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The \__/ociety for the |_|reservation of ||  ||dventure \___/ames

                         ISSUE # 1

    Edited by G. Kevin Wilson (whizzard@uclink.berkeley.edu)
      HTML Version Edited by Scott Reilly (wsr@cs.cmu.edu)

                       May 15, 1994

Greetings and welcome to the first issue of SPAG. Things will, in all likelihood, be a little sparse this month. After all, I'm still straightening things out, studying for finals, etc. Plus, we still have new subscribers trickling in. I will probably post this first issue to several newsgroups in an effort to drum up more readers. After that, though, it's strictly e-mail. I hope to receive lots of comments on this issue, uggestions on improvements, likes, dislikes, letters to the Editor, more reviews, lots of ratings for various games, corrections to this issue, etc. Remember, SPAG cannot succeed without its readers.

I might as well get my soapbox speech over with, so here goes. The purpose of SPAG is the advancement of the modern text adventure. Today's gamers tend to get absorbed in the flash of graphics and sound and miss out on some really good stories and plots. Well, it is my hope to call attention to some of these games and let my readers know where they can get ahold of them. Text adventures are still as valid an entertainment form as books, but they've been nudged out by the onset of the console game machines and the increasing trends towards graphical interfaces. Be that as it may, text adventures are an accessible form that many would-be game writers can try their hands at, since there are several game design kits available on ftp.gmd.de to make matters simple. Lastly, the games created with these toolkits are often highly portable, easily transferring from machine to machine, since they use very little machine-specific code. As I said, there's still a place for text adventures, and I hope to keep it that way.

                                G. Kevin Wilson

KEY TO SCORES AND REVIEWS Consider the following review header:

Cutthroats IBM Commercial 7.4 [PA: 1.7 WR: 1.1 PL: 1.3 CH: 1.6 +1.7]

First is the name of the game, then the computer type that the reviewer played the game on. Next, the reviewer mentions how the game is being sold, whether as shareware, commercially, or being given away as freeware. If the game has a fixed price, that is mentioned as well. Lastly, the review heading has the reviewer's total score for the game, followed by a breakdown of the score into: PA [Parser], WR [Writing], PL [Plot], CH [Characters], and + [Wild Card], which is a 'blank check' category, usually commented on in the review.

When submitting reviews: Ensure that the review at least has the above information in its header. Also note what computers you know of that it can be played upon, this will appear in the reader scoreboard section of SPAG. Authors may not rate or review their own games.

SPAG accepts reviews of any length, letters to the editor, the occasional interesting article on text adventures (no reprints please), and even just plain scores for your favorite game, if you don't have the time to do a full review. Please though, at least send me a line of text for each game you have rated equivalent to the review header for Cutthroats, above. All accepted materials will be headed by the submitter's name and e-mail address, unless you request that they be withheld, in which case the header will read as "Anonymous."

There are no games being released this month, but we can expect a bunch around August or so, if things go well for the authors I've been talking to, and for myself, of course. The upcoming games I know of include The Legend Lives!, from Adventions, The Czar's Challenge Trilogy, and of course, Avalon, my own game. Bear in mind that I'm not claiming to speak for the authors of the games other than Avalon, I'm just mentioning that, from what I've heard, they are approaching completion, and should show up this year sometime. No promises.

Thanks go to our reviewers for this issue, give 'em a big hand:

                    Matthew Amster
                    Audrey A. DeLisle
                    Derek S. Felton
                    Stephen Granade
From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Horror of Rylvania IBM C20 7.7 [PA 2 WR 2 PL 1.7 CH 1 * 1] * = length

Horror of Rylvania (Adventions by D.A.Leary) tells of the horror you find on your trip to Rylvania with your friend, Carolyn. You become a vampire and must search for the 'cure'. There are two sections that are maze-like, but small and not hard. In general, this is not a hard game, but every game has its tricky places. It is somewhat linear, but not limited like some games. I enjoyed playing it. The atmosphere was well created to be eerie, but not disgusting.

