Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cover to Cover: Infocom 1987 Catalog (pp. 3-4)

We're paging through the 1987 Infocom product catalog, and pages 3 and 4 start to get into the meat of the matter, pushing a couple of then-new works of interactive fiction.  I'm not going to comment too much on these pages, as they're pretty text-heavy already and Infocom's ad copy speaks for itself.  But given the stripped-down releases that came along a few years later under Activision's cost-cutting regime, it's nice to see the classic Infocom packaging featured, complete with a list of the memorable pack-in "feelies" for each title.

Page 3 promotes Steve Meretzky's Stationfall, a followup to his classic Planetfall.  Somehow I haven't gotten around to covering either of these sci-fi comedies as an Adventure of the Week here; while I played and loved Planetfall back in the day, I've never tackled the sequel.  25-YEAR-OLD SPOILER:  Our hero's faithful and self-sacrificing robot companion Floyd is alive and kicking.  It would definitely not be the same universe without him around

Page 4 features Infocom's one and only assay into true horror fiction, The Lurking Horror.  I've written at length about this one already, but seeing it in historical context reminds me that the layout of the G.U.E. Tech campus always made me think of Michigan Technological University, where I was studying Computer Science and Classical Literature at the time this game came out.  It's not a close resemblance by any means -- I believe the map was actually based on M.I.T. -- but in the "theatre of the mind" that makes interactive fiction so effective, I always pictured the Computer Lab and the snowy courtyard in Houghton, Michigan terms.

Next weekend, we'll continue the journey.

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