Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Game 87: Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (VGA Remake) (1992) – Introduction

Written by Alex

Alright people, let me fire up my computer, have I got a treat for you. You see, I’m finally going to get out of Sierra Land and talk to you all about a cool little game called Lure of the--

Oh brother, who’s at the door now? Maybe they’ll go away if I ignore them. Where was I?

Lure of the Temptress is a point-and-click adventure developed by Revolution Software, a British company also known for—

I guess they won’t go away. Looks like I’m going to have to go give whoever this is a piece of my mind.

Hold on a second.

*gets up to answer door*

Look here pal, I’m trying to do a review oh my God!

“Slight change of plans, buddy!”

Monday, 26 June 2017

Hook - Won!, Final Rating, and More

Written by Joe Pranevich

The final battle begins!

Last week, Peter Pan got his groove back: we were able to recapture his old memories and remind him of his happy thoughts, his family. This allowed Peter to reclaim the leadership of the Lost Boys from Rufio and he reclaimed his sword before flying off to Pirate Town to rescue his kids and confront Captain Hook.

Before we start, I mentioned last week that I had read Peter and Wendy, the original 1911 novel, and was considering watching either Disney’s animated Peter Pan or the actual Hook film. Since this post won the game, I skipped the cartoon and went straight for Steven Spielberg’s Hook. I did not watch the film until after playing and writing down my rating so I promise that it didn’t interfere with the score. I’m going to conclude playing the game, talk about the movie briefly, and then finish up with the score.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Kyrandia - Snakes on a Tree

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Brandon’s journal - entry #2 : Okay, I know have a perfectly useless amulet and Brynn seems to have disappeared somewhere! I certainly hope the other mystics will be able to help me. First I have to go see Darm and Brandywine, then I’ll try and get access to these darn caves…

We’ve left Brandon at the entrance of the Timbermist Woods. The first screen after the entrance leads to a big hut which seems to be the abode of Darm and his pet dragon Brandywine. Maybe they’ll be able to help me…

Worst roommate ever

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Lords of Time - Won! (With Final Rating)

Written by Ilmari

7) Scifi zone

It’s a pity that this time zone has just a picture of my time machine

I ended my last post by complaining how repetitive the time zones had become and by wishing that something new would appear in the last three time zones. The seventh time zone taught me that I should stop wishing for things, since in worst case my wishes could come true.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hook - Island of Misfit Boys

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back! Last week, our lawyer-turned-hero had two of his teeth pulled, drugged a pirate with cocoa, and stole pirate clothes all to gain access to the famous Jolly Roger, Captain Hook’s ship, to rescue his kids. Making it there wasn’t enough: Hook easily defeated me but Tinkerbell argued that she could get me into fighting shape in three days. Hook let me go so he could have more of a challenge but still forced me to walk the plank. It’s been a fun adventure so far, but I am curious where this will go next.

As I was playing and working on this post, I also tucked into Peter and Wendy, the original Peter Pan novel from 1911. (The play came first but it was modified many times in its theatrical run.) Honestly, I do not think it will help much and puts me in a strange position where I am catching the obscure references to the original book but have no idea of even the big connections to the Hook film. Depending on how things go, I will try to either watch Disney’s animated Peter Pan or Hook for next week’s post. My first observation: this book is much darker than I expected, very focused on topics like death, memory, and the role of parents. It’s a fun read, but somehow I didn’t expect a book that would make me think so much. More on that in a bit. For now, I think I have to help Mr. Banning to stop drowning…

Friday, 16 June 2017

Kyrandia - Romancing the Stones

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Brandon’s journal - entry #1 : Damn Malcolm! This monster has turned my grandfather Kallak to stone! And now the wooden wall of his hut starts talking to me telling me about my destiny and how I’m supposed to fight this jester devil and save the world! Now if I could only find a way to read the magic note that I found on grandfather’s desk? Maybe Brynn will be able to help me…

Note : having experienced a tragic MacBook crash, this post will be shorter than usual in order to be able to release it (somewhat) on schedule. Sorry about that guys, I promise you a full-length post for next week! -Alfred

First of all and without further ado : playing Kyrandia nowadays is still a blast! The MIDI music and the low resolution graphics are still as beautiful and enchanting as it was before. Pixel art is still what’s holding up best, especially when you compare it to digitized graphics or early 3D ones! But enough of this for now, let’s try and figure these puzzles out…

Pretty hut, and with a natural elevator to boot!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Missed Classic: Lords of Time - All Caves Look Alike

Written by Ilmari

3) Flintstones Era

I landed on a prairie, with large animals grazing around me - dinosaurs. I particularly ran into one allosaurus and one tyrannosaurus, which both started to follow me and finally had me for a lunch, if I happened on the same screen with them. The obvious answer was to lead the allosaurus to the tyrannosaurus and watch the two take care of each other.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Hook - (Won’t You Take Me to) Pirate Town

Written by Joe Pranevich

Clap if you believe in faeries!