[ Editor's Note: As you can see, not every review has to be a long one. I am quite content with printing one paragraph reviews as long as the author's opinion of the game carries through well. ]


From: "Stephen Granade" (sgranade@obu.arknet.edu)

Infidel IBM Commercial 6.5 [Pa: 1.7 Wr: 1.7 Pl: 1.5 Ch: 0.0 +1.6]

On your first big archaeological dig, you manage to waste most of your money and alienate your workers. To top it off, you can't find the pyramid you're after. And then your crew drugs you and abandons you... The game's parser is up to Infocom's usual level. Michael Berlyn's writing helps bring the pyramid to life, although I found some sections of the pyramid to be a bit weakly written. The plot moves along fairly briskly at first, then widens to allow more exploration once you find the pyramid. There are no true NPC's in the game; how many characters are you likely to meet while exploring a long- dead pyramid? My wildcard points went to the game's hieroglyphics. I had a lot of fun trying to decode them, and they made many of the puzzles solvable on the first try.

Infidel can be found in Activision's Lost Treasures of Infocom, a re- packaging of Infocom's games. LTOI lacks much of the flair of Infocom's old packages, but at least the games are still available. Infidel is of medium difficulty, an entertaining game but not a true classic.

[ Editor's Note: Stephen felt that Infidel should have had a higher score, but my system gives a 2 point disadvantage to games with no NPCs. See the note after his Starcross review for more on this. ]


From: "Derek S Felton" (derek@esu.edu)

7.0 [Pa: 1.8 Wr: 1.9 Pl: 1.5 Ch: 0.0 +1.8]

The story is straightforward and the puzzles aren't _that_ complicated. I enjoyed the game's descriptions of rooms and objects because they give the player the feel of being inside an adventure movie. I was disappointed with the other living characters, though: there aren't any! What's a good desert adventure story without a few scorpions, asps, and mummies? Nonetheless, INFIDEL is a good adventure for players with little or no experience with interactive fiction. Get ready to map and translate heiroglyphics.

[ Editor's Note: I don't fret about having more than one review on the same game. I just delete the game description, leaving the reviewer's opinion of the game. That's how follow-up reviews work. Also, I note that the lack of NPCs is a concern to some readers. Be sure to note that anytime you review a game that lacks them. ]


From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Klaustrophobia IBM S15 9.5 [PA 1.5 WR 2 PL 2 CH 2 * 2] *=humor

Klaustrophobia, an AGT text adventure, just won the 1994 AGT contest (with a co-winner, The Jeweled Arena, by David Raley. [The Jeweled Arena has not yet been uploaded to ftp.gmd.de, for those who are interested. Hopefully someone will do us a big favor and put it up there. - GKW]). I had the pleasure (?) of testing it.

It is an hilarious account of your vacation. You start preparing for your trip at home and at the office, then head for the airport(s). Somehow your flights keep getting diverted. Part 2, you arrive in Hollywood and appear on several game shows. Your big prize is a vacation in Mexico which takes you to Part 3. This is not easy, but is very funny. Those who have played Jacaranda Jim will find it especially amusing in Mexico. Look for KLAUS.ZIP. A sequel is planned, but this took about 18 months to complete, so not soon. Hilarious and hard. Funniest yet, but subject to the limitations of AGT-BIG. Also, the registered version comes with pophints! The author, Carol Hovick, is a big fan of BUREAUCRACY. Her game was somewhat inspired by it, but it is not the same.

[ Editor's note: An excellent review. Since it is the first I've printed, let me just make a few comments. Remember that a rating of 10 is an absolutely perfect game, just like in the Olympics. These games should be VERY few and far between. I gave Trinity a 9.7, and it's my favorite game of all time. I've just never played a 10 game. I think that most games will probably deserve a 6 to 7 score tops.

An 8 or 9 is a game you really liked, and higher than that is reserved for a game that just blows your mind completely. Also, remember that you are free to rate the categories with a 1.1 or 0.8, or any other number between 0 and 2 with a maximum of 1 decimal place. The scores mentioned in the original SPAG guidelines are just cut-off points, meant only as examples. I just mentioned this because, while Klaustrophobia is a really fun game, the AGT parser is fairly frustrating to use at best, and probably should hover around a .9 depending on what the individual author does with it. I also encountered other implementation problems that really hurt the game, in my opinion. Still, a very funny game, even for dog lovers.

