Between interactive fiction and first person graphical adventure games, there were some interesting experiments in the genre: What I like to call Graphical Parser games. We've already seen at least one style of this subgenre played by Trickster (ICOM's Deja Vu), but there were at least two more, from two other companies: Legend Entertainment (At least one of which, Frederik Pohl's Gateway, is on the list), and the Magnetic Scrolls games (Which are not.)
Magnetic Scrolls was founded in 1984 by Anita Sinclair, Ken Gordon, and Hugh Steers, originally wanting to develop games for the Sinclair QL (A computer many won't have heard of outside of the UK), but moving quite quickly to the Commodore and Atari line of computers on seeing their utility. Their first four games were well received, for the most part, but it is the fifth I'm going to be looking at, because it is the first game that received the Magnetic Windows treatment that made them somewhat different: Wonderland (1990), published for the Atari ST, PC, the Acorn Archimedes, and the Amiga line of computers by Virgin Interactive, and written by David Bishop.
I'm specifically going to be using the Atari ST version for this Missed Classics review, because it highlights how much hard work was put into the technical end of things. Let's begin with a shot of the Atari ST Operating System, CRYSTAL (Precursor to GEM), also affectionately known as The Little Green Desktop.
Wonderland is, as you might have guessed from the title, loosely based on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, and, if it weren't for these bells and whistles, would firmly be placed in the “Text Adventure” portion of Interactive Fiction. But its features are quite powerful: A map, drawn as you explore. A window each for your own inventory, and all the items you can see (More on that when we get there). A graphical window (Sometimes animated, and always drawn from a preliminary description of the scene by many different pixel artists), and finally, the parser window itself. All of them are resizable, movable, and can be closed or opened at will. I'll try not to keep things too cluttered for the screenshots, however, generally keeping only the graphics and text windows open at the same time.
I'll be working from memory, as I have played this before, but the game also has a hint system... So, apart from an example or two to highlight the use of the hint system, I'll be comparing your inputs to the game's, and the usual hint rules apply.
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.