Our game begins in a town full of pirates. If you missed the introduction, our protagonist is Peter Banning, a boring and career-obsessed lawyer with two kids. While visiting London, his kids are kidnapped by the evil Captain Hook and taken to Neverland. Mr. Banning learns that faeries are real and that he is actually Peter Pan, grown to middle-age and without his memories. Tinkerbell flies him off to Neverland and they land right smack in the middle of pirate-central. Why there and not with the Lost Boys? I have no idea! In fact, the only reason I know this much is because I vaguely remember the movie as the opening cinematic is sparse on the details. If I will need to recall the film to understand key plot elements throughout the whole game, I may get into trouble quickly.

My first impressions are not too bad. The opening area that I find myself in has a good respect for the Peter Pan mythos: the Crocodile, Hook’s ticking nemesis, stands stuffed in the center of the square as a sign that the pirates have won in Pan’s absence. The whole town seems to be made of parts of ships pulled together, perhaps from a long history of shipwrecks on the Neverland shores. Tinkerbell is my constant companion, hovering around Peter’s head, but the pirates don’t seem to pay much attention to either her or me. What am I supposed to be doing?

Friday, 9 June 2017

Game 82 : Legend of Kyrandia - Introduction (1992)

Written by Alfred n’ the Fettuc

Aaaaah, Legend of Kyrandia. One of my all-time favorites! I don’t know why but the first game has always evoked images of my childhood, be it the wonderful music, the lush colours, the zany characters, the thoughtful puzzles… Needless to say I’ll be wearing huge rose-tinted glasses on this one, or I’ll find some detail point that annoys me and isn’t as good as I remember (fireberries, anyone?) and I’ll flay this piece of crap. Only the next few weeks will tell, but I’m certainly curious about playing through this one again all these years after.

That’s what I call a cover that screams adventure and danger. There is even Tinkerbell in it!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Missed Classic 41: Lords of Time (1984) - Introduction

Written by Ilmari

When it comes to Missed Classics, it's obvious that Joe's huge formerly-just-Zork-and-now-probably-whole-of-Infocom-Marathon is the main attraction right now. Because Joe is currently doing another gig in the Main Game Division (Hook), it's time for another warm-up show with a game from the company known as the British Infocom, Level 9. Braze yourselves for Lords of Time.

Why exactly does Father Time carry a scythe?

Monday, 5 June 2017

Game 85: Hook - Introduction (1992)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Other than text adventures, if there is one thing I might be becoming known for here on TAG, it is playing licensed games. It was not deliberate! Yet, as I sit down to play my tenth licensed game (from James Bond to Star Trek)-- and am on the hook to play several more in 1992-- I am optimistic. Sure, these titles haven’t all been gems but our recent playthrough of Gateway proves that a licensed title can be one of the best games of the year. Even Consulting Detective, for its flaws, was a tremendously influential title. I know absolutely nothing about Hook. Will it be a surprise success? Or will I be pulling out my fingernails? Only one way to find out!

Hook does not have a deep adventure game pedigree. Published by Ocean Software (later to be bought by Infogrames and now branded as Atari), it is one of dozens of licensed games produced by that company since the early 80s. Nearly all of those were action games of one type or another and off our radar. Of the key credits, designers Bobby Earl and Kevin Oxland plus producer Jon Woods, only Mr. Woods had ever worked an adventure game before: a 1985 text adventure based on The Neverending Story. Of course, there is a first time for everything and by 1992 there were many fine examples of adventure games for new designers to take inspiration from.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fascination - Final Rating

Written by Ilmari

We reviewers have rarely explained in detail our methods of deciding the individual scores for each category. I am sure there are as many ways to do it as we have reviewers, but personally I like to pick a few games to compare with the game I am rating. If the game is part of some series, I’ll choose an earlier part of the series, just to see if there has been any progression or regression. Even if the game is a part of a series, but especially if it isn’t, I’ll also take as a reference point a game that has something similar to the game I’m rating, but which is otherwise not related to it. Finally, I want to choose game reviewed by another person, just so my ratings would be in line with what the other reviewers are doing. Thus, when I have rated games by Level 9, I have made comparisons to my own earlier reviews of their games, but I’ve also checked what ratings Joe Pranevich has given to Infocom and Sierra Hi-Res games with similar themes.

