erols.com/lordrandom


Chris Thi Nguyen wrote:

> So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
> discussion.
>

> I mean a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF. This
> is different from swapping lists of "my favorite IF." There's plenty of
> truly enjoyable IF that improves upon previous IF. Like, Beyond Zork, which
> is a great overall implementation of stuff that got created everywhere else.
> I'm talking about revolutionary IF.
>

> My list, unfortunately, is sorely lacking in the second, noncommercial half
> of IF history. But it goes something like:
>
> Adventure/Colossal Caves
> The beginning - not really an astonishing example of the genre. But it
> set a lot of IF standards, some of which quickly became cliches. A lot
> like, say, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, the now semi-crappy book that
> kicked off the mystery novel genre. (Sorry to any Moonstone fans.)
>
> Zork
> You know, like Chaucer. The first great.
>
> Planetfall
> First loveable NPC. First incidence of people reporting that they
> cried.
>

> Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
> First truly great IF satire. Not just funny - actually made fun of
> other IF, though never openly. With a parody peak - I'm talking about my
> favorite moment in all conventional puzzle-IF, the babel fish puzzle, whose
> out-of-control, tongue-in-cheek, near inane complexity felt like a perfectly
> tuned parody of IF puzzles.
>

Stephen Granade

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Oct 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/10/99
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"Chris Thi Nguyen" <t...@jahoopa.com> writes:

> So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
> discussion.
>
> I mean a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF. This
> is different from swapping lists of "my favorite IF." There's plenty of
> truly enjoyable IF that improves upon previous IF. Like, Beyond Zork, which
> is a great overall implementation of stuff that got created everywhere else.
> I'm talking about revolutionary IF.

I wrote about this a while back, and came up with a list at
http://interactfiction.about.com/library/weekly/aa042098.htm

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Visit About.com's IF Page
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.about.com

Kevin Forchione

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Oct 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/11/99
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A wonderful compilation!

Stephen Granade <sgra...@lepton.phy.duke.edu> wrote in message
news:jd4sfyo...@lepton.phy.duke.edu...

cozmo

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Oct 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/12/99
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Stephen Granade wrote:
>
> "Chris Thi Nguyen" <t...@jahoopa.com> writes:
>
> > So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
> > discussion.
> >
> > I mean a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF. This
> > is different from swapping lists of "my favorite IF." There's plenty of
> > truly enjoyable IF that improves upon previous IF. Like, Beyond Zork, which
> > is a great overall implementation of stuff that got created everywhere else.
> > I'm talking about revolutionary IF.

Here's my $.02...

I think Jigsaw was a truly inovative work in that it can be considered a
great piece of 'educational' IF. Granted I have seen attempts at this,
but nothing that compares to jigsaw.


Regards,
Cozmo the Magician
http://www.superior.net/~cozmo

WildCard

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Oct 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/12/99
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In article <7tlqqi$c...@news-central.tiac.net>,

Chris Thi Nguyen <t...@jahoopa.com> wrote:
>So I was wondering if there's ever been anything like an IF Canon
>discussion.

I'm going to add my favorite IF here: Amnesia.

One thing that attacted me to the game, and drove me to find a copy
for hte IBM PC when my Apple II+ died, was the story. This was better
than any other IF game I had played up to that point in time, and
still beats most IF games I've played since.

But that's not why I'm nominating this game. It's because the game
had time pass even when you did nothing. I'm not talking about giving
a "wait" command, I'm talking about just not typing and time still
passed. In fact, one of the impressive things about this game is that
when you want to catch a subway train, you have to wait for the
correct train to arrive. You do this in the game just like you this
in real life: you just wait there, not doing anything else, and watch
the trains come and go until the right one arrives. At any point, you
can type a command, or just stand there watching trains come and go
while doing touching the keyboard. I've never seen any other IF game
do this.

Maybe I'm just easy to impress, but this is one game I'm glad to say I
own and play.

Wayne


Mike Snyder

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Oct 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/14/99
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> But that's not why I'm nominating this game. It's because the game
> had time pass even when you did nothing. I'm not talking about giving
> a "wait" command, I'm talking about just not typing and time still
> passed. In fact, one of the impressive things about this game is that
> when you want to catch a subway train, you have to wait for the
> correct train to arrive. You do this in the game just like you this
> in real life: you just wait there, not doing anything else, and watch
> the trains come and go until the right one arrives. At any point, you
> can type a command, or just stand there watching trains come and go
> while doing touching the keyboard. I've never seen any other IF game
> do this.

I don't know if you can do this in IF languages (you probably can though, I
would think) but it's certainly no great feat in "traditional" programming.
In fact, in my DOS-based game "Breath Pirates"
(http://www.prowler-pro.com/n-e-ware/gamezips/breath12.zip -- Also available
at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/pc/breath12.zip) there are several
places where if you do nothing, the game still responds with things
happening. I wrote the game two years ago so I can't recall which of the
locations do this. I didn't work it into any puzzles (but could have) --
it's just there to show that the game is going on with or without you.

