Wishbringer: The Magick Stone of Dreams
First posted on 30 January 1999. Last updated on 08 August 2009.
Wishbringer: The Magick Stone of Dreams is a classic Infocom game in the style of the Zork and Enchanter series. The game takes place in the same universe and the story makes a couple of passing references to those series. No prior knowledge of the Zork or Enchanter series is required or even helpful to succeed in this game. Wishbringer is considered by its fans as a short introduction to the genre of interactive fiction that is deal for beginners. While it may be a little too easy and short for the experienced gamers, the clever puzzles and classic Infocom sense of humor still make this game an entertaining title for all fans.
In Wishbringer, you are a postal clerk in a small seaside village called Festeron. While delivering a strange envelope to a magic shop, you discover that an old woman's black cat has been kidnapped by the Evil One. The old woman asks for your help. When you leave the magic shop, you find yourself trapped in a nightmarish world. You become entangled in the struggle between good and evil. Everyone seeks to possess a magic stone known as Wishbringer; but only you can find it and use its powers to make your town safe again. Hurry, your time is limited!
The production of Wishbringer is comparable with other text adventure games. Like all interactive fiction titles from Infocom, the text parser in Wishbringer is fantastic. I am never stumped because I cannot figure out the right word to type or the correct way to phrase something. Of course, the advantages to a game with such little graphic overheads are that you never have to wait to restore or save a game, swap discs, and deal with other nuisances on that order. The text is rich and descriptive, leaving your imagination to do the rest.
The game is written by Brian Moriarty. It is based on the concept of interactive fiction told through a story interpreter pioneered by Infocom. The Infocom story interpreter is platform independent, and the game themselves are complied for a virtual computer architecture called the Z-Machine. There have been 3 versions of this game released since 1985 using two different versions of Z-Machine. The last version dated 1988 uses Version 5 of Z-Machine. The game supports 52 rooms and 35 objects, with a vocabulary of 1,043 words and 16,223 opcodes.
Overall, the gameplay is not at all bad but perhaps a bit simplistic. For parts of the game the player is even led by hand on what to do and not to do. The wishes add a bit of depth to the game while helping novices to advance along. There are several ways to solve various puzzles, based on either "Magick" wishes or logic reasoning. While the game is called Wishbringer, you can actually successfully solve the game without making a single wish! The wishes are just there to aid in solving puzzles that may stump a beginning adventurer.
The strongest points of this game are its rich text, humor, and clever puzzles. It is a well designed game for a novice adventurer and a great introduction to the entire genre. Multiple solutions to puzzles and good dose of nonlinear puzzles stand as testimonials to its design strength. The puzzles are a bit too easy and the game is far too short. Occasionally, the time constraints can be a little frustrating. There are times I recall which I have to restart the game because I have not done or gotten something that I need in a later part of the game. Luckily the game is short enough that this shortcoming does not pose a serious problem.
Wishbringer is a great game that should wet the appetite of new adventurers. It is a decent diversion for anyone who loves the classic interactive fiction from Infocom. The challenge is low but still fun for a few hours while it lasts.