In this particular instance, I’ve chosen to compare ratings of Fascination to my own ratings of the earlier Coktel Vision erotic adventure, Geisha, and their slightly better game, Legend of Djel, but also to the ratings of another Coktel Vision game, Bargon Attack, reviewed by Alfred ‘n the Fettuc, and to ratings of a French adventure game from a completely different company, Eternam, reviewed by Aperama. Let’s see what will be the result!

Contestant number 1: Fascination

Contestant number 2: Geisha

Contestant number 3: Legend of Djel

Contestant number 4: Bargon Attack

Contestant number 5: Eternam

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Dark Seed - Final Rating

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

This is going to be a tough one. Dark Seed is a game that’s particularly average on a lot of points, be it writing or puzzle design. However, the universe and ambiance is kinda compelling so it lasts in your mind after you’ve finished. This game as a sort of je ne sais quoi (pardon my french) that partly explains its cult status despite all its shortcomings, but I’m not 100% sure it will show in the PISSED rating. Without further ado, let’s begin the judging!

A little shower and we’re off.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Missed Classic: Planetfall - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

Oh boy! Are we going to try something dangerous now?

Last week, we continued our Planetfall adventure and solved many of the game’s early mysteries: how to get food from the kitchen, how to cross a ravine using a ladder, and even how to fix malfunctioning communications equipment using color-coded chemicals. (Better than colored rods!) Despite not helping in any way, Floyd is growing on me and I increasingly see him as a fun sidekick. At the end of the last post, we had just worked out how to use an underground train to cross over to another base on a second island. What will we find inside?

I warned you last week, but it bears repeating: Planetfall is one of those adventure classics that you can only play once. Sure, go ahead and peek at the score graphic if you want, but if you ever plan to play this game, the spoilers that I’m going to spoil here may be best left unspoiled. If you have played already or don’t mind learning the truth, read on!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Dark Seed - Won!

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #4 : I’ve made it! By removing their spaceship and destroying the mirror, I’ve finally been able to trap the Ancients in their cursed dimension! The Keeper of the Scrolls provided me with pills in order to deal with the embryo in my head and even sent the beautiful librarian my way… Now if only someone could buy this house off my hands...

As I was suspecting last time, I was very close to the endgame and very far at the same time, because I was once again in a dead-end situation. Turns out you could put several items under the cell pillow and not just the pin, allowing you to successfully keep part of your inventory before having everything stolen from you. I would have loved to find that by myself but of course, I had to admit I was stuck once again and did look at the hints Ilmari gave my on my second gameplay post. His third hint in the “Jail” hint thread was that I could only put three things under the pillow. It meant I could put more than one thing! That’s kinda obvious I blame myself for not at least try to do this by myself.

Stupid pillow

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Fascination - Tramp Stamp on a Bare Buttock (Request for Assistance)

Written by Ilmari

Happened in the previous episode: While Doralice had thought that ice cubes were a great hiding place for an inhibition lowering drug, he hadn’t foreseen that his fling, Robaire de la Cafetiere, would consume the ice cubes, together with the dangerous substance, becoming then a mindless rapist. And although she had been clever enough not to hand out the other two vials of the same drug to a suspicious inspector in a wheelchair, she had been careless enough to contact Lou Dale, an erotic photographer, who had just took some photos of Kenneth Miller, son of Jeffrey Miller, the inventor of the dangerous drug. Gangsters hired by a crooked plastic surgeon, Peter “Doc” Hillgate”, had planted a bug on Lou’s phone and had at once captured Lou after Doralice made her phone call. And although Doralice was able to knock out Lou’s guard with a homemade gas bomb, she still hadn’t figured out that Doc had used Lou’s photos to switch Kenneth with a completely different guy

...and now she’s about to meet Kenneth Miller

Monday, 22 May 2017

Missed Classic: Planetfall - Leavin’ on a Midnight Train to Lawanda

Written by Joe Pranevich

Which bed to sleep in tonight?

