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Story File
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eas.zip
Contains Eas.z5
from if-archive, includes readme
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)
eas.z5
original competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.

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Earth and Sky

by Paul O'Brian profile

Episode 1 of Earth and Sky
Superhero
2001

Web Site

(based on 65 ratings)
4 member reviews

About the Story

It's been almost a month since your parents disappeared.

One Tuesday, they just didn't come home, and there's been no sign of them since. For the University and the rest of the town, the mystery is beginning to pall. To those people, it's as if Claire and Scott Colborn suddenly stopped existing -- strange and inexplicable, to be sure, but forgettable in the long run.

But for you it's as if the ground beneath your feet stopped existing, and you've been plummeting in freefall ever since. Your brother Austin, though, has been a rock through the whole experience, handling the numbing details, the endless meetings with useless detectives, even sorting through Mom and Dad's lab in hopes of finding an answer. Now you stand outside the lab door, clutching his note, hardly daring to hope that such an answer may have arrived at long last.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 2
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 1665
IFIDs:  ZCODE-1-010926-DA24
ZCODE-2-011204-D780
TUID: xtlhfet0vixthar5

Awards

8th Place - 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2001)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


Charming first installment in the Earth and Sky superhero series, involving a brother and sister who discover unusual powers and seek to rescue their lost parents. Though brief, this episode establishes the characters, their powers, and the major motivation, and incorporates a couple of simple puzzles. Upbeat and highly enjoyable.

-- Emily Short

SPAG
It's obvious that a great deal of care went into making this game intuitively interactive. Several conversation systems are provided, so that the player is free to take whatever approach he likes: this is novel, and possibly overkill, but it expresses a good faith intention to put the control fully into the player's hands. More impressively, perhaps, the game accounts for a wide variety of behavior on the player's part.
-- Emily Short
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(3)
4 star:
(30)
3 star:
(26)
2 star:
(6)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
If this were a movie, they'd call it a 'fun romp', April 9, 2010
Earth and Sky is a popular piece that is probably most notable for two things: introducing the superhero genre to IF, and successfully founding the first serial adventure in the medium. [edit: After writing this, I realized that the Frenetic Five series probably has a better claim to both of these distinctions.]

An IF Comp entry, Earth and Sky takes no chances with the recommended timeline for gameplay; it seems impossible that you might not finish within the allotted two hours. Its relatively linear story -- usually a big turnoff for me -- is compensated for by the fact that this story is fun to read and still somehow offers a sense of freedom. Rather than feeling railroaded by the plot requirements, you feel swept along by the fast-paced events you are involved in; instead of feeling pushed, you are racing to keep up.

Like the early Lone Ranger or Flash Gordon serials, this work is unapologetic in its use of cliche conventions and its cliffhanger ending. It has no need for apology -- indeed, it shows us why those cliches exist in the first place, and the authors have delivered on their promise for more in the game's two award-winning sequels.

Though I haven't felt the urge to replay the game since I first tried it a few years back, this is a fun one that's well-suited to a lunch-hour diversion, or as a friendly introduction to the form for an IF newcomer.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Just A Quick Taste, But Very Tasty Indeed, March 29, 2008
by Ghalev (Colorado)
A friendly micro-game, Earth and Sky is a genial teaser for a superhero tale explored in later installments. This game sets modest goals for itself: introduce characters and long-term motives, then provide a short-term conflict to get the juices flowing. It sets merrily about the task, and the whole thing flows so smoothly that I didn't mind at all that much of the game consisted of following instructions given me by NPCs. Tiptoeing around spoilers, I will say I was fascinated to see how ... amiable the game felt despite the grim dangers implied (and depending on your choices, briefly explored) in the narrative. Given the easy temptations of a more fashionably gritty approach to the genre, this game won an extra measure of my respect for balancing perils and pleasures. In tone, it's more akin to The Incredibles than an issue of a modern comic, and I mean that as warm praise.

I went looking for a bit of fun playing with superheroes in IF, and this game both satisfied my craving and fixed my gaze hungrily on the next installment. Earth and Sky is very brief (less than 30 minutes for some players, I'd expect), and, within its chosen scope, very satisfying.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Not enough fun, August 15, 2018
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
I'm not, in general, a fan of superheroes; but I can be persuaded to like them. I really enjoyed the Lego Batman Movie, for instance, and I thoroughly enjoyed the one superhero comic I've ever read, Watchmen. What those two works have in common is a good story. The Lego Batman Movie's story is of course to some extent silly, but it is about something real -- Batman's solipsistic arrogance -- and it explores that idea in a very coherent way. A story can be funny, even zany, and still make sense.

The story of Earth and Sky makes no sense at all. Little is lost by spoiling it, but I'll put it between spoiler tags nonetheless: (Spoiler - click to show)your aunt comes into contact with an ancient bacteria, which turns her into a gigantic evil monster until you give her antibiotics, after which she not only returns to her normal state but is also freed of some kind of mind control that will probably be explained in the sequel. This is hardly a story at all; it's just a sequence of events between which the authors posits causal links even though none of the usual laws of causation apply. Several other reviewers have likened the plot to that of a B-movie. Perhaps this is accurate; but of course the problem with B-movies is that most of them are bad. ("But they're so bad they're good!" Uh, no.)

Alright, so maybe you're not playing this game for the story; you're playing it for the chance to use some super powers! Nothing wrong with that, actually, and the game certainly provides you some opportunities to do so. But -- and this is my most important complaint about the game -- the time spent doing fun stuff with superpowers is a very small portion of playing the game. You have to slog through too much information and two rather unexciting sequences, and then you're rewarded with exactly one fight, which itself turns out be rather repetitive. There's just not enough fun stuff!

I've heard that the second game delivers much more in this respect, and if so, playing this first game might still be worthwhile. Just don't expect too much of it.

(I replayed this game recently as a preparation for tackling part two, and wasn't happy with the review I penned eight years or so ago. So while my star rating remains unchanged, the above is the new review to go with it.)

See All 4 Member Reviews

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Earth and Sky:

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I'm looking for games that are suited for adults who are new to IF. My purpose is to share these games with friends and let them get experience IF without being frustrated by mazes or guess-the-verb issues. Please avoid children's games....

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I was wondering just how many games out there, either completely text based, or text-adventure hybrids, are out there that involve a story line over the course of several games. I know for sure of the Sorcerer trilogy from Infocom...any...

Fast-paced action scenes by Juhana
Fast-paced action is something that's notoriously hard to do in IF where waiting for player's input necessarily pauses the game every turn. Which games have succeeded in creating action scenes that convey the sense of urgency, danger and...

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