This is my first serious attempt to play an old Infocom game (apart from stumbling around cluelessly in Zork). I really like the flavor and text of the game so far, but I’m running into difficulties I didn’t anticipate.
First, the manual PDF wasn’t helpful with the code needed to access simulation mode, so I had to consult this website.
Then I made four separate attempts to map the city of Rockvil from scratch, resulting in a big illegible (and incomplete) mess that ran off the edges of the paper every time. Luckily I was able to find this map online.
Now it’s nighttime, certain locations are closed for the evening, my recorder data is at least half full, and I haven’t achieved most of my objectives… I’ve only managed to record riding public transit, talking to a church official, and going to a movie.
I plan on seeing this through because I like the weird satirical sci-fi thing this game is going for. Any tips or strategies would be immensely appreciated.
A message begins coming over the message line: “PRISM, this is Perelman. Please come to my office, uh, activate the communication port there, uh,
well, you know what I’m trying to say. As soon as possible, please.”
Dr. Perelman’s Office
This is the office of your creator, Dr. Abraham Perelman. It is cluttered and disorganized. Overstuffed bookshelves line the room. Perelman’s desk is
covered with a number of items, including a decoder, a map of the city, a ball-point pen, and a printout of a magazine article.
activate communication port
[You can’t see any communication port here!]
I waited around, and everything sorted itself out. I’ve made it to Part 2 of the game. I’m still onboard with the game’s premise, and I still find navigating Rockvil to be a confusing slog.
Our community site for these manuals is http://infodoc.plover.net . The “screen-reader-friendly” section is often helpful if the PDFs aren’t.
I finished it some years ago, but your post reminded me to replay it. I feel there’s so much I didn’t see on my first playthrough.
Thanks for the map! I too have pages of maps for the city, all of them incomplete.
I’m now having a much easier time with the navigation, since I’ve got access to a map and have basically learned the pattern of the main streets and intersections. I also like the more open-ended structure of the game’s second part.
So I’m in a weird bind now. Perelman has said that my footage is convincing for all years except 2081, but simulation mode won’t let me travel to that year!
I consulted a walkthrough, and apparently I just needed to go back to 2071 and walk around until I filled up a timer I didn’t know existed. Weird.
A Mind Forever Voyaging (1985) is quite good and recommendable, even if it’s not quite the masterpiece I was anticipating. The biggest strengths of the game are the dystopian sci-fi setting, the author’s lack of inhibition with regard to including political commentary (a rarity at the time, I suspect), and the relative lack of traditional adventure game puzzles. The biggest weaknesses are (I suspect) artifacts of the game’s vintage (such as: the manual is required to look up passcodes at various points in the game).
AMFV is less about unlocking doors and solving problems than simply observing changes in a society over time. The player assumes the role of a sentient AI tasked with exploring simulations of the city of Rockvil over the course of 50 years, recording evidence to determine whether or not a proposed policy called The Plan will benefit or harm society.
I found Rockvil difficult to navigate early in the game when there was a checklist of specific tasks to accomplish; however eventually I got used to the layout of the city and found exploration much easier to deal with in the mid-game when the objectives were more open-ended. I still recommend looking up a map, as my several attempts to map the game myself were consistently thwarted.
Likewise, I found the climax (the closest thing in AMFV to a puzzle) to be counter-intuitive. A walkthrough revealed that I needed to be using mechanics which I’d gone the entire game without even realizing existed. This section of the game played out rather dramatically, but the actions required for progress were not well signposted.
There’s more to AMFV than just the intro and the climax, though, and the game managed to surprise me a number of times. I especially appreciated the news feed and the unexpected events that will happen from time to time while running the simulation.
I enjoyed my experience with A Mind Forever Voyaging and would recommend it for its historical significance and unique gameplay. I don’t feel any regret about utilizing a map or consulting a walkthrough for the climax, though.
Here’s a case where the feelies help: one of them is a detailed map of downtown Rockvil.