Most difficult Infocom game?

126 views
Skip to first unread message

Mary J Mcmenomy

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/15/00
to
John Bowers (jb2...@my-deja.com) wrote:

: I wonder what the rest of you think. Which game is the most difficult
: Infocom game?

I found Deadline quite tricky because of all the timed events, and the
ease with which you could miss/destroy evidence. I played that game on
and off for years before eventually getting the hint book.


Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/15/00
to
I zipped through Spellbreaker and Trinity both. I found Zork 1 very
difficult, but of course it was the first Infocom game I played.
(Zorks 2 and 3 seemed much easier to me.) I got stuck for a long time
in Bureaucracy (largely because I had mapped the airplane
incorrectly). But the hardest games, for me, were the mysteries.
Suspect in particular.

-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
-----== Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----

Lelah Conrad

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/15/00
to
On 15 Oct 2000 18:30:23 GMT, mcme...@mail2.sas.upenn.edu (Mary J
Mcmenomy) wrote:

Heh. I agree. I played Deadline for years too but more *on* than
off. Sheesh, I can't believe now how much time I spent playing that
game.

Also, of the others I've started, I have never finished Bureaucracy or
Nord and Bert, both of which were based around gimmicks that I thought
particularly difficult.

Lelah

Ah, for the time when youth and time seemed endless ...

mathew

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/15/00
to
John Bowers <jb2...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> I recently resumed playing the old Infocom games, going through those
> which I had not played at all. When I started on Trinity, I realized
> that it was a very difficult game (at least for me). In fact, without a
> hints file I'm sure I would never have gotten through it.
>
> I recall one of the Infocom founders stating that Spellbreaker was the
> most difficult game he ever wrote, but my experience is that Trinity is
> far more difficult than Spellbreaker.

Trinity is certainly tricky, but not unreasonably so. Spellbreaker, in
my opinion, goes over the line. It's the only Infocom game I've given
up on in disgust because the puzzles were just excessively and
unreasonably hard. (Well, the Zork III baseball puzzle could be added
to the list...)

I've played Bureaucracy, Hitch-Hiker's Guide, Nord & Bert, AMFV and
Deadline, and didn't have any particular problems with any of those --
except for a couple of Americanisms in Nord & Bert that I'd never heard
and couldn't reasonably have been expected to guess.

I actually found Zork Zero difficult, because of the sheer size of the
game and the way it opens up so rapidly. I got to a point where I lost
track of what I had been doing where, and didn't really know what to do
next. I started to feel like I was spending huge amounts of time
trekking across the map juggling dozens of objects and looking for
things I'd dropped.

This surprised me, because I'm generally more into exploration than
puzzles -- I'd never have guessed I'd find a game with too much
exploration...


mathew
--
No taxation without representation!

Jonathan Blask

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/15/00
to
I'd throw in a vote for Border Zone.
-jon
"If I got stranded on a desert island (with electricity)/
And I could bring one record and my hi-fi/
I'd bring that ocean surf cd (Relaxing Sound of Ocean Surf)/
So I could enjoy the irony." - Dylan Hicks


Kelvin Wright

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 5:37:06 PM10/15/00
to
In article <39ea14cc...@news.nu-world.com>, Lelah Conrad says...
I found Deadline difficult, but partly that was because I didn't like
it. I don't much like games with a timed element. I started Magnetic
Scroll's Corruption but couldn't be bothered with it for the same
reason.

Trinity was challenging, but once you cotton on to how to use the
gnomon, I didn't think it was unusually difficult. It was the Infocom
game I enjoyed most. Nord and Bert was one of the easiest. Once you
have got the pattern for each section, it is just a series of word
puzzles.
--

Kelvin Wright
Dunedin
New Zealand

Amarande

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 9:38:14 PM10/15/00
to
On Sun, 15 Oct 2000 21:39:53 GMT, me...@pobox.com (mathew) wrote:

>Trinity is certainly tricky, but not unreasonably so. Spellbreaker, in
>my opinion, goes over the line. It's the only Infocom game I've given
>up on in disgust because the puzzles were just excessively and

I never even made it through Sorcerer, let alone Spellbreaker ...

(I suspect this failure has something to do with the fact that it's
actually easy to ruin your game in many Infocom games by SAVING the
game... apparently, in .z3 this counts as a turn, which means saving
during a tightly timed puzzle leaves you screwed, whereas in .z5 it
appears to not count as a turn)

>unreasonably hard. (Well, the Zork III baseball puzzle could be added
>to the list...)

