ISSUE #41 - July 15, 2005

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The  |___/ociety for the |_|romotion of  |_|_|dventure  \___|ames.

                         ISSUE #41

        Edited by Paul O'Brian (obrian SP@G
                       July 15, 2005

           SPAG Website:

SPAG #41 is copyright (c) 2005 by Paul O'Brian.
Authors of reviews and articles retain the rights to their contributions.

All email addresses are spamblocked -- replace the name of our magazine
with the traditional 'at' sign. 

REVIEWS IN THIS ISSUE -----------------------------------------------------

Bolivia By Night
Conan Kill Everything
The Dreamhold
The Fire Tower
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
Wumpus 2000


Way back in 1999, Magnus Olsson asked me if I'd like to take his place
as the editor of SPAG. I was honored and flattered to be asked, and
after some consideration, I accepted. Since that time, for the six years
and 24 issues that followed, I've done my best to make SPAG a worthwhile
contribution to the IF community. I hope the reviews and articles
collected herein have been enlightening, or at least entertaining. I've
certainly had a lot of fun producing the zine.

You can probably guess what I'm heading towards here. A lot has changed
in the IF community and in my life over the past six years, and I find
that I no longer have the time, energy, and enthusiasm to devote to IF
that I once did. Given that my son Dante was born just last month,
somehow I don't see a lot of spare time in my immediate future, either!
So I've decided to step down as editor of SPAG.

Fear not, however! The torch has been passed, and the zine will live on
in the capable hands of its new editor, Jimmy Maher! You may recognize
Jimmy's name as the author of Filfre, a nifty new z-code interpreter
(see this issue's news section.) Or perhaps you know him from the fine
SPAG reviews he's written, including this issue's eloquent evaluation of
Wumpus 2000. Hey, you might not even recognize his name at all, but rest
assured, you'll get to know him well. I have a feeling he's in for a
prosperous tenure, so please welcome him if you get a chance.

As for me, I'll be around. Who knows, I might even submit a review now
and then! In the meantime, thank you for helping to keep text adventures

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR------------------------------------------------------

From:	Richard Otter 

I notice that your list of 'New Releases' never seems to include Adrift

   [That's not entirely true, Richard. See, for example, SPAG 37, where
   the list includes "Curse of the Dragon Shrine". What is true (as I
   say at is that the SPAG
   New Releases Shelf consists of those games announced on the
   rec.*.int-fiction newsgroups. I'd encourage ADRIFT authors (for that
   matter, all authors) to post new game announcements on these
   newsgroups, particularly, since that will
   publicize their games to a wider audience -- one that includes me.
   (Or rather, one that includes Jimmy, since I won't be writing the new
   games section of upcoming issues.)


From:	Peter Hipson 

Funny what you find on the Internet that is not expected. Though I am
sure you have been told the history of Adventure from IBM, here are a
few things that may not be well known:

1. Adventure was written to test and develop relational database 
techniques on IBM mainframe computers. It was written in Fortran.

2. The game was so successful that it was ported to PL/I (though the
port was poorly done by today's standards). I worked on the PL/I
version, including extending the cave (many limits had been hardcoded in
the software that needed fixing!) Some of this work was done at AIT (in
Bangkok) with the support of IBM.

3. The game was first ported to microcomputers around 1980. We did our
first port to UCSD Pascal on the Apple II. (That port was from PL/I, and
we had students retype the entire program as there were no ways to
transfer data between the computers -- before microcomputer networks!)

4. I hated Pascal. I next ported it to C, on the IBM PC. Along the way,
the Basic version was born, from many different sources, including (so I
understand) Apple.

5. Some years later, I did a partial port to C++. This port was not
finished properly, but maybe some day...

If anyone is interested in the C code, I think it is still on one of my
servers. I could be convinced to post it...

   [Nifty! If anybody's interested in discussing this letter, I suggest as the forum, since SPAG isn't published
   frequently enough to support an ongoing discussion. (Man, I'm really
   shilling rgif today, aren't I?) Also, Adventure/Colossal Cave
   enthusiasts really ought to check out Rick Adams' excellent page at


From:	"El Clérigo Urbatain" 

First of all, sorry by my bad english ;) As all you know my last
interview was made by a translator in the middle, so here it is my real
bad writing.

I write you to make two add on to the interview, one about my non
partial opinions about the spanish IF community history, of course I one
thinking person and my thought are mine, and are very partial. When I
said that the gold era of PAW spanish IF was a mesh, I must admit that
was at the end, when all collapses, 8 bits died, advetures died, and all
fanzines was falling apart, with bad issues or issues with old info,
articles, and such. However the gold PAW era give us nearly hundreds of
PAW games, and a lot of really good DOS PC games, so thats not bad at

And I must to add context to my egocentric phrase "I'm the Stanley
Kubrick of the adventure", I must add in the sense that Stanley prefer
to "interpreter" good stories of other people than make his own ones.
I'll never thought in compare my skill with such master, but I love to
interpreter and make my own version or "parserize" a story into an
adventure. And so, I hope you enjoy the remake of Dracula I'm nearly
uploading on the net for your enjoy.

See you!

   [Thanks for the clarifications, Ruben.
NEWS ----------------------------------------------------------------------

We've got a healthy crop of new IF to peruse this summer, from the tiny
to the honkin' huge. Highlights include a joyous smashfest (reviewed by
William McDuff in this issue), an intriguing puzzle game with a
theological bent, a text-adventure prequel to an as-yet-unproduced
amateur graphic Zork game, and sizable opus on the order of Curses.
Capping the batch is Façade, the culmination of a five-year research
project into interactive storytelling -- check out Nick Montfort's
review in this issue. 
   * Mini-Adventure demo games by Jon Ripley
   * Conan Kill Everything by Ian Haberkorn
   * Creepy Mansion by Kevin Lyons
   * All Hope Abandon by Eric Eve
   * Dawn Of The Demon by Paul Drallos
   * Finding Martin by Gayla Wennstrom
   * Façade by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern

Andrew Plotkin does right by his old games. He originally wrote Inhumane
in Applesoft BASIC, and then years later ported it to Inform. He
released System's Twilight as freeware even while shareware
registrations were still coming in for it. Now he's done it again with
Praser 5, also known as Fifth Praser Maze. Zarf says that it's a "sort
of logic-puzzle, word-puzzle... thing that I created in 1989." It
originally lived as a collection of files on an academic file server,
but he's ported it to Inform and put it on the archive. 

