Thursday, August 05, 2004


I was reading some of these American folkloric ghost-stories, which in the correct web potted style are well suited to browsing, being a screen full each, no scrolling required. (via exclamation mark)

I was drawn to the title The Ghosts of Ringwood Manor (for the prosaic reason of having grown up near a ringwood, and Manor is not a word I would have instictively twinned with that outer eastern shopping suburb)

The house and haunted theme reminded me of the imagined house of the text adventure game Deadline. This was the only such game I ever played, and it seems it was a lucky casual choice.
Despite the limitations of an early parser and very difficult puzzles that require multiple restores, Deadline in my opinion is the best mystery game of all the ones Infocom released (source)

I had read about Infocom on this snarkout post on Interactive Fiction, and an interview with Marc Blank, the game's creator.
Echoing the sentiments of Lebling, Blank maintains that the text adventure games used words to evoke settings and mood. He says while all games have their strengths, he believes the text adventure games had "imagination" which has been "lost" in today's graphical games. "I think the other thing - it's more of a gaming thing - is when it comes to point-and-clock interfaces or interfaces where you're either picking words or picking objects, I think the one thing that gets lost is the sense that you could do anything and the sense you could use any word or any verb [in the text adventure games] and it might work. So there is a sense of open-endedness [in the text adventure game] and the possibility that you could do anything. I think that is lost." He continues that he and the other Imps would think of responses to absurd words or verbs so the gamers could have some comic relief.

I remember playing Deadline quite obsessively until I solved it. The sense of the house was strongly created through mentally travelling the worn pathways and blind alleys of cupboards and hallways, until it became quite fixed in the mind.
But alas, I missed out on talking with a ghost - not encountering this hamlet-like bug of being able to talk to the dead Mr Robner if his ghost was encountered.
I'll have to dig up my copy and revisit the territory, archived in memory.

Also on a ghostly theme, I was walking my old dog earlier today in the drizzly chilly park, which was empty and slightly sinister. Or was this only because the reedy lake reminded me of that haunting image from The Innocents?
I think a sudden casual vision of a ghost in the suburban algae would be mundane and paranormal enough to be quite chilling.

Comments: spooky

Ah, another eastern suburbs girl.
I grew up in Ringwood.
My first casual job was at Eastland.
Posted by mcb at August 6, 2004 05:21 PM

I grew up "near" Ringwood - but spent some of my childhood and youth within the malled halls of Eastland. (Not to mention Ringwood Lanes!)
Posted by boynton at August 7, 2004 01:46 PM

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