Last week, I kicked off my explorations of Planetfall, the sixth stop on the “Great Zork Marathon.” The game opened with a brief on-rails sequence where I was taunted by a petty superior officer for not cleaning the floors properly, but quickly became something very different when our starship blew up. I fled in an escape pod and crash landed in an abandoned military base on an unknown planet with only a spare towel and some tasty goo to survive with. Don’t panic! As I explored the base, I discovered many locked doors and elevators, earthquake damage, and a new best front: Floyd, a helpful but childish robot who runs off at odd times and likes to write on walls with crayons. As I ended my last post, night had just fallen and I retreated to an empty dormitory to sleep. I’m running out of food but I had just discovered a key to the lower elevators. That’s where I’ll start today.

But before I go, a word of advice: if you haven’t played Planetfall before, you may want to stop reading and pick this up. I won’t have any of the best spoilers in this post, but this is a game that is worth experiencing for yourself unspoiled. Another challenge I have is properly communicating the tone of the game. Much of what I have glossed over, the mundane exploration of the alien base mixed and the slow realization that you will die without rescue, creates a tension that adds to the solving of typical adventure puzzles. It’s well-written in a way that I doubt I can capture very well. I’m having a ton of fun and I hope you do as well.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Fascination - Aphrodisiac in Orifice

Written by Ilmari

High-class CEOs put their numbers in Who’s Who, low-class erotic photographers don’t

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Dark Seed - Stranger Things

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #3 : I’ve finally met the strange being that’s sending me messages and clues from the Dark World, the Keeper of Scrolls. With her help, I’ll have to destroy the Ancient Race and save the world… and all of that before the Alien Embryo I have in my brain blows my head off!

Before starting this post I wanted to tell you that I’m pretty sure I’m really close to the end of the game, however I’ve hit another roadblock and considering I wanted to avoid using any more clues and try to figure out one or two things for myself in this game, it might lead to a kinda short final gameplay post. After last post, I’ve spent quite a lot of time running in circles in the game, utterly and completely stuck, before resorting to read the three hints Ilmari left me after my first gameplay post.

I have no idea what a Chanague Cointreauchet is but I’m pretty sure ANY wine from 1961 would be exactly my cup of tea.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Missed Classic 40: Planetfall - Introduction (1983)

Written by Joe Pranevich

When I was a kid, one of the boxed sets of games that my family picked up for me was the Zork Anthology, a 1994 collection of the what someone at Activision considered the “Zork” games. This package included the original Zork trilogy, Zork Zero, Beyond Zork, and… surprisingly… Planetfall. Looking back on this now, it’s clear not a ton of thought was put into this: the set didn’t include either the Enchanter series nor the ZorkQuest games. They probably didn’t intend to imply that that Planetfall existed within the Zork universe, but it was enough to lodge this particular misapprehension firmly in my brain for decades. When the time came for my marathon here, I added Planetfall to the list even though I knew better. Who knows? It might be connected after all.

Last time out, I took a break from my marathon to play Suspended, a dystopian science-fiction game and Infocom’s sixth title. 1983 marked a huge year for Infocom, a company that had never released more than two games per year suddenly had five. After Suspended came The Witness, a game that Ilmari reviewed last year, and then Planetfall. Although Ilmari already looked at The Witness, I wanted to come to Planetfall with the full Infocom experience so I also played and then wrote about my experiences with that game. You can find it as a special bonus post here. Spoiler: I do not like it as much as Ilmari did.

Planetfall is the first game by adventure gaming legend Steve Meretzky. We’ve seen his work (in various roles) on the Spellcasting series and Gateway; we’ll also be seeing him soon in Leather Goddesses and Rex Nebular, not to mention at least three more stops on the Zork marathon. He came to Infocom as a game tester and, thanks in large part to Planetfall, became one of their top designers. I’m thrilled to be able to experience his first game once again.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Dark Seed - Dark City

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #2 : After all these weird clues, I’ve finally gained access to this strange dark alien world. It seems my predecessor in this house went crazy because of them, and I’m starting to worry if the horrible nightmares I’m having are just bad dreams or something more ominous… I’ll try to get to the bottom of this before these headaches kill me!

Since my last play post, I was able to find something else to do before moving on to day 2 : In the garage, I tried using the hand icon on the car to enter it but to no avail. It’s just that I was using the wrong icon. Simply “moving” in the car was enough to enter it. Now that I write about it, it kinda makes sense, but it proves that I have to be careful to use all the icons on things before dismissing something as useless. Entering the car, I can find a pair of gloves in the glovebox and… a radio! The clue from the library book told me to go to “tune to the right station” but all I can get is music. Maybe something else will happen on the radio later.

