Which Infocom games would fare best in the IFComp?

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Kevin Venzke

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Sep 5, 2004, 12:34:17 AM9/5/04
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Hoping this is an interesting question...

I'm thinking any of the Enchanter series would do very well.
They seem interesting throughout (Sorcerer at least at the
beginning), and have clear goals. I think Zork 3 would fare
better than 1 or 2, just because it seems to have a more
coherent theme.

I don't think any of Starcross, Planetfall, Stationfall, or HHGTG
would do very well. Maybe Planetfall would, since it has an
interesting setup, and it's pretty clear what you're trying to do
at first. But in general I think voters would be frustrated with
the space games' lack of direction.

I think any detective game would tank. (Personal bias.)

I hear people like Trinity. I couldn't get into it myself. (But I
also didn't feel able to give a rating to last year's winner. I
had no clue it would do so well.)

Anyone want to straighten me out?

Kevin Venzke


Vivienne Dunstan

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Sep 5, 2004, 10:10:54 AM9/5/04
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Kevin Venzke <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote:

> I'm thinking any of the Enchanter series would do very well.
> They seem interesting throughout (Sorcerer at least at the
> beginning), and have clear goals. I think Zork 3 would fare
> better than 1 or 2, just because it seems to have a more
> coherent theme.

I suspect that Zork 3 would be too difficult for the IF Comp, even aside
from the 2-hour rule. Players have to get to a certain point to be able
to judge something fairly and Zork 3 always struck me as much more
difficult than 1 or 2, and required much lengthier playing.

If short-ish games and/or relatively easy/completable games would be
better for the IF Comp then Wishbringer and Moonmist would be obvious
candidates among the Infocom games. They're self-contained stories,
relatively easy, and fairly short-ish. Moonmist might also be a welcome
break from the usual fantasy fare. I wonder if LGOP might have a chance
too: such a way-out game that maybe it would fare well.

Viv Dunstan

Quintin Stone

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Sep 7, 2004, 9:21:15 AM9/7/04
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On Sun, 5 Sep 2004, Vivienne Dunstan wrote:

> Kevin Venzke <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote:
>
> If short-ish games and/or relatively easy/completable games would be
> better for the IF Comp then Wishbringer and Moonmist would be obvious
> candidates among the Infocom games. They're self-contained stories,
> relatively easy, and fairly short-ish. Moonmist might also be a welcome
> break from the usual fantasy fare. I wonder if LGOP might have a chance
> too: such a way-out game that maybe it would fare well.

I think LGOP would crash and burn once judges got to its infamous maze.

I played A Mind Forever Voyaging for the first time some time last year
and I was very impressed with it. I think it would rate pretty highly.

/====================================================================\
|| Quintin Stone O- > "You speak of necessary evil? One ||
|| Code Monkey < of those necessities is that if ||
|| Rebel Programmers Society > innocents must suffer, the guilty must ||
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Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Sep 7, 2004, 2:58:44 PM9/7/04
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"Kevin Venzke" <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote in message news:<dHw_c.554527$Gx4.3...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>...

> Hoping this is an interesting question...

For some reason I think Nord & Bert could do well. People liked Ad
Verbum, and even though it (N & B) is more than a 2-hour game, the
different sections are independent, and you can quickly get a feel for
the whole thing.

--
Daphne

DaveM

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Sep 7, 2004, 5:44:26 PM9/7/04
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On Sun, 05 Sep 2004 04:34:17 GMT, "Kevin Venzke" <step...@yahooo.frr>
wrote:

>I don't think any of Starcross, Planetfall, Stationfall, or HHGTG
>would do very well.

What's "wrong" with Planetfall (from a judge's perspective)?

DaveM

Dan Shiovitz

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Sep 7, 2004, 7:50:39 PM9/7/04
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In article <1qasj0p72d4nf5fd6...@4ax.com>,

Well, when I played it recently, I noted a couple irritating things
that are fairly taboo in modern games. To be a bit more specific:

- the hunger and sleep daemons, even more annoying when they force
you to backtrack to the kitchen due to only being able to carry a
limited amount of food
- random screw-you-over stuff, like demagnetizing the cards
(especially when you didn't realize it at the time and have
to restart)
Hrm, and isn't there an inventory limit, too?

I guess this isn't a huge list of things, but it's enough to make the
gameplay experience pretty rough for somebody who's only got two hours
to play the game.

