- The Pawn
- The Guild Of Thieves
- The Magnetic Scrolls
Collection Vol. One
- The Legacy - Realm
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(Micro)Chips - an Interview with Peter Kemp (page
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).
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'
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.)
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.
there a puzzle that, in your opinion, deserves the title 'Best
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*
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
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)
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.
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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