Are text adventures *really* better?

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Admiral Jota

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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First, I want everyone to be aware that I've added rec.games.int-fiction
to the Newsgroups line.

sc...@basis.com (Scott Amspoker) writes:

>I am sometimes perplexed by the text vs. graphic adventure debate.
>It's about as useful as the analog vs. digital wars that take place in
>the rec.audio.* groups. I thought it would be interesting to look at
>a graphic adventure from a text point of view. Is a picture really
>worth a thousand words? Here is a partial transcript of my game. I
>have further comments at the end.

I'm going to snip your transcript, for the sake of reducing bandwidth.

>Although the above example is silly, I think it makes a valid point.
>Text adventures and graphic adventures are like apples and oranges.
>It's pointless to compare the two. Each format makes game elements
>possible that the other format lacks. Both formats can yield games
>that are too easy or too hard. They require completely different
>interfaces which, incidentally, don't necessarily dictate the
>complexity of the game.

Well, while I do see your point, I note that you made no attempt to
polish your prose. The quality of writing you embrace appear (to me) to
be analagous to Myst with CGA graphics and sound affects from a PC
speaker :) I think that, if the a writer were skilled enough, he could
create a textual version of Myst that would be even more engrossing than
the original. I'll rewrite one piece of your game, as an example:

[Begin Sample Transcript]

Antechamber
The focus of this room is an other-worldly machine. Its shape is that of
a cauldron, and muted lights flicker and dance from with it. A sign is
mounted on the wall nearby, but all else is bathed is shadows.

>LOOK AT DEVICE

Holographic waves crash against the inside of the projector. You feel
thirsty, watching the dancing water, knowing that you could never be able
to drink it. You notice a small silver button on the outside edge of the
device.

>PRESS BUTTON

The image of water disappears, leaving a dull void in its wake.

>LOOK AROUND

The focus of this room is an other-worldly machine. Its shape is that of
a cauldron, and a dark void emanates from it. A sign is mounted on the
wall nearby, but all else is bathed is shadows.

>READ SIGN

The ancient sign is carved in a painstaking hand. It reads:

Topographical Extrusion Test.....40
Water-Turbulent Pool.............67
Marker Switch Diagram............47

>EXAMINE SHADOWS

You discover a black button on the wall, hiding camoflagued in the
darkness.

>PRESS BLACK BUTTON

>The sign slides out of the way, revealing a small computer keybad and
display behind it. The keypad has the digits zero through nine, and the
number 67 is currently visible in the display.

>ENTER 57 ON KEYPAD

The buttons beep faintly when pressed, and the number 57 appears in the
display. Nothing else happens.

[End of sample transcript]

Remember that I'm not an expert writer, and also remember that I didn't
take any time to polish this text: I just wrote it while composing my
response to your message. Imagine if it were done by someone highly
skilled, who had time to make it good. Imagine the mental images that
could be produced, the world that would be created *in your mind*, given
the game produced with the highest quality of prose.

Now, I agree that there are some things that could not be easily dnoe in
a text adventure, but could be easily done in a graphical adventure (the
only example from Myst that I can think of at the moment is the organ in
the rocket ship).

But then, we're verbal creatures. If an idea can't be described well
using words, how easily can a human being grasp it as a solid piece of
information? I remember that I absolutely hated the organ in the rocket
ship, because I could not reproduce the tones correctly; I could not
hold a certain tone in my head, because it had no concrete meaning to
me. It was a note played on an organ. I could even tell if it was high
or low, but I couldn't match it up with an identical one, across the
room. Is it really appropriate, then, to require me to be able to do
something that I don't have the talent to do?

>MYST would lose much as a text adventure. No doubt HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE
>TO THE GALAXY would not be the same as a graphic adventure. Let's not
>let a few bad apples spoil either genre.

Again, while I agree that some parts of Myst would be difficult to move
across the media, I'm not so sure that I agree that Myst would lose very
much in the crossing. :)

--
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\<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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Scott Amspoker (sc...@basis.com) wrote:
> jo...@laraby.tiac.net (Admiral Jota) wrote:

> >First, I want everyone to be aware that I've added rec.games.int-fiction
> >to the Newsgroups line.

> >[...]

> Language is imperfect. I don't think it even begins to cover every
> conceivable idea or feeling. How could any amount of language replace
> a beautiful piece of music or a great painting? Graphic adventures
> *can* communicate things that a text adventure can't (and vice-versa).
> The bad ones don't bother to seriously take advantage of their medium.

I came into this late, but here's my reaction to the two posts I've seen:

No amount of language can replace a great piece of music, and no amount
of music can replace a great piece of language. Presumably we agree on
this. Ditto for art.

However, in spite of this, graphic adventures have not reached the level of
text adventures. This is not because of any failure of potential, but
because there are no great artists working in the game field. Sorry.
There were a couple of scenes in _Myst_ that made me say "Hey, that's
impressive." But none stuck in my head for years the way the storyline of
_A Mind Forever Voyaging_ did. Rembrandt does not work for Activision.

(Actually, that's a little unfair, because I am unskilled in art -- if I
looked at an *actual* Rembrandt, I'd say "Er, nice picture" and walk
past. Art doesn't move me much. Music is a better example -- I have a
large collection of music which I find moving, powerful, or
intoxicatingly beautiful. None of it came from computer games. Neither
Bach nor Eric Bogle work for Activision either.)

(Are my standards too high? Guy Gavriel Kay (fantasy writer) doesn't write
for Activision either -- although Spider Robinson writes for Legend,
indirectly, and Diane Duane wrote for some game I haven't seen called
"The Darkening." However, I've seen some *good* writing.)

Second point: There are amateur text adventure writers. There are no
amateur graphic adventure writers. I find that graphic adventures have
gone the same way movies have -- there's so much money orbiting in the
system that it's almost impossible for a writer to pursue a coherent,
interesting idea. This is not to say that graphic adventures *are* always
bad, but (just like movies) nine-tenths of them are studio-produced,
lowest-common-denominator crap. Whereas all text games these days are
written for love and pocket change, so the average game is, at least,
interesting. (And badly proofread, I should add.)

This is, again, no statement about the *potential* of the forms, but it
does explain why I spend so much of my valuable recreational time
watching the text game field, and only rarely buy a graphical game.

Just to prove my point (in the old sense of the word), I will mention a
graphical game which I think could *not* have been done in text: _Alice_,
a thoroughly surreal environment created by the same guy who did _Gadget_
and _L-Zone_. Recommended.

--Z


--

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

Candace Krepel

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:

: No amount of language can replace a great piece of music, and no amount

: of music can replace a great piece of language. Presumably we agree on
: this. Ditto for art.

Right. Maybe a good analogy is text adventure:graphic adventure as radio:tv.

Need more help? Just ask.

Candy Krepel
ckr...@post.its.mcw.edu
First Law of Interactive Fiction: Go everywhere.
Second Law of Interactive Fiction: Look at/on/in/under everything.
Corollary to the Second Law: Take and examine everything.
David's rider: Keep everything you possibly can.

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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Ah, this old thread. :) Brings back memories.

I'm not really sure why I go for text adventures so much. It's an
undeniable fact that I do: I'm the organizer of a yearly text adventure
competition, the editor of a text adventure magazine (plaintext only), and
I've been writing my first full-sized game, Avalon, for three years. It
is, of course, a text adventure. But, I'll take a shot at explaining my
reasons.

