The First Time You Laid Eyes on IF...

10 views
Skip to first unread message

outside_t...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
Hello, all~

I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board... I
remember my own clearly. I, at the tender age of seven, and my sister had
accompanied my father to his friends' house in Indiana (of all places) for
Thanksgiving. Beautiful old yellow house, a couple of dogs, cool fall
evenings, and we were a million miles from anywhere with nothing to do. Our
host and hostess (as charming as they come) were unused to small guests, and
offered us the use of their computer as a diversion. We had played
'Transylvania' and 'Talisman' before, my sister and I, on my father's old
green-screen, and to us, the Mac they had was like a gift from the Gods. They
had two games (that I remember): Deja-Vu, and (insert sound of trumpets here)
Zork. I remember perfectly the moment we saw it. Imagine, having never, ever,
ever even heard of a game like Zork, and then to click on an innocuous icon
and find yourself in front of a house (there is a small mailbox here). We
sat. We stared. We typed 'JUMP'. Wheeee! We were hooked. It stands out,
etched in perfect detail, in my mind, a contrast to my jumbled closetful of
childhood memories. How many can say that there was a defining point in their
childhood when they knew there was no turning back? For some, that point is
knowing you are no longer a child. For me, childhood began with >READ
LEAFLET, and the smug, selfish knowledge that somewhere inside, I would never
cease to be a child. That's what IF is. That's why we write, that's why we
play it, that's why we live it.

So where were you, what game astonished your senses, when you encountered the
weird little world of interactive fiction for the first time? Inquiring minds
want to know!

Sincerely,

outside_t...@my-dejanews.com

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

juneb...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
Well I had some basic experiences with the VIC20 around 1980 and I remember
feeling a sense of wonderment and escapism even then. But the phraser was
awful and the VIC20 had limited memory at best (3.5k!!) They were of the
usual D&D stuff. I then managed to pursuade my Dad to get a Commodore Plus/4
(1983ish)and with that came Spiderman from Adventure International UK. I put
my hours in but again, I was fustrated by its phraser and lack of fun. It
wasn't until my dad bout a 1540 Foppy disk for the Plus/4 that I managed to
save up enough money to buy ZORKI. I remeber being on holiday in Scotland and
not wanting to be there but at the doorstep waiting for it to arrive. When we
returned there it was in a nice fat jiffy bag. I took my time opening it and
stared in wonder at the packaging and goodies within. Upon booting up I was
transported...away from all the cares and problems of growing up..into a
world were logic (sort of ;-)) ruled and you could be a master of your
destiny (Rather difficult to do when growing up). Yep I spent ages playing
ZORKI, and had fantasies about playing all the other Infocom games. After
ZORK I got an ATARI130XE and started playing the UK Level9 adventures which
were every bit as good as the Infocom ones - don't let anyone tell you
different. The Worm in Paradise being one of my favouries. By the time I was
20 I could afford to buy a Commodore Amiga to do my University Philosophy
thesis on, and sure enough my first purchase was Hitchhikers Guide by
INFOCOM, bliss. And then the UK Magnetic Scroll adventures which, of all
computer companies, managed to stand up against Infocom. Buy the time I had a
blisteringly fast Pentium PC I had discovered the IF archive and have been
playing these beautiful games again. (Playing Arrival at the moment) And, due
to emulators I can play all the Level9 ones again. But my memories still lie
with ZORKI and that White House. Here was a world for the eternally innocent
to populate with there dreams and images. A true Never-Never Land, for all us
Peter Pan's... ~ All that giltters is not gold...

karvic

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
Hi from the UK - for me it was early 80's and a game called Knights Quest
from Phipps....

outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7fh5hq$smm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

Mikko P Vuorinen

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
It was in 1982 or 1983, I think. The game was called Token of Ghall and it
was written in C64 basic. I was only about 10 years old and didn't know
much English, but still I played it with my friend. But the game that got
me really hooked on IF was Eureka.


--
)))) (((( + Mikko Vuorinen + mvuo...@cc.helsinki.fi
)) OO `oo'((( + Dilbon@IRC&ifMUD + http://www.helsinki.fi/~mvuorine/
6 (_) ( ((( + GSM 050-5859733 +
`____c 8__/((( + + Vuoden 1999 pistetilanne: 0

Bob Reeves

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
I didn't run into it till 1986, but that was the end for me (& the
beginning of serious uninterrupted geekdom). I was seeing a woman who had
an Apple II & copies of Hitchhiker's & Zork I. It took I think two nights
of trying to get thru the Screening Door on the Heart Of Gold before she
was throwing dishes & screaming at me to come to bed. The relationship
foundered in short order, but IF is still a major part of my life (or
should I say, of my not-having-a-life?).
--
Bob Reeves
You drive around town ... you see someone you don't know ... you shoot
them! How hard is that?
--"Desperado"


Ryan J Franklin

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
In article <7fh5hq$smm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

<outside_t...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:
>So where were you, what game astonished your senses, when you encountered the
>weird little world of interactive fiction for the first time? Inquiring minds
>want to know!

That'd be a CP/M port of Adventure on my aunt's "portable" KayPro computer
(when portable meant it had a handle and weighed between fifty and a
hundred pounds), which I was utterly mystified by. My family didn't have
a computer at the time, and I got _so_ lost wandering around, and was so
proud when I figured out how to fight dwarves, that you can't carry the
rod and the bird at the same time, and so on.

We were subscribing to Electronic Games magazine at the time (we had an
Atari), and they did a four-page lavish feature on Zork, which got my
brother and I pretty interested. When we finally got our own computer (an
original IBM PC, 2 floppy drives, no hard drive--to give you an idea of
how long ago this was, you could buy a 10 meg external hard drive, and
the CGA graphics card had only recently been introduced), my dad took us
out shopping. We were looking for Flight Simulator (which my brother was
really anxious to get), and I noticed that the store had Zork running. I
wandered around the white house, found the window, got inside, and then
(not knowing where to go next) typed:

>EXAMINE RUG

(Wow, I'm *GOOD*! I found a trap door! I'm _so_ cool! I'll just go
downstairs...)

...needless to say, I was still hunting-and-pecking away trying to get
past the troll when my dad said we had to go, and I wheedled him into
getting Zork I. The store only had the demonstration copy, so we even got
it at a discount (creased manual and all). But you know, if I hadn't
examined the rug or if the game didn't say anything interesting when the
rug was examined, I probably wouldn't have been so insistent upon getting
Zork I; curious (and happy) accidents abound, I guess.

