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About the Story"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not..."
It's 2031. The world is on the brink of chaos. In the United States of North America, spiraling crime and unemployment rates, decayed school systems and massive government regulations have led to a lazy, contentious society.
To reverse this critical situation, government and industry leaders have developed a Plan combining the economic freedom and strong moral values of the 1950's with the technological advancements of the 21st century. Will the Plan ensure peace and prosperity? Or will it set the earth on a suicide course to destruction?
As the world's first conscious, intelligent computer, only you can visit places that have never been seen before. Only you can view the future. And only you know what must be done to save humanity.
A major departure for Infocom, A Mind Forever Voyaging is reminiscent of such classic works of science fiction as Brave New World and 1984. You'll spend less time solving puzzles, as you explore realistic worlds of the future.
Adventure Classic Gaming
There are no traditional puzzles until the endgame, and even then, they are innovative, requiring you as the player to think like the machine you are supposed to represent. Rather, A Mind Forever Voyaging is about watching the life of a singular individual as it is effected by global changes and about observing a city's descent into mismanagement, neglect, and despair.
Yet, it is because of its innovative premise that A Mind Forever Voyaging ultimately falls short. The story that it casts is too simplistic, with few shades of grey. Like too many works of science fiction, it tells of a socialistic government obsessed with order and security that lapses into totalitarianism, a techno church that can preach only wacky space babble and a medieval strain of intolerance, and credit card breadlines that run dry. As well, the characters encountered tend to be as flat as a computer simulation in 1985—they have no personality.
-- Joseph Lindell
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Part of me is tempted to use the patronising cliché that A Mind Forever Voyaging is remarkably good “for a game.” There's no getting around the fact that the prose is mostly utilitarian, the characters are markedly thin, and the ideas presented often lack nuance. Infocom boldly compared the game to Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, comparisons which only highlight these complaints further. But in the end, I feel its best aspects are in fact because it is a game. The great sense of exploration and non-linearity make you feel more like a historian researching for a book than a mere reader and player, curiously gathering evidence to evaluate The Plan for Renewed Purpose, all in a clearly-imagined and at times frightening world that seems more contemporary now than when it was written. For those who enjoy games heavy on exploration or with a political bent – or just want to experience a fascinating moment in gaming history – you should definitely check it out.
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A Mind Forever Voyaging is one of the most mature interactive fictions, though it didn’t achieve a commercial success. With very little puzzles, it’s based mostly on exploration and observation.
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You don’t have to agree with the speed or nature of how reality tumbles though, simply because the damage is kept much more personal. PRISM is a sentient computer rather than an impassive observer, and the collapse of civilisation is seen not as a wide-scale thing like in Deus Ex, but in the increasing degradation of his specific life and the small town he calls home. There’s a real sense of impending doom every time a new time period opens up, because you know it’s going to be even worse [...]
-- Richard Cobbett
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If you can suspend disbelief enough to accept the situation, then the game is quite good. Unlike other Infocom offerings, it is meant to be experienced, rather than played. The first two parts of the game have almost no puzzles, focusing instead on exploration and discovery as you walk the streets of Rockvil, watching daily life, seeing what activities can be attributed to the effects of the Plan, and watching the changes that take place over time.
-- Graeme Cree
Overall, AMFV is a great game. The plot is really intriguing and Rockville, the city that the simulations take place, is a vast area of exploration throughout the time periods. The writing is good quality and excellent.
-- Gerhard Peterz
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This game has no real puzzles until the end. You simply explore. First, you explore your interface, which is very large (having 30+ distinct files you can open). Then you explore the actual simulation, which is a large downtown city, with what felt like 30-50 locations. Once you explore it long enough, the simulation accumulates enough data to simulate another decade into the future.
You must record interesting events and places in the future to bring back for planning purposes. I somehow missed out on a simple mechanic, and got very stalled in the game. (This is not a spoiler, because it is not a puzzle or a surprise, more of a guess-the-verb): To present your recordings, you must tell people "look at recording".
The developer has stated that the game was intended as a criticism of Reagan's policy.
The game is fun. You need to explore; don't just rush through, trying to do what they say. You need to record a lot of each decade to win, so try and get a mental map of the game.
I played this game on the iPad's Lost Treasures of Infocom app, which provides most of Infocom's games (except Nord and Bert, and the already-free Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).
Infocom at its finest., April 30, 2019
If you can set aside the ridiculous notion that a simulation of the future would ever come close to being accurate (hell, we can’t even predict next weekend’s weather with certainty), then you should enjoy this entertaining look into Steve Meretzky’s political vision of a possible future. While your goal is to record evidence of what’s going down in the years to come (from banal activities like eating a meal in a restaurant to more charged activities like meeting with government officials), the real purpose and joy of the game is to simply explore. The town of Rockvil, South Dakota is vividly imagined and detailed, and one could complete the game without visiting 90% of what the town has to offer. And while the story’s progression is fairly predictable, it consistently remains a poignant and touching story of self-exploration throughout and boasts one of the best endings out there.
My only criticisms are that things can be a little repetitive at times and the NPCs are not as developed as I prefer (especially your simulated wife). But in the grand scheme these are mere trifle. More of an experience to be enjoyed than completed, A Mind Forever Voyaging should be at the top of any gamer’s list of classics to try.
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