Mike Snyder
Prowler Productions
http://www.prowler-pro.com/

Matthew W. Miller

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Oct 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/18/99
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On Sat, 9 Oct 1999 15:18:03 +0100, Alan Trewartha <al...@no.spam.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In article <7tlqqi$c...@news-central.tiac.net>, Chris Thi Nguyen
><URL:mailto:t...@jahoopa.com> wrote:
>> a list of important/influential/really-damn-good/innovative IF.
...

>> Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
>> First truly great IF satire. Not just funny - actually made fun of
>> other IF, though never openly.
>Not to mention the fact that the program actually lied to you! Is this
>the first instance of an "unreliable narrator" in IF?

Another thing about HHGTTG -- although the manual claims that, as per
usual, commands are entered as assumed first person infinitive ("I want
to..."), actually it sort of gets assumed that you're using second person
imperative instead. Only the most minor example of this is the various
commands you can enter starting with "don't", as in "Don't wait" or "Don't
look" or, of course, "Don't panic". In the 'real' first-person-infinitive
model, that last would be "Not panic", or maybe "Panic not".
It's not a good game for beginners, though. A friend of mine
tried it out as his first exposure to IF, and had such unpleasant
experiences (he couldn't even get out of the bedroom without help) that it
turned him off to IF in general. Poor slob. Oh well, he's happy with his
Railroad Tycoon II and Sim City 3000 anyway.

--
Matthew W. Miller -- ma...@infinet.com

Kathleen M. Fischer

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Oct 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/18/99
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Aris Katsaris wrote:
> Space Under the Windows has been innovative but I wouldn't place it in the
> list of influential games/milestones because noone has followed up on the
> experiment as far as I know...

I would *LOVE* to have more pieces like SUTW available to play. It still
stands as my favorite piece of IF. I wouldn't mind writing some of my
own after that fashion, but don't feel up to mangling Inform in the way
that I assume is required in order to create it.

SUTW was the first IF that I played where I felt my job, as a player,
was to create a story as opposed to solve a puzzle, and I like that
a lot.

Kathleen

--
***********************************************************************
* Kathleen M. Fischer *
* kfis...@no.spam (no.spam = g r e e n h o u s e . l l n l . g o v) *
** "Don't stop to stomp ants while the elephants are stampeding" **

Tom Cantwell

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Oct 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/18/99
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In article <380a7d41$0$89...@news.voyager.net>, ma...@infinet.com (Matthew
W. Miller) wrote:

<snip>


> It's not a good game for beginners, though. A friend of mine
>tried it out as his first exposure to IF, and had such unpleasant
>experiences (he couldn't even get out of the bedroom without help) that it
>turned him off to IF in general. Poor slob. Oh well, he's happy with his
>Railroad Tycoon II and Sim City 3000 anyway.
>

---------
I guess I'm kinda a beginner, having never finished Hitchhikers. What IF
games would you suggest for a beginner? I've skimmed the GMD site, but
can't seem to find difficulty ratings except for a few Infocom games.

(Or should this question go to RGIF??)

Anyway, thanks.

Tom C.....

--
tcantwe...@kendra.com
RVClub #0832
"Government, even at its best state, is but a necessary evil." -- Thomas Paine

Lucian Paul Smith

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Oct 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/18/99
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Kathleen M. Fischer (kfis...@no.spam) wrote:

: Aris Katsaris wrote:
: > Space Under the Windows has been innovative but I wouldn't place it in the
: > list of influential games/milestones because noone has followed up on the
: > experiment as far as I know...

: I would *LOVE* to have more pieces like SUTW available to play. It still
: stands as my favorite piece of IF. I wouldn't mind writing some of my
: own after that fashion, but don't feel up to mangling Inform in the way
: that I assume is required in order to create it.

Well, I wrote up 'The Chicken Under The Window' for Adam's Chicken-comp,
and the source is available:

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/mini-comps/games/cutwind.z5

and

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/mini-comps/source/cutwind.inf


The main work is in the design, as it happens. The actual coding wasn't
that complex. Heck, the design wasn't that complex either, but then I
wrote it as a joke ;-)

-Lucian

Adam Cadre

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Oct 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/18/99
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Lucian Smith wrote:
> ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/mini-comps/games/cutwind.z5

That's a rather unfortunate filename you've got there, my friend.

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

Lucian Paul Smith

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
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Adam Cadre (a...@adamcadre.ac) wrote:

: That's a rather unfortunate filename you've got there, my friend.

Unfortunate? I did it a-purpose! A silly game deserves a silly title.
My eighth-grade sensibilities reasserting themselves, I'm afeared.

-Lucian

David Given

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
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In article <tcantwellREMOVE-...@news.kendra.com>,
tcantwe...@kendra.com (Tom Cantwell) writes:
[...]

> I guess I'm kinda a beginner, having never finished Hitchhikers. What IF
> games would you suggest for a beginner? I've skimmed the GMD site, but
> can't seem to find difficulty ratings except for a few Infocom games.

Well, _Curses_ is the classic starter's adventure. The puzzles start out
quite easy and end up getting quite hard. It's also huge, but easily done
in increments; you can do a little bit every so often without losing your
place. It's got a strong, if rambling, plot, and it's very well written
and highly entertaining.