--
we got starcross almost as soon as it was released
fran...@u.arizona.edu


Stuart

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
For me it was when I was around 4 or 5 years old. My father had a copy of
Colossal Cave on his TRS-80 Model 1, and let me sit with him one time while
he played it. Needless to say, I was fascinated. The funny thing is, he
never let me play much after that, since he used the computer for other
things (what they were, I have no idea now). But one time I had a nightmare
and refused to go back to sleep. My father then said that if I wanted, I
could play "Microsoft Adventure" (boy, they had their grubby hands in
everything...) until I was tired. I played for several hours, and became
hooked on the genre : )

Hoping I'm getting the details right,

Stuart


Craxton

unread,
Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
to
outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> So where were you, what game astonished your senses, when you encountered the
> weird little world of interactive fiction for the first time? Inquiring minds
> want to know!
>

It was a year or two ago. I'm not sure when exactly it was, but I had
been at college and at a severe lack for my usual games. (I cut my
gaming teeth of the NES and SNES, then later moved on to PC games, but I
didn't have a PC at college.) Being starved for something to feed my
addiction, I started visiting Gaming sites, eventually more or less
stumbling on the official Zork: Grand Inquisitor site. They had the
first 3 Zork games for download, so I got them and played them on the
lab computers. (Which was kind of against school policy. I guess you
could say this was an episode of my irresponsible youth. >:===8)

It wasn't exactly love at first sight- in fact, if there had been other
games available, I would have probably grabbed them and deleted the Zork
Trilogy. But I did manage to complete the games with more then a few
hints, and eventually got interested in the art form as a whole.

Then I got rather uninterested when I found I was no good at all at the
puzzles. But that's another story.

-Craxton

--
"If you can get sent to hell for kissing, hell must be a pretty
overcrowded place." -Nocturnal Illusion
Long Live the Hentai Game!

ZorkQ

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
My first experience was when I was 15, my dad had brought home a game he had
bought at K-Mart for $49.97. It was a cartridge for my Commodore Vic-20 called
Adventureland by Scott Adams. I plugged the cartridge in, and typed SYS 32592.
(Geez, I can't believe I can still remember that address) I was hooked right
away. I can still envision in my head that big red dragon, sleeping in that
green, lush, rolling meadow. I conned my dad into buying all five of those
Scott Adams' cartridges. I've been hooked ever since.

Eddie

And yes, all dragons are red. :)


Ville Lavonius

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
Zork II on the C64 in 1984 (or '85). After that experience, most
of the adventure games available back then felt really lacking.

--
ville.l...@iki.fi + TODO is a four-letter word

Torbjörn Andersson

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> So where were you, what game astonished your senses, when you encountered the
> weird little world of interactive fiction for the first time? Inquiring minds
> want to know!

I think I had heard of the genre earlier, but the first adventure game
I remember playing was called UPPSJÖ, and was written in BASIC for the
ABC80. (Since both the game and the computer were Swedish, I guess
most of you haven't heard of them before.) This must have been around
1985 or so.

In retrospect, it was a rather simple treasure hunt game with a
verb-noun parser that only understood a handful of words, but it
fascinated me immensely.

Later my parents bought a Mac 512K (now a Mac Plus which I still have,
though I haven't used it for several months now) so I could finally
actually play Infocom games instead of just reading about them. I'm
afraid the first few Infocom games I played were pirated. Asking for
them in stores drew blank stares or, worse, comments like "but text
games are boring!". I eventually had to order them from the US and
though I didn't know it then, by that time Infocom as a company didn't
have many years left.

I don't remember when I first found out about these newsgroups. After
1991, obviously, as I didn't get Internet access until then. I
remember reading about the Unnkulian games (which I couldn't play, not
having a TADS interpreter), but there was also a game called Curses
and a Z-machine interpreter called pinfocom. And then Graham announced
that he was working on getting Inform to compile for version 5 of the
Z-machine, and an expanded version of Curses...

Torbjörn Andersson

clayo...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
> Hello, all~
>
> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...

<snip> The other comments on this board make me feel rather young. My first
IF experience was ........ Curses! While looking on a shareware file
repository, I found a "z machine interpreter for windows". With no knowledge
of what this was, I downloaded WinFrotz and started up the first game I came
across, Curses. After playing that and others on the archive, I only then
bought the Masterpieces of Infocom set.

John Menichelli

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
My first experience with IF was Zork I on the Osborne 1. I still
remember my friend and I huddled around the 5" screen, typing, "Kill
troll with sword".

Ah, the good old days! :)

John


Steve Young

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to

karvic wrote in message <7fhkuk$qvu$1...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk>...

>Hi from the UK - for me it was early 80's and a game called Knights Quest
>from Phipps....


I'm also from the UK, and it was on an adventure called Espionage Island from Artic (Rivals of Phipps at the time). It was also one of the least likely games a beginner would be introduced to, as it was quite a hard game, particularly the start of it. Though I liked it and thought the Artic series of games were underatted at the time, as they were fast, intersting and fairly logical, though a bit sparse in description.

Steve


snark

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
My first contact with IF was a version of Collosal Cave on an MVS mainframe
in 1979 or 1980. After that I played some Infocom games...think I liked
'Suspended' most.

And to outside_the_asylum: your posting was great ... you should write I
think. Not only IF, maybe books and novels. Another fantastic kind of
fiction, which can be interactive as well if you know what I mean ...


snark

Dave Grebe

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to

Yes, it was a clone of the 350 point adventure, it may have had one
extra point. Here's what the opening screen looked like (except the
IBM "graphics" characters are mangled):

_______ _________ _____ _____
_______ ___________ ______ ______
___ ___ ___ ______ ______
___ _________ _______ _______
___ _________ ___ _______ ___
___ ___ ___ ___ _____ ___
_______ ___________ ____ ___ ____
_______ _________ ____ _ ____

Personal Computer

+---------------------+
Ś Microsoft Adventure Ś
Ś Ś
Ś Version 1.00 Ś
+---------------------+

(C) Copyright IBM Corp 1981
(C) Copyright Softwin Assoc. 1979

Implemented by Gordon Letwin
Produced by Microsoft

Which Cave Image (press ENTER to
restart) ?

Dave Grebe
am...@cleveland.freenet.edu

Daniel Schepler

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
I remember seeing advertisements for HHGTTG in Compute's Gazette, but
if I remember correctly, I was turned off by the mention of ">DRINK A
BEER". There was also some sort of vampire game I typed in from one
of those magazines, but near the end there was a graphical maze to get
through, and I never bothered to finish it, and it wasn't that great a
game, anyway. Then a couple years ago, when I changed from Slackware
to RedHat (Linux), I noticed a package called 'christminster' and
wondered what it was. That game hooked me, and also my brother once I
showed it to him. Since then, I've downloaded games from the
if-archive, and bought the Masterpieces CD and Once and Future.
--
Daniel Schepler "Please don't disillusion me. I
sche...@math.berkeley.edu haven't had breakfast yet."
-- Orson Scott Card

Jason L Tibbitts III

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
Grade school. Hardcopy terminal (i.e. TeleType). Colossal Cave. And the
best part was that it was part of an assignment; they wanted us to learn the
system so they gave us something to do that they hoped would entertain us.
I managed an 'A' in Hunt The Wumpus but I never could get anywhere in
the cave.

Unfortunately the assignment backfired; most of the kids in the class did
nothing but play games on the thing. I remember whispered remarks and
rumors of magic words; some arm twisting might eke out a pained "xyzzy!"

Over the next few, years an Apple II arrived; the terminals were thrown
out, the acoustic couplers (110bps!) were junked and all of the kids forgot
about adventures while playing Super Brickout and trading Atari 2600
cartridges.

Teletype (with punched tape reader). _New_ Apple II. Atari 2600. Grade
school. I'm getting OLD! In the name of all that does not suck, someone
kill me quick!
--
Jason L Tibbitts III - ti...@uh.edu - 713/743-3486 - 660PGH - 94 PC800
System Manager: University of Houston Department of Mathematics
"I survived while Ruby died in Jackie's trashy fantasy..."