>DaveM
--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW


Jan Thorsby

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Sep 7, 2004, 7:51:16 PM9/7/04
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"Daphne Brinkerhoff" <cen...@hotmail.com> skrev i melding
news:1a80bb93.04090...@posting.google.com...

> "Kevin Venzke" <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote in message
news:<dHw_c.554527$Gx4.3...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>...
> > Hoping this is an interesting question...
>
> For some reason I think Nord & Bert could do well.

Very hard for foreigners though, I think.


Mark Hatfield

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Sep 7, 2004, 11:05:17 PM9/7/04
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But there's Floyd, man! ^ ^

Also, no fair deducting points for hunger/sleep daemons. Those weren't
unique to Planetfall, they were pretty much standard Infocom fare. Same
with the encumbrance.

"Dan Shiovitz" <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote in message
news:chlhgf$kqp$1...@drizzle.com...

Dan Shiovitz

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Sep 7, 2004, 11:35:24 PM9/7/04
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In article <NFu%c.328175$fv.2...@fe2.columbus.rr.com>,

Mark Hatfield <bhat...@columbus.rr.com> wrote:
>"Dan Shiovitz" <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote in message
>news:chlhgf$kqp$1...@drizzle.com...
>> In article <1qasj0p72d4nf5fd6...@4ax.com>,
>> DaveM <asm...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>> >What's "wrong" with Planetfall (from a judge's perspective)?
>>
>> Well, when I played it recently, I noted a couple irritating things
>> that are fairly taboo in modern games. To be a bit more specific:
[..]

>But there's Floyd, man! ^ ^
>
>Also, no fair deducting points for hunger/sleep daemons. Those weren't
>unique to Planetfall, they were pretty much standard Infocom fare. Same
>with the encumbrance.

Like I said, taboo in modern games. I wasn't, you know, perplexed as
to why they were there or anything, but that doesn't make them any
less irritating to somebody who hasn't already accepted them as a
necessary evil.

Also, I should add that there were a lot of things that I liked about
Planetfall*, details of setting and storyline that presage modern IF in
many ways, but the original question was about why some Infocom games
wouldn't do well in the comp, not why they would.

*I don't know if I'd include Floyd in the list. The interaction when
no plot was happening was pretty good, but I was taken aback by
how much he was used like an emotional sledgehammer during the moments
when Plot Was Happening.

Mark Hatfield

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Sep 8, 2004, 1:44:21 AM9/8/04
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My point was only that, since we are judging a subset composed of only
Infocom games, then singling out one for a failing common to (almost) all is
rather pointless.

And Floyd was gold. Nitpick him as you will, but to anyone interacting with
him for the first time (ie - judges), he's gold.

"Dan Shiovitz" <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote in message

news:chluls$r50$1...@drizzle.com...

Quintin Stone

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Sep 8, 2004, 9:13:13 AM9/8/04
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On Wed, 8 Sep 2004, Mark Hatfield wrote:

> My point was only that, since we are judging a subset composed of only
> Infocom games, then singling out one for a failing common to (almost)
> all is rather pointless.

Well, the question is which Infocom game would fare best in the modern
competition. Since there are some Infocom games that don't have those
aspects that so offend our modern sensibilities, it's perfectly valid to
consider them when ranking. After all, the detective games have no
hunger/sleep daemons, neither does AMFV as I recall. Enchanter had both,
but the later ones in the series did away with water/food requirements.
Unfortunately, nearly all of them that I can think of had an inventory
limit. That was more annoying in some games than others.

R. N. Dominick

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Sep 8, 2004, 3:35:59 PM9/8/04
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Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net> wrote in
news:Pine.LNX.4.58.04...@yes.rps.net:

> I played A Mind Forever Voyaging for the first time some time last year
> and I was very impressed with it. I think it would rate pretty highly.

Except, of course, that it takes far more than two hours to play. When I
played AMFV, I spent the first few hours of the game merely making a map of
the first simulation, laying a piece of typing paper over the map that came
with the game. (You can fit all the rooms in an overlay like that, too.)
While I certainly had fun doing that -- and knew there'd be later
simulations from reading a bit about the game -- that doesn't exactly make
for a compelling competition experience.

Even without making an intricate map, stumbling across the things you have
to take pictures of might take that long.

Hans Fugal

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Sep 9, 2004, 12:25:33 PM9/9/04
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Kevin Venzke wrote:

> I hear people like Trinity. I couldn't get into it myself. (But I
> also didn't feel able to give a rating to last year's winner. I
> had no clue it would do so well.)

