Tag Archives: Steve Meretzky

Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls

Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers get all the Girls DOS Front Cover

Publisher: Legend
Developer: Legend
Year: 1990
Platform: DOS

When Infocom disbanded, Steve Meretzsky was hired by up-and-coming Legend Entertainment to continue text adventures and compete with Sierra in the adventure game industry. While Legend’s first offering wasn’t entirely polished, and did not have very good sound support, Meretsky certainly did his job to jump start the company and this series.

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16: A Mind Forever Voyaging

Publisher: Infocom
Developer: Infocom
Year: 1985
Platform: DOS; Macintosh; Amiga

Review: Lauded by critics and ignored by the public, A Mind Forever Voyaging is more of a story than a game, being essentially puzzleless. But man, what a story. Taking place in the year 2031, America is doing poorly and some crackpot scientists have developed a sentient computer named PRISM. It’s purpose: to enter a simulation of the future to see if popular conservative Senator Richard Ryder’s plan for renewed national purpose will lead to prosperity. You are PRISM.

If you can set aside the ridiculous notion that a simulation of the future would ever come close to being accurate (hell, we can’t even predict next weekend’s weather with certainty), then you should enjoy this entertaining look into Steve Meretzky’s political vision of a possible future. While your goal is to record evidence of what’s going down in the years to come (from banal activities like eating a meal in a restaurant to more charged activities like meeting with government officials), the real purpose and joy of the game is to simply explore. The town of Rockvil, South Dakota is vividly imagined and detailed, and one could complete the game without visiting 90% of what the town has to offer. And while the story’s progression is fairly predictable, it consistently remains a poignant and touching story of self-exploration throughout and boasts one of the best endings out there.

My only criticisms are that things can be a little repetitive at times and the NPCs are not as developed as I prefer (especially your simulated wife). But in the grand scheme these are mere trifle. More of an experience to be enjoyed than completed, A Mind Forever Voyaging should be at the top of any gamer’s list of classics to try.

Contemporary RatingHigh. If you can get past the whole all-text, no graphics thing.  The parser is perfect and the game should never be frustrating.

Cruelty RatingMerciful.  No way to die, which makes it hard to believe this game is from 1985.

25: Eric the Unready

Publisher: Legend
Developer: Legend
Year: 1993
Platform: DOS

Review: Rated by many the best adventure game of 1993 and it’s pretty obvious to see why. You are the infamous Eric the Unready. You have been assigned to save the princess from her evil stepmother. Unbeknownst to you, you were assigned because you are the most ill-equipped knight in the land.

As with the early Legend games that used a text parser, you can play the game with or without graphics.  The graphics are gorgeous for the time, and being a comedy they do well to serve the humor.  The music is pleasant if too repetitive.

It’s more of a parody than a game. To the skilled adventurer, this should take less than a couple of weeks to win. The puzzles are not all that well-developed, and can even be annoying at times. But it is without a doubt the funniest game I have ever played. Bob Bates spoofs everything from Star Trek to Saturday Night Live to Zork and has a grand ole time with medieval culture. There is something here for everyone.  I haven’t played the game since 2000, however, so it’s possible the jokes have become dated.

Contemporary RatingMedium. Some of the puzzles seemed there just for busy-work.

Cruelty Rating: Tough. Like many text games, you can get rid of objects that you need later, but you never really need to.