Arcum Dagsson

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to

> Hello, all~
>
> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...<snip>

As I recall, I played Zork on my cousins computer, enjoyed that, then
later got a book of adventure games for my own computer.(at the time, a
Tandy Color Computer II with 16k memory, and a tape player) Played some
fun games like Dr. Avaloe ("You have died a horrible death. I hope you had
fun though."), and got hooked... Later, I got a good computer,(My current
one is a 240 Mhz Mac clone...) got wishbringer, got LTOI 1 + 2, & still
later, the if-archive (Christminister, and some of the best of the comp
games, as well as others), and LGOP...
--Arcum Dagsson

"What is the point of treating him to a complete spring-clean,
polishing all the bits and bobs with beeswax, and scrubbing his
terminals with soapy water, if he's going to go all peculiar?"

Gunther Schmidl

unread,
Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
to
The first adventure game I ever played (and also, besides Space Invaders,
the first *game* I ever played, because, you see, we had an
expensive-as-hell IBM 4.77 MHz laptop back then when everybody had C64s and
Amigas and Ataris and stuff) was Space Quest II.

The first I-F game I ever played was THE PAWN by Magnetic Scrolls. I never
could finish it back then (esp. because of the lack of a manual :-), but I
have since.

Guess that got me hooked on the Adventure genre forever.

Hell, I even used to write two-word-parser BASIC I-F and several CYOA (with
action sequences, even!) and am glad they'll never see the light of day.

--
+------------------------+----------------------------------------------+
+ Gunther Schmidl + "I couldn't help it. I can resist everything +
+ Ferd.-Markl-Str. 39/16 + except temptation" -- Oscar Wilde +
+ A-4040 LINZ +---------------+------------------------------+
+ Tel: 0732 25 28 57 + ICQ: 22447430 + IF: http://sgu.home.dhs.org/ +
+------------------------+---+-----------+------------------------------+
+ gschmidl (at) gmx (dot) at + please remove the "xxx." before replying +
+----------------------------+------------------------------------------+

Miseri

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
I remember it was just before Christmas. 1985 or 1986. I was about 9 or 10,
and I'd just gotten my first computer and wanted something more to try on it.
Other than the free stuff that came with it. So I was at my favourite
bookstore one day when I saw this kiosk set up in there, selling computer
games.

Among others, was a murder mystery game called "Suspect", from Infocom.

I was a sucker for mystery stories, and I asked the clerk more about it. She
told me how it worked: the game described a scenario, and would generally
understand whatever you typed into it. I was intrigued.

I loved interacting with the characters. I loved being immersed in a story. I
loved that I could take my time, and that everything was so logical, and that
I didn't have to depend on speed or skill or chance. A week later, I got
"Ballyhoo" from the same vendor.... And you probably know how the rest goes.

TenthStone

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 05:07:04 GMT, mcc...@erols.com (TenthStone) wrote:

>CompuServe. I used to log on to CompuServe and waste valuable
>time and money playing the crappy IF-like games they had.
>
>AOL had some as well. I remember one with an old mansion and a
>vampire that was truly terrible. AOL also had various MUD-like
>implementations which I played around with but never had enough time
>for.
>
>And then I tried to write a couple of my own crappy adventures in
>BASIC. I also paid $5 for the QuestMaker disk from Public Brand
>Software, which is most of why I take every possible opportunity to
>bash that particular program.
>
>I believe that I had the opportunity to get the TADS shareware from
>PBS, but I never did so.

We also had The Lurking Horror for the Apple II in our computer lab.


TenthStone

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to

Michelle F. Givens

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
Wow. I never post here (almost afraid to, as a horrible failure at solving
these games), but this one made me.

Grade school for me, too. A guy my mom was dating brought over his computer
and started up "The Count." I was HOOKED, but we didnt' have a computer.
When my Dad finally got a Commodore, I made him buy me one of those code books
and typed in the games myself.

The sad thing is that I could solve The Count back then, but am stymied by it
now (I TOLD you I was terrible!).

Michelle Givens
mailto:mgi...@centuryinter.net

Michael Straight

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to

A TRS-80 in a mall was running I-know-not-what game, and I didn't get to
play it, I just watched some other guy type things like "go north" or
"look bed".

And the computer RESPONDED, with WORDS and SENTENCES, describing what the
guy would see in response to what he typed!

It was magic! It was science-fiction! The computer was understanding
what he wrote and talking back! And there was a WORLD in there!

Then I saw the guy type "look mirror".

I don't remember the response (some description of the protagonist, I
imagine), but I remember the wonderful shift in my head as I began to
realize the implications of being able to do that.

I remember trying all the way home to explain to my Dad exactly how
amazing what I'd seen was.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Irene Callaci

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 13:57:32 -0400, Michael Straight
<stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote:
>
>A TRS-80 in a mall was running I-know-not-what game, and I didn't get to
>play it, I just watched some other guy type things like "go north" or
>"look bed".
>
>And the computer RESPONDED, with WORDS and SENTENCES, describing what the
>guy would see in response to what he typed!
>
>It was magic! It was science-fiction! The computer was understanding
>what he wrote and talking back! And there was a WORLD in there!

This is EXACTLY the feeling I got when I first played Dungeon
on a PDP-11 in...1980? 1981? Almost got me fired, too, since
from that time on I was never where I was supposed to be: at
work. But I was fascinated with this machine that could talk
to me in English, and understood what I was telling it, in
English! I was completely captivated. Still am.

irene

Philip Bartol

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
Funny, the first IF that I laid my eyes on was the source code in C64 BASIC
for the Star Wars adventure... I had no clue what it was, put it away with
all my other stuff and waited untill my mom bought the Adventure cartridge for
our TI 99/4A.

Scott Adams pirate game was the first IF game I ever saw, we wound up
collecting all but about 3-5 of the Adventure series before we got rid of the
TI...

When I got my PC (a 286 with EGA and no hard disk) I bought Wishbringer for
it, it's still the only Infocom game I've ever solved.

When I found the Scott Adams adventures in the archive, I was over-pleased...
finally I would be able to finish those un-solved games I once owned....
except that I couldn't get very far with some of the ones that I had solved
once before. I found that the 2 word vocabulary that I once thought was
amazing, now wasn't quite enough. I had gotten used to the flexability of
Infocom style games.

PHIL


-----[ to reply, the domain name is "concentric.net" ]-----
Spelling mistakes brought to you courtesy of the
Allentown Public School System.

Knight37

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to

<outside_t...@my-dejanews.com> wrote

> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...

What a fascinating topic. It's probably been done before here, but
what the hell, there's a lot of new folks here and I for one haven't
shared my "first time" story. :)

My very first IF experience, in fact, one of my first PC games ever,
was an old "DnD" game for the Apple //c. I played this and a few other
text games on that system, and really enjoyed it.

But, I really didn't begin to appreciate the ART of interactive
fiction, until I got my first computer, an IBM PCjr (don't laugh).
A friend of mine had a game called "Enchanter" which he gave me a
copy of (back then I didn't even know it was wrong to pirate). I
played that game like there was no tomorrow. I was really into
AD&D and other Role-playing games at the time, and for me, Enchanter
was like being a magic-user in one of these fantasy stories. The
spell system was extremely cool, the puzzles hard but fun, and the
story thrilling. Enchanter is still one of my favorites.

