Best original Infocom games?

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Matthew Biddulph

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Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
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Apologies if this is a FAQ... I trawled the FAQ on ftp.gmd.de but
didn't find the info...

Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
or file somewhere with a ranking?

Thanks,
Matt.

JID

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Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
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In article <331cde45...@news.ox.ac.uk>,
matthew....@balliol.oxford.ac.uk wrote:

>Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
>best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
>or file somewhere with a ranking?

I don't know if there's such a place, but there's been sporadic discussion
on this around here. For the record, if I had to select one and one only,
I'd probably choose Trinity.

(With many, many runners-up.)

Joey

****************************************************
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Read The Trinity Guardian: http://www.best.com/~owls/AG/
****************************************************
Guildenstern: He's -- melancholy.
Player: Melancholy?
Rosencrantz: Mad.
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here.
(From "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in Wonderland")
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Jason Compton

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Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
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Matthew Biddulph (matthew....@balliol.oxford.ac.uk) wrote:

: Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
: best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
: or file somewhere with a ranking?

Various votes, ratings, rankings, etc. have been made over the years, but
of course everybody's taste varies.

My personal favorites are A Mind Forever Voyaging and Planetfall, with
honorable mention to Witness. Trinity often comes very highly recommended
by other inhabitants of the newsgroup although I've never taken the time
out to play it, and both the games I cited tend to be fan favorites as
well. I'm sure you'll hear other people's views on this as well...

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (847) 741-0689 FAX
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha WWW - http://www.cucug.org/ar/
The path is clear... ...though no eyes can see.
There is always a choice. Alternative Computing Now!

Matthew Murray

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Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
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On Sun, 2 Mar 1997, Matthew Biddulph wrote:

> Apologies if this is a FAQ... I trawled the FAQ on ftp.gmd.de but
> didn't find the info...
>

> Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
> best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
> or file somewhere with a ranking?

I don't know if there has ever been an actual consensus, but I do
know that my personal favorite--A Mind Forever Voyaging--seems to get
more votes than normal whenever these kinds of questions are asked on
this newsgroup, so my vote would go for that, but I'm really not sure.
(If you haven't played it, do it! It's incredible! In addition to
being, far and away, my favorite Infocom game, it's also, far and away,
my favorite game of all time, and I've played a lot!)

===============================================================================
Matthew Murray - n964...@cc.wwu.edu - http://www.wwu.edu/~n9641343
===============================================================================
The script calls for fusing and using our smarts,
And greatness can come of the sum of our parts.
From now on, I'm with you--and with you is where I belong!

-David Zippel, City of Angels
===============================================================================


Erik Hetzner

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Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
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> Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
> best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
> or file somewhere with a ranking?

I believe that SPAG publishes a list of all games that people have rated,
so it would include all the Infocom games. Could somebody point the way to
SPAG for me? (I don't know where it is right now.)

I would trust, though, that those near the top are of equal quality, that
differences are probably personal. So you ought to play them all. :) I am
greatly enjoying Trinity right now, myself.

--
Erik Hetzner <e...@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Jonathan D Blask

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Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
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On Sun, 2 Mar 1997, Erik Hetzner wrote:
>
> I would trust, though, that those near the top are of equal quality, that
> differences are probably personal. So you ought to play them all. :) I am
> greatly enjoying Trinity right now, myself.
>

Personally, my favorite would probably be Ballyhoo! or Lurking
Horror. From what I've read, I've gathered that most people don't
share my tastes. I just really liked the stories of those games.
Planetfall would probably be a close third.
-jon
"Blah, blah, blah" -you know,
that one guy

Scott Forbes

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Mar 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/3/97
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I'll put in a vote for Sorcerer. It has Bozbarland, Duncanthrax's Glass
Maze, the time paradox (possibly the best single puzzle in all of
Infocom's IF), the Chamber of Living Death, Dornbeasts -- what more could
you want?

--
Scott Forbes for...@ravenna.com

Nulldogma

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Mar 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/3/97
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> Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
> best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
> or file somewhere with a ranking?

XYZZYNews (http://www.xyzzynews.com) did a poll a year or more ago. IIRC,
Zork edged out Trinity for the top spot.

Neil

---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Julian Arnold

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Mar 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/3/97
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In article <331cde45...@news.ox.ac.uk>, Matthew Biddulph

<URL:mailto:matthew....@balliol.oxford.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> Apologies if this is a FAQ... I trawled the FAQ on ftp.gmd.de but
> didn't find the info...
>
> Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
> best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
> or file somewhere with a ranking?

I don't know of any official (or unofficial) ranking anywhere.
Obviously this would be much debated and always wrong anyway. Let's
look at the reader's scoreboard from SPAG 9:

Name Avg Sc Chr Puz # Sc Rlvt Ish Notes:
==== ====== === === ==== ======== ======
Arthur: Excalibur 8.6 1.8 1.7 1 4 C_INF
Ballyhoo 7.0 1.8 1.5 3 4 C_INF
Beyond Zork 8.1 1.5 2.0 3 5 C_INF
Border Zone 6.7 1.4 1.4 4 4 C_INF
Bureaucracy 8.3 1.8 1.6 3 5 C_INF
Cutthroats 6.4 1.4 1.2 5 1 C_INF
Deadline 7.0 1.3 1.4 4 x C_INF
Enchanter 7.1 0.9 1.4 5 2 C_INF
Hitchhiker's Guide 8.0 1.6 1.6 5 5 C_INF
Hollywood Hijinx 5.7 1.0 1.5 4 x C_INF
Infidel 7.0 1.4 7 1-2 C_INF
Journey 6.9 1.3 0.8 1 5 C_INF
Leather Goddesses 7.8 1.4 1.7 5 4 C_INF
Lurking Horror, The 7.1 1.4 1.3 5 1,3 C_INF
Mind Forever Voyaging 8.5 1.4 0.6 4 5 C_INF
Moonmist 5.9 1.4 1.3 5 1 C_INF
Nord and Bert 4.8 0.5 1.0 2 4 C_INF
Planetfall 7.5 1.7 1.6 6 4 C_INF
Plundered Hearts 7.8 1.4 1.3 2 4 C_INF
Seastalker 5.5 1.1 1.0 4 4 C_INF
Sherlock 8.2 1.5 1.6 2 4 C_INF
Shogun 7.1 1.5 0.5 1 4 C_INF
Sorceror 7.3 0.6 1.6 5 2 C_INF
Spellbreaker 8.2 1.2 1.8 4 2 C_INF
Starcross 7.0 1.1 1.3 5 1 C_INF
Stationfall 7.6 1.6 1.6 5 5 C_INF
Suspect 6.2 1.3 1.2 2 4 C_INF
Suspended 7.5 1.3 1.2 4 8 C_INF
Trinity 8.8 1.4 1.7 8 1-2 C_INF
Wishbringer 7.6 1.3 1.3 4 5-6 C_INF
Witness, The 7.2 1.7 1.2 5 1,3,9 C_INF
Zork 0 7.1 1.3 2.0 2 x C_INF
Zork 1 6.0 0.7 1.5 9 1-2 C_INF
Zork 2 6.4 0.8 1.5 7 1-2 C_INF
Zork 3 6.1 0.6 1.4 5 1-2 C_INF

Phew! Must be bored tonight.

