Least satisfying Infocom game?

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Neb

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Dec 29, 2000, 5:26:05 AM12/29/00
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Hi,

I've been playing selected Infocom games from the 'Masterpieces' cd -
mostly the ones I never had a chance to play back in the 80's. Having
just completed Suspended (with a ranking of 7 i.e. bad) I nominate
this game as being the least satisfying (dare I say worst?) Infocom
game I have ever played. I battled with the parser, thought the
puzzles were poor and couldn't wait to finish it to move onto
something a bit more enjoyable. Did anyone actually like this game?

Ben


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(remove x from address to reply)

Dan Schmidt

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Dec 29, 2000, 8:53:38 AM12/29/00
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Neb <nos...@spamfree.com> writes:

Yeah, many people regard it as one of the finest games Infocom made.

Its model is very different from their standard one, so it's no
surprise that some people love it and some people hate it.

--
http://www.dfan.org

Richard Fairweather

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Dec 29, 2000, 1:24:15 PM12/29/00
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"Neb" wrote:

Suspended was a game I just couldn't get my head around at all; I
guess it just appeals to some more than others. I found keeping track
of the robots rather a chore, and the strict timing inherent in the
game was also unappealing to me.

Having said that, I would personally nominate Shogun as the least
satisfying Infocom game, mostly for it being appallingly restrictive,
and in some places just wilfully obscure.

Duncan Stevens

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Dec 29, 2000, 3:11:08 PM12/29/00
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"Neb" <nos...@spamfree.com> wrote in message
news:ivoo4t4rl69lm8s1s...@4ax.com...

Lots of people do, for a couple of reasons: (1) the challenge of figuring
out how to solve it as efficiently as possible, and (2) the nifty gimmick of
figuring out what things are without benefit of an exact visual description
(in most cases).

Also, there are several Infocom games that many find thoroughly
unsatisfying, specifically Cutthroats, Suspect, Moonmist, Seastalker
(admittedly, the latter two are for kids, but they're not even all that
great on that level), and Sherlock. So there's some competition for that
title.

--Duncan


Neb

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Dec 29, 2000, 5:41:35 PM12/29/00
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Oh dear! Suspect and Sherlock are the next two on my list to have a go
at. I've heard Suspect is extremely unfair in that it mostly involves
being in the right place at the right time. Maybe I'll try Sherlock
first.

Ben

>Also, there are several Infocom games that many find thoroughly
>unsatisfying, specifically Cutthroats, Suspect, Moonmist, Seastalker
>(admittedly, the latter two are for kids, but they're not even all that
>great on that level), and Sherlock. So there's some competition for that
>title.
>
>--Duncan
>

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Dec 29, 2000, 7:37:12 PM12/29/00
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On Fri, 29 Dec 2000 15:11:08 -0500, "Duncan Stevens"
<dn...@starpower.net> wrote:

>Also, there are several Infocom games that many find thoroughly
>unsatisfying, specifically Cutthroats, Suspect, Moonmist, Seastalker
>(admittedly, the latter two are for kids, but they're not even all that
>great on that level), and Sherlock. So there's some competition for that
>title.

And let us not forget Shogun. That's definitely the one that
satisfied me the least. I can best describe it as the closest thing
to the experience of a bad FMV game I've ever seen in a text
adventure.

But everyone's different. I quite liked Sherlock, even if it wasn't
at all Holmesian in tone.

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David Kinder

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Dec 29, 2000, 8:38:39 PM12/29/00
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> Oh dear! Suspect and Sherlock are the next two on my list to have a go
> at. I've heard Suspect is extremely unfair in that it mostly involves
> being in the right place at the right time. Maybe I'll try Sherlock
> first.

Well, I really liked Suspect when I played it (back in about 1986 or so).
It is really tricky to solve, but wandering round talking to all the
characters and trying to work out what's happened really appealed, at
least until I worked out how the murder had been done.