Honk if you want to find a purpose in this game!

Onward to day 2!

Monday, 8 May 2017

KGB - Final Rating

Written by Torch

Well, here we are. My first attempt at applying the PISSED rating to an adventure game. I’m slightly awestruck and hope I won’t skew the scale too much or otherwise make a complete fool out of myself.

Without further ado, the categories:

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Dark Seed - Groundhog Day

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #1 : That’s it I’ve finally found the house of my dreams where I’ll be able to write my first best-seller. Funny how cheap it was. The real estate agent didn’t even try to negotiate when I lowered the price. It’s remote, calm and old, perfect for my needs. Now if I can only find some aspirin in order to remove this horrible headache I have since I’ve made this terrible nightmare…

The first minutes in Dark Seed perfectly gives the tone for the rest of the game. We begin with a quite jarring nightmare scene where aliens split Mike’s head open and put some kind of embryo in it. The Alien comparison is still accurate, even if this way is kinda even scarier than the facehuggers.

Even more horrifying : Mike’s moustache.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Dune - Final Rating

Written by Reiko

I suspect Dune is going to be a mixed bag. While I certainly enjoyed its blend of story and strategy, it's a rather different sort of game than the usual kind of adventure game we see. Let's dive into the categories to break down what it did well or poorly and where the adventure scale doesn't really address its features.

Puzzles and Solvability

Right away, we have to consider the question of whether the interactions in Dune are really puzzles. If we consider that adventure games include dialogue puzzles, then perhaps they are, except that in most cases, there are no choices in the dialogues: I can choose to talk to someone or not, or ask them to join me or stay there, but if I'm speaking to the right person at the right time, then I'll get the next piece of information, and the story will advance: there are no choices about what to say.

With Gurney, getting directions to the next sietch from the Fremen.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Game 81 : Dark Seed - Introduction

Written by Alfred n’ the Fettuc

Horror video games have always been a thing. They can be traced back to as far as 1982 for graphic horror games with 3d Monster Maze and probably before that with text adventure games that I don’t know about. A lot of them rely on jump scares (Five Nights at Freddy’s, I’m looking at you) but few dabble with psychological horror, at least before the technology was really able to plunge you into horrific universes and bring you games you don’t want to play alone at night like Amnesia or Fatal Frame. Introduce the game that was ranked 6th of Gametrailer’s “scariest video games of all time”, despite being the oldest one of their selection: Dark Seed.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Dune - Rendezvous with Fremen (Won!)

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #4: "No force in the galaxy can stand against me now. Dune with its precious spice is mine. The Harkonnens are no more and even the Emperor will never be a threat again. And I will make at least part of Dune green, for my mother, and for the family I will have with Chani."

Last time, I left off with one sietch struck by a plague that was deliberately spread by the Harkonnens. Fortunately, Chani offered to cure it, but she asked Paul to leave her there by herself to reduce distractions. I would have thought she'd be more of a distraction to him, but nevermind.

The troops that were already at the sietch when the plague hit are out of commission, but other troops can move through the sietch without trouble. Since Gurney is still there too, I continue training a few of the other nearby troops. I also spend some time visiting troops in other areas and readjusting the locations of the spice harvesters.


But when I return to that sietch after I get the message from Chani that the plague is cured, I find her missing! Now I know why the plot needed me to be elsewhere... Soon after that, Thufir informs me that a message has arrived at the palace. I rush back to find another taunting message from Feyd-Rautha, the Harkonnen heir. He has stolen Chani away!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

KGB - The Waiting Game

Written by Torch

We’re still in chapter 2. In my previous post, I had to get rid of a dead body, interrogate prostitutes and foreign agents, and finally I got to trash a hotel room, rockstar style. No wonder I was dead tired by the time I got back to my hotel room. I emptied my pockets of hard and pointy objects, and threw myself on the bed.

Guess who found the chainsaw fuel

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

KGB - The Trouble with Viktor

Written by Torch

I’m still in chapter 2. During my previous session, I met a mystery contact, who I refer to as Cut-throat, based on the phrase he used to identify himself. I don’t know who he works for yet. Could be an organization, or someone independent. Nevertheless, I provided him with some info, and he returned the favor. I’m now back in my hotel room, right after our meeting, waiting for my Department P mission controller to show up at 7.30 pm.

