"The fortress of fear" - Anyone?

This was a New Year release on the ADRIFT platform, anyone here playing it and wanna compare notes? Saw some comments on it which intrigued me: “vast and shallow”, “Blatant Get-x Give-x and lock and key puzzles”, etc. Gave it a go as I prefer “old school” type games. It IS big, way too many rooms, but once you get into it, it kinda grows on you.

I haven’t tried it. Vast-and-shallow sounds like Time Zone.

How did it grow on you? Is it fun to play? In what way?

P.S. Welcome to the board.

Thanks for the welcome.

As I am 65 y.o. I go way back to the days of the 1980’s & 90’s era of text adventures, the days when you actually PAID MONEY for a game instead of just downloading it for free. I recently retired from work and having lots of spare time on my hands I thought I would revisit the text adventure scene and I find that it is now called “Interactive Fiction”. A somewhat ostentatious title for what are still basically text adventures. I bet some American made it up! (No offence!) :smiley:

I played all of Larry Horsefield’s games on the Sinclair Spectrum back in the “good old days” and thoroughly enjoyed them. I remember meeting him, along with other text adventure authors, at the Adventurer’s Conventions which were held for several years running in Birmingham and Coventry (UK). I was doing some browsing on this forum the other day when I came across his name and was amazed to find out that he was still writing games. I downloaded “The Fortress of Fear” from the ADRIFT website and once I started playing it, I was transported 20 years back in time!

OK, I think he has maybe gone a bit OOT with the locations but I did a bit of research on Malbork Castle - on which the game is based - and discovered that in its heyday it really was a vast fortress, so maybe Larry is just trying to portray the vastness of the castle in his game? The size of the game doesn’t bother me at all, I quite like to wander around the lower castle trying to solve the puzzles. I still cannot find anything in the Malt House! What is it there for?

The gameplay is just like his old games and I think that the “shallow” comment is maybe because a lot of today’s IF players are a different breed from the text adventure players of the “old school”. When I think back to the conventions that Larry organised in the 1990’s the vast majority attending were (like me) just ordinary men and women, but from reading the posts in this forum I can see that a lot of the guys here seem to be (forgive me) “college types”, highly intelligent people who expect much more depth and meaning from an IF game.

I absolutely love this type of “Get-X Give-X” and “Lock and key” game. The vast majority of text adventures in the 1990’s were exactly the same sort of thing. I understand Larry is working on a new version of “The Axe of Kolt” - I cannot wait to play it and see how different it will be to the original.

Sorry to ramble on, but you did ask!

The term interactive fiction is not new. According to this blog post the term was coined in 1979 by Robert Lafore. Infocom marketed all their games as interactive fiction. Since Infocom seems to be the most well-regarded company from the commercial era, it makes sense that the community kept using that term.

The term “Interactive Fiction” was never used in the UK, as I suspected this was an American term. Remember this was in the days before the WWW really took off, email was rarely used and I remember text adventure authors in those days advertised their new games in fanzines such as “Adventure Probe”, etc. Whatever happened to Barbara Gibb?

I did some early testing of FoF, though I never completed it. There’s lots of attention to detail and it’s fun uncovering secret passages and so on, but it is unabashedly old school.

I no longer have the computer I was playing it on before- all I remember off the top of my head is how to find the needle.

>Search Haystack, of course

Heh heh, don’t worry Stargazer there are plenty around here who still share your love of the old text adventure. ‘Interactive fiction’ as was pointed out, was a term used by Infocom for all of their highly text-adventure-like text adventures, so it bears a nostalgia for many and although all ostentatious types might call it ‘interactive fiction’, not all who call it that are, in fact, ostentatious, if you follow me.

I for one am agnostic on it. If I want to give an impression of play, I’ll say ‘text adventure’. If I want to emphasise that it should also be taken seriously, I’ll say ‘interactive fiction’, as the context requires. (I don’t feel the need to decide between ‘movie’ and ‘film’, either.)

For all of the talk, it seems like there are still more old-school-style (if not as simple as key-in-lock) games announced on here than arty or highly experimental ones, and I’m glad they are still around! Regardless of my personal tastes, I think the scene in general needs both things. Can’t run electricity through a magnet without creating two poles. Or something. I’m sure someone will pop in at this point in the thread to say, ‘Uh, that’s not how magnets work.’ XD

I don’t know much about the British IF tradition, besides some reading I have done regarding it. At one point several years ago I downloaded a bunch of Magnetic Scrolls and some Spectrum games to try in emulation, but I haven’t got around to them. One day! If I were to be persuaded of the ingenuity and relevance to the modern day of some title in particular, I might make it a priority to try it…

In summary, you should feel free to entirely ignore my or anyone’s opinions and just play and talk about whatever interests you. In my opinion! 8)

Hi Stargazer,

I was amazed to see your post on this forum, someone admitting to playing my game - at last! If you were at the Adventurer’s Conventions and played my adventures on the Speccie, I hopefully might remember you. Send me a PM with your real name if you like.

Thanks for your comments, you are dead right about the size of the fortress being reflected in the game. I have a map of the Marienberg Fortress as it was in the 15thC and it was huge, especially the Lower Castle which extended over several acres.

As for the “Malt house”:

Sorry, it is just eye candy, there is nothing to be found in there.

I am currently half way through my rewrite of “The Axe of Kolt”, just started work on “Chapter 3”. That will be followed by “The Spectre of Castle Coris”, “The Lost Children” and “Die Feuerfaust”.

My “shallow” comment was referring to implementation depth, not literary depth.
It gave the feel where each object is planned for one particular purpose, and has no implementation beyond that purpose.

And, while I’m only 35, I also go back to the days of “text adventures”. I first played Zork in 1985, and had virtually every Infocom game during my childhood.

While some objects in the game do indeed have only one purpose, there are others which have two or three uses, if that is what you mean by the above? However, you will only find that out if you actually play the game rather than just scratch the surface.

You are the same age as my eldest son…and you were playing Zork at the age of 8?!! :open_mouth: At that age my son was into “Thomas the Tank Engine”! :laughing:

And if you read my original comment, I gave my first impressions, then asked whether the whole game was like that. The game didn’t deliver enough of a hook that I wanted to play more.

I can’t give a rigorous definition of what I meant by shallow vs. deep, but:

  • how “custom” do the objects tend to be (a shallow object will have the task that gives it to the player and the task where it’s used; a deep one will have some side interactions)

I dislike random searching of scenery. It’s a cheap puzzle, like a maze.

The puzzles I remember were all “If you’ve found the appropriate object, then the solution is obvious. If you haven’t found it, then there’s no direction as to which puzzle to be working on, or where to find the needed object.”

For example, at one point I needed a way to transport liquid so I could water a plant. I tried using a tablecloth as a sponge, which didn’t work. (Correct solution involved using a cup.) I didn’t particularly expect it to work; I would have been satisfied with a response along the lines of “You only get a few drops out of it.”

That idea about soaking the altar cloth in water did not occur to me…or to any of my playtesters. :astonished:

Ralph, if you ever fancy doing any playtesting… :smiley: