Question about classic IF games


I returned to IF after a long hiatus, and played some modern games (I am very close - I hope - to finishing the wonderful Hadean Lands). I want now to try some of the old classics. I stumbled on the “lost treasures of infocom” for iPad, and I purchased the whole collection. I want to try one of them (I think Lurking Horror first, to scratch my Lovecraftian itch), but I noticed exploring the app that it has this extra contents, “feelies”, including nice 3d renditions of physical objects that presumably were in the package if you purchased the game. It also comes with maps. My question is this: were players back in the day supposed to look at the maps as they played, or was that “cheating”? or were you only supposed to look if you got stuck? Same question about the “invisiclues”.


Many feelies include knowledge required to complete the game. Unlike Sierra’s adventure games, nothing needed to win the game is ever included in the sold-separately hint book (or invisiclues); as for the maps, they probably won’t help you with any of the substantially difficult parts of the games – what’s over there, sure, but not how to access there nor how to avoid being killed once you’re there.

Yes. Definitely read up on the feelies. If the feelies include maps - like in Moonmist or Wishbringer - then they’ll not only be an aid, they’ll be crucial. If the maps are sort of separate - like the Zork I, II and III games - then the player was meant to try and map the game themselves, but nowadays that meas nothing; you might be spoiled in that “Hey, there’s another way out of this room”, but that’s all. If in doubt, just use them.

Invisiclues, as I understand it, were for when you needed hints - and once you finished the game you went and uncovered all the hints because some were funny.

Neither the “spoilery” maps nor the invisiclues were shipped with the games (I think?), you had to buy them separately. The non-spoilery maps (again, Wishbringer and Moonmist as examples) were, so you were meant to use them.

An aside, since you bought the collection - how does the map in Suspended work? You see, the original Suspended was shipped with a map of the game (a crucial one) and some plastic discs that represented the various robots you control during the game. The idea was that it allowed you to keep track of which robot is where at any given time, which is crucial in Suspended. Maybe you can tell me what I’ve been wondering for a long time - did Activision somehow include this in LToI, maybe by means of a slide-to-view-map thing where the robots are highlighted? Or something?

Because, seeing as iFrotz is a superior interpreter, that is the only thing that’d make me purchase LToI, and I’ve been on the fence for a while. Your help would be appreciated.

Thanks for the info!

I looked up “Suspended” in the collection. They do have the map, but it is only a scanned image, no interactivity. They do have a scan of a page with the disks as well, which is pretty useless - I presume players were supposed to cut them out and put them on the map, but in this digital format, they are useless. So bad news, I’m afraid.

You have to distinguish between the maps that were included as feelies (like Suspended’s base map) and the maps that were added later. Activision got careless in their Infocom repackaging and mixed the concepts up.

Typically the maps drawn in line-and-bubble style are “hint” material – they did not come with the original game, and looking at them counts as hint-peeking.

On the other hand, the original game expected you to draw your own map. If you’re playing on a phone this might be inconvenient. In that case, a built-in map may be better than trying to juggle it all in your head, even if the map is somewhat spoilery.

Bad news is still better than no news, so many thanks.

It’s been a long time, but I think that Infocom might’ve included the invisiclues standard in the box. I remember playing Trinity with those, for sure. But maybe I just shelled out an extra couple of bucks up front.

I recently finished Trinity in the Lost Treasures package, and am partway through Leather Goddesses, both of which are fine games. It does not feel like the original experience to look at the line-and-bubble maps as opposed to drawing your own. However, drawing your own is problematic if you’re playing on a phone or tablet; pretty much ruins the portable-gaming attraction. So I’m kind of holding my nose and looking at the maps. When I get to some games I never played back in the day, I might go find a pencil and a piece of dead tree …

Anyone know of a reasonably priced Lost Treasures? I looked on Amazon and about fainted!

Wow, are those guys selling original-in-box sets?

If you’ve got an iOS device, you can find the version being discussed in this thread in Apple’s App Store. I think it’s free (or maybe a buck or two) to download with Zork I then being free, then a $10 in-app purchase to unlock the remaining games, and another buck to unlock all the invisiclues. That seems like a pretty reasonable price considering the number of games included.

I imagine something similar is available for Android, but that’s not my turf.

Also search for “Classic text adventure masterpieces of Infocom”, which was the last big CD-ROM collection. Looks like the price is still a bit high, though.

Unfortunately not. Wish it were!

Out of curiosity, how where infocom games programmed? Did they have a high-level language and a compiler that targeted Z-code, or did they program in Z-code directly? (that would be epic!)

Correction in the above post:

where -> were

Infocom used their own compiler called Zilch (the language itself was called ZIL, for Zork Implementation Language). Zilch was never released to the public, but apparently there’s an open-source reimplementation called ZILF.

My understanding is that it’s about as high-level as Inform 6, although the syntax is quite different.

My sense is that Zilch was about as high-level as Inform 5. It didn’t include the class mechanism of I6, although of course the Infocom folks could have built equivalent features in ZIL if they’d wanted them.

I never resort to maps. Then again, I was never a fan of huge dungeon crawlers and treasure hunting.

in Anchorhead I have pretty much all the geographic regions laid out in my head :laughing:

hmm, I have infocom titles running on Son of Hunk Punk for android :laughing:

call the cops