The Incomparable

75: My Gazebox is Full of Menhirs

 

  the incomparable part test number 75 [TS]

  january 2002 [TS]

  welcome back to the incomparable podcast [TS]

  my name is Greg NOS your host Jason [TS]

  smell is away on assignment today we're [TS]

  going to be discussing text adventure [TS]

  these are computer games that were the [TS]

  most popular in the early to mid [TS]

  eighties you run the game and it would [TS]

  give you a description of the room that [TS]

  you were standing in a textual [TS]

  description just words on the screen and [TS]

  would describe exits and objects in the [TS]

  room and then you would use English [TS]

  sentences often very very simple English [TS]

  sentences like get lamp and inventory [TS]

  and go north to interact with the [TS]

  environment the goal of the games was [TS]

  usually to collect objects and solve [TS]

  puzzles with them you would be presented [TS]

  with situations that required you to [TS]

  think through how what you had in your [TS]

  inventory and what in the room could be [TS]

  used together there was often scoring [TS]

  systems that would give you particular [TS]

  points for how you accomplished each of [TS]

  these solutions but more off the goal [TS]

  was just to finish the game to get to [TS]

  the end to find out how the story [TS]

  concluded with me today are Monty [TS]

  actually hello hello Monty and Steve [TS]

  lots [TS]

  Hello Sailor nothing happens here text [TS]

  adventures have a long and distinguished [TS]

  history they started in 1975 when will [TS]

  crowler at built the game adventure [TS]

  it was modeled on the actual colossal [TS]

  cave but with fantasy elements a man [TS]

  named on Woods took it and expanded it [TS]

  and released it onto the ARPANET where [TS]

  it spread like wildfire as it was [TS]

  adapted and and rebuilt for new systems [TS]

  those to the schools that had spread to [TS]

  include MIT or a bunch of them [TS]

  undergraduates discovered it and built [TS]

  Zork his work was created in 1977 and on [TS]

  a mini computer and it actually launched [TS]

  the text adventure golden age in 1978 a [TS]

  man named scott adams produce the game a [TS]

  simple game called adventureland that [TS]

  was also modeled on the original [TS]

  adventure and then in 1979 infocomm was [TS]

  formed by the same people who had made [TS]

  Zork and they released it for basically [TS]

  every computer system that existed at [TS]

  the time [TS]

  surprisingly the Golden Age of text [TS]

  adventures only [TS]

  lasted about five or six years before [TS]

  infocomm went down in flames on the [TS]

  wings of cornerstone first business [TS]

  product scott adams folded a year [TS]

  earlier activation bought the infocomm [TS]

  brand and then didn't do anything with [TS]

  it other than abused it and text [TS]

  adventures kind of went by the wayside [TS]

  they gained graphics for a little while [TS]

  and then they kind of mutated into the [TS]

  point-and-click adventures from [TS]

  LucasArts and sierra on-line and today [TS]

  they only exist as games produced in [TS]

  amateur competitions but they are [TS]

  well-loved and have a glorious history [TS]

  that has very very few people actually [TS]

  remember given the participation in this [TS]

  podcast what I'd like to do first [TS]

  actually guys is is talk to you about [TS]

  your first experience with text [TS]

  adventures I mean how did you discover [TS]

  them what games did you play first [TS]

  what struck you about it that that [TS]

  brought you to this low point 25 years [TS]

  later money why don't you start my first [TS]

  text adventure was the original colossal [TS]

  cave adventure i played it on a CPM [TS]

  machine we headed home to that is some [TS]

  street cred right there [TS]

  my mother had a very high tech job she [TS]

  wrote later than that she wrote [TS]

  third-party manuals and how to program [TS]

  in cobol so we had one of those eight [TS]

  inch floppy dive CPM machines [TS]

  it was an altos which I can't find any [TS]

  information about on the internet at all [TS]

  i love their minutes so my first game [TS]

  was actually the first text adventure [TS]

  mostly what I like about it i think was [TS]

  that I didn't need anybody to play it [TS]

  with me because I couldn't get a good [TS]

  dnd group going and and and thus we [TS]

  discover the first common element of [TS]

  text adventure fandom a lonely lonely [TS]

  childhood and my best friend and I [TS]

  played it for months and months the [TS]

  trick about classical cave is that you [TS]

  can get all but one point and have no [TS]

  idea where that last point is [TS]

  and eventually we learned by reading the [TS]

  help files over and over again they have [TS]

  to take this magazine i think it's [TS]

  spelunker monthly and carry it into this [TS]

  specific other room and drop it to prove [TS]

  you explored their Wow and figuring that [TS]

  out was one of the high points of my [TS]

  youth that that also brings us to the [TS]

  common experience of really unfair [TS]

  puzzles [TS]

  oh yeah this was complete nonsense but [TS]

  it was in the help file [TS]

  well in the help file just said you get [TS]

  points for killing things solving [TS]

  puzzles and exploring and carrying [TS]

  spelunkers monthly into room g well I [TS]

  think there was a parenthetical about [TS]

  you may have to prove that you've been [TS]

  places with send was this randomly [TS]

  generated maze so they could say you are [TS]

  at wit's end [TS]

  yeah and it didn't seem to have any [TS]

  other purpose in the game other than [TS]

  maybe you're supposed to drop something [TS]

  there and the magazine was in the [TS]

  waiting room that's all better man than [TS]

  I am I had a lot of time on my hands I [TS]

  could have been perfectly satisfied not [TS]

  to have that last point personally [TS]

  called colossal cave trivia microsoft [TS]

  a.m estas five-point shift with a [TS]

  version of it was like five versions of [TS]

  that over there were dozens [TS]

  yeah it with the source code actually [TS]

  the original was written on a PDP and [TS]

  Fortran and I got the source code in [TS]

  she's 86 I think and it had been run [TS]

  through an automatic conversion to see [TS]

  and so I i thought well this is [TS]

  interesting i'm gonna take a look and I [TS]

  looked at the source and it was see [TS]

  automatically translated from Fortran [TS]

  and then I close up the fine and on with [TS]

  my life with nick is that the [TS]

  programming equivalent of something [TS]

  that's been run through group [TS]

  yes to chinese and back Steve what about [TS]

  you what was your first game [TS]

  well I actually didn't start with text [TS]

  adventures when my parents bought the [TS]

  Apple to instead of the trs-80 color [TS]

  computer that i really wanted back in [TS]

  1979 they also picked up a couple of [TS]

  assorted games [TS]

  and among them with something called [TS]

  mystery house also known as high res [TS]

  adventure number one which was the first [TS]

  of the online systems adventures made by [TS]

  canon Roberta Williams which were became [TS]

  sierra on-line it becames here online [TS]

  eventually same team or at least Roberta [TS]

  Williams produced King's Quest and you [TS]

  know they may proceed on into adventure [TS]

  history of the various games that I that [TS]

  that we got when we purchased efforts [TS]

  computer mystery house was the one that [TS]

  really kind of sucked everybody in the [TS]

  family in hand and took up all our time [TS]

  and again it wasn't it wasn't text it [TS]

  was a two-word parser there was a there [TS]

  was some very rudimentary graphics at [TS]

  the top rendered in lovingly in black [TS]

  and white and green and purple which is [TS]

  what the Apple produced in high res mode [TS]