(I spent three years playing this game. In the early stages, I would get
about a third of the way through and Graham would release another version,
and I'd have to start again...)

--
+- David Given ---------------McQ-+
| Work: d...@tao-group.com | Does a Con Neumann machine run a Make
| Play: dgi...@iname.com | Machines Fast scam?
+- http://wired.st-and.ac.uk/~dg -+

Parallax

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
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On Tue, 19 Oct 1999 10:56:53 +0100, d...@pearl.tao.co.uk (David Given)
wrote:

>In article <tcantwellREMOVE-...@news.kendra.com>,
> tcantwe...@kendra.com (Tom Cantwell) writes:
>[...]
>> I guess I'm kinda a beginner, having never finished Hitchhikers. What IF
>> games would you suggest for a beginner? I've skimmed the GMD site, but
>> can't seem to find difficulty ratings except for a few Infocom games.
>
>Well, _Curses_ is the classic starter's adventure. The puzzles start out
>quite easy and end up getting quite hard. It's also huge, but easily done
>in increments; you can do a little bit every so often without losing your
>place. It's got a strong, if rambling, plot, and it's very well written
>and highly entertaining.
>
>(I spent three years playing this game. In the early stages, I would get
>about a third of the way through and Graham would release another version,
>and I'd have to start again...)

I wonder, has anybody ever put up a review site for these games? Name,
location, difficulty level, basic fun level, compactness, and a short
review? I can't imagine IF has gone for 20 years without someone
thinking of this before now.

--Parallax

Sweeping generalizations always have exceptions, even this one.

Dylan O'Donnell

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
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para...@apk.net (Parallax) writes:
> >In article <tcantwellREMOVE-...@news.kendra.com>,
> > tcantwe...@kendra.com (Tom Cantwell) writes:
> >[...]
> >> I guess I'm kinda a beginner, having never finished Hitchhikers. What IF
> >> games would you suggest for a beginner? I've skimmed the GMD site, but
> >> can't seem to find difficulty ratings except for a few Infocom games.
>
> I wonder, has anybody ever put up a review site for these games? Name,
> location, difficulty level, basic fun level, compactness, and a short
> review? I can't imagine IF has gone for 20 years without someone
> thinking of this before now.

Indeed they have. Baf's Guide (http://www.wurb.com/if/) is what you
want; it doesn't rate difficulty directly (hard to do in an objective
manner), but the mini-reviews should give you the general idea.

--
: Dylan O'Donnell : "Nothing matters very much, and few :
: http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : things matter at all." -- A.J. Balfour :

Paul O'Brian

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
to
On 19 Oct 1999, Dylan O'Donnell wrote:

> > I wonder, has anybody ever put up a review site for these games? Name,
> > location, difficulty level, basic fun level, compactness, and a short
> > review? I can't imagine IF has gone for 20 years without someone
> > thinking of this before now.
>
> Indeed they have. Baf's Guide (http://www.wurb.com/if/) is what you
> want; it doesn't rate difficulty directly (hard to do in an objective
> manner), but the mini-reviews should give you the general idea.

After you look at Baf's excellent guide, you might visit the SPAG website
(http://www.sparkynet.com/spag), which contains a review index that
provides easy access to every review ever published in SPAG.

These reviews also do not (for the most part) contain difficulty ratings
because, as Dylan noted, this is such a subjective measure that there
exists no general consensus. However, most reviews do cover the games
in-depth and mention things like whether the puzzles are too hard or too
easy.

Finally, if you're looking for a straight ranking of games, the SPAG
website also has a reader's scoreboard with averaged rankings of games
from the SPAG readership.

--
Paul O'Brian obr...@colorado.edu http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian
"Sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears."
-- Paul Simon


Thomas Nilsson

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
to

Alan Trewartha wrote:
> >
> > Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
> > First truly great IF satire. Not just funny - actually made fun of

> > other IF, though never openly. With a parody peak - I'm talking about my
> > favorite moment in all conventional puzzle-IF, the babel fish puzzle, whose
> > out-of-control, tongue-in-cheek, near inane complexity felt like a perfectly
> > tuned parody of IF puzzles.
>

> Not to mention the fact that the program actually lied to you! Is this
> the first instance of an "unreliable narrator" in IF?

I seem to recall a mongoose in one of the Adams pirate games...

/t

thomas.nilsson.vcf

David Glasser

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Oct 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/19/99
to
Tom Cantwell <tcantwe...@kendra.com> wrote:

> I guess I'm kinda a beginner, having never finished Hitchhikers. What IF
> games would you suggest for a beginner? I've skimmed the GMD site, but
> can't seem to find difficulty ratings except for a few Infocom games.

I have some suggestions at
<http://www.davidglasser.net/raiffaq/beginner.html>
Stephen Granade has some suggestions at
<http://interactfiction.about.com/library/weekly/aa042098.htm>

> (Or should this question go to RGIF??)

