Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cover to Cover: Infocom 1987 Catalog (pp. 11-12)

Here's some more from the 1987 Infocom product catalog as we continue our current cover-to-cover pagethrough.  We see some then-recent introductory games, urging the new and nervous to come on in and see what this interactive fiction thing is all about, as well as some established classics...

Page 11 features the introductory-level gothic mystery, Moonmist, and the original ZORK:

Stu Galley and Jim Lawrence also wrote Infocom's only Junior-level adventure, Seastalker, which I will be writing about later this week, so the Introductory difficulty of Moonmist (not to mention the titular alliteration) made for a reasonable followup.  And ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire remains the classic enter-the-white-house, open-the-mailbox, move-the-rug and now-it's-Thursday ZORK.  Most people who have only once played a text adventure sampled ZORK, I suspect; I have no doubt that it was indeed "the world's best-selling entertainment software product" at the time.  It reportedly sold some 380,000 copies in an era when this was still a niche hobby; today, of course, a new entry in a major videogame franchise typically sells millions of copies, but nearing half-a-million with a text adventure in the early 1980s is still quite an accomplishment.

Page 12 features a similar mix of introductory adventuring and an established standard:

Wishbringer was not the first Infocom game I ever played, but it's the first I covered on this blog; it's a whimsical, well-rendered fantasy effort by Brian Moriarty that encourages exploration and iss fairly forgiving with its puzzles.  And the Enchanter trilogy by Marc Blanc and Dave Lebling remains one of my all-time favorites -- it plays like a ZORK spinoff with a more compelling narrative, and allows quite a bit of experimentation with the spellbook for fun and disaster.

More to come next week, as I continue to add more Infocom titles to my mental must-play list...

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