Wonderland, trying without help - sort of


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.


(Hanon Ondricek) #2

WONDERLAND is an absolute bear from what I remember. I didn’t get very far. I know MTW attempted it semi-recently so he may be able to chime in.

I know you don’t want complete spoilers, but I did find this walkthrough that may at least get you headed in the right direction if you can keep from reading too far - last resort if nobody here can provide subtle hints:

msmemorial.if-legends.org/games. … lution.php

Here’s the site that’s from with more info.



(Marshal Tenner Winter) #3

Ya, I wrote a little something about Wonderland a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t a technical look at it really, more of me talking about how the original novel had turned 150 years old.

I remember, and just reread in my notes, that it was expansive but buggy. It could’ve benefited from a few more rounds of beta-testing. (And I would know about games released without proper beta-testing.)

There were references to characters I had not met yet (as if I had met them) as well as non-intuitive puzzles, but I enjoyed the old-school, yet impressive, graphics and it felt like a fun, immersive work of IF.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Columbo’s on.


(Doug Orleans) #4

I thought I remembered finishing Wonderland back in the day, but looking at the walkthrough now I’m not so sure. I think I got pretty far into it, though. And I doubt I would have had access to a walkthrough at the time. And I was by no means an expert!



Thank you all for your replies, I appreciate it.

HanonO, yes, I’m familiar with that great Magnetic Scrolls repository and their documented walkthroughs, I use it to read the originally packaged materials. Trying to avoid the hints and solutions though!

MTW, I’ll keep that in mind, thanks. I really like the game so far for trying to keep in style with Carrol’s quirky sense of humor and logic. There’s lots of little gems in the text there, e.g. when examining the flower beds, “Sssh! The flowers are asleep in their beds!” and “There is a fork in the path” which turns out to be an actual spit fork for gardening. The pictures are also very pretty carrying some fun references (the rabbit’s bedroom being a nod at Van Gogh’s Bedroom, for example).

Doug Orleans I haven’t progressed far enough to judge but so far indeed it’s not Spellbreaker-level difficult. It’s certainly a lot fairer than most other Magnetic Scroll’s games, giving off clearer hints about hidden objects, automating player actions for trivial steps (e.g opening doors) and apply actions to multiple objects, and not killing off the player (waking them up from the dream) without ample warning. The map seems huge, though. Trying not to use Trizbort, but this one might break my head.

I’ll keep notes of bugs or unfair play in case anyone else wants to give it a go.


(jkj yuio) #6

Hi Fuzzy,

I would very much be interested in any bugs you find in these games or story elements that are just too mean.

Over at strand games, there’s an attempt to remaster these works and also to introduce a “modern” mode of play, which fixes annoyingly mean game elements. There’s also a “classic” mode for masochists who want the original behaviour. :slight_smile:

Currently, work is underway on Jinxter to remove the annoyances and improve the game. Hopefully the result will be a fun and entertaining comedy to play.

Please keep a note of anything you find and good luck with Wonderland.


(Marshal Tenner Winter) #7

Click This Link Of Mind Numbing Pleasure!!

It’s a link to the issue of IFography in which my Wonderland article exists. The article starts on page 23 and isn’t really that good, but hey, what can ya do? I offer it in case anyone was curious. The rest of the pdf is great as a solid team of IFers helped put together what few issues there were.



jkj yuio: So I understand you’re affiliated with Strand Games - great initiative! Some time ago I bought Strand’s early version of the Pawn at the Google Play store. At the time I wasn’t too keen on the interface choices but judging from the website time has not stood still so I should give it another visit.

I’ll keep notes on Wonderland, but this could be a while - the game appears huge and I’m not even at 10% of the score. I would though have some player treatment feedback on virtually all other Magnetic Scrolls games except Corruption. Unless Strand already considers them finalized, feel free to drop me a PM.

MTW: Thanks, I’ll give it a read!



Hello Fuzzy. I remember finishing Wonderland many a day ago but I remember an unfair revocation of Nelson’s Bill Of Player’s Rights. If memory serves me correctly …
You need to cut slivers from both sides of the mushroom (shrink and grow respectively) with the knife before you use it (the knife) to remove the loose brick by the walled garden as it has become too blunt otherwise and there is no way of resharpening it… This sticks in my databanks as a particularly unfair puzzle.

The game itself is pretty large and atmospheric with the odd typo and illogicality.

I hope this helps!