(I'm about to give a very very minor Enchanter spoiler, if you care
about that sort of thing.) In Enchanter, the filfre spell was known to
"produce gratuitous fireworks," which just so happened to display the
game credits. Enchanter's invisiclues told us that the spell got its
name as a corruption of "feel free," a phrase which game authors
allegedly say a lot. Now, Jimmy Maher has exercised his freedom to
create a different kind of fireworks: a brand new z-code interpreter
known as Filfre. Some nifty things about Filfre are its integrated
scrollback buffer (similar to what we find in the Mike Roberts' TADS
interpreter) and the fact that double-clicking any word on the screen
pastes that word into the command line. In addition, Filfre has the
capability of constructing inventory and verb lists in separate panes,
giving z-code games the feel of the old Legend classics. The interpreter
is available at your friendly neighborhood IF archive. 

For the past five years, the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus
has offered a Computer Game Design and Implementation class, in which
one of the assignments is to create an Inform IF game. Students have
roughly a month in which to learn Inform and write a small game that
meets a number of quality standards. Do they succeed? Well, you can
judge for yourself, since all the games are posted at Each
one is even available to play online via Zplet, should you be reluctant
to download them. If you're curious about the assignment, it's here:

SPAG talks a lot about IF, but there are some parts of IF that SPAG just
doesn't talk a lot about. Nevertheless, they are out there, thriving in
their own ways. One of these is the AIF ("Adult Interactive Fiction",
aka X-rated IF) community. Luckily, this group has a newsletter of its
own, posted monthly at Obviously,
this site is not suitable for children, nor for viewing at work. But if
you like that sort of thing, you might well find it's the sort of thing
that you like. 

It's true that I'm stepping down as editor, but SPAG must go on! I'm
counting on you guys to come through for Jimmy and send him some reviews
for issue 42. In case you're stumped for what games to review, here's a
little list to help prompt you:

1.  All Hope Abandon
2.  Dawn Of The Demon
3.  1893: A World's Fair Mystery
4.  Finding Martin
5.  Future Boy!
6.  Mystery House Taken Over games (any, some, or all!)
7.  Narcolepsy
8.  Return To Ditch Day
9.  Threnody
10. Whom The Telling Changed

KEY TO SCORES AND REVIEWS--------------------------------------------------

Consider the following review header:

TITLE: Cutthroats
AUTHOR: Infocom
EMAIL: ???
DATE: September 1984
PARSER: Infocom Standard
SUPPORTS: Z-code (Infocom/Inform) interpreters
URL: Not available.
VERSION: Release 23

When submitting reviews:  Try to fill in as much of this info as you can.
Authors may not review their own games.

REVIEWS -------------------------------------------------------------------

From:	Eric Woods 

TITLE: Bolivia By Night  
AUTHOR: Aidan Doyle  
EMAIL: aidandoyle SP@G  
DATE: March 9, 2005  
SUPPORTS: TADS interpreters  

Bolivia By Night is a typical mystery-based interactive fiction game
and, therefore, there's nothing particularly innovative about it. You
play a journalist for an English-speaking newspaper, The Bolivian
Herald. Initially you find yourself in an editorial meeting where you
discover that David, the head reporter, has been missing for over a
week. You also get the assignment of interviewing two Bolivians with
interesting jobs, a cook with a nationally televised show and a Ninja
master. The game doesn't allow the story to progress until these
interviews are completed. The whole game moves along in a similar
fashion, giving the player only one course of action at a time. Bit by
bit you discover a murder or two, the supernatural background of the
motives for these murders, and the only course of action to make
everything in the world right. Like I said, it's pretty typical. 

The author obviously had a political and moral motive in creating this
game. There are many interesting geographic, historical and cultural
facts about Bolivia woven through the storyline as well as some cracks
on Republicans. These cracks often are presented when you touch photos
of Presidents after you have been given heightened senses. The political
figures making cameos in this story are the Bush boys, Margaret
Thatcher, and Reagan. I found it ironic that if you choose to be
American at the start of the game you find a photograph of Lincoln in
your desk drawer. This is apparently a sign of admiration for Lincoln. I
wonder if the author knows that Lincoln was a Republican. 

The game play is very smooth in Bolivia By Night. The author recommends
that players use a multi-media interpreter though I didn't. I didn't
notice any difficulties with making progress without those features. The
author also recommends that you keep the game in verbose mode which I
generally don't like. There were two points where this would have been
helpful since room descriptions sometimes change when you return to them
and you won't get any of the changed description upon re-entering. This
was easy enough to overcome with a simple look command, though. 

There were some nice features in this game which I haven't seen in
others. The C command gets you a list of characters with whom you have
already interacted or about whom you have learned something. The a T
command gets you a list of topics on which you have discovered some
information. These innovations made note-taking during playing
unnecessary, which I found to be very helpful. There is also a
well-implemented hint file contained within the game, though the game is
simple enough that a gamer with experience probably won't need it. 

There is an Internet café which you can enter and check your email. You
get some choices as to how you can respond to these emails and the story
does a good job of implementing your choice in later scenes. For
example, if you decide to order the Rodriguez Twins DVD Volume III you
will find it in your apartment, all packaged up, later in the game. You
can collect all three DVDs throughout the game if you care to. 

The puzzles range from very easy to easy. Even those that border on
clever are given direction through unprompted statements by your
sidekick. Your sidekick, by the way, is a talking T-shirt. Again, due to
the linear nature of the game, I didn't find any problem with following
the storyline or deciding what I had to do next. I don't generally mind
being pushed through a story but a little less of this would have suited
my tastes more. 

By the time you've discovered the nature of the mystery, gained some
super natural powers and thwarted the bad guys and their evil plot to
return Bolivia back to the days when it was ruled by drug lords you'll
have a clear idea of the author's motive for producing the game. It's a
good notion, of course, but perhaps a little predictable. Overall I
found the game enjoyable though not very engaging or memorable.
Certainly it is well written with no bugs, typos, or grammatical errors
if you don't include the rare preposition at the end of a sentence.
There are also some points where the humor made me crack a smile. While
the map able area is relatively small it does a decent job of
representing Bolivia though I assume I was supposed to feel more like
the people were struggling than I did. Have a whack at it if you have a
couple of hours to kill and you aren't overly sensitive about some mild
Republican bashing humor. 