The most-frequently-cited-as-being-best-by-readers-of-r*i-f are Trinity,
AMFV, and Spellbreaker.

For my money the best few (in no particular order) are the _____fall
games (Planetfall edging into the lead slightly), Beyond Zork, the
Enchanter trilogy, Plundered Hearts, and Wishbringer (and I've never
finished Trinity, but what I have played is very good). The worst few
are Cutthroats, Ballyhoo, Infidel (though it has good bits), and
probably Moonmist. Shogun is generally better than it is said to be
(though when it's bad, it's very bad). HHGTTG isn't as fab as it's
sales suggest. Sorceror may be the weakest of the Enchanter games, but
only 'cos the other two are so good.

And no, I don't plan to qualify any of that.

Jools
--
"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand
ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me
from ever completing anything." -- Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"


Erik Hetzner

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Mar 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/3/97
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In article <Pine.OSF.3.91.97030...@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu>,

Jonathan D Blask <jdb...@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu> wrote:
> Personally, my favorite would probably be Ballyhoo! or Lurking
> Horror. From what I've read, I've gathered that most people don't
> share my tastes. I just really liked the stories of those games.
> Planetfall would probably be a close third.
> -jon
> "Blah, blah, blah" -you know,
> that one guy

Well, I played _The Lurking Horror_ and I liked it a lot, if that makes
you feel better. Though I didn't find it all that creepy -- it seemed to
have far too much humor. There was never a sense of real sinisterness in
it.

I haven't played the other two. On another note, I'm often wary of fantasy
games because I find most fantasy I see/read so terribly bad that it's
just -- intolerable, to say the least. :) So I'll probably play Infocom's
fantasy games right before _Plundered Hearts_. :)

--
Erik Hetzner <e...@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Matthew Murray

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
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On Mon, 3 Mar 1997, Julian Arnold wrote:

> In article <331cde45...@news.ox.ac.uk>, Matthew Biddulph

> The most-frequently-cited-as-being-best-by-readers-of-r*i-f are Trinity,
> AMFV, and Spellbreaker.

With extremely good reason, I might add. But besides being some
of Infocom's best games, those are some of the finest computer games
released ever. Period. (Especially AMFV--I have yet to see anything
that even comes close.)

> finished Trinity, but what I have played is very good). The worst few
> are Cutthroats, Ballyhoo, Infidel (though it has good bits), and

Well, Cutthroats and Ballyhoo are certainly not on my list of
favorites, but I thought Infidel was darn good. Complicated, yes, and a
little bit ambiguous, but very creative, and very original. And hey, I
>liked< the ending.

> probably Moonmist. Shogun is generally better than it is said to be
> (though when it's bad, it's very bad). HHGTTG isn't as fab as it's

Um, did we play the same Shogun here? Hitchhiker's Guide has its
moments, but I agree--it's not exactly one of my favorites.

> sales suggest. Sorceror may be the weakest of the Enchanter games, but
> only 'cos the other two are so good.

<cough, cough> And, pray tell, exactly WHAT was wrong with Sorcerer?

Matthew Murray

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
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On Mon, 3 Mar 1997, Scott Forbes wrote:

> I'll put in a vote for Sorcerer. It has Bozbarland, Duncanthrax's Glass
> Maze, the time paradox (possibly the best single puzzle in all of
> Infocom's IF), the Chamber of Living Death, Dornbeasts -- what more could
> you want?

Several magnificently written endings?
Oh wait...

Gunther Schmidl

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
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I think the best of Infocom's adventures was Zork: Zero. It's the longest
and definitely one of the most hilarious of them all (except HHGTTG and
LGOP).
--

Gunther...@jk.uni-linz.ac.at
"This is not a signature."

JID

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
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In article <01bc28bd$d8a5b640$ce05...@slip.edvz.uni-linz.ac.at>, "Gunther
Schmidl" <Gunther...@jk.uni-linz.ac.at> wrote:

>I think the best of Infocom's adventures was Zork: Zero. It's the longest
>and definitely one of the most hilarious of them all (except HHGTTG and
>LGOP).

There's something to be said for that. I think it was really very
brilliant how they basically took the same plot structure as their very
first delightful Zork -- treasure hunt! -- and buried it in a massive,
colorful, complicated plot chock-full of so many things that it simply
begs to be played at LEAST once more.

*endgame spoiler*


I have to say I actually got chills when the castle collapsed in on itself
to produce the white house. It was just...just so elegantly perfect. Such
a great example of the Infocom sensibility I love so much, if that makes
any kind of sense whatsoever.

Julian Arnold

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
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In article <Pine.ULT.3.91.970304001...@statler.cc.wwu.edu>,
Matthew Murray <URL:mailto:n964...@statler.cc.wwu.edu> wrote:

>
> On Mon, 3 Mar 1997, Julian Arnold wrote:
> > sales suggest. Sorceror may be the weakest of the Enchanter games, but
> > only 'cos the other two are so good.
>
> <cough, cough> And, pray tell, exactly WHAT was wrong with Sorcerer?

Hm, maybe I overstated. There's nothing wrong with Sorcerer. It's one
of the better Infocom games. It's just that Enchanter is notable for
being the first of the trilogy, Spellbreaker is notable for it's puzzles
(which were mostly far too difficult for me, though I did do the thing
with the two moving rock creatures without help), and Sorcerer is stuck
in the middle. Actually, in terms of having fun-while-first-playing,
Sorcerer probably wins for me (with Enchanter a close second). On the
whole, I would heartily recommend all three games, chiefly as a trilogy,
but also as individual games.

Adam J. Thornton

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Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
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Me, my favorites are _Trinity_, _Spellbreaker_, and _Enchanter_. My least
favorites are _Ballyhoo_, _Plundered Hearts_, and _Witness_.

No qualifications from me, either.

Adam
--
"I'd buy me a used car lot, and | ad...@princeton.edu | As B/4 | Save the choad!
I'd never sell any of 'em, just | "Skippy, you little fool, you are off on an-
drive me a different car every day | other of your senseless and retrograde
depending on how I feel.":Tom Waits| little journeys.": Thomas Pynchon | 64,928

GraemeCree

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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>Various votes, ratings, rankings, etc. have been made over the years, but
>of course everybody's taste varies.

True, but I would be interested in hearing something more objective,
such as sales figures. Everybody knows that Zork I and Hitchhiker's Guide
are the two top-selling Infocom games, but beyond that nothing has been
made very clear.
The SPA used to certify games Silver, Gold and Platinum, and there is
an article in one of the New Zork Times where several games were certified
Gold (which at the time was 100,000 units sold, though it may be more
today). In addition to the 5 games that were released as Solid Gold
titles, Suspended was also inducted into the 100,000 club that night, and
I believe that Wishbringer was certified silver.
Does anybody know how many Infocom games were certified in each
category? Were Zork I and Hitchhiker's the only Platinum games? And what
was the worst selling Infocom game? Offhand I'd guess it was either
Seastalker or Cutthroats, but I really have no idea.