Part of the joy I would say arises from being able to get involved
directly in text adventures. I can easily write my own. I don't need 4
artists, a producer, and 38 well-known actors to produce a great game. I
need myself, my computer, and spare time. Betatesters are optional, but
recommended. Plus, even though I am going for some fairly nice packaging,
it's still an investment under $1000. I don't think there are many
graphical games that can boast that kind of shoestring budget without
being a rehashed clone of an earlier game.

Another aspect to text adventures is the writing. I love to read. I've
read thousands of books. I've read more books than I've seen paintings
(not counting book covers, of course.) and so I know more about good
reading than good painting. I really know so little about painting that I
wouldn't know the work of a master if it bit me on the bottom.

Another great thing in text adventures is the degree of control you have.
It's not practical to produce a large number of actions in a graphical
game. Animation takes too much time. However, I can simply type in a
paragraph or two describing what happens when you try something
outlandish.

A facet that has been true in my experience, but may not ring true in
yours, is this: Text adventure authors are easier to contact and more
likely to take your comments and criticisms to heart. Graphical games are
aiming for the lowest common denominator. They are market driven. If
there is a trend you don't like, tough noogies. Someone has spent money
determining that you (or at least more than half of their audience) wants
this trend. Doom, Street Fighter 2, the move from parsers to point 'n
click, the move to less interactive graphical games (even further beyond
what I already mentioned). These are trends in the market that I really
despised. Oh yes, and real-time strategy games. Ooh, there's a wad of
fun. I've written in about these things, but they're not gonna change.
Why? Because my money doesn't mean a thing to them. Because there are
more people who want these things. My comments and desires get lost at a
big company.

Text adventures are written by hobbyists nowadays. If you send a comment
to a hobbyist, you are pretty darn certain to get a reply, or at least
results from your comments. I like having some control over where my
hobby is heading. Plus, having dealt with most every current text
adventure author, I can tell you that they're all pretty nice folks.
(Except me. I'm a terror.)

Now, if you happen to prefer kick-ass graphics to a solid plot, that's
fine. I'm not going to argue which is better. I WILL argue that text
adventures have better plots though. I will also argue that most of the
best characterizations ever done in a computer game were from text
adventures. These things mean more to me than pictures. Pictures are
icing, to be added after you have some idea of where your game is going.
They are not the cake itself, deserving to have a storyline catering to
them. Once graphical games understand this, I may start buying them.
Judging by the reviews and comments I have seen, maybe 3 games have
figured it out so far.

This brings me to one last comment: cost. Text adventures all cost less
than $25 (many are free, most at least shareware.) You can entertain
yourself for just as long, on 1/4 the money.
(My game will likely be $20-25, demoware. But, as I said, I'm a terror.
Almost any text adventure author you point to is nicer than me. Besides,
I've been writing for 3 years, have nice packaging, and the game is pretty
huge.)
--
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< Join in the 1996 Interactive Fiction Competition. | ~~\ >
< The Deadline is NOVEMBER 30th, 1996 to submit your votes. | /~\| >
<_______________________...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

Paul D. Smith

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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Something else excellent about text adventures is they're almost never
inextricably tied to a particular platform or operating system, and you
never need to upgrade your hardware to play them! :)

In addition to being nice for those of use who find it physically
painful to boot DOS/Win etc., it gives the game a lot larger potential
market and a lot longer horizon before obsolescence (if you don't
believe me, consider Infocom's games _still_ being rereleased--and they
are considered limited in some ways, since they were designed to run in
600K or so :).

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paul D. Smith <psm...@baynetworks.com> Network Management Development
"Please remain calm...I may be mad, but I am a professional." --Mad Scientist
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
These are my opinions--Bay Networks takes no responsibility for them.

The Ur-Grue

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) enlightened us with:
: However, in spite of this, graphic adventures have not reached the level of
: text adventures. This is not because of any failure of potential, but
: because there are no great artists working in the game field. Sorry.
: There were a couple of scenes in _Myst_ that made me say "Hey, that's
: impressive." But none stuck in my head for years the way the storyline of
: _A Mind Forever Voyaging_ did. Rembrandt does not work for Activision.

This is absolutely correct. I like to use the analogy of
books :: movies , text adventures :: graphic adventures.
books/text adventures require only one person, very little
equipment/money/talent (comparatively), and thus allow I think for
a much more varied range of writers. I don't want to repeat what you've
said so I'll just jump to my two cents: I think there is an inherent
difference in the medium. Certainly some games will always be better
in one form rather than the other, but, and I think this goes for
most people, if you _read_ and_imagine_ something yourself, conjuring
it up in your mind, you will become more easily immersed, more attached,
etc. Not to mention you can create it the way you like (bad example:
the "love interest" in a book will be exactly who you want it to be,
whereas in a film, well, not everyone likes Pamela Anderson).
Obviously this doesn't go for people who don't have the
attention span/imagination to read and think. Or for those who just
prefer to be shown things than to see, for whatever reason.

Edward Franks

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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My glass typewriter shows Paul D. Smith saying...

> Something else excellent about text adventures is they're almost never
> inextricably tied to a particular platform or operating system, and you
> never need to upgrade your hardware to play them! :)
>
> In addition to being nice for those of use who find it physically
> painful to boot DOS/Win etc., it gives the game a lot larger potential
> market and a lot longer horizon before obsolescence (if you don't
> believe me, consider Infocom's games _still_ being rereleased--and they
> are considered limited in some ways, since they were designed to run in
> 600K or so :).
>

Try 48K (Apple ][).

Edward

--

Edward Franks | efr...@msn.com
Fortran Dragon of the -==(UDIC)==- | xy...@ponyexpress.net
Microsoft Certified Product Specialist | Now _where_ is my slide rule?

Scott Amspoker

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
to

jo...@laraby.tiac.net (Admiral Jota) wrote:

>First, I want everyone to be aware that I've added rec.games.int-fiction
>to the Newsgroups line.

>[...]

>Well, while I do see your point, I note that you made no attempt to
>polish your prose. The quality of writing you embrace appear (to me) to
>be analagous to Myst with CGA graphics and sound affects from a PC
>speaker :)

If I had made it more elegant then the tounge-in-cheek humor would
have been lost. I chose the style of the Colossal Cave to show how
far adventures games have come (as opposed to the regression that some
have suggested). Also, I had to expect my audience to be familiar
with both games. It seemed the best choice. Perhaps that was biased
but I had a lot of fun with it.

>I think that, if the a writer were skilled enough, he could
>create a textual version of Myst that would be even more engrossing than
>the original. I'll rewrite one piece of your game, as an example:

>[deleted]

The prose is very pretty but you sidestepped the problem of mechanical
puzzles. MYST's mechanical puzzles were rather simple. How would
LIGHTHOUSE be implemented as text? Or for that matter, TIMELAPSE
which has the most visual puzzles I've seen that would defy textual
descriptions (and still be playable).

One could just as easily argue that, in the hands of better artists
and designers, some of the lamer graphic adventures could be mind
boggling.

>But then, we're verbal creatures. If an idea can't be described well
>using words, how easily can a human being grasp it as a solid piece of
>information?

Language is imperfect. I don't think it even begins to cover every


conceivable idea or feeling. How could any amount of language replace
a beautiful piece of music or a great painting? Graphic adventures
*can* communicate things that a text adventure can't (and vice-versa).
The bad ones don't bother to seriously take advantage of their medium.

>I remember that I absolutely hated the organ in the rocket

>ship, because I could not reproduce the tones correctly; I could not
>hold a certain tone in my head, because it had no concrete meaning to
>me. It was a note played on an organ. I could even tell if it was high
>or low, but I couldn't match it up with an identical one, across the
>room. Is it really appropriate, then, to require me to be able to do
>something that I don't have the talent to do?

Being a musician, I found the organ puzzle a piece of cake. I guess
we're different-hemisphered. That could explain different preferences
for forms of communication.

Scott Amspoker |
sc...@basis.com | THIS SPACE AVAILABLE
http://www.rt66.com/sda |

Scott Amspoker

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) wrote:

>
>Ah, this old thread. :) Brings back memories.

I was hoping to put a new spin on an old thread with a tounge-in-cheek
text version of MYST. That part of my original post is probably not
being seen by some who have joined this thread.

>Part of the joy I would say arises from being able to get involved
>directly in text adventures. I can easily write my own. I don't need 4
>artists, a producer, and 38 well-known actors to produce a great game. I
>need myself, my computer, and spare time. Betatesters are optional, but
>recommended. Plus, even though I am going for some fairly nice packaging,
>it's still an investment under $1000. I don't think there are many
>graphical games that can boast that kind of shoestring budget without
>being a rehashed clone of an earlier game.

That's a good point. It's sort of like MIDI and affordable digital
recording technology putting music production in the hands of a lot of
individual people. Sometimes something fantastic comes out of it.
More often, a lot of crap is created.

>[...]


>A facet that has been true in my experience, but may not ring true in
>yours, is this: Text adventure authors are easier to contact and more
>likely to take your comments and criticisms to heart.

That's hard for me to say. I have posted reviews of graphic
adventures to the net (and my web site). I have received personal
email responses from the creators of two of the games. I don't know
to what extent they took my reviews to heart but there was certainly a
line of communication.

> Graphical games are
>aiming for the lowest common denominator. They are market driven.

A lot of money gets invested in the creation of graphic adventures.
There has to be some level of confidence that a game will make money.
That doesn't necessarily mean "lowest common denominator". Some
graphic adventures have stuck their neck out and aimed for something
different (with mixed results).

> If
>there is a trend you don't like, tough noogies. Someone has spent money
>determining that you (or at least more than half of their audience) wants
>this trend. Doom, Street Fighter 2, the move from parsers to point 'n
>click, the move to less interactive graphical games (even further beyond
>what I already mentioned). These are trends in the market that I really
>despised. Oh yes, and real-time strategy games. Ooh, there's a wad of
>fun. I've written in about these things, but they're not gonna change.
>Why? Because my money doesn't mean a thing to them. Because there are
>more people who want these things.

Those people aren't exactly idiots. I'm embarrased to say how much
time I spent playing DOOM when it came out. It was great to actually
walk through a virtual world in real time. My imagination went wild.
I didn't even care about shooting the monsters. It was so much fun to
explore. I hardly think that was bad trend. (Now I think that genre
is in a bit of a slump but that's another thread.)

All of those genres stimulate the imagination if they're done well.
It's just that some people respond better to first-person games as
opposed to third-person games or text games. Stategy games don't do
much for me but some people will stay up all night with them.

>Now, if you happen to prefer kick-ass graphics to a solid plot, that's
>fine.

I wasn't aware that was an either-or proposition.

>I'm not going to argue which is better. I WILL argue that text
>adventures have better plots though. I will also argue that most of the
>best characterizations ever done in a computer game were from text
>adventures. These things mean more to me than pictures. Pictures are
>icing, to be added after you have some idea of where your game is going.
>They are not the cake itself, deserving to have a storyline catering to
>them.

That's one viewpoint of what make an adventure game good. A classical
symphony doesn't really have a storyline and I wouldn't call the notes
and harmonies icing. Some people will only listen to music that has a
human voice singing lyrics. It's all a perception of purpose.


> Once graphical games understand this, I may start buying them.
>Judging by the reviews and comments I have seen, maybe 3 games have
>figured it out so far.

Just curious. What games would those be?

Mark Smith

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Nov 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/12/96
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Text Adventures can be likened to reading a book instead of seeing the movie.

Text Adventures allow you to use YOUR imagination to visualize your surroundings
rather than relying on the game designers vision.

The amount of stuff you can do is always greater in a text game and the text
parser give you almost unlimited command combinations. You no longer are
reduced to moving your mouse around a screen waiting for the icon to change.

There is definitely something to be said for text adventures. Just look at the
Kings Quest and Quest for Glory games....those went downhill fast when the
command line was removed in favor of icons.

I hear that Quest for Glory 5 will be bring back the TYPE YOUR COMMAND interface
as an option. Should be interesting to see if Sierra can still make a text
based game.

On 12 Nov 1996 19:58:20 GMT, whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson)
wrote:

>
>Ah, this old thread. :) Brings back memories.
>

>I'm not really sure why I go for text adventures so much. It's an
>undeniable fact that I do: I'm the organizer of a yearly text adventure
>competition, the editor of a text adventure magazine (plaintext only), and
>I've been writing my first full-sized game, Avalon, for three years. It
>is, of course, a text adventure. But, I'll take a shot at explaining my
>reasons.
>

>Part of the joy I would say arises from being able to get involved
>directly in text adventures. I can easily write my own. I don't need 4
>artists, a producer, and 38 well-known actors to produce a great game. I
>need myself, my computer, and spare time. Betatesters are optional, but
>recommended. Plus, even though I am going for some fairly nice packaging,
>it's still an investment under $1000. I don't think there are many
>graphical games that can boast that kind of shoestring budget without
>being a rehashed clone of an earlier game.
>

>Another aspect to text adventures is the writing. I love to read. I've
>read thousands of books. I've read more books than I've seen paintings
>(not counting book covers, of course.) and so I know more about good
>reading than good painting. I really know so little about painting that I
>wouldn't know the work of a master if it bit me on the bottom.
>
>Another great thing in text adventures is the degree of control you have.
>It's not practical to produce a large number of actions in a graphical
>game. Animation takes too much time. However, I can simply type in a
>paragraph or two describing what happens when you try something
>outlandish.
>

>A facet that has been true in my experience, but may not ring true in
>yours, is this: Text adventure authors are easier to contact and more

>likely to take your comments and criticisms to heart. Graphical games are
>aiming for the lowest common denominator. They are market driven. If


>there is a trend you don't like, tough noogies. Someone has spent money
>determining that you (or at least more than half of their audience) wants
>this trend. Doom, Street Fighter 2, the move from parsers to point 'n
>click, the move to less interactive graphical games (even further beyond
>what I already mentioned). These are trends in the market that I really
>despised. Oh yes, and real-time strategy games. Ooh, there's a wad of
>fun. I've written in about these things, but they're not gonna change.
>Why? Because my money doesn't mean a thing to them. Because there are

>more people who want these things. My comments and desires get lost at a
>big company.
>
>Text adventures are written by hobbyists nowadays. If you send a comment
>to a hobbyist, you are pretty darn certain to get a reply, or at least
>results from your comments. I like having some control over where my
>hobby is heading. Plus, having dealt with most every current text
>adventure author, I can tell you that they're all pretty nice folks.
>(Except me. I'm a terror.)
>

>Now, if you happen to prefer kick-ass graphics to a solid plot, that's

>fine. I'm not going to argue which is better. I WILL argue that text


>adventures have better plots though. I will also argue that most of the
>best characterizations ever done in a computer game were from text
>adventures. These things mean more to me than pictures. Pictures are
>icing, to be added after you have some idea of where your game is going.
>They are not the cake itself, deserving to have a storyline catering to

>them. Once graphical games understand this, I may start buying them.