Later, I got Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, Zork, then HHGTG, and others.
I actually paid for these. ;)

I also found a book, I want to say by Phil Hartman but that name
could be wrong, called "Writing Text Adventure Games on your IBM PC"
or something very similar. This was a book that had about 6 or 8
adventure games coded in BASIC you could type in, and it explained
the details about how to code parsers, rooms, events, etc. None of
these games were as complex as anything by Infocom, of course, but
they were neat to type in and change. I was more interested in
the PROGRAMMING aspects of it, since I later turned out to be a
programmer and this was kind of my earliest moments of that dark art.

I kind of fell out of IF for a while, then. The graphics adventures
where more popular, and I'm a very visual person, so I fell into the
lure of it. I loved King's Quest. Played a lot of other Sierra games.
Liked other kinds of games, too. I have probably played every kind of
game there is and liked it at one time or another. Right now my favs
are CRPGs and strategy games, but I still like Quake and Half-life.

I got back into IF about 5 years ago, when I discovered the internet
IF community, RAIF and RGIF. And especially, the IF archive. Without
the archive, I'd probably never really gotten back into IF. Actually,
without the IF Programming Contest, I probably would have given IF
a pass again. But when I found out there were still people out there
that loved IF enough to actually write new games, well, I was hooked.
Because, as I've always wanted to write a game, I have never been
able to finish one to my liking. But I figured that IF is just about
the only kind of game a single programmer can write and have it be
worth much of anything. That's not entirely true, but it's not too
far off, since most modern games require musicians and artists as
well as programmers.

Anyway, I have been off and on in IF for the past 5 years or so,
still not finished with any "masterpiece" I'd like to submit to
the comp, but more determined this year than before, and so maybe...

Oh, and yeah, I finally did buy Enchanter legally. :)

knight37

Matthew Clemson

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
(I hope I've got the line length right. I don't trust this news
reader... :)

Ah, what a lovely message, and a nice one to delurk to reply to,
particularly since my story seems different to others'

I was a young kid, and I had a ZX Spectrum. I was happy with it, but it
had a flaw - no Infocom product was ever released for it - but this
didn't bother me. I'd seen my Mum and my sisters play The Hobbit, and to
be honest, I was unimpressed. I just couldn't see the point of it.

One day, I got the March 1989 issue of Sinclair User - it had a game on
the covertape, Megatape 13 (Unlucky? Not in the end), one I'd heard an
awful lot about - a 3D isometric action/puzzle game called Phantom Club
(I *still* don't get the title, even now). I loaded it up, and played
it.

I was ten. It was a hard game. Not to put too fine a point on it, I was
awful at it. Before long, I had reset the computer in frustration. Even
today, that game hardly ever really grabs me.

Now, look at me in my position. I was bored. I didn't have a game worth
playing, as far as I was concerned. I was disappointed, to say the very
least. In the vain hope of trying to find something to do, I looked in
the magazine to find out what else was on the tape. Only one thing -
some adventure *spit* called 'Escape'.

Still, I *was* really bored. I loaded the thing up, and was greeted
with:

SINCLAIR USER and TARTAN SOFTWARE
present
A BONUS nonsense ADVENTURE
Just for Pun

Entitled... ESCAPE


First thing I thought was 'They misspelled 'fun'. Oh dear'. I didn't
know what a pun was. Believe me, very shortly I would do... :)

Okay. Loaded in. Let's get starte... uh? What's this? A screenful of
text... oh, it's just the plot. Blahblahblah... strange land... blah...
capture... blah... strange type of cell. Tired, hungry and thirsty -
escape before torture begins. Only possible aid is knowledge of the
powerful POLICE spell.
Hmm. Pretty standard fare. Right, let's have a look at the first
location graphic... Oh. More text. Okay...
Wander round a bit. Right, small place. Picked up a few items. And...
oh. I've died of thirst.
Hmmm. I seem stuck. Read magazine for hints. Find out about EXAMINE
command. Aaaah.

Wander round a bit again. Suddenly played with words a bit, and ended up
getting a drink. From that moment, I was hooked. The feeling that *I'd*
solved the problem of my thirst, off my own bat, was the big driving
force that pushed me through the entire game in an evening. Never again
would I simply dismiss an adventure on a covertape.

After writing this, I really felt the need to try Escape again. So I
found a copy for an emulator, and had a play. To be honest, it hands you
the solution to the thirst problem on a plate, really, but they do vary
for a while afterwards, while still being nice and easy - in fact, I'd
still say this is probably the best adventure for beginners that I know.

It's only been comparitively recently that I've discovered Z-code
games - while they were around, in their early forms, back when I was
playing Escape, they weren't for the Spectum; That started when
Activision released Zork as P.D., and I had a good go at that. Maybe one
of these days I'll complete the thing. But overall, I couldn't be
happier with the route I took to get into i-f. It may be a little
unusual, but it was wonderful.

-Matt

Knight37

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to

Knight37 <knig...@flash.SPAMBLOCKA.net> wrote:

> My very first IF experience, in fact, one of my first PC games ever,

> was an old "DnD" game for the Apple file://c. I played this and a few other


> text games on that system, and really enjoyed it.

Son of a FOUL FOUL and YOUR SOMETHING FOUL.

I really get ticked when I type something and the freaking editor
replaces my words WITHOUT SHOWING ME.

The above was supposed to be "Apple IIc" using the old "//" style of
writing "II", but apparently Outlook Express decided to treat it as
an URL even though I didn't type it as such.

Sorry for the confusion.

knight37


Doeadeer3

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
1970's, I was an adult. I had an Apple IIc. Wanted to do something with it
other than use a word processor and spread sheet.

Went to computer store and found Deadline. I was totally hooked. The
intelligence of the game, the way it understood English sentences, it seemed to
me it stretched the boundaries my little personal computer the most of any
software I had come across.

One of the Apple magazines had source code (Apple Basic) for creating your own
adventure game (parser, etc.). I typed it in and then wrote my own game. I also
bought all the rest of the Infocom games I could find (not that many at first
because local stores didn't always carry them.)

When I returned to college a year or two later (as an older adult) I changed my
major from Art to Computer Science. Later I became a computer consult
(programmer, etc.).

All because of a text adventure game.

Doe :-)


Doe doea...@aol.com (formerly known as FemaleDeer)
****************************************************************************
"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

Doeadeer3

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
>Subject: Re: The First Time You Laid Eyes on IF...
>From: doea...@aol.com (Doeadeer3)
>Date: 4/22/99 9:26 PM Pacific Daylight Time

>1970's, I was an adult. I had an Apple IIc.

Someone pointed out to me Apple IIc came out in early 1980's. Yep. So it was
then. I know I got the IIc within 9 mo.s to a year after it came out (it was so
cute).

Also the first game I played was probably Witness, Deadline probably second. I
still remember the desk in Witness and feeling I was so very very clever.

Archer

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
My first contact with IF was Raaka-Tu on the TRS-80 Model II at high school,
loaded from cassette. We didn't get very far into it before the cassette tape
went bad, so we never finished the game. :-(

Later, when I got my Atari 800, I bought and finished both Planetfall and
Starcross. After that, I was away from IF until I found it on the internet a
couple of years ago.

Archer
rcr...@airnet.net
ICQ # 1924076
"TANSTAAFL"

David R

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
How nice to see Tartan's little "adventure-for-beginners" mentioned. This
was my second IF game, preceded by another Sinclair User freebie "Bulbo and
the Lizard King" (from Zenobi Software). The latter is what got me hooked
(although the two-word parser used to drive me nuts). I was living with my
in-laws on the dole in Scotland at the time and the games gave me an excuse
to stay in the bedroom most of the time! I had just graduated and was
struggling to get a job, so it was a great relief to escape into these
adventures. It's worth mentioning what a wonderful DIY Spectrum IF scene
there was in the UK at that time: anyone out there with similar fond
memories?

David R.

Matthew Clemson <Matthew...@keble.ox.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:7foc35$98g$1...@news.ox.ac.uk...

Patrick M. Berry

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
In article <19990423002617...@ng-fw1.aol.com>, doea...@aol.com (Doeadeer3) writes:

> 1970's, I was an adult. I had an Apple IIc.

Sorry to interrupt your reverie, but the IIc didn't exist in the 1970s.
It was introduced in 1984.

> Wanted to do something with it
> other than use a word processor and spread sheet.

Yep, this is definitely taking place in the 1980s. The first spreadsheet,
VisiCalc, wasn't available until October of '79.


Ranger Fox

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7fh5hq$smm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

>I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
>experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board... I

I had heard a lot of about the Infocom games, and I still remember
the neat ads they used to have for them! But I never had access
to a computer until I had a BASIC computer programming class
in school. I usually ended up finishing my computer assignments
early and was left with some time during class I wanted to fill up.

So when I came across an Infocom sampler pack for $7, I snatched
it up, took it to class and played Zork I on the old Apple IIc,
and I was hooked! I thought it was the most intelligent game
interface I'd ever come across--to think that it could actually
respond accordingly to what you type in--it was hilarious!

The sampler were only game samplers for Zork I, Stationfall,
Infidel, and one more I can't remember. At the end of the
school year, I returned the game for a refund
(it was part of the packaging)!

- Ranger Fox

Papanele

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
1978 -- my friend's mother worked for Prime Computer, and we used to dial in
to play Adventure. We were rotten -- I think in months of play we never
figured out how to use the wand or were any but the most obvious treasures
were. Then in college I played a game with a dam, and years and years later,
on this newsgroup, finally figured out that I had played the famous Zork.

- Elena

Lelah Conrad

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
On 23 Apr 1999 05:54:05 GMT, doea...@aol.com (Doeadeer3) wrote:


>Someone pointed out to me Apple IIc came out in early 1980's.

Right, because we had an Apple II+ from about 1980 or thereabouts, and
then later upgraded - woohee! - to the more powerful Apple IIe, which
also preceded the IIc.

We had gotten the Zork games as they came out, played them constantly
with friends (well, the babies and toddlers were all crawling about at
our feet -- it was great entertainment for the newly tied-down) but
the one I really got hooked on was Deadline, which I played for a year
or two. It's hard to believe now how much time I spent on just one
game. :0


Lelah

Vivienne

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
Enable de-lurk mode
Great thread. The Hobbit was my first experience of IF or adventure as
it was called back then. I was hooked from the start. We only had a
tape drive for our C64 at the time - a disk drive and Zork came a year
or so later. I had to send away for the Hobbit and when it arrived one
of the sides of the tape was faulty and wouldn't load. I'm sure
Melbourne House would have cheerfully exchanged it but I couldn't bear
to part with it. Ah "kill Gandalf..." Those were the days.
OK, back to lurking.

outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> Hello, all~


>
> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board... I

> remember my own clearly. I, at the tender age of seven, and my sister had
>snip

Tom Alaerts

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
Hello,

I must have been something like 14 years old when I discovered Zork 1 on a
friend's Apple 2. Ahhh... "attack ork with axe", "tie rope to railing", the
time I spend trying to open the grating, covered with leaves, in the
woods...
I still remember all these moments. Fantastic.
Later on I only got a real "kick" from new games (though I played plenty)
from time to time:

- Planetfall must have been my 2nd adventure. I will never forget Floyd.
- then I bought a state-of-the-art C64. Like ALL kids in the neighbourhood,
I had cassette tapes with a total of some 600-1000 games. Yes, that was
mega-pirating we did in those days (still we grew up to rather nice,
law-abiding people). I then got especially impressed by "The Hobbit".
- Only years later I got seriously into PC's and then I discovered "Indiana
Jones in Atlantis": fantastic, still 1 of the all-time best adventures!
- Soon after this I discovered "Monkey Island 1" which was also great. The
great thing about Lucas is that you could not get the game in a unwinnable
state. Modern IF authors, take note! And great scripts, great dialogue.
- Later I bought "Gabriel Knight 1": a few terrible pixel-hunt puzzles (the
worst kind imo) but such a great story. Also a classic. Around this time
"Doom" was introduced, not an adventure game and normally I am not into
action games but this was mesmerizing. Truly an immersive world.
- Another breakthrough was "Buried in time" because of the incredible
graphics, still I prefer games like the ones above because you can interact
more with other characters. The "buried i t" kind of games put you in an
empty world, which is ok for one game but quickly gets boring. I always
hated Myst for example.
- Around this time I also bought "Commander Blood", not a real adventure but
so different and nice.

We're almost at the present now. I have to say that I didn't find many
impressive graphic adventure games in recent years, though the Broken Sword
series is very nice.
So I looked back to my first love: text adventures. I recently tried
Anchorhead and it gave me the same kind of kick the milestone games
mentioned above gave me! Good IF will never die...

Tom

Ryan J Franklin

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
In article <7fs1ar$b33$1...@xenon.inbe.net>,

Tom Alaerts <tom.a...@village.uunet.be> wrote:
>We're almost at the present now. I have to say that I didn't find many
>impressive graphic adventure games in recent years, though the Broken Sword
>series is very nice.

And Grim Fandango, of course. For a long time, my favorite adventure game
sidekick was Floyd ("Floyd here now!"). No one could beat Floyd.

Then along came Grim Fandango, with Glottis.

--
anyone who hasn't played this really needs to
fran...@u.arizona.edu

Matt Ackeret

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
In article <19990423002617...@ng-fw1.aol.com>,
Doeadeer3 <doea...@aol.com> wrote:
>1970's, I was an adult. I had an Apple IIc. Wanted to do something with it

Umm, it must have been after 1984 if it was a //c.
--
mat...@area.com

Tom Alaerts

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to

Ryan J Franklin wrote in message <7ft448$ubb$1...@news.ccit.arizona.edu>...

>In article <7fs1ar$b33$1...@xenon.inbe.net>,
>Tom Alaerts <tom.a...@village.uunet.be> wrote:
>>We're almost at the present now. I have to say that I didn't find many
>>impressive graphic adventure games in recent years, though the Broken
Sword
>>series is very nice.
>
>And Grim Fandango, of course. For a long time, my favorite adventure game
>sidekick was Floyd ("Floyd here now!"). No one could beat Floyd.


