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Great Adventure-Game Puzzles (filfre.net)
145 points by nikbackm on Dec 8, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

In one text adventure whose name I forget, you're stuck in a maze, and


as you wander around helplessly at some point you start getting hot. If you take off your shirt to cool off, the game responds something like: "ah, much better. you stretch out your wings.". And with that info, the maze is solved by simply "fly".

I liked how it made me aware of my preconceptions, that the protagonist I was playing was just like me.

9:05 is my favorite introduction to IF: http://adamcadre.ac/if/905.html

Sounds like Photopia.

I like a text adventure game but sometimes the puzzles seem were so obtuse. They seen to gave gotten better lately (being able to look up stuff on the internet helps..)

I always think of old man murrays rant on a "gabriel knight" puzzle, and wonder who has the patience to figure these things out: (the puzzle involves spraying a cat with water and using tape to collect fur and maple syrup as an adhesive..)

" Gabriel Knight must disguise himself as a man called Mosley in order to fool a French moped rental clerk into renting him the shop's only motorcycle.

In order to construct the costume, Gabriel Knight must manufacture a fake moustache. ... Knight must do this even though Moseley does not have a moustache.




"Counterfeit Monkey" by Emily Short expands the T-remover puzzle into a full game full of wordplay. For example, you turn a fossil into foil and then oil to fix a car.

Retrospective: https://emshort.blog/2013/01/24/making-of-counterfeit-monkey...

I'm a big fan of lots of her work. Beautifully written, fun, engrossing.

See also "Nord and Bert couldn't make head nor tail of it" which is a wordplay only infocom game.

There was a text adventure for the BBC Model B called Philosopher's Quest (Acornsoft 1983). The back of the box mentioned, among other things 'Nothing in the game is a red herring so read all the text carefully for clues to other puzzles.'

At one point in the game you see the word 'Blanche' written on a wall. If you type the word, distant bells ring, but nothing else seems to happen.

Right at the end of the game, you need one more point to win. If you say Blanche at the very end, then you get the final points; no red herrings.

I know it's mentioned briefly in the article, but I always loved the insult sword fighting from Monkey Island. Very funny and young me really had to think about the chosen response.

Ooh. In the language puzzles subgenre, I’d add the stranger encounter from „The Edifice,” by Lucian Paul Smith (1997). One of the most memorable.


That's great. And all of "The Gostak".

I think I like these so much because they make me feel like I'm being clever.

As someone just learning english in my teens, it was a very long trial and error, word-association effort.

If you like text adventure games, check out Jason Scott's documentary GET LAMP about the history of text adventure games, including interviews with some Infocom developers:



Random fact about that puzzle in Monkey Island: it's the only way I know in which you can actually lose the game.

M.I. prided itself in having no dead ends, but if you throw the leaflet into a fire then you cannot leave the island. I thought I was being smart throwing items in the fire (the game stops you from throwing other useful items, and I wanted a smaller inventory), but in the end finishing the game took a couple years and the internet.

You can also drown when underwater, Guybrush can only hold his breath for ten minutes!

Radio4 published Hitchhiker's Guide online for an anniversary: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml

The article boasts that the fish puzzle isn't even that hard for the game. Curious which ones they found the hardest or most random...

I wonder what percentage of users got past these in the days before looking up answers online. Some of these I know I wouldn't have solved, or would have taken an enormous amount of time like the Plundered Hearts example.

I recall people examining the raw data of some of these games to find text strings that could explain how to solve them.

I recall people examining the raw data of some of these games to find text strings that could explain how to solve them.

I tried that, but I wasn't sufficiently '1337 to crack the text compression scheme used by Infocom, despite several attempts at disassembling their (Apple II) parser back in the day.

Amusingly, though, because their game engine stored next to nothing in RAM and relied heavily on demand-paging the compressed text from disk, I was able to get some intriguing clues about locations, objects, and events I hadn't yet encountered by swapping one game disk for another in the middle of a session and typing LOOK. Most of the resulting output was garbage, and crashes were pretty common, but when the (radix-40, IIRC) bitstream lined up just right, the game would sometimes spew out a significant amount of decoded plaintext.

I remember I had, but never managed to solve Infocom's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Bureaucracy.

Infocom published clue books with hints for their games. Also game magazines at the time featured sections with game hints.

One of the first games I played as a kid was the DOS port of infocoms Deadline (1982) — a police/detective mystery. Easily one of my favorite adventure games of all time. It had a branching story line, multiple endings, a real-time-ish clock. Combine that with the “feelies” that infocom was known for in the early 80s and it was a unique experience that I’m not sure anyone will be able to reproduce.

As much as I loved these games growing up, it pains me to admit that the puzzle designs found in most make them objectively not good games.

Dark Seed, for example, has puzzles that must be solved at a certain time on a certain day, and if you miss your chance the game becomes unwinnable without any indication of that fact. Yay.

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