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 . . .

   News Archive
   The Games
    - The Pawn
    - The Guild Of Thieves
    - Jinxter
    - Corruption
    - Fish!
    - Myth
    - Wonderland
    - The Magnetic Scrolls
       Collection Vol. One
    - The Legacy - Realm
       Of Terror
   Magnetic Interpreter
   The Message Board
   About The Website

This is the "Text" section of "Wonderland". Here you will find articles, previews and reviews of "Wonderland" I gathered over time.

Review (Amiga 500) from "Amiga Power" magazine 6/1991
Article written by Jonathan Davies

Touted by its creators Magnetic Scrolls as the most sophisticated adventure ever, Wonderland raises the question - is the most complex necessarily the best?

Lewis Carroll was an odd sort of a chap. For a start he wasn't called Lewis at all, or even Carroll - his real name was Charles Dodgson. He also liked writing maths boos and taking photographs of little girls. Blimey! So it isn't hard to see why Magnetic Scrolls decided not to give him much of a billing on the packaging of their computer adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Or, indeed, call it Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at all.

What they have done, though, is attempted to revolutionise adventure games as we know them, taking the unfashionable 'N, E, GET LAMP' concept and turning it into a force to be reckoned with in the Nineties etc. Quite a tall order, eh, readers?

But before we go any further, let's take a look at the plot. It's Alice in Wonderland, basically, so if you've read the book you'll know what to expect. Alice gets a bit bored of sitting on the riverbank, so when she sees a rabbit running past looking at its watch and going 'Oh dear, I shall be late' she gives chase and follows it down its burrow. Having done so she finds herself in a spooky world of talking playing cards, Cheshire cats, Mad Hatters and giant sherbet-smoking caterpillars. (What she doesn't find, mind you, are the Lion and the Unicorn or Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They're all characters in Alice Through the Looking Glass.) It goes without saying that you're Alice, and you've got to solve a whole load of puzzles and get out of Wonderland intact.

At the heart of Wonderland is a fairly straightforward adventure game parser. Text descriptions of your surroundings appear as you move from location to location, and you tell the game what you want it to do by typing in ordinary(ish) English commands. As parsers go this is a fairly standard (if sophisticated) one, no different really to the sort of thing that's been around for the last four or five years. It'll understand everything from basic 'E' (to go east) to huge, unwieldy sentences like 'PUT EVERYTHING WHICH IS IN THE CUPBOARD EXCEPT THE POTION IN THE CRATE THEN GET THE POTION AND PUT EVERYTHING

FROM THE CRATE IN THE CUPBOARD' (don't ask me - I copied it out of the manual). But what makes Wonderland different is the amount of clobber Magnetic Scrolls have tacked onto this basic framework. Say, for example, you wanted to pick up a bottle. You could be boring and type 'GET BOTTLE', I suppose. But there are at least 300 more convenient ways of doing it. You could scroll back to a previous 'GET BOTTLE' command and copy it, saving a few keystrokes. No? Right, how about going up to the Verbs menu, selecting Get and then picking Bottle from the sub-menu that appears? Alternatively you could open up the Items in Room window and the Inventory window and drag the bottle icon between the two. Failing that you could even go to the Graphics window, click on the bottle in the picture and choose Get from there. (I make that four ways. Ed) Whether you actually find yourself using any of these extra facilities is another matter. Most of the time it seemed to me to be quicker just to type things in.

Once you've got to grips with all of that you can start solving puzzles. It starts off easily enough - just follow the rabbit down its hole (not forgetting to take a pear/lamp) and case the joint. You'll notice that almost every location has a picture of some sort to go with it (often animated) and possibly some music too. Pretty soon, though, you'll have picked up everything you can lay your hands on and

will be wondering how to enter Wonderland proper. Two fairly serious puzzles need to be solved, neither of which have much bearing on the book (most of the later ones do, though) and, although some pretty heavy hints are dropped in the text and the Help facility, these initial hurdles could be enough to put many punters off adventure gaming for evermore.

