Friday 23 September 2022

Simon the Sorcerer – Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Written by Will Moczarski

Three hours. Three...hours. Yes, you got that right. Three hours of walking all over the game world, trying to find a new hotspot or anything that relates to any of the fetch quests I still had to solve. That was when I noticed that I had revisited most of the screens but not all of them. I never thought about going back to Rapunzel’s tower because that puzzle felt all but solved. But there it was, a massive hotspot called “floorboards” taking up about a fifth of the screen. When I examined it Simon told me they were “solid looking wooden floorboards”. The rest was kind of easy. I did the obvious by dropping the woodworm and they chewed their way through the floor, causing me to land one floor below, then leaving behind another hole in front of me. Luckily I was carrying a ladder and thus the hole was not an obstacle. I emerged in a cave-like room with a tomb propped up against the left wall. When I opened it Simon remarked that the tomb was full of bandages but then he came face to face with a mummy carrying some sort of wand. I had some fairly humourous dialogue options but all of them just came out as “Aaargh!” (you know, like that time Guybrush first met Elaine on Monkey Island).

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Interview: A Few Words With Kevin Pope

Edited by Joe Pranevich

Last time, we began our coverage of Nord and Bert by looking at the first of eight included scenarios. I’ve already played the next two scenarios (I am stuck on the third) and a new gameplay post will be coming in a few days. Before we get there, I want first to share with you a conversation with one of the men most responsible for the distinctive look of the game: Kevin Pope. While it may seem strange to consider the “look” of a 1987 text adventure, Pope’s images– starting with the game’s cover art– seems an almost inseparable part of the experience today. Players pored over Pope’s included illustrations to reveal hints about each chapter’s distinctive style of puzzles. Although the illustrations are spartan, I have become a fan of Pope’s work. 

Kevin was an invaluable resource during the development of our introductory post. He was gracious enough to answer most of my questions, piling on stories and anecdotes beyond what could fit in our brief narrative. With his permission, I have edited our correspondence and assembled them into this mini-interview. Please enjoy, in his own words, a brief discussion with Infocom’s most famous illustrator. 

Saturday 17 September 2022

7th Guest - Cards and Tiles

Written by Reiko

Welcome back to the creepy puzzle-fest that is The 7th Guest. Apologies for the delay in getting through this. It's been a busy summer, but we're now back into the routine of the new school year and back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Last time I had solved every puzzle available at the time, culminating in the basement scene, which surely must allow more puzzles to be unlocked. In trying to find what's new, I look around the first floor a bit, and when I step back into the library, I get a new lengthy scene with all six of the main guests together again, Elinor sitting on the couch and Burden and Edward already standing together behind her. They talk about the creepy things they've heard and seen.
Temple seems like the most sensible one here, except we already saw him kill Edward...
When Heine suggests they should get some dinner, Edward suggests they should have had the soup. Temple suggests they all team up and play by some rules. But Edward insists that Stauf is watching them, and only Stauf knows the rules. This seems like a significant scene, enough that something else should have changed. Sure enough, when I check the map again, the rest of the second floor is all accessible now. I slip through the secret door in the fireplace and start with the room on the bottom right.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Veil of Darkness - Unspoken Curses (Request for Assistance)

 By Zenic Reverie

Discussing the current events with Deirdre
Last we left, Engatz had returned a bloody hammer to Kirill, completing the first task in a prophecy. He responded to the name Kairn with disdain, informing me that was the name of the ancient vampire that lords over the valley. Deirdre offered a token, her scarf, to Engatz in hopes that he would continue to fulfil the prophecy, freeing the land of Kairn's shadowy influence. They exchnaged further pleasantries, hoping for a continued relationship far away once these events were far behind them both (potential foreshadowing detected). On the topic of celebrating, she mentioned how we could break open a rare vintage wine locked away in her father's cellar. Before I headed out, I asked Kirill about wine, but he made no mention of his stock, only pointing me to the local tavern.

Sunday 11 September 2022

What's your story? - Michael

Intro: Ilmari
The rest: Michael

It has been quite a long since we've received answers to our What's your story? -questions, but we were just contacted by a longtime commenter of the blog. He goes by the name Michael, but judging from his profile picture, I suspect this might just be another alias.