>Judging by the reviews and comments I have seen, maybe 3 games have
>figured it out so far.
>

Johnny Lamar Rhyne

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Nov 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/13/96
to

I
<text snipped>

>There is definitely something to be said for text adventures. Just
look at the
>Kings Quest and Quest for Glory games....those went downhill fast when
the
>command line was removed in favor of icons.
>
>I hear that Quest for Glory 5 will be bring back the TYPE YOUR COMMAND
interface
>as an option. Should be interesting to see if Sierra can still make a
text
>based game.

You do have a point there. I recently got Space Quest 3(I already have
1,4,5,and 6). My expectations were a bit low since I am very used to
mouse games(I even had a "No Mouse, No Buy" Policy). Space Quest 3 was
the best SQ I have ever played. I was so impressed, I elimited the "No
mouse, No Buy" poilcy and got SQ2. SQ2 was very good as well.

My point... well, I guess I don't have one.

Brian Albers

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Nov 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/13/96
to

On Tue, 12 Nov 1996 15:03:21 GMT, sc...@basis.com (Scott Amspoker)
wrote:

>The prose is very pretty but you sidestepped the problem of mechanical
>puzzles. MYST's mechanical puzzles were rather simple. How would
>LIGHTHOUSE be implemented as text? Or for that matter, TIMELAPSE
>which has the most visual puzzles I've seen that would defy textual
>descriptions (and still be playable).

Ah, but you've just pointed out what I see as the big FLAW in most
graphical adventure games. The puzzles! Or rather, the very presence
of puzzles.

You see, I don't think puzzles and obstacles are the same things.
Graphic adventures emphasize the former because the latter is so much
trickier to create visually.

You are absolutely right that it would be hard to implement
effectively the puzzles of MYST and LIGHTHOUSE as text. Want to know
why? Because when you take away the pictures, they aren't very
interesting. In fact, more often than not they are just pretty
variations of common brainteasers.

Case in point: the old balance the buttons puzzle. Count the number of
adventure games that make you push a set of buttons in just the right
way to morph an additive / subtractive pattern (stars, glowing lights,
or just about anything in the 7th Guest) into the desired result. Bet
you'll run out of fingers and toes pretty darn quick...

Text adventures rarely have puzzles like this. 'Cuz if they did, no
one would have played them in the first place.

You just don't find puzzles like the time paradox in Infocom's
Sorcerer, the Dark in Hitchhiker's Guide, or the multiple robot
mastery of Suspended. But it's not because graphics can't "paint the
same pictures as the mind's eye" (blech).

It's because the graphic aspect limits the interface, and in turn, the
nature of the obstacles.

-Brian Albers

Paul D. Smith

unread,
Nov 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/13/96
to

%% xy...@ponyexpress.net (Edward Franks) writes:

>> (if you don't believe me, consider Infocom's games _still_ being
>> rereleased--and they are considered limited in some ways, since
>> they were designed to run in 600K or so :).

ef> Try 48K (Apple ][).

Actually, now that you mention it I got the version of Zork I that Tandy
licensed from Infocom for my TRS-80 Model I with 16K, if memory serves
(ha!).

I was thinking of some of the later games, designed for the PC, though.

Although Zork I is an absolute classic, no question about it--I still
remember the thrill I got typing a complete sentence for the first time
and having Zork I recognize it, after long hours of Adventure's two-word
commands :)

Matthew Amster-Burton

unread,
Nov 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/13/96
to

John Hartnup <sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>it's corny gags ("it's a wrench, but you take it")

Hey, what the heck does this refer to? I remember wondering that when
playing Curses, and you just jogged my memory.

Matthew


John Hartnup

unread,
Nov 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/13/96
to

I've enjoyed text IF ever since I got Curses off the cover of
Acon User about 5 years ago (?)

However, this didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying both
Day of the Tentacle and Sam'n'Max hit the road for their:

- Satisfying puzzles
- Excellent animation
- Good plots
- Genuine belly-laughs

I don't look for the same features in a text adventure as I do in
a GUI game. GUI games don't fire the imagination in the same way
as text (because the pictures are provided -- your mind's eye is
redundant).

While Curses amuses with it's literary references (Jane and Austin; the
Hollow Man), it's corny gags ("it's a wrench, but you take it"), its
twisted puzzles, the Lucas Arts games amuse with anarchic humour, silly
voices, references to LucasFilm films etc.

Why not enjoy both?

JOhn
--
-----------------------------------------------------------
John Hartnup | You can drink your weak lemon drink
sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk| now, or you can save it 'til later.
-----------------------------------------------------------


Jack Valero

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about here but...
I've played the original Colossal Cave and Infocom text adventures
years ago but in the graphic arena I've only played Myst, Qin and
TimeLapse. I don't think you can ask if the text variety is better
than the graphic variety of adventure because they don't really
seem to be the same type of game. As I recall, the text adventures
had much better developed plots (ok, ColCave & Zork didn't). They
were really novelletes where you were an active protagonist as
opposed to the passivity of a book reader. The problems tended
to have logical rather than arbitrary solutions and often built
upon previous puzzles. The graphic adventures seem to consist of
frequently unrelated puzzles wrapped in very nice gift paper. For
example what is the chameleon puzzle in TimeLapse other than a
glorified version of a child's toy (wasn't it called something
like Simple Simon?)? The skeleton problem is just a variation of
jigsaw puzzle. Launching Myst's spaceship was more an excercise
in hearing and tonal ability than a logic exercise. Qin even had
problems which were complete nonsequiters as they did nothing to
further the game. It could be solved if you completely skipped
those puzzles. I'm still not sure what the story teller portion
of TimeLapse did for me as far as game solutions go. Perhaps
this is why the argument goes on about text vs graphics. It's
like comparing apples and oranges- no apples and wheat. Both
types of games may be enjoyable but for very different reasons.
Just about now you are undoubtably thinking that I'm far too
long-winded, so... goodnight and plugh!
- Jack

Philip Armstrong

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

In article <328a3d3...@news.u.washington.edu>,
the wrench of course :-)

Phil

David Kinder

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

Matthew Amster-Burton (mam...@u.washington.edu) wrote:

: >it's corny gags ("it's a wrench, but you take it")

: Hey, what the heck does this refer to? I remember wondering that when
: playing Curses, and you just jogged my memory.

It's just a hideously bad pun. Graham, we salute you.

David


Matthew Amster-Burton

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk (David Kinder) wrote:

>It's just a hideously bad pun. Graham, we salute you.

What? What is the pun? I know I'm not the only one who's this dumb.
Is "a wrench" English for "a real chore" or some such?

