Written by Joe Pranevich
A few weeks ago, Zork III
fell to the might of my trusty elven sword. That’s four games on our Zork
marathon completed and I remain excited for this series and what comes next. It’s time to take our first official side-trip: Starcross
. Released simultaneously with Zork III
and tied for the mantle of Infocom’s fourth game, Starcross
is another genre-buster for 1982. While Marc Blank proved that text adventures could work for mysteries, Dave Liebling went after hard science fiction. I’ll be playing it because (I am told) it has elements that directly tie it into the Zork
universe, albeit not part of the main series. We’ll have to wait and see.
Right off the bat, Infocom wanted to make Starcross
unlike any game that had come before. Only a few months after introducing the “feelies” with Deadline
and starting to distribute their own materials, Infocom took creative packaging to the next level by utilizing a distinctive “UFO” shape for the release. The “box”, if you can call it that, was a plastic flying saucer. I vaguely remember reading about this gimmick years ago; boxes literally rolled off the shelves. It’s a funny way to start what promises to be a serious game but let’s hope they didn’t pour more creativity into the packaging than the game itself.