Posts Tagged ‘Steve-Meretzky’

IF Only: A Question of When

Fifteen Minutes Cover Clip

IF time travel games come in several flavors. There’s the grand exploration flavor, where you’re visiting different historical eras and checking out the set-pieces, but different eras don’t really affect one another much. Occasionally they’ll use paradoxes as a threat — you have to accomplish A and not B, or else you’ll throw off the timeline! — but usually they don’t do too many strange things with causality.

The commercial IF era produced several good pieces like this; Trinity and TimeQuest are probably the best regarded of that set. There’s L. Ross Raszewski’s Moments Out of Time, which is about exploring a particular fictional environment with foreknowledge of how it’s all going to end. And while the puzzle design is now considered a little unfair in spots, Neil deMause’s Lost New York is fascinated with its city as a historical site.

Then there are the games where the time-travel aspect deeply affects gameplay. Time travel mechanics can be particularly rich at conveying consequence and outcome, because you can hop back and forth, tinkering with your decisions and seeing all the different ways things might have worked out. And text as a medium can often afford to depict a wide range of wildly varied settings and outcomes, since no one’s modeling or animation budget is being strained to portray these possibilities. Here are some of the best. Read the rest of this entry »

The Infocom Cabinet: Explore Text Adventure History

If you enjoy digging through video game history, documents, and artefacts, you’ll want to have a poke around the archives of Steve Meretzky. Back in the ’80s he worked at Infocom, the interactive fiction specialists behind dozens of classics and curious including Zork, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Meretzky sure collected an awful lot of stuff over the years. A few years back, he let the chap behind the GET LAMP documentary rummage and scan things, and now Jason Scott has uploaded literally thousands of pages of design notebooks, letters, sales data, photos, and more as The Infocom Cabinet. That’s not even it all.

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