GraemeCree

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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>I don't know if there has ever been an actual consensus, but I do
>know that my personal favorite--A Mind Forever Voyaging--seems to get
>more votes than normal whenever these kinds of questions are asked on
>this newsgroup, so my vote would go for that, but I'm really not sure.

For the record, Computer Gaming World named 5 Infocom games in their
best 150 games of all time list a couple of months back: Zork I,
Hitchhiker's Guide, Trinity, Suspended, and Deadline.
Their favourite in this group was Zork I, which they put in 13th
place; good enough to be the best adventure game of all time, as none of
the 12 higher games were adventure games.
Odd, because very few who still play text games would name Zork I as
their all-time favourite Infocom game, but to the "outside world" that's
the one with all the name recognition.

GraemeCree

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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>For my money the best few (in no particular order) are the _____fall
>games (Planetfall edging into the lead slightly), Beyond Zork, the
>Enchanter trilogy, Plundered Hearts, and Wishbringer (and I've never
>finished Trinity, but what I have played is very good). The worst few
>are Cutthroats, Ballyhoo, Infidel (though it has good bits), and
>probably Moonmist. Shogun is generally better than it is said to be
>(though when it's bad, it's very bad). HHGTTG isn't as fab as it's
>sales suggest. Sorceror may be the weakest of the Enchanter games, but
>only 'cos the other two are so good.

Yes, Planetfall is my favourite also. Plundered Hearts is one of
Infocom's most underrated games, along with Nord and Bert Couldn't Make
Head or Tail of It. Beyond Zork suffers too I think, from being part of
the Zork franchise. It's really a fantastic game, but it frequently is
not judged on its own merits, but rather as being "one of the Zork games".
I didn't really dislike Cutthroats or Ballyhoo. Seastalker on the
other hand could be Infocom's worst, but remember that "worst" is a
relative term, and that what's bad for Infocom is still going to be good
for your average company.
Can't decide about Sorcerer. Sometimes I think it's the best of the
Enchanter trilogy, and sometimes I think it's the worst. That time travel
puzzle really is great, but the other two games are so good also that it's
hard to decide.


GraemeCree

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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>I think the best of Infocom's adventures was Zork: Zero. It's the longest
>and definitely one of the most hilarious of them all (except HHGTTG and
>LGOP).

I don't know. A couple of years ago I would have placed Zork 0 above
Beyond Zork, but now I'm not so sure. While Zork 0 is unquestionably
funnier than Beyond Zork, Beyond Zork is more imaginative and evocative.

On the other hand, I've always considered Zork 3 to be one of
Infocom's weakest games. Apart from the Royal Puzzle, there's just not
much there. The time-travelling jewel robbery is great, but that's not
enough to carry the whole game. And the whole idea that this place has
been sitting here for centuries, and you arrive just before an earthquake
that will destroy your winning chances unless you visit a certain area
before it strikes has always struck me as ridiculously coincidental.


Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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JID (ow...@best.com) wrote:
> In article <01bc28bd$d8a5b640$ce05...@slip.edvz.uni-linz.ac.at>, "Gunther
> Schmidl" <Gunther...@jk.uni-linz.ac.at> wrote:

> >I think the best of Infocom's adventures was Zork: Zero. It's the longest
> >and definitely one of the most hilarious of them all (except HHGTTG and
> >LGOP).

> There's something to be said for that. I think it was really very


> brilliant how they basically took the same plot structure as their very
> first delightful Zork -- treasure hunt! -- and buried it in a massive,
> colorful, complicated plot chock-full of so many things that it simply
> begs to be played at LEAST once more.

Not by me. Complicated plot? It was a treasure hunt. Nothing fit
together. Spellbreaker was a treasure hunt with some thematic consistency
-- the elements symmetry. (Plus, the places you got to were pretty darn
cool.)

Zork Zero had, er, a bunch of stuff. I just didn't care all that much.

> *endgame spoiler*

>
> I have to say I actually got chills when the castle collapsed in on itself
> to produce the white house.

I thought it was cheesy as hell. An perfect example of tying things
together *without* a good reason. It didn't resolve anything from Zork I;
it was just, hey, let's put in a Zork I reference.

Very much the same feeling I had about the Infocom references in Zork
Nemesis, in fact. (Which only demonstrates that an author can make a mess
of his own work just as much as an outsider can. When I rant that
Activision shouldn't be doing Zork sequels, I *don't* mean that if the
original Infocom had written more Zork sequels, they would *necessarily*
have been good...)

(What a terrible sentence.)

--Z

--

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

Jason Compton

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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GraemeCree (graem...@aol.com) wrote:
: Does anybody know how many Infocom games were certified in each

: category? Were Zork I and Hitchhiker's the only Platinum games? And what
: was the worst selling Infocom game? Offhand I'd guess it was either
: Seastalker or Cutthroats, but I really have no idea.

I'd actually guess on one of the later games (Border Zone, Sherlock jumps
to mind) simply because from what I've gathered sales declined over
time...

Chris Lang

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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Well, Cutthroats and Ballyhoo are certainly not on my list of
>favorites, but I thought Infidel was darn good. Complicated, yes, and a

>little bit ambiguous, but very creative, and very original. And hey, I

>>liked< the ending.
>
Well, most people don't like Infidel's ending because you are not
allowed to let your character 'see the error of his ways'. I won't give
away too much more here, but basically, some of the 'interactive' element
of interactive fiction is missing here. Cutthroats is interesting, as
instead of being paired with characters you KNOW are your friends (like
trusty Sergeant Duffy of Deadline/Witness fame or the friendly robot
Floyd of Planetfall), you're teamed with a bunch of people who aren't
hesitant to bump you off if they suspect you've cheated them or betrayed
them. Though it's not one of my favorites, it is interesting in that
regard.
Ballyhoo is okay, though it focuses more on puzzles than the mystery
aspect, and some of the characters could have been better developed.

> The most-frequently-cited-as-being-best-by-readers-of-r*i-f are
Trinity,
>> AMFV, and Spellbreaker.
>
> With extremely good reason, I might add. But besides being some
>of Infocom's best games, those are some of the finest computer games
>released ever. Period. (Especially AMFV--I have yet to see anything
>that even comes close.)

Ah, AMFV. A Mind Forever Voyaging. Definately a unique work of
computer gaming. It's a find blend of the science fiction concepts of
artificial intelligence and dystopian futures. A mere description of it
here can't hope to do it justice; it has to be experienced in order to be
appreciated. It is Steve Meretzky's most serious and philosophical work,
and is still as socially signifigant today as when it was first published.
And I tend to agree with the one often quoted review: "AMFV isn't 1984,
but in some ways, it's even scarier".
The Enchanter trilogy games are also among Infocom's best. With
stronger storylines than the original Zork trilogy, and some of the most
ingenious puzzles seen in interactive fiction, they are definately role
models for any future fantasy games. And all three have some of the best
climaxes in computer games (especially Sorcerer).
Other favorites of mine are Lurking Horror, a sort of Lovecraftian
tale about the everyday world of a technical school slowly going mad due
to the presence of beings from some other world (however, as far as scary
goes, it's not nearly as scary as AMFV's scenarios, which are more likely
to actually happen. But it was ahead of its time with the potential
'threat to the Net' plot twist). And Suspended is a VERY different kind
of IF game, in which the player has to maneuver six robots with different
abilities around a complex in order to save a planet from certain doom.
You're encouraged to improve on your score, giving the game much replay
potential...