As for Sherlock, well that seemed pretty weak to me. It wasn't actually
written by Infocom staffers, but by Bob Bates (who later founded Legend).

David

Adam Myrow

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Dec 30, 2000, 3:23:15 PM12/30/00
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That's funny, I didn't mind Sherlock at all. A bit predictable, yes, but
not too bad. Also, a lot of people swear by Trinity, but I really
disliked its ending. It sort of makes me feel like all the effort in
solving the puzzles was a waste of time. Suspended was a pain to play,
but I sort of liked Poet because of his strange descriptions. So, I
guess my vote for least satisfying is Trinity only due to the ending.
The rest of the game is very well done. On the other hand, I once wanted
to play Stationfall because it was a sequel to Planetfall, but I may
never do it because some fool who assumed everybody had played it told
the ending. Hard not to do with such old games, but it was in a chat
room, and he could have first asked if everybody had played it. I don't
know, having knowledge of the ending just ruined my interest in it.
Mostly, I play Inform games from the IF-archive and only play an Infocom
game when I have a lot of time on my hands. The one thing I find sort of
funny is people's obsession with the Enchanter trilogy. Spellbreaker
wraps it up and it seems to be over with. Beyond Zork decides to put
some doubt in the player's mind, and so, we have SpiritWrack, The Stone,
The Meteor, and a Long Glass of Sherbet, and others. BTW, I am trying to
finish both of these games, so nobody spoil the ending without providing
fair warning! Anyway, I guess my favorite Infocom game is Planetfall,
and my second is Enchanter, with AMFV being a third, although its ending
is unbelievably positive considering things. Then again, most science
fiction is that way. Ok, the bottom line is that there is so far, no
Infocom game that I've played that is exceptionally bad.

--
Adam Myrow

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Dec 30, 2000, 5:22:21 PM12/30/00
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On Sat, 30 Dec 2000 13:23:15 -0700, Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com>
wrote:

> On the other hand, I once wanted
>to play Stationfall because it was a sequel to Planetfall, but I may
>never do it because some fool who assumed everybody had played it told
>the ending.

I had exactly the same experience with "A Tale of Two Cities".

Nym

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Dec 31, 2000, 12:09:15 AM12/31/00
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OK, after struggling with AMFV for ages, resorting to the hint files and
even a walkthrough, I still can't get through it. I just get bored. This
is not my least favorite Infocom game, but it is up there.

My only problem is that someone told me that it has the most spectacular
ending of all the infocom games, so, please help me and tell me the ending?
I don't know if this goes against all your principles, but it is worth a
shot.

TIA


nym.


David Thornley

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Dec 31, 2000, 11:04:43 AM12/31/00
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In article <92mij3$2ei0$1...@corolla.OntheNet.com.au>, Nym <n...@nym.com> wrote:
>OK, after struggling with AMFV for ages, resorting to the hint files and
>even a walkthrough, I still can't get through it. I just get bored. This
>is not my least favorite Infocom game, but it is up there.
>
Hmmmm, AMFV or Shogun? AMFV or Shogun? Which is the worst?

Right. To solve AMFV, you have to make three significant decisions,
other than just being told what to do and wandering around. While
doing so, you will encounter a society that is falling into pieces for
no obvious reason, as explicated in a simulation that is set up in
a way I simply can't believe. (Why is it that data can only be
gathered by Perry, and that this data is sufficient to extrapolate
another ten years?)

It makes no sense, and is simply depressing. If I want depression for
no particular reason, I'll skip my meds, thank you.

>My only problem is that someone told me that it has the most spectacular
>ending of all the infocom games, so, please help me and tell me the ending?
>I don't know if this goes against all your principles, but it is worth a
>shot.
>

OK, here it is (abridged). After all that time sloshing around in
the muck, and a bit of interesting (if implausible) maneuvering in
real life, you're told that your researches then helped create
a bright new future for everybody, and you're permanently sent off
into your own fantasyland as a reward (specifically, as part of an
imaginary mission to Alpha Centauri). You're *told* about the
new future, not shown anything, or allowed to see anything of the
process.

