Hello all. I’d like to discuss the text-adventure game I created for The Winter’s Tale. A generation of thinking gamers that grew up with Nintendo have been replaced by the visually-fuelled majority crowd who play Angry Birds and Clash of Clans and as a result, it seems that the magic of imagination has been removed from video games. My goal with creating this game for The Winter’s Tale was to require the player to not only have some background knowledge from the play itself, but to be able to think outside of the game when a puzzle was presented. Using the command list I supplied (in my earlier post and now at the bottom of this one) the game can be completed in under 5 minutes. To the unprepared player, it may take a considerable amount of time longer, but this was the goal.
Take a walk with me.
You walk onto the Central Bohemian Shore. The waves are almost touching your feet and you can see a rusty key. You know the cabin you were just at needs a rusty key to be unlocked, so you snatch it up triumphantly and run back over to the cabin. When you unlock the cabin, go in, and look around, it seems that the only thing in there is a fishing rod sitting in the corner. This is not what you were looking for, but you take it anyways, as it may help you in the future.
This kind of experience is what I was aiming for, where players need to both imagine the action happening and also think outside of the now-traditional “go to x, pick up x” style of play. There are no ways to get stuck in this game and as far as my knowledge in testing goes, there are no bugs. So endure and you will be rewarded.
Now for the creative license.
First though, I realize I should have made this more explicit. YOU are Antigonus in this game.
In the original scene, Antigonus and the mariner appear on the Bohemian beach with the baby wrapped in Hermione’s mantle and the box of letters ready to go. Antigonus makes a lengthy speech, sets the baby down, and exits, pursued by a bear. Obviously enough, this wouldn’t have made a very interesting game. So like a true text-adventure, I created my gameplay through making these objects retrievable in the environment. In order to progress north past the apparition, you need to retrieve the mantle to wrap the baby in and the box of letters to instruct her care. Both items require the player to obtain preliminary items, or puzzle pieces if you would, to unlock certain areas or obtain other items required in getting them. Some of the puzzles are very simple, such as “That cave is too dark to go into.” By thinking about it for a bit, a player may realize that a light source could be helpful in this situation, so one may go look for a light source such as a lantern. Other puzzles may require more thinking, but like I said, I built this in the spirit of classic text-adventure games like Zork, so a bit of logic is required when a prompt appears saying “There appears to be a chest floating in the water. Maybe you could get it with some sort of rope or line…”
You did pick up that fishing rod earlier…
Now onto the apparition. In the original text, Antigonus described a ghostly version of Hermione coming to him the previous night, warning him about his current task, and telling him what to leave with the baby and what to name it. Instead of just writing all this text at the beginning of the game, I decided to put Hermione’s apparition in-game in a strange, ethereal, dream world. By doing this, I can create the last essential item needed in a text-adventure game, namely a quest-giver, and I can also keep Hermione’s lines to Antigonus intact in the form of direct conversation with the player character.
I hope this helped anyone who was confused or unsure of what I was trying to do, and I hope those who try it are able to solve my puzzles! Good luck and happy gaming!
The game: The Winter’s Tale: 3.3.1-57 Antigonus’s Demise
go ‘x’ – move in a direction
look at ‘x’ – look at something or someone
speak to ‘x’ – speak to something or someone
take ‘x’ – take something
drop ‘x’ – drop something
open ‘x’ – open something
use ‘x’ on ‘x’ – use something on something else
inventory – display inventory