A Mind Forever Voyaging script

This may or may not be the right forum to put this in, so mods please move if need be.

I’ve always thought A Mind Forever Voyaging would make an interesting film. It appears I’m not the only one. Here’s a link to a review of a script based on the game. The review has a link to a PDF of the script itself.



Hmm… I think this would probably be better suited to Game Discussion, Hints and Reviews or even the General thread, as Inform 7 programming is a little bit far out :wink:.

[rant]This realy isn’t even a rant but…
That being said though I think you’re right that actually a bunch of IF stories would translate well to film. I find the medium flirts with a sort of immersive minimalism that would give directors a significant amount of expressive room while remianing true to the source text.
I think AMFV would actually be really good, along with some of the other really good inform games like Planetfall or Bureaucracy.

At the same time though I think there is something to be lost in such a transition as well. Many of the best IF games can be so great because there is such a mystery behiend them, a sort of fog around the story. And of course movies could never include some of the best parts of of the adventures: the puzzles. So yeah, I think IF was originally fashioned to give people a fantastic combination of vivid literature, mind puzzles with a sort of movie-esque grandness. So limiting the stories down to just the movie-esque grandness would be a little beside the point.[/rant]

Though, I read the script and it seemed like it was workable. I just wish Activision wasn’t so anal about these sorts of things.

It’s not so much that they’re anal about things. Admittedly, I’m biased since Activision has given me permission to use Trinity and distribute it as part of my classes on textual IF. Consider this quote from the link:

But apparently Activision, who owns the Infocom universe, has zero interest in adapting their products to film, which is bizarre when you think about all the money that could be made.

There are assumptions there. First, we don’t know if Activision has “zero interest.” They certainly have very little, granted. Even more importantly, and the one that probably drives whatever Activision feels is that, the notion that there is so much money to be made. Movies made from games (whether franchises or not) have a very spotty history. Some do great; others do horrible. For every such film that does good, publishers are no doubt reminded of the films Alone in the Dark, Doom, Wing Commander, House of the Dead, BloodRayne, and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

Being at least somewhat Activision-related, read up on some of the problems that occurred with getting the World of Warcraft film (now in post-production) made. That game is from Blizzard, but is part of Activision Blizzard. If a game like that, which is actually quite popular now, can have a such a rocky ride from inception onwards, imagine how little someone might want to invest for a little-known (relatively speaking) text-based game.

Finally, Activision has never been much for movie tie-ins going the other way: i.e., movie to game. (See: Activision is begrudgingly developing movie tie in games.) It’s just not an area they like to explore that much from either direction. I’m not sure that makes them anal so much as it makes them realistically cautious. Granted, most times the caution from game studios is from fear of movies “degrading” the source material, thus making sales of the game hurt by association. Clearly not an issue with Infocom games. But, then again, the very fact that it’s not an issue at all suggests the level of interest to be expected from the movie-going audience.

This does bring up a good discussion point, though. Is there any text game (particularly from the Infocom era) that people would really like to see translated into film? A lot of people would likely say “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” but that’s already been done, and certainly counted on the popularity of the books rather than the game. Personally, and I say this as a long-time fan of Infocom games, I can’t think of one that would be compelling enough for me to go see, simply because it was based on an Infocom text-based game.

Also remember that the process of making movies (in Hollywood) is insane and weird and soul-killing. And not particularly open to newcomers (which according to this blog post, the scriptwriter was at the time he wrote this one).

I agree that the attachment to an 80s text adventure, per se, is not going to draw in many movie viewers. And none of the old games have transcripts that would make good movies as a direct translation. So the scriptwriter is going to have to come up with new material and perhaps a new story frame, as this one did. (I have not read through this AMFV script yet, just the post about it.)

If the script is great then it could make a great movie – but you can say that about any script.

There’s an ongoing saga about developing a Myst movie. There’s a game that sold more than any Infocom title, more recently, and it’s iconically visual. Some indie folks have worked with Cyan on a script, but development is hell and as far as we know they haven’t gotten any studio interest.

(Working outside the system is a whole 'nothing thing, obviously.)

The Zork/Enchanter games could make a good movie–take the basic points of the plot from each game (basically the beginning and end), then write a new story in the setting to fill in the gaps, using bits of the puzzles.

As a direct adaptation, though, Trinity or AMFV would be my picks. AMFV is essentially story-based to begin with, and I think Trinity’s premise is strong enough that it could survive the removal of the puzzles.

I feel like any game with a blank-palette protagonist is going to require so much of a rewrite as to be unrecognizable.

That doesn’t leave much of the Infocom canon in the running. AMFV, perhaps Planetfall (the protagonist-and-Floyd relation might carry it), perhaps Wishbringer. And – weirdly – Infidel. It would need a lot of work, but the basic story twist could be the seed of a great movie.

(HHGG, Arthur, Shogun, and Sherlock have the obvious advantage of having come from literary sources, and the obvious disadvantage that movies have been made from the literary sources already.)

(Tangent: this thread should be shifted to “General and Off-Topic”.)