When I was playing this, I should have watched the baseball game more
closely. It was more fun, and had only slightly less literary worth.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
da...@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-

Neil Cerutti

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Dec 31, 2000, 11:07:17 AM12/31/00
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On n...@nym.com posted:

Some people think it's spectacular, and some people think it's
predictable and boring, and a let-down. Your mileage may differ.

--
Neil Cerutti <cer...@together.net>

Nym

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Dec 31, 2000, 9:03:19 PM12/31/00
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Thanks guys, I am pleased I didn't bother.

BTW, favorite infocom game....... I think Moonmist as it was the first one I
ever solved.

I also like the enchanter lot.


nym.


Rich Pizor

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Jan 1, 2001, 8:44:41 PM1/1/01
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In article <vOI36.4602$4c.4...@ruti.visi.com>, David Thornley
<thor...@visi.com> wrote:

> >My only problem is that someone told me that it has the most spectacular
> >ending of all the infocom games, so, please help me and tell me the ending?
> >I don't know if this goes against all your principles, but it is worth a
> >shot.
> >
> OK, here it is (abridged).

[snip]

There are those who might consider this would have been better sent as
private email, for the same reason the earlier poster says he'll now
never play Stationfall...

> When I was playing this, I should have watched the baseball game more
> closely. It was more fun, and had only slightly less literary worth.

I disagree, though I'll stipulate that it's an acquired taste. As a fan
of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and that lot, I considered AMFV to
be one of the most engrossing Infocom titles I ever played. It captured
the essence of future shock and cyberpunk in a way that few other
written works are able. The genre of cyberpunk, to an extent, is fairly
depressing. This causes those who aren't already a fan of the
underlying concepts to get turned off sometimes. AMFV is in a very
similar position.

Rich, who wishes someone could secure the rights to do a *good* IF
version of Neuromancer

David Thornley

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Jan 3, 2001, 12:30:02 PM1/3/01
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In article <010120011744387939%rich...@home.com>,

Rich Pizor <rich...@home.com> wrote:
>In article <vOI36.4602$4c.4...@ruti.visi.com>, David Thornley
><thor...@visi.com> wrote:
>
>There are those who might consider this would have been better sent as
>private email, for the same reason the earlier poster says he'll now
>never play Stationfall...
>
Oh, yes, I'm sorry. My mistake.

>> When I was playing this, I should have watched the baseball game more
>> closely. It was more fun, and had only slightly less literary worth.
>
>I disagree, though I'll stipulate that it's an acquired taste. As a fan
>of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and that lot, I considered AMFV to
>be one of the most engrossing Infocom titles I ever played.

Hmmm. I liked the Gibson I've read, most of it, but the time I
tried reading a Sterling book I got bored halfway through and stopped.

It captured
>the essence of future shock and cyberpunk in a way that few other
>written works are able. The genre of cyberpunk, to an extent, is fairly
>depressing.

The cyberpunk stories I've read have characters that do work for
goals and do have victories, even if the overall environment is
depressing and their futures in doubt.

This causes those who aren't already a fan of the
>underlying concepts to get turned off sometimes. AMFV is in a very
>similar position.
>

OK, I'm going to talk about Oedipus Rex, AMFV, Photopia, and Leather
Goddesses of Mars in a spoilerish way, so...
H
E
R
E
T
H
E
R
E
M
A
Y
B
E
S
P
O
I
L
E
R
S

In AMFV, there is a sharp demarcation between your life as a computer
and your life in the simulation. Life is depressing in the simulation,
and the ultimate reward is in the simulation, and has nothing to do
with what you did there (at least on-screen). This differs from
the cyberpunk I've read where the characters worked for something
and got some sort of reward that was related to what they worked for.

However, let's go to my real problem with the game.

When in depressing situations, I start looking for escape routes.
It may have something to do with actual depression, which I've suffered
from. In any case, if an author puts me in a depressing situation
I check it out closely.

