Like I suppose many here my love for adventure games, um, sorry, interactive fiction, was cultivated in its heyday, around the 80s. I was a little too inexperienced at the time in English and I lacked in the problem-solving toolbox. I hardly ever finished a game I tried in those years (exception to the rule was The Philosopher’s Stone, which seems to have disappeared in the mists of time) even with the help of cheat sheets.
My recurring hobby these days is playing Infocom and Magnetic Scrolls games, and not reverting to maps or walkthroughs even if I get stuck. I really get a better satisfaction out of the game I can do this on my own. This is quite masochistic, I suppose. I’m silly enough to think that the games of those companies are tried and tested enough to ensure a fair chance, but now that I’ve played the Pawn, I can reliably say that this is an illusion, because of e.g. a lacking parser, lacking descriptions, or game related choices like locking yourself out of victory without the merest hint (by using the wrong object to complete a puzzle, for example). I did finish the Pawn, but still had to go for the hints. This spoils the fun for me, especially because it is also easy to read “too much” from a walkthrough.
Apart from finishing the Pawn, I’ve also completed Guild of Thieves and Fish (which I can both recommended, great fun), Myth and Jinxter (funny but mean), and I’m now down to Wonderland. Given Magnetic Scroll’s track record I don’t consider it cheating to ask if there are any parsing or game design issues that would only be fair to know up front? Wonderland seems very polished so far and I’d love to finish it all by myself.
I realize that this call for hints is vague, and I hope I was somewhat able to make clear what kind of pointers I am looking for.