Chris Lang


Matthew Daly

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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In article <19970305043...@ladder01.news.aol.com> graem...@aol.com (GraemeCree) writes:
> True, but I would be interested in hearing something more objective,
>such as sales figures. Everybody knows that Zork I and Hitchhiker's Guide
>are the two top-selling Infocom games, but beyond that nothing has been
>made very clear.

Yeah, but what does that really mean? HGTTG was a best-selling game,
but it's not on many people's "must play" list.

> Does anybody know how many Infocom games were certified in each
>category? Were Zork I and Hitchhiker's the only Platinum games? And what
>was the worst selling Infocom game? Offhand I'd guess it was either
>Seastalker or Cutthroats, but I really have no idea.

I would guess Moonmist myself, or maybe Ballyhoo. If Cutthroats is on
or near the bottom of the list, it isn't for lack of playability or
enjoyability. (It's an easy game, but that shouldn't be held against
it.)

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I feel that if a person has problems communicating
mwd...@kodak.com the very least he can do is to shut up - Tom Lehrer

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

Chris Lang

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
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> I don't know. A couple of years ago I would have placed Zork 0
above
>Beyond Zork, but now I'm not so sure. While Zork 0 is unquestionably
>funnier than Beyond Zork, Beyond Zork is more imaginative and evocative.


True, Zork Zero does recycle a few elements from previous Zork games,
but of course it IS the prequel, which goes into the previously just
glanced at fall of the Flatheads and the Great Underground Empire.
Beyond Zork succeeds as a Zork game and as an adventure game, but the
role-playing game element is a bit weak. The fighting is more or less a
variation on the fights with the troll and the thief from Zork 1. However,
all in all, it has a good plot, covers plenty of new ground, and has a
very satisfying ending.


On the other hand, I've always considered Zork 3 to be one of
>Infocom's weakest games. Apart from the Royal Puzzle, there's just not
>much there. The time-travelling jewel robbery is great, but that's not
>enough to carry the whole game. And the whole idea that this place has
>been sitting here for centuries, and you arrive just before an
earthquake
>that will destroy your winning chances unless you visit a certain area
>before it strikes has always struck me as ridiculously coincidental.
>

Well, Zork 3 isn't the best of Infocom's Zork games, though it has its
moments and a subtle storyline. Of course, the time-travelling jewel
robbery could result in a sort of contradiction if you botch it (one of
the ways you botch it results in the time machine being removed years
before you can use it, but if you can't use it, how could you have
botched the robbery and caused it to be removed? Sort of like the 'kill
your grandfather before your father is born' controversy). And as for the
earthquake, the dungeon master may have caused it, for all we know, just
to make the test harder. Though basically, you are right in some respects.
Zork 3 tends to be shorter and weaker than the previous two Zork games,
but that's partly due to the fact that when the Zork trilogy was made,
space limitations required the Implementors to split Zork into thirds.
Nowadays, they could fit the whole Zork trilogy and lots more on a single
disk.

Chris Lang


Drone

unread,
Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
to

Julian Arnold wrote:
>
> I don't know of any official (or unofficial) ranking anywhere.
> Obviously this would be much debated and always wrong anyway. Let's
> look at the reader's scoreboard from SPAG 9:
>

Seeing the ranking list posted here, it suddenly hit my why it has always
seemed frustrating to read it. It's the order of it. If the point of the
exercise is to rank games, then why aren't they ever, you know -- ranked?

Anyway I was annoyed enough when this occurred to me that I shuffled them
myself:

> Name Avg Sc Chr Puz # Sc Rlvt Ish Notes:
> ==== ====== === === ==== ======== ======

> Trinity 8.8 1.4 1.7 8 1-2 C_INF

> Arthur: Excalibur 8.6 1.8 1.7 1 4 C_INF

> Mind Forever Voyaging 8.5 1.4 0.6 4 5 C_INF

> Bureaucracy 8.3 1.8 1.6 3 5 C_INF

> Sherlock 8.2 1.5 1.6 2 4 C_INF

> Spellbreaker 8.2 1.2 1.8 4 2 C_INF

> Beyond Zork 8.1 1.5 2.0 3 5 C_INF

> Hitchhiker's Guide 8.0 1.6 1.6 5 5 C_INF

> Leather Goddesses 7.8 1.4 1.7 5 4 C_INF

> Plundered Hearts 7.8 1.4 1.3 2 4 C_INF

> Stationfall 7.6 1.6 1.6 5 5 C_INF

> Wishbringer 7.6 1.3 1.3 4 5-6 C_INF

> Planetfall 7.5 1.7 1.6 6 4 C_INF

> Suspended 7.5 1.3 1.2 4 8 C_INF

> Sorceror 7.3 0.6 1.6 5 2 C_INF

> Witness, The 7.2 1.7 1.2 5 1,3,9 C_INF
> Zork 0 7.1 1.3 2.0 2 x C_INF

> Lurking Horror, The 7.1 1.4 1.3 5 1,3 C_INF

> Enchanter 7.1 0.9 1.4 5 2 C_INF

> Shogun 7.1 1.5 0.5 1 4 C_INF

> Ballyhoo 7.0 1.8 1.5 3 4 C_INF

> Deadline 7.0 1.3 1.4 4 x C_INF

> Starcross 7.0 1.1 1.3 5 1 C_INF

> Infidel 7.0 1.4 7 1-2 C_INF
> Journey 6.9 1.3 0.8 1 5 C_INF

> Border Zone 6.7 1.4 1.4 4 4 C_INF

> Cutthroats 6.4 1.4 1.2 5 1 C_INF

> Zork 2 6.4 0.8 1.5 7 1-2 C_INF

> Suspect 6.2 1.3 1.2 2 4 C_INF

> Zork 3 6.1 0.6 1.4 5 1-2 C_INF

> Zork 1 6.0 0.7 1.5 9 1-2 C_INF

> Moonmist 5.9 1.4 1.3 5 1 C_INF

> Hollywood Hijinx 5.7 1.0 1.5 4 x C_INF

> Seastalker 5.5 1.1 1.0 4 4 C_INF

> Nord and Bert 4.8 0.5 1.0 2 4 C_INF
>

> Phew! Must be bored tonight.
>

Me too.

Drone.
--
"Ah, the drone," says Whistler. "A drone is just an agent for unseen interests.
An empty vessel. I don't know how it came to be. 'It's barely alive,' was all
you told me."
--
foxg...@globalserve.net
--

Matthew Murray

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
to

On 5 Mar 1997, GraemeCree wrote:

> Does anybody know how many Infocom games were certified in each
> category? Were Zork I and Hitchhiker's the only Platinum games? And what
> was the worst selling Infocom game? Offhand I'd guess it was either
> Seastalker or Cutthroats, but I really have no idea.