Well, there’s no time to rest. At exactly 7.30, I hear a knock on the door. It’s the controller, Major Savinkov, and he has apparently decided to bring me a house-warming ( or rather hotel-warming ) gift, in the form of a dead body. Swell...

Gee, thanks for bringing in more work, major.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Dune - The Demolished Duke

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #3: "My power and range is greatly increasing. I will soon be able to bring the full force of the Fremen against the Harkonnens. I just need to maintain my focus even in the face of certain distractions. Still, I'm so pleased that Stilgar thought to bring me to Chani. She is a wonderful help and I want her by my side always."

So my main objective right now is to get my western troops trained and equipped and launch an offensive against nearby Harkonnen fortresses. I also need to keep my eyes open for more information about villages where I might be able to get more ornithopters.

The army troop that I set to "espionage" found a Harkonnen fortress just to the north of my northern sietches, but eventually he also discovered it had three heavily-armed sets of troops, so Thufir's instruction to attack from the west is a good one. I sent the troop off to join the ones in the west instead of continuing the espionage and potentially attracting attention from the Harkonnens.

Meanwhile, I still didn't know where the villages were, but I finally went back to my fortress and realized I hadn't talked to Harah for awhile. She remembered about a village located "in the fish's mouth" and suggested I'd have to look for it from an orni. When I looked at the map, I saw immediately what she was talking about: there's a rock formation shaped like a fish some ways southwest of the fortress.

The smuggler will sell me the orni I needed.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Missed Classic 39: Suspended (1983)

By Joe Pranevich

Over the past several months, we have followed a surprisingly complete history of Infocom through my reviews of the Zork marathon plus Ilmari’s look at Deadline and other early mystery games. For me, this has been a revelation both in how amazing these games hold up today as well as filling in much more of the early history of adventure games. When Trickster played King’s Quest so many years ago, he did so without first seeing any of its antecedents, Colossal Cave or the Hi-Res Adventures. We’ve already traced the formation of Infocom through mainframe Zork and its first five games but when it came time for number six, they charted a new course.

The five previous games (three Zorks, Deadline, and Starcross) were all the brain-children of two men: Marc Blank and Dave Lebling, the founders and creative geniuses behind Infocom. To keep up with demand, the pair worked on multiple games simultaneously but by 1983 it was obvious that they needed to recruit outside talent to grow. Sierra’s own Ken and Roberta Williams went through a similar transition in their Hi-Res Adventure series, handling the reins to their first outside developer with their fourth game, Cranston Manor. (A partially-completed review of that game remains in my drafts folder. I hope to be able to share it with you eventually.)

This is where Mike Berlyn comes in. He wasn’t part of the MIT community that coalesced into the original team, rather he was a published writer with three sci-fi novels under his belt (The Integrated Man, Crystal Phoenix, and Blight, released in 1980 and 1981) plus two sci-fi text adventures, Oo-Topis (1981) and Cyborg (1981). His fiction explored human-computer interaction and cloning, with more than a bit of horror mixed in. While he was an accomplished Apple II programmer, he didn’t have the “hard computer science” education that was the hallmark at Infocom. Bringing him into the Infocom fold, a company already priding itself on its literary aspirations, seemed like a match made in heaven. The output was one of the most innovative and different games ever released by Infocom: Suspended.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Call for Questions for Muriel Tramis

Written by Ilmari

Although we have had a bit of a love-hate relationship with French adventure gaming, I am sincerely of the opinion that a history of its early days would be an interesting field of study. Careful readers of our Missed Classics might have seen that I’ve done my share in trying to make this otherwise rather forgotten era more accessible. I have especially followed the career of Muriel Tramis, interesting not just as one of the first female game designers, but also as probably the first game designer hailing from Martinique.

Her official LinkedIn -picture
This remarkable person worked for Tomahawk, subsidiary of Coktel Vision, which later became a part of the enlarging empire of Sierra. In what might be taken as an ironic result, the takeover of a French gaming company was followed by a takeover by a French media company Vivendi. After few years in this media corporation, Muriel Tramis left Vivendi and founded her own company Avantilles in 2003. I’ve been trying to track her down, in order to conduct an interview with her, but for quite a long time, the trail was cold.