That's Zork II, not Zork III.

spam...@oceanfree.net

unread,
Oct 15, 2000, 10:11:34 PM10/15/00
to
In article <1eik0mz.1psn5cahcttxsN%me...@pobox.com>,

me...@pobox.com (mathew) wrote:
> John Bowers <jb2...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> > I recall one of the Infocom founders stating that Spellbreaker was
the
> > most difficult game he ever wrote, but my experience is that
Trinity is
> > far more difficult than Spellbreaker.
>
> Trinity is certainly tricky, but not unreasonably so. Spellbreaker,
in
> my opinion, goes over the line. It's the only Infocom game I've given
> up on in disgust because the puzzles were just excessively and
> unreasonably hard. (Well, the Zork III baseball puzzle could be added
> to the list...)
>

The hardest Infocom game to my mind has got to be Suspended.
Spellbreaker, yeah... but it only really gets hard at the end. Trinity,
unlikely... you just have to die a whole load of times... The baseball
puzzle... was in Zork II.

But down there, many miles beneath the earth's core - >commanding<
awkward robots - traversing the various bugs - and dying, dying all the
time.

Oh, the horror... the horror.

AFROBOT

(The robot without sight, the robot who cannot move...)


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

chris...@my-deja.com

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 1:32:48 AM10/16/00
to

> > > I recall one of the Infocom founders stating that Spellbreaker was
> the
> > > most difficult game he ever wrote, but my experience is that
> Trinity is
> > > far more difficult than Spellbreaker.
> >

Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the hole.

Ok, no... I think Spellbreaker was the worst. The puzzles all made
sense once my friend told them to me, but I was frequently lost.

Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
On Mon, 16 Oct 2000 05:32:48 GMT, chris...@my-deja.com wrote:

>Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the hole.

Heh. Okay, embarassing story time: When I played Wishbringer, I
didn't find the stone. I kept thinking "Boy, I'm getting pretty far
into the game. I wonder when the magic stone turns up? I keep
running into situations where it would be useful. Well, I guess I'll
just keep exploring until I find out where it is." When it was clear
that I was nearing the ending, I thought "OK, so you don't get the
stone until the climax. I suppose there's a puzzle sequence at the
very end where you have opportunities to use all of the wishes or
something. Funny how the ads and the docs made it seem like the stone
was a big part of the game." I was quite annoyed when I reached the
very end, still stoneless, and found that I was supposed to already
have it (and couldn't complete the game until I found it). It was as
though I had been cheated out of my wishes.

Nele Abels-Ludwig

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
On Mon, 16 Oct 2000, Carl Muckenhoupt wrote:
> On Mon, 16 Oct 2000 05:32:48 GMT, chris...@my-deja.com wrote:
>
> >Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the hole.
>
> Heh. Okay, embarassing story time: When I played Wishbringer, I
> didn't find the stone. I kept thinking "Boy, I'm getting pretty far
> into the game. I wonder when the magic stone turns up? I keep
> running into situations where it would be useful. Well, I guess I'll
> just keep exploring until I find out where it is."

I don't really understand this, I mean the stone virtually jumps into
your face: you get the can, you examine the can, you open the can, you
examine it again after the snake has popped out - here you go the
secret compartment and the stone.

It came perfectly natural to me, right at the first attempt.

But strangely enough, I found Wishbringer the easiest Infocom-adventure
anyway... :P

Nele
--
Drei Maximen des Kyokushin-Karate: Blaue Flecken sind schoen -
Schmerz ist Einbildung - Knochenbrüche wachsen wieder zusammen.


Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
On Mon, 16 Oct 2000 13:53:23 +0200, Nele Abels-Ludwig
<Ab...@stud-mailer.uni-marburg.de> wrote:

>I don't really understand this, I mean the stone virtually jumps into
>your face: you get the can, you examine the can, you open the can, you
>examine it again after the snake has popped out - here you go the
>secret compartment and the stone.

And I, for my part, don't understand what people find so difficult
about Spellbreaker. Everyone's different. My experience was more
like: You open the can, you examine it again after the snake has
popped out, you see that it has a rattle chamber, you don't see any
obvious way to open it or any reason why you should, you decide to go
exploring.

Weird Beard

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to

<chris...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:8se3u1$n2u$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

>
>
> > > > I recall one of the Infocom founders stating that Spellbreaker was
> > the
> > > > most difficult game he ever wrote, but my experience is that
> > Trinity is
> > > > far more difficult than Spellbreaker.
> > >
>
> Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the hole.
>
semi spoilers below

You can either stick something into the hole for the platypus to grab on to,
or find some way to fill the hole.

One of these will use up a wish, and one will give you points.

Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
Amarande (ava...@concentric.net) wrote:
> On Sun, 15 Oct 2000 21:39:53 GMT, me...@pobox.com (mathew) wrote:
>
> >Trinity is certainly tricky, but not unreasonably so. Spellbreaker, in
> >my opinion, goes over the line. It's the only Infocom game I've given
> >up on in disgust because the puzzles were just excessively and
>
> I never even made it through Sorcerer, let alone Spellbreaker ...

Sorcerer is one of only two IF games that I've solved without any hints
whatsover (the other being Stationfall).

I needed hints for Spider & Web, even. I couldn't get past the first
puzzle in Bad Machine without getting the answer from Dan. I think it
may be that I'm getting more and more impatient in my old age. There
are so many games out there that I want to play and as soon as I get
stuck on one, even in the slightest way, I'm already itching to play
the next.

I guess that's the danger of having so many choices. At least, it
is for me.


-=- Mark -=-

P.S.
Spider & Web can be found at
http://ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/Tangle.z5

Bad Machine can be found at:
http://ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/tads/bmch.zip


John D Evans

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
> Trinity was challenging, but once you cotton on to how to use the
> gnomon, I didn't think it was unusually difficult. It was the Infocom
> game I enjoyed most. Nord and Bert was one of the easiest. Once you
> have got the pattern for each section, it is just a series of word
> puzzles.

Exactly. It was full of difficult word puzzles.

It strikes me that there are several different 'thought modes' that
are often required for solving IF puzzles...

* Exploration - Finding where things are, keeping track of the big
picture, maze-mastery...
* Tinkering - Figuring out what to do with each thing, where...
* Resource management - Actually this doesn't come up *that* much,
it tends to take more the form of:
* Timing - I'm sure we can all think of puzzles that need this...

Things with timing, for example, it seems to me that you can just sort
of do them over and over until you figure out how best to fit
everything together. But a lot of the other puzzles, you need a certain
amount of inspiration, the ability to take logical leaps (sometimes
using clues the designer has left, sometimes without the benefit of
clues) and figure out what to do next.

On a related note, has anyone else noticed how incredibly easy it is to
make games incredibly hard?...

Okay, that's probably enough babbling from me today...

John
(And yes, I know it has a bug.)

Mark Norton

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
In rec.arts.int-fiction Carl Muckenhoupt <ca...@wurb.com> wrote:
> I zipped through Spellbreaker and Trinity both. I found Zork 1 very
> difficult, but of course it was the first Infocom game I played.
> (Zorks 2 and 3 seemed much easier to me.) I got stuck for a long time
> in Bureaucracy (largely because I had mapped the airplane
> incorrectly). But the hardest games, for me, were the mysteries.
> Suspect in particular.

I just finished Bureaucracy and thought it was pretty unfair at times.
Granted the premise of "they're out to screw you" can cover a lot of
territory, but there still sort of needs to be some sense to the puzzle.
For example,
[spoilers below]


I thought the bit about the postage stamps relaying the letters of the order
that you have to type the Zalagasan cartridge program prints was over the
line. You'd have to have played through the opening sequence in various
ways to realize that you find the mail always in the same order. Plus
there's no logical tissue between the connection except maybe for the very
thin connection of Random Q. Hacker. Additionally, it provides the solution
to a puzzle that it is possible to solve by accident. I managed to get
through the switchgear maze just by going east once (the random numbers were
in my favor) however, went back because I wanted to understand why it
worked. I shouldn't have bothered.

By contrast, I thought the Airport was wonderful. It was tricky but once
the illogical logic was uncovered (the ticket desk is when you don't think
to look for it, etc.) it was really rich in good descriptions, and funny
situations (particularly the air traffic controllers, and the joyful crowd).

The airplane itself I didn't have too hard a time with, though it could have
done with a bit more description in a few areas.

The bit about how to get into the paranoid's house was frustrating, but did
make sense. It was just hard since you can easily make the game unwinnable
by not doing the right thing at the right time.

So on the whole, Bureacracy was good, but felt really unfinished after the
airplane, as if the end were rushed and tacked on, and the Z-BUG
program/mail puzzle really trashed the end for me.

I don't suppose anyone really wanted a review, but as I said, I just
finished it and needed to vent.

Regards,
Mark Norton

tgsp...@my-deja.com

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
(Wishbringer spoilers below...)


Wow, I had the exact same thing happen to me. There was so much
emphasis on the stone in the packaging that I assumed the game was
leading up to the wonderful point where I actually get it. My line of
thinking early in the game was: Oh, the fake can of peanuts has a
snake it it, with some pieces of metal in the bottom to simulate the
sound of peanuts. I got the joke, but didn't realize the joke had a
second part (the false bottom) until I was done with everything and had
to find out where to get the stone. I shared the same feeling you had -
that I was somehow cheated, as I didn't get to use the stone
throughout the game.