  I never quite figured out why that was [TS]

  exactly but at least I had the white and [TS]

  the purple and not just green that my [TS]

  friend Mike across the street had and [TS]

  then we had four lines of text at the [TS]

  bottom was a two-word parser the the [TS]

  images look like they've been drawn by a [TS]

  two-year-old on a very rudimentary [TS]

  digital pad of some kind [TS]

  you're being generous yeah I really AM [TS]

  they work they were pretty terrible and [TS]

  they didn't really get much better over [TS]

  the course of the next five high res [TS]

  adventures they did improve a little and [TS]

  then introduced color at one point but [TS]

  my mom in particular really took to the [TS]

  22 mystery Allison to adventure games in [TS]

  general and so she systematically [TS]

  brought in all the various high res [TS]

  adventures and lots of other graphic [TS]

  adventures many of which are lost in the [TS]

  mists of time and rightfully so and then [TS]

  eventually from there I heard about Zork [TS]

  in we had this massive volume of game [TS]

  reviews which really I mean it was the [TS]

  only place you found game reviews back [TS]

  in the day it was either in some [TS]

  magazine like soft talk [TS]

  or I you know some sort of hobbyist [TS]

  magazine or in this gigantic book of [TS]

  reviews that you buy we didn't have no [TS]

  highfalutin internet to go looking up [TS]

  reviews on so hi Rayna crosses or can it [TS]

  sounded fascinating and one day my [TS]

  friend Mike had a copy and I borrowed it [TS]

  and spent spent months with that game [TS]

  kept finding excuses not to return it [TS]

  until I solve the thing and it went on [TS]

  from there the rest is history [TS]

  you know if you use a hole punch to add [TS]

  a write-protect notch to the other side [TS]

  of the floppy you can store on both [TS]

  sides [TS]

  yeah that was pretty cool storage was [TS]

  not it was not really an issue in my [TS]

  early gaming in fact that mystery house [TS]

  came in a ziploc bag with one blue sheet [TS]

  of paper as the instructions and they [TS]

  mentioned something like there's a [TS]

  sentence fragment towards the end of [TS]

  that that sheet of paper that said you [TS]

  can save game as well and we know what [TS]

  the hell that was all we do is that we [TS]

  typed savegame that said something about [TS]

  overriding previous games and that [TS]

  freaking us all out and so we didn't we [TS]

  never did it [TS]

  we thought we were going to write over [TS]

  the entirety of the game and and and and [TS]

  that would be it for Mystery House the [TS]

  CPM version of colossal cave i played [TS]

  had a savegame system where you type [TS]

  save game and it would quit the game [TS]

  completely and then you were supposed to [TS]

  save the core image of the computer i'm [TS]

  still not sure what that meant [TS]

  well we we played through mystery house [TS]

  without ever saving the game which was a [TS]

  massive pain because you had to visit [TS]

  every room before you could find the [TS]

  trapdoor in the Attic you actually have [TS]

  to head with bed and every single room [TS]

  in the game and there are several rooms [TS]

  that were kind of off on you know [TS]

  branching paths where there was just [TS]

  nothing there at the end of that path so [TS]

  after having played two or three times [TS]

  we knew all you don't bother to go down [TS]

  this hall on the second floor because [TS]

  there's nothing there but a poorly drawn [TS]

  bed and a window that looks more like a [TS]

  refrigerator [TS]

  and so it took us it must have been [TS]

  weeks before somebody just accidentally [TS]

  you know in desperation wandered all of [TS]

  the room and then chose to look through [TS]

  this telescope out in the forest and saw [TS]

  suddenly there was a trapdoor in the [TS]

  room so just the let's family finishes [TS]

  dinner and gathers around the Apple to [TS]

  and says I know let's play colossal cave [TS]

  or excuse me hi res adventure number one [TS]

  ok and they loaded up and they start [TS]

  from the beginning every time it was not [TS]

  a massive game so it wasn't a big deal [TS]

  and as I said most of the family was [TS]

  pretty driven to finish the thing we're [TS]

  fairly competitive so everybody was [TS]

  trying to finish it first so it really [TS]

  was just considered kind of a minor [TS]

  nuisance at the time I mean we didn't [TS]

  know any better [TS]

  how we hadn't seen computer games before [TS]

  was a wild frontier back that you could [TS]

  do anything strange and wonderful [TS]

  technology that makes you start from the [TS]

  beginning every time as yes well you [TS]

  know i don't i don't remember what my [TS]

  first game I have a vague memory of [TS]

  going over to a friend's house in like [TS]

  junior high and he had an apple to not [TS]

  an apple to plus an apple too and i'm [TS]

  playing some scott adams adventures [TS]

  adventureland was the first but I I [TS]

  couldn't tell you anything about it [TS]

  the first game I really remember is orc [TS]

  and the what we do is take a pirated [TS]

  copy and punch a hole in the disk so you [TS]

  can flip it over and store the games on [TS]

  the other side and so you had one nice [TS]

  little five and a quarter inch package [TS]

  of the game on one side and all your [TS]

  saves on the other I I completely fell [TS]

  in love the first time I strides or it [TS]

  was just amazing and I'm actually [TS]

  surprised that that it's not what you [TS]

  guys started with I mean it was such a [TS]

  phenomenon as far as they went in 1980 [TS]

  it was exciting to get sore because I [TS]

  started before short came out so i had [TS]

  to suffer through colossal k which was [TS]

  fairly interestingly written but mostly [TS]

  just a bunch of descriptions of caves [TS]

  and random treasures and then the scott [TS]

  adams adventures which are just whore [TS]

  really written so with when Zork hit and [TS]

  it was something that had a sense of [TS]

  humor about itself it was tremendously [TS]

  exciting [TS]

  plus you could take more letters that it [TS]

  would recognize words i remember [TS]

  adventureland only recognize the first [TS]

  three letters York 126 yeah that's my [TS]

  the the first game i bought the first [TS]

  infocomm game i bought and my favorite [TS]

  to this day is deadline it was their [TS]

  third game and it was the first one that [TS]

  included Feelies you know the you would [TS]

  buy the game and it came in a sealed [TS]

  inspection envelope and you have to [TS]

  slide a knife under it to break the seal [TS]

  and inside were little pills that have [TS]

  been found near the murder scene and all [TS]

  the photographic evidence and in the [TS]

  game there's a gazebo and I being 13 14 [TS]

  years old I had never heard of a gazebo [TS]

  this was a strange in new world for me [TS]

  and so I knew however that the game only [TS]

  our step 26 characters and so I thought [TS]

  it was a bug and it was a gaze box that [TS]

  had just left the X off and if I could [TS]

  just briefly ask you what did you think [TS]

  a gaze box was it was something in a [TS]

  garden that you could walk into an [TS]

  apparently look out of it was a boxy [TS]

  structure like shake you could gaze it [TS]

  was out of it [TS]

  there you go that makes perfect sense [TS]

  for today's box i learned lots of words [TS]

  from from my early infocomm like many [TS]

  here or plover from classical cave [TS]

  there's a that's not actually a word [TS]

  though is it's a bird [TS]

  what is Steve still learning words today [TS]

