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Wishbringer

by Brian Moriarty

Fantasy/Zorkian
1985

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Easy, but too charming to discount, March 11, 2008
Wishbringer was part of Infocom's "introductory" line -- an attempt to bring a wider audience to interactive fiction by creating works that would appeal to those who had never played a text adventure before. Only a few introductory titles were produced, and this one is my favorite by far.

It is also the most effective. Unlike the other introductory titles (Moonmist and Seastalker), Wishbringer provides an easy-to-follow orientation to the IF interface in its opening sequence; the first tasks are going someplace, taking something, looking at it -- all of the basic commands experienced players take for granted. As with all introductory titles, the first few moves use an explicit prompt ("OK, what do you want to do now?") to hold the hand of those who are not sure how IF works.

This courtesy extends throughout the rest of the game. Puzzles are solvable in at least two ways: easy (using a wish) and hard (using your brain). Maximum points are awarded for solving puzzles the hard way, but those who just want to see the story advance will not regret wishing their way to the end -- though they may be prompted to go back and improve their score.

Part of the game's allure is its "once upon a time" tone, which is well-suited to freeing the imagination. This is enhanced by -- or perhaps the product of -- the enchanting writing style of Brian Moriarty (author of Trinity, which many people consider to be the best Infocom title ever). Most of the rest of its allure is probably due to the unforgettable platypi.

Those new to the game will likely have to do without its wonderful "feelies". The glow-in-the-dark Wishbringer replica was a little cheesy, but it was one of my favorites (second only to Planetfall's postcards, stationery, and Stellar Patrol ID). Even without these, Wishbringer is probably the ideal IF primer for young people and those young-at-heart.

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Sean Huxter, June 17, 2010 - Reply
You know, this is, probably BECAUSE of its status as a beginners' game, one of the few INFOCOM games I didn't play all the way through, a least not yet. But you're right on many points, especially the feel of the game.

And these days, thanks to eBay and other places, a Wishbringer stone is not difficult to find, and at a fair price. (It's certainly cheaper than a Zorkmid!) And that feelie is still my favorite - it's a "stone" made of yellow glow-in-the-dark plastic - but the darned thing glows a bright BLUE! It's amazing.

Sean.
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