In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles sets Oedipus up in a good position, and
starts bringing in people with information that slowly builds up
the conviction that Oedipus was exposed by his parents as a baby, and
did kill his father and marry his mother. While the circumstances
of the information coming together are unrealistically compressed,
this is a play, and therefore a reasonable artificiality. The
individuals with the information act fairly reasonably, within the
medium's constraints. This means that the whole thing is believable.

Lovecraft did much the same thing, by slowly building up fact upon
fact to reach the effect he wanted. He was at great pains to build
a believable investigation into odd occurences, and his conclusions
were generally at least possible. I really doubt that alien miners
infest the hills of Vermont and carry off people's brains, but it
is possible.

We could also consider Photopia. Cadre starts with a setup that
is clearly a fatal drunk driver accident, and shows scenes from
Alley's life. It's all believable, and carefully set up. (The
characters in "Ready, Okay!" were not as believable to me, as human
beings, and that was at least a slight problem.)

Now, consider AMFV. It's depressing, like the examples above.
It doesn't hold together. The premise that a computer can predict
the future in detail is strange, but the premise that it can only
be examined using simulation mode, and that the simulation mode
can collect enough information to extend the simulation, is
unbelievable. (Not to mention the prediction of future
*astronomical* events, which play an important, if indirect,
part in the simulation.)

Nor does the future make any sense. Everything is going great,
thanks to "The Plan", and then it goes wrong for no explainable
reason. Obviously, there's something wrong with The Plan. What
this could be, that could reduce a thriving civilization to utter
barbarism in forty years, is never explained. It just kind of
happens. It would appear that The Plan would promote the growth
of something like the Nazis, but how and why? Since we never learn
anything significant about The Plan, it just kind of hangs there.

So I find large cracks in the reasoning, and the situation just
falls apart. I'm reading this stuff about the rise of the bad
guys because somebody wanted to write about bad guys taking over,
not for any internal reason that I can discern. The suspension
is no longer strong enough to hold the disbelief, and it falls
on the mimesis, shattering it. (Or flattening it and breaking the
pot, if it's a variegated mimesis.)

One of my conclusions is that tragedy is harder to write than comedy.
I'm not as anxious to get out of a comedy, so that I don't look as
hard at the backdrop. Even then, a comedy needs internal consistency,
such as the consistent use of cliches in Leather Goddesses of Phobos.
Pratchett's Discworld books gain a great deal of the power from
Pratchett's vision of what things are really like on a magical
world supported by four elephants on a turtle (who swims through
space).

So, that's why one Infocom fan disliked AMFV and was moved by
Photopia.

wester...@my-deja.com

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Jan 3, 2001, 1:38:00 PM1/3/01
to
In article <ukJ46.8033$4c.6...@ruti.visi.com>,
thor...@visi.com (David Thornley) wrote:

> Nor does the future make any sense. Everything is going great,
> thanks to "The Plan", and then it goes wrong for no explainable
> reason. Obviously, there's something wrong with The Plan. What
> this could be, that could reduce a thriving civilization to utter
> barbarism in forty years, is never explained. It just kind of
> happens. It would appear that The Plan would promote the growth
> of something like the Nazis, but how and why? Since we never learn
> anything significant about The Plan, it just kind of hangs there.

