Moonmist

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Moonmist
Moonmist box art.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s)Infocom
Publisher(s)Infocom
Designer(s)Stu Galley
Jim Lawrence
Writer(s)Jim Lawrence
Stu Galley
EngineZIL
Platform(s)Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, TRS-80, TI-99/4A, Macintosh
ReleaseRelease 4: September 18, 1986
Release 9: October 22, 1986
Genre(s)Interactive fiction
Mode(s)Single-player

Moonmist is an interactive fiction computer game written by Stu Galley and Jim Lawrence[1] and published by Infocom in 1986. The game was released simultaneously for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, TRS-80, TI-99/4A, and Macintosh. It is Infocom's twenty-second game.

Galley and Lawrence previously wrote Seastalker for Infocom.[1]

Moonmist is the earliest known video game to feature a homosexual character.[2]

Plot[edit]

The player's character is a young detective, asked by friend Tamara Lynd to investigate her new home of Tresyllian Castle in Cornwall, England. Tamara has recently become engaged to the castle's lord, Jack Tresyllian. She was very happy until she began seeing what appeared to be The White Lady, a ghost who has allegedly haunted the castle for centuries. As if seeing a ghost wasn't nerve-racking enough, she's also begun to fear for her life. Is Tamara's imagination just overly excited from living in a large old castle, or is someone really trying to kill her? And if her life is in danger, is it from a ghost or someone using it as a disguise?

Gameplay[edit]

The actual game is divided into several quests depending on the player's answer to the question "what is your favorite color?" As such, the game contains green (the easiest), blue, red, and yellow (the most difficult) quests, each with a separate criminal and treasure to locate.[3] Interaction is made through the standard text commands typical of the genre.

The game must be completed by 6:59 am the following day or the game ends without a resolution. It is also possible to die in a few rare instances, though the focus of the game remains on exploration and deduction.

Characters[edit]

Detective (Named by Player): A friend of Tamara Lynd and the persona assumed by the player.

Tamara Lynd: The detective's friend from back in the United States. She becomes affianced to Lord Jack Tresyllian and requests your help when her life is threatened on multiple occasions by the spectral "White Lady."

Lord Jack Tresyllian: The prim and proper lord of Tresyllian manor, engaged to Tamara Lynd. He is the nephew and heir of Lord Lionel Tresyllian, although it is revealed (albeit indirectly) that he was not the late-Lord's favorite choice as an heir.

Bolitho: The middle-aged butler of Tresyllian Castle who has served three generations of the family. He is at once reserved and obedient, yet a very reliable source of information about the castle, ghost, and other guests.

Dr. Nicholas Wendish: The grizzled yet highly intelligent head of a specialty medical clinic that treated Lord Jack's former fiancée, Deirdre Hallam, and her grandfather Mr. Poldark. Both died under questionable circumstances.

Sir Ian Fordyce: A member of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guard and a physically imposing figure. Little is revealed about Ian except that he is an archetypical English gentleman who would do anything that he perceived as his duty to the Crown.

Vivien Pentreath: An aloof, somewhat cold artist who is a friend of Lord Jack's and Deirdre's. This relationship has cooled, however, after Deirdre's apparent suicide; she thinks Jack heartless for proposing to Tamara so soon after Deirdre's death.

Montague Hyde: A successful antiquities dealer and former associate of Lord Lionel Tresyllian. As Lord Lionel was a famed explorer who brought back many rare artifacts from his travels, it was Montague Hyde who brokered the sale of those items to private buyers. He is searching for the last hidden artifact that Lord Lionel brought back with him to England before his death.

Lady Iris Vane: A London socialite who is at once beautiful and extremely flirtatious. Her association with the Tresyllian family is unclear, though she seems to have many powerful connections.

Lord Lionel Tresyllian: The late lord of Tresyllian Castle. In life he was a celebrated explorer who supported the family coffers through the sale of rare artifacts he would uncover during his travels. It is the anniversary of his birthday that the characters of Moonmist have gathered to celebrate. It is rumored that he had hidden one final object of great value somewhere in the castle before he died.

Deirdre Hallam: Lord Jack's former fiancée. Her life ended tragically when she allegedly jumped or fell into a deep well in the basement of Tresyllian Castle. Her body was never found.

Gladys: The maid of Tresyllian Castle. She never appears in the game except in the form of a letter she writes to Lord Jack announcing her resignation.

The White Lady: The legendary Ghost of Cornwall, the White Lady's origins are said to be that of the wife of a former Lord Tresyllian who walled her up alive for an imagined bout of infidelity. Her spirit is said to seek vengeance against all who dwell in the castle, with special attention to the Lady of the manor.

Feelies[edit]

The following objects—called feelies—were included in the game package to add to players' immersion in the story:

  • A book, The Legendary Ghosts of Cornwall written by Lady Lisbeth Norris, which includes a page dedicated to "The White Lady of Tresyllian Castle." The book has a stamp indicating it was checked out from the Festeron Town Library, the town where Wishbringer was set.
  • Two letters from Tamara Lynd to the player: one explaining Tamara's engagement to Lord Jack Tresyllian and her moving to the castle, and one begging the player to investigate the "White Lady".
  • An iron-on logo of the game's title.
  • A Visitor's Guide to Tresyllian Castle, a tourist-type brochure providing a history and rough maps.

Reception[edit]

COMPUTE! wrote that Moonmist was a good introduction to Infocom adventures for newcomers, and an example for veterans of how their storytelling had improved from older games.[4] However, Atari User expressed disappointment in the game's lack of depth and originality. While acknowledging that Moonmist had "deliberately been made simpler than the usual run of Infocom products", it noted that their earlier Wishbringer "was also a beginner's adventure but [..] offered yards more variety, entertainment, humour and challenge".[5]

Legacy[edit]

In 1992, about six years after the original Moonmist, a remake of the game was developed and published by Japanese software development company SystemSoft for the NEC PC-9801, entitled Moonmist: Shiroki Kifujin no Nazo (MoonMist(ムーンミスト) ~白き貴夫人の謎~, MūnMisuto ~Shiroki Kifujin no Nazo~, lit. "Moonmist: The Mