|Release date(s)||Release 68: May 1, 1985
Release 69: September 20, 1985
Solid Gold: July 6, 1988
|Distribution||3½" or 5¼" disk|
Wishbringer: The Magick Stone of Dreams is an interactive fiction computer game written by Brian Moriarty and published by Infocom in 1985. It was intended to be an easier game to solve than the typical Infocom release, and provide a good introduction to interactive fiction for inexperienced players. It was one of five top-selling titles to be re-released in Solid Gold versions including in-game hints. Craig Shaw Gardner novelized Wishbringer in the Infocom Book line.
The player's character is a postal clerk in the small fishing village of Festeron. The cranky postmaster, Mr. Crisp, orders the player to deliver an important envelope to the proprietor of Ye Olde Magick Shoppe. The proprietor in question, a kindly old lady, then asks the player to rescue her cat from a sorceress known only as The Evil One. Stepping out of the store, the player finds that quaint Festeron has mysteriously been transformed into a more sinister town called Witchville. Every aspect of Festeron has been changed to something ominous: for instance, what was once a poodle is now a frightening hellhound.
Fortunately, the player soon finds the Wishbringer, a magical stone that can grant seven wishes if a suitable object is used in conjunction. (To see the future, for example, the player must be wearing glasses and holding the stone.)
The seven wishes that can be granted by the stone are for advice, darkness, flight, foresight, freedom, luck, and rain. Each wish can only be used once per game, and requires that the player possess some related object. (These objects and their relations to the wishes are described in the feelies, as a form of copy protection. When Infocom games were later repackaged by Activision, the information in the feelies had to be reproduced in printed form.)
A few Infocom games featured puzzles with multiple solutions (for example, the "Loud Room" from Zork I). However, Wishbringer featured several such puzzles, many of which could be solved either in a straightforward (that is, non-magical) manner or by using one of the stone's wishes. The game can be successfully completed without using any wishes. Conversely, it is impossible to finish the game using all of the stone's wishes.
Wishbringer began when Infocom marketing requested an easy game to introduce customers to text adventures. Moriarty suggested adding a magic ring, then a magic rock, to the package, then began writing the game based on the rock. Because it sold well Moriarty mentioned in July 1986 that a sequel was forthcoming, but none appeared.
Included in the Wishbringer package are several items, which Infocom called feelies:
- A book, The Legend of Wishbringer, that explains how the magic stone came to be (in the Solid Gold release, an in-game object included in the player's starting inventory instead of the packaging)
- The envelope and letter to be delivered to Ye Olde Magick Shoppe
- A "postal zone map" of Festeron
- A plastic glow-in-the-dark replica of the stone
In aiming the game at a younger audience, Infocom diffused the game's sense of danger with many humorous elements, such as Mr. Crisp's impatience at the beginning ("Take the stupid envelope and scram, chowderbrain!") and the "Boot Patrol" that enforces the curfew in the town, consisting of disembodied gigantic army boots. Other whimsical touches include a small mailbox that lovingly follows the player around and a fridge found in a grue's lair, where the internal light goes out when the door is opened. Infocom gave Wishbringer a difficulty rating of "Introductory".
The fictional town of Festeron is, according to the game's documentation, in Antharia, a region connected to the Zork series of games. Zork Zero also has an entry for Festeron in its Encyclopedia Frobozzica.
- Moriarty, Brian (November 1986). "Designer Profiles / Brian Moriarty". Computer Gaming World. p. 16.
- Wishbringer at MobyGames
- Wishbringer info in Adventure Classic Gaming
- Wishbringer information and overview
- Wishbringer information from the Infocom Gallery with photos of the entire contents of the game (manual, feelies, etc.)
- Wishbringer information from Infocom-if.org
- The Infocom Bugs List entry for Wishbringer