Z-Machine Wednesday: A Mind Forever Voyaging (1985)

What are the first things that come to your mind when you think about the game titles Infocom produced in the 1980’s? Groundbreaking game design? Imaginative puzzles? Intriguing Interactive Stories? Grues? I admit I generally think of Grues.

In 1985, Steve Meretzky (Planetfall, Sorcerer, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Stationfall, and Zork: Zero) programmed the 17th title in the interactive fiction line…that most Infocom fans were not ready to embrace. Advertised as “Interactive Fiction Plus”, A Mind Forever Voyaging had only a single puzzle near the end of the game. Instead you were tasked to play as a sentient computer named PRISM, a machine that has been living 20 years in a simulation as a human named “Perry Simm”. Your programmer, Dr. Perelman, awakens you to inform you that you are to carry out a vital mission for the Goverment, a new simulation that will determine if Senator Richard Ryder’s Plan for Renewed National Purpose can succeed. Perry will live through various timelines that detail how the plan will affect the world and unlike other Infocom titles you goal was not to solve puzzles to advance but live through these timelines, learn what has gone wrong with the plan.

Unlike most of Meretzky’s titles, A Mind Forever Voyaging, was a strictly serious political Sci-Fi tale. The game as I mentioned above was not welcomed with open arms by Infocom fans but critics gave it high approval for its storyline. Thanks as always to The Infocom Gallery for the scanned box art and the collection of Feelies posted below. I’m trying something a little different this week, besides the box cover, I’m using thumbnails you may click and expand to see the full image.

VicSage

Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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5 thoughts on “Z-Machine Wednesday: A Mind Forever Voyaging (1985)

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    The title of this Infocom outing is more than intriguing, it’s downright inspiring.
    The more I read about these games, the more I want to dive into their world.

  2. It’s just a matter of time before Activision or who might hold the rights to the games realizes this and starts to release all of them to our current day PC’s.

    In fact we have Good Old Games to thank for this new package you can purchase and download the Zork Anthology (Zork I, Zork II, Zork III, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, and Planetfall) for a mere $5.99!

    http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/the_zork_anthology

  3. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Thanks for the link, Vic.

    I recently found my dusty Activision CD-Rom of Infocom games, in a pile of old PC disks (along with Mad Dog McCree and Dracula Unleashed).
    I opened it up and it said Windows 95 *and* Macintosh compatible.
    Yay!

    I dunno if the feelies are represented, though.
    I’ll check it later tonight.

  4. Excellent find, Atari!

    Dracula Unleashed…that brings back a ton of memories from playing it on the Sega CD! On the matter of feelies, I bet they have some kind of file on the disc for them. :)

  5. vinvectrex says:

    Thanks for this Vic. I’ve always had a certain fondness for this one. I had a friend who signed up to be an Infocom tester and this was the one he worked on. I later bought it but wasn’t ever able to finish it. I remember liking it but being a bit put off by its super serious tone. Just not quite as “fun” as some of the other more light-hearted Infocom titles. I think I’ll try to dig it out of storage. I’m thinking it should still be complete in the box somewhere.

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