I loved Trinity. In fact, much to my shame, it's the only Infocom game
I've ever finished, and perhaps the only IF I've played without hints. :-)

I'm curious how far you got into it. I thought the beginning was superb.
After you go through that first door things slow down quite a bit, and
if you're not into exploring I can see how it might get boring. Once
you've got a hold on the world, though, The puzzles are good (with the
exception of the gems) and the story is fluid and dynamic.

Esa A E Peuha

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Sep 10, 2004, 5:26:43 AM9/10/04
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Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net> writes:

> After all, the detective games have no
> hunger/sleep daemons, neither does AMFV as I recall. Enchanter had both,
> but the later ones in the series did away with water/food requirements.

Sorcerer had a hunger daemon as well, and exorcising it was one of the
puzzles (although very early in the game).

--
Esa Peuha
student of mathematics at the University of Helsinki
http://www.helsinki.fi/~peuha/

Quintin Stone

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Sep 10, 2004, 9:07:46 AM9/10/04
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On Fri, 10 Sep 2004, Esa A E Peuha wrote:

> Sorcerer had a hunger daemon as well, and exorcising it was one of the
> puzzles (although very early in the game).

Ah, you are correct. It's so early and pointless that I'd forgotten it
was there. I guess they felt weird dropping food/water requirements that
they felt the need to justify it.

In Spellbreaker they do finally drop the need to eat or drink.

Dan Shiovitz

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Sep 10, 2004, 1:06:34 PM9/10/04
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In article <Pine.LNX.4.58.04...@yes.rps.net>,

Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net> wrote:
>On Fri, 10 Sep 2004, Esa A E Peuha wrote:
>
>> Sorcerer had a hunger daemon as well, and exorcising it was one of the
>> puzzles (although very early in the game).
[..]

>In Spellbreaker they do finally drop the need to eat or drink.

Sure, because you'd already fixed it in Sorcerer.

Adam Thornton

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Sep 10, 2004, 9:27:37 PM9/10/04
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In article <chluls$r50$1...@drizzle.com>, Dan Shiovitz <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>*I don't know if I'd include Floyd in the list. The interaction when
>no plot was happening was pretty good, but I was taken aback by
>how much he was used like an emotional sledgehammer during the moments
>when Plot Was Happening.

You know...

SPOILER


While I got as choked up over Floyd's sacrifice as anyone, it bothers me
in retrospect that his Big Death Scene was an advertisement for another
Infocom product.

Adam

Andy M

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Sep 11, 2004, 8:29:42 PM9/11/04
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I liked Planetfall overall, but it had a couple serious problems that I
think brought it down. Most were simply a result of it being one of the
earlier games from Infocom--they were making up the rules of game design as
they went along, after all--but some, well, they should have known better.
I can forgive hunger and sleep daemons, being Planetfall is an early game,
but there is one giant flaw I can't forgive.

SPOILER SPACE


I'm talking about the red herrings. The game fairly groans under the weight
of all the excess junk that looks tantalizingly useful but isn't. Fully
half the rooms in the game serve no purpose whatsoever except to put miles
of distance between Room A where you find an object and Room B where you can
use it. Most egregious is one particular puzzle that requires you to
traverse a huge distance over and over and over again in order to solve it.
Figuring the puzzle out initially is fun. What is not fun is spending the
next half-hour repeating long tedious lists of directions and actions to
actually carry out the solution.

It's the same with the takeable items. It's been a while since I played,
but I would estimate about two-thirds of the game's items to be completely
useless. One (especially cruel) example: there is a door in the game that
leads underground. If I recall, you can actually open the door and go down,
but it is too dark to see and you have no artificial light source, so you
can't progress. The circumstances of the game lead you to believe that
Important Things lie beyond this door. Elsewhere in the game, a light
source which looks perfect for the job is fairly dangled in front of your
nose, begging you to solve a puzzle so you can retrieve it and explore the
area beyond the door. In fact, the light source in irretrievable and it is
impossible to explore the area beyond the door. I worked for eons on this
particular puzzle. Eventually, I made it to the endgame, and I remember
being absolutely stunned when the game ended without a solution to it. I
thought at first the designers had written it as an optional puzzle, and it
wasn't until I read a couple walkthroughs that I got over my disbelief and
accepted that there really was no solution for it. There is no excuse for a
thing like that. It's pure sadism. As a game designer, you never want a
player to feel cheated or unsatisfied when they finish your game, but that's
exactly how I felt. And it's too bad, because the end sequence of
Planetfall is excellent, if only I'd been able to enjoy it instead of being
so shocked that the game was ending prematurely.