One other point, please try to include an estimate of the game's difficulty. These things don't reflect poorly on Audrey at all, they are simply things that I didn't clarify very well before. Great job, Audrey! I hope to get more reviews from you in the future! ]


From: "Stephen Granade" (sgranade@obu.arknet.edu)

The Lurking Horror IBM Commercial

7.2 [Pa: 1.7 Wr: 1.8 Pl: 1.2 Ch: 1.3 +1.2]

Late one night, you, a student at G.U.E. Tech, have braved a blizzard to get to the Computer Center to finish work on a paper. However, the simple assignment takes you to the horrific underside of the school. Lurking Horror's parser is, as expected, up to snuff. The writing is excellent; the game is firmly rooted in the Gothic horror used by Lovecraft and Poe. Dave Lebling has captured the essence of the genre well. The plot, however, is not as well developed. It contains some nice elements, but at times the disparate plot elements felt unconnected. The characters also lack flair. The best of the NPCs are the different slimy creatures you encounter, from a winged something to a slimy something. Both the NPCs and the plot could have been helped had the NPCs been obviously working together. The puzzles ranged from clever to puzzling. There were a few puzzles I didn't understand until I finished the game and looked in the hint book. My wildcard points were awarded on the basis of the game's atmosphere.

The Lurking Horror is available in Activision's Lost Treasures of Infocom 1 package. While a worthy attempt to bring back the old Infocom games, the repackaging removes much of Infocom's clever presentation. The Lurking Horror is mediumly difficult, and is especially good if you're a fan of Gothic horror.

[ Editor's Notes: I agree with Stephen, for the most part. It would have been really nice had the various creatures seemed more like a sort of evil cult or had some semblence of cooperation among themselves. But, I'd have to say that the Hacker is my favorite character. Try asking him about Lovecraft some time. Pretty funny. The Lurking Horror is Infocom's only horror offering, but an effective, if not quite sparkling one. ]


From: "Stephen Granade" (sgranade@obu.arknet.edu)

Moonmist IBM Commercial 6.4 [Pa: 1.7 Wr: 1.2 Pl: 1.0 Ch: 1.6 +0.9]

You are a famous young American detective who has been invited to Tresyllian Castle by your old friend Tamara Lynd. She is being haunted by the Tresyllian ghost, who seems intent on scaring her off. Can you solve the mystery of the castle? Infocom's parser handles most tasks with ease. The writing tries to convey a sense of the castle, but fails. Much of the description is left to the tour booklet included in the packaging, so the game itself neglects to add those touches necessary to make the locations spring to life. There are four variations possible in the game, but they did not add replayability as much as they made the plot feel random. Plot elements seemed tossed in mainly to differentiate each variation from the other three. The game is slightly redeemed by the characters; they help flesh it out. I awarded my wildcard points for the attempt to provide replayability.

Moonmist is in the Lost Treasures of Infocom package, produced by Activision. Unfortunately, the LTOI package neglected to include the letter Tamara sent you; a minor omission, but one that bothered me. Moonmist is best used as an introduction to text-adventure mystery games, a gentle entry into the genre of _Deadline_ and _The Witness_.

[ Editor's Note: The letters left out of LTOI are available on ftp.gmd.de in /if-archive/infocom/shipped-documentation/. Stephen noted that Moonmist is a 'substandard' Infocom game, in his opinion. I tend to agree with him. It is one of the least remembered of the LTOI bunch. ]


From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Sanity Claus S10 I GMD 9 [PA 1.5 WR 2 PL 2 CH 1.5 * 2] *=humor

You are Santa Claus and you must deliver all the presents before midnight in each time zone. This can be done in five trips. When you have to go to the same place, you will find a different puzzle. It is tedious, but fun if you have the patience. The author wrote S.O.S. (Son of Stagefright, both with AGT.) Understand that each trip will be shorter than the previous one. Your elf is a delightful companion. Author--Mike McCauley, has MAC version, sends map and hints on reg.

