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No Mazes, please! - an IFDB Poll

by AndyC
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I am a returning player to IF (which I loved 30 years ago) having recently discovered the fantastic Frotz for the iPad. Looking at some of the old games again has really blown me away. I don't enjoy drawing maps but I love reading good fiction, what can you recommend that doesn't involve mapping or extremely complicated puzzles but still gives a great interactive experience and doesn't take weeks to finish. Thanks Andy

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tggdan3, October 11, 2011 - Reply
My problem with mazes is how it breaks mimesis. You drop objects to "map" the maze, when if you were (really) there, you could map it more easily because you would KNOW if a passage twisted as you went down it, or could use chalk to draw on the floors, etc. Especially in Zork where if you actually map the maze (and the coal mine) your lantern will run out of light. (Maybe you go straight for the torch, but the coal mine could still be an issue- unless you cheat and use the boat trick to bring your torch there).
AndyC, October 11, 2011 - Reply
I'd love to try Zork and many of the other classics, but the size of it and the maze worry me.
tggdan3, October 16, 2011 - Reply
It is a big puzzle-fest, most of which are underclued and some of which are completely unfair and don't make any sense. But then, it's a classic..
AndyC, October 16, 2011 - Reply
Actually, that kind of raises another question I have. Should some of the early games be updated? I mean I wouldn't want to see big changes to them but wouldn't abridged versions be a good idea? Something like Zork lite or Zork abridged. It would give new players an opportunity to explore the classics. After all many classic works of fiction can be bought in an abridged format.

I think people in the current decade have less patience/inclination for text adventures than they did in the 70's for very difficult puzzles and mazes.

Or is it just wrong to mess with classic games? I guess the reason many people play them is for nostalgia after all.
tggdan3, October 19, 2011 - Reply
I would love to see the Zork Maze as thus:

You are in a room of twisty little passages, all alike.

You slowly navigate the maze until you find your way to the Grating Room.

Grating Room...
Victor Gijsbers, October 14, 2011 - Reply
Mazes are really out of favour. If a game was published after 2000, it has a >95% chance of not containing a maze. So the answer to your question is really: almost all modern games! Which makes the list below seem awfully arbitrary.

Take the IF Top 50 poll which I recently conducted: http://ifdb.tads.org/viewcomp?id=oymvom4wrawhd4hr . I haven't played every game on that list, but the only ones which I am sure do contain mazes are "Curses!", "Zork I" and "Adventure". As you will notice, these are all pretty old games.
Ghalev, October 10, 2011 - Reply
It'll be interesting to see what results from having three negative (exclusive) criteria (No mapping, no difficult puzzles, doesn't take weeks to complete) and only one positive (inclusive) criterion ("provides a great interactive experience") especially when the sole positive criterion is such a slippery one!
AndyC, October 10, 2011 - Reply
Very true, actually I didn't explain very well. I just never found mazes interesting (although I'm happy to proven wrong), I know they can offer a sense of achievement, but with my poor mapping skills I always found them frustrating and time consuming (as far back as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain), they just always seemed to detract from the story.

Prehaps the question should have been:

What game, requiring no mapping gave you the greatest sense of achievement?

I might start another poll: What are your favourite games with mazes?
Ghalev, October 11, 2011 - Reply
There was a poll about non-sucky mazes a few months ago, I think.
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