Andy


"DaveM" <asm...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message
news:1qasj0p72d4nf5fd6...@4ax.com...

dgr...@cs.csbuak.edu

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Sep 11, 2004, 8:46:21 PM9/11/04
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Andy M <andy...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I liked Planetfall overall, but it had a couple serious problems that I
> think brought it down. Most were simply a result of it being one of the
> earlier games from Infocom--they were making up the rules of game design as
> they went along, after all--but some, well, they should have known better.
> I can forgive hunger and sleep daemons, being Planetfall is an early game,
> but there is one giant flaw I can't forgive.

> SPOILER SPACE


> It's the same with the takeable items. It's been a while since I played,
> but I would estimate about two-thirds of the game's items to be completely
> useless. One (especially cruel) example: there is a door in the game that
> leads underground. If I recall, you can actually open the door and go down,
> but it is too dark to see and you have no artificial light source, so you
> can't progress. The circumstances of the game lead you to believe that
> Important Things lie beyond this door. Elsewhere in the game, a light
> source which looks perfect for the job is fairly dangled in front of your
> nose, begging you to solve a puzzle so you can retrieve it and explore the
> area beyond the door. In fact, the light source in irretrievable and it is
> impossible to explore the area beyond the door. I worked for eons on this

I used Rezrov's unique ability to allow the user to filch any object to
get the lamp out of that radiation room without getting killed. When
you finally enter that darkened room with the lamp you'll find an
amusing, albeit terse, response.

--
David Griffith
dgr...@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'

Nathan

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Sep 12, 2004, 3:18:45 AM9/12/04
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"Andy M" <andy...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<WLM0d.351$g9.43@trnddc06>...

> I liked Planetfall overall, but

(snip)

> but there is one giant flaw I can't forgive.

(snip SPOILER SPACE)

> I'm talking about the red herrings.

I couldn't disagree with you more. Planetfall is my favorite
Infocom game, and the red herrings are my favorite thing
about it. I spent a long time on each unsolvable puzzle, but
I would alternate between the different puzzles so I always
seemed to be making progress on at least one front. I was
also very surprised when the game seemed to be ending so
prematurely, but the conclusion tied up all those loose ends
for me. In the era of two-word parsers and one-item one-use
text adventures, Planetfall's red herrings exemplified for
me the superior genius of Infocom. They added an element of
challenge and entertainment I haven't seen since. It's too
bad the red herrings bothered you so much. I loved them.

Nathan

Mark J. Tilford

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Sep 12, 2004, 7:18:24 AM9/12/04
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On Fri, 10 Sep 2004 17:06:34 +0000 (UTC), Dan Shiovitz <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
> In article <Pine.LNX.4.58.04...@yes.rps.net>,
> Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net> wrote:
>>On Fri, 10 Sep 2004, Esa A E Peuha wrote:
>>
>>> Sorcerer had a hunger daemon as well, and exorcising it was one of the
>>> puzzles (although very early in the game).
> [..]
>>In Spellbreaker they do finally drop the need to eat or drink.
>
> Sure, because you'd already fixed it in Sorcerer.

Doesn't the potion eventually wear off if you take way too long?

--
------------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@ugcs.caltech.edu

Quintin Stone

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Sep 13, 2004, 9:44:06 AM9/13/04
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On Sun, 12 Sep 2004, Mark J. Tilford wrote:

> Doesn't the potion eventually wear off if you take way too long?

If so, I never took long enough for it to do so.

Evin Robertson

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Sep 13, 2004, 12:21:17 PM9/13/04
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Mark J. Tilford wrote:
> Doesn't the potion eventually wear off if you take way too long?

Yes, after about 800 turns or so. You can cast the gaspar spell, but it
doesn't help much:

You pass out from lack of food and water.

**** You have died ****

Your guardian angel, draped in white, appears floating in the
nothingness before you. "Gotten in a bit of a scrape, eh?" he asks,
writing frantically in a notebook. "I'd love to chat, but we're so busy
this month." The angel twitches his nose, and the nothingness is
replaced by...

Forest Edge
Unfortunately, you are still long overdue for a meal and immediately
drop dead again.