I knew I'd seen him somewhere!

Without further ado, Michael, the stage is yours!

Friday 9 September 2022

Missed Classic: Lurking Horror - Amputated Content

Written by Joe Pranevich

It has become something of a tradition for me to dig into the “what ifs” of each Infocom game as I finish it. Unlike most of what we play, we are fortunate that so much Infocom material has been saved (in some cases “leaked”) to allow us to study their work in a way that would not otherwise be possible. With Lurking Horror, we find a game that struggled against too much content, almost from the very beginning. Dave Lebling had big ideas, and the game’s code is sprinkled with comments lamenting the size restrictions of the original ZIP engine. 

Lebling spoke about his wish for more space in an interview with Brass Lantern in 2002:

Stephen Granade: If you had the chance to redo any of your Infocom games, which one would you change? What would you do differently, or would you avoid the game entirely?

Dave Lebling: [...] I'd have loved to have done "The Lurking Horror" as a larger-size game (it was almost the last of the "small" games which had to fit in 84k bytes of disk space). Some good scary stuff got cut out of it or never implemented due to the size restrictions.

So what is this “good scary stuff” do we still know about? Let’s dig in.

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Simon the Sorcerer: No Money Mo' Problems

By Will Moczarski

Obviously it has been some time since I last played Simon the Sorcerer so I decided to start over and make a proper map. I enjoy mapping a lot so it hasn’t been a big hassle and when I started mapping I wondered why I hadn’t done it before. The world seemed so much more coherent now. Also I had always been confused by the close proximity of the dwarf mine and the goblin jail so only then did I discover that they were completely separate environments at all, sharing but one common feature: they’re both situated underground. 

The 2 hours I spent retracing my previous steps were also well spent because I discovered a couple more items and things to do. First of all there’s a small rock on the screen called the “centre of the forest”. It’s not that small but it’s the same colour as its surroundings which is why I have missed it. This time I accidentally hovered above its hotspot with the cursor and thus was able to pick it up and discover the secret message underneath: “beer”. This didn’t help me at first but then I noticed – as mentioned above – that the dwarf mine is not the goblin jail. To be fair it would totally make sense geographically but I must have read the dialogue inside the dwarf mine in passing only because the guard clearly tells me that I’m not a dwarf. Reading my previous post (and some of my older notes) I actually wrote down that I should find a way to dress like a dwarf to enter the mine but somehow I still must have confused dwarves and goblins somehow. Amateur hour at the adventurers guild, right?

When you do read the dialogue more carefully the guard gives you another hint: dwarves have beards. I need to get (or grow) a beard somehow. It’s a good thing that I was already carrying a beard at this point. Why? Because I examined the “Drunken Druid” more closely, too, and figured out that there was a dwarf who was so drunk that he’d fallen asleep so I could cut off his beard with the scissors. Now I don’t mean to harp on it but...well, maybe I do. This is one more puzzle that reminds me a lot of another one from Monkey Island 2 (sawing off the wooden leg when one of the three pirates is asleep). When I cut off the beard I had no clue what I might need it for but after the conversation with the guard it all became clear. 

Saturday 3 September 2022

Missed Classic: Personal Nightmare - Won! (and Final Rating)

By Morpheus Kitami

Ah, metahumor is always great in a serious horror game...

You know, this all turned out a lot easier than I thought it would be. In the sense that this was some unfathomable tanglement of impossibility.

I can talk to Peter in his house, fat lot of good that'll do, and no, he isn't pointing a gun at me

Guess it's time to stake out people's houses. Susan stays at home until about 11:00, then heads over to the right. At midnight she enters/walks past Peter's house. Walking past is a glitch, because she won't appear on the next screen. Well, better go back to the Inn. I keep forgetting it's name of The Dog & the Duck, so much so that I'm not even sure that's right.

This is a pretty cool effect, though the death isn't terribly impressive

As I walk towards the inn, suddenly the scene changes and I can see two headlights. Clearly, whoever ran over Jimmy is now after me. The first time I just get run over, but pretty quickly it's clear that I can move around, with north and south dodging, west and east just resulting in him chasing me. For what purpose? I try to think about how I could possibly solve this.