[ Editor's Note: Well, I can't comment much on this one. When I ftp'ed it, I got it fine, but then when I started to play I got a bad token error. Probably just a flub somewhere on my part though. Be aware of this before you spend the time getting it though, since it is over 300k. ]


From: "Stephen Granade" (sgranade@obu.arknet.edu)

Starcross IBM Commercial 8.3 [Pa: 1.5 Wr: 1.8 Pl: 1.7 Ch: 1.3 +2.0]

In Starcross you play a black-hole miner who is captured by a drifting alien vessel. You must enter the hulking ship and, once inside, figure it out in order to get home. The game, written in 1982, was one of Infocom's early efforts; its parser lacks some of the nicer features incorporated later (I kept wanting to type 'g' for 'again'). The writing was very well done. It presented the alien artifacts without making them too bizarre or cryptic. The plot allowed for plenty of exploration, yet kept things moving towards the final goal. The game's main weakness is its NPC's. Your ship's computer is mildly amusing, and the leader of a band of lizards reacts nicely to you; however, the other NPCs are not as well fleshed-out. My wildcard points went to the puzzles. They are some of the most logically-presented yet challenging I have ever worked on. The raygun puzzle and the force-bubble puzzle are two of my personal favorites. It is an excellent puzzle-oriented adventure, one of the first "explore an alien setting" games.

Starcross is available in Activision's Lost Treasures of Infocom package. This repackaging has leeched much of the character from the original. I found the hint book structure to be particularly annoying. Starcross is rather difficult and requires a lot of logical thought and experimentation to solve. It ranks with some of the best interactive fiction games I have played.

[ Editor's Note: Stephen noted that the character category lowered the score that he wanted to give Starcross by a bit. He also suggested some sort of proviso for games with no NPCs, so that their scores are more comparable. I am thinking of changing the character category to include a score of 1.0 if the game has no NPCs, but the reviewer doesn't feel that the lack thereof hurts it. More pondering will be lavished upon the topic. Let me know if you have a better idea. ]



Trinity IBM Commercial 9.1 [PA: 2 WR: 1.9 PL: 2 CH: 1.2 +2.0]

Trinity is among the most popular of the classic Infocom games. After hearing friends and netters discussing their uniformly wonderful experiences with Trinity, I finally decided to give it a try myself.

The game opens at London's Kensington Gardens, and quickly takes off from there into a fantasy world of nuclear mushrooms, giant children, and intelligent magpies. The anti-nuclear message of the game is clear but never overbearing.

The parser is as brilliant as one would expect from Infocom; it is nearly impossible to produce an unexpected response. Most nouns have plenty of synonyms, and the player is never stumped by how to phrase a command.

Trinity's map is similarly user-friendly, with no tricky surprises and few "can't-get-there-from-heres." But the game's strongest suit is its puzzles, which outdo what I've seen in any other game. All are logical and satisfying (except one...but you figure it out).

The endgame is somewhat difficult, but not overly so, and it ties up loose ends very well. Trinity has something for everyone: it's not too hard for novices, but is well-suited for experienced adventurers as well. It is exciting, engrossing, well-written, and, unlike too many other works of interactive fiction, lives up to the hype.

[ Editor's Note: Always nice to see someone agree with me. I have yet to find a game that captures my imagination as much as Trinity, although Shades of Gray comes close at certain points. ]


From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Unnkulian One-Half F I GMD 9.1 [PA 2 WR 2 PL 1.8 CH 1.3 * 2] * = humor

This is a short game. You find enough objects of value to please the Innkeeper. The puzzles are logical and not hard. There are some extra features that can be used to win, but are not necessary. I enjoyed playing this game. [in file with demo of Unnk Zero] Adventions by D.A. Leary using TADS.

[ Editor's Note: Oddly enough, this short, humorous game is my favorite of the Unnkulian series. Probably something to do with my lack of patience or something. Or maybe I can only take the cheez jokes for so long before I begin to feel unhinged. ]


From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Unnkulian Unventure 1 S10 I GMD 9 [PA 2 WR 2 PL 2 CH 1 * 2] *=humor

Unnkulian Unventure starts you on the path to being a hero. The Orb has been stolen and you must return it. You journey through caverns, up mountains and into a chasm. The puzzles are logical and usually amusing. A monk is waiting to help you at one place. I enjoyed playing this game. Adventions by D.A.Leary using TADS.