Yes, it is indeed very well possible that I will think that Grim Fandango is
another milestone but alas, poor Yorick, I haven't played it yet. I have
never bought a game at full price, I only buy budget versions or 2nd hand
ones or sometimes on computer fairs they sell the OEM versions of games
(which often are bundled with peripherals) separately for a very low price.
Of course OEM versions shouldn't be sold separately but hey, that's the
problem of the guy who sells it.
The sad fact is that I haven't found G.D. yet in one of these affordable
forms. Later maybe.

Tom

pizz...@lycosmail.com_x

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
> From: outside_t...@my-dejanews.com

[clip]

My first IF time? Had to be heading over to a family friends house (he
worked a HP, very big Atari2600 pirating scene there back then if i
remember correctly) who had just gotten a new Vic20. He loaded up some
text adventure that I don't remember the name of. I was hooked. All I
remember about the game was something about an axe and climbing a tree
(not Zork though). After that it was years later that I played any IF
again, this time when I was in high school (quite a few years later) and
got a pirated copy of Zork from someone. We each had an Apple IIe
computer and I would spend the entire class playing the game insted of
getting my work done :-) I've still got the disk with it on their
somewhere, along with my unfinished school work :-) Ahhh yes, the good
old days.

Patrick (failed computer class at Carson City High School c.1986)

Pizzachu -- The Pizza Lovin' Pikachu

Froggy

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
pizz...@lycosmail.com_x wrote in article
<92502162...@news.remarQ.com>...
> > From: outside_t...@my-dejanews.com

>He loaded up some
> text adventure that I don't remember the name of. I was hooked. All I
> remember about the game was something about an axe and climbing a tree
> (not Zork though).
>

> Pizzachu -- The Pizza Lovin' Pikachu

If this was a VIC 20 then the game might probably have been Adventureland
by Scott Adams. In the UK these came out as cartridges, at least to begin
with.

Froggy

Froggy

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to

David R <david_...@hotmail.com> wrote in article
<7fpkbs$o...@jupiter.gre.ac.uk>...


> How nice to see Tartan's little "adventure-for-beginners" mentioned., so


it was a great relief to escape into these
> adventures.

SNIP


>It's worth mentioning what a wonderful DIY Spectrum IF scene
> there was in the UK at that time: anyone out there with similar fond
> memories?

It's also woth mentioning that there is still a DIY Spectrum Adventure
scene in the UK. For those who remember, Adventure Probe magazine and
SynTax disk magazine are still being published, the former is at least 13
years old.

Some info can be found on:

http:\\www.frogs.force9.co.uk\if\ukif.htm

Froggy


Froggy

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
David R <david_...@hotmail.com> wrote in article
<7fpkbs$o...@jupiter.gre.ac.uk>...
> How nice to see Tartan's little "adventure-for-beginners" mentioned. This
> was my second IF game, preceded by another Sinclair User freebie "Bulbo
and
> the Lizard King" (from Zenobi Software).

[SNIPPY SNIP]


>It's worth mentioning what a wonderful DIY Spectrum IF scene
> there was in the UK at that time: anyone out there with similar fond
> memories?

It's also worth mentioning that there is still a DIY Spectrum IF scene in
the UK, although somewhat reduced these days.
When you think hard about it, IF is about the only thing you could use
Spectrum for these days.

For those who might remember, SynTax disk magazine is still going, as is
Adventure Probe (Year 13 of publication I believe)

For anyone wanting info on the above, log into:

http:\\www.frogs.force9.co.uk\if\ukif

Froggy

Froggy

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
In my case it was reading Computer and Video Games magazine back in the
80s.

There was a special supplement to the usual Adventure Helpline which had
many reviews, clues and articles about adventure games. I hadn't played one
before and I only had the vaguest clue as to what one was. However, the way
the supplement was written and put together, by people who really liked
what they were writing about, caught my imagination.

There was something magical, mysterious and special about these games, or
so it seemed from the way the supplement was written. The greater
intellectual requirement also appealed to my pseudo-intellectual vanity.
But overall this was something different.

I owned a VIC 20 in those distant, rose-tinted days, days when the Summer
was hot and the holidays lasted forever. The first game I bought was Scott
Adams' Pirate on cartridge. Following the instructions in the supplement
regarding map making, my brother and myself set about this game. It took us
a long time and one clue regarding the crocodile but we solved it. It was a
real achievement and it felt better than getting a new high score on an
arcade game.

The story shifts a little now to O- level times, which for the youngsters
are now called GCSEs and for the non-UK residents are the exams taken by 16
year olds before leaving school. Imagine four guys fresh out of a Chemistry
exam with a couple of hours to spare for revision before home time.
Revision? Not likely, especially when we knew the computer room was empty
that afternoon. One of us got the key off a teacher and we were in.

This was about 1984, so dispel any ideas of a whitewashed room full of PCs
and forget the idea of a huge mainframe with tape drives and flashing
lights. What we had was a network of NASCOM computers. What's a NASCOM? To
be honest the only time I have ever come across them was at school. If
anyone has any background info then please email me.

There were about eight machines linked in this network, back to back on two
rows of tables down the middle of the classroom. A NASCOM had a small,
about 10 inch green screen monitor, 32K RAM and a Commodore PET like
keyboard. One of the computers had a twin floppy drive and was the server
for the network.

The game in favour at the time was Kraal, a dungeon type game where the
cursor keys moved a player character around a 2-D maze on the screen. It
took about two minutes to initialize, so we started the game off on all
eight computers so when a player died, they could go to another machine and
start playing.

I soon got bored with Kraal because I was not good at it. So I began
looking through the files on the discs, loading a few to see what they did.
You can tell these were the innocent days before the computer virus, can't
you? I came across a directory called ADVENT. A small kernel of excitement
began to build. I ran the program...

You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around
you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.

I had heard, read and dreamed about playing Adventure, Colossal Cave or
whatever other name it goes under. There I was with those words, green on
black, glowing in front of me on the screen. I must had said something
because a friend came over to me, saw the screen, muttered something like
"Oh, that looks rubbish." and went back to Kraal. I started on an adventure
which has lasted almost 15 years.


Froggy

Joe Merical

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
>
> And Grim Fandango, of course. For a long time, my favorite adventure game
> sidekick was Floyd ("Floyd here now!"). No one could beat Floyd.
>
> Then along came Grim Fandango, with Glottis.
>

Glottis is better than Floyd??!?!? Don't say something like that. Glottis
would never run into a room filled with genetic mutations for you, now would
he? That's what I thought. Long live the little multi-purpose robot! We
hail you Floyd!

- Joe

Crispin Boylan

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
Hi
I remember my first IF, 'The Lost Frog' on the BBC Micro at my primary school
when I was 8 years old. The day I completed it, 20/6/90. How do I know this? I
still have the original certificate I got from completing the game. I seem to
remember Anita Straker created this and 'Merlins Castle' along with a load of
educational games. I wonder where she is now.

I still remember the day, it was near the end of the year, the whole school (all
35 of us ;) apart from me and my friend, were watching some cartoon film, I'd
been on the computer for a couple of hours, trying to complete the game! It was
a pretty simple game, basically USEing items and moving them around. Not much
more than that, but it captivated me!

