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About the StoryNot a single spell! After two full years of study! Every Enchanter—every mortal with the power to change very nature of the universe with their words—has a spell book! Filled with words of power collected over years, decades, generations...and yours is blank after two entire years of study. It is shameful!
And now something is wrong. You have seen the Enchanters and Sorcerers discussing it in hushed tones. Magic is failing. And there are rumors that GUE Tech will be closed. That would end your dreams of magic forever.
There is only one solution, although it is looking less feasible by the minute. Take your spell book, break into the library, and steal some magic from the Guild of Enchanters.
This is a puzzle-heavy game in the Zork/Enchanter universe, meant as an "unofficial sequel" clearing up some of the mysteries of Spellbreaker.
- Kulcad is more useful; if found it can be used to skip past several puzzles (but only once) or vandalize parts of the library
- The response to an alternate solution is made more clear, so players can tell that it's intentional and not a bug (especially important in Hard Mode where it's the only solution available)
Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
IntroComp 2014: Scroll Thief
Scroll Thief is a puzzle game set in the Enchanter universe. This was fun! Which came as a surprise to me, since “Zork/Enchanter homage” is up there with “games about the zombie apocalypse” and “office-setting games where the main puzzle is getting some coffee” as categories that I regard with extreme prejudice. But Scroll Thief is better than the average entry for this kind of thing, relying less on nostalgia or goofy parody and more on actually designing cool puzzles of the kind that made me like Enchanter in the first place.
I imagine there are people who won’t care for the old-school style, or for the various ways in which (as far as I can tell, anyway) you can make the game unwinnable. But I enjoyed the style of puzzle design: scrolls! cute joke messages for using the spells on the wrong things! scrying orbs that let you see into other locations! things where you get an NPC to do stuff that you can’t do yourself! bits where you have to understand the map as a three dimensional space in order to understand where something is likely to be coming out! Meta-spells that modify the effects of other spells!
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These Heterogenous Tasks
IntroComp 2014: Scroll Thief
So: it is a notable thing that even though my neuroreceptors never imprinted on the particular brand of catnip that this is peddling, I kind of want to play Scroll Thief. There’s a small and precious set of games – Savoir Faire, Suveh Nux – which operate on an Enchantery kind of logic, a logically rigorous set of magical powers which interact with the world and one another in fair, clever, unexpected ways. That’s the core experience that Scroll Thief is really going after, and for that I can forgive its attachment to Zorkian tropes. It also keeps the wackiness to a tolerably restrained level; there are rather a lot of extra-diegetic shout-outs, but that’s about the extent of it.
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IntroComp 2014: 'Tales of the Scroll Thief' by Daniel M. Stelzer
Deliberately old school, The Scroll Thief incorporates some of the rarer techniques from the old commercial era of IF. Its in-jokes and meta references provide the same self-parody for the current IF community that the original Zork provided for the hacker culture at MIT. Some of the puzzle concepts are quite interesting and creative, but the spare and buggy implementation prevents the puzzles from being explored thoroughly. The game can be interpreted as Infocom fan fiction, and also as a wry but largely unironic homage to traditional text adventures.
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Winter of our Discontent
IntroComp 2014 - "The Scroll Thief" by Daniel M. Stelzer
Ah, a Zorkian game! Thank Christ! I love the Zork world and all of its eccentricities, homages, and anachronisms. I even made one myself, but that was just a simple dungeon-crawl. "The Scroll Thief" by Daniel M. Stelzer is, by far, much more than that. Heralded by the author as a non-canonical sequel to the Enchanter Trilogy, in my opinion, Stelzer captures the heart of those stories making "The Scroll Thief" an enjoyable romp in a familiar fantasy world.
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The game is split into two parts, Act I and Act II. In Act I, you are searching a magical library for enough spells to make it worth your while. As you do so, you begin to get the sense of a larger storyline, and Act II ties into this.
Act I plays out almost like a large escape-the-room puzzle, like Suveh Nux. You are mostly on your own, investigating a variety of enchantments and magical objects, and tinkering with them until you are ready to leave.
I preferred Act II, which reminded me more of the original Enchanter games. You are tasked with discovering more about a mysterious and threatening situation, and you enter some darker and more dangerous regions. It is a bit shorter than Act I, which keeps the game from dragging.
Overall, the game is well-polished, with many testers listed and no errors I found. I had trouble finding topics to discuss with the NPCs, but I may just have tried the wrong topics. The game has implemented some unusual things with difficult-to-code objects and situations (involving long-distance communication and rope, among other things).
The game references Enchanter a lot, but you should be able to play without any previous knowledge of Enchanter (I recall that I was able to play Balances, a small game in the same world, without having played Enchanter). The author also includes references to his testers and Club Floyd players, which I think is nice.
The hints are progressive-style, and purposely don't tell you everything. So even with the hints, you have to make some small leaps of intuition. I enjoyed that, as I play most games with the walkthrough from the get-go, and it was nice to experience those jumps again.
Overall, I recommend it, and strongly recommend it to fans of the Enchanter trilogy.
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Recommended ListsScroll Thief appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Best of 2015 (pre-IF Comp) by MathBrush
These are my favorite games that have been released this year so far. I'm sure I've missed some good ones. I'm also including some I haven't yet played. PLEASE comment if you think any other games belong on this list.
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PollsThe following polls include votes for Scroll Thief:
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I'm interested in games with lots of books you can read through. Maybe it's just a lot of cool titles and authors. Maybe they're randomly or procedurally generated. Maybe they reference pop culture, or maybe they're the author's own...
Multiple solutions to puzzles and/or situations. by Hulk Handsome
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This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Game in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...
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