While Wonderland has a very professional feel to it, it could be argued that if you strip away all the extra bits and pieces (which, let's face it, serve only to make things a bit more accessible without actually altering what's underneath) you're really just left with a text adventure, a

genre which probably evolved as far as it's likely to go several years ago. The other side, however, would jump to its feet and claim that an adventure packs in far more depth and is likely to require a lot more skill than most arcade games, and besides, Wonderland is rather a nice one and to dismiss it for being an adventure would be terribly closed minded.

But what do I think? While admitting that the extra menus and windows (with the possible exception of the map) don't really add much, I did enjoy playing Wonderland enormously. It's a good rendition of the book, capturing its storyline perfectly while tweaking it enough to present a challenge even to those who know the plot inside out.

The pictures are nice too. I reckon that if you've had a good crack at adventures before and they've left you cold, Wonderland isn't likely to convert you. But if you like them, and are looking for something to sing your teeth into, it'll be more than enough to light your torch.

Uppers Decent disks to dosh ratio. Slickly put together, with a very Lewis Carroll feel to it, and some corking graphics to boot. The Mac-style presentation manages to grab the attention of those who would normally avoid adventures.
Downers Underneath all the flashy add-ons is a fairly ordinary adventure game, the graphics take ages to load, and of course it's another 1 Meg only game. And, when will programmers realise how much of a pain multi-disk access can be?
The Bottom Line
An atmospheric and cerebrum-bashing adventure game that isn't quite as innovative as it might lead you to believe.
81 %


With an impressive perfect-bound manual, four disks and promises aplenty, I'd have expected Wonderland to be something special. But no. Beneath all its finery, Wonderland is little more than a reasonable text adventure. The biggest surprise is that it takes 1 MB to run it - no doubt due to the enormity of the picture data and having to run a 'new' windows system. What a pity the time spent on producing that wasn't put to better use developing a more interactive textual environment, with a larger vocabulary, greater context sensitivity, and a wider range of responses. When given the chance to interact with a book, I'd like to be able to do all those things that don't happen in it - in this case, explore the peculiar world that is Alice's dream - but I couldn't. Sadly, Wonderland's vocabulary is limited (when you find yourself in a field with freshly turned earth it's hard to resist the temptation to dig, but you can't, simply because the parser doesn't understand the word DIG, and yet it's smug enough to pass comment on such banalities as LAUGH, YES and NO) and the responses are repetitive and unimaginative ('I don't understand WORD.' 'You can't see a WORD here.' Yawn.) to the extent that the carefully generated sense of atmosphere is all but destroyed. This is wrong, it's not user-friendly enough. An example - in one instance, I tried to HIT, TOUCH and even KISS Emily only to be told 'You can't reach Emily from here'. Fine, but when I decided to WALK TO EMILY so I was within reach, the same response was given! There's more that's wrong with it too, but my time is up. I'd recommend buying a couple of budget-priced yet superior Infocom classics instead. Those, or a decent hardback copy of the book - GARY PENN

Alice Through The Window System

Session Window

This is where everything 'happens'. Text descriptions of what's going on appear here, and you can type standard adventurey commands into it. The scroll bar on the side means you can review the last few pages of your adventure and cut, copy and paste bits of it if you want. Pull-down menus at the top provide a 'shorthand' for most popular commands, so you hardly have to type anything at all (if you don't want to).


Most locations have an associ-ated picture,which is often animated.

Clicking on an object in the piccy causes a menu to appear listing all the things you might want to do with it - another way of avoiding lots of typing.


You'll never need another piece of squared paper again! A map is automatically constructed as you go, and you can move straight to any locations by double clicking on it.

And mixing up east and west will become a thing of the past
too - you can move in any direction by clicking on the appropriate arrow (as long as there's an exit that way).
Inventory/ Items in Room
Your inventory
(the stuff you're carrying) can be displayed in a window, as can the objects in the room. You can pick up and drop things by dragging their icons around, and do other things by choosing commands from menus.
There's help available for most problems in the
game, ranging from the cryptic to the blindingly obvious. Each time you use it your score takes a hammering, though.