Yep :)

--
David Glasser | gla...@iname.com | http://www.davidglasser.net/
rec.arts.int-fiction FAQ: http://www.davidglasser.net/raiffaq/
"So, is that superior artistry, or the easy way out?"
--TenthStone on white canvases as art, on rec.arts.int-fiction

Gene Wirchenko

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Oct 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/20/99
to
Thomas Nilsson <thomas....@progindus.se> wrote:

Scott Adams? The only pirate adventure I can recall was "Pirate
Adventure". You started in your flat. SAY YOHO. That one? I don't
remember a mongoose. SO, which one of us is fading?

I do remember from it (paraphrase):
>WEIGH ANCHOR
ABOUT FIFTEEN POUNDS. TRY SET SAIL.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.

Trevor Barrie

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Oct 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/20/99
to
In article <380d5c5c...@news.shuswap.net>,
Gene Wirchenko <ge...@shuswap.net> wrote:

>>> Not to mention the fact that the program actually lied to you! Is this
>>> the first instance of an "unreliable narrator" in IF?
>>
>>I seem to recall a mongoose in one of the Adams pirate games...
>
> Scott Adams? The only pirate adventure I can recall was "Pirate
>Adventure". You started in your flat. SAY YOHO. That one? I don't
>remember a mongoose. SO, which one of us is fading?
>
> I do remember from it (paraphrase):
> >WEIGH ANCHOR
> ABOUT FIFTEEN POUNDS. TRY SET SAIL.

I remember a faux mongoose in this game.

Kevin Forchione

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Oct 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/21/99
to

Trevor Barrie <tba...@cs.toronto.edu> wrote in message

> I remember a faux mongoose in this game.

Yes, I went back and played about with a copy off of ftp.gmd.de
a while back, just to refresh my memory. There is a mongoose in it.

--Kevin

Trevor Barrie

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Oct 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/21/99
to
In article <#se1c27G$GA.249@cpmsnbbsa03>,
Kevin Forchione <Lys...@email.msn.com> wrote:

[Discussing "Pirate Adventure" and lying parsers.]

>> I remember a faux mongoose in this game.
>
>Yes, I went back and played about with a copy off of ftp.gmd.de
>a while back, just to refresh my memory. There is a mongoose in it.

Except, of course, there isn't.:)

John Hill

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
Nick Montfort wrote:

> One I would add to this list is Mindwheel, because of its literary
> qualities. It's not an Infocom work (rather, it's from
> Broderbund/Synapse, using the BZT or "Better Than Zork" Z-Machine-like
> virtual machine) and therefore difficult to obtain and often neglected.
> The particular puzzles were word games that were not to many people's
> taste, but the writing itself -- including comments from a pocket frog
> companion, timed "atmospheric" text describing events, the mental
> landscape that represented four dead characters -- is really far beyond
> anything in the above works. It's not just good writing, but also suits
> the interactive experience. I'm a big fan of A Mind Forever Voyaging,
> which is very powerful conceptually and really amazing in how it moves a
> city through time. But the writing, even in that more serious work, is
> just not very good -- not nearly as good as the underlying concept.
> Perhaps Mindwheel, rather than the later hypertext Afternoon, is the
> beginning of overall "serious" electronic writing.
>
> -Nick M.

I remembered the introduction Mindwheel's book was just as evocative
as the game's text. When I re-acquired a copy recently, I was surprised
to learn that the printed material was not written by Robert Pinsky,
but by someone named Richard Sanford.

Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?
e.g. is there a David Mamet adventure floating around somewhere?

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
John Hill <john...@fuse.net> wrote:
>
> Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?

There's _Shogun_, of course.

That old (Apple 2 era) version of Stephen King's _The Mist_.

I have an early graphical game written by Zelazny: _Chronomaster_. It was
ported to (or originally) a novel as well. However, it didn't run right on
Virtual PC 2.1, and I haven't tested it with 3.0 yet.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Paul O'Brian

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
On 22 Oct 1999, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> John Hill <john...@fuse.net> wrote:
> >
> > Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?
>

> [ _Shogun_, Stephen King's _The Mist_, Zelazny: _Chronomaster_. ]

I think Thomas M. Disch (who wrote Amnesia for Electronic Arts) counts as
a major writer. He won the Campbell award (for best new writer) in 1980
and just won a Hugo this year for his nonfiction book The Dreams Our Stuff
Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World.

Philip W. Darnowsky

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
Paul O'Brian (obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU) wrote:

: On 22 Oct 1999, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

: > John Hill <john...@fuse.net> wrote:
: > >
: > > Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?
: >
: > [ _Shogun_, Stephen King's _The Mist_, Zelazny: _Chronomaster_. ]

: I think Thomas M. Disch (who wrote Amnesia for Electronic Arts) counts as
: a major writer. He won the Campbell award (for best new writer) in 1980
: and just won a Hugo this year for his nonfiction book The Dreams Our Stuff
: Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World.

Orson Scott Card, I believe, did a game for LucasArts (?) called Gateway
or some such. I believe it involved an archaeological dig on a distant
planet. As you can tell, I don't remember it so well; I only ever had a
demo included on another game CD. Does anyone remember this one?

--
--
---------------------------------------------------------------
Phil Darnowsky pdar...@spameggsbaconandspam.qis.net
Remove spam, eggs, bacon, spam, and dot to reply.