Kevin Venzke

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Sep 14, 2004, 4:45:38 PM9/14/04
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"Evin Robertson" <ev...@users.sf.net> wrote in message
news:cPj1d.87426$yh.32147@fed1read05...

> **** You have died ****
>
> Your guardian angel, draped in white, appears floating in the
> nothingness before you. "Gotten in a bit of a scrape, eh?" he asks,
> writing frantically in a notebook. "I'd love to chat, but we're so busy
> this month." The angel twitches his nose, and the nothingness is
> replaced by...
>
> Forest Edge
> Unfortunately, you are still long overdue for a meal and immediately
> drop dead again.

Wow, that's mean.

Kevin Venzke


Kevin Venzke

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Sep 14, 2004, 4:50:52 PM9/14/04
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"Nathan" <nts...@netscape.net> wrote in message

> I couldn't disagree with you more. Planetfall is my favorite
> Infocom game, and the red herrings are my favorite thing
> about it. I spent a long time on each unsolvable puzzle, but
> I would alternate between the different puzzles so I always
> seemed to be making progress on at least one front.

The notion of creating a game with only red herrings (compelling
ones only), and some illusion of ability to make progress on each
one, appeals to me. People would talk about it for weeks or
even months.

There would be no walkthrough, of course.

Kevin Venzke


Esa A E Peuha

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Sep 17, 2004, 5:39:29 AM9/17/04
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Evin Robertson <ev...@users.sf.net> writes:

> Mark J. Tilford wrote:
> > Doesn't the potion eventually wear off if you take way too long?
>
> Yes, after about 800 turns or so.

Does it do so in all versions?

Glenn P.,

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Nov 18, 2004, 3:17:55 AM11/18/04
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On 14-Sep-04 at 8:50pm -0000, <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote:

> The notion of creating a game with only red herrings (compelling
> ones only), and some illusion of ability to make progress on each
> one, appeals to me. People would talk about it for weeks or even
> months. There would be no walkthrough, of course.

You, Sirrah, are the very definition of Sadist.

-- >>>>> "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> <<<<<
-----------------------------------------
"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate."
-----------------------------------------
William of Occam, circa 1320

:: Take Note Of The Spam Block On My E-Mail Address! ::

Glenn P.,

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Dec 19, 2004, 3:29:04 AM12/19/04
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On 08-Sep-04 at 3:35am -0000, <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote:

:> Also, no fair deducting points for hunger/sleep daemons. Those


:> weren't unique to Planetfall, they were pretty much standard
:> Infocom fare. Same with the encumbrance.

> Like I said, taboo in modern games. I wasn't, you know, perplexed as
> to why they were there or anything, but that doesn't make them any
> less irritating to somebody who hasn't already accepted them as a
> necessary evil.

If you don't eat the very instant your tummy rumbles, you can make the
food last quite awhile. That, plus the availability of the teleporters
to help make travel more convenient, in my opinion that this is not
quite as fair a criticism as it otherwise might be.


>
> I don't know if I'd include Floyd in the list. The interaction when
> no plot was happening was pretty good, but I was taken aback by
> how much he was used like an emotional sledgehammer during the
> moments when Plot Was Happening.

I didn't mind this so much in "Planetfall" (at least, not in retrospect)
because (1) I didn't feel that I had interacted with him enough to feel
an emotional attachment, even if HE did; and (2) they did, after all,
bring him back at the game's end.

But in "Stationfall" it was a very different matter. First, as a sequel
to "Planetfall" it is established, and even part of the PLOT, that you
and Floyd are good friends. Second -- and far more to the point -- YOU
are actually forced to ACTIVELY KILL him (and he ISN'T brought back
this time)!

I don't so much object if Floyd sacrifices himself; but I very much DO
object to being made his executioner!!!

I don't want Oliver! I WANT FLOYD!!!


:> ...but the original question was about why some Infocom games


:> wouldn't do well in the comp, not why they would.

Technically, no. The original question, as expressed by the Subject,
is, "Which Infocom games would fare best in the IFComp?" To which,
the original poster opined that certain Infocom games, which he named,
would NOT fare well (which was NOT the question -- thus going off-topic
on his own message!).

If his true intent were to criticize Infocom games for their failure
to conform to IFComp standards, he should have drafted his subject
line accordingly. As it is, however, he asked a question and then
offered an OPINION which was rather off-topic to it. And an opinion
(and an off-topic opinion at that) is NOT a question.