Of course, it turns out that Wishbringer is an Introductory level game,
and that the stone actually makes the game even easier to use. I
didn't actually need it throughout the game, but just knowing after-the-
fact that I should have been able to use it left me feeling a bit upset
about the game.

Looking back, however, it was a nice romp through Zork-land, and the
imagery was very well done.

Tom Spidell


In article <39ead9bb....@goliath2.usenet-access.com>,


ca...@wurb.com (Carl Muckenhoupt) wrote:
> On Mon, 16 Oct 2000 05:32:48 GMT, chris...@my-deja.com wrote:
>

> >Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the
hole.
>

> Heh. Okay, embarassing story time: When I played Wishbringer, I
> didn't find the stone. I kept thinking "Boy, I'm getting pretty far
> into the game. I wonder when the magic stone turns up? I keep
> running into situations where it would be useful. Well, I guess I'll

> just keep exploring until I find out where it is." When it was clear
> that I was nearing the ending, I thought "OK, so you don't get the
> stone until the climax. I suppose there's a puzzle sequence at the
> very end where you have opportunities to use all of the wishes or
> something. Funny how the ads and the docs made it seem like the stone
> was a big part of the game." I was quite annoyed when I reached the
> very end, still stoneless, and found that I was supposed to already
> have it (and couldn't complete the game until I found it). It was as
> though I had been cheated out of my wishes.
>

> -----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
> http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
> -----== Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----
>

Joe Mason

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
In article <MPG.14561aa94...@news.dun.ihug.co.nz>, Kelvin Wright
wrote:
>And I sailed right through Planetfall but never even thought of
>looking inside Floyd to get one of those vital card thingies.

Yeah! I had that problem too.

(It also took me *months* to figure out "move rug". I was about 8, mind you.)

Joe

Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
Carl Muckenhoupt (ca...@wurb.com) wrote:
> Heh. Okay, embarassing story time: When I played Wishbringer, I
> didn't find the stone. I kept thinking "Boy, I'm getting pretty far
> into the game. I wonder when the magic stone turns up? I keep
> running into situations where it would be useful. Well, I guess I'll
> just keep exploring until I find out where it is." When it was clear
> that I was nearing the ending, I thought "OK, so you don't get the
> stone until the climax. I suppose there's a puzzle sequence at the
> very end where you have opportunities to use all of the wishes or
> something. Funny how the ads and the docs made it seem like the stone
> was a big part of the game." I was quite annoyed when I reached the
> very end, still stoneless, and found that I was supposed to already
> have it (and couldn't complete the game until I found it). It was as
> though I had been cheated out of my wishes.

Here's my experience: I did manage to find the stone when playing the
game, and I kept expecting to use it. I didn't realize that its use
was optional, and I was anticipating the point where I'd start having
to call upon the stone's power.

I got 90% of the way through before I bought the hint booklet to
figoure out the last part of the game. It was only then I realized
I could have used the stone much earlier on.

Silly me for using science instead of majick.


-=- Mark -=-

Jason Compton

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
In rec.games.int-fiction Weird Beard <weird...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

:> Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the hole.
:>
: semi spoilers below

I think Chris was pulling your leg about this, guys.

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com

Jason Compton

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
In rec.games.int-fiction Joe Mason <jcm...@uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
: In article <MPG.14561aa94...@news.dun.ihug.co.nz>, Kelvin Wright
: wrote:
:>And I sailed right through Planetfall but never even thought of
:>looking inside Floyd to get one of those vital card thingies.

: Yeah! I had that problem too.

Don't take this too personally, but you guys are weird. :) It didn't occur
to you that the robot might have something interesting on his person, or
that a detailed SEARCH might be in order before you just go switching on
any old robot you might come across?

Besides, Floyd ultimately volunteers that he has it, doesn't he? Was that
how you finally got hold of the card?

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com

Adam Myrow

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/16/00
to
Spoilers below

Oddly, I thought Sorcerer was much harder than Spellbreaker because there
are so many things you can only learn by dying and trying again. For
example, how are you to know in advance that the glass maze has rooms with
no floor or that going to sleep in the Guild Hall would put you in a place
of infinite death or something like that? Of course, I was trying
everything to get out of their rather than realizing that it was a trap.
Of course, if you go into the coal mine too early, you're toast as
well. On top of that, you don't get the warning like in Spellbreaker when
scrolls and stuff get wet. Although it makes sense, I still ruined my
book once because I didn't think about it. Then again, in Spellbreaker,
you do have the water room where you get dropped into the ocean without
much warning. But Sorcerer has many more puzzles like that in my
mind. Enchanter was the best of the three because you could see Krill's
effects getting worse over time so it made you want to stop him
fast. Also, there was the dream to warn you if you used Kulcad in the
wrong place and your mind got probed also. In short, it was usually easy
to tell if you'd gotten yourself into an unwinnable condition.