Due to circumstances beyond your control,
you are master of your fate and captain of your soul.

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
Philip W. Darnowsky <pdar...@qis.net> wrote:
> Paul O'Brian (obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU) wrote:
> : On 22 Oct 1999, Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> : > John Hill <john...@fuse.net> wrote:
> : > >
> : > > Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?
> : >
> : > [ _Shogun_, Stephen King's _The Mist_, Zelazny: _Chronomaster_. ]
>
> : I think Thomas M. Disch (who wrote Amnesia for Electronic Arts) counts as
> : a major writer. He won the Campbell award (for best new writer) in 1980
> : and just won a Hugo this year for his nonfiction book The Dreams Our Stuff
> : Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World.
>
> Orson Scott Card, I believe, did a game for LucasArts (?) called Gateway
> or some such. I believe it involved an archaeological dig on a distant
> planet. As you can tell, I don't remember it so well; I only ever had a
> demo included on another game CD. Does anyone remember this one?

Oh, yes. That was _The Dig_. (_Gateway_, of course, was a entirely
different games from Legend based on the Pohl novel.)

I only played the demo of _The Dig_ too. However, the dialogue was so
clunky and awful (in the very best LucasArts tradition) that I couldn't
see any trace of OSCard in it at all.

(Card isn't my favorite writer, but he's done good work. Certainly nothing
as badly-written as that demo.)

Paul O'Brian

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
On 22 Oct 1999, Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Philip W. Darnowsky <pdar...@qis.net> wrote:
> > Orson Scott Card, I believe, did a game for LucasArts (?) called Gateway
> > or some such. I believe it involved an archaeological dig on a distant
> > planet. As you can tell, I don't remember it so well; I only ever had a
> > demo included on another game CD. Does anyone remember this one?
>
> Oh, yes. That was _The Dig_. (_Gateway_, of course, was a entirely
> different games from Legend based on the Pohl novel.)
>
> I only played the demo of _The Dig_ too. However, the dialogue was so
> clunky and awful (in the very best LucasArts tradition) that I couldn't
> see any trace of OSCard in it at all.

He's credited in the game with writing the dialogue. Perhaps he was
attempting give his characters that authentic LucasArts tone? Perhaps his
work was heavily revised after he turned it in? Or perhaps he just had an
off day. Anyway, his name is in the credits.

I don't know that this exactly counts as IF created by a major writer.
It's not as though he wrote the story or designed the game.

Admiral Jota

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:
> On 22 Oct 1999, Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>> John Hill <john...@fuse.net> wrote:

>> > Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?

>> [ _Shogun_, Stephen King's _The Mist_, Zelazny: _Chronomaster_. ]

> I think Thomas M. Disch (who wrote Amnesia for Electronic Arts) counts as
> a major writer.

And I believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked rather closely with
Infocom on Sherlock. If you pay close attention, it's not hard to tell
which parts of the text Bob Bates wrote, and which parts were Doyle's.
While Doyle's prose was much better, I don't think he really had much
experience with IF puzzle design.


--
_/<-= Admiral Jota =->\_
\<-= jo...@tiac.net =->/

Adam Cadre

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
Philip W. Darnowsky wrote:
> Orson Scott Card, I believe, did a game for LucasArts (?) called
> Gateway or some such.

I don't know anything about this, but I do know that Card wrote the
dialogue for the insult swordfights in the first Monkey Island game.

BrenBarn

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
>Orson Scott Card, I believe, did a game for LucasArts (?) called Gateway
>or some such. I believe it involved an archaeological dig on a distant
>planet. As you can tell, I don't remember it so well; I only ever had a
>demo included on another game CD. Does anyone remember this one?
I've also played the demo (if we're thinking of the same game). The game
is called The Dig.
You also reminded me that Orson Scott Card wrote numerous insults for the
classic LucasArts game "The Secret of Monkey Island".

From,
Brendan B. B. (Bren...@aol.com)
(Name in header has spam-blocker, use the address above instead.)

"Do not follow where the path may lead;
go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail."
--Author Unknown

BrenBarn

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
>And I believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked rather closely with
>Infocom on Sherlock.
This is either a deadpan joke or a mistake. Doyle died in 1930, 18 years
before the invention of the transistor -- let alone the personal computer.

BrenBarn

unread,
Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
>I don't know anything about this, but I do know that Card wrote the
>dialogue for the insult swordfights in the first Monkey Island game.
And great insults they were!
"You make me want to throw up."
"You make me think somebody already did."

M. Sean Molley

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Oct 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/22/99
to
Greetings...

Andrew Plotkin and Paul O'Brian wrote, respectively:

>> I only played the demo of _The Dig_ too. However, the
>> dialogue was so clunky and awful (in the very best LucasArts >>
tradition) that I couldn't see any trace of OSCard in it at all.

> He's credited in the game with writing the dialogue. Perhaps he
> was attempting give his characters that authentic LucasArts
> tone? Perhaps his work was heavily revised after he turned it in?
> Or perhaps he just had an off day. Anyway, his name is in the
> credits.

