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iPhone  header logo

Lost Treasures of Infocom

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Words with old friends

Product: Lost Treasures of Infocom | Developer: Activision Blizzard | Publisher: Activision Blizzard | Format: iPhone | Genre: Collection | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
 
Lost Treasures of Infocom iPhone, thumbnail 1
Behold the mighty text adventure - an ageing relic of gaming past, when story reigned supreme and fancy graphics, well, not so much. Sadly, its popularity was brief.

So rapid were developments in the medium that Infocom - arguably the biggest name in text adventures, and the focus of this collection - lasted a mere five years before fancy visuals consigned the company to history.

That’s a shame, as Infocom's raft of talented game designers managed to craft some of the most memorable worlds in all of gaming, using naught but words and a healthy dollop of player imagination to do the job that would eventually fall to polygons and pixels.

PASS THE PARSER

If you're unfamiliar with the machinations of text adventures, it's all pretty simple. You're presented with a block of text describing your surroundings and you can interact with the world by typing basic sentences into the game's language parser.

Want to look at that suspicious tree in more detail? Type "Examine tree". Want to stash that shiny object for later use? Just type "Take trinket". It's easy - as long as you don't try and get too clever with your words.

Infocom's enviable back catalogue took this basic setup and deployed it across genres as diverse as space opera, dungeon-crawler, detective noir, piratical adventure, and even Lovecraftian horror - and virtually all of the company's titles are available in Lost Treasures.

Legendary fantasy game Zork comes included and 26 more are available, either as small in-app bundles or an all-in-one purchase.

Mobile library

There are some true classics tucked away in Lost Treasures of Infocom - from thought-provoking sci-fi tale A Mind Forever Voyaging to the memorable robotic hijinks of Planetfall.

Other highlights include the college campus terror of The Lurking Horror, murder mystery The Witness, and ambitious apocalyptic adventure Trinity - and that's only scratching the surface.

Just as impressive as Lost Treasure's game roster, though, is the attention that's been lavished on the package. Admittedly, each adventure plays pretty much as you'd expect - with iOS's familiar pop-up keyboard providing text input - but it's the little extra touches that really make Lost Treasures something special.

There's a handy, customisable text shortcut feature, for instance, and all manner of other thoughtful additions, including a touch-enabled compass for quick navigation, a convenient auto-save for those moments when real-life calls, plus hint-style 'InvisiClues' to help you out when things - inevitably - get tough.

SOMETHING TO TREASURE

What's more, Lost Treasures also features a wealth of archive material - ranging from pictures of original pack-in items - known as "feelies" in Infocom parlance - to box art, manuals, and even world maps for each game. It's impressive stuff and a completist's dream.

Despite a handful of omissions - namely Douglas Adams's two excellent text adventure outings, Bureaucracy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (apparently due to rights issues) - Lost Treasures of Infocom is a wonderfully nostalgic, superbly presented, and impressively comprehensive package.

A real labour of love, then, and a beautiful reminder that a picture isn't always preferable to a thousand words.
 
Lost Treasures of Infocom
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 7 January 2013
An impressively comprehensive collection of bona fide text adventures greats, featuring superb presentation and enough bonus material to thrill completists
 
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Joined:
Feb 2013
Post count:
1
@kevinkelly | 16:49 - 15 February 2013
JudgeFredd: external keyboards don't work with this game, unfortunately.
Joined:
Jan 2013
Post count:
1
JudgeFredd | 16:51 - 9 January 2013
No Hitchhikers does suck, but, the games here and the work that went into it (minus one annoying thing - when you go back and forth to a map, you lose your place on the map) is wonderful. I've been going through Zork and loving it. Next up, Wishbringer.
Tip: a bluetooth keyboard makes the experience much better.
Joined:
Jul 2011
Post count:
7
Croq | 18:19 - 7 January 2013
Not including Douglas Adams' two titles makes this much less appealing for me.
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