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Adventure Game Scene of the Day — Saturday 08 November 2014

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Text adventure of the month is Spellcasting 301: Spring Break (1992) by veteran Steve Meretzky, who gave us so many excellent games.* The same goes for Legend Entertainment. Fortunately I still have a few of their games to look forward to. Having said that, I found Spellcasting 301 the least enjoyable one of the three. 

*Can you tell I’m a fan? Let’s play A Mind Forever Voyaging together one day! It’s high time for a community playthrough of a text adventure.  Cool

     
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Karlok - 08 November 2014 05:30 AM

*Can you tell I’m a fan? Let’s play A Mind Forever Voyaging together one day! It’s high time for a community playthrough of a text adventure.  Cool

It’s high time for a DS community playthrough as well. Innocent

Actually, if there is only one text adventure I’m still willing to give a chance, it’s got to be A Mind Forever Voyaging…



As for the screenshot at hand, that’s the exact same lay-out they used for Eric the Unready, isn’t it?

     

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Legend used that interface for a whole bunch of games. Is it a true text adventure though? I believe you can complete it without typing anything.

For a community playthrough, I’d still go with something lighter like Plundered Hearts. A Mind Forever Voyaging was great and groundbreaking but also divisive. It could either make you fall in love with interactive fiction or turn you off forever.

(I’d also be in for a DS playthrough - been wanting to try the Layton games)

     

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TimovieMan - 08 November 2014 06:18 AM

It’s high time for a DS community playthrough as well. Innocent

Oh yes, high time! I have this old DS and three or four adventures. Haven’t played them yet. Too busy with PS stuff. Meh

As for the screenshot at hand, that’s the exact same lay-out they used for Eric the Unready, isn’t it?

Yes and no. It’s the standard layout but the player can customize it to their heart’s content. Get rid of the pics, the compass, use fullscreen or halfscreen, etcetera. Here’s the start of TimeQuest.

And here’s the text-only version at the exact same time. A pure text adventure!

Oscar - 08 November 2014 06:25 AM

Legend used that interface for a whole bunch of games. Is it a true text adventure though? I believe you can complete it without typing anything.

It’s definitely a text adventure with a parser. If you find the lists more convenient than typing, you can combine words by choosing them from the lists and clicking on them in the right order (Ask -> Drexler -> About -> Painting). You’re still using prefab words though. I’m oldfashioned and always prefer typing. The convenient lists are more than a little spoilerish. It’s also a lot of work to scroll down the lists and pick the right words. Typing is usually faster.

For a community playthrough, I’d still go with something lighter like Plundered Hearts. A Mind Forever Voyaging was great and groundbreaking but also divisive. It could either make you fall in love with interactive fiction or turn you off forever.

I supported Plundered Hearts because I’ll support any text adventure, but I’d much rather play a Legend game. Like TimeQuest. Heart Marvelous game, where you meet Churchill, Arthur, Hitler, Caesar, Cleopatra and many others. And people who don’t feel like typing, can use the lists!

 

     
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The lists feel more like the verb selector from the Scumm engine, than like a text adventure, so I wouldn’t mind these games as much as actual pure text adventures.


Also, changing the lay-out to take out the graphic image seems counterproductive, imo. Or do the images never really contain anything important?

     

Last played: Marvel’s Spider-Man - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell - 3/5 | There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5

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TimovieMan - 08 November 2014 06:44 PM

Also, changing the lay-out to take out the graphic image seems counterproductive, imo. Or do the images never really contain anything important?

The images are huge part of the gameplay - not only you can deduce your next move by looking at it, but they’re also interactive meaning you can select the verb and click on the corresponding object on image (take + click on a bucket, and you’ll take the bucket, no need to type it), at least in Eric the Unready. Taking out images is probably a neat option for hardcore adventurers and text lovers who want to try it the “old way” thus increasing the difficulty.

     

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Yes, that UI was probably the most flexible ever made. Thinking back, it was probably the reason old Legend games played so smoothly. If you were a visual person you could figure things out based on the picture and if you had trouble solving puzzles, you could switch approaches. All the nouns and things to interact with were laid out before you, which gives it a +1 on SCUMM. Most importantly (for me) it told you which compass direction you could go! It almost totally removed the possibility of unfair puzzles.

     

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TimovieMan - 08 November 2014 06:44 PM

The lists feel more like the verb selector from the Scumm engine, than like a text adventure, so I wouldn’t mind these games as much as actual pure text adventures.

I don’t understand. Could you rephrase that?

Also, changing the lay-out to take out the graphic image seems counterproductive, imo. Or do the images never really contain anything important?

No, the pics are a nice extra. Diego is right, you can click on objects or people in TQ, and they may even change sometimes when you manipulate them. But they are not essential and you need text to finish the game. Say you meet Churchill and want to ask him about the war. How can you do that by clicking or manipulating the pics? This is one of the great advantages of text adventures over graphic adventures.

EDIT: I got it now. No need to rephrase it.

     

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Oscar - 08 November 2014 07:32 PM

If you were a visual person you could figure things out based on the picture

Sorry, but that really isn’t true. You’d always need the text as well. Example: The text mentions a painting on the wall. There’s no painting in the picture, but you can ask Drexler about the painting and get some info about time travel.

Why do you and others want to turn the marvelous Legend text adventures into graphic games? 

 

     
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Of course, I didn’t mean that you could do without the text. For orientation purposes, the pictures are still a big help.

     

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