[ Editor's Notes: Beware readers, there are cheez jokes aplenty lurking in this one. ]


From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Unnkulian Unventure #2 S10 I GMD 7.3 [PA 2 WR 1.9 PL 1.4 CH 1 * 2] *=humor

This is the continuation of your life as a hero. I would rate it higher, but the plot is a bit jerky and there is one 'fatal' error. There is a computer and you must know the password before the game tells you. That means you must have someone or a walk-through tell you. In general, it is still amusing, but not as good as UU1 and not as involved. I won't say what the object is because that is part of the plot. Adventions by D. A. Leary using TADS.

[ Editor's Notes: Gads, more cheez jokes! Is there no stopping these fiendish adventure game writers? ]


From: "Audrey A. DeLisle" (rad@crl.com)

Unnkulian Zero C25 I 9 [PA 2 WR 2 PL 2 CH 1 * 2] * = humor

Unnkulian Zero is the latest in the Unnkulian series. It is fairly long and not as easy as the earlier games. The puzzles are logical and funny. You can get diverted from the proper path. You must search for 'The Lost Amanda', the King's daughter who was kidnapped. You will encounter a monk as in the other games. I was 'stuck' in two places, but other players may not be. I enjoyed playing it.

[ Editor's Notes: Unkulian Zero received a really nice review in a recent issue of _Computer Gaming World_ as well. Everything I've heard suggests that it is Advention's greatest game. Although, with The Legend Lives! coming out sometime soon, we'll have to see about that. ]


From: "Stephen Granade" (sgranade@obu.arknet.edu)

The Witness IBM Commercial 7.5 [Pa: 1.7 Wr: 1.3 Pl: 1.6 Ch: 1.7 +1.2]

The year, 1938. The place, Los Angeles. A wealthy but paranoid man has asked you, a police detective, for protection. But despite everything you do, the man is killed. Can you find who killed Freeman Linder? The Witness was Infocom's second detective adventure; its parser contains many of the commands now standard to this genre. The writing is the weakest part of the game; many times I felt as if Stu Galley had simply lifted whole chunks of clever responses from Deadline, the first Infocom detective adventure. The plot is well-laid out, though linear in nature. The characters is where the game shines. There are really only three to deal with, one of whom you can discount almost from the first of the game. However, those two remaining NPCs are quite alive and feisty. I gave my wildcard points for the feel of both the game overall and the characters.

The Witness is available (where else?) in The Lost Treasures of Infocom 1, available from Activision. The repackaging is flawed, but at least it is available. The Witness is a good medium-difficulty detective game. After you finish Moonmist, work on The Witness, then Deadline, as they become progressively harder.

[ Editor's Note: I should probably note that this game has a really nice '30s detective movie feel to it. Stu Galley put a lot of effort into making things ring true, and it shows, even if the rest of the game is pretty standard. As is often the case, the best part about playing The Witness is in trying to break it. I had loads of fun with the handcuffs in the game, trying everything from arresting the cat for murder, to trying to solve the mystery using knowledge gained in another game, which I couldn't possibly have had at that point. I also played havok with the manservant for awhile, since he's such a nifty stereotype from the movies. In any event, this one is much shorter than the average Infocom game, taking me only a few hours to solve and exhaust its entertainment potential. Still, it's better than a lot of games I've played. ]

Here is a sample entry for Trinity:

 Name          Avg Sc    # Sc  Rlvt Ish     Notes:
Trinity          9.7      21    1-5, 8, 11   C_INF
Looking at this, you see that Trinity has received an average score of 9.7 out of 10 from 21 readers. The notes are listed below, and lastly, reviews or other relevant bits about it have appeared in issues 1-5, 8, and 11 of SPAG. This is only an example, and does not reflect any actual data regarding Trinity.

Other Possible Notes:

 A   - Runs on Amigas.
 AP  - Runs on Apple IIs.
 GS  - Runs on Apple IIGS.
 AR  - Runs on Archimedes Acorns.
 C   - Commercial, no fixed price.
 C30 - Commercial, with a fixed price of $30.
 F   - Freeware.
 GMD - Available on ftp.gmd.de
 I   - Runs on IBM compatibles.
 M   - Runs on Macs.
 S20 - Shareware, registration costs $20.
 64  - Runs on Commodore 64s.
 TAD - Written with TADS.  This means it can run on:
         AmigaDOS, NeXT and PC, Atari ST/TT/Falcon, DECstation
         (MIPS) Unix Patchlevel 1 and 2, IBM, IBM RT, Linux, Apple
         Macintosh, SGI Iris/Indigo running Irix, Sun 4 (Sparc)
         running SunOS or Solaris 2, Sun 3, OS/2, and even a 386+
         protected mode version.
 AGT - Available for IBM, Mac, Amiga, and Atari ST.  This does not
         include games made with the Master's edition.
 INF - Infocom or Inform game.  These games will run on:
         Atari ST, Amiga, Apple Macintosh, IBM, Unix, VMS, Apple II,
         and Apple IIGS.  I believe that it is also possible to play
         these on the C64, TSR-80, Acorn Archimedes, and others, but
         I am not positive, as I saw no public domain interpreters for
         any systems other than the first group on ftp.gmd.de.  I
         will update this as people confirm or deny the feasibility
         of running these games on these computers.
[ Other computers will be added as pointed out to me. This key will appear in each issue. Readers are asked to let me know if any games are available on a platform for which I do not have them listed. ]

 Name                  Avg Sc  # Sc  Rlvt Ish     Notes:

Cutthroats              7.4     1       1       C_INF
Horror of Rylvania      7.7     1       1       C20_TAD_GMD (Demo)
Infidel                 6.7     2       1       C_INF
Klaustrophobia          9.5     1       1       S15_AGT_GMD
Lurking Horror, The     7.2     1       1       C_INF
Moonmist                6.4     1       1       C_INF
Sanity Claus            9.0     1       1       S10_AGT_GMD
Starcross               8.3     1       1       C_INF
Trinity                 9.4     2       1       C_INF
Unnkulian One-Half      9.1     1       1       F_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian Unventure 1   9.0     1       1       S10_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian Unventure 2   7.3     1       1       S10_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian Zero          9.0     1       1       C25_TAD_GMD (Demo)
Witness, The            7.5     1       1       C_INF

The Top Three:

1 Klaustrophobia                [9.5]
2 Trinity                       [9.3]
3 Unnkulian One-Half            [9.1]
[ Editor's Notes: Remember that these scores still represent a very small sampling of SPAG readers, and as such, aren't quite as representative as I would like. You have been warned. ]

ADVERTISEMENTS I was supposed to put a blurb for Enhanced in this issue, but I received nothing from the author so far, so that'll have to wait for a future issue. In the meantime, just let me say that I don't like to use reprint advertisements. We've all most likely seen those already, let's see something new. Also, if you've written a text adventure and would like to talk about your game, I will include that sort of thing in SPAG as well. Or, if you'd rather, I can come up with some interview questions for you, to make matters simpler for you. But I'm sure that the readers of SPAG would be interested in hearing about the making of text adventures. Lastly, here's an advertisement sent in from Jacob Weinstein, author of Save Princeton.

Save Princeton

Have you ever wanted to kill somebody by feeding them school food? To hobnob with F. Scott Fitzgerald? To be single-handedly responsible for the salvation or destruction of one of the oldest universities in the United States? Save Princeton offers you the chance to do all this and more. In the role of a visitor to the campus, you must save Princeton from a mysterious invasionary force. Saving Princeton doesn't require any familiarity with the place. In fact, all it requires is an off-beat sense of humor and a little bit of brains.

Save Princeton was created with TADS, the Text Adventure Development System. The game has fifty-two locations, and a vocabulary of about 980 words, which makes it about as complex as a middle-period Infocom game. It's shareware, with a fee of $10.