  I think it's an emerald the size of a [TS]

  plover zeg which sounds all well and [TS]

  good but I don't know how big the [TS]

  plovers egg is a pole over zeg wow I [TS]

  remember looking up men here just to [TS]

  figure out what it was when they [TS]

  standing stones in the description so if [TS]

  you knew what those were you did no I [TS]

  didn't slide look it up to have a lot of [TS]

  experience with gays bows and standing [TS]

  stones standing still adjust the to tend [TS]

  to go together [TS]

  my my gaze boxes full of men here's [TS]

  and the I just I I mean for me playing [TS]

  adventure games and sounds like for [TS]

  Monty at least 20 and fractionated for [TS]

  Steve as well was a really social [TS]

  experience I mean we would sit around [TS]

  and play like the atari VCS with [TS]

  everybody in the neighborhood sitting [TS]

  around but they were only one or two [TS]

  really hardcore adventure gamers in my [TS]

  neighborhood and we would sit around and [TS]

  try and solve puzzles together taking [TS]

  turns driving i remember planetfall one [TS]

  of the later rape where I think infocomm [TS]

  hit its peak really in that area [TS]

  planetfall i played and my house on the [TS]

  phone with a friend who lived two blocks [TS]

  away he was playing it at his house and [TS]

  we were just talking to each other the [TS]

  whole time for three solid days saying i [TS]

  found a circuit board i figured out how [TS]

  to get that robot to shut up [TS]

  oh my god have you done this and you [TS]

  killed Floyd yes that was very very sad [TS]

  faster that that's actually the that [TS]

  that moment in in planetfall is a lot of [TS]

  people site that is like the first time [TS]

  a computer game made them cry i'm not [TS]

  going to run up to it but I remember it [TS]

  being an emotional moment that sounds [TS]

  like spelunker is weakly would have made [TS]

  me cry a little bit i was definitely [TS]

  emotionally affected by it [TS]

  by that point in the game I had spent a [TS]

  lot of time with the innocent childlike [TS]

  robot Floyd and when he sacrificed [TS]

  himself to save me and then for no [TS]

  reason saying a song that took up the [TS]

  entire screen the ballad of the [TS]

  star-crossed lovers yes which for no [TS]

  reason [TS]

  recap the plot of the previous info card [TS]

  games star cross was a great moment I [TS]

  think that was one of the one of the [TS]

  earliest if not the first moment that I [TS]

  remember the whole debate about whether [TS]

  computer games can be art came up and it [TS]

  still rages to this day [TS]

  Roger Ebert is wrong is so add money [TS]

  what what's your favorite game just [TS]

  going back in history the games i [TS]

  thought were the best were either [TS]

  Trinity or lurking horror trinity is [TS]

  this [TS]

  weird almost plotless combination of [TS]

  Alice in Wonderland and the development [TS]

  of nuclear technology where you end up [TS]

  having to go to different places in time [TS]

  where nuclear bombs happened and make [TS]

  sure that they do there's also an [TS]

  overlay of Mary Poppins and Peter Pan [TS]

  going on to it's very odd but very [TS]

  evocative and the other one is lurking [TS]

  horror which is the one that's very [TS]

  loved crafty and set at what's in homage [TS]

  to love em Brian Moriarty wrote Trinity [TS]

  right and he went on to do a lot of [TS]

  lucasfilm stuff like the dig in bloom [TS]

  city [TS]

  I don't think he was involved in the dig [TS]

  but he definitely did loam I i remember [TS]

  when it came out a lot of people are [TS]

  talking about it like it was a turning [TS]

  point that in mind forever voyaging were [TS]

  like like planetfall was you know in an [TS]

  emotional moment in interactive fiction [TS]

  mfv and trinity were literary moments [TS]

  where it wasn't just a a game anymore it [TS]

  was it was a story I wasn't crazy about [TS]

  a mind forever voyaging as a game there [TS]

  was way too much of just walking through [TS]

  the plot there really is only one puzzle [TS]

  to speak of it yeah there's one puzzle [TS]

  it [TS]

  yeah like you had a whole lot of things [TS]

  you are required to do but mostly your [TS]

  job well it was a novel rather than a [TS]

  game resisted a novel you interacted [TS]

  with us [TS]

  what text adventures became is [TS]

  interactive fiction they started [TS]

  experimenting with with things other [TS]

  than just adventure games while they [TS]

  were experimenting fairly early like [TS]

  suspended is a crazy idea for a game [TS]

  where you have to control six different [TS]

  robots each of which interact with the [TS]

  world in a different way so the only way [TS]

  to operate things you have to fix irises [TS]

  site because iris is the only one who [TS]

  can see things and then once iris works [TS]

  you can look around and use the feeling [TS]

  robot to feel what's broken [TS]

  that was written by michael Berlin who [TS]

  is a set established science fiction [TS]

  author yeah that was their first attempt [TS]

  at really getting ambitious [TS]

  it was also i think the first game to [TS]

  feature an impossible mode right yeah [TS]

  that which was genuinely impossible [TS]

  yeah you started and the world would end [TS]

  in six turns or so [TS]

  hooray just like real life [TS]

  what I liked about that game was when we [TS]

  were trying to solve it [TS]

  my friend Mike and I figured out that [TS]

  you could use any robots description is [TS]

  everything in the game each robot would [TS]

  describe differently so iris would say [TS]

  the blue thing whereas out o would say [TS]

  the thing that goes being without it was [TS]

  the listening robot but eventually [TS]

  figured out that if you used wiz at who [TS]

  was the cursor librarian robot you could [TS]

  just call everything the LH one or the [TS]

  PX 2 and that would save your typing a [TS]

  lot but great thing infocomm ever did [TS]

  with shorten inventory to I helices l [TS]

  and again was G which we have huge just [TS]

  before this podcast i was playing a very [TS]

  early version of Zork to that did not [TS]

  have g4 again and i asked i'm steve what [TS]

  was your what's your favorite game [TS]

  well it's a toss up for me I don't think [TS]

  I'm quite as as experience with the [TS]

  infocomm cannons youtube because I never [TS]

  quite got around to doing Trinity I [TS]

  think I move your ultimate by that point [TS]

  good play it now no I was I had just [TS]

  branched off onto a different path of [TS]

  loser hood at that point I was I was [TS]

  more into the ultimate wasteland other [TS]

  RPGs by that point but of the ones that [TS]

  i have played it's a toss up for me [TS]

  between chanter which I just really like [TS]

  the dynamic of collecting spells I think [TS]

  they the OCD part of me which is like [TS]

  ninety percent of me really enjoyed that [TS]

  the whole experience of walking around [TS]

  collecting spells and it was nice to be [TS]

  in a fantasy environment where there was [TS]

  less randomness than Zork and the [TS]

  difficulty level wasn't just [TS]

  over-the-top and unfair i think that was [TS]

  probably the first infocomm game that I [TS]

  played through without having to look at [TS]

  any hint anywhere it resort kind of [TS]

  suffers from the early adventure game [TS]

  problem of we're just making puzzles up [TS]

  as we go [TS]

  rain another puzzle we need another [TS]

  puzzle we need another puzzle and a lot [TS]

  of it feels like they just came up with [TS]

  puzzles and slam together and in a [TS]

  totally haphazard way I mean there's not [TS]

  really a lot of coherence in the fantasy [TS]

  world there right [TS]

  really the baseball diamond puzzle has [TS]

  no context in a fantasy settings i have [TS]

  played Zork probably 50 times by this [TS]

  point and i can play the whole thing [TS]

  without drawing a map [TS]