Well, it made sense to me. But, you're right--you don't learn a
lot about The Plan in the simulations. I don't think that's really the
point of the simulations, though. If you go into Library mode, and
read about the Plan and listen to some of the interviews, well, a
slightly different picture stops forming. Or, have you already done
that, and still feel that the problems with the plan come out of
nowhere?
I think it's also important to note that things don't immediately
go wrong overnight--the simulations play out over the course of fifty
years (2031-2081), and lots of stuff can happen during a time frame
that big. And some stuff can--and does--happen overnight as well.
(Both World Wars, for example, were fought in the time span of far less
than fifty years.) The Church of God's Word isn't perhaps the best
example of this--itstarts out as a legitimate religion, very innocuous,
but slowly begins to take over until it's original purpose has been
perverted. Remember, it takes about twenty years, possibly longer, for
everything to go wrong with the Church.
But when things do go wrong all over the place, it's important to
remember that we see only one city in the USNA. We don't see the way
things are going elsewhere. In fact, the other simulations suggest
that the gap between the classes just widens to such a point that
Rockvil (which is primarily a middle-class community) turns into a
crime-ridden slum that none of the people in the upper class cares
about. There's nothing that really suggests this happens to the entire
country--remember, at that point, Perry is very old, so his perception
of the world is pretty narrow. (And also remember that, during the
epilogue, there is a SIXTY year gap of time for things to go as right
as they do--not insignificant.)
That's why, to my perception, library mode is so vital. I have
found it does fill in the gaps. It explains the problems The Plan is
supposed to solve (on a nation-wide and city-wide level, which is an
important distinction in AMFV), and it discusses the opposition to The
Plan that thinks the solutions are only short-term quick-fixes. This
is proved in 2041, which is better than 2031 but hardly perfect--
remember, you are only asked to record a very select number of things,
not all of which necessarily give you a complete picture of what's
going on in the society. I wish I could give you more specific
examples, but it's been a while since I played the game. However, I
seem to remember just about all my questions being answered.

> So, that's why one Infocom fan disliked AMFV and was moved by
> Photopia.

Notice, though, I'm not saying anything about Photopia--it
definitely worked. And very well. I simply found A Mind Forever
Voyaging to be a richer, more detailed experience. But, if I had
written your message, I wouldn't really have attempted to compare A
Mind Forever Voyaging and Photopia in the first place. I, for one,
don't consider A Mind Forever Voyaging a tragedy. But that's a topic
for another thread.

--Matthew


Sent via Deja.com
http://www.deja.com/

Rich Pizor

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Jan 3, 2001, 5:18:24 PM1/3/01
to
In article <ukJ46.8033$4c.6...@ruti.visi.com>, David Thornley
<thor...@visi.com> wrote:

> OK, I'm going to talk about Oedipus Rex, AMFV, Photopia, and Leather
> Goddesses of Mars in a spoilerish way, so...

And I'm going to discuss AMFV extensively in a similar light, so...

> H
> E
> R
> E
> T
> H
> E
> R
> E
> M
> A
> Y
> B
> E
> S
> P
> O
> I
> L
> E
> R
> S
>
> In AMFV, there is a sharp demarcation between your life as a computer
> and your life in the simulation.

Which, frankly, was one of the things that first drew me to the game.
One of the things that frustrates me about IF was the fact that, no
matter how well it is described, I was always an outsider in the game
world. A character in the world would have implicit and explicit
knowledge that I as a player am denied. So I liked AMFV's approach,
since the PC's lack of grounding or connection to the world around him
mirrored the player's particularly well, at least in my view.

> Life is depressing in the simulation,
> and the ultimate reward is in the simulation, and has nothing to do
> with what you did there (at least on-screen).

You speak of cyberpunk stories in which the protagonists' reward
ultimately is befitting of their goal. There is no clearly defined goal
in AMFV (Act I notwitstanding) so it becomes difficult to offer a
reward that is explicitly keyed to same. The reward as it stands made
sense to me -- return to a life interrupted. This, to me, is one of the
main themes of the work. The PC was given a life for no other reason
than to evolve into a tool for others. He was then used as a tool, then
acted as sort of a self-motivated tool, for which he was rewarded by
being returned to his life. To me, at least, the same sort of
cause-effect reward you describe is thus in play here.

> When in depressing situations, I start looking for escape routes.
> It may have something to do with actual depression, which I've suffered
> from. In any case, if an author puts me in a depressing situation
> I check it out closely.
>
> In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles sets Oedipus up in a good position, and
> starts bringing in people with information that slowly builds up
> the conviction that Oedipus was exposed by his parents as a baby, and
> did kill his father and marry his mother. While the circumstances
> of the information coming together are unrealistically compressed,
> this is a play, and therefore a reasonable artificiality. The
> individuals with the information act fairly reasonably, within the
> medium's constraints. This means that the whole thing is believable.

