Loom was an attempt to push gaming forward and explore new territory, and for that it deserves commendation. But it failed in the primary goal of any storyteller, which is to make the listener/reader/participant care about what happens in the world. It was a dreary and dull experience.
From the wikipedia page, a quote from the creator of Loom:
"Contrary to popular belief, the Loom sequels were not abandoned because Loom didn't sell well. Loom has sold more than half a million copies in various formats since it was published in 1990. The reason the sequels weren't made is because I decided I wanted to work on other things, and nobody else wanted to do them, either."
The final sentence, I think, is most telling.
Adventure games like Zork wanted a sentence typed. Later, a sentence was constructed using a mouse.
Loom removed the sentence as the player's action upon the game, and realized the player's intent didn't have to be a literal sentence.
It's just as much a breakthrough as Nintendo understanding that "pressing up" on a controller to lift a racket could be replaced by lifting an arm with a controller in it, in the case of the Wii.
LOOM™ was novel within the context of the studio, for being radically simplistic with the interface, considering how far they'd already "dumbed down" the interface from spiritual predecessors like Zork.
A side note: If you have not already seen Professor Moriarty's lecture on the actual origins of the CYOA format, this is probably the most interesting thing you will read all year: http://ludix.com/moriarty/electric.html
Neuromancer is riddled with complex text interfaces for every interaction. Every choice demands a read through, along with several text selections to decide from. Here's a video of how awful it is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tNMdbq_Z7w
How is that more simple?
There's a difference between text you read, and text you have to guess at/type (ie, the find-the-synonym frustrations of Infocom games).
(Although speaking of Choose Your Own Adventure: http://io9.gizmodo.com/remember-inside-ufo-54-40-the-unwinna... had a fun "choice".)
After many, many readings, both legitimate play-throughs and cheating flip-throughs, I don't think I realised what the article points out.
Bishop Mandible's death wasn't exactly non-violent:
I don't think it's nostalgia, because I didn't play Loom until long after it first came out. I had played many of the other LucasFilm games at this point and most of the AGI Sierra games.
I agree that it was inferior in storytelling to many of those, but it was just a heck of a lot of fun, with the puzzles ranging from obvious to "obvious in hindsight." combined with the extremely minimal, yet novel interface just struck exactly the right chord with me.
1: Gabriel Knight, Day of the Tentacle, and Planetfall stand out in my mind as some games from 3 different companies that spoke to me in the way that you seem to be talking about
2: Even LucasFilm, which was 100000x friendlier than other adventure game companies (don't ask me how many AGI games I finished), had the occasional terrible puzzle). Loom is on the extremely tiny list of adventure games that I completed 100% solo; most games I've finished I played with friends and we usually could get each other un-stuck.
To explain where I'm coming from: I found Loom frustrating because it removed what I enjoy most in almost all types of game, which is agency. I remember several points where Bobbin's actions were very different than what I would have chosen. I had no say in it, yet still had to do the 'work' of advancing the story. I enjoy linear narratives, too, but Loom felt, to me, like the worst of both worlds, not the best.
Then the article explains the sad story of how the game failed to become a massive hit, and its design lessons went on ignored for years...
I personally think Loom has one of the finest adventure game interfaces I have ever used. I also loved its tone, for some reason I am just not that interested in comedy.
The article is more about the man behind the game, Brian Moriarty, than the game itself, as he moved from Infocom (of Zork fame) to then Lucasfilm Games (later Lucasarts).
It's about the two John's (Carmack and Romero) and how they created Doom, Quake et al. and why id Software broke up eventually. Very fascinating, highly recommended book!
He took on the role of Reverend Parris shortly before the play opened, taking over for a junior actor in over his head. I was 15 at the time and was taken with the ease in which Brian slipped in to the role.
He brought the production together and was a stabilizing force. My father recently passed away, so seeing Brian's name here brought on a rush of memories from the play.
I looked around and found the playbill from the show: http://www.pacificaspindriftplayers.org/shows/2000/the-cruci...
This was so frustrating, and felt so gratuitous (because games with way more disks behaved much better) that I didn't get very far in the game and I have always had a negative view of it since then (probably the fact that I have always been a fan of text interfaces and of deaths in adventure games didn't help either, but the disk issue was really a deal-breaker).
He's a creative genius.