It was deliberately nonspecific to avoid a spoiler. I haven’t tried putting a spoiler tag in the main description of a game before, and when I think about doing so, my gut reaction is I don’t like the idea of the fundamental text for something in a general reference database having a specific spoiler or even a spoiler tag. That doesn’t mean I won’t necessarily do it, though. But all that happened was - in retrospect, I didn’t know whether Zarf was asking for information here, or in a spoiler tag on IFDB. I went there, wrote what I wrote, then got distracted when I decided to go and check all the versions of the game that I could. So sorry for any confusion. But now I can report back.
Well, this is related to what I was saying about ‘ports need checking’. It’s not possible to identify the issue from a screenshot, or in 2-3 moves, or without checking other version.
So I talk a lot about Strange Odyssey, and a little about The Count, below:
[spoiler]In Strange Odyssey, in the original version of the game for the Apple, Atari and TRS80, there are splitsecond flashes of text which occur in a couple of situations.
The first is when you start the game. On move 1, you get a glimpse of the hexagonal room, like a premonition.
The second situation, and way more important, is that when you are in the hexagonal room and start touching the plastic, each touch gives you a momentary glimpse of the location you will move to if you now step into the curtain of light. That’s the point of it. On the versions of this game where this doesn’t happen, the text ‘You feel strangely disoriented for a moment’ and the accompanying pause (in Inform, you don’t even get the pause) is kind of pointless, given that you receive no glimpse of anything, though it still does change the gamestate of your next destination.
The port to the C64 was done in 1987 and it’s also missing the feature. I don’t know when the Spectrum port was done, but I assume not in the original run, because it doesn’t have it either.
You can see the feature in action because someone has put up a Youtube vid of Strange Odyssey being played on Atari. The first flash is visible immediately at game start, at 10 seconds in. Obviously the others come later, in the hexagonal room:
(The font is a little ouchy!)
The Count uses the same kind of text flashing to show what’s happening to the player at night, which is creepy and important, and also to deliver glimpses of things which act as clues.[/spoiler]