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Enchanter
Enchanter cover art
Developer(s) Infocom
Publisher(s) Infocom
Designer(s) Marc Blank and Dave Lebling
Engine ZIL
Platform(s) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, Apple II, Apricot PC Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, CP/M, DEC Rainbow, Kaypro II, Apple Macintosh, NEC APC, Osborne 1, MS-DOS, PDP-9, PDP-10, PDP-11, TI-99/4A, TRS-80.[1]
Release date(s) Release 10: August 10, 1983

Release 15: November 7, 1983

Release 16: November 18, 1983

Release 24: November 18, 1985

Release 29: August 20, 1986

Genre(s) Text adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Media 3½" or 5¼" disk
System requirements No special requirements
Input methods Keyboard

Enchanter is a 1983 interactive fiction computer game written by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling and published by Infocom. It belongs to the fantasy genre and was the first fantasy game published by Infocom after the Zork trilogy (it was originally intended to be Zork IV). The game had a parser that understood over 700 words, making it the most advanced interactive fiction game of its time. It was Infocom's ninth game.

Contents

Plot

Krill, an incredibly powerful evil warlock, is spreading chaos and destruction. None of the more experienced members of the Circle of Enchanters dare to attempt to stop him. In desperation, the player, a novice Enchanter with only a few weak spells in his spell book, is sent in hopes that Krill will either fail to detect him or dismiss him as harmless. More powerful spells can be found on scrolls hidden in various locations, but as the player becomes more of a threat, Krill will respond accordingly.

This game features an innovative new spell system based partially on Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series and partially Dungeons and Dragons' Vancian spell system, where spells must be prepared through "memorization" before being cast. As in the Earthsea series, each spell is represented by some nonsense "magic word" which is treated as a verb by the game's text parser, so that one can use the FROTZ spell (which causes objects to glow and give off light) by typing >FROTZ BOOK, in exactly the same way as one might type >PICK UP BOOK or >READ BOOK.

There are references scattered throughout Enchanter's documentation and gameplay comparing the use of spells by mages to the use of command line interfaces by programmers, and comparing mages to hackers in general. Many of the spell names, such as FROTZ and GNUSTO, are taken from MIT hacker slang of the time; others are various pop cultural references or anagrams. (For instance, the NITFOL spell allows one to speak with animals, and NITFOL is a truncated reversal of "LOFTING", after the author of the Dr. Doolittle stories.)

Notes

Frotz, a modern open-source interpreter for Infocom games (as well as independently written interactive fiction) draws its name from a spell ("cause object to glow with illumination") in Enchanter and its sequels. Another spell, Blorb ("hide an object in a strongbox"), provides the name for a standard wrapper for interactive fiction multimedia resources. Several other IF tools have also been named after spells from the series.

This was the first game of a trilogy, usually referred to as "The Enchanter Trilogy". The others in the series are 1984's Sorcerer and 1985's Spellbreaker. It was also intended, at one point, to be a sequel of sorts to the Zork trilogy. In the game Zork III, a device slowly cycles through "scenes" from each of the Zork games as a number is displayed above it. A depiction of the sacrificial altar from the then-unreleased Enchanter appeared under the number "IV".

Robin Wayne Bailey's 1989 novel Enchanter is a companion rather than a novelisation.

Infocom rated Enchanter as "Standard" in difficulty.

Enchanter may be the only game in the Zork universe not to feature grues; the creatures that kill you in dark rooms are not referred to by name, and the game doesn't even know the word "grue".

A review in Computer Gaming World praised the game as "typically excellent" and up to the standards demanded of Infocom games.[2]

References

  1. ^ Enchanter by Hans Persson and Stefan Meier
  2. ^ Scorpia (December 1983), "Micro-Reviews: Enchanter", Computer Gaming World: 43–44  

External links

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