Until the beginning of April.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

KGB - Backtrack’s Back Alright

Written by Torch

The observant reader may remember that I mentioned the backtrack function in the intro post. Well, I’ll have you know that I became quite familiar with that particular mechanic over the course of this next session. The possibilities for failure in this game are numerous, but whereas the first mission was pretty forgiving and didn’t kill me at the drop of a hat, the gloves came off pretty quickly once I got to Kursk street.

Before I dive in, here’s a quick plot summary. Our guy, Maksim Rukov has been sent to Kursk street to further investigate the death of former KGB agent, now private investigator Pyotr Golitsin, who was supposed to meet tonight with a contact going by the codename “Hollywood”. Golitsin would present himself as “Buyer2”, and the meeting was arranged by someone called “Romeo”. I’ve been given a fake identity for the purpose of this undercover mission. My fake name is to be Kliment Kruglov, and I’m a bicycle brake repairman.

I arrive on Kursk street, outside a bar with the curtains closed.

A classy-looking establishment

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Dune - Do Fremen Dream of the Desert Mouse?

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #2: "The desert is changing me already. I’m seeing visions of things I can’t possibly know about directly. I’m even starting to look like the Fremen, which is all the better if I’m to win their loyalty and use them against the Harkonnen threat."

When I left off last time, Jessica had just told me I should go out into the desert. Alone, I wander out of the fortress and prepare to wait. Almost immediately, the screen fuzzes, and I get a brief glimpse of the Duke saying that there's a message from the emperor. Huh. I go back inside, and indeed there is a message demanding 970 kgs of spice to be sent today. I've got more than enough to be able to comply, but I don't see a way to send it right there. When I reach the throne room, the Duke and Jessica are both there, and Jessica seems to be expecting me. She knows I had a vision of the message and says I should talk to her later about my powers expanding.

In the meantime, the Duke has called a meeting on the balcony with all the members of staff at the fortress. He is pleased with my progress in gathering Fremen support. Harah confirms that there is a Fremen prophecy, and she believes Paul will be the one to fulfill it. Gurney seems to have disappeared, though.

Jessica's explanation of Paul's powers.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Check out a new Kickstarter

By the TAG team

We rarely advertise new Kickstarters, but this time we just had to make an exception. How could we resist, when we are the inspiration! That’s right, you read it correctly, The Adventure Gamer will get its own adventure game.

The Adventure Gamer 3000 tells the story of Lilah the Lurker, who one day wakes up to the awful reality, in which her favourite adventure game blog has suddenly gone offline. Lilah begins a desperate globetrotting attempt to contact all the reviewers and admin of TAG, before they have all been erased from reality by the evil and maleficent Doctor Dastardious. Will she be able to save Trickster from a fate worse than death and convince him to make one more comeback?

You can access the whole world with this easy-to-use interface

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

KGB - Hello, Comrade!

Written by Torch

Здравствуйте, товарищ! And welcome to the KGB. Since this is your first day, we’ll give you a generous 5 minutes to get settled in before sending you out on a mission.

I’m not an authority on Soviet work habits, but I find it hard to believe that their work days used to start at 4 pm.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Missed Classic: Starcross - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

The entire game summed up in one image.

Last week, I had a ton of fun exploring the alien vessel in Starcross. One part dungeon-crawl, one part “hard” science fiction, it wasn’t like any of the games that I have played so far in this series. Unfortunately, I found a few of the puzzles too challenging and I had to give up. I could not turn on the lights to explore the rest of the ship and I could not fix the leaks which caused me to run out of air. I also knew of several colored rods that I was unable to collect. With the help of a few hints, I was able to get the game moving again and complete my explorations. This week, I’ll conclude my tour of the accidental generation-ship and close out the fifth game in our marathon.

The first challenge I faced this week was turning on the lights, a problem so solvable that I had done it a half-dozen times without even realizing it.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Dune - Laying the Foundation

Written by Reiko

Paul Atreides Journal #1: "My task is clear. Defeat the Harkonnens. I was born for this and only I can do this. They’ll never expect that I can make a fighting force out of the Fremen. They underestimate them and they underestimate me. I will become as one born here and the Fremen will have no choice but to accept me."

The ornithopter map at the beginning of the game has three Fremen sietches marked.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Discussion point: If Adventure Games were invented now, what would they be called?

By the TAG Team

Pirates! is surely a game full of adventure, right?

And Avatar is always on an adventure, right?

Heck, surely looking for diamonds in a cave full of deadly fireflies is an adventure!