Matthew


Matthew Daly

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

John Hartnup <sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk> writes:
>
>However, this didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying both
>Day of the Tentacle and Sam'n'Max hit the road for their:
>
>- Satisfying puzzles
>- Excellent animation
>- Good plots
>- Genuine belly-laughs

While we're throwing DotT around, let's be sure to mention Monkey
Island from LucasArts as being a similarly fun program with good
puzzles.

>I don't look for the same features in a text adventure as I do in
>a GUI game. GUI games don't fire the imagination in the same way
>as text (because the pictures are provided -- your mind's eye is
>redundant).

And, if playing "hunt the verb" is a game in text games, then
graphic games err in the other direction, using items in ways
you hadn't thought of just because you clicked an item in a
certain location.

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I don't buy everything I read ... I haven't
da...@ppd.kodak.com even read everything I've bought.

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.

Werner Punz

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

da...@PPD.Kodak.COM (Matthew Daly) wrote:

> John Hartnup <sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk> writes:
>>
>>However, this didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying both
>>Day of the Tentacle and Sam'n'Max hit the road for their:
>>
>>- Satisfying puzzles
>>- Excellent animation
>>- Good plots
>>- Genuine belly-laughs
>
>While we're throwing DotT around, let's be sure to mention Monkey
>Island from LucasArts as being a similarly fun program with good
>puzzles.
>

Ah Monkey Island. What a vaction from realism. The used ship vendor.
Le Chuck, Elaine Marley, the duel fought with insults, the Pirates
underwear puzzle (one of my favourites). What memories. The two
Monkey Islands are considered to be the best two graphic adventures
ever made. They were a huge hit in Europe but never really successful
in the states (I don't know why). Here in Europe everybody loved the
games. Lucasarts really has a hard job to beat those two classics with
their upcoming sequel. Especially because it is done without the
original designer who does learning programs right now.

Werner
we...@inflab.uni-linz.ac.at
http://witiko.ifs.uni-linz.ac.at/~werpu
----------------------------------------------
Check out ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive for something
which has been forgotten years ago.


Bill Hoggett

unread,
Nov 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/14/96
to

>kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk (David Kinder) wrote:

Got it in one!

Bill Hoggett (aka BeeJay) <mas.su...@easynet.co.uk>

IF GOD IS LIFE'S SERVICE PROVIDER WHY HAVEN'T I GOT HIS I.P. NUMBER ?


Trevor Barrie

unread,
Nov 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/15/96
to

ds...@concentric.net (Mark Smith) wrote:

>There is definitely something to be said for text adventures. Just look at the
>Kings Quest and Quest for Glory games....those went downhill fast when the
>command line was removed in favor of icons.

They were never text adventures, though.

>I hear that Quest for Glory 5 will be bring back the TYPE YOUR COMMAND interface
>as an option. Should be interesting to see if Sierra can still make a text
>based game.

Unless they also have an option for text-based output, this doesn't do much
for me. Having the game provide info to the player in a totally different
medium from that with which the player provides info to the game doesn't
work for me.


Scott Amspoker

unread,
Nov 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/15/96
to

we...@inflab.uni-linz.ac.at (Werner Punz) wrote:


>Ah Monkey Island. What a vaction from realism. The used ship vendor.
>Le Chuck, Elaine Marley, the duel fought with insults, the Pirates
>underwear puzzle (one of my favourites). What memories. The two
>Monkey Islands are considered to be the best two graphic adventures
>ever made. They were a huge hit in Europe but never really successful
>in the states (I don't know why). Here in Europe everybody loved the
>games. Lucasarts really has a hard job to beat those two classics with
>their upcoming sequel. Especially because it is done without the
>original designer who does learning programs right now.

I hope Lucasarts does us a favor and re-releases the first two Monkey
Island games along with the new sequel. I can't find them anywhere.

Stephen van Egmond

unread,
Nov 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/15/96
to

(thwack)

Out comes the dictionary.

I didn't get it until just now, and I totally ignored the verb form of
wrench.

1wrench \'rench\ vb
[ME wrenchen, fr. OE wrencan; akin to OHG renken, L vergere to
bend, incline]
vi
1: to move with a violent twist; also: to undergo twisting
2: to pull or strain at something with violent twisting

vt
1: to twist violently
2: to injure or disable by a violent twisting or straining
3: CHANGE; esp: DISTORT, PERVERT
4a: to pull or tighten by violent twisting or with violence
4b: to snatch forcibly: WREST
5: to cause to suffer mental anguish: RACK
-- wrench-ing-ly \'ren-chi{nj}-le^-\ adv


Paul Harker

unread,
Nov 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/15/96
to

Matthew Amster-Burton wrote:
>
> kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk (David Kinder) wrote:
>
> >It's just a hideously bad pun. Graham, we salute you.
>
> What? What is the pun? I know I'm not the only one who's this dumb.
> Is "a wrench" English for "a real chore" or some such?
>
> Matthew

I too don't "get it". I too have to assume its idiomatic to English
across the pond, as it doesn't ring a bell to this American.

Paul

Graham Nelson

unread,
Nov 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/15/96
to

In article <E0vo...@ladle.demon.co.uk>, John Hartnup
<URL:mailto:sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Matthew Amster-Burton (mam...@u.washington.edu) wrote:

> : John Hartnup <sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> : >it's corny gags ("it's a wrench, but you take it")
>
> : Hey, what the heck does this refer to? I remember wondering that
when
> : playing Curses, and you just jogged my memory.
>
> I don't think it's a reference, so much as a cheap pun...

"Cheap", huh. I spent hours crafting that one:

> get wrench
It's a wrench, but you take it.

...and the one about the "Harrison bird whistle" (but unless
you follow British contemporary music...), and the one
comparing Aunt Jemima to Sylvia Plath (but unless, etc.,
etc.,...)

Actually my cheapest shot, I think, is the moment in Jigsaw
where one of the passengers aboard the Titanic remarks that
"worse things happen at sea". Not really, no.

--
Graham Nelson | gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk | Oxford, United
Kingdom


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Nov 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/16/96
to

Paul Harker (har...@iserv.net) wrote:
> Matthew Amster-Burton wrote:
> >
> > kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk (David Kinder) wrote:
> >
> > >It's just a hideously bad pun. Graham, we salute you.
> >
> > What? What is the pun? I know I'm not the only one who's this dumb.
> > Is "a wrench" English for "a real chore" or some such?

> I too don't "get it". I too have to assume its idiomatic to English


> across the pond, as it doesn't ring a bell to this American.

Dunno what's wrong with all of you... :) "It's a wrench", as in "it's a
wrenching effort." It's not even an idiom, particularly. Just a phrase,
with its dictionary meaning, overused enough to shorten down a little.

I've always thought of it as fairly common, and not particularly British.

--Z


--

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

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Nov 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/16/96
to

In article <328CF9...@iserv.net>, Paul Harker <har...@iserv.net> wrote:
}Matthew Amster-Burton wrote:
}>
}> kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk (David Kinder) wrote:
}>
}> >It's just a hideously bad pun. Graham, we salute you.
}>
}> What? What is the pun? I know I'm not the only one who's this dumb.
}> Is "a wrench" English for "a real chore" or some such?
}>
}> Matthew

}
}I too don't "get it". I too have to assume its idiomatic to English
}across the pond, as it doesn't ring a bell to this American.
}
}Paul

It's idiomatic, but not exclusively UK English. To me, "it's a wrench" -- it's
difficult to access. I'd mostly use it when referring to
attaching/removing things in confined spaces, when a few extra arm and
leg joints would come in handy. Thus, if the wrench was behind a few
steel grates just wide enough for me to slip my hand through, and I
was able to get it only by contorting my arm and picking it up with my
middle and ring fingertips, "It's a wrench, but you take it" would be
doubly appropriate. As it was, it was just a pun.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

-

unread,
Nov 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/17/96
to

Matthew Daly wrote:

[snip]

> And, if playing "hunt the verb" is a game in text games, then
> graphic games err in the other direction, using items in ways
> you hadn't thought of just because you clicked an item in a
> certain location.

