So I’m looking for a game I played probably some time in the last year (I think last school year, which was very much a blur). It’s an interactive fiction game, but it comes with visuals of the locations you’re in. Visually the style is very pixelated iirc, kind of a retro vibe. I think there weren’t that many colors used? Pretty sure the premise is sci-fi and future-y, you’re in what feels like a mall-type space, although I think it was a space station? You start in your room and have to gather your items, at one point there’s a room with a woman at a desk, I think there was a rose you could take and maybe a magazine as well. Instead of a complete parser, you were given your entire list of possible commands and could choose that and then a subject that was either in your inventory or in whichever room you were in at the time - I remember thinking it was a sort of neat, if a bit clunky, mechanic. Sorry this is so vague, I have literally no idea where to find it!!!
This rings a bell. Is it Gateway?
You’re an explorer looking for alien technology. After some preparation in a space station, you are sent on missions to different planets with their own ecosystem, which serve as self-contained puzzle-areas.
During the preparatory sequence (the first day on the station), you meet a secretary at a desk. There’s a rose in a vase on the desk, and some magazines on a table.
It has graphics, and now that you mention it, the inside of the space station does kinda look like a mall. The player can choose to type in parser commands or to form commands by clicking on a list of verbs and nouns. Simple tasks (like EXAMINE) can also be done by clicking right in the graphics.
Jimmy Maher did a post on Frederick Pohl, Legend Entertainment, and the history of the two games here.
Thought it’s a product of its time, the first book is pretty good (can’t recommend the other books in the Heechee Saga though).
Also, look at that artwork.
(I said “John Berkey” at first, but no, it’s Boris Vallejo. Whoops.)
It’s definitely Gateway!! Thanks so much!
Being used to typing, I never liked those menus myself. I didn’t use them, and they took up a lot of space:
Fortunately, they can be turned off. You can even turn off the graphics completely:
But I quite like the graphics so “half” mode is what I prefer:
It’s a shame that so few of the Legend Entertainment games are available for sale these days. TimeQuest, Eric the Unready, Mission Critical and the three Spellcasting games are on GOG, but not the others. Death Gate was there briefly, but was quickly removed so I assume it’s licensing issues.
I think Superhero League of Hoboken is available too (but agreed on your larger point, I remember really liking Death Gate as a kid though not sure whether it would hold up given my retroactive reevaluation of the books…)
Same here. I was so glad when I found the button to toggle the interface. That whole verb and noun list was really cluttering up the screen, so I also went with the half-n-half mode.
Ah yes, I completely forgot about that one. Thanks!
I think Legend Entertainment made the right kind of adaptations, because they manage to stand on their own even if you haven’t read the books. At least Gateway and Death Gate did. I didn’t care that much for Shannara and Companions of Xanth.