Sure, I can see this. But it goes to my qualifier: would I see these just because they were based on Infocom text games? Put another way, someone could do a cool story around an enchanter – but then they have to make it different from the numerous other movies that deal with enchanters and sorcerers and whatnot. As zarf said, I’m not sure what screenwriters would necessarily draw on from the games. My thinking is that they would have to add so much that, pretty soon, you don’t really have anything based on the game, per se. You just have something that has the title.

I would most likely agree. I would think Trinity could potentially do well. (That said, there was talk a long while back about making a film version of The Trinity Paradox and that didn’t go over very well ultimately.) You also have to avoid not making it a retread of something like The Final Countdown. Admittedly the time travel in that film is used to different effect, but essentially it’s the same kind of thing. Where Trinity would differ is in the fantasy realm that the player inhabits as they travel between time periods. That could be interesting if translated to film; but it would require a director who could handle that kind of juxtaposition well.

As far as AMFV, I guess I just don’t see it as much. I’m one of those that remembered liking the game a lot when younger. But when I played it again as an adult, I was less than thrilled. Certainly the view of a future society from the current one can always be made relevant in a film. That said, you need to keep people’s interest up. The game was all about exploring this future world in detail, noticing slight differences and recording them. But, you never know. I just watched The Machine and while it has no substantive comparisons to AMFV, it did keep me hooked on a particular character who was adapting to being a machine.

In a world where a movie based on Battleship apparently earned $300 million worldwide, I’d guess that there are a lot of people who will go to see something just because it’s based on a game. But not just because it’s based on an Infocom game.

Ha! True enough. But do remember that the promos and a lot of the material coming out prior to the movie specifically indicated it had nothing to do with the game itself. But, again, that’s one movie that seemingly did well however peripherally it was based on a game. There are many others that fare quite poorly. Yet Battleship (arguably) had more name recognition than something like A Mind Forever Voyaging. Further, I say “seemingly did well” because Battleship only got about $65 million of that box office haul in the domestic market (United States) and it cost over $200 million to make. So from a studio perspective, that’s actually considered a “failure,” believe it or not. (See: $220 Million Battleship Flop Sinks Not Only Universal Pictures, But Activision Game.)

Yet another reason for Activision to have learned their caution.

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking – Battleship is an incredibly well-known game. It was on the built-in entertainment thingy on a recent flight I took, and AMFV wasn’t. Although I have an idea now…

My earlier comments aside – I’ve always been fond of the idea of a Starcross movie. Starcross is close to being a game adaption of Rendezvous with Rama to begin with.

Then again, Rama is a famously unfilmable book. (I know, IMDB, somebody’s trying.)

Try this for a sketch: isolated misanthropic asteroid miner approaches isolated lonely asteroid. Asteroid turns out to be alien spacecraft. Miner goes in, using link to ship’s computer as information resource. Sequence of puzzles and challenges. Aliens inhabit artifact but we never learn their language. Ship’s computer is inadequate; miner has to scavenge alien parts to upgrade it. Ship’s computer becomes smarter. Turns into a buddy flick. Miner reaches control room, discovers that the alien artifact has been hacking the computer all along, uplifting it, trying to bring miner in for repairs. Buddies go off together to explore universe.

I’m seeing Sigourney Weaver and, damn, not sure who to use for the computer avatar. I guess Scarlett Johansen is the current headliner for this sort of thing.

I’ve liked the idea of casting movies that don’t exist in my head. Who would play the parts in these? Zarf started the ball rolling.

I’m not sure who would play Perry Simm best, but Gary Oldman comes to mind (maybe a decade ago). But we all know he’d be best to play Gordon Freeman.

I’d forgotten Starcross! They’d definitely have to replace some of the puzzle segments, though–the audience would never understand the oxygen/methane/ammonia one, and probably not the airlock either, but the teleportation disks and ray gun could stay.

One of the first writing projects I ever “completed” was a screenplay of WISHBRINGER. I thought I was so cool at 14 years old printing it out on curly thermal paper from my Apple IIe clone computer, cutting the pages apart, and putting them under the dictionary so they would flatten out. :stuck_out_tongue:

The problem with making a movie of Battleship is that it has no meaningful plot. It’s like trying to make a movie adaptation of Chess.

I like that one – a bit from this story and that story and mix it all together.

Right. It’s like a control group in an experiment: How much promotional value does a movie get from being attached to a game, where the game cannot possibly contribute anything to the movie other than its title?

The problem with making a game movie is you have to invent a whole bunch of stuff and characters and often create a plot out of nowhere.

For a while, I kept hearing that ASTEROIDS was being optioned as a movie. I’m like “really?”

That at least - I can see setting a movie in space about a ship tasked with clearing asteroids out of interstellar shipping lanes for the safety of other ships. But that’s not a plot, that’s a setting. I would almost think they wouldn’t even need to option that. Unless they want to title the movie ASTEROIDS…which again is probably the dullest title I could think of.

Well it’s this big thing in space, apparently.

And what does he think “seminal” means?