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Basically there were only two major text adventure publishers: Infocom from M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts, New England and Magnetic Scrolls from Old England. I would like to talk about the Interactive Fiction Text Adventure Science Fiction Games. There are also magic ones like Enchanter, Sorcerer, the excellent Beyond Zork with LUCK, STRENGTH, DEXTERITY, COMPASSION... attributes implemented in the Beyond Zork Transcript on my site.

 

Infocom's Science Fiction Games included:

  • Obviously dear to my heart: Planetfall. The poster in York, England sold my the game: 'It's not just a job. It's an adventure', and my Father dished up the 30 GBP which was not a inconsiderable sum in 1986. It also had a picture of the Stellar Patrol Officer with a mop and bucket. Since it's probably NEVER going to be released EVER, for reasons best known to Activision (Infocom Cornerstones themselves to death with DBase III on the market and had to sell the rights). And it has the excellent WinFrotz2002.exe (the spell of light) to run it just like that, I'll go into the story line a bit. You are on your Stellar Patrol Ship cleaning up after a Alien Ambassador, then suddenly a blast rocks the ship. Blather your overseer (30 demerits) pegs it leaving you to find a escape pod in time in you can, land safely, and escape when it falls in the ocean. You find a complex (see my 3D technical drawing isometric maps) that starts as a castle, then dorms, then 'are you a planner person or science person' from your loveable '8 year old' robot side kick Floyd. You must fix several systems and run the gauntlet of mutants, and radiation chamber, and a minituration booth to win, and get your cute Red Head. Then COMMS are up again and you're beamed back up again. P.S. when I was down on my luck I worked for a agency and pinned the Planetfall Poster to the cleaning room door in the Art Block. I bet it's still there. And 'Department of Alchemy' in the science Block, from a room in M.I.T. according to Infocom lore and legend. Hunger, and dream sequences also play a part. State of the art tech. then on 330Kbytes of disk space. By Steve Meretsky. The box comes with lots of goodies. They're like good dust to get nowadays. When the internet first started they were selling for 10 GBP without eBay or PayPal. Just the still going 'Used Game Computer Zone'. It won the Nebula award for Science Fiction. I did almost all the game myself except I though the EAST-WEST corridor stopped at the dorms with a wall when there's a entire complex there. I went through most of the 999 combinations to open the door and got access to the conference room with hexanal table and teleport booth with NO CARD.
  • Statationfall is the sequel. You are promoted from dull scrubwork to dull paper work as an officer of the Third Galactic Union. Get forms for forms form... ARRRRGGGGG [SCREAM]. You find you're robot pal Floyd in the robot pool, and wisely choose him to accompany you on the mission OR LOSE before you started with Rex and the other one. It's copy protected PRE INTERNET like it needs it!!!!! Really! So even if you do get a copy you can't punch in the right co-ordinates to get you to the Pulp Factory Paper Spacestation to pick up your forms in the Spacescooter. It requires a form in the packaging. If you do land you find the Station mysteriously abandoned and all the electrical equipment going wrong. I personally drew a blueprint of the Science Sub-Module on my site, the other blueprints come with the package. They is also a doggy 'Wild West' village illegally attached to the Complex with shady dan who has a device to promote you rank. Why not? Grand Fleet Hyper Admiral. I programmed a LCD display linked to my beloved Amstrad PC1512 (512K RAM) computer to display all 0-9 ranks, but couldn't afford the magnetic card reader.
    • Floyd joins up with his new 'best friend' Plato and they go 'exploring'. Floyd also finds Oliver: 'When Oli wake up???’ A Robot being programmed before activation. Also of course by Steve Meretzky. With Footnotes borrowed from Hitchhikers. It stuck EXAMINE CEILING IN PET STORE. I totally ruined the game by looking this INVISICLUE up and not being able to stop.
    • Steve also wrote Spellcasters 101. About a Wizards School and Frat house, mildly interesting but to difficult to solve. Interestingly with graphics (like C64 Hobbit games) but less fun with no goodies.
  • Starcross about a Generation Starship that you find while asteroid mining. You us a map from the goodies to find the r, theta, tou circular co-ordinates for the ship position. Then you must negotiate the airlock. Once inside you find representatives of different civilizations, each with a different coloured rod you need to collect. You can even float in the middle of the ship as the spin pins everything to the inside ‘wall’ but not the center ‘sky’ bit. One puzzle includes two black disks that seem difficult to solve but are actually very simple when you know how. Probably a lot of people got stuck on this. 
  • Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy written with Douglas Adams. Not as good as the book or original BBC Radio and Video versions, but still well worth a try. Includes footnotes which is an interesting add on. The neutromatics vending machines is very difficult to get Arthur Dent his cup of tea. You even get a bit of fluff with the goodies like in the book. Where Douglas got this idea from I don’t know.
  • A Mind Forever Voyaging about a computer/person. The world is in grave danger due to over population so a computer is designed to solve the problems. It has a human like brain only bigger and better so must go through a childhood training period to learn like humans do. It thinks it IS human. And who is to say it is not. The Philosopher De Cartes said: ‘I think therefore I am’.
  • Additionally a Doctor Who game: Karn. Based on "The Brain of Morbius" by Patrick Wigfull. Morbius was once the leader of the High Council of the Timelords. He promised eternal life to his millions of fanatical followers, and came to the planet Karn to seize the Elixir of Life from the Sisterhood... Morbius was seemingly destroyed in a dispersal chamber but his brain had been kept alive and was put in another body..."

INFOCOM BUY OUT THE RIGHTS TO YOUR GAMES AND REPUBLISH. EVEN IF IT'S NO GOODIES AND JUST LOST TREASURE 1 & 2. AND BELIEVE ME THEY ARE LOST. HAVEN'T YOU HEARD OF VENTURE CAPITAL. MONEY IN THE BANK. AND 'GOD BREATHED SCRIPTURE', Timothy II, The Bible. Graham Nelson: INFORM GOD expects nothing less. Thank you. It's a tragedy that science fiction games like Planetfall, Stationfall, Starcross, and Doctor Who's Mind of Morbius are not freely available.

 

David Magnus Ledgard, IMPLEMENTER & TECHMAN

http://infoscripts.tripod.com - Enchanter, Planetfall, Beyond Zork, and Lurking Horror FREE Working Transcripts.

Also has Doctor Who Games. A Tardis has even mysteriously appeared in my old alma arta where I studied Robotics. THE HIGH COUNCIL OF GALIFRAY HAVE POWER!!!!!

Please note for my Spacestation (Planetfall) Transcript type Z or WAIT a few times.