I have less of a problem guessing verbs in text IF than trying to find
things that do something in graphic ones (I had a major problem with
Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail clicking everywhere to find a
way to get onto the next section).

Nicholas Daley
<mailto:dal...@ihug.co.nz>

Cyber-Babushka

unread,
Nov 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/18/96
to

On 16 Nov 1996 16:07:13 -0500, russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com (Matthew T.
Russotto) wrote:

>}I too don't "get it". I too have to assume its idiomatic to English
>}across the pond, as it doesn't ring a bell to this American.
>}
>}Paul
>
>It's idiomatic, but not exclusively UK English. To me, "it's a wrench" -- it's
>difficult to access.

I object to the notion that "It's a wrench" is a strictly UK English
idiom. I've heard it all my life, and I grew up in the US. On the other
hand, this French-Canadian-lady-married-to-a-Polish-guy might not be
typical. (Although my grammar isn't always impeccable, as has been
pointed out recently.)


John Francis

unread,
Nov 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/18/96
to

Matthew T. Russotto wrote:
>
> In article <328CF9...@iserv.net>, Paul Harker <har...@iserv.net> wrote:
> }Matthew Amster-Burton wrote:
> }>
> }> kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk (David Kinder) wrote:
> }>
> }> >It's just a hideously bad pun. Graham, we salute you.
> }>
> }> What? What is the pun? I know I'm not the only one who's this dumb.
> }> Is "a wrench" English for "a real chore" or some such?
> }>
> }> Matthew
> }
> }I too don't "get it". I too have to assume its idiomatic to English
> }across the pond, as it doesn't ring a bell to this American.
> }
> }Paul
>
> It's idiomatic, but not exclusively UK English. To me, "it's a wrench" -- it's
> difficult to access. I'd mostly use it when referring to
> attaching/removing things in confined spaces, when a few extra arm and
> leg joints would come in handy. Thus, if the wrench was behind a few
> steel grates just wide enough for me to slip my hand through, and I
> was able to get it only by contorting my arm and picking it up with my
> middle and ring fingertips, "It's a wrench, but you take it" would be
> doubly appropriate. As it was, it was just a pun.

Erm ... I don't think you've got it, either. Maybe it really is UK only
usage (I may post from a US address, but I'm really a transplanted Brit)

It's got nothing to do with physically wrenching your arm - the wrench
in question is a mental phenomenon. To me the phrase "It's a wrench,
but ..." carries overtones of "It is a traumatic experience, but you
screw your courage to the sticking point and ..."

Russ Bryan

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

"Commercial" (demoware, crippleware, etc.) text adventures provide an
interesting challenge to the fair-minded author.

A text adventure is rarely in top form on its initial release. The nature
of the beast is such that 100 people can play your game from beginning to
end six times without finding all the bugs in the pipes. This is rarely a
problem if your product is freeware or shareware, since your releases are
public anyway. Put a game in a box, though, and everything changes.
Unlike most commercial products, we can't really release public "updaters"
for our game files; it's all or nothing.

Yet when someone sends you $25 for your product, you have a responsibility
to provide technical support for it. Are you prepared to send new game
files to every owner of your product when you discover that your portable
hole eats the player's inventory if the hole is placed in Uncle Meldrew's
birdcage?

A shareware author could fix the problem and throw a new release on GMD
the next day. At best a commercial author would have to Email updates to
his customers (assuming they have Email), and at worst, how about "Your
damn game doesn't work! What's this .hqx crap?"

Just be thankful that you don't have to ship out floppy disks! Frankly, I
don't see how Infocom dealt with it. Since I'm tossing my hat in the ring
soon (April 30 to be exact), it's been on my mind. Could anyone who's
dealt with this problem comment on it? Am I seeing problems where they do
not lie?

-- Russ

P.S. Out of curiosity, are serial number lockout or encryption possible
with Inform? That would clear everything up nicely.

--


Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

In article <cleofax-2011...@noho-us246.javanet.com>,
Russ Bryan <cle...@javanet.com> wrote:
[..]

}public anyway. Put a game in a box, though, and everything changes.
}Unlike most commercial products, we can't really release public "updaters"
}for our game files; it's all or nothing.

Updaters are always possible -- XOR the new release with the old one,
compress the result. Make an program to patch the old release on each
supported platform. Add CRCs as necessary.

}Just be thankful that you don't have to ship out floppy disks! Frankly, I
}don't see how Infocom dealt with it. Since I'm tossing my hat in the ring
}soon (April 30 to be exact), it's been on my mind. Could anyone who's
}dealt with this problem comment on it? Am I seeing problems where they do
}not lie?

Infocom ignored it. As far as I know, they never sent out updates.
But none of their bugs made the game unwinnable, so if shaking the
lunch bag crashed the system, you could call up tech support and they
could say "don't do that".

David Thomas Richard Given

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

In article <3290FE...@thuridion.com>,

John Francis <jo...@thuridion.com> wrote:
>Erm ... I don't think you've got it, either. Maybe it really is UK only
>usage (I may post from a US address, but I'm really a transplanted Brit)
>
>It's got nothing to do with physically wrenching your arm - the wrench
>in question is a mental phenomenon. To me the phrase "It's a wrench,
>but ..." carries overtones of "It is a traumatic experience, but you
>screw your courage to the sticking point and ..."

I, too, am surprised at so few people getting this. Is this sort of usage
of puns something uniquely British, or something? Curses is full of them
(someone today who was sucked into Curses appeared to be genuinely in
pain as he did the necessary to the bean...).

As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
*like* Terry Pratchett?

--
------------------- http://www-hons-cs.cs.st-and.ac.uk/~dg --------------------
If you're up against someone more intelligent than you are, do something
totally insane and let him think himself to death. --- Pyanfar Chanur
---------------- Sun-Earther David Daton Given of Lochcarron ------------------

Charles Gerlach

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk (David Thomas Richard Given) writes:

>As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
>*like* Terry Pratchett?

I am an American. I *love* Terry Pratchett. I did not get the wrench pun.


Do I get a prize?

-Charles

chi...@fred.aurora.edu

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

> As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
> *like* Terry Pratchett?
>
ME! I think Terry Prachett is the finest humor/fantasy writer there
is today, and Im a Texan.

Chidder
(Like you couldnt guess I liked Pratchett from my name alone)

Oh, and I interprted the curses joke as "Its a wrench(like almost
wrenching your arm out of your socket)...."

C


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

David Thomas Richard Given (dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk) wrote:
> As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
> *like* Terry Pratchett?

Me.

But then, I find myself phrasing the prose in my IF in a slightly British
matter, purely because of Curses and the Inform library.

Sverker Wiberg

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

cle...@javanet.com (Russ Bryan) writes:

> -- Russ
>
> P.S. Out of curiosity, are serial number lockout or encryption possible
> with Inform? That would clear everything up nicely.
>

At least the Zmachine has the `piracy' instruction.