I'm not at all sure, but I think I heard somewhere it was
Plundered Hearts.

Julian Arnold

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Mar 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/5/97
to

In article <5fk6ee$s...@kodak.rdcs.Kodak.COM>, Matthew Daly
<URL:mailto:da...@PPD.Kodak.COM> wrote:
>
> In article <19970305043...@ladder01.news.aol.com> graem...@aol.com (GraemeC

> ree) writes:
> > True, but I would be interested in hearing something more objective,
> >such as sales figures. Everybody knows that Zork I and Hitchhiker's Guide
> >are the two top-selling Infocom games, but beyond that nothing has been
> >made very clear.
>
> Yeah, but what does that really mean? HGTTG was a best-selling game,
> but it's not on many people's "must play" list.

But it would give a clue as to which games are on the most peoples "have
played" list.

> I would guess Moonmist myself, or maybe Ballyhoo. If Cutthroats is on
> or near the bottom of the list, it isn't for lack of playability or
> enjoyability. (It's an easy game, but that shouldn't be held against
> it.)

To me Cutthroats felt like it hadn't actually made it out of beta
testing yet. It wasn't bugfilled or anything like that, but it just
felt... well... shoddy. I can't quite put my finger on which aspect of
it I disliked (ISTR poorly written descriptions (for an Infocom game),
and a few parser troubles, though I couldn't give specific examples
right now). Nice idea, poorly realised.

GraemeCree

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

>I thought it was cheesy as hell. An perfect example of tying things
>together *without* a good reason. It didn't resolve anything from Zork I;

>it was just, hey, let's put in a Zork I reference.

At the risk of sounding stupid, I never understood why your character
spends the whole game running all over Zork trying to find items to avoid
the curse of Megaboz, only to find at the end that he's actually made it
possible for the curse to be fullfilled, and doesn't resent being played
for a sucker all that time. True, he was primarily in it for the money,
and he ends up being rewarded in the end, albiet differently than he
expected, but it would still make most people feel rather foolish. I mean
even the parchment that Megaboz "accidentally" says that the curse will be
stopped rather than fulfilled if the player completes the mission.
Are we supposed to believe that if your character had failed, then
the curse would have ended, leaving Wurb Flathead still in power and the
G.U.E. intact?

GraemeCree

unread,
Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

> And I tend to agree with the one often quoted review: "AMFV isn't 1984,
>but in some ways, it's even scarier".

Yes, but I still tend to think of TV's The Prisoner as the last and
best word in the 1984 genre, although admittedly, unlike AMFV it had very
little to do with artificial intelligence.

GraemeCree

unread,
Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

>If Cutthroats is on or near the bottom of the list, it isn't for lack of
playability or
>enjoyability. (It's an easy game, but that shouldn't be held against
it.)

I have this idea that Cutthroats was a bad seller from some remark
that Dave Lebling once made in a Compuserve online conference that
Cornerstone sold "even worse" than Cutthroats. This tends to imply that
Cutthroats was at or near the bottom in sales figures. However, I'd be
surprised if it sold less than Arthur, Sherlock or Bordre Zone, simply
because those games were on the shelves for such a short period of time.


Scott Forbes

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

In article <ant04231...@arnod.demon.co.uk>, Julian Arnold
<jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <Pine.ULT.3.91.970304001...@statler.cc.wwu.edu>,
>Matthew Murray <URL:mailto:n964...@statler.cc.wwu.edu> wrote:
>>
>> <cough, cough> And, pray tell, exactly WHAT was wrong with Sorcerer?
>
>Hm, maybe I overstated. There's nothing wrong with Sorcerer. It's one
>of the better Infocom games. It's just that Enchanter is notable for
>being the first of the trilogy, Spellbreaker is notable for it's puzzles
>(which were mostly far too difficult for me, though I did do the thing
>with the two moving rock creatures without help), and Sorcerer is stuck
>in the middle.

Actually there are elements of all three games that stand out for me --
it's just that Sorcerer seems to have had more of them. It's also one of
the few Infocom games that I solved without resorting to hints (although I
spent several weeks trying to find the proper application for the YONK
spell), so that may color my perception somewhat.

I'd put the Enchanter sequence with the Ancient Terror *very* high on my
list of favorite moments in IF, though. Brrrr.

--
Scott Forbes for...@ravenna.com

Adam J. Thornton

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

In article <Pine.ULT.3.91.970304001...@statler.cc.wwu.edu>,

Matthew Murray <n964...@statler.cc.wwu.edu> wrote:
>> sales suggest. Sorceror may be the weakest of the Enchanter games, but
>> only 'cos the other two are so good.
> <cough, cough> And, pray tell, exactly WHAT was wrong with Sorcerer?

Too spread out, too diffuse. The temporal loop puzzle was a thing of
beauty, and I suppose the glass maze was one of the best nasty mazes ever.
But on the whole, the game was lacking a certain coherence. _Enchanter_
was filled with beautiful, tight puzzles, each one following hard on the
previous one. _Spellbreaker_ had a grandeur and a unity of feel rarely if
ever equalled. _Sorceror_ felt like a bunch of puzzles stuck together,
with little attempt to make the game feel like a single story.

Jonathan D Blask

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

On Wed, 5 Monday, Neil K. wrote:
> Hm. I'd say Terry Gilliam's Brazil would
be my last word in the 1984 - uh
> - genre. The Prisoner was a brilliant piece of work, but I don't quite see
> it fitting into that category somehow.
>
> - Neil K. Guy
>
Brazil was a great movie! I plan on buying the collector's
edition (the original director's cut) on laserdisc one day, as soon as
I can rationalize paying $100...

Matthew Daly

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

In article <19970306022...@ladder01.news.aol.com> graem...@aol.com (GraemeCree) writes:
>
> At the risk of sounding stupid, I never understood why your character
>spends the whole game running all over Zork trying to find items to avoid
>the curse of Megaboz, only to find at the end that he's actually made it
>possible for the curse to be fullfilled, and doesn't resent being played
>for a sucker all that time. True, he was primarily in it for the money,
>and he ends up being rewarded in the end, albiet differently than he
>expected, but it would still make most people feel rather foolish.

I thought that the curse would result in the destruction of the
kingdom, not just the line of rulers. I envisioned all of the cities
disappearing, people killed, all of that, which was spared when I
finished the game successfully.

>I mean
>even the parchment that Megaboz "accidentally" says that the curse will be
>stopped rather than fulfilled if the player completes the mission.

To play Devil's Advocate, isn't a fulfilled curse "stopped"? In the
sense that a curse is a threat of a certain action, the threat is
removed if the action is performed. Hmmm.

> Are we supposed to believe that if your character had failed, then
>the curse would have ended, leaving Wurb Flathead still in power and the
>G.U.E. intact?