Actually _The Dig_ is one of the *best* LucasArts adventure games, in my
opinion. The dialogue is a bit overblown at times, and several of the
characters are downright annoying, but good science-fiction in the adventure
genre is damn hard to come by, and _The Dig_ was, I think, very good both as
SF and as adventure. It has several quite compelling moments in it and is
almost as good as Legend's _Mission Critical_ was.

Brian Moriarty (yes, *that* Brian Moriarty) consulted on the project briefly
and worked on both the script and puzzles. Don't recall if he ended up with
any official credit or not, as it's been years since I played the game. (I,
by the way, played the actual game, not the demo, so I have no idea how
badly the demo may have sucked in comparison to the real thing.)

I highly recommend the game. By the way, what's with this anti-LucasArts
tone that seems to permeate both of your messages? I realize that this is a
primarily text-adventure newsgroup, but I would think that LucasArts
deserves some credit for being one of the few major publishers to actually
*support* the adventure game in the last 10 years, and indeed have published
some of the best adventure games ever done (Monkey Island, Day of the
Tentacle, etc.).

Sean

Joe Mason

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
John Hill <john...@fuse.net> wrote:
>Robert Pinsky...er, Douglas Adams. Did any other major writers do IF?
>e.g. is there a David Mamet adventure floating around somewhere?

Terry Pratchett's Discworld games, of course. (I'm pretty sure he was
involved heavily with the first one - was he involved with all of them?)

Raymond E. Feist did _Betrayal at Krondor_, which was an RPG but a heavily
plotted one. I actually liked it a lot better than I've liked any of the
post-Sethanon books, really: the change of format seemed to bring out the
best in him. (Haven't looked at _Return to Krondor_ yet.)

I have a vague feeling there's another name lurking at the back of my
consciousness, but I can't bring it out. Something is screaming, "Neil
Gaiman" in my ear, but that's just because he's the type of writer who
definitely /would/ write IF, if he got around to it - I don't actually think
he's done any.

Joe

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
M. Sean Molley <mol...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> By the way, what's with this anti-LucasArts
> tone that seems to permeate both of your messages? I realize that this is a
> primarily text-adventure newsgroup, but I would think that LucasArts
> deserves some credit for being one of the few major publishers to actually
> *support* the adventure game in the last 10 years, and indeed have published
> some of the best adventure games ever done (Monkey Island, Day of the
> Tentacle, etc.).

What's up is that I've never played a LucasArts game I liked, and I
disliked them all for pretty much the same reason: annoying, clunky, awful
writing.

Loom came closest to being good, but it was still a disappointment.

I have played neither Monkey Island nor Day of the Tentacle. Yes, they've
been recommended to me.

Joe Mason

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>What's up is that I've never played a LucasArts game I liked, and I
>disliked them all for pretty much the same reason: annoying, clunky, awful
>writing.
>
>Loom came closest to being good, but it was still a disappointment.
>
>I have played neither Monkey Island nor Day of the Tentacle. Yes, they've
>been recommended to me.

Allow me to add Grim Fandango, which has wonderful dialogue.

"Manny, 'till now we've crept along the ground like rats. Like rats, Manny!
But now, we soar like eagles - like eagles on POGO STICKS!"

Joe

M. David Krauss

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
Heh. I assumed it was a joke, and a really good one. If it's a mistake, it's
still pretty funny.

On Fri, 22 Oct 1999, BrenBarn wrote:
>>And I believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked rather closely with
>>Infocom on Sherlock.
> This is either a deadpan joke or a mistake. Doyle died in 1930, 18 years
>before the invention of the transistor -- let alone the personal computer.
>

Iain Merrick

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
BrenBarn wrote:

> Admiral Jota wrote:
>
> > And I believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked rather closely with
> > Infocom on Sherlock.
>
> This is either a deadpan joke or a mistake. Doyle died in 1930, 18 years
> before the invention of the transistor -- let alone the personal computer.

You seem to be assuming that Conan Doyle would have to have been alive
to collaborate with Infocom.

Don't forget that he was an enthusiastic spiritualist in his later
years. Your unstated assumption may or may not be accurate.

Paul O'Brian

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
On 23 Oct 1999, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> M. Sean Molley <mol...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> > By the way, what's with this anti-LucasArts
> > tone that seems to permeate both of your messages?

> What's up is that I've never played a LucasArts game I liked, and I


> disliked them all for pretty much the same reason: annoying, clunky, awful
> writing.

By contrast, I like LucasArts games quite a bit, and didn't intend my
message to have an "anti-LucasArts" tone. I took Zarf's earlier message to
mean that LucasArts dialogue often has an intentionally cheesy, goofy
tone, where every character is as likely to make a mimesis-breaking
wisecrack as to say something that remains in character. Apparently, I
like this trait and Zarf doesn't.

I was suggesting that perhaps Card was trying to make his characters fit
this mold, and that's why Zarf found them objectionable. I certainly agree
that the dialogue in The Dig (I played the full game too, not just the
demo) doesn't have the kind of verisimilitude that you typically find in
Card's novels. The question is whether he was shooting for that or not.

BrenBarn

unread,
Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
>I realize that this is a
>primarily text-adventure newsgroup, but I would think that LucasArts
>deserves some credit for being one of the few major publishers to actually
>*support* the adventure game in the last 10 years, and indeed have published
>some of the best adventure games ever done (Monkey Island, Day of the
>Tentacle, etc.).
I agree. I have really, REALLY liked almost every LucasArts game I've
ever played, and it seems to get a bad rap from text-adventure advocates.

BrenBarn

unread,
Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
>You seem to be assuming that Conan Doyle would have to have been alive
>to collaborate with Infocom.
>
>Don't forget that he was an enthusiastic spiritualist in his later
>years. Your unstated assumption may or may not be accurate.
Haha! :-D You got me there -- big time. :-)

BrenBarn

unread,
Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
>What's up is that I've never played a LucasArts game I liked, and I
>disliked them all for pretty much the same reason: annoying, clunky, awful
>writing.
Out of curiosity, what games are these? I'll admit that many LucasArts
games have less than brilliant dialogue, but to me the dialogue has always
seemed well-meaning and understandable, if not very nuanced. (For example,
have you played "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis"? That's my favorite
computer game ever, and I think the dialogue is just perfect for the game.)
If it's dialogue you want, DOTT (Day of the Tentacle) is a good choice.
But the LucasArts dialogue king is "Sam & Max Hit the Road". Laugh-a-minute.

Matthew T. Russotto

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
In article <7uqhei$p7b$1...@nntp6.atl.mindspring.net>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
}
}I only played the demo of _The Dig_ too. However, the dialogue was so
}clunky and awful (in the very best LucasArts tradition) that I couldn't
}see any trace of OSCard in it at all.
}
}(Card isn't my favorite writer, but he's done good work. Certainly nothing
}as badly-written as that demo.)

Are you sure? Have you read the ENTIRE Homecoming series?

IMO, Card had a great start with Treason, reached his peak with
Ender's Game, and has been swiftly going downhill ever since.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Lucian Paul Smith

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
M. Sean Molley (mol...@mindspring.com) wrote:

[Re: The Dig]

: Brian Moriarty (yes, *that* Brian Moriarty) consulted on the project briefly


: and worked on both the script and puzzles. Don't recall if he ended up with
: any official credit or not, as it's been years since I played the game. (I,
: by the way, played the actual game, not the demo, so I have no idea how
: badly the demo may have sucked in comparison to the real thing.)

Brian Moriarty was like the second or third of four designers that headed
this project. He is credited with 'Additional Additional Story' in
the credits. Noah Falstein, a veteran games designer who posts regularly
on rec.games.design among others, was the first designer on the project,
and has said that while basically none of his ideas made it through the
process to the final game, "Brian Moriarty was royally ripped off."

(see http://x34.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=534148371&fmt=text)

While I enjoyed the game's structure, I too felt the dialogue was nothing
to write home about. Could have been the delivery, of course. Which in
turn could stem from the fact that I believe it is customary for the voice
actors to record their dialogue separately, so any would-be banter kinda
dies.

-Lucian

Suzanne Skinner

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
BrenBarn wrote:

> I agree. I have really, REALLY liked almost every LucasArts game I've
>ever played, and it seems to get a bad rap from text-adventure advocates.

Not this one. Loom, Grim Fandango, and Curse of Monkey Island are among
my all-time favorite graphic adventure games. While I rarely like
LucasArts' interfaces (being a parser fanatic), I find that their writing,
dialogue, humor, artwork, and music are all excellent.

-Suzanne
Followups set to rec.games.int-fiction

--
tr...@igs.net http://www.igs.net/~tril/
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
McCoy: "Well, this looks like a safe enough place."
(A huge hole opens up in the ground and swallows one of the men in
red shirts.)
- Peter Anspach, "Who Shall Bring Us Light?"

BrenBarn

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Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
>IMO, Card had a great start with Treason, reached his peak with
>Ender's Game, and has been swiftly going downhill ever since.
This is getting off topic, but have you ever read any of his short
fiction? He's written some great stuff in that genre.

M. Sean Molley

unread,
Oct 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/23/99
to
Greetings...

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Loom came closest to being good, but it was still a
> disappointment.

We may be doomed to disagree on this issue, as I found _Loom_ to be one of
the most unique and -- in its own way -- moving pieces of IF ever written.
Then again, I'm an unabashed fan of Brian Moriarty's work. I do have to say
that the ending wasn't up to the standard set by the rest of the game,
however.

> I have played neither Monkey Island nor Day of the Tentacle.
> Yes, they've been recommended to me.

OK, I'll bite. Which ones *have* you played? Thinking back over the
LucasArts portfolio (so to speak) I can't think of many stinkers at all...
maybe _Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders_, although even it had a
couple of mildly amusing cut-scenes. By and large, their games have been of
consistently high quality, unless I am suffering from selective amnesia and
have simply blocked out the bad ones.

This thread probably belongs in r.g.i-f at this point, but I thought it was
silly to split the newsgroup in the first place, and so I'm going to engage
in a little (very little) electronic civil disobedience and leave it here.
(Plus I don't feel like subscribing to the other newsgroup and waiting for
500 message headers to download.)