/Sverker

Lady Whisper

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

> David Thomas Richard Given (dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk) wrote:
> > As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
> > *like* Terry Pratchett?

Add me to the list. I have every one of his books that I can lay my hands
on, which means I'm sorely lacking many. <G> Wish they came out here the
same time they are released in Europe and other countries.

--
Lady Whisper
Worlds Of Origin: http://www.bestware.net/whisper/woo
PVLBS: http://www.bestware.net/whisper/pvlb.shtml

Graham Nelson

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to
<URL:mailto:cle...@javanet.com> wrote:
>
> "Commercial" (demoware, crippleware, etc.) text adventures provide an
> interesting challenge to the fair-minded author.
>
> A text adventure is rarely in top form on its initial release. The nature
> of the beast is such that 100 people can play your game from beginning to
> end six times without finding all the bugs in the pipes.

This is pretty much what Infocom did in testing, by some accounts.
Their products still have bugs, but not remotely serious ones.
We don't test our games (our = rec.arts.int-fiction) anything like
as much, and some of us are just starting out at programming.
Given that, I think we manage pretty well.

> P.S. Out of curiosity, are serial number lockout or encryption possible
> with Inform? That would clear everything up nicely.

An interesting suggestion. Could you elaborate a little as to
what exactly you'd like? (No plausible encryption would beat
a dedicated enough hacker, of course. Inform's too public.)

Zachery Tigger Bir

unread,
Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
to

dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk (David Thomas Richard Given) writes:

>
> In article <3290FE...@thuridion.com>,
> John Francis <jo...@thuridion.com> wrote:
> >Erm ... I don't think you've got it, either. Maybe it really is UK only
> >usage (I may post from a US address, but I'm really a transplanted Brit)
> >
> >It's got nothing to do with physically wrenching your arm - the wrench
> >in question is a mental phenomenon. To me the phrase "It's a wrench,
> >but ..." carries overtones of "It is a traumatic experience, but you
> >screw your courage to the sticking point and ..."
>
> I, too, am surprised at so few people getting this. Is this sort of usage
> of puns something uniquely British, or something? Curses is full of them
> (someone today who was sucked into Curses appeared to be genuinely in
> pain as he did the necessary to the bean...).
>

> As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
> *like* Terry Pratchett?
>

Not quite on topic, but I like (really like) Douglas Adams. Does he
carry weight over there? I don't have any problems following his style
(words, phrases, etc.)

Never read Pratchett though...

Tigger

> --
> ------------------- http://www-hons-cs.cs.st-and.ac.uk/~dg -----------------


> If you're up against someone more intelligent than you are, do something
> totally insane and let him think himself to death. --- Pyanfar Chanur
> ---------------- Sun-Earther David Daton Given of Lochcarron ---------------

--
Zachery J. Bir - zb...@indiana.edu
http://seven.ucs.indiana.edu/~zbir/index.html

Andrew Clover

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Nov 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/20/96
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Graham Nelson <gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> ...and the one about the "Harrison bird whistle" (but unless you follow
> British contemporary music...),

Argh! I never noticed that. Ugh!

You're an evil man, Nelson!

> Actually my cheapest shot, I think, is the moment in Jigsaw where one of
> the passengers aboard the Titanic remarks that "worse things happen at
> sea". Not really, no.

I'll nick that one, then. :-)

BCNU, AjC

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
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Sverker Wiberg (sver...@zeke.update.uu.se) wrote:
> cle...@javanet.com (Russ Bryan) writes:

> > P.S. Out of curiosity, are serial number lockout or encryption possible
> > with Inform? That would clear everything up nicely.

> At least the Zmachine has the `piracy' instruction.

Which every freeware Z-interpreter implements as a no-op.

I guess you could just put in a "register" command, which sets a global
variable:

> REGISTER
[Please enter your registration code: > SYFHJSD
[Ok. You are no longer barred from entering the white house.]

But that would only stay registered for that game. If the player
restarted, it would get lost.

The flag would stick in save files, though. I always save a game right
after I start (mostly to get "verbose" set :-) so this would be fine for
me. Not for most people, though.

The file-writing opcodes of the Z-machine aren't really flexible enough
to help. You can't open a file without prompting the user about where it
is. You could supply a tiny registration file and have the game read it,
but since the player would have to type the filename (or navigate to it
in a dialog), this is actually more of a pain than the "register" command.

(TADS's file functions are spiffier, and can check for a registration
file silently.)

Stephen Granade

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
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In article <56vl8f$p...@calvin.st-and.ac.uk> dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk (David
Thomas Richard Given) writes:
> I, too, am surprised at so few people getting this. Is this sort of
> usage
> of puns something uniquely British, or something? Curses is full of them
> (someone today who was sucked into Curses appeared to be genuinely in
> pain as he did the necessary to the bean...).
>
> As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read
> and
> *like* Terry Pratchett?

Yes both to getting the wrench pun and to enjoying Terry Pratchett
(although I enjoy his earlier books more than the later ones).

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | "It takes character to withstand the
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | rigors of indolence."
Duke University, Physics Dept | -- from _The Madness of King George_

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
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Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:

> Terry Prachett is good, but Piers Anthony is a much better humor/fantasy
> writter IMO.

This thread is OVER. Followups directed where they belong. Please move
along.

Jose' Bernardo Silva

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
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dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk (David Thomas Richard Given) wrote:

>As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
>*like* Terry Pratchett?

I do! Even though sometimes I have to read a paragraph two or three
times before it makes any sense... :-)

--
Microsoft Network is prohibited from redistributing this work in any
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License to distribute this post is available to Microsoft for US$1,000,
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an agreement to these terms. Please send notices of violation to
j...@smd.pt, j...@telepac.pt, and Postm...@microsoft.com

East Timor is not indoAMnesia!
Indonesians are killing innocent people in East Timor!
(my replyto address in invalid on purpose - remove .no_spam!.)

Rich

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
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On 21 Nov 96 12:14:39 -800, pat...@otn.net (Patrick Kellum) wrote:


>> The flag would stick in save files, though. I always save a game right
>

>Yep, and there's the prob. You see, within a day save files containing the
>first move (i.e. register) would appear on the net.
>

You can't really expect any system like that to be secure. If you have
a registration system that creates a registered file, people will just
circulate that. The best you can do is establish an initial barrier,
much money has been sent to come up with a "secure" challenge/
authentication system, so far with dismal results (to wit: Quake ).

wet cat

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
to

Having played only one graphic adventure (the time-travel tale that came
with my PC, I think you know which one), and having played only one text
adventure (Planetfall, on the Apple //e) before discovering, first,
Colossal Cave, and then ftp.gmd.de, I definitely prefer text adventures.
I was reading about the latest video game equipment - and the intense
violence in some of the games - in a certain U.S. consumer magazine this
evening, and I thought, "You folks ought to mention the Interactive
Fiction Archive ... the games are less violent and more _literate_."

- wet cat, pondering the idea of I-F as an educational tool for teaching
kids how to _think_

Mark J Musante

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
to

Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:
> On 20-Nov-96 22:23:31, Andrew Plotkin was hanging out in rec.arts.int-fiction.
> And, for some reason, was chating about Re: You know, you'd think by the 19th release ...