--_____ %%%%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%%
{~._.~} -----------------------------------------------------------------
_( Y )_ "But what are we to do?", said Susan...
(:_~*~_:) "My dear young lady", said the Professor... "there is one plan
(_)-(_) which no one has yet suggested and which is well worth trying."
========= "What's that?", said Susan.
///////// "We might all try minding our own business", said he...
========= --Lewis, C. S.: "The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe".

Glenn P.,

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Dec 19, 2004, 3:51:42 AM12/19/04
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On 11-Sep-04 at 1:27am -0000, <ad...@fsf.net> wrote:

> SPOILER
"You don't see any spoiler here."

Spoiler? How? In what way does this give away any of the game's secrets,
or help one to solve any of its puzzles??? Kindly use your terms correctly
and don't waste space unnecessarily!

[ UN-Spoiler ]

> While I got as choked up over Floyd's sacrifice as anyone, it bothers me
> in retrospect that his Big Death Scene was an advertisement for another
> Infocom product.

If you mean "The Ballad Of The Starcrossed Miner", it is offered so totally
out of context that if you don't know about the game "Starcross", you have
NO idea what on Earth they are babbling about -- you simply assume "you"
are singing about some "legend" or other.

If I recall correctly, "Planetfall" is set in the same Universe as
"Starcross" and is descended from it (technology from the giant spaceship
being used to jumpstart the First Galactic Union), so even if you DO know
about "Starcross", the inclusion of the Ballad cannot really be called
an "advertisement". If you REALLY want an advertisement -- several of
them, actually -- try the computer terminal in the Library. (In particular,
try reading about the last game listed while Floyd is present!) :)

My own quarrel with "The Ballad", in quite a different direction, is that
it is described as "Floyd's favorite song", yet no provision is made in the
game for your character ever to have acquired this information, nor to have
sung it to him previously. So at the critical moment, the imparting of this
little factlet comes across as a curious piece of mind-reading: "That's his
favorite song? Now how did I ever discern THAT...?"

Glenn P.,

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Dec 19, 2004, 4:33:33 AM12/19/04
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On 12-Sep-04 at 12:29am -0000, <andy...@hotmail.com> wrote:

Re: The "red-herrings"...

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

Spoiler Space

> I'm talking about the red herrings. The game fairly groans under the weight
> of all the excess junk that looks tantalizingly useful but isn't. Fully
> half the rooms in the game serve no purpose whatsoever except to put miles
> of distance between Room A where you find an object and Room B where you can
> use it. Most egregious is one particular puzzle that requires you to
> traverse a huge distance over and over and over again in order to solve it.
> Figuring the puzzle out initially is fun. What is not fun is spending the
> next half-hour repeating long tedious lists of directions and actions to
> actually carry out the solution.

Half-hour??? C'mon, man! TEN minutes, maybe... but not THIRTY! Since when
does typing --

sw.n.push d button.z.z.s.w.s.s.s.s.put flask under spout.push [color]
button.get flask.n.n.n.n.e.n.put card thru slot.push u button.z.z.s.ne.
put fluid in hole.

-- (I entered that from MEMORY! How's THAT!?) three times (at most) take 30
minutes!?

So O.K., you make a good point, that they required excessive typing and
repetition. But exaggeration is simply NOT necessary.


> It's the same with the takeable items. It's been a while since I played,
> but I would estimate about two-thirds of the game's items to be completely
> useless. One (especially cruel) example: there is a door in the game that
> leads underground. If I recall, you can actually open the door and go down,
> but it is too dark to see and you have no artificial light source, so you
> can't progress. The circumstances of the game lead you to believe that
> Important Things lie beyond this door. Elsewhere in the game, a light
> source which looks perfect for the job is fairly dangled in front of your
> nose, begging you to solve a puzzle so you can retrieve it and explore the
> area beyond the door. In fact, the light source in irretrievable and it is
> impossible to explore the area beyond the door.

Actually, it's even worse than this: trying to retrieve the light-source in
an attempt to solve this puzzle gets you KILLED! (Hope you did a SAVE first!)


> I worked for eons on this particular puzzle. Eventually, I made it to
> the endgame, and I remember being absolutely stunned when the game ended
> without a solution to it. I thought at first the designers had written it
> as an optional puzzle, and it wasn't until I read a couple walkthroughs
> that I got over my disbelief and accepted that there really was no
> solution for it.