  I still don't understand the baseball [TS]

  puzzle at all [TS]

  well there's there's a bat and it says [TS]

  babe flathead right I you're supposed to [TS]

  swing the bat goes to find the bat swing [TS]

  it and then run in a diamond [TS]

  yes I don't know what direction diamond [TS]

  is supposed to go [TS]

  I think you're only available directions [TS]

  are northeast northwest southeast and [TS]

  southwest right and you can't go north [TS]

  south and everything says dymond I mean [TS]

  it's like a diamond shape Iran angular [TS]

  room with a diamond-shaped window even [TS]

  even assuming you have the baseball [TS]

  context that's required to understand [TS]

  the puzzle explain why it's in a fantasy [TS]

  setting again like it that I cannot do [TS]

  well you see the flatheads were famously [TS]

  eccentric and extremely rich so they [TS]

  would do crazy things like hollow out of [TS]

  volcano just store there one crowd and [TS]

  build a flood control damn yes so [TS]

  clearly babe flathead wanted to have an [TS]

  underground baseball diamond [TS]

  it was the Big Blue Ox flathead right [TS]

  yes while Duncan Thrax was was [TS]

  pioneering double fanucci babe flathead [TS]

  was working out the rules for a [TS]

  rudimentary version of baseball that's [TS]

  that's one of the reasons i like [TS]

  deadline so much it was outside of the [TS]

  cannon that was dragged from you know [TS]

  MIT when they were just throwing the [TS]

  game together it was start to finish [TS]

  written as a coherent experience [TS]

  yeah that's that's that's exactly why I [TS]

  liked enchanter because it flowed all [TS]

  the rooms made sense they you can [TS]

  understand why they were where they were [TS]

  as a result and ended up kind of I think [TS]

  a little bit more of a linear experience [TS]

  but really enjoyed it for that for for [TS]

  all those reasons [TS]

  and then second which may or may not be [TS]

  first I think I kind of go back and [TS]

  forth what it [TS]

  yes exactly would be leather goddesses [TS]

  of Phobos oh you pervy little bastard [TS]

  which had all of the humor of of [TS]

  hitchhikers + tax 7-bit ascii sex+ far [TS]

  less difficulty and more reasonable [TS]

  puzzles and except for that stupid maze [TS]

  where you had to hop every set seven [TS]

  steps and every three steps or whatever [TS]

  it was and I don't for some reason I [TS]

  don't recall that maybe black that out [TS]

  of my memory we we wrote that out yeah [TS]

  you had to eventually you know just just [TS]

  writing out the commands just so we [TS]

  would make sure to hop and do everything [TS]

  that was necessary every proper term [TS]

  number okay yeah it's coming back to me [TS]

  yeah that kind of sucked so what do you [TS]

  like about it other than the the naughty [TS]

  bits it was funny [TS]

  I mean it's all the all the info con [TS]

  games were funny on some level but I [TS]

  always enjoyed moretz keys work and you [TS]

  know I i suspect that he's largely [TS]

  responsible for why Hitchhiker's Guide [TS]

  was so entertaining as well [TS]

  well on the douglas adams podcast there [TS]

  we talked about how legendarily bad [TS]

  adams was with deadlines ran they [TS]

  eventually just kind of chuck the game [TS]

  tumors etsy and and he finished it right [TS]

  which is also why bureaucracy is [TS]

  credited to the staff of infocomm and in [TS]

  tiny little 8.5 douglas adams i'm [TS]

  actually did the infocomm implosion you [TS]

  know they were found it is as they were [TS]

  going to write new software they were [TS]

  just going to pour torque and continue [TS]

  to do adventure games but it turned out [TS]

  to be so profitable that they just kept [TS]

  going gangbusters and then when they [TS]

  actually did come out with a business [TS]

  product which was their database [TS]

  cornerstone in 1985 it fell flat on its [TS]

  face one of the advantages they had when [TS]

  with their adventure games was they [TS]

  wrote a bytecode interpreter which is [TS]

  nerd talk for something that could take [TS]

  a very very compressed script and squash [TS]

  it all [TS]

  onto a single in the case of my Atari [TS]

  490 k floppy drive and still included a [TS]

  reasonable amount of texts [TS]

  um and then they could just pour the [TS]

  bytecode interpreter to each of the new [TS]

  architectures whether it's Apple to or [TS]

  commodore 64 Monty's families CPM [TS]

  machine by that point we had gotten [TS]

  better computers at home [TS]

  ok and and so they could release all [TS]

  these games or all these different [TS]

  platforms at the same time because the [TS]

  same script run and ran on each of the [TS]

  bike open code interpreters for each of [TS]

  the machines but they tried the same [TS]

  thing with Cornerstone where the the [TS]

  product was written by code interpreted [TS]

  which meant it was very very very slow [TS]

  and around 95 you know it just the [TS]

  function of computer games is very [TS]

  different than the function of business [TS]

  software and slowness doesn't help and [TS]

  they never ported it to anything other [TS]

  than the pc well there was no point [TS]

  everybody was using pc for the [TS]

  enterprise at that point so you just use [TS]

  the word enterprise it not in a Star [TS]

  Trek context yes i know i'm sorry their [TS]

  whole their whole reason for in doing an [TS]

  interpretive database was pretty much [TS]

  out the window at that point the driver [TS]

  stock so and they're stuck with the [TS]

  overhead and they're charging five [TS]

  hundred dollars for something that [TS]

  didn't include a natural language parser [TS]

  which is what they were known for and [TS]

  the company just kind of crumbled at [TS]

  that point and it's their greatest work [TS]

  was behind them at that point i don't [TS]

  know i think that they were still [TS]

  putting out [TS]

  trinity I think Trinity was a pretty [TS]

  late one and lurking horror was in there [TS]

  last year [TS]

  Trinity was 86 but they were all they [TS]

  were doing James Clavell shogun you know [TS]

  they were they were grasping at straws [TS]

  dated plundered hearts which nothing [TS]

  against plundered hearts but it they [TS]

  were looking for new markets the [TS]

  cornerstones released in 85 and that [TS]

  meant that Trinity leather goddesses [TS]

  bureaucracy station fall which was [TS]

  admittedly not as good as planetfall [TS]

  lurking horror you know the two somewhat [TS]

  lesser zor countries that those were all [TS]

  post post cornerstone so they were still [TS]

  putting together some decent games [TS]

  towards the animated shogun and [TS]

  a you know their their feeble attempt at [TS]

  RPGs which was I think what quarter [TS]

  staff but they also they did they'd like [TS]

  border zone which was a fine game but it [TS]

  was it wasn't a coherent story it was [TS]

  just a bunch of little vignettes that [TS]

  one they were trying to add graphics but [TS]

  they weren't doing it well and it was a [TS]

  ski graphics talent tell me that that [TS]

  Nordenberg couldn't make heads or tails [TS]

  of it is not a weird game [TS]

  no I will not tell you that I still kind [TS]

  of enjoy playing that although there are [TS]

  a couple specific parts of that still [TS]

  make me very angry [TS]

  the spoonerism section still runs [TS]

  through my head [TS]

  some of those art spoonerisms keep tell [TS]

  us how angry it makes you if they didn't [TS]

  do it did [TS]

  did anybody in the world play Sherlock I [TS]

  played Sherlock know what Monty and then [TS]

  nobody else [TS]