I'd draw a distinction here between "believable" and "internally
consistent." Oedipus Rex certainly carries the setup to a logical
conclusion, and the characters' behavior is consistent with what the
author establishes at the outset. That doesn't necessarily mean the
story is believable -- just well constructed. The same could be said
for C.S. Lewis' Narnia books.

More to the point, it's my opinion that AMFV does follow that same sort
of internal logic -- but you can't really see it until you've played
enough to have hindsight (more below).

[snip]

> Now, consider AMFV. The premise that a computer can predict


> the future in detail is strange, but the premise that it can only
> be examined using simulation mode, and that the simulation mode
> can collect enough information to extend the simulation, is
> unbelievable. (Not to mention the prediction of future
> *astronomical* events, which play an important, if indirect,
> part in the simulation.)

Here I disagree. Computer simulations are already used in the present
day to take glimpses of the future, albeit in much more narrow strokes.
We don't use a giant SimCity algorithm to look at what effect a certain
civic policy will have, but it strikes me as little more than the
extreme logical extension of using a computer to model what conditions
will cause a building's superstructure to fail or what speed is
necessary to keep an aircraft aloft. In both cases you're starting with
a fixed scenario for which data exists, and then extrapolating more
data by running test cases. I didn't read the simulations in AMFV as a
prediction of What Will Happen, but rather as what the computer deemd
the most likely scenario given the data it had been programmed with.

Does it replicate anything we have now? No. But it does play directly
off the idea of AI and computers that could learn and think, which were
popular when the game was written. To that extent, AMFV may be an
artifact of the time that produced it.

> Nor does the future make any sense. Everything is going great,
> thanks to "The Plan", and then it goes wrong for no explainable
> reason. Obviously, there's something wrong with The Plan. What
> this could be, that could reduce a thriving civilization to utter
> barbarism in forty years, is never explained. It just kind of
> happens. It would appear that The Plan would promote the growth
> of something like the Nazis, but how and why? Since we never learn
> anything significant about The Plan, it just kind of hangs there.

Which is precisely why we're not in a position to evaluate whether or
not the degeneration we witness make sense. Radical upheavals do
sometimes happen, and ordinary folk do sometimes get caught in the
crossfire -- just ask anyone who lived through China's Cultural
Revolution. I'm not willing to make the judgement of whether or not it
makes sense without getting a better idea of what The Plan consists of.

More to the point, the premise that you're just there to do what you're
told and are given only the information that "they" think you need
("they" in this case being the proponents of The Plan) is one that I
find all too believable. Selective disclosure of information is stock
and trade in modern life. It's what allowed Phillip Morris et al to
addict the world to a known carcinogen. It's what set the stage for
Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal. It's what got Ralph Nader into
business in the first place.

The main problem I see is that all of this information is assumed. It
never comes out, I think, because the PC has lived in a parallel
universe from the "real" one that led to The Plan. Perhaps this
backstory should have been provided upon completion of the game; here I
think the technological limitations of the time (by requiring 128k of
RAM, it was a pretty greedy game for the era) may have posed a problem.

Ultimately, AMFV's greatest failing may be that it leaves so much open
to interpretation. I don't know that it was designed with this rich
back story in mind; I'm simply interpreting it, based on my own
experiences. Your experiences led you to a different interpretation.

Rich

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jan 3, 2001, 6:18:49 PM1/3/01
to
On Wed, 03 Jan 2001 22:18:24 GMT, Rich Pizor <rich...@home.com>
wrote:

>> Now, consider AMFV. The premise that a computer can predict
>> the future in detail is strange, but the premise that it can only
>> be examined using simulation mode, and that the simulation mode
>> can collect enough information to extend the simulation, is
>> unbelievable. (Not to mention the prediction of future
>> *astronomical* events, which play an important, if indirect,
>> part in the simulation.)
>
>Here I disagree. Computer simulations are already used in the present
>day to take glimpses of the future, albeit in much more narrow strokes.

On the other hand, the notion that they need Perry's recordings to
extend the sim into the future is pretty absurd. They already have
all the data. It's in the sim. The recordings may be the only way of
understanding the data, but since when does a simulation need to be
understood to continue operating? This part just seems like an excuse
to add narrative structure to the game, and the player either accepts
it as such and suspends disbelief, or doesn't.

mathew

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Jan 4, 2001, 11:59:50 AM1/4/01
to
Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
> On the other hand, I once wanted to play Stationfall because it was a
> sequel to Planetfall, but I may never do it because some fool who assumed
> everybody had played it told the ending. [...] Anyway, I guess my
> favorite Infocom game is Planetfall [...]

I found Planetfall and Stationfall disappointing. They weren't as funny
or as engrossing as I had been lead to expect. I particularly disliked
the eat, sleep puzzles in Planetfall, though they're probably forgivable
given the age of the game.

I also found Zork Zero annoying, because of the huge amount of
travelling through already-explored areas it required.

Cutthroats commits the unforgivable sin of having the game become
unwinnable unless you happen to be in the right place at the right time
about half-way through, and giving you no clue that you've entered the
unwinnable state. Bleagh.


mathew
--
No taxation without representation!

Nils Barth

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Jan 4, 2001, 1:13:16 PM1/4/01
to
On Thu, 4 Jan 2001 16:59:50 GMT, mathew <me...@pobox.com> wrote:
>Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>> On the other hand, I once wanted to play Stationfall because it was a
>> sequel to Planetfall, but I may never do it because some fool who assumed
>> everybody had played it told the ending. [...] Anyway, I guess my
>> favorite Infocom game is Planetfall [...]
>
>I found Planetfall and Stationfall disappointing. They weren't as funny
>or as engrossing as I had been lead to expect. I particularly disliked
>the eat, sleep puzzles in Planetfall, though they're probably forgivable
>given the age of the game.

I just completed Planetfall, which came with high praise, and had a
similar reaction: I found it tedious (I didn't like the liquids puzzle
either -- lots of walking unnecessarily far). Also, Floyd seems
underused.

--
-nils

mathew

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Jan 4, 2001, 2:01:59 PM1/4/01
to
Carl Muckenhoupt <ca...@wurb.com> wrote:
> On the other hand, the notion that they need Perry's recordings to
> extend the sim into the future is pretty absurd.

I always thought that they needed Perry's recordings to justify the
funding for extending the sim into the future -- not to provide
necessary data for the sim itself.

My interpretation of the story was that the initial run encouraged
politicians to act on the plan, and fund future runs -- and that only in
later runs did it become apparent that the plan would lead to a
dystopian future, at which point Perry had to fight to get the data
accepted and the plan killed.

wester...@my-deja.com

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Jan 4, 2001, 2:31:29 PM1/4/01
to
In article <1empnzh.1i26q6ch2r0y3N%me...@pobox.com>,

I am so upset. I wrote a VERY lengthy response along these exact
lines yesterday from my other news server, and it hasn't shown up yet.
Anyway, you're absolutely right in your interpretation. It's also
important to note that everything that eventually happens because of
the plan can be charted out in libary mode--there's even an anti-Plan
section of information that spells out what eventually ends up
happening as a result. In A Mind Forever Voyaging, almost nothing
comes out of nowhere.