I never had a problem with searching Floyd in Planetfall because the
description said that he appeared only remotely to be functional. So
naturally, I opened him up to see what happened. I got the card, and
turned him on and off a few times before he woke up. In fact, I think I
got through that game faster than any other Infocom game until I played
Witness. That to date was the easiest game and Sorcerer was the second
hardest with Zork I being the most difficult because at the time, I
couldn't cheat and look at hints when I got lost. I played it for over a
year and didn't know that you were supposed to give the egg to the thief
before killing him. That, and I never thought to open the buoy. Other
than that, I found the torch early so was able to stumble through the
maze, feed the cyclops and give it water, and kill the thief without
help. I got mad and typed "echo" in the loud room and was surprised that
it worked. Oh well, that's my votes for hardest games.

Adam Myrow
http://www.eskimo.com/~myrow/


Kelvin Wright

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:14:02 PM10/16/00
to
In article <39ead9bb....@goliath2.usenet-access.com>, Carl
Muckenhoupt says...

> On Mon, 16 Oct 2000 05:32:48 GMT, chris...@my-deja.com wrote:
>
> >Wishbringer. Man. I'm still trying to get that Platypus out of the hole.
>
> Heh. Okay, embarassing story time: When I played Wishbringer, I
> didn't find the stone. I kept thinking "Boy, I'm getting pretty far
> into the game. I wonder when the magic stone turns up? I keep
> running into situations where it would be useful. Well, I guess I'll
> just keep exploring until I find out where it is." When it was clear
> that I was nearing the ending, I thought "OK, so you don't get the
> stone until the climax. I suppose there's a puzzle sequence at the
> very end where you have opportunities to use all of the wishes or
> something. Funny how the ads and the docs made it seem like the stone
> was a big part of the game." I was quite annoyed when I reached the
> very end, still stoneless, and found that I was supposed to already
> have it (and couldn't complete the game until I found it). It was as
> though I had been cheated out of my wishes.

And I sailed right through Planetfall but never even thought of

looking inside Floyd to get one of those vital card thingies.

Kelvin Wright

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 3:22:10 PM10/16/00
to
In article <39eb2d7e$0$57...@senator-bedfellow.mit.edu>, John D Evans
says...

> > Trinity was challenging, but once you cotton on to how to use the
> > gnomon, I didn't think it was unusually difficult. It was the Infocom
> > game I enjoyed most. Nord and Bert was one of the easiest. Once you
> > have got the pattern for each section, it is just a series of word
> > puzzles.
>
> Exactly. It was full of difficult word puzzles.
>
> It strikes me that there are several different 'thought modes' that
> are often required for solving IF puzzles...
>
> * Exploration - Finding where things are, keeping track of the big
> picture, maze-mastery...
> * Tinkering - Figuring out what to do with each thing, where...
> * Resource management - Actually this doesn't come up *that* much,
> it tends to take more the form of:
> * Timing - I'm sure we can all think of puzzles that need this...
* lateral thought. How many puzzles turn on the unexpected uses of
ordinary objects? And how often do our expectations about common
objects prevent us from seeing how they are to be used in the game?

>
> Things with timing, for example, it seems to me that you can just sort
> of do them over and over until you figure out how best to fit
> everything together.

True. But there's something in me that rebels against games where you
need to die over and again in order to figure out the most time
efficient way of doing something. I like to think that, theoretically
anyway, someone should be able to do the game right through without
the prior knowledge that comes from experimenting dozens of times with
a particular puzzle.



> But a lot of the other puzzles, you need a certain
> amount of inspiration, the ability to take logical leaps (sometimes
> using clues the designer has left, sometimes without the benefit of
> clues) and figure out what to do next.
>
> On a related note, has anyone else noticed how incredibly easy it is to
> make games incredibly hard?...
>
> Okay, that's probably enough babbling from me today...
>
> John
> (And yes, I know it has a bug.)
>

--

Kelvin Wright

unread,
Oct 16, 2000, 7:02:57 PM10/16/00
to
In article <8sfum8$6hm$3...@flood.xnet.com>, Jason Compton says...