  Sherlock is very unsatisfying what about [TS]

  Arthur never played Arthur you can't [TS]

  even get started in Sherlock unless you [TS]

  know that dr. Watson keeps his [TS]

  stethoscope in his hat it is had a [TS]

  euphemism it could be I don't know [TS]

  everything is written in this weird [TS]

  British is to use the term bowler that [TS]

  could be anything really i just did you [TS]

  know it seems like they were grasping [TS]

  for new markets like see starker was a [TS]

  young person's game and that was earlier [TS]

  admittedly but just they didn't maybe I [TS]

  was growing up in and discovering at [TS]

  least my interest in girls if not actual [TS]

  girls and they didn't grab me the way [TS]

  like deadline or starcross you're [TS]

  suspended did well I feel like in that [TS]

  later era while they were also doing [TS]

  rich interesting games like Trinity and [TS]

  learning or they're also trying to do [TS]

  games that had multiple story options in [TS]

  them the movement plundered hearts [TS]

  cutthroats and I think Sherlock all had [TS]

  three different possible plots you could [TS]

  follow which [TS]

  looks they were always chasing [TS]

  replayability yeah I which they never [TS]

  had in their early games you know once [TS]

  you were done with his work you're [TS]

  pretty much done in fact i played it [TS]

  just out of sheer a nostalgia couple of [TS]

  days ago and it took me two days and I [TS]

  still remember exactly where everything [TS]

  was it's been two decades since i last [TS]

  touch the thing but then again i played [TS]

  it again didn't I so replayability is [TS]

  that's why I have all the infocomm games [TS]

  on my iPad so i can play that whatever I [TS]

  want and feel really really smart this [TS]

  just out of curiosity what do you think [TS]

  could be used in that space of your [TS]

  brain that's taken up with infocomm [TS]

  walkthroughs I don't know it probably [TS]

  abba lyrics or something if it wasn't in [TS]

  focus on something I'm going to find [TS]

  myself west of white house and I'll know [TS]

  if it's going to go in North up get egg [TS]

  down south east open window West West [TS]

  open case and so on but the damn thief [TS]

  the randomness that was my most hated [TS]

  thing about the early infocomm is the [TS]

  random elements always drove me nuts [TS]

  that you couldn't consistently kill the [TS]

  troll or that the thief would pop up and [TS]

  swipe something and make your game on [TS]

  when we are you can save the game right [TS]

  before you do that [TS]

  what does explain this savegame thing to [TS]

  was the first of all you're better at [TS]

  killing things when you have more points [TS]

  so you should get us i only just learned [TS]

  that a couple of days ago pick and [TS]

  second you can get everything back from [TS]

  the thief after you kill him and he's [TS]

  used the nasty knife against the thief [TS]

  because that's better but the sword is [TS]

  better against the troll yeah [TS]

  do not use the rusty knife against [TS]

  anything because it is cursed and will [TS]

  kill you right you can throw it can you [TS]

  can but it will the rusty knife will [TS]

  turn around in midair and stab you in [TS]

  the throat oh yeah there is that one of [TS]

  the proudest moments of my young life [TS]

  was figuring out that the dexterous [TS]

  thief is going to be able to open the [TS]

  egg where I fumble-fingered me cannot [TS]

  you see you have to open the egg because [TS]

  there's a beautiful clockwork canary in [TS]

  it and then you have to use the canary [TS]

  outside in the trees to get the ball [TS]

  place feuding somebody picked him down [TS]

  equipment and this is important [TS]

  information anyway infocomm blew up that [TS]

  it was acquired by activision they [TS]

  spotted along for another couple of [TS]

  years and then just started releasing [TS]

  greatest [TS]

  and I think that the reason info comms [TS]

  hold up especially the early ones is [TS]

  because they're not game so much as they [TS]

  are novels they are experiences and you [TS]

  have an experience and you can put on [TS]

  the shelf and you can bring it down to [TS]

  have the experience again that's why i [TS]

  don't think the multiple storylines [TS]

  worked you don't replay Zork they [TS]

  replayed like minor 2014 einer to throw [TS]

  in another mid-eighties videogame her [TS]

  parents their anthologies the multiple [TS]

  storyline ones isn't in their [TS]

  neighborhoods is an anthology of three [TS]

  fairly boring Pirates have read worse it [TS]

  is there the airplane novels of the [TS]

  interactive fiction world I think that [TS]

  was one of the best stated goals of [TS]

  infocomm early on in there there early [TS]

  days was that they wanted their their [TS]

  games to eventually be up on the shelves [TS]

  in a bookstore you next great literature [TS]

  so i think a lofty goal that perhaps [TS]

  overstated the the reach of the computer [TS]

  game industry in this those days well [TS]

  they they continue I mean they're [TS]

  they're games continued to sell long [TS]

  after they were released which was a [TS]

  rarity for the industry usually game [TS]

  comes out those up big not big like [TS]

  today but big for the time and then [TS]

  would fade as people played it and got [TS]

  used to it and moved on but if you come [TS]

  to zork you can plays work the same way [TS]

  today that you played it 20 years ago [TS]

  that I think two is part of the rapid [TS]

  destruction that Activision made on [TS]

  financial com after they acquired them [TS]

  was they take we're treated them like [TS]

  regular video games with the other would [TS]

  keep their their seven-year-old games on [TS]

  the shelves because people were still [TS]

  snapping them up i mean Zork popped up [TS]

  on the soft talk you know top sellers [TS]

  list for half a decade and then [TS]

  activation came along and they they [TS]

  treated infocomm games like they were [TS]

  standard computer games where you know [TS]

  that the next big thing would come along [TS]

  with graphics that looked like you know [TS]

  that the pictures look like people [TS]

  instead of misshapen the two-dimensional [TS]

  frogs of some kind and so they replace [TS]

  the old with the new on the shelf and [TS]

  and they try to do that with infocomm [TS]

  and I [TS]

  I think actually demanded after they [TS]

  acquired them that they produce eight [TS]

  games a year [TS]

  yeah instead of the four they were [TS]

  producing right which is which [TS]

  meanwhile the quality went down big [TS]

  surprise yeah shocking [TS]

  that's a Zork is the Dark Side of the [TS]

  Moon of interactive fiction of course of [TS]

