Thursday 29 November 2018

Waxworks - London Calling

By Deimar

Frederick Abberline's Journal: I am quite concerned with all the deads in Whitechapel and I don’t know why. The dead of the five women has stirred not only the district, but the whole country. But that’s not it. Nor the gruesome manner in which the killings were carried out. No, it something else. As if I had to find him. But why? Why go there and chase a murderer? Because Boris said we must? Who is Boris? And now I am preparing to go out into the night to hunt him. To hunt our brother.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Missed Classic: A Mind Forever Voyaging - Jewel of the Quad-State Area

Written by Joe Pranevich

A Mind Forever Voyaging isn’t like any game that I have played before. It takes its time introducing you to the characters and the plot, encouraging you to explore rather than setting out a stream of puzzles for you to solve. It is content to follow its own rules. I absolutely love that Infocom is unafraid to experiment with their conventions; it makes their games a joy to experience for the first time. If you think back on how different Deadline and Suspended were from the puzzle-adventures that preceded them, you have an inkling for how I feel experiencing this game for the first time. It might even be a game that is best experienced in a second playthrough. As I wrap up another five or so hours of playing, I am just now seeing the shape of the game that Steve Meretzky has built and it is impressive. I’m just not sure yet how it will play out as an “adventure game” and whether I will run out of patience before I run out of game. Only time will tell.

As we left off last week, I had just entered the 2031 simulation for the very first time with a set of tasks to complete, nine events or places that I need to make recordings of, and return them to my boss/creator, Dr. Perelman. I had mapped out 30 locations, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. This is a big game, the first that has come close to the 150+ rooms of the original mainframe Zork. Welcome to Rockvil, the “Jewel of the Quad-State Area”!

Sunday 25 November 2018

The Year Ahead - 1993

By the TAG Team

It's again that magical time, when our community of readers gets to spend their well-earned CAPs and decide what is to be expected during another year of TAG. This time the stakes are on 1993, a year remembered fondly by all friends of good scifi TV shows, because then began the on-going search for paranormal events and alien life and government conspiracies trying to cover them up. Yes, I am talking about the truth that is out there.

Unfortunately we couldn't pay David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson
 for appearing on our blog, so here's instead the crew of seaQuest DSV

Friday 23 November 2018

Island of Dr. Brain - From Beach to Beach

Written by Reiko

We are on the hunt for Dr. Brain's special battery for his latest secret project. His pilot has dropped us off (using a parachute!) onto Dr. Brain's private island, and we must now tackle the piles of puzzles between us and our goal. The copy protection requires that I enter map coordinates every time I start up the game, but of course with the manual that's trivial. In fact, I think the version I have has had the puzzle nerfed such that clicking anywhere is automatically considered correct.

Instructions for the first real puzzle.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Missed Classic 62: A Mind Forever Voyaging (1985) - Introduction

Written by Joe Pranevich

I keep just missing all of the possible holiday tie-ins. Wishbringer, as it turns out, would have been absolutely perfect for Halloween with its child-friendly monsters and campy darkness. A Mind Forever Voyaging could have been an “Election Day Special” to connect with the recent midterm elections in the United States on November 6. I’m not sure exactly what it says that a game is a good tie-in to an election, but it makes some thematic sense. Truth is, and I’ve only played this game for a bit over two hours for the introduction, this game isn’t like any that I’ve seen before. I have trust in Steve Meretzky, but this one won’t be our usual fare.

This seems especially odd in light of the overall Infocom story at this point. For all that the Business Products writing was on the wall when Wishbringer was published, A Mind Forever Voyaging had the writing on the pink slips themselves. September 1985 saw the start of layoffs at the company which would continue at regular intervals through the end. It was essential that Infocom produce another hit, and the previous two games had been some of the most successful in the company’s history, but AMFV wasn’t-- and probably could not have been, for reasons I’ll get to in a moment-- the commercial success that they needed. Maybe in the era of President Reagan, Meretzky had hoped to stoke controversy and have the game go “viral”. Maybe Infocom had hoped that inventing a new genre would pave the way to new markets. Maybe no one was watching the store and this was just a vanity project that went too far. I have no idea, but I am curious how this one is going to play out.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Waxworks - Walk Like an Egyptian

By Deimar

Prince Cassim's Journal: For Hathor I will have my revenge against my brother. He pledged allegiance to the God of Death, Anubis, bringing shame to our family. He even had the audacity of becoming the High Priest and constructed a pyramid in my territories. But worst of all, he has just kidnapped my beloved princess. What’s her name? At the verge of our wedding! We have to find him and kill him. It can only be us, so said uncle Boris. Wait a second, who is Boris?

The people have spoken and so I listen. And the people have decided a very weird order for my playthrough. But I am getting ahead of myself. Our first stop through history begins with the original twins, the Egyptian High Priest of Anubis and prince Cassim of… Egypt? My guess is as good as yours.

Where is Brendan Fraser when you need him?

Sunday 18 November 2018

Amazon - Final Rating

Written by TBD

It's time to see how Amazon: Guardians of Eden fares in our PISSED rating. In my rating I'll be specifically comparing it to the developer's predecessor, Martian Memorandum.

Do I feel like I was treated to an incredible journey of adventure? Let's find out.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Missed Classic: Wishbringer - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

Last week in Wishbringer, I reached a dead end. While I had managed to do just about everything that I think I needed to do in the game, including get the password to the Evil One’s tower and break into the town’s abandoned library, I did not have all of the pieces to put the solutions in order. I’m faced with the fact that I need to restore back, at least a little ways, and that is making me cranky. Sure, lots of games that we have played so far have dead-man-walking scenarios, but somehow this one felt like it would not. I should have been more careful. If only the password that I used to get into the tower worked more than once!