> In rec.games.int-fiction Joe Mason <jcm...@uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
> : In article <MPG.14561aa94...@news.dun.ihug.co.nz>, Kelvin Wright
> : wrote:
> :>And I sailed right through Planetfall but never even thought of
> :>looking inside Floyd to get one of those vital card thingies.
>
> : Yeah! I had that problem too.
>
> Don't take this too personally, but you guys are weird. :) It didn't occur
> to you that the robot might have something interesting on his person, or
> that a detailed SEARCH might be in order before you just go switching on
> any old robot you might come across?

I know. I know! Sob...sob... Oh, the shame of it, the shame! What
shall I tell the children?


>
> Besides, Floyd ultimately volunteers that he has it, doesn't he? Was that
> how you finally got hold of the card?

It was so long ago now, I can't remember how I found it. But I can
remember being stuck for ages because I needed the damn thing and then
being furious with myself because it was so obvious.

James M. Power

unread,
Oct 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/17/00
to
I couldn't agree more with Kelvin Wright's quote below. And that's what
made Spider and Web such a great game - it managed to twist the rules in
such a unique way... I guess if I say any more I'll have to add spoiler
space. Those who have played it know what I mean...

-Jim

John D Evans

unread,
Oct 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/17/00
to
> > It strikes me that there are several different 'thought modes' that
> > are often required for solving IF puzzles...
> >
> > * Exploration - Finding where things are, keeping track of the big
> > picture, maze-mastery...
> > * Tinkering - Figuring out what to do with each thing, where...
> > * Resource management - Actually this doesn't come up *that* much,
> > it tends to take more the form of:
> > * Timing - I'm sure we can all think of puzzles that need this...
> * lateral thought. How many puzzles turn on the unexpected uses of
> ordinary objects? And how often do our expectations about common
> objects prevent us from seeing how they are to be used in the game?

I kind of had that under 'tinkering'...

Hmmm. I think there are two different things here...There's how you
interact with the game, what sort of stuff you do...

And then there's what mode of thought you use to figure things out...
Whether it's something you can work at over time and deduce, or whether
it requires some sort of inspiration...

> > Things with timing, for example, it seems to me that you can just sort
> > of do them over and over until you figure out how best to fit
> > everything together.
>
> True. But there's something in me that rebels against games where you
> need to die over and again in order to figure out the most time
> efficient way of doing something. I like to think that, theoretically
> anyway, someone should be able to do the game right through without
> the prior knowledge that comes from experimenting dozens of times with
> a particular puzzle.

Aha! I agree with you. However, it all depends on how the game is written.
Some games are written very consciously with an eye towards playing them
over and over until you get it right. Varicella comes to mind. Personally,
that tends to frustrate me quite a bit. Getting a game into an unwinnable
state also annoys me.

(Of course, it could be that I'm just too lazy to want to save games...)

chuck_...@mindspring.com

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 2:03:45 AM10/18/00
to
Mark Norton <nort...@home.com> wrote in message
news:b2HG5.86237$g6.37...@news2.rdc2.tx.home.com...

> In rec.arts.int-fiction Carl Muckenhoupt <ca...@wurb.com> wrote:
> > I zipped through Spellbreaker and Trinity both. I found Zork 1 very
> > difficult, but of course it was the first Infocom game I played.
> > (Zorks 2 and 3 seemed much easier to me.) I got stuck for a long time
> > in Bureaucracy (largely because I had mapped the airplane
> > incorrectly). But the hardest games, for me, were the mysteries.
> > Suspect in particular.
>
> I just finished Bureaucracy and thought it was pretty unfair at times.
> Granted the premise of "they're out to screw you" can cover a lot of
> territory, but there still sort of needs to be some sense to the puzzle.

Since I haven't gotten around to finishing Bureaucracy yet, I didn't read
your entire post lest I pick up info I'd rather not know from your spoilers.
However, the mention of the game as being rather unfair reminded me that
Hitchhiker's Guide also had one particular spot which was rather unfair.
Without specifying what that might be (for those who haven't played it yet),
suffice it to say that the game simply lied to the player - plain and
simple. Those who have played it probably know what lie I'm talking about
here. While the lie wouldn't be likely to prevent progress for very long,
it makes me wonder if a certain element of unfairness might not have been
one of the quirks that Douglas Adams brought to both games. Opinions?

Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/18/00
to
On Wed, 18 Oct 2000 01:03:45 -0500, <chuck_...@mindspring.com>
wrote:

>Since I haven't gotten around to finishing Bureaucracy yet, I didn't read
>your entire post lest I pick up info I'd rather not know from your spoilers.
>However, the mention of the game as being rather unfair reminded me that
>Hitchhiker's Guide also had one particular spot which was rather unfair.
>Without specifying what that might be (for those who haven't played it yet),
>suffice it to say that the game simply lied to the player - plain and
>simple. Those who have played it probably know what lie I'm talking about
>here. While the lie wouldn't be likely to prevent progress for very long,
>it makes me wonder if a certain element of unfairness might not have been
>one of the quirks that Douglas Adams brought to both games. Opinions?