  Activision hadn't done that I strongly [TS]

  suspect it would have happened shortly [TS]

  afterwards anyway just because the at [TS]

  compusa is of the world plus the the [TS]

  computer game industry is changing i [TS]

  mean people wanted graphics you know [TS]

  infocomm had a famous ad where they say [TS]

  we stick our graphics where the Sun [TS]

  don't shine and it was a picture of a [TS]

  brain and you can get away with that [TS]

  with the fanboys like say three people [TS]

  recording a podcast and yes 2012 but for [TS]

  the most part people wanted their [TS]

  computers to do pretty colored things [TS]

  that moved around [TS]

  well even as infocomm they become part [TS]

  of activism still they did move into [TS]

  graphics beyond orchid graphics and and [TS]

  they weren't very good [TS]

  well they were still trying to to to do [TS]

  interpreted games so they had a limited [TS]

  amount of simplistic graphics that they [TS]

  could reasonably render on multiple zip [TS]

  boxes machines which is what which is [TS]

  what they called their interpreter still [TS]

  in cases if still 0-0 was the [TS]

  implementation language it was the [TS]

  implementation program alright you win [TS]

  these you just got told which was which [TS]

  was later shortened to Z machine it's [TS]

  actually probably worth noting that [TS]

  stock scott adams who actually was first [TS]

  to market with the adventure game room [TS]

  and if you go to his website he proudly [TS]

  announces himself as the progenitor of [TS]

  the entire computer games industry [TS]

  pointing out it is it not the dilbert [TS]

  scott adams this is a different scott [TS]

  adams no no this is the scott adams of [TS]

  the scott adams adventure games he put [TS]

  himself in the ads right get a big fro I [TS]

  think he was in the ads along with some [TS]

  very seventies looking people dressed up [TS]

  in period costume anyway but what i was [TS]

  getting too was that he actually wrote [TS]

  an interpreter as well for his games [TS]

  previous to the resort arrival on the [TS]

  scene i'm clearly getting out nerd here [TS]

  so I'm going to throw down my trump card [TS]

  just that I've written adventure games i [TS]

  wrote my own parser and my own lexer and [TS]

  nothing ever happened with them but damn [TS]

  that was fun [TS]

  nerd and I think fifth grade or so I was [TS]

  in a elementary school that had a [TS]

  computer lab full of Apple tues and we [TS]

  were told we had to write a complete [TS]

  fancy computer program and i found this [TS]

  whole thing boring and a little [TS]

  insulting because I at eros ad at home [TS]

  so naturally i hated apples so I wrote a [TS]

  fake adventure game that looked like an [TS]

  adventure game as long as you did [TS]

  exactly the right move [TS]

  each time if at any point you typed [TS]

  anything other than the required input [TS]

  it would just say I'm sorry I don't [TS]

  understand that you realize that you've [TS]

  liked anticipated demos at the Consumer [TS]

  Electronics Show by a couple of decades [TS]

  yep so when it came time to display it [TS]

  to the teacher I said go ahead and try [TS]

  it and she typed something I guess I [TS]

  didn't anticipate that word here let me [TS]

  show you how it works and then it worked [TS]

  perfectly [TS]

  I started out writing what amounted to [TS]

  choose your own adventures where you [TS]

  were presented with a situation you [TS]

  could like you know one through four 22 [TS]

  pick different options but then I [TS]

  eventually did a little research and and [TS]

  a lot of trial and error and started [TS]

  parsing reasonably complex English [TS]

  sentences and having reasonable puzzles [TS]

  I you know had an inventory system and a [TS]

  container system and this was all [TS]

  without benefit of any sort of you know [TS]

  how the people who knew what they were [TS]

  doing actually did it but I i wrote four [TS]

  or five games that my friends played and [TS]

  solved and complained about the landless [TS]

  Lee I did write a book on solving [TS]

  infocomm games [TS]

  damn i'm not going to win this nerd [TS]

  battle and my my friend and I were at [TS]

  the computer store shopping for the next [TS]

  infocomm game which I think was infidel [TS]

  at the time and the smarmy guy who don't [TS]

  know how don't put the ring on got a [TS]

  needle in it well what's the difference [TS]

  you're gonna die at the end of the game [TS]

  anyway very unsatisfied speaking of [TS]

  which [TS]

  yeah what's your what's your view on [TS]

  that that was allows the ending [TS]

  really [TS]

  yeah it didn't make it clear the game [TS]

  was over i thought i had screwed up [TS]

  yeah okay i'll give you that I I don't [TS]

  think if they explained you have one but [TS]

  your dad I would have understood what [TS]

  was going on right [TS]

  yes now I think I realized it was over [TS]

  are also i probably would have had a [TS]

  similar complaint but I i thought it was [TS]

  great ending but I completely understand [TS]

  where people work were ticked off about [TS]

  it anyway this army guy that was helping [TS]

  us hurt us bragging about how we had one [TS]

  planet followed three days and he said [TS]

  that he was looking for people who were [TS]

  good at infocomm games because he had [TS]

  just written a book called a shortcut [TS]

  through Adventure land which was how to [TS]

  solve a bunch of the Sierra online games [TS]

  so what ended up happening was my friend [TS]

  and i wrote the entire book got sixty [TS]

  percent of the royalties it was just how [TS]

  to solve the first ten infocomm games [TS]

  and the publisher went bankrupt the day [TS]

  the book itself so I never did anything [TS]

  but I was like 14 or 15 that was still [TS]

  pretty neat [TS]

  I backpack i wrote walkthroughs you know [TS]

  step-by-step walkthrough for my friends [TS]

  this is before you could actually do [TS]

  anything like put them online but there [TS]

  were you know there was a brief shining [TS]

  moment of my childhood where it was cool [TS]

  to be able to solve info comes until [TS]

  other people how to do it and then they [TS]

  put me in a trashcan and rolling down a [TS]

  hill [TS]

  I ok ok I i will see you your book [TS]

  authorship and I I beta-tested info [TS]

  comes I beta-tested leather goddesses of [TS]

  Phobos and lurking horror and money's [TS]

  gonna bust at his bureaucracy story and [TS]

  Hollywood hijinks and food litsky now [TS]

  what was flicks key cuz i've never been [TS]

  sure the Blitz key was a board game that [TS]

  half of it took place inside the [TS]

  computer the computer had the role of [TS]

  you know like they have modern versions [TS]

  of monopoly where the bank is controlled [TS]

  by a little the government astok device [TS]

  that comes with it and every player has [TS]

  a credit card rather than cash publicity [TS]

  was similar where it would roll the dice [TS]

  and it would set your goals public ski [TS]

  can generously be chalked up as an [TS]

  interesting experiment [TS]

  ok it was not infocomm me remember [TS]

  seeing lots of at [TS]

  for it but i never understood any of [TS]

  them there were dogs involved i have to [TS]

  say that Greg your beta testing of [TS]

  infocomm games is pretty cool [TS]

  it's gonna be hard to top that i'm super [TS]

  jealous it I I felt pretty damn special [TS]

  and I mean it was it was just like this [TS]

  is as good as it gets which [TS]

  unfortunately turned out to be true [TS]

  oh it turned from a happy ending to a [TS]

  setting so quickly [TS]

  50 well here's my bureaucracy story [TS]

  yes in 1987 1988 infocomm was doing the [TS]

  marathon of the minds as a way to get [TS]

  publicity for their new games what they [TS]

  do is they take their game that was just [TS]

  about to come out and go to a city in [TS]

  the United States and then all the high [TS]

  schools in that city would send three [TS]

  student teams to a location and then [TS]

  they play the game until one of the [TS]

  teams won the teams were composed of [TS]

  people pulled out of trash cans at the [TS]

  bottom of the hill largely yes for [TS]

  bureaucracy which was the second douglas [TS]

  adams game although had previously [TS]

  mentioned douglas adams may not have had [TS]

  that much to do with actually doing [TS]

  anything [TS]

  his name is on the box that's an extra [TS]

  for bureaucracy the city of San Diego [TS]

  and I got to be one of the kids on the [TS]

  team which was actually highly contested [TS]

  because i was going to a math science [TS]

  computer magnet school at the time so [TS]

  there was just a hill with thousands of [TS]

  trash can lie on the bed and there's one [TS]

  exhausted bully who has to keep putting [TS]

  the kids in the trash can [TS]

  well it's a weird school because it was [TS]

  in a bad bad part of town and there were [TS]