From:	"Niz" 

Maybe its just me, as the IF community has not been showering it with
glowing reviews, but Aidan Doyle's BOLIVIA BY NIGHT (2nd place in 2005's
Spring Thing competition) should have all the ingredients required to
sweep the XYZZY awards next year, especially if the author can release a
post-competition bugfixed version soon. It probably won't, but hey,
that's awards for you.

Initial feelings that the author made the game just to say, "Hey look, I
went to Bolivia on holiday and instead of boring you with my photo album
I'm gonna bore you with an IF game I made about it" are thankfully
quickly shaken off as you head off on various reporting tasks for the
"Bolivian Herald", investigate a murder, and uncover a conspiracy. The
scenery feels right throughout: locations are never a chore to plough
through simply looking for nouns to "examine". The writing is plain,
simple and funny -- the author is thankfully not a frustrated poet
trying to wow you with his turn of phrase. It's refreshingly
down-to-earth. The characters feel alive (especially the TV chef and
your chauvinistic colleague). The puzzles are just simple enough not to
get in the way of the story, and entertaining enough to complement it.
The whole thing is reasonably long (several hours' worth for an average
player, divided into convenient chapters to allow for short spells of
gaming), and the story could easily have come straight out of Robert
Anton Wilson's ILLUMINATUS! trilogy of novels (a good thing).

Okay, the tone of the game is somewhat silly, but let us compare for a
moment with THE CABAL, an XYZZY nominee for best story of 2004: sure,
THE CABAL didn't have talking Che Guevara t-shirts, ninjas and the ghost
of Klaus Barbie, but it comes from the same "school" of piling on the
conspiracies and craziness until you give in and just go with the flow
hippy-style... its a style you either "dig" or you don't, and if it was
"dug" for THE CABAL, why not here?

The locations are fantastic. You can really taste the dusty, dry
atmosphere, the slow pace of life, the coffee and cocoa. Every South
American cliche is thrown in, from drug lords to llamas to witch-doctors
to ancient Incan secrets to Shakira. Best compliment: I'm seriously
considering travelling there now.

Puzzle-quality is very high, often providing unique spins on standard
fetch-quest type puzzles, and incorporating what could have just been
storyline-asides into the main fabric of the game. The range and style
of these puzzles is very varied: one such fetch-quest is solved rather
literally (and gruesomely); another (to derail the bad-guys' actions) is
solved by making use of what could have been just a throwaway gag; yet
another is solved via a callback to your early reporting missions. As
for the climactic "boss battle", any puzzle that involves a sun bed, a
racy DVD, and a portable camera could never be considered derivative.

Yes there are some technical flaws, in particular an annoying bug with
the framed photo in Richard's room, and some awkward syntax requirements
at times, but these things can easily be fixed. The tricky bit is
getting the story, setting and puzzles right, and there the author has
definitely nailed it.

I get the feeling the game might be lost in the shuffle before the
awards season comes round, as it doesn't feature any amazing new
technical innovations or break the narrative conventions of IF. It's
just a very solid, very playable, very entertaining romp that does
something few other games can achieve: it's fun.


From:	Mike Tulloch 

TITLE: Catseye 
AUTHOR: Dave Bernazzani 
EMAIL:daveber SP@G 
DATE: October 17, 2004 
PARSER: Simple (Microform parser) 
SUPPORTS: Zcode interpreters
AVAILABILITY: Freeware -- Author's site 

A 10k adventure? How good could it be? With visions of Scott Adams' 16k
(master)pieces in mind, I began with trepidition. I found the game,
converted it to pdb format, and loaded it on my aging Handspring Visor

The intro is concise and informative, and gets you into the action right
away. The game possesses a pulp fiction or a Golden age comic book feel.
Your quest? Retrieve the necklace of your uncle Xevion from his
mysterious house. It's straight-ahead youthful mystery-fantasy. 

The room descriptions are sparse, occasionally omitting words,
presumably to save memory. Some of the error messages are unhelpful
because of their brevity. For example, a simple one word response with
nary a period in sight shows up quite a bit. Still others are errors,
where a blank line displays as the response to your actions. You'll also
notice some familiar synonyms missing, the most annoying of which is
"get" -- you must use "take".

Frustration builds into a claustrophobic spiral, brought on by the small
number of rooms, the crippled parser, and the unhelpful responses. Only
occasionally do zephyrs of humor lighten the mood. Want to take a
breather? You can't, because the game can't be saved. Granted, that's
not a problem on the PDA, unless you wanted to play another IF game and
resume where you left off. Still, I'm of the opinion that all
frustrating games should allow you to save. 

Catseye consists of one puzzle that starts off simple and rapidly
becomes maddening; you have to play "guess the verb" and also "guess the
input format for the verb". I finally resorted to r.g.i-f to find enough
clues to win the game. I say that to my embarrassment, but to the
author's shame. Even when you've won, you feel like the game's getting
the last laugh. Your effort is rewarded with a scant two sentences.

I congratulate Bernazzani for cramming a game into 10k. However it feels
like more of a programming triumph than an artistic one. The game is
playable, but inordinately frustrating. It has an interesting feel, but
not enough to compensate for the parsing problems and lack of feedback
(both of which seriously interfere with gameplay). The lack of verbs and
missing punctuation are also drawbacks. In short, thumbs down.

Score: 3/10.


From: William McDuff 

TITLE: Conan Kill Everything
AUTHOR: Ian Haberkorn
EMAIL: haberkornj SP@G
DATE: April 12 2005
PARSER: Infocom Standard
SUPPORTS: Z-code (Infocom/Inform) interpreters
VERSION: Release 1

   "I hope it is adequately stupid. Comments are appreciated."
                     -- Ian Haberkorn on Conan Kill Everything

Fear not, Ian! You game is most definitely "adequately stupid". Which is
meant in the best way possible, of course.

Though perhaps Ian Haberkorn is a bit confused about which competition
he entered with "Conan Kill Everything". When the title placed second in
StupidTitleComp (a voting mechanism test for the 2005 Spring Thing) he
seems to have thought he entered IntroComp, and created a playable game
with that title, possibly hoping to claim a prize before the year was
up. Alas, he will win nothing for creating this game other than the
renown for creating such an amusing, if small, game.

In this game you play the legendary Cimmerian barbarian, Conan, and your
objective is simple. Kill everything. No, not every living thing.
Everything. The walls of the room only escape Conan's mighty wrath
because they "are already dead. Conan suspects that he killed them in an
earlier episode."