Save Princeton is available for the IBM-compatible and Mactintosh computers, as well as any other systems that support TADS. Mac version: FTP to ftp.gmd.de and retrieve /if-archive/games/mac/saveprinceton199.hqx

IBM version: FTP to ftp.gmd.de and retrieve: /if-archive/games/pc/savepton18.zip

Other systems: Assuming you already have the TADS run-time for your system, FTP to ftp.gmd.de and retrieve: /if-archive/games/tads/savepton18.gam.Z

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me.
-Jacob Weinstein

[ Editor's Notes: I know that there's a lot of prejudice out there against games that the author appears in, but Save Princeton isn't half bad, if you overlook the first few rooms or so. The puzzles are well done, and there's a pretty nifty camera to play with even. I would definitely recommend it for a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun. ]

Related Internet Newsgroups:
         REC.ARTS.INT-FICTION - Talk about _writing_ text adventures.
        REC.GAMES.INT-FICTION - Other text adventure topics.

The Official SPAG-Approved Text Adventure FTP site is ftp.gmd.de.  Here are
the main directories it contains under /if-archive/:

          programming/: Contains tools to write text adventures with.
                games/: Contains text adventures for many computers.
            solutions/: Contains walkthroughs for some of these games, mostly
                        the Infocom games.
        solutions/uhs/: The Universal Hint System, check it out.
     solution/pophints: Pophints for Cliff Diver and Shades of Gray.  Also
                        the system itself, for the those who want to make
                        a hint file for their game.  Unlike UHS, you don't
                        need the author's permission to make one.
              infocom/: Contains info and programs related to Infocom.
rec.games.int-fiction/: Contains archive files from rec.games.int-fiction.
                        (Old posts from the newsgroup.)
                 info/: Contains some general information files on text
                        adventures.  Also my guide to writing text
                        adventures.  Look under authorship-guide.  Warning,
                        it's pretty long.
 rec.arts.int-fiction/: Contains archive files from rec.arts.int-fiction.
                        (Old posts from the newsgroup.)
          scott-adams/: Contains hints and information on the old Scott
                        Adams games.  Also the two PD games, Pirate and
       download-tools/: Everything you need to download files.
               shells/: Adventure game shells?  Not sure about this one.
        mapping-tools/: A couple of primitive mapping tools.

A Word about the Infocom Games.

Many of the Infocom games are available in two packages being sold by Activision as Lost Treasures of Infocom 1 and 2. They are also available on CD. LTOI 2 CD has three bonus games: Shogun, Arthur, and Journey. I am not sure which computers these are available for, but at least IBM compatibles are supported. LTOI 1 contains 20 games, with the relevant packaging items from the older versions reproduced as photocopies in a book. It also includes maps and a hintbook with hints for all the games. The hints are all in plain sight. LTOI 2 lacks both the maps and the hintbook. It has been commented by several people that the repackaging was shoddily done. I tend to agree, especially in reference to LTOI 2's lack of maps and hints. LTOI contains only 11 games, and costs the same, yet leaves those two things out. Other things missing are the letters from Moonmist, the clever sample transcripts that were in the old manuals, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos, which is available only through a mail-in offer. Finally, all of the great props appear only a photocopies, and even then, some of the niftiest are missing or have been transformed into a more mediocre form. Overall, poor treatment of some classic games, which defined things for hundreds of games that have followed in their footsteps.

Having said that, let me also add that the LTOI packages are getting harder to find in stores, so if you want them, buy them soon. Even with all their shortcomings, the low price gives an excellent deal on some truly wonderful games that will always be fondly remembered by many. Myself, I am slowly trying to accumulate a complete collection of the original packages. It's more expensive, and slower going, but I feel it's worth it to get all the great packaging that Infocom included with their games. If anyone has any to sell, or especially, to give away for the cost of postage, let me know. Especially A Mind Forever Voyaging and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


LTOI 1 (20 Games):
  Ballyhoo                Beyond Zork             Deadline
  Enchanter               Hitchhiker's Guide      Infidel
  Lurking Horror          Moonmist                Planetfall
  Sorcerer                Spellbreaker            Starcross
  Stationfall             Suspect                 Suspended
  The Witness             Zork Zero               Zork 1
  Zork 2                  Zork 3

LTOI 2 (11 Games):
  A Mind...Voyaging       Border Zone             Bureaucracy
  Cutthroats              Hollywood Hijinx        Nord & Bert
  Plundered Hearts        Seastalker              Sherlock: Crown Jewels
  Trinity                 Wishbringer

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