Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cover to Cover: Infocom 1987 Catalog (pp. 5-6)

Continuing our leisurely stroll through the pages of premier interactive fiction publisher Infocom's 1987 product catalog, we come upon a spinoff from a popular trilogy, and an experimental work that isn't as well-remembered as it probably ought to be.

Brian Moriarty created Infocom's Wishbringer and Lucasarts' Loom, as well as some lesser-known type-in text adventures for magazines early in his career, but I had forgotten that he created Beyond Zork.  I haven't played it, but the ad copy here indicates it was an attempt to incorporate role-playing gameplay into the Infocom style (there were some random combat elements in the original ZORK trilogy, but this one aims more explicitly for stat-building, combat and dungeon exploration.)  This may have been the first Infocom title to incorporate graphics of any kind, with an onscreen map.

On page 6 we find the experimental Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It, a series of short interactive puzzles -- ostensibly stories, but focused primarily on wordplay and puns.  I haven't played this one either, but it's on my list and sounds like it's intended to be a quick, friendly, and funny, experience for word game enthusiasts.  Unlike the more substantial Infocom titles, this one didn't come with any physical "feelies" as supplementary materials, but cartoonist Kevin Pope was engaged to provide a booklet of cartoons for added entertainment.

Next weekend, our journey continues, deeper downward into pages 7 and 8...

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