>
> >> REGISTER
> > [Please enter your registration code: > SYFHJSD
> > [Ok. You are no longer barred from entering the white house.]
>
> > But that would only stay registered for that game. If the player
> > restarted, it would get lost.
>
> > The flag would stick in save files, though. I always save a game right
>
> Yep, and there's the prob. You see, within a day save files containing the
> first move (i.e. register) would appear on the net.

But if you were smart, you'd give out unique registration codes, thus
allowing you to find out exactly who posted the save game file to the net.

And then you could kill them.

- Mark

P.S. Or you could start three sentences with conjunctions and annoy
the Cardinal no end. :-)

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/21/96
to

Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:

> On 20-Nov-96 22:23:31, Andrew Plotkin was hanging out in rec.arts.int-fiction.
> And, for some reason, was chating about Re: You know, you'd think by the 19th release ...

> >> REGISTER
> > [Please enter your registration code: > SYFHJSD
> > [Ok. You are no longer barred from entering the white house.]

> > But that would only stay registered for that game. If the player
> > restarted, it would get lost.

> > The flag would stick in save files, though. I always save a game right

> Yep, and there's the prob. You see, within a day save files containing the
> first move (i.e. register) would appear on the net.

Would they? This isn't Quake. All players are, by definition, hobbyists.
They want IF to continue.

My Mac shareware game is in all the "pirate hack" lists. Anyone who wants
to can patch the application to bypass the registration code check. But
it still makes money. The people who like Mac puzzle games *want* to give
me money.

Greg Falcon

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

pat...@otn.net (Patrick Kellum) wrote:


>On 20-Nov-96 22:23:31, Andrew Plotkin was hanging out in rec.arts.int-fiction.
>And, for some reason, was chating about Re: You know, you'd think by the 19th release ...

>>> REGISTER
>> [Please enter your registration code: > SYFHJSD
>> [Ok. You are no longer barred from entering the white house.]

>> But that would only stay registered for that game. If the player
>> restarted, it would get lost.

>> The flag would stick in save files, though. I always save a game right

>Yep, and there's the prob. You see, within a day save files containing the
>first move (i.e. register) would appear on the net.

Why all that?

I would guess that within a day "SYFHJSD" would appear on the net.

Confused,
Greg
--
This space for rent.


-

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

> >in question is a mental phenomenon. To me the phrase "It's a wrench,
> >but ..." carries overtones of "It is a traumatic experience, but you
> >screw your courage to the sticking point and ..."
>
> I, too, am surprised at so few people getting this. Is this sort of usage
> of puns something uniquely British, or something? Curses is full of them
> (someone today who was sucked into Curses appeared to be genuinely in
> pain as he did the necessary to the bean...).
>
I get it and I'm definitely not a Brit.

Nicholas Daley
<dal...@ihug.co.nz>

Darren Rigby

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

In article <MPG.cfd4485d...@news.execpc.com>,
Lady Whisper <whi...@bestware.net> wrote:

>> David Thomas Richard Given (dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk) wrote:
>> > As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
>> > *like* Terry Pratchett?
>
>Add me to the list. I have every one of his books that I can lay my hands
>on, which means I'm sorely lacking many. <G> Wish they came out here the
>same time they are released in Europe and other countries.
>
>--
>Lady Whisper
>Worlds Of Origin: http://www.bestware.net/whisper/woo
>PVLBS: http://www.bestware.net/whisper/pvlb.shtml
I find I have to stop myself from speaking aloud in a British accent after
rereading one of his books. And I do have them all, except for the most
recent one.
(BTW this is a much more coherent thread than any you'll find on alt.fan.-
pratchett .)

--
djr={gridby, dart, axoq}

Allison Weaver

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

It made perfect sense to me though I will have to admit to reading a lot
of UK authors.

Allison

-- Southern Maryland, USA


Big Mad Drongo

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

David Thomas Richard Given wrote:
> I, too, am surprised at so few people getting this. Is this sort of
> usage of puns something uniquely British, or something?

I wouldn't worry about it - it's just revenge for the baseball puzzle in
the Zork games...

Adrian

athol-brose

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

In article <56vl8f$p...@calvin.st-and.ac.uk>,

David Thomas Richard Given <dt...@st-andrews.ac.uk> wrote:
>As a quick style-of-humour test, how many non-British people here read and
>*like* Terry Pratchett?

Ah, you don't really want to ask that do you? I suspect the answer is
"lots". Me included.


--
athol-brose -- cinn...@one.net -- http://w3.one.net/~cinnamon/

Lady Whisper

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Nov 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/22/96
to

In article <E191q...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>,
djr...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca says...

> (BTW this is a much more coherent thread than any you'll find on alt.fan.-
> pratchett .)

I know, I've tried reading there at times and give up in frustration. <G>

Torbj|rn Andersson

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Nov 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/23/96
to

wet cat <mun...@cfw.com> wrote:

> - wet cat, pondering the idea of I-F as an educational tool for teaching
> kids how to _think_

Speaking of teaching, I think I-F could be a very useful tool for
teaching foreign languages. At least playing Infocom games and
reading English fiction helped me a lot more than trying to
memorize vocabulary lists and grammar did.

Not that the latter is a complete waste of time. Far from it. But
if that is _all_ you get to see of a foreign language, it is
unlikely that you will ever learn to actually use it. I studied
German at school for several years without ever learning to use
it beyond a simple "Ich bin in Deutchland gewesen" or "Ich
verstehe nichts".

English is easier to learn, of course. I can hardly go anywhere
without being exposed to it in some way. Advertising, movies,
music, etc. And I-F has given me something concrete to associate
words with: "Demijohn", "gnomon", "chigger" and "chirality" are
just some of the words I might never have encountered, had it
not been for I-F.

As for the original question if text adventures *really* are
better, I think the answer is "not necessarily". But I do think
that it is easier for a graphical adventure to get away with
being a bad game by looking good from a technical point of view.
Sort of like movies.

_
Torbjorn

Roger Carbol

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Nov 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/23/96
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> My Mac shareware game is in all the "pirate hack" lists. Anyone who wants
> to can patch the application to bypass the registration code check. But
> it still makes money. The people who like Mac puzzle games *want* to give

> me money.

This would seem to imply the question: if they want to give you money,
then why use a registration code check in the first place?

Or are we merely helping people walk the straight and narrow path? =)


Roger Carbol .. r...@col.ca .. stop playing or send me money

David Thomas Richard Given

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Nov 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/24/96
to

In article <845.6898T...@otn.net>,

Patrick Kellum <pat...@otn.net> wrote:
>Terry Prachett is good, but Piers Anthony is a much better humor/fantasy
>writter IMO.

YM really does V, doesn't it... there's not a lot I can say to this. Most
people around here think that Piers Anthony is one of the biggest wasters
of paper since... since... uh, is one of the biggest wasters of paper.
Plot? Nope. Characterisation? Nope. Consistency? Nope. Interesting ideas?
He had once, but not any more.

Should we take this to rec.arts.sf.written, or start a
rec.games.non-int-fiction?


--
------------------- http://www-hons-cs.cs.st-and.ac.uk/~dg --------------------


If you're up against someone more intelligent than you are, do something
totally insane and let him think himself to death. --- Pyanfar Chanur

---------------- Sun-Earther David Daton Given of Lochcarron ------------------

Werner Punz

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96