  Crips and bloods who are the local [TS]

  students and then a bunch of us pasty [TS]

  white math science computer kids being [TS]

  bused in well it's probably good that [TS]

  your pasty so you can be mistaken as a [TS]

  Crip or a blood any rate we were all [TS]

  shipped out to these Reuben h fleet [TS]

  space theatre and science center in [TS]

  balboa park and each school has its own [TS]

  little computer station in the science [TS]

  center and we played for 37 hours [TS]

  while being supplied with endless [TS]

  amounts of coke and pizza getting [TS]

  bleary-eyed and insane by the end of it [TS]

  when you say played for 37 hours was [TS]

  there any break [TS]

  no I mean you could take a break if you [TS]

  wanted but that meant the other teams [TS]

  would get ahead of you did you go to the [TS]

  bathroom [TS]

  we have to just stand up to do it [TS]

  yeah like there are three people on the [TS]

  team you don't need all three people at [TS]

  the computer the whole time [TS]

  no guys I got this great plan catheters [TS]

  but as it happens my team won so I can [TS]

  first of all state that I was the first [TS]

  person outside infocomm one of the three [TS]

  first three people outside infocomm to [TS]

  win bureaucracy and also actually got my [TS]

  name printed in The New York Times later [TS]

  the status line which was their official [TS]

  newsletter they got sued by the new york [TS]

  times you have to change that and I got [TS]

  a cool t-shirt which I still have some [TS]

  of course you do it and we won something [TS]

  like copies of all the games for the [TS]

  school my favorite moment though was [TS]

  they had copies of other games that were [TS]

  about to come out one of which was [TS]

  Hollywood hijinks and one of my [TS]

  teammates snuck over and started looking [TS]

  through the materials because he had a [TS]

  pirated copy of Hollywood hijinks and he [TS]

  needed to read the documentation to get [TS]

  past the infocomm copy protection which [TS]

  took the form of the secret hints inside [TS]

  the documentation itself the feelies yes [TS]

  physical items which I thought was [TS]

  pretty clever because they never [TS]

  bothered putting any actual copy [TS]

  protection on their games which made [TS]

  them almost unique at the time but it [TS]

  was it was copy protection that wasn't [TS]

  really really intrusive it was [TS]

  integrated into the game and that was [TS]

  terrific you know it was it was [TS]

  something that wasn't easily reproduced [TS]

  like wasn't digitally reproducible and [TS]

  you actually had to pay attention to [TS]

  everything that came in the packet [TS]

  yeah and then so when you had sorcerer [TS]

  for example you actually had this thing [TS]

  they called an info tater which had a [TS]

  two rotating dials that you had to line [TS]

  up to tell you what color a group was [TS]

  the problem i find though is that later [TS]

  on when they came out with the lost [TS]

  treasures of infocomm cd-rom packages [TS]

  they didn't include all of the [TS]

  documentation for some of the games [TS]

  became accidentally impossible [TS]

  well they built like they built the in [TS]

  visit clues were you know the [TS]

  aftermarket in books that they would [TS]

  came with invisible ink and a pen that [TS]

  you could drag across it to reveal the [TS]

  answer guaranteed answers in increasing [TS]

  specificity and then they integrated [TS]

  those into the games later on when you [TS]

  type hint and it would give you the end [TS]

  it just it it never seemed is cool [TS]

  what's that supposed to seem cool you're [TS]

  looking at hints you should hang your [TS]

  head in shame and that's how it's [TS]

  supposed it's not supposed to feel good [TS]

  one good thing about the lost treasures [TS]

  of info concept was they actually [TS]

  included all of the maps and all of the [TS]

  visit clues in book form which was great [TS]

  because the Invisibles were usually [TS]

  written with at least as much attention [TS]

  to humor as as the games themselves word [TS]

  so they were often as funny to read [TS]

  through it as playing the games were [TS]

  they always have questions that applied [TS]

  that didn't have anything to do with the [TS]

  game just so they could have a few [TS]

  nonsense answers and then answer saying [TS]

  this [TS]

  there isn't this room in this game stop [TS]

  just looking at answers and go back to [TS]

  playing if they did they didn't want to [TS]

  didn't want the questions which were [TS]

  printed in regular ink just to give away [TS]

  anything about the game so that include [TS]

  the fake questions you know I worked at [TS]

  a software store years and years and [TS]

  years ago and people would try and [TS]

  return the Invisibles after having used [TS]

  them [TS]

  she's no use to me now how a no no ma'am [TS]

  I'm sorry that that you you can't no [TS]

  sorry [TS]

  yes you can see the manager [TS]

  I'll be right back so you guys play text [TS]

  adventures anymore have you had any [TS]

  other than the original you can go back [TS]

  and play the old ones but they're still [TS]

  being produced and there's a a small but [TS]

  very vibrant community that that is [TS]

  still making games if you have you [TS]

  played any of these anytime recently I [TS]

  have [TS]

  and I'm surprised if you watch the [TS]

  documentary get lamp which is a [TS]

  documentary about text adventures the [TS]

  DVD comes with about fifty i think text [TS]

  adventures on the disk [TS]

  there's an ipad app fronts [TS]

  yeah frost comes with a couple hundred [TS]

  yeah i'm looking at it now I played two [TS]

  or three modern games i played vespers [TS]

  which is this game where you're a month [TS]

  trapped in a monastery at the top of the [TS]

  mountain while everybody dies of [TS]

  playground you so any kind of a downer [TS]

  okay well you're on top of a mountain [TS]

  that's really kind of the only way you [TS]

  can go and there's a game called [TS]

  fotopedia phot OPI a which is [TS]

  technically a text adventure in that [TS]

  you're entering commands and it's got a [TS]

  text adventure interface but really it's [TS]

  about a short story about somebody dying [TS]

  in a car crash and are you the that [TS]

  person you're everybody it's super [TS]

  postmodern and I get the feeling that [TS]

  people have gotten tired of texting [TS]

  ventures as games and are really trying [TS]

  to branch out do text adventures as [TS]

  literature or text adventures as our or [TS]

  drag actually the game I was going to [TS]

  mention his lost pig which one the IAF [TS]

  competition [TS]

  oh yeah two or three years ago it's just [TS]

  a bug [TS]