On the whole, I cannot complain too much. This has certainly been one of the most fun games that I have played in this marathon so far, by a designer that I should have expected it from (knowing his future on Loom), but didn’t (having just played his first game, Adventure in the 5th Dimension). While I’m not happy restoring, I will be glad to rescue this kitty and put another game in my marathon to bed.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

What's Your Story - Leo Velles

Answers: Leo Velles
Introduction and Captions: Leo Velles (and TBD)

Leo is apparently a lion, but looks more like a mouse to me.

It's always nice to have new people discover our blog, but rather than introduce Leo myself, I'll let him introduce himself...

Sunday 11 November 2018

Missed Classic: Wishbringer - Now With More Evil

Written by Joe Pranevich

Bring out the goatees!

You can say this about Infocom games: they sure have a diverse set of goals. Whether it is to discover a treasure, solve a mystery, escape a planet, defeat a wizard, or explore a ruin, we have done it all. And in Wishbringer we have one more epic quest: rescue a cat. It’s a fantastic start to the game, even if the cat has been captured by someone known only as “The Evil One” who lives in a place known as “The Tower”. If more games revolved around rescuing cats, I’d be pretty happy.

As we ended last week, I had just made it on time (barely!) to the “magick shoppe” in North Festeron and delivered what turned out to be a ransom note to the shopkeeper. No sooner had I done so however than the world went through a strange change. Under the cover of fog, the Post Office where I started my adventure has been transformed into an intimidating looking tower. Could it be The Tower? I have no idea, but with no other options it’s time to go down off the mountain and see what the heck is going on.

Friday 9 November 2018

Game 102: Island of Dr. Brain (1992) - Introduction

Written by Reiko

Who's ready for another Dr. Brain puzzler? It's been almost three years since I played Castle of Dr. Brain, and now it's time to hit the Island!

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Game 101: Waxworks (1992) - Introduction

Written by Deimar

I am starting to think I am the place adventure game sagas go to die. This is the fourth saga I am closing and this time we can even add the company behind it to the list of casualties. Well, it was more like a rebranding. But the fact that this is the last game of Horror Soft as we know it is still relevant. So, without further ado, I give you Waxworks.

I am already missing Elvira’s... erm… personality. This one can’t hold a candle to her

Monday 5 November 2018

Amazon – WON!

Written by TBD.

Jason Roberts Journal Entry #5: I'd guessed I needed an arrow to enter the secret door – but for some reason two perfectly obvious arrows that I saw in a treehouse weren't the ones I needed – I needed one that was hiding behind a bush – Bravo, Amazon jungle – you outsmarted my logic and observation with your unnecessarily specific arrow requirements.

Chapter 12 cont'd

Okay, let's get this confession out of the way early.

After trying everything I could possibly think of behind the waterfall (and reloading my saved game multiple times because I can only try a few things before dying) I was totally out of ideas.

Rather than request assistance without having made any progress, I decided it was time to test out the game's hint system. I turned hints on and question marked some of the items in the area.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Missed Classic 61: Wishbringer (1985) - Introduction

Written by Joe Pranevich

When Wishbringer launched, the writing was already on the wall for Infocom. Cornerstone had been thrashing in the marketplace for five months and a successful game launch-- or two or three-- was the injection the company needed to keep its feet on the ground and its future focused on games rather than business products. At least in some respects, they succeeded: Wishbringer was the highest-selling new game other than Hitchhiker’s Guide, and it would eventually receive both a “Solid Gold” release as well as a novelization. And yet… before starting into this series, I knew absolutely nothing about this game. It had even been relegated to the second “Lost Treasures” set alongside such classics as Cutthroats and Seastalker. How exactly could a game simultaneously be Infocom’s most successful launch at their most dangerous time… and also fade away quite so quickly?

My guess, having not played it yet, is that it has something to do with Wishbringer’s status as the second “Introductory” (previously called “Junior”) title, a successor to Seastalker to bring kids in the door and get them hooked on Interactive Fiction. Am I going to find the game too childish for lasting appeal? This is also Brian Moriarty’s first game for Infocom having done a tour of duty as a backend software engineer working on 6502 systems. I wrote a long introduction to his career last week, as part of my review of Adventure in the 5th Dimension. If you skipped that one because you never heard of the game, please check it out. Mr. Moriarty had finally achieved his dream job; that is the story of how he got there.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Spellcasting 301: Spring Break - Final Rating

By Deimar

And here we are, another game in the bag. In retrospective, I have a good feeling about the game in general, although it is worse than when I started. The first sections of the game, where you are exploring such a vast land, getting to know the different ecosystems and its people, is truly great. But very soon you start to notice some stagnation, exploration becomes sparse and, simply put, there is not that much to do or enjoy.

It doesn’t help that the humour fell completely flat on me. I didn’t find any of the situations the game places you in worth a laugh, at most just a giggle or a smile of complicity. And I am a bit conflicted about the reason for that. The Digital Antiquarian for example simply states that this game is not that fun regarding its style of comedy. Not even as a product of its time. However, reading some reviews and comments in other sites, like for example Adventure Classic Gaming, seems like the game has a fan base. On my part, I tend to agree with the former. Comedy, as most other things, evolves with time and what at some point might have looked hilarious and daring can now be seen as quite plain and boring. But I don’t think this is the case here. I really think this game was not that fun to begin with even on release.

Weiner jokes, that’s a low bar even for 1992