Having played Starship Titanic, I'd say it's quite likely.

Matej Frece

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/18/00
to
> >Hitchhiker's Guide also had one particular spot which was rather unfair.
> >Without specifying what that might be (for those who haven't played it yet),
> >suffice it to say that the game simply lied to the player - plain and
> >simple. Those who have played it probably know what lie I'm talking about
> >here.

I played the game and completed it, but I honestly can't
remember any lie at all. I'd ask you to tell me about it,
but that would be making spoilers, so please write to my
email address instead or give spoiler warning beforehnad.
Thanks.

Matej

Mark Norton

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/18/00
to
In rec.arts.int-fiction chuck_...@mindspring.com wrote:
> Since I haven't gotten around to finishing Bureaucracy yet, I didn't read
> your entire post lest I pick up info I'd rather not know from your spoilers.
> However, the mention of the game as being rather unfair reminded me that
> Hitchhiker's Guide also had one particular spot which was rather unfair.
> Without specifying what that might be (for those who haven't played it yet),
> suffice it to say that the game simply lied to the player - plain and
> simple. Those who have played it probably know what lie I'm talking about
> here. While the lie wouldn't be likely to prevent progress for very long,
> it makes me wonder if a certain element of unfairness might not have been
> one of the quirks that Douglas Adams brought to both games. Opinions?

Assuming we're talking about the same spot, I remember hitting that one, but
it didn't really impact me as being unfair, just weird. (I think we're
talking about the section where when you solve it it says "Alright. We were
lying about the ...").

As for the quirks of Douglas Adams, there was a modest interview with him
with Slashdot. Bits of that interview are on his website as well as in the
Slashdot archives. From what I recall (it's been a couple months since I
read it) he discusses the British perspective on humor. The concept of the
hero tends to be one of "everyman, just like me, screwed by the system".
Certainly you see that in the Hitchhiker's books with Arthur and to a lesser
extent in the Dirk Gently books (though in that instance, it seems that Dirk
tends to find ways *around* the system that embroils eveyrone else, namely
Richard MacDuff and Kate in each book respectively). In Bureacracy, it's
taking to the fullest extent possible.

You can see this also in various British comedies on PBS if you like that
sort of thing. Red Dwarf in particular comes to mind.

Regards,
Mark Norton


David Thornley

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/18/00
to
In article <MPG.1458bb70b...@news.dun.ihug.co.nz>,
Kelvin Wright <kel...@no.spam.ihug.co.nz> wrote:
>>
>The lie in HHGTTG is a joke, nothing more, and doesn't seriously add
>to the difficulty of the game. The lie is quite in keeping with the
>overall tone of the game.

It got me for a bit. I went to where the game lies, entered the
command that elicits the lie, tried a few other things, more or
less accidentally entered the eliciting command again, and then
realized what was going on. If I'd just left the area, I suppose
it would have taken longer. However, I was genuinely stuck at
that point, and doubtless would have tried it again anyway, out
of a lack of other ideas.

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

Kelvin Wright

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 3:04:33 PM10/18/00
to
In article <39ED9964...@informatika.si>, Matej Frece says...

> > >Hitchhiker's Guide also had one particular spot which was rather unfair.
> > >Without specifying what that might be (for those who haven't played it yet),
> > >suffice it to say that the game simply lied to the player - plain and
> > >simple. Those who have played it probably know what lie I'm talking about
> > >here.
>
> I played the game and completed it, but I honestly can't
> remember any lie at all. I'd ask you to tell me about it,
> but that would be making spoilers, so please write to my
> email address instead or give spoiler warning beforehnad.
> Thanks.
>
> Matej
>
The lie in HHGTTG is a joke, nothing more, and doesn't seriously add
to the difficulty of the game. The lie is quite in keeping with the
overall tone of the game.

afr...@my-deja.com

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 8:19:04 PM10/18/00
to
In article <39ED9964...@informatika.si>,

Matej Frece <matej...@informatika.si> wrote:
> I played the game and completed it, but I honestly can't
> remember any lie at all... Tell me about it...
> give A spoiler warning beforehand.

S
P
O
I
L
E
R

W
A
R
N
I
N
G

> Thanks.
>
> Matej

No problem, Matej. When you enter the engine room (which is a bit of a
chore in itself,) you are told there is nothing there of any interest.
I think you have to type LOOK a few times before it finally reveals
that in fact there are many things to see and do.