A long long time ago, some kindly soul I met on Usenet actually modified the
game file for "Planetfall" so that the Lamp and the Brown Spool are both
located in SanFac C, instead of in their correct places (!). By using this
"Hacked" version of "Planetfall" -- which I still have, by the way) -- I was
able to *discover* a few things:

1. The Lamp is real. By this, I mean that it can be turned on and off, and
when turned on, is apparently genuinely flagged as a light source.

2. It is the DARK ROOMS which are unimplemented: The stairway to the reactor
room (which caused you so much grief) proves to have no description at
all, and is an "endless loop" going down (no grues attack you as long
as the light is on). On the other hand, entering Office Supply DOES yeild
a "description" of sorts, which is decidedly unrewarding: "You have
discovered a serious bug." This greatly disappoints me, because it would
have been the perfect place for Infocom to have written a secret message
-- on the wall, say. For example, "If you are reading this, you are
cheating". Or even -- in parody of a now-infamous line -- "This space
intentioally left dark"!

3. The Brown Spool, on the other hand, is simply a dummy object. It doesn't
even fit in the Spool Reader's opening! :( This, too, disappoints
me, because -- even more so than in the first case -- this would have
been the PERFECT place for Infocom to have inserted a hidden message,
even if it were only a secret copyright claim, etc.

Oh, well! :/ :/ :/

Kevin Venzke

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 10:57:16 PM12/20/04
to
> :> ...but the original question was about why some Infocom games
> :> wouldn't do well in the comp, not why they would.
>
> Technically, no. The original question, as expressed by the Subject,
> is, "Which Infocom games would fare best in the IFComp?" To which,
> the original poster opined that certain Infocom games, which he named,
> would NOT fare well (which was NOT the question -- thus going off-topic
> on his own message!).
>
> If his true intent were to criticize Infocom games for their failure
> to conform to IFComp standards, he should have drafted his subject
> line accordingly. As it is, however, he asked a question and then
> offered an OPINION which was rather off-topic to it. And an opinion
> (and an off-topic opinion at that) is NOT a question.

I think you're being very hard on me!

I was most interested in the answer to the question, but felt better able
to suggest games that wouldn't do as well.

Anymore, I have no idea. Planetfall is probably a top-three game.

Kevin Venzke


Eric Nyman

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 2:31:07 AM12/21/04
to
I agree that Planetfall has not aged particularly well, given some of
the aspects of its game design that would be frustrating to gamers
today. It's still one of my all time favorite games, but it's not
exactly what the IFComp judges would be impressed with.

How would Infocom games fare in the XYZZY awards? Depending on the
year, I think several, such as A Mind Forever Voyaging, Trinity, and
Spellbreaker in particular, would be serious contenders.

Mark J. Tilford

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 2:26:55 PM12/21/04
to
On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 03:29:04 -0500, Glenn P., <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> wrote:
> On 08-Sep-04 at 3:35am -0000, <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>
> :> Also, no fair deducting points for hunger/sleep daemons. Those
> :> weren't unique to Planetfall, they were pretty much standard
> :> Infocom fare. Same with the encumbrance.
>
> > Like I said, taboo in modern games. I wasn't, you know, perplexed as
> > to why they were there or anything, but that doesn't make them any
> > less irritating to somebody who hasn't already accepted them as a
> > necessary evil.
>
> If you don't eat the very instant your tummy rumbles, you can make the
> food last quite awhile. That, plus the availability of the teleporters
> to help make travel more convenient, in my opinion that this is not
> quite as fair a criticism as it otherwise might be.

Once you get the kitchen card, you have unlimited food.

Glenn P.,

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Dec 21, 2004, 3:32:26 PM12/21/04
to
On 21-Dec-04 at 7:26pm -0000, <til...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:

>> If you don't eat the very instant your tummy rumbles, you can make the
>> food last quite awhile.

> Once you get the kitchen card, you have unlimited food.

That is not the point. The point of the original poster was the annoyance
of having to return to the kitchen all the time.

My response was that, if you conserve your food, you won't have to return
to the kitchen so often; and that this -- coupled with the faster means
travel provided by the teleporters -- meant that the original poster's
criticism wasn't as potent as it first seemed.

-- >>>>> "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> <<<<<
-----------------------------------------

"Memoria tenete hanc esse Fabulam et omnino per Iocum et per Simulationem,
itaque te esse non credere verbum solum etsi verum est." [Infantes Aquarum]

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