Was not the G.U.E left intact? The documentation in Zork 2 indicates
that the cities were still populated in 948, although the areas that
the Adventurer explores seem to be largely ruins. Perhaps the
underground sections of the Empire were abandoned, but the G.U.E is
far more extensive than the stuff that Dimwit Flathead added during
his reign.

athol-brose

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

In article <ant05233...@arnod.demon.co.uk>, Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>To me Cutthroats felt like it hadn't actually made it out of beta
>testing yet. It wasn't bugfilled or anything like that, but it just
>felt... well... shoddy. I can't quite put my finger on which aspect of
>it I disliked (ISTR poorly written descriptions (for an Infocom game),
>and a few parser troubles, though I couldn't give specific examples
>right now). Nice idea, poorly realised.

I dunno. I've always had sort of a soft spot for Cutthroats. I bought it to
play during my self-study computer programming classes in high school, and was
fascinated by it. To tell the truth, it's one of only a few Infocom games I've
ever actually finished (despite owning them all). (The others? Zork 1, Zork 3,
Enchanter, Spellbreaker, Hitchhiker's, Witness, Deadline [the first I ever
played], Bureaucracy, Leather Goddesses, Lurking Horror, and Planetfall. I
guess that's more than I thought. *grin*)

I'd be willing to bet that the worst-selling Infocom game ever was Plundered
Hearts.

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

In article <5fn36a$e...@er5.rutgers.edu>,
Wallace and Gromit <edh...@eden.rutgers.edu> wrote:
>
>There are the votes in the (largely unscientific... oooh 4 people voted :))
>SPAG.

Well vote, you lazy arses. We've even rigged up the SPAG website to let
you do it with forms. Just look for SPAG on yahoo. Sheesh.
*Mumblemumblemiserableloafersmutter*

(smiley captioned for the humor impaired.)
--
My new email address is: whiz...@pobox.com.
If that's too long for you, try g...@pobox.com.

Wallace and Gromit

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

matthew....@balliol.oxford.ac.uk (Matthew Biddulph) writes:

>Has there been a vote or general consensus to decide/recommend the
>best game(s) that Infocom published? Can someone point me at a webpage
>or file somewhere with a ranking?

There are the votes in the (largely unscientific... oooh 4 people voted :))

SPAG. But my favorites would be:

For puzzles (and humor):
Hollywood Hijinx

for atmosphere, description, characters:
The Witness

for Story:
AMFV

overall (combined):
BorderZone.

I think BZ and HH are largely underrated games. My favorites overall are
BZ and AMFV.

My least favorite games are probably Suspect, HHGTTG and the other adams
one. (Hey, even though they're childishly simple and lack much description,
Moonmist and Seastalker are still fun :))

Wallace and Gromit

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Mar 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/6/97
to

whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) writes:

>In article <5fn36a$e...@er5.rutgers.edu>,
>Wallace and Gromit <edh...@eden.rutgers.edu> wrote:
>>

>>There are the votes in the (largely unscientific... oooh 4 people voted :))
>>SPAG.

>Well vote, you lazy arses. We've even rigged up the SPAG website to let


>you do it with forms. Just look for SPAG on yahoo. Sheesh.
>*Mumblemumblemiserableloafersmutter*

I did vote, quite a while ago... Thing is, I dunno if it counted or not...
(I think I voted the day before the last issue of spag came out, but I'm
not sure if it was working then... Did you recieve a whole bunch of votes?)

Chris Lang

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

At the risk of sounding stupid, I never understood why your
character
>>spends the whole game running all over Zork trying to find items to
avoid
>>the curse of Megaboz, only to find at the end that he's actually made
it
>>possible for the curse to be fullfilled, and doesn't resent being
played
>>for a sucker all that time. True, he was primarily in it for the money,

>>and he ends up being rewarded in the end, albiet differently than he
>>expected, but it would still make most people feel rather foolish.
>
>I thought that the curse would result in the destruction of the
>kingdom, not just the line of rulers. I envisioned all of the cities
>disappearing, people killed, all of that, which was spared when I
>finished the game successfully.

To tell the truth, I envisioned a similiar thing. The act of 'stopping
the Curse'
spared the rest of the Eastlands from everything except 'disrepair' from
being abandoned, but Flatheadia is punished for being solely the product
of the Flatheads' excesses, and thus a certain familiar landmark is
created that is a COMPLETE contrast to the excessiveness of Flatheadia.
However, since Zork Zero has no time limit (in fact, you get a
humorous remark if you go past 1000 turns and type 'time'), we may never
know for sure just what would have happened had the adventurer just did
nothing out of curiousity. It is, indeed, a flaw in an otherwise fine
prequel to the Zork trilogy.

>Was not the G.U.E left intact? The documentation in Zork 2 indicates
>that the cities were still populated in 948, although the areas that
>the Adventurer explores seem to be largely ruins. Perhaps the
>underground sections of the Empire were abandoned, but the G.U.E is
>far more extensive than the stuff that Dimwit Flathead added during
>his reign.

Indeed, the Eastlands was pretty much abandoned for fear of the Curse.
Whatever the Curse may have done without the gathering of the items for
the cauldron, fear pretty much caused the GUE to fall, anyway. Since most
of the underground areas were in fact in the Eastlands, and everyone
moved to the Westlands and island provinces like Antharia, the evacuation
of the Eastlands and the subsequent disappearance of Flatheadia was
indeed interpreted by historians as 'the fall of the Great Underground
Empire'. Or so that's how I interpret it, anyway.

Chris Lang


Nulldogma

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

Oh, fine -- my favorites are Trinity, Plundered Hearts, and most
everything that Steve Meretsky did.

Neil

---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Graham Nelson

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

In article <5fgcno$ihi$1...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>, Adam J. Thornton
<URL:mailto:ad...@tucson.princeton.edu> wrote:
>
> Me, my favorites are _Trinity_, _Spellbreaker_, and _Enchanter_. My least
> favorites are _Ballyhoo_, _Plundered Hearts_, and _Witness_.

Favourites: _Trinity_, _Spellbreaker_, _Zork II_ and _Infidel_.

Least favourites: _Journey_, _Zork Zero_, _Beyond Zork_,
_Planetfall_. (Sorry about that last one.)

Not played enough (and that includes me): _Moonmist_.

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


Julian Arnold

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

In article <19970307081...@ladder01.news.aol.com>, Nulldogma

<URL:mailto:null...@aol.com> wrote:
>
> Oh, fine -- my favorites are Trinity, Plundered Hearts, and most
> everything that Steve Meretsky did.

Right, I hereby declare Plundered Hearts as the most divisive Infocom
game (LGOP is the most devicive).

About half of you cite it (PH) as one of your least favourite, while the
Enlightened Ones among us recognize it as the masterwork it really is.

Julian Arnold

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

In article <5fn36a$e...@er5.rutgers.edu>, Wallace and Gromit
<URL:mailto:edh...@eden.rutgers.edu> wrote:
>
> I think BZ [Border Zone] and HH are largely underrated games. My

I'd second that (about BZ, I haven't played HH). But in the spirit of
this thread I won't say *why* I second it. :)

JID

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

In article <19970307081...@ladder01.news.aol.com>,
null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) wrote:

>Oh, fine -- my favorites are Trinity, Plundered Hearts, and most
>everything that Steve Meretsky did.