Later on I took Merlins Castle home with me and completed it over the weekend, it
was bigger and harder, but what joy at completing the game!!
I still remember a part of the game, The Toll Booth, before the start of
lunchtime one lesson I remember passing a note round to all the other people who
were playing the game, trying to solve it 'Meet at toll booth on computer' it
said ;)) Of course the teacher got hold of it and severely repremanded us all!
;)

Cheers
Cris


Ryan J Franklin

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
In article <7fvk6n$2sq$1...@news.citynet.net>,

Joe Merical <jmer...@citynet.net> wrote:
>>
>> And Grim Fandango, of course. For a long time, my favorite adventure game
>> sidekick was Floyd ("Floyd here now!"). No one could beat Floyd.
>>
>> Then along came Grim Fandango, with Glottis.
>
>Glottis is better than Floyd??!?!? Don't say something like that. Glottis
>would never run into a room filled with genetic mutations for you, now would
>he?

No, but he'll walk across an icy tundra for years because that's where you
need to go and you need his help--even though he knows that so much
walking will kill him. Plus, he plays the piano and drives a mean Bone
Wagon. And also, he looks great in that suit!

> Long live the little multi-purpose robot! We
>hail you Floyd!

Floyd's still my buddy (who else would I play Hucka-Bucka-Beanstalk
with?), and it's a tribute to how great that spunky little 'bot was that
it took so many years for an adventure game to come up with a sidekick who
had more personality and inspired more devotion than he did.

--
don't talk, little kitties, just RUN BABY, RUN!
fran...@u.arizona.edu

pizz...@lycosmail.com_x

unread,
Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
to
> From: "Froggy" <j.fe...@usa.net>

>If this was a VIC 20 then the game might probably have been Adventureland
>by Scott Adams. In the UK these came out as cartridges, at least to begin
>with.
>
>Froggy

Thanks, it'll give me an excuse to play this classic game :-)

quen...@worldpath.net

unread,
Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
to
In article <7fh5hq$smm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...

> So where were you, what game astonished your senses, when you encountered the
> weird little world of interactive fiction for the first time? Inquiring minds
> want to know!

This is a amazing thread! It's fascinating to see how different
everyones experiences are.

My IF adventure began in the fall of 95' when I was 18.
The first game ever was the adventures of Sherlock Holmes:
The case of the serrated scalpel. I then played a few more
graphic adventures but quickly ran out of options with my
under powered 486sx25. I couldn't play Myst or any of the new
games coming out at the time, so I went to the computer
store looking for something with low system requirements.
My search was futile until I saw the Infocom Mystery collection.
I saw that it had system requirements even my old computer could
handle and a Sherlock Holmes game, which I liked. I didn't know
anything about text games, so needless to say I was surprised when
I installed the games and found that they had no graphics!
I couldn't get into the SH game so I looked at the others until
I found Zork Zero, which at least had some graphics.
It was wonderful! Far better than anything else I had played
up to that time. It had a great story and I was fascinated by
the world it was set in so I went out and got Return To Zork
with the Zork anthology. I couldn't play RTZ so I then played
Beyond Zork, which was the game that made me the devoted fan
I am today. It's seems strange to say but it changed so much
for me. Before I got into IF I read almost exclusively
non-fiction books, The games made me see that I would
also enjoy science fiction and fantasy books, which is
mostly what I read now. Not to mention the things I have
since learned about atomic bombs and WWII because, after
after playing Trinity I needed to find out more about the subject....
Well I have probably rambled on long enough. In closing I'd like
to say how very grateful I am that, in 1995 I had a under powered
computer!:)

Joline

Palfalvi Tamas

unread,
Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
to
On Tue, 20 Apr 1999 outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...

My IF began with ... Christminster. In 1997. Love at first sight, I can say.
It was lucky that RedHat packaged XZip and Christminster into their Linux
distribution. It is a great game. Hard enough for several weeks of constant
trying, yet not so hard that it makes a first-timer turn his back to IF for
good. It has atmosphere, good descriptions, great puzzles, optional ones too
(the AMUSING section accessible after finishing the game says I can get hold
of a Bible somehow; this is the single point I still can't get...), fun,
everything. I liked the library very much. You must look for information, it
won't come to you. And all those quotations... The Six Principal Keys of
Secret Philosophy - is it made up or quoted from somewhere? Experienced IF
players could also find some cross-references to other games (the busker's
wand looks like the wand in ADVENT; I bet there are more...).

Ok, I managed to finish Christminster (with a single hint from rgif concerning
the telephone puzzle) and started to look for another game. I got Photopia,
played it through in about an hour, and that's it. I liked the text and the
story and all, but - as others said as well - it is not much of a game. Then
came Anchorhead. It is a vast place to play IF in. I was completely lost.
And I still am. But it's unlike I was stuck in Christminster. Then I knew what
to do - only had to find out how. In Anchorhead, you are *clueless*. You don't
even have the slightest imagination about the goal of the game in the
beginning.

I've played Enemies and managed to finish it - with heavily relying on
DejaNews. It gets very tricky in the end. Then I tried A Change in the
Weather. Clueless.

My current effort is Spider&Web. It is as hard as hell, I have XZip in a
window and Netscape with DejaNews in another while playing. But the concept is
great. I like the idea very much... though I don't know how to proceed. I
refuse to give up, though. I'm soooo curious what I have done... and if I can
alter the past.

The last game I got is ADVENT. Yup, I only managed to get it a couple of weeks
ago. Don't like it all though. "Twisty little passages, all alike", that's it.
I don't like it at all.

That's it. A short time, lots of attempts, few success. But I still like it.
My favourite is still Christminster. I simply couldn't find any game even
close to that...

Void


Nele Abels-Ludwig

unread,
Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
to
On Tue, 20 Apr 1999 outside_t...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> Hello, all~


>
> I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
> experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...

[...]

Text adventures (I still like to call them that way) have always been
closely linked to my computer activities. It was the time of the early
80's when my Dad owned a TRS-80 Model I, Level 2 (sound asleep in a
cardbox now) and brought home the very first adventures I have seen -
pirated copies, I am afraid. The *very* first one was "Pyramid 2000",
an Adventure-clone set in an Egyptian environment. I was completely
hooked, but I didn't really grasp the concept of drawing game maps - I
thought I had to draw the rooms as actual representations of the
descriptions. Guess how boggled I was when I discovered that there were
oneway doors, and I didn't know how to include them into the map. The
solution was to learn the Colossal Cave by heart :) Well, I was a kid
at that time, I think aged 12 or 13.

A bit later, I came naturally into contact the Scott Adams
adventures. I *really* liked them and I am still loving them - I them
once in a while. My favourites were "Adventureland", "Mission
Impossible", and "The Count". Many people seem to dislike the last game
but I have never had any problems with it, nor did I find it boring.
Another favourite of that time was "Raaka-Tu", a short treasure hunt
set in the Indonesian (or whatever) jungle. I really was hooked at that
time and quite happy when I got the "Captain 80 book of Basic
Adventures" as birthday present. I invested some work in typing in
several adventures which actually did work. (After *much* debugging.) I
have learnt pretty much about Basic at that time, although nowadays, I
consider the archaic style of these programs as simply atrocious. I
even ventured to write one or two adventures on my own in Basic, but I
was not that successfull :) At that time, I also became acquainted with
Infocom games, namely Zork I-III. ("Leather Goddesses of Phobos" too,
lest I forget.) That was on an old Apple II with 40 chars per line and
uppercase only. Hard reading, if you believe me. I never got around to
completing any of them, though.