Sean

Peter Seebach

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
to
In article <7urbbj$j4g$1...@nntp4.atl.mindspring.net>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>What's up is that I've never played a LucasArts game I liked, and I
>disliked them all for pretty much the same reason: annoying, clunky, awful
>writing.

Weird. I really like the dialogue in most of them. Literature? No. Fun?
Yes.

I have played Monkey Island, MI II, MI III, Grim Fandango, Hard Throttle, and
Day of the Tentacle. Oh, and Fate of Atlantis.

I've liked all of 'em. Mostly because they're *funny*. I mean, falling off
your chair funny. Literally; the first time I saw the "behind the bookshelf"
scene in Monkey Island, I fell off my chair laughing at it.

(And anyone who didn't follow the "Then What?" dialogue in DOTT missed some
truely awesome dialogue.)

-s
--
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. Peter Seebach / se...@plethora.net
C/Unix wizard, Pro-commerce radical, Spam fighter. Boycott Spamazon!
Will work for interesting hardware. http://www.plethora.net/~seebs/
Visit my new ISP <URL:http://www.plethora.net/> --- More Net, Less Spam!

Gunther Schmidl

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
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>
> I have a vague feeling there's another name lurking at the back of my
> consciousness, but I can't bring it out. Something is screaming, "Neil
> Gaiman" in my ear, but that's just because he's the type of writer who
> definitely /would/ write IF, if he got around to it - I don't actually
think
> he's done any.

Harlan Ellison is another one I can think of; Cyberdreams' only good game,
"I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream," [1] is based on his short story of the
same name and even features Ellison himself as AM. Excellent game, IMHO,
even if -- or rather, because -- it violates today's graphic adventure
gaming standards. Sadly famous because the German BPjS decided to completely
cut a character from the game [2], once again proving they have no fucking
clue.

Then there were "Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles" and "Isaac Asimov's
Robot City" games; I only ever played the first one, which is a very weak
MYST clone but features a lengthy interview with Bradbury; the other one's
supposed to be a detective game set in Robot City. Both are most likely very
hard to come by nowadays.

This probably doesn't count, but Inscape's excellent "The Dark Eye" features
William S. Burroughs as the voice of one character, and he also reads
"Anabell Lee" and "The Masque of the Red Death" to great effect. If you can
get hold of this anywhere, by all means do.

Others:

Arthur C. Clarke - Rendevous with Rama

Piers Anthony - Legend's "Companions of Xanth"
Spider Robinson - Legend's "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon"
Frederick Pohl - Legend's "Gateway" and "Gateway II: Homeworld"

(anyone else see a pattern emerging?)

And, of course, tons of games have been based on books by Terry Pratchett,
Gaston Leroux, J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft etc. etc. etc.

And regarding Gamain, I'm almost 100% positive there was an Apple II game
based on the Sandman. Try Asimov. [3]


[1] The others being "Darkseed" and "Darkseed 2". Eeeagh!!!

[2] If you've played it (or read the short story, IIRC), you know who I
mean.

[3] The archive, not Isaac [4].

[4] But you knew that.

--
Gunther


Philip W. Darnowsky

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
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Peter Seebach (se...@plethora.net) wrote:

: I've liked all of 'em. Mostly because they're *funny*. I mean, falling off


: your chair funny. Literally; the first time I saw the "behind the bookshelf"
: scene in Monkey Island, I fell off my chair laughing at it.

I remember laughing to the point of tears, and then trying to clear my
eyes as quickly as possible so as not to miss any text. My roommate, who
was watching over my shoulder, fell on the floor laughing.

Joe Mason

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
to
Gunther Schmidl <gsch...@xxx.gmx.at> wrote:
>And, of course, tons of games have been based on books by Terry Pratchett,
>Gaston Leroux, J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft etc. etc. etc.

We're not talking about games /based on/ novels - there are a ton of those.
We're talking about famous authors who have also written IF.

Joe

Philip W. Darnowsky

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
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Gunther Schmidl (gsch...@xxx.gmx.at) wrote:

[Ellison, Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, Anthony, Robinson, Pohl, Tom, Dick and
Harry]

Perhaps we should count William Gibson's Neuromancer as well...though that
may be more of an RPG. I never actually got it to work when it was new.

To branch just a little further off topic, it is also my understanding
that the soundtrack to Neuromancer was written by Mark Mothersbaugh. Is
this so? Maybe a trip to asimov is in order.

John Hill

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
to
BrenBarn wrote:

> But the LucasArts dialogue king is "Sam & Max Hit the Road". Laugh-a-minute.

"Where do you keep that gun anyway Max?"
"None of your damn business Sam."

Sorry. Didn't know they'd made a game of it.

Trevor Barrie

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Oct 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/24/99
to
In article <3813...@alijku02.edvz.uni-linz.ac.at>,
Gunther Schmidl <gsch...@xxx.gmx.at> wrote:

>And regarding Gamain, I'm almost 100% positive there was an Apple II game
>based on the Sandman. Try Asimov. [3]

Seems unlikely to me. Were they still making Apple II games when Sandman
was created?

BrenBarn

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Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99