Planetfall’s my favorite Infocom game, so probably my favorite game of all. I first played it around 1987, and I have played to the end possibly hundreds of times. I know a lot about the game. I’ve found a lot of bugs in it.
I’ve long been sort of aware that speedrunning is a thing, but I don’t know much about the subject. I’ve read a little bit, and watched a few videos. I decided I wanted to try to finish Planetfall as fast as possible.
But I don’t really care about speed in terms of time elapsed. I’m a pretty fast typist, but the challenge I set myself was intellectual rather than physical. I wanted to finish the game in the least number of moves. I came up with a pretty good plan. I decided on an “Any% run”, meaning just get to the end of the game, not worrying about completing all parts of it, and even allowing buggy shortcuts. BTW, I did this on release 37, but every version but the Solid Gold should work as well.
Once I had my plan, it turned out to be a physical challenge after all. Even not caring about physical speed, I found it took me quite a number of tries to get through my planned sequence of commands without making a mistake. Finally a few minutes ago I finished. There are a total of 223 greater-than signs in my transcript, so not counting the initial SCRIPT and the final Q, I finished Planetfall in 221 turns.
That’s not best possible. I think with better RNG luck this could be reduced to 214. But as far as I can see there’s no shorter path to the end.
A 100% run, where you get the good ending, would take a lot longer.
The other Infocom game I know just about as well is Zork II, but that’s totally broken for speedrunning. Depending on the version (and, again, the RNG), there are bugs that let you swipe the Wizard’s wand within a few moves and skip to the end.
EDIT: Oops! The SCRIPT command doesn’t get saved to the transcript. So the correct move count is 222.