Although a one room game, and as mentioned before, very short, some
interesting puzzles exist here. None will stymie a veteran IF player for
long, but they puzzles are fair and logical, if progressing to a logical
extreme. There's not much of a plot or story to speak off, but given the
source of the game, expecting one seems silly.

The game itself is technically sound, although more verbs could be
implemented as with most games, and what can be reached from the table
is perhaps a bit generous. Also, the actions of the fly in the room seem
to be a bit too random at times, which can make a long wait. The writing
is terse, tight phrasing emulating the 'action, not words' approach of
your average barbarian stereotype. This simplistic style actually
generates some of the humour, and there are also some great lines
sprinkled here and there.

Significantly, the game endings take a step back to a director's view of
the action as a movie, giving a view that this farce is something of a
play within a play. This decision actually helps, as some distance from
the absurdity keeps the player from getting too involved and turned off
by the stupidity of the main action. Not that these aren't amusing as

The main complaint against the game is that it is, as I've said
repeatedly, quite short, finishable in less than half an hour even if
you get stuck at one point or another. More could certainly be added:
for instance, Conan's association with beautiful women is a significant
part of the mythos, and is missing here. Besides, with such an addition,
there's a got to be a joke about the 'little death' that could be
inserted somewhere.

Still, considering the inspiration, this is an excellent little game.
One can only hope that "You Get Transported To Another Dimension and
Find This Weird Machine In A Maze And Then Some Other Stuff Happens,
It's Really Cool" will be as good if Jacqueline H. decides to produce
it. (Though it's certain to be stupid.)


From:	Paul Lee 

TITLE: The Dreamhold
AUTHOR: Andrew Plotkin
EMAIL: erkyrath SP@G
DATE: December 2004
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Zcode interpreters
AVAILABILITY: Freeware, IF Archive
VERSION: Release 5

The Dreamhold, in my opinion, strikes the mark of a well-done adventure
game. This game is written with people new to the lore of interactive
fiction in mind; in fact, there is a "Tutorial Voice" narrator that
guides you through your endeavors, helping you with the basic concepts
of IF. One thing that distinguishes this game is that all aspects of
this game -- not just the ever-helpful Voice -- seem to be written to
encourage and bring satisfaction to the player. Rather like a parent,
this game guides and directs you. It is not that you are not allowed to
fail, but when you make a mistake, you are gently admonished, then shown
the right way around an obstacle. As I am fairly new to IF, I found this
game both insightful and refreshing. Although I already knew how to
travel and manipulate objects with commands, I was delighted to glimpse
the sage and kind mind of an interactive-fiction master and the art to
which I am an infant.

From my perspective, the story is the weakest point of "The Dreamhold."
That is saying much, for it really is not that bad. At the start of the
game, the motives for the player character are escape, exploration, and
self-discovery. As the game moves forward, the plot becomes much more
interesting. Still, the game does not explain its story as it presents
it to the player, and I was incapable of figuring it out. I knew there
was meaning there, yet at best I could put together a few pieces of
background, which would seem unrelated to each other if it were not for
a common detail or two, the significance of which I could only muse at.
I was especially confused at the ending -- it was definitely an attempt
to tie everything together, but for me it just confused and muddled the
little bit that I thought I had worked out. Still, the story was not a
complete failure -- the scenes of background were so nicely integrated
with the puzzles as to keep me interested in both the narrative and the
crossword. While irritating, it was fun to try to figure out the meaning
of the scenes and the history of the player character. Also, my
difficulties with the story may have been personal; perhaps other people
would find it all to make perfect sense. Maybe the game was not even
written to have a clear meaning at all, in which case with story as with
puzzles "The Dreamhold" succeeded in its goals.

More than making up for the story are the puzzles. Solving the puzzles
is pleasantly rewarding, and new areas to explore and more story to
unfold come as results of your efforts. The game never forgets about its
striving player -- all the puzzles are fair and to my knowledge cannot
be made unwinnable. Most are probably easier from the norm, but figuring
out how objects work can sometimes be a bit complicated, although never
frustratingly so. In addition to the Tutorial Voice, which sometimes
offers help, the game offers a thorough hint system that will not at
first spoil the puzzle you are working on, if it tarnishes the joy of
solving it just a bit. The whole makes "The Dreamhold" very enjoyable.
In fact, I, being introduced to IF after it had taken a turn toward
narrative, was shown by this game the value and excitement of good

The mechanics of the game were excellent to the high standard as a
tutorial that the game sets initially for itself. I do not try every
possible action or close every door behind me just for the sake of
ensuring that it works properly, but I found no bugs in the game. It is
especially mandatory for this game to be bug-free because of its status
as beginner's IF; it was created in such a way that it could actually be
someone's very first game, so imagine the confusion on the part of the
poor newbie when something did not work as explained. Not only is the
game without bugs, but also I recall running into no grammatical errors.
For even those folks who have their playtime experience ruined by minor
slips of grammar, "The Dreamhold" will likely immerse you in its perfect

As a game in general, "The Dreamhold" raises the bar high, not just as a
tutorial. It builds up the player's trust by never failing to live up to
its high standards, and the result is great. You become the game's
friend and feel it encouraging you in your difficulties and delighting
with you in your triumphs. At any rate, for beginners and advanced
players alike, I recommend anyone the awesome glow of satisfaction that
comes from "The Dreamhold."


From:	Nick Montfort 

TITLE: Façade
AUTHOR: Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern
EMAIL: feedback SP@G
DATE: July 2005
PARSER: Custom
SUPPORTS: Windows, >= 1.6 GHz, >= 256MB RAM, OpenGL

Not another one-room game set in an apartment!

Well, actually, you probably couldn't call Façade a game in the typical
sense -- even though a pre-release version was a finalist in the 2004
Independent Games Festival, and the New York Times called the system
"the future of video games." Façade may or may not even be IF, for that
matter. But it's clearly something closely related to it, and whether
you're willing to award it the IF label or not, there are good reasons
that a lot of people -- myself included -- think that Façade is a
tremendous advance in interactive storytelling.

This "one act interactive drama" is the outcome of a research project
that has spanned more than five years, one that you can read more about
in the two creators' dozen-odd academic papers and in Mateas's
dissertation, done as the last publication of the Carnegie Mellon
University Oz Project. Façade is not just good research, though. It can
provide an intense, compelling experience, even though a session can be
played in about fifteen minutes.