There's an even worse lie at the end, regarding a sequel... |-]
[robotic smile]

By the by, I think both engine room puzzles are unfair - not the sort
of thing a professional text adventure programmer would do at all.
Which suggests that Douglas Adam's probably came up with them. So maybe
he did do a little more than just lend Meretsky his book...

AFROBOT

Weird Beard

unread,
Oct 18, 2000, 9:53:35 PM10/18/00
to

"Matej Frece" <matej...@informatika.si> wrote in message
news:39ED9964...@informatika.si...

> > >Hitchhiker's Guide also had one particular spot which was rather
unfair.
> > >Without specifying what that might be (for those who haven't played it
yet),
> > >suffice it to say that the game simply lied to the player - plain and
> > >simple. Those who have played it probably know what lie I'm talking
about
> > >here.
>
> I played the game and completed it, but I honestly can't
> remember any lie at all. I'd ask you to tell me about it,
> but that would be making spoilers, so please write to my
> email address instead or give spoiler warning beforehnad.
> Thanks.
>
Spoilers below:

When you arrive on the Heart of Gold, the exit out of the airlock lies in
the opposite direction of what the room descriptions says, and when you go
in the correct direction, the game admits it lied. Also, the game is less
than honest about the engine room.


Matej Frece

unread,
Oct 19, 2000, 1:27:44 AM10/19/00
to
> > I played the game and completed it, but I honestly can't
> > remember any lie at all... Tell me about it...
> > give A spoiler warning beforehand.
>
> S
> P
> O
> I
> L
> E
> R
>
> W
> A
> R
> N
> I
> N
> G
>
> > Thanks.
> >
> > Matej
>
> No problem, Matej. When you enter the engine room (which is a bit of a
> chore in itself,) you are told there is nothing there of any interest.
> I think you have to type LOOK a few times before it finally reveals
> that in fact there are many things to see and do.

Ah, I remember that now. That happened not only with the
description of engine room, but also with entering the room
in the first place (the game didn't let you in the room).
You had to type the direction at least three times to
finally convince the game to let you in. So when it started
to give really sparse description in order to convince you
that being so insistent to come here served no purpose at
all, player naturally should become suspicious about it. The
game was acting really strangely and I got a feeling it is
even very desperate, so player juat HAD to type look command
several times.
I thought it pretty funny. Never considered it a lie nor
unfair nor a puzzle. Just a clever, funny intermezzo of
otherwise a hard game (at least for me) :)

> There's an even worse lie at the end, regarding a sequel... |-]
> [robotic smile]

I don't think that was considered to be a lie. I think
Infocom wanted to make a sequel, but due to some problems
with mr. Adams, they couldn't make it.

Matej

Brown_Recluse

unread,
Oct 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/19/00
to
I thought it was generally agreed that Zork 2 was the
most unfair brutally hard game. The bank especially.
Then the diamond maze. The point of the game in general.

Just my 2 cents,
JAL

Brian B. Rodenborn

unread,
Oct 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/19/00
to
In article <191020000206274504%brownrecluse@bite_me.com>,

Brown_Recluse <brownrecluse@bite_me.com> wrote:
>I thought it was generally agreed that Zork 2 was the
>most unfair brutally hard game. The bank especially.
>Then the diamond maze. The point of the game in general.

The bank was very difficult. When I first played it, I never did
figure out how to get into the interior vault, and only figured out
how to get the artwork out by accident.

The diamond maze I had little trouble with. It seemed obvious to
me, but that's what makes gaming.

--
Next we can discuss what type of person puts their hate mail in their
.SIG file for everyone to see. That could get interesting.
- RATBoy (to me on rec.arts.tv)

afr...@my-deja.com

unread,
Oct 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/19/00
to
In article <39EE8650...@informatika.si>,

Matej Frece <matej...@informatika.si> wrote:
>
> I don't think that was considered to be a lie. I think
> Infocom wanted to make a sequel, but due to some problems
> with mr. Adams, they couldn't make it.
>
> Matej
>

But they promised, Matej, <i>they promised</i>!

AFROBOT

[The power of Christ compells you...
<i>The power of Christ compells you</i>...
(The Excorsist)]

Matej Frece

unread,
Oct 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/20/00
to
> > I don't think that was considered to be a lie. I think
> > Infocom wanted to make a sequel, but due to some problems
> > with mr. Adams, they couldn't make it.
> >
> > Matej
> >
>
> But they promised, Matej, <i>they promised</i>!
>
> AFROBOT

Indeed they have. It was a hasty promise, to put it mildly.
I am sure they didn't mean it, but nevertheless I am also
sure that Implementors can't sleep at night even today, in
2000, because they know what an awful lie they made.

Matej

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages