At the beginning of April 2016 Peter Verdi's Magnetic Scrolls Chronicles website went offline. So far all my attempts to contact Peter failed. His site carried some invaluable interviews with former Magnetic Scrolls people. To preserve the work I temporarily uploaded a dump of his site taken in summer of 2015. All you can see below is 100% Peter's work! Hopefully his site will reappear soon! Peter, if you read this, can you contact me?

Remember how it's like to ride on a cloud? How it feels to be squashed by a bus, or how to get that damned gold disc from Micky? Well, here's your chance to relive all these situations.

Have a chat with the devil in THE PAWN, ransack an entire island in THE GUILD OF THIEVES, restore luck itself to a whole country in JINXTER, uncover a conspiracy in CORRUPTION, become an inter-dimensional secret agent in FISH!, an ancient god in MYTH, walk in the footsteps of Alice in WONDERLAND and inherit a haunted mansion in THE LEGACY.
Become a part of the fantasy of Magnetic Scrolls - you certainly won't regret it . . .


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Fish!'n (Micro)Chips - an Interview with Peter Kemp (page 4)


Do you remember any particularly wacky ideas that eventually had to be dropped for some reasons?
I'm afraid not. I think that's probably because we disposed of *really* weird ideas quickly (and thus forgot them).


Are there any particular parts in "Fish!" that you could describe as being "yours"?
I'd like to think so, but in all honesty I couldn't identify anything as being "mine" rather than a team effort.


Infocom's 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'

How deeply were you involved in the puzzle-writing for the game?
Probably not too much. If pushed, I'd describe my input as being "polishing" a raw idea. Phil or John might come up with a puzzle and the proposed way to solve it - I might then identify false solutions to be included in the game. (Red herrings, if you'll forgive the phrase.)


For you, what constitutes a good puzzle in an adventure game?
A good puzzle should be a battle of wits, with you (the player) being given enough information that you *should* be able to solve the puzzle, but not so easy as to insult your intelligence. It should be logical, even if the logic is twisted and devious. (Thus I never liked the 'release bird' solution in the original Colossal Cave adventure - why on earth should a bird scare off a monster?) The hot air balloon in Zork II is a good example - a very clever puzzle (nicely executed) which was strikingly different from anything else before or since.


Is there a puzzle that, in your opinion, deserves the title 'Best Puzzle Ever'?
Probably the greatest puzzle ever was the Babel Fish puzzle in 'Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy'. It was well-conceived, cleverly implemented and there was a tremendous feeling of achievement when finally completed. (Nervous breakdowns were an optional extra.) The key point was that it was (in its own twisted way) perfectly logical. Just not the sort of logic a logical person would think of... *grin*


Let's talk about graphics for a moment - you must at some point have seen the pictures of the Atari ST/Amiga versions of the Magnetic Scrolls games. Did you think they enhanced the games in any way, or did they distract from the gaming experience?
As you suggest, I remember seeing a number of the Atari ST/Amiga pictures. Personally, I was jolly impressed with them from a technical/artistic viewpoint. (I have no artistic skills at all.) From a gameplay point of view, I never felt they added anything - but equally they didn't detract either. (Strictly, I suppose they consumed disk space that could have been used for more puzzles/vocabulary etc, but I think the games were very reasonable value for money, so it's not as if players were being short-changed.)


The pictures were certainly an eye-catcher and I'd say they did have a positive effect on the sales figures. I think even today they have lost nothing of their appeal and it's still amazing to see what you can do with only 16 colours …
You're quite right about the pictures: they stand the test of time very well. Very few modern designers could do so well with such a limited palette. (I sometimes wonder how successful today's designers would be if they were suddenly restricted to 256 colours. And, contrariwise, what might have happened if the designers in those days had 10 megabytes per picture available to them......!)

Xam's House and Front Garden (Jinxter) - all in glorious 16 colours (Amiga/Atari ST)


Did you actually have any influence on the pictures in "Fish!"?
Nope. The only formal input we had was at a marketing meeting at which the packaging was discussed. John will be far better placed to comment on this, but it's my impression that Anita/Ken picked key scenes from the text and gave them to the artist.


I think I've read somewhere that Anita Sinclair thought it would be interesting to add sound to adventure games (creaking doors, footsteps, etc.) - something Infocom did to a lesser extent with "Lurking Horror" and "Sherlock Holmes - Riddle of the Crown Jewels") - do you think a feature like that would have made sense and would have enhanced the gaming experience or would you just rate it as a gimmick?
Sound? Ooooh - very much a gimmick. Cute, perhaps for the first time. But each time you go through a room? I think not. I think this is because you, as the player, vary the speed at which you play the game. Let's suppose the battery for your torch lasts 30 steps. When you first start playing the game, you'll be drawing your map and the battery will run out. Again and again you'll load the saved game and work out the optimum route from (a) where you got the batteries to (b) where you can turn off the torch. Once you have worked out the optimum path, you'll load the save and then type something like: S, S, NE, W, E, SE, W, W etc. All you want to see is the room descriptions flashing by. Now imagine each room description appearing on the screen and staying there whilst a sound effect plays - it would take forever. No, not for me....


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