August 2, 2001
10:10 AM   Subscribe

If you're a fan of Interactive Fiction then you'll certainly be familiar with Andrew Plotkin the author of some of the best works in the genre, including Spider in Web and So Far. Only Macintosh users, however, will remember his phenomenol early-90s puzzle game, System's Twilight, "An Abstract Fairytale." I recently played it again, and am astounded that such an early piece of work contains such a fully realized fantasy world (literally, it's abstract) and such goddamn hard puzzles. Download it and experience some gaming history, and a damn good time.
posted by tweebiscuit (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Those confused by the interactive fiction links can find some help at Introducing Interactive Fiction, Downloading and Running Text Adventures, and How to Play a Text Adventure. (They're all tutorials from the same site, so read them in order.)

A caveat: if you play an IF game, you might feel an unnatural compulsion to play another. And another. And...
posted by tweebiscuit at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2001

I've been really getting into IF again lately. Last week, I started writing an AIMbot that integrates with rezrov, the Perl z-code interpreter.

In other words, you'll (hopefully) be able to play Zork, Lurking Horror, Planetfall, or any other z-code game in an AIM window.
posted by waxpancake at 10:25 AM on August 2, 2001

waxpancake -- Have you posted this on RGIF/RAIF? (the two IF newsgroups, That's incredible! I love z-code interpreters. "Shit, I can play Planetfall on my Palm Pilot!"
posted by tweebiscuit at 10:35 AM on August 2, 2001

It's great, sure, but the problem with System's Twilight is that it is, frankly, unsolvable without a walkthrough. The only people I know who have gotten to the end are a) people who admit they did the last half with a walkthrough in hand and b) liars.

I recently dowloaded "3 in Three", the game that inspired System's Twilight. I played it a lot in college but didn't finish it then. This time I cracked it in less than a week. I guess that Bachelor of Science taught me a thing or two after all...
posted by Shadowkeeper at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2001

Yeah, I'm pretty much jammed in the a) category. Even at the point where I was using solutions for each puzzle, however, lowering the challenge level by 90%, I kept going simply because the setting and art were so fantastic. ST is the perfect example of a masterful game with a little technology.

(And I'm still #$$@#*!ing stuck on the last puzzle. Hints, anyone?)
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2001

posted by jammer at 11:28 AM on August 2, 2001

Jammer -- that never would have counted as a joke on RGIF. *upturned sniff*
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:38 AM on August 2, 2001

Well, yeah, but this isn't RGIF, is it? I bet there are even people here who don't know what Xyzzy means! ;)
posted by jammer at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2001

What XYZZY means.
posted by bradlands at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2001

:: blinks at XYZZY ::

What the frobnitz are you people up to?

Shadowkeeper, you are a prince among men. I've been looking for a copy of Fool's Errand and 3-in-3 for years. Thank you.
posted by snarkout at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2001

What's more, the XYZZY News front-page (not the newsletter, which is separate) is about as close to a blog as you can get. And what's more, it has reader letters and responses! Yeah!
posted by tweebiscuit at 1:35 PM on August 2, 2001

So I downloaded it, and it's awfully clever, and I'm not. On the other hand, I have had a lot of Budweiser, and a Tanqueray and tonic or two, and 2/3 of a bottle of cheap Vouvray, and 1/3 of a bottle of prosecco, and it hasn't. And, I got an 800 on the math SATs (20 years ago, when they were hard) and let's see System's Twilight fill in all those little ovals! Now for bed, if I can find my pyjamas...
posted by nicwolff at 10:17 PM on August 4, 2001

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