Did you know that Infocom’s ‘text adventure’ games can be found on tablets and mobile devices for free? Infocom was founded 39 years ago, today and is responsible for bringing us text adventures, which were unique in terms of game play. Players are given scenarios in text form to which they must respond in written commands such as ‘go north’ or ‘use shower’ to progress. Since the games were in all text format, Infocom was able to easily release them on popular home computers like the Apple II, Atari 800, Commodore 64… Infocom’s text-based games were sold in book stores and so were their hint books (#InvisiClues), which were best-sellers in the computer books genre. Some Infocom games came with maps, invisible ink messages, or props like scratch and sniff cards that would help players solve mysteries and progress the story, which makes them interesting We not only to play, but also to collect.
For those not familiar with Infocom, they were famous for creating a line of text-based adventure games (otherwise known and interactive fiction) in the 1980s, the first and most famous of which is Zork. Though graphics were added to later games by Infocom, for a number of years their games were purely text based. I description of the environment and what was happening was displayed on the screen and you could type phrases to performa actions. The goal was usually to accumulate points by collecting items or otherwise progressing through the game.
The plot of Infidel involves the finding of a 5,000 year old pottery shard with hieroglyphics describing a previously unknown pyramid and great riches. Your role is to find and explore this pyramid. The plot and many of the obstacles are reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. There are 40 ways to die so good luck :).
Infidel was Infocom’s 10th game and was released in 1983 near the height of Infocom’s popularity. Like some of their other games (Zork, Planetfall, etc.) this was originally meant to be part of a series of games (called Tales of Adventure in this case) but no others were ever made in this series. If you want to play this game, the bad news is that an original could cost you quite a bit, especially complete in the box as Infocom games typically came with lots of extra goodies. The good news is that this game like other Infocom text adventures were written in a virtual machine (Z-Machine) and was available on a huge number of platforms. It’s also available on a number of modern platforms as well.