When you download and fire up the system, you'll get to visit with your
old friends Trip and Grace -- 3D illustrated characters whose statements
have all been recorded by voice actors -- as their marriage falls apart.
You'll be able to type short statements to converse with them, move
around the room using the arrow keys, and use the mouse to manipulate
objects. Façade lacks adventuring, a clear way to win, and the typical
IF command structure -- if you type "PICK UP THE MAGIC EIGHT BALL"
you'll be saying that to Trip or Grace, not instructing your character
in what to do. You can manipulate objects, however, and can say whatever
short statements you like to the two other characters. If you manage to
keep your comments fairly relevant to the conversation, or apartment, or
situation, the two are likely to react appropriately, both in an
immediate sense and in terms of the overall development of the
conversation and the drama.

Before getting deeper into why Façade is so great, I'll mention that the
two authors and developers, Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, do happen
to be my good friends and fellow bloggers with me at Grand Text Auto,
where I made the official announcement of the release of Façade. So, you
may choose to take my evaluation of the system with a grain of salt. But
then, if no one reviewed interactive fiction by people they knew, there
would be a lot less reviewing going on.

I'll also mention a few other things by way of preface: Façade is a
working prototype, one quite capable of providing a powerful experience
that is both interactive (in a meaningful way) and dramatic (in the
tradition of drama, going back to Aristotle). But it's also capable of
breaking. Trip and Grace can fall eerily, permanently silent and remain
planted in the same spot. You can get stuck walking in the door. Things
that you type can be interpreted by the system in what seems to be
exactly the wrong way. As is the case with interactive fiction, you have
to learn something about how to interact fruitfully before you can
interact fruitfully. Trying to play along, and not getting it quite
right, can lead to frustration. Façade's excellence is not that it has
some sort of dramatic Turing-Test-like ability to handle everything you
can throw at it; there are plenty of ways to run aground, even when
you're not trying to.

The thing about Façade, though, is that when things go right, which
isn't all that difficult to achieve, they can go brilliantly right. Your
conversation can take you in an exhilarating free ride over the Freytag
diagram of Trip and Grace's soul-searching and their coming to terms
with their relationship, a ride that is not just funny, but manages to
be touching. And, it's a ride that you get to steer: once a good typist
is keyed into the way to talk to Trip and Grace, he or she can provoke
reactions, draw the conversation to different topics, side with one or
the other character, and nudge the drama in different directions. Grace
and Trip are not stateless Elizas; they are closer, if anything, to
Galateas, but they also maintain an awareness of the way the
conversation has progressed so far, and they work together to achieve
dramatic goals, and they use a complex behavior control system to blend
their high-level and low-level actions together smoothly.

The Oz Project at CMU, the major academic effort in interactive drama so
far, sought to develop systems that were "highly interactive," that is,
ones that allowed the player to move, talk, and act at any point, rather
than only at the end of a turn. Façade realizes this goal, among others.
Grace and Trip react fluidly to comments from the player at any point,
given the somewhat asymmetric typed text interface. They player is
always free to move around and check out things in the apartment. The
system structures events beginning at the level of the dramatic beat (a
visible action and reaction) and allows the player to intervene between
beats or to interrupt a beat.

Façade is also impressive in how it deals with language. It is able to
understand many statements that are relevant to the current situation,
and to correctly handle jokes, praise, agreement, disagreement,
flirting, rudeness, and so on. Not that every possible statement is
always correctly classified and acted upon, of course. But the natural
language understanding system works well enough, enough of the time, for
the drama at hand. Again, the amazing thing isn't that this system is
flawless. It's that players can manage to get through an entire act
without a noticeable slip-up -- even though this framework for
interaction, unlike the venerable ">" prompt in IF, has few precedents,
and players can't build on their previous knowledge of how to interact.
It's as if you found someone who had never played interactive fiction
before, sat this person down at a new version of Adventure, and found
that after a few minutes of typing the game understood practically all
the input it was getting and the newcomer was having a great time.

While Façade looks more like a graphical adventure or a strange
first-person shooter than like most text-based IF pieces, the insights
that Mateas and Stern have gained in working on the system can certainly
trickle into more traditional IF. It's not the place of a review to
start outlining all the ways in which they might do that, but I will
note that Mateas, with his student Mark Nelson, has already looked into
how some of the techniques employed in Façade can be used in the context
of an existing interactive fiction. Those two discuss this topic in a
paper presented at the Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital
Entertainment conference, "Search-based Drama Management in the
Interactive Fiction Anchorhead."

Currently Façade only runs on Windows XP, 2000 or ME. It's pretty
processor intensive, and will refuse to run on processors slower than
1.6 GHz. It's also an 800 MB download via BitTorrent. (You can spend $14
plus shipping to get Façade on two CDs, which Mateas and Stern sell at
cost.) If you're an IF fan with an adequate Windows machine, it's
certainly worth the download time or CD cost. I had to ask around my
department for a while to find a suitable computer to borrow for Façade
installation and play, so I envy those who only have to wait for the
download to finish. A Mac version is planned, and will happen whenever
the two developers (hopefully with some volunteer help) can manage the
port, but it isn't imminent. In the meantime, if you're lucky enough to
have a system on hand that will run Façade, check it out! I'd venture to
guess that it will be the most impressive one-room game in an apartment
that you'll play all year.


From:	Mike Penman 

TITLE: The Fire Tower
AUTHOR: Jacqueline A. Lott
EMAIL: jacq SP@G
DATE: 28 May 2004
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Zcode interpreters
AVAILABILITY: IF Archive, Freeware
     A map is located at:

Writing for the IF Art Show isn't easy, I know. Faced with the remit
"explore interactivity", where do you begin? 

Jacqueline A. Lott chose to begin with an engaging character. The
protagonist of The Fire Tower is consistently drawn, from the results of
">look at me", ("You glance down and the first thing you see are your
hiking boots. They're serious hiking boots...") to knowledgeable asides
made during the IF. She even has a purpose, having come to the fringes
of Mount Cammerer in the Appalachians to walk solo and get away "from
everything: work, responsibilities..."

Though it was good to find such a well-presented character, it's Mount
Cammerer that stars in this piece. This was an entry in the 2004 IF Art
Show "landscape" section. It took best of show and "best setting" at the
following XYZZYs. 

The first, powerful impact is of a beautiful landscape beautifully
presented. It's tempting to describe sweeping scenes with flowery prose
but the author resists that temptation. The text is sparse and
transparent; it doesn't get in the way of the country depicted and
everything is described with an infectious enthusiasm. I was left
feeling relaxed, as though I'd been there, at least in part. I presume
that was the main objective of the piece, so it's a success from the
first play through.