Then, I lost contact to interactive fiction a bit and was not really
interested in text adventures. This lasted till about 1992 when I
discovered the internet and rediscovered text adventures at gmd. Gee,
I really loved the "Dungeon" and "Dunjin" because I have this perverse
interest in solving labyrinths. (No, they do *not* suck, as long as
there is a purpose for them and as long as there is a fair way to find
your way through them.)

First I played around a bit with PC games, but my main interest lies
in old 8-bit computers, especially in the ZX-Spectrum. Therefore I
concentrate now on adventures for this old computer and even have
written an (unreleased) port of the "Softporn" adventure with the PAW
writing system. This is what I am concentrating on at the moment. I am
thinking about writing a Adams-game driver so that the missing
Scott-Adams adventures become playable on the ZX-Spectrum again, and I
am pipedreaming about developing something similar to AGT for that
computer.


Nele
--
Et, au resvail, quant le ventre luy bruit,
Monte sur moy, que ne gaste son fruit.
Soubz elle geins, plus qu'un aiz me fait plat;
De paillarder tout elle me destruit,
En ce bordeau out tenans nostre estat.
(Ballade de Villon de la Grosse Margot)


Arcum Dagsson

unread,
Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
to
> - Soon after this I discovered "Monkey Island 1" which was also great. The
> great thing about Lucas is that you could not get the game in a unwinnable
> state.

Oh?

Actually, you can die, with a bit of effort...

Remember the number of minutes Guybrush can hold his breath for? Try
staying underwater longer then that...

Admittedly, you'd get bored, and figure out how to get back out long
before that, normally...
--Arcum Dagsson

"What is the point of treating him to a complete spring-clean,
polishing all the bits and bobs with beeswax, and scrubbing his
terminals with soapy water, if he's going to go all peculiar?"

David R

unread,
Apr 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/27/99
to
I am astonished and delighted to find that Adventure Probe is still going. I
have about 15 back issues in my loft somewhere. Thanks for the link. I will
have a look. I don't recognise the SynTax magazine though. Could you
enlighten me, please?

David R.

Mischa Schweitzer

unread,
Apr 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/27/99
to

>I've always been a little curious about what other peoples' first IF
>experiences were, and I'd like open it up as a topic on the board...

For me, it must have been in 1986 or so. It was a simple treasure-hunt
in a set of caves, if I remember correctly, written in C64 BASIC. This
must have been my first adventure: I remember feeling proud when I
managed to 'LIGHT LAMP' and solve the problem of darkness!

There was a bug (?SYNTAX ERROR IN LINE ...) in the program, but
luckily that turned out simple to fix. While browsing through the
code, I read the list of verbs the program understood. It was only
then that I made some real progress in the game.

I still don't know why I wanted to play this game so badly that I even
removed a bug. Maybe it was the graphics: whenever a new object was
spotted, a sprite (remember those?) depicting the object would be
drawn in the upper right of the screen. And when I lit the lamp, the
lamp-sprite changed, showing lightbeams spreading out. I really liked
that.

Nowadays, I think playing all those games must have given me a huge
advantage in English class. (I'm Dutch.) Mind you, for some years, due
to the then-standard six-letter parser, I thought 'EXTING' was a
proper English verb...

Mischa

"Beginning with a bang and ending with an exclamation mark"
- review of Iain Banks' The Crow Road


Stefan Blixt

unread,
Apr 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/27/99
to
I also had a first IF experience that was Swedish (Sweden
pioneers in non-english IF? hmm...) It was a silly CYOA-
style adventure played over modem on a ABC800 that they
had at the bank where my mother worked. Walk through door
number 3. You are killed by a dragon. I think it was in
1981.

The first REAL text adventure I played has to be "The Hobbit"
on my friend's ZX Spectrum. I'm surprised that game isn't
mentioned more often here, I think it is one of the more
advanced (besides Infocom games of course) adventure games
of the early 80's.

/Stefan Blixt


Nele Abels-Ludwig

unread,
Apr 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/28/99
to
On Tue, 27 Apr 1999, Mischa Schweitzer wrote:
[...]

> Nowadays, I think playing all those games must have given me a huge
> advantage in English class. (I'm Dutch.)

Yup. Where else could a 12 year old learn words like "vast", "abyss",
"inflate" or "chopstick"?

> Mind you, for some years, due
> to the then-standard six-letter parser, I thought 'EXTING' was a
> proper English verb...

Hehehe :) I like that.

Gareth Rees

unread,
Apr 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/28/99
to
Palfalvi Tamas <pt...@hszk.bme.hu> wrote:
> all those quotations... The Six Principal Keys of Secret Philosophy -
> is it made up or quoted from somewhere?

Well, some of it is made up and some of it is qouted. The Six Principal
Keys are for real.

--
Gareth Rees

Neil Cerutti

unread,
Apr 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/28/99
to
In article <Pine.GSO.4.10.9904261235580.25943-100000@ural2>,

Palfalvi Tamas <pt...@hszk.bme.hu> wrote:
> In Anchorhead, you are *clueless*. You don't
> even have the slightest imagination about the goal of the game in the
> beginning.

I thought the opening was well done, and easy to grasp. You are supposed to
get the keys to your new home from the agent. It is the nature of the game,
and the genre it is in, that the true situation is revealed enticingly
slowly.

This isn't really much different from the beginning of Chirstminster, where
the opening goal is simply: get into the school to visit your brother.

> The last game I got is ADVENT. Yup, I only managed to get it a couple of weeks
> ago. Don't like it all though. "Twisty little passages, all alike", that's it.
> I don't like it at all.

I have tried to enjoy Advent, and I suppose I will eventually finish it, but
it seems to me that it is one of those situations where you "had to be
there." Graham Nelson, for instance, gives glowing praise to Advent
through-out his excellent "Craft of Adventure" essay.

Let me just say that I don't miss the days of ridiculously bizarre maps.

I'd like to see somebody's map of that damn cave. Using GUEMAP, I can't create
anything that makes sense in 2D.

> That's it. A short time, lots of attempts, few success. But I still like it.
> My favourite is still Christminster. I simply couldn't find any game even
> close to that...

*Blush* I couldn't solve the opening puzzle and I haven't tried again yet. I
assumed that I wouldn't be able to solve *any* of the puzzles after I got
stumped on the very first one.

By the way, my first experience with IF was Activision's "Mindshadow". It had
a two-word parser and Commodore 64 graphics. I was supposed to be a mystery,
but it solved itself -- sort of like Barringer's Detective.

I got hooked on IF after playing Zork 2. It was the gnarly old key, mat,
opener puzzle -- it made me feel like a genius. That's a good reason to play
IF, isn't it? The best puzzles are those that make me feel like a genius
without actually being very difficult. :-)

That's what I liked about L.P. Smith's language puzzle. And Meretzky's Babel-
fish.

In Hitchhiker's, the hardest puzzle I encountered was SPOILER


"lie in mud." It took me four weeks to figure out why "lay down in mud"
or "enter mud" or "get in the mud" did not work. That is not a good puzzle. It
made me feel like an idiot.

--
Neil Cerutti
ne...@norwich.edu