Adam Myrow

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Jan 4, 2001, 6:06:56 PM1/4/01
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It's pretty clear that the computer generates new data as you stay in
simulation mode long enough. At the end of part one of AMFV, Perlman
says something to the effect that the computer has been doing a lot of
behind-the-sceens work and may be able to provide better simulations in
the future. At the beginning of part 2, you go 20 years in the future.
If you stay their long enough, you get 30 years in the future, etc.
Funding has nothing to do with the further simulations. In fact, shortly
after part two starts, a message comes in that says "I hope you are
keeping yourself busy." This makes it very clear that anything you do in
part two is independent of anybody. That's why showing the recordings to
Perlman gives the response about "you've got something interesting to
show me?" I interpret the story that Prism shows that Senator Rider is
corrupt and really wants to use the plan to take over the country. Read
the two newspapers. Also, part of the plan is to extend the Presidential
term. Guess who's President in both 2041 and 2051?

To those that say that there is no warning of the future outcome of the
plan, I would argue that the bad part of town and the occasional random
remarks about somebody bumping into you and asking your views on "some
obscure religious point" are warnings. It was obvious from the start
that things weren't going to work. Due to the limits of what you are
allowed to record in part 1, you can't show this until you are free to
record what you want.

--
Adam Myrow

Rich Pizor

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Jan 5, 2001, 4:09:26 PM1/5/01
to
In article <1empnzh.1i26q6ch2r0y3N%me...@pobox.com>, mathew
<me...@pobox.com> wrote:

Exactly my take on it as well. The executable I played with back in the
day was a bit buggy; it would crash every time I entered Library mode.
I may have to go back and replay it with a more modern version...

Rich

cynd...@my-deja.com

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Jan 5, 2001, 5:58:48 PM1/5/01
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Very interesting thread - I played nearly every one of the Infocom
games. I loved every adventure and SF - definitely including AMFV. Not
all equally - it'd be fun to try to rank them.

I think my next favorites were action (Infidel, Ballyhoo and such) and
mystery (including Sherlock).

So what was left? I checked the list of games (there's a lovely website
at http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pete/Infocom/ - great for my failing memory)
It seems I never played Shogun or Arthur. And what's left (and those I
nominate for least-satisfying) are:

Bureaucracy - so realistic it gave me a headache
Journey - early graphic with multiple choice - tedious
Lurking Horror - this may have been my aversion to the genre
Border Zone - I remember it was a spy thriller, not satisfying though
Hollywood Hijinx - I recall this being tedious, but not much else


In article <3a4d2a79...@goliath2.usenet-access.com>,


ca...@wurb.com (Carl Muckenhoupt) wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Dec 2000 15:11:08 -0500, "Duncan Stevens"
> <dn...@starpower.net> wrote:
>
> >Also, there are several Infocom games that many find thoroughly
> >unsatisfying, specifically Cutthroats, Suspect, Moonmist, Seastalker
> >(admittedly, the latter two are for kids, but they're not even all
that
> >great on that level), and Sherlock. So there's some competition for
that
> >title.
>
> And let us not forget Shogun. That's definitely the one that
> satisfied me the least. I can best describe it as the closest thing
> to the experience of a bad FMV game I've ever seen in a text
> adventure.
>
> But everyone's different. I quite liked Sherlock, even if it wasn't
> at all Holmesian in tone.

Esrom

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Jan 5, 2001, 10:55:16 PM1/5/01
to
In article <050120011309266151%rich...@home.com>,

Both the Library Mode and the WNN broadcasts can help to put the
simulations into context. There are, of course, still a few flaws. It's
still not entirely clear just how the Church of God's Word was able to
become as dominant and as oppressive as it becomes in the later
simulations.

And of course, the ending is kind of rushed -- you never do learn the
details that put the new utopian future into context. It's sort of like
going into 2081 without seeing any of the other simulations first.
We're allowed to see the progression into a dystopia all the way to the
anarchic and horrific 2081, but we never see the progression to the
epilogue's utopia, nor do we learn the details of the replacement Plan.
The game skips over that part of the story and moves on to PRISM's
reward, and the brief glimpse of the new utopia (In addition, I would
have liked to have actually been able to walk around the whole city in
the final simulation, as opposed to getting a brief glimpse from a
skycar).

Don't get me wrong; I liked AMFV overall. I just thought there were a
few things missing.

Chris Lang

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