  I hadn't played games in eons mean in [TS]

  you know since the Paleozoic and it was [TS]

  great fun because it's so highly [TS]

  polished that it was a reintroduction to [TS]

  the genre but I haven't sat like I said [TS]

  my kids down a couple years ago and try [TS]

  to get them interested in his work and [TS]

  they got it but they just didn't follow [TS]

  up there right now they're currently [TS]

  obsessed with minecraft um but they [TS]

  wandered around House little bit they [TS]

  got inside and then they just drift away [TS]

  from it which was disappointing and I [TS]

  want to try again with lost pig just [TS]

  because it's so funny and it's so well [TS]

  done [TS]

  here's one of the room descriptions from [TS]

  lost pig fountain room all wall in this [TS]

  room glow [TS]

  it bright just like daytime except that [TS]

  instead of sun it wall that glow and set [TS]

  of grass and tree and square room with [TS]

  four wall and instead of outside it all [TS]

  underground but beside those things it [TS]

  just like it will keep going out to east [TS]

  west but normal doorway go north and [TS]

  southeast and southwest in middle of [TS]

  room there fountain but found to not [TS]

  have any water south wall have big [TS]

  curtain hanging on it big here to pick [TS]

  look over then pick look away [TS]

  you're basically paying a caveman trying [TS]

  to get his pig back [TS]

  the pig is great in that game too it's [TS]

  so well-written becomes even though it [TS]

  has obviously no no dialogue to speak of [TS]

  it's it's a descriptive text about the [TS]

  pigs is so well done that it's probably [TS]

  one of the most memorable characters and [TS]

  interactive fiction that i can remember [TS]

  but that's what struck me was that the [TS]

  pros of the game is written from your [TS]

  perspective which you know usually [TS]

  there's descriptions of things going on [TS]

  but I've never seen the descriptions [TS]

  written as a the character would [TS]

  perceive them [TS]

  yeah a lot of info cod games are written [TS]

  from a sarcastic third person pointed [TS]

  right you right you you are here witness [TS]

  had some Raymond Chandler qualities to [TS]

  the writing but not a lot and lurking [TS]

  horror was supposed to be HP Lovecraft [TS]

  but yeah they were written as they they [TS]

  were written by an author rather than [TS]

  writing as the perspective of the [TS]

  character and when the character has [TS]

  limited mental capacity in the [TS]

  vocabulary you end up with something [TS]

  like lost pig and I thought that was [TS]

  really fun and really different and [TS]

  something even 30 years into the sauna [TS]

  that I had never seen before [TS]

  yeah so I've i actually did play lost [TS]

  pig because when i downloaded frost it [TS]

  was recommended as has a fairly easy and [TS]

  good first place to start for [TS]

  interacting interactive fiction but I [TS]

  haven't really explored much on the [TS]

  modern stuff because you know you and I [TS]

  well both of you and I the plural you [TS]

  use know that that [TS]

  that nerds generally are not great [TS]

  writers and they tend to write pretty [TS]

  schlocky pretty a derivative stuff and [TS]

  so I I'm a little afraid to take a [TS]

  chance on some random guy that you know [TS]

  they posted to the IAF archive and i [TS]

  still have enough up the old infocomm [TS]

  games that i haven't played that I can [TS]

  still go back if I feel need and and and [TS]

  give one of those old games a shot now i [TS]

  have actually considered maybe playing a [TS]

  i guess a couple of there were a couple [TS]

  of games that were written a few years [TS]

  back by Yahtzee and crawshaw does the 0 [TS]

  punctuation reviews on their hilarious [TS]

  so i imagine those are those are [TS]

  probably pretty good although it's hard [TS]

  to say that I assume he doesn't use the [TS]

  same kind of a rapid fire style and his [TS]

  adventure are no spaces in this [TS]

  description i can't read any of this [TS]

  that would get fairly tedious I i find i [TS]

  don't have the attention span anymore [TS]

  plus have you seen Skyrim man that [TS]

  thing's beautiful i love text adventures [TS]

  but it's really really hard to not just [TS]

  stare it a beautifully rendered portal 2 [TS]

  or something [TS]

  yeah yeah that's I i find that what [TS]

  mommy said about skyrim kind of applies [TS]

  to me too is that I i have such limited [TS]

  time these days [TS]

  22 game that i can go back and play an [TS]

  old text adventure and spend the [TS]

  inordinate amount of time it takes to [TS]

  really figure all the puzzles out and [TS]

  all that stuff [TS]

  or i could spend 20 minutes walking [TS]

  around oblivion you know slaying goblins [TS]

  and having sadly a more rich experience [TS]

  really playing that and then I i could [TS]

  going back the old text games much as I [TS]

  love them [TS]

  most games these days don't require a [TS]

  pad of graph paper by your side at all [TS]

  times and how much how much of our [TS]

  affection for these games is just [TS]

  nostalgia for me i'd say about [TS]

  60-percent the really good ones [TS]

  61-62 point hey I mean yes they hit me [TS]

  at exactly the right age but the good [TS]

  ones are still really good [TS]

  mhm like if you see if somebody is [TS]

  willing to spend the time to play [TS]

  through planet [TS]

  fall Floyd's death is still a really [TS]

  good moment [TS]

  damn it and I'll fight the man who says [TS]

  otherwise i love these games i mean they [TS]

  affected my childhood they they are [TS]

  signposts for sadly what I've become [TS]

  but I don't know that I would play them [TS]

  these days I don't know that my kids [TS]

  have an interest in playing them and I [TS]

  just wonder if they were such a product [TS]

  of their time and of the technology that [TS]

  something like that is not going to [TS]

  happen again [TS]

  what if you've displayed them in a [TS]

  different context at one point somebody [TS]

  had set up an aimbot that would place [TS]

  York with you that was a friend of mine [TS]

  actually and ebay oh well I thought it [TS]

  was a brilliant idea [TS]

  did either of you guys ever play any of [TS]

  the legend games after infocomm went [TS]

  kaput a couple of the guys from infocomm [TS]

  Steve maretskiy and Bob Bates who did [TS]

  that [TS]

  sadly is only really known for having [TS]

  done Sherlock and Arthur but they got [TS]

  together and formed their own company [TS]

  they're crowning achievement they put [TS]

  together again called time quest which [TS]

  is effectively you're you're following [TS]

  along behind a guy who's it was not some [TS]

  evil duties run across the time machine [TS]

  and he's gone to various periods in [TS]

  history and screwed things up and [TS]

  basically you're part of some kind of a [TS]

  you know time police department that has [TS]

  to go back in time and fix these [TS]

  problems this guy is caused and it's [TS]

  really really well done it's probably [TS]

  one of the best adventure games that [TS]

  I've ever played [TS]

  it's well worth digging up and and [TS]

  giving a try [TS]

  never even heard of it they went to more [TS]

  of a point and click format at one point [TS]

  and they did that came based on what [TS]

  they did a couple of sample games [TS]

  laurent yeah [TS]

  and something based on Shannara sorry [TS]

  going [TS]

  yes and but maretskiy continue to make [TS]

  games and he put together something I [TS]

  think his last game for them was a super [TS]

  hero League of hoboken which was really [TS]

  funny and really well done to so it's [TS]

  worth trying to pick those up if you can [TS]

  find them is it Murray or merced ski [TS]

  maretskiy yeah I've been pronouncing it [TS]

  wrong for two-and-a-half decades nice [TS]

  days boxes keeping it on that note I'm [TS]

  going to end the podcast this podcast is [TS]

  over i would like to thank our [TS]

  participants today Steve let's thank you [TS]

  Greg [TS]

  it's been a spin experience and Monty [TS]

  Ashley thank you good hosting reg and [TS]

  score [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  Roger Ebert is wrong w always look like [TS]

  he's smiling these days [TS]

  yeah he looks like he's really enthused [TS]

  about what happened to those pictures he [TS]

  looks like you saying hi like somebody [TS]

  just told him to say chin up Roger [TS]

  attended oh if only he could chin up [TS]

  we seem to be wondering where yes yes [TS]

  look what's wrong with nostalgia i [TS]

  enjoyed something is a youth and now I [TS]

  get to keep doing it [TS]

  half of the twilight zone episodes are [TS]

  about how that's good for you [TS]

  don't you mean 60-percent we're done [TS]

  here yeah [TS]