Someone who admits to liking Plundered Hearts! Brave soul. I have to
admit, I'm rather fond of it, although I wouldn't call it one of my
favorites. I mean, sure, it took all of an hour to complete (and I am one
of those types who generally needs hints), but it's awfully funny as both
a parody and a tribute to bodice-rippers. I liked how Infocom was really
trying to hit so many different fiction genres, so I had to hand it to
them for attempting this one. It's not a genre I enjoy, and seen purely as
a game, it certainly falls far behind many of Infocom's others. But there
are a number of cute little moments -- maybe I'm just one of those who
feels that a game doesn't have to be a masterpiece to be an enjoyable
diversion. I also liked how Infocom was really trying to hit so many
different fiction genres, so I had to hand it to them for attempting this
one.

BTW, in response to whomever completely trashed my rhapsody about Zork
Zero (I'm not being coy, I just don't remember who it was), perhaps the
same applies. Spellbreaker may be a jeweled web of a game, but frankly I
didn't get a lot out of it (although I love the first two, especially
Enchanter, which has such a dark, ominous feel to it...jeez, I think I'll
go play it again right now, thinking about it, actually!). Spellbreaker
seems to be a game that really appeals to the hardcore IF players, and
although I adore IF and was totally obsessed with Zork etc. back in the
good ol' days, I don't think I'm skilled enough at it to call myself
"hardcore".

The format, sprawling settings, characters, "lore," and even the graphical
puzzles (which I usually hate) in Zork Zero combined into an almost
immersive experience for me; I can "see" every single one of those
locations in a way I can't with Spellbreaker. That seems to be my
criterion for how much of an effect a game has on me -- thinking back, I
can completely envision the environs of Enchanter; Zorks I, II, Beyond,
and Zero; Hitchhiker's; The Lurking Horror; Deadline; and Trinity, which
probably sums up which are my favorite games.

Joey

****************************************************
American Gothic fanatic or just a tourist in Trinity?
Read The Trinity Guardian: http://www.best.com/~owls/AG/
****************************************************
Guildenstern: He's -- melancholy.
Player: Melancholy?
Rosencrantz: Mad.
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here.
(From "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in Wonderland")
****************************************************
Johanna "Joey" Drasner: ow...@best.com (San Francisco)
****************************************************

Jason Compton

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:
:
: Right, I hereby declare Plundered Hearts as the most divisive Infocom

: game (LGOP is the most devicive).
:
: About half of you cite it (PH) as one of your least favourite, while the
: Enlightened Ones among us recognize it as the masterwork it really is.

Did a lot of people say they didn't like it? A lot of people have guessed
it was one of the poorest selling (least sales) games, which is not
necessarily to say they didn't like it or that it's bad.

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (847) 741-0689 FAX
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha WWW - http://www.cucug.org/ar/

The sands of time were eroded by... the river of constant change.

Adam Cadre

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

Whee, a poll!

My rankings:

First place, far and away: A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING
Second place: TRINITY
Third place: PLUNDERED HEARTS

-----
Adam Cadre, Durham, NC
http://www.duke.edu/~adamc

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/7/97
to

Oh, I'll play.

Favorite: Trinity, AMFV, Spellbreaker, Beyond Zork

Least interesting: Hollywood Hijinx

Never bothered to play: Moonmist (On the Apple II, running off a
5.25" floppy, this was unplayably slow. Never got back to it.)

Most disappointing sequel: Stationfall, Zork Zero

Best story: Ya know, I might just nominate Wishbringer. Trinity was too
surreal to actually have a plot. AMFV, much as I liked it, was a lecture. :)

And finally.... I never liked Floyd all *that* much. He was ok. But the
closing scene of Planetfall, from the miniaturizer to the chase scene --
that was *great*.

--Z

--

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

Nulldogma

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
to

Jo wrote:

> Someone who admits to liking Plundered Hearts! Brave soul. I have to
> admit, I'm rather fond of it, although I wouldn't call it one of my
> favorites. I mean, sure, it took all of an hour to complete (and I am
one
> of those types who generally needs hints), but it's awfully funny as
both
> a parody and a tribute to bodice-rippers.

Mostly, it's just really well-written -- as you say, both as homage and
parody. And there's not one puzzle I can think of that feels tacked-on or
artificial. Much more story-like than most Infocom (or later, for that
matter) I-F. I had a lot of fun with it.

> I liked how Infocom was really
> trying to hit so many different fiction genres, so I had to hand it to
> them for attempting this one. It's not a genre I enjoy, and seen purely
as
> a game, it certainly falls far behind many of Infocom's others. But
there
> are a number of cute little moments -- maybe I'm just one of those who
> feels that a game doesn't have to be a masterpiece to be an enjoyable
> diversion. I also liked how Infocom was really trying to hit so many
> different fiction genres, so I had to hand it to them for attempting
this
> one.

But did you like how Infocom was really trying to hit so many different
fiction genres, and have to hand it to them for attempting this one?

Wallace and Gromit

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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edh...@eden.rutgers.edu (Wallace and Gromit) writes:

>There are the votes in the (largely unscientific... oooh 4 people voted :))

>SPAG. But my favorites would be:

Whoops, that should be "best" as favorites and best are always the same (for
example, Deadline is a very big leap in IFdom in general, but its poor
when compared to some of the later infocom games, simply because they're
more detailed, occasionally more creative in their puzzles and more powerful.

I also forgot to add that the most original Infocom game (one that truely
stretches the definition of a "text adventure") would be Nord and Bert. And
Wishbringer is a simple storyline done really well.

Admiral Jota

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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MKS...@prodigy.com (Chris Lang) writes:

[snip]


> However, since Zork Zero has no time limit (in fact, you get a
>humorous remark if you go past 1000 turns and type 'time'), we may never
>know for sure just what would have happened had the adventurer just did
>nothing out of curiousity. It is, indeed, a flaw in an otherwise fine
>prequel to the Zork trilogy.

[snip]

Well the remark you get for typing 'time' is explained it you type 'wait'.
So really, it's not that the game doesn't allow the *player* to wait and
see what would happen: someone won't allow the adventurer to just do
nothing. So I don't think that can be considered a flaw in the game.

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

Stephen Granade

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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Hmm,

After a bit of thought, I'd say:

Faves: Sorcerer, Trinity, HHGTTG*, Zork I

Dislikes: Stationfall, Zork III

Weak spot for: Starcross

Stephen

* "HHGTTG?" you say in disbelief, the pitch of your voice rising several
octaves. Well, yes. I solved it in tenth grade, after almost a year of
work and without hints. No other game has ever made me as happy or as
proud upon completion as HHGTTG did.

--
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_


Matthew Murray

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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On Fri, 7 Mar 1997, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> And finally.... I never liked Floyd all *that* much. He was ok. But the
> closing scene of Planetfall, from the miniaturizer to the chase scene --
> that was *great*.

Add me to that particular list... I never really cared for
Floyd, either. I think what Steve Meretzky needed to do with him that he
never really did is integrate him in with the story in a major way. He
always seemed extremely superfluous to me. And, as cute as he was and
all that, for the most part, he just got in the way, and with the
relationship between Floyd and the player's character just not being
built up very much, I never quite got out of him what I felt I was
supposed to...