That sense of "being there" is enhanced by the sheer interactivity of
the piece. Faced with something that says, in essence, "See how
interactive I am!" I start to verb the nouns. This setting is deeply
implemented. Almost everything can be examined, heard, smelled, felt and
tasted. I know more about Appalachian flora now than I did before

Sometimes a lack of options left me feeling frustrated. I wanted to go
back on myself or try routes that I wasn't allowed to. I was
particularly miffed to find that I missed the work's titular tower
because, having moved away from it without entering in order to re-check
a previous description, I was barred from returning. But this isn't a
game -- the author's trying to guide the player around a landscape --
nor would route reversals or unplanned diversions be in character for
the experienced lone-walker protagonist. 

Time -- always a difficult dimension in landscape -- is well handled.
The protagonist's watch counts one minute for each turn and each travel
description adds a number of minutes dependent on the terrain covered.
There's a sense of time passing at a realistic rate, adding to the sense
of "being there".

I was disappointed with the centre of the game, the fire tower. It being
the target and title of my walk, I was looking forward to finding
something extra there. It's as beautifully described as everything else,
but I'm not sure it deserves its pivotal placement.

It's a good sign if the only major gripe I can raise about an IF is that
I was left wanting more. In particular I wanted to explore the issues of
stilting and entrapment -- barely but skillfully hinted at -- that led
to this walk in the first place. I wanted to turn the protagonist to an
equipment shop and then along the whole Appalachian trail, fulfilling
her lifetime dream. For a player like me, without any real interest in
puzzles, it wouldn't take much to turn this into a full length game in
the Sunset Over Savannah mode. 

Perhaps the best praise I can offer the piece is this: I wish I'd
written it. Its clean, artless-seeming approach fosters the illusion
that I could have. In fact, I think I feel a landscape entry for next
year's IF Art Show coming on. But first I'm going back to see if I can
find the bear that Emily Short saw.


From:	Valentine Kopteltsev 

TITLE: Heist
AUTHOR: Andy Phillips
EMAIL: pmyladp SP@G
DATE: 1997
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Zcode interpreters

In the last few years, a lot of talk could be heard about IF "growing
petty" (which effectively means, text adventures becoming shorter).
Well, there certainly are objective factors calling forth the numerical
superiority of shorter works -- after all, a simple arithmetic
calculation shows that in the period of time it takes an average author
to write a hundred-room game, the same author can create about five
games of equal quality with only twenty rooms each. (In fact, the real
statistics could turn out even less favourable for longer games, because
the beta-testing work usually increases at a rate outstripping growth).
Of course, there're also a number of subjective factors that make this
quantitative imbalance even harsher, but this isn't the proper place for
discussing them; I'd just like to mention that, as usual, several
opinions about the optimal size for a modern text adventure exist. My
personal point of view on that matter can be best expressed with a
paraphrase of a saying popular in Russia: More IF games, good and
different! Of course, if we had three or four Curses!-sized works
released each quarter it'd probably be a bit too much, but if they
vanished from the IF scene completely, a certain vacuum would be left

Andy Phillips seems to be one of the people who don't want the latter to
happen, and who don't just restrict themselves to idle talk but take
active measures to prevent it. Heist certainly can be considered a
contribution to the struggle against the extinction of IF giants.

At this point, I'd like to take the bull by the horns, and call the game
by its proper name: it's a puzzlefest. Those of you who don't feel like
spending the next period of time (quite an extended one -- the
walkthrough for Heist includes over 1000(!) moves) hearing about logical
problems can stop reading right now -- the rest of this review is
dedicated entirely to puzzles. Of course, the game has a story, and a
setting, but it really isn't what it is about. ;)

Well, the opening section of Heist could probably be as off-putting as
the beginning of this review. From the very start, the author
demonstrates he's not inclined to any compromises -- once the player has
decided to take her brain to the gym, she has to sweat her guts out from
the very start. No warming-up exercises are provided for; the prologue
is at least as hard as the rest of this work.

In some respects, it's even harder: you see, as you progress, you begin
to get accustomed to the author's design style, and start to know what
to expect of him. The early stages of just *any* game, on the contrary,
have chances (at least, theoretically) to take the player by surprise.
Heist doesn't quite miss these opportunities.

The first thing the player needs to get accustomed here is, uh, let's
call it adventure game logic. What do I mean by that? Now, suppose your
relative is going to die, and wants you to visit his place after his
death. (BTW, this also represents the first problem to solve in Heist).
On the other hand, he intends to make getting there some sort of
challenge (for whatever reason), so that he doesn't just send you the
key by mail. There are several ways to accomplish that, but in real
life, something like travelling to India to kill a tiger whose stripe
pattern matches that of your relative's door-mat, reading the
combination tattooed on the beast's stomach, then returning and using
the combination on the safe in your relative's office to open it and
discover there the key sought for hardly would come to anyone's mind,
although it can't be contended that this action sequence has no logic at
all. What is more, even a "lite edition" of this solution based on a
visit to the local zoo, or even on catching a like-coloured cat on the
nearby garbage heap wouldn't be much of an option, either; however, it
probably would fit reasonably well into a text adventure. While this
very example isn't adopted from Heist, the game often uses similar
approaches to puzzle creation, and heavily relies on the assumption that
people will fiddle with certain things/visit certain places not because
there's any indication it's going to help them, but just because it's

There are a couple more things one needs to get used to, regarding
technical aspects of game creation. The first of them is illustrated
best by yet another abstract example. Let's imagine that in some text
adventure, the player gets to an abandoned airfield, finding there a
wreck of a plane. So, (s)he types "X PLANE", and sees the following

   This aircraft hardly will ever fly again: the hull is all rusty, and
   the covering of the wings has rotted through here and there,
   revealing the underlying ribs. The undercarriage, its posts twisted
   and bent, rests on two flat-tyred wheels. The cowl is missing, as are
   a few other, more essential motor parts. From where you're standing,
   you can't look inside the pilot's cockpit, but its shattered hood and
   a bundle of wires sticking out of it quite unambiguously hint at the
   fact marauders already have been there. A glance at the empennage
   brings you to two important conclusions: 1. judging by the rests of
   the markings, the airplane once belonged to the Royal Ligutanian Air
   Force, and 2. even if all its other parts were intact, this machine
   still wouldn't be able to take off.

Further on, our player randomly tries out, say, "X WINGS", "X COCKPIT",
and "X EMPENNAGE", each time getting the same description. I think 99%
would give up after that, rightfully deciding the aircraft was
implemented as a single object, and stop examining its parts. How could
they possibly know that, if they happened (by chance or by persistence)
to enter "X WHEELS", they'd be rewarded with an entirely different

   You never thought of the reasons why the airplane had been left here
   to rot away, but as you look at the wheels you realize that at least
   one of them was sabotage: protruding from the left tyre is a sturdy
   steel needle (needless to say, it appears to be crucial for your
   further progress).

Such situations are very common in Heist, so that inspecting every
single element of a multi-part object is a good idea. To be fair, it's
to be said the whole is by far not as draconian as it might have been,
because the game does its best in limiting the scope of objects the
player can interact with by using the standard "That's not something you
need to refer to..." response. Still, not being aware of this
particularity could be pretty confusing.

The other feature requiring getting used to is a strange minimalism of
some descriptions (as with the previous issue, examples are scattered
all over the game). For instance, somewhere in the middle of the story,
I found a remote control unit, which claimed to have "three simple
buttons", yet gave no hint about how I could distinguish between them. I
tried "X BUTTONS", but was told that I couldn't see any such thing.
Pressing the remote control didn't earn me any information about the
buttons' unique characteristics either (it merely replied with "Nothing
obvious happens"). As it turned out, this cul-de-sac could be overcome
by typing "PRESS BUTTON" (note the singular) and learning the
distinctive features for the buttons from the standard disambiguation
response -- "Which do you mean, ...". OK, this method worked, but don't
tell me it's a good game design style!

Normally, I'd dismiss something like that as slopwork; however, it's
hardly applicable in this case, because Heist clearly isn't sloppy.
Thus, I tend to see these features as some sort of the author's
conceptual design choices I'm just failing to understand.

After the prologue, the game splits up into a number of sub-games -- a
decision amiable for both the author and the players. The author has
obviously spared a lot of coding work, especially considering the fact
that the player's inventory can't be transferred between the game parts;
the players have received an additional chance to complete at least a
major section of Heist on their own (while solving the entire game
without help from outside probably also is possible, it'd certainly
require more time and efforts most people could afford to spend on a
text adventure). And, of course, there are puzzles, puzzles, puzzles.
Puzzles abound. Most of them are decent, original and fun to solve,
although they make massive use not only of adventure game logic, but
also of adventure game conventions (you know, things like the player
becoming able to pick up an object that previously had been too heavy
for him to carry after (s)he swung the dumb-bells a few times). One of
the puzzles seems to be loaned from Zork II, but I think the reason for
it lies in the author just being unfamiliar with the immortal
masterpiece by Infocom; since there's enough proof in Heist of Mr.
Phillips' creativity regarding puzzle design, I can't blame him for that
-- not having played Zork certainly isn't the worst crime in the world
(actually, it's no crime at all).

And this is pretty much all that can be said about this game. It's not
without faults, but true puzzle-lovers will forgive all of them:
occasional typos (admitted, their rate is kept quite low, especially
considering how huge the whole thing is), a few wording problems, and a
couple non-fatal bugs. As to those who aren't true puzzle-lovers, they
shouldn't play this game, anyway. 

As to me, I'm completely happy with Heist, and I hope games of this kind
(and size) will be kept being released. At times, it's great to have
something you could put your brains to work onto, and to do so (with my
inclination to bad puns, you could bet I was going to say it!) without

The SNATS (Scores Not Affecting The Scoreboard):

PLOT: OK for a puzzle-oriented game; otherwise, I'd rate it lower (1.2)
ATMOSPHERE: See PLOT, although a few places are really atmospheric (1.3)
WRITING: Even and solid (1.2)
GAMEPLAY: Well, puzzlefest. An entertaining puzzlefest, though (1.4)
BONUSES: The amount of work that obviously has gone into a work so huge
         automatically deserves at least... (1.2)
TOTAL: 6.3

CHARACTERS: Well-implemented and not annoying - what else can be
            required of a NPC in that kind of game? (1.2)
PUZZLES: Lots of 'em, a vast majority being decent, original and fun to
         solve (1.4)
DIFFICULTY: The game is obviously intended to keep the player busy for a
            very, very long time (10 out of 10)


From:	Mike Tulloch 

TITLE: Moonglow 
AUTHOR: Dave Bernazzani 
EMAIL: daveber SP@G 
DATE: October 4, 2004 
PARSER: Simple (Microform parser) 
SUPPORTS: Zcode interpreters
AVAILABILITY: Freeware -- Author's site 

Moonglow exudes a 50's Sci-Fi feel, that some may find to be cliched,
but it does provide a familiar backdrop in an economy of words. You see
a UFO crash in your field; you can guess what unfolds next. 

Moonglow, like Catseye, is a 10k adventure, but it feels more polished
due to its more robust parser. Like the aforementioned game, it is lean
on description, terse with its replies, and consists of only a few verbs
and objects. I also discovered an instant death routine that seemed a
bit capricious. As with Catseye, you can't save the game, should the
need or desire arise. 

The puzzles here are a medium level of difficulty, but I found them
rewarding. First, they are separate puzzles (not simply part of one big
puzzle as in Catseye); second, they are creative, in that they made
sense, weren't immediately obvious, and yet weren't insanely difficult.
The plot proceeds linearly but does involve a lot of "guess the verb"
towards the end, however, due to the lack of helpful responses. In
comparison to Catseye, Moonglow is more descriptive, more interesting,
and more realistic. (Yes, it's a realistic SF.) 

Moonglow is diverting and worth an hour or two of playing. Bernazzani
hit the mark with this one. 

Score: 6/10. 


From:	Paul Lee 

TITLE: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
AUTHOR: Benjamin Mullins
EMAIL: benmullins SP@G
DATE: February 2005
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Z-code ports
AVAILABILITY: Freeware, IF Archive
VERSION: Release 1

This is a cute little game in which you play the blue "rock 'em
sock 'em" robot and are determined to defeat your eternal adversary,
Red. The obvious goal comes very easily; it is the bells and easter-eggs
that make this game worth your five or ten minutes. Many actions give
funny responses, and there are several humorous ways to end the game.
Although the game will draw its laughs, there are not really enough
things to do to make it a serious endeavor. Still, it accomplishes its
goal well enough for what it is.

Neither the coding nor the writing are very spectacular, but they both
pass. The game has been tested and is not terribly buggy, although the
Inform debugging commands are still present. Most everything works the
way it obviously should. The only thing that disappointed me was one
object that when used suggested something that the game did not
incorporate. The writing similarly is fine. In fact, in places the prose
is pleasantly witty. At any rate, the small amount of time that you put
into this little work should be fun.


From:	Jimmy Maher 

TITLE: Wumpus 2000
AUTHOR: Muffy St. Bernard
EMAIL: muffysb SP@G
DATE: November 2004
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Z-code ports
AVAILABILITY: Freeware, IF Archive
VERSION: Release 1

Wumpus 2000 is a rather bold amalgamation of everything the average
member of the IF community hates the most. We have hunger daemons,
randomized combat, and arbitrary death. Best of all, the whole game is a
gigantic five-level maze. Don't move on to the next review just yet,
though. There are some interesting things going on here.

As its name would imply, Wumpus 2000 is an homage to the early '70's IF
progenitor Hunt the Wumpus. However, Wumpus 2000 adds to Hunt the Wumpus
at least a suggestion of a plot and more interactive elements, thus
changing its form from an elaborate logical puzzle to a full-blown, if
rather unusual, text adventure. The player is a newspaper reporter whose
expose has angered the wrong people, resulting in her being deposited
into a monster-infested toxic waste dump below her city. The objective
is simple survival and, ultimately, escape. To do this, the player must
explore a 5-level, 100 room dungeon which is randomly generated for each
game, building up equipment and experience in preparation for her
showdown with the game's ultimate foe, the wumpus itself. In classic
dungeon crawl style, the monsters and challenges get steadily tougher as
one progresses, but the rewards -- in the form of more powerful weapons,
and treasures which can add to the player's score upon escape -- also
increase. You will also have the opportunity to get physically stronger
in a couple of different ways, a nice stand-in for the conventional RPG
experience level trope. Taking advantage of these opportunities is
essential if you are to have any hope of defeating the tougher monsters
on level 3 and below.

Yet the heart of Wumpus 2000 remains mapping. There has been
considerable discussion on the IF newsgroups about potential
alternatives to the traditional compass style of navigation. Wumpus 2000
is interesting in this regard, for it dispenses with directions
altogether. Rooms are numbered from 1 to 100, with rooms 1 through 20 on
level 1, 21 through 40 on level 2, etc. Exits from each room are listed
not with their direction but with their destination. For instance, the
exits from the first room of my game looked like this at the beginning:

Exit 1 corkscrews toward an unexplored room.
Exit 2 corkscrews toward an unexplored room. 
Exit 3 corkscrews toward an unexplored room.

After I had explored a bit, they looked like this:

Exit 1 corkscrews toward room 1 (A vast, rough chamber.)
Exit 2 corkscrews toward room 17 (A vast, rough chamber.)
Exit 3 corkscrews toward room 18 (A vast, rough chamber.)

Mapping this is not really that difficult, although it does require a
slightly different frame of mind. One must stop thinking directionally
and start thinking solely in terms of connections. Deeper in the
dungeon, things start to get a bit more complicated. You will encounter
steep slopes upon which you can lose your footing, rushing water which
can sweep you away in undesired directions, and other such obstacles.
Things get really tough in the bottom couple of levels, when you run
into things like this:

Exit 1 corkscrews toward a familiar part of this room.
Exit 2 corkscrews toward an unexplored part of this room. 
Exit 3 corkscrews toward a familiar part of this room.
Exit 4 rises steeply toward room 85 (A vast, dark chamber.)

As you can see, there are now multiple locations located in the "same"
room. Mapping this sort of thing requires some real ingenuity, as well
as resorting to the old standby of dropping items about the place and
hoping no wandering monsters carry them off. For the truly masochistic,
there is an option to turn off the room numbers altogether throughout
the dungeon. Needless to say, I didn't partake.

Other than exploring and mapping, you will spend your time collecting
and experimenting with a variety of useful and not so useful items,
fighting monsters, and slowly building up your character. There really
are no traditional set-piece puzzles. The game is completely simulation
oriented, with it challenges all arising organically from the
environment. I would say its gameplay has as much in common with Nethack
and its cousins as it does with traditional narrative IF.

Dungeons and Dragons tropes get pretty unbearable pretty quickly for me,
but the game's saving grace is that it never takes itself particularly
seriously. Monsters are silly and fun, and you will even find some very
humorous little notes left by the dungeon's earlier (doomed) explorers.

It isn't the sort of thing I usually enjoy, but I had quite a good time
with Wumpus 2000 for the first few hours. I found it fairly challenging,
but not ridiculously so like, say, Nethack, and figuring out how things
worked and reading the game's humorous little descriptions and asides
was a lot of fun. Eventually, though, things got simultaneously more
difficult and tedious, and I started to cheat, making copious use of the
UNDO command. The presence of UNDO destroys much of the challenge in a
game like this, for virtually any combat can now be won by UNDOING
anytime the result in a given turn is unfavorable to your character. I'm
frankly rather surprised that the author didn't disable it, although I'm
not disappointed. I seriously doubt I would have ever completed the game
without it.

Even with UNDO, winning the game for me involved some more extensive
cheating. I found myself on the last level of the dungeon, having killed
the dreaded wumpus, with two of the three keys I needed to make my final
escape. Naturally, I couldn't find the third. In the end, I hacked into
the object tree to find that last elusive key and win the game.
Sometimes a man must do what a man must do...

The prospective player should be aware that there are a few bugs to be
found. The worst of these is that doing an INVENTORY while holding the
gem pouch you find on one of the later levels will crash the game with
an illegal opcode. Perhaps another release will be forthcoming to
correct this issue, and a few other more minor niggles.

For me, the problem with a game like this is that increased challenge
just feels like increased tedium. At some point it all becomes work
rather than fun, and then I either give up or cheat. I suspect that many
other IF players are, like me, looking for something fundamentally
different in their computer entertainment than that which Wumpus 2000
provides, and so I am not surprised that there has been virtually no
discussion of this game in the community since its release. Still, if
you think you might enjoy a heaping dose of RPG-style simulation and
old-school mapping puzzles to go with a little bit of narrative, give
Wumpus 2000 a try. It really does do what it does very well, and I don't
know of any other modern parser-based game quite like it.

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