A Mind Forever Voyaging

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A Mind Forever Voyaging
A Mind Forever Voyaging Coverart.png
Cover art
Developer(s)Infocom
Publisher(s)Infocom
Designer(s)Steve Meretzky
EngineZIL
Platform(s)Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 128, MS-DOS, Macintosh, Amiga
ReleaseRelease 77: August 14, 1985 Release 79: November 22, 1985
Genre(s)Interactive fiction
Mode(s)Single-player

A Mind Forever Voyaging (AMFV) is a 1985 interactive fiction game designed and implemented by Steve Meretzky and published by Infocom. It is Infocom's seventeenth game.[citation needed] The game was intended as a polemical critique of Ronald Reagan's politics.[1]

AMFV is not a conventional Infocom adventure, with a serious tone and political subject matter, and with only a single puzzle near the end of the game. The game is among Infocom's most respected titles, although it was not a commercial success.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Screenshot of the start screen

The story is set in the United States of North America, which is similar to the real-world US, in the year 2031. The player controls PRISM, the world's first sentient computer.

PRISM is instructed by its creator, Dr. Abraham Perelman, to run a simulation of senator Richard Ryder's "Plan for Renewed National Purpose". This plan is intended to address the nation's failing economy, the high teenage suicide rate, and to strengthen the nation's postition in a nuclear arms race.

PRISM simulates the life of a man called Perry Simm, ten years after the plan has gone into place. The player experiences some time in Perry's life. The plan appears to have had positive effects. Based on this simulation, the plan is deemed viable and preparations are set in motion.

However, Perelman feels that the ten-year simulation isn't enough, and makes PRISM do a simulation of the situation 20 years after the plan started, and then 30 years. Perelman is concerned by the simulations, but he needs more evidence to discredit the plan, as there are powerful people behind it. PRISM does a 40-year simulation, and with that still not quite satisfying Perelman, a 50-year simulation. The simulations show the situation becoming worse and worse with time.

PRISM goes into sleep mode while Perelman is preparing to present the findings to the government. When it wakes up, the facility is locked down by the military. Senator Ryder comes into Perelman's office and starts shouting at him. PRISM starts recording his words. After Ryder has left, suspicious "maintenance workers" come to the facility and make their way to PRISM's core, but PRISM renders them harmless. Then a news interface becomes available, and PRISM broadcasts the recording of Ryder's intimidation. The plan is thoroughly discredited and Senator Ryder is publicly disgraced.

Political content[edit]

Meretzky, the author, said in an interview that his intent with the game was to convey a negative view of Reagan's policies.[1] In another interview, he said that he had hoped for AMFV to cause controversy with its political content, expressing disappointment at the lack of hate mail.[2]

The main part of the story is a series of simulations of the effects of the "Plan for Renewed National Purpose". The policies in the plan are: strong tax cuts, strong deregulation of industry and public life, a strict "USNA first" trade policy, a reintroduction of conscription and mandatory military service for criminals, a reduction in foreign aid, the termination of subsidies for certain industries, and an emphasis on Christian values in education. The plan also includes two constitutional amendments: the term limit for the president is lengthened to 8 years, and the executive branch is given more power.[citation needed]

In the simulations, the player character sees the plan ultimately resulting in a total collapse of civilization. The USNA becomes more and more totalitarian, ending in a world where buildings and infrastructure are falling apart, violence is abound and food is scarce.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World states that parts of AMFV are "transcendent".[3] In a 1998 retrospective review, AllGame gives the Macintosh version three-and-a-half stars out of five, saying that the game provides fun exploration, but has hardly any replay value.[4] In 2014, Adventure Gamers gave the game four stars out of five in its retrospective review, calling it "bold" and "innovative", but saying that it does not quite reach its goals.[5]

Next Generation lists it as number 66 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time" in 1996, commending the game for trying to be more "deep" than most other games.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Scott, J. (2010). "Get Lamp" (Interview). Meretzky: "So that was my mission with A Mind Forever Voyaging. I wanted to kind of to show people what a warmongering, Christian Right-pandering, environment-trashing, rights-trampling asshole Reagan was."
  2. ^ "Leather Goddesses of Phobos: Hitchhiker's Guide with Sex". 5 (3). The Status Line. Summer 1986: 1. Archived from the original on 27 December 2004. Retrieved 6 March 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Ardai, Charles (Aug–Sep 1987). "Titans of the Computer Gaming World / Part IV of V: Ardai on Infocom" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 39. pp. 38–39, 46–47. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  4. ^ Savignano, Lisa Karen. "A Mind Forever Voyaging (Mac) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  5. ^ Watson, Steven (15 August 2014). "A Mind Forever Voyaging flashback review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 47.

External links[edit]