For those of you who are wondering, my name is Mark Allen and I’m doing a guest post for Chris today as I was originally supposed to write up something while he was out in Kansas saving the Kingdom of Oz under the guise of attending a Con there (er, that is to say the Con is in Kansas not Oz) but was delayed due to RL asserting itself at the worst possible time so naturally I’m finally ready to post this now that Chris is back from his trip!
Now for all those of you wondering just who the hey I am, let me give you a bit of background about myself:
I’m an American (since I’m admitting that up front, kindly refrain from spitting on me as much as you can) I grew up just outside of the DC area but have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the vast majority of my life and currently live in the Tri-Valley area of the San Francisco East Bay, and have been working in IT related fields just prior to graduating High School in 2002!
I met Chris several years ago now (I’m really trying not to think of exactly how many given how old that makes us both now) due to our mutual interest in Roswell fic (because Opie deserves his threesome and us Stargazers have to stick together, damn it) after PMing him regarding a fic of his he IM’d me and we’ve been chatting pretty much ever since!
In fact, one of the highlights of my life occurred last year after I finally got the opportunity to meet up with him face to face for the first time when he made in to my neck of the woods and because he’s far too modest to admit this, just so everyone knows, he’s actually a lot thinner than you might expect (of course, I wish he could say the same about me)!
Anyhoo, a few weeks ago I was chatting with him on IM recommending he look at some great adventure game titles to play on Frotz for his new iPhone and I thought it would be neat to post a quick feature on a few of my favorites so hopefully they would sound appealing enough to where he might look at them sooner than later!
Usually the case I often have to pest- er, I mean remind him several times to check out whatever it is that I’m recommending, although to be fair that does often work both ways, particularly now that I’m completely hooked on Chuck after years of hearing him rave- er, talk to me about it during our IM discussions!
Anyways, on the to the subject matter at hand! Yes, and thank you so much for withholding the choral “FINALLY,” LOL!
Currently there are 3 major ones that I recommend for folks trying out the interactive fiction genre for the first time:
1. Anchorhead – From the moment you read the introduction in the form of a well known quote by H.P. Lovecraft regarding the nature of fear, you know your in one for one of the most intense and thrilling rides of your life.
Anchorhead instantly transports you through the looking glass and into a small town beset by an unspeakable horror which you alone must work to uncover and prevent.
There is a good reason that despite it’s lack of graphics this is constantly listed as one of the greatest and most atmospheric games of all time as every line of text prompts your imagination and sets the tension levels that keep you immersed in your quest to determine what is happening around and how to stop it.
You can download it here!
2. Colossal Cave Adventure (aka ADVENT, Adventure) – The first interactive fiction game ever created and the first I ever played after getting it for my iPhone it reminds one of the most challenging (not to mention most addictive) experiences I’ve ever seen in a game.
While ADVENT is clearly not as sophisticated as Zork, the latter clearly owes a great deal of it’s design and gameplay to the former, so I view it as an excellent way to test yourself before braving the Great Underground Empire to see if you are up for the task!
You can find it here!
3. Bureaucracy – It remains unique to me as it’s one of the only Interactive Fiction games I’ve played where the threat of dying is mainly presented through a frustration induced aneurysm rather than any major external threat to the player (although there are several of those present, most notably a hungry llama).
While many consider the Starship Titanic and the Interactive version of his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series to be the high point of Douglas Adams’ videogame work, I confess this to be my personal favorite of his games as it’s difficult but the subject matter makes it all the more rewarding and instantly relatable.
Anyone who is ever stood in line at the DMV, had to get a passport, tried to get records from their educational Alma Mater, etc., can instantly understand the satirical struggle portrayed here, so while the frustration may kill you at times (literally), the knowledge that the real enemy you are continually waging war against is the Bureaucratic nature of the world itself ultimately makes every little triumph you achieve and your (hopefully) eventual victory all the more sweet!
While I can’t provide a free direct link to download as it’s still considered commercial software, I can suggest that you might do a quick search for Infocom on a certain formerly swedish website!
Well, that’s it for me for the moment, hopefully Chris will be adventurous enough to try this again at some point despite the fact that I felt it was bit too nepotistic of me to recommend his adventure game, but I’m sure he’ll forgive me eventually…Until then, Cya Starside!