===============================================================================
Matthew Murray - n964...@cc.wwu.edu - http://www.wwu.edu/~n9641343
===============================================================================
The script calls for fusing and using our smarts,
And greatness can come of the sum of our parts.
From now on, I'm with you--and with you is where I belong!

-David Zippel, City of Angels
===============================================================================


Daniel R. Lackey

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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Graham Nelson wrote:
> Favourites: _Trinity_, _Spellbreaker_, _Zork II_ and _Infidel_.

_Infidel_ gets high marks in my book, on the grounds that (SPOILER AHEAD!) it's just about the
only Infocom game where even the best-case scenario is a distinctly unhappy ending.

--
daniel r. lackey standing in government denies knowledge
jmdre...@earthlink.net the shadows XVI. the tower
===============================================================================
"God is dead." -- F.W. Nietzsche
"He's not dead, he's... pining for the fjords!" -- M. Palin

Daniel R. Lackey

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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Adam J. Thornton wrote:
>
> Me, my favorites are _Trinity_, _Spellbreaker_, and _Enchanter_. My least
> favorites are _Ballyhoo_, _Plundered Hearts_, and _Witness_.

_Spellbreaker_ was good, but I've never quite been able to finish it because I can't, even with
the aid of the walkthroughs and the Invisiclues, figure out how to solve the damn moving
rock/plain puzzle.

GraemeCree

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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>I'd put the Enchanter sequence with the Ancient Terror *very* high on my
>list of favorite moments in IF, though. Brrrr.

I think my favourite moment in Enchanter is when you get the Zork I
player to open the door for you.

GraemeCree

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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> Hm. I'd say Terry Gilliam's Brazil would be my last word in the 1984 -
uh
>- genre. The Prisoner was a brilliant piece of work, but I don't quite
see
>it fitting into that category somehow.

Yes, the Prisoner and Brazil are both part of the 1984 genre:
anti-utopian future, oppressive rulers, mind games, etc. Of course Brazil
is tongue-in-cheek, and the Prisoner isn't, but they're both very similar.
Yes, Brazil was a great flick, but I still think the Prisoner was
even better.

GraemeCree

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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>I thought that the curse would result in the destruction of the
>kingdom, not just the line of rulers. I envisioned all of the cities
>disappearing, people killed, all of that, which was spared when I
>finished the game successfully.

If that were the case, Megaboz would be angry with you at the end,
rather than happy.

>To play Devil's Advocate, isn't a fulfilled curse "stopped"? In the
>sense that a curse is a threat of a certain action, the threat is
>removed if the action is performed. Hmmm.

Yes. To be precise, the parchment says "halted" rather than stopped,
but you could make the same argument even there.

>Was not the G.U.E left intact? The documentation in Zork 2 indicates
>that the cities were still populated in 948, although the areas that
>the Adventurer explores seem to be largely ruins. Perhaps the
>underground sections of the Empire were abandoned, but the G.U.E is
>far more extensive than the stuff that Dimwit Flathead added during
>his reign.

To be more precise, the mages tell Dimwit, "We have delayed its [the
curses] effects for 94 years, but after that time, this castle, in fact,
all the eastlands -- will be destroyed."
At the end of the game, Megaboz says, "The Great Underground Empire
is no more, but Quendor remains. Quendor referred to both the eastlands
and the westlands. The westlands are definitely still inhabited after
Zork 0, but the eastlands seem pretty desolate. Since the underground
portions of the empire were all in the eastlands, it seems like the curse
was fulfilled to a T.
However, he also says, "As promised by decree, half the wealth of the
kingdom is yours!"
So, things are a bit confusing. The destruction of both the castle
and the eastlands were a part of the curse, as was the death of the 12
Flatheads. But the money was promised to the one who could THWART the
curse and prevent the destruction. There are a couple of possibilities.
One could be that by your actions, the eastlands were saved, but the
castle was still destroyed. There is nothing in the game to suggest this,
but it's possible. The eastlands still seem to be uninhabited afterwards,
but the westlands and Antharia seem okay.
There may be a way to tie all this together so that it makes sense,
but in any case, the answer is certainly not obvious, nor is the
difficulty addressed by the game at all. This takes away from my
enjoyment of the game to a certain extent, although I still liked it quite
a bit.


GraemeCree

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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> Indeed, the Eastlands was pretty much abandoned for fear of the Curse.

>Whatever the Curse may have done without the gathering of the items for
>the cauldron, fear pretty much caused the GUE to fall, anyway. Since most

>of the underground areas were in fact in the Eastlands, and everyone
>moved to the Westlands and island provinces like Antharia, the evacuation

>of the Eastlands and the subsequent disappearance of Flatheadia was
>indeed interpreted by historians as 'the fall of the Great Underground
>Empire'. Or so that's how I interpret it, anyway.

Hmm, how about this? Megaboz really did want to topple the Flathead
dynasty, and the effect of his curse really would have been to cause a
mass destruction of people and property. However, he never desired for
this to happen. He knew that the threat of the curse would cause a mass
evacuation of the Eastlands, which would achieve his ultimate goal without
killing the citizenry. Once the evacuation was in progress, he WANTED the
curse to be stopped so that the retiring populace could escape in safety,
but still leave the Eastlands deserted as he desired. What happened to
Flatheadia was not a part of the curse (which had been halted), but
something that he did separately.

Well, maybe. In any case, I wish that the game itself had been a
little clearer. It reminds me of difficulties I had with Star Trek III:
The Search for Spock, which never explained why they stole the ship and
went back to the Genesis Planet, when they didn't know that Spock's body
had been alive. The original purpose of that Vulcan ritual had nothing to
do with putting people's Katra's back in their living bodies. The
novelization makes some reference to storing them in the halls of
knowledge, but the movie doesn't even say that much. Oh well.


GraemeCree

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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>Most disappointing sequel: Stationfall, Zork Zero

Really? What was wrong with Stationfall? And shirley, er...surely,
the most disappointing sequel has to be Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2.


Adam Cadre

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97
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Chris Lang wrote:
> And I tend to agree with the one often quoted review: "AMFV isn't
> 1984, but in some ways, it's even scarier".

Graeme Cree replied:
> Yes, but I still tend to think of TV's The Prisoner as the last and
> best word in the 1984 genre [...]

Neil K. Guy added:


> Hm. I'd say Terry Gilliam's Brazil would be my last word in the 1984
> - uh - genre.

Actually, I'd call 1984 the last and best word in the 1984 genre.
Seriously -- it's an amazingly underrated novel: most tend to dismiss
it as dated USSR-bashing on a par with AMERIKA, when there's so much
more to it than that: it's one of the definitive statements on the
constructed nature of the self, on the relationship of language to
thought, on the nature of society and humanity and reality in general,
and at the same time, it's a gripping page-turner that doesn't try to
deliberately fly over the heads of the audience in order to sound more
intelligent than it is. I think it's one of the landmark works of the
century. (Of course, I'm seriously considering basing my dissertation
on the claim that WATCHMEN is alse one of the landmark works of the
century, so adjust your assessment of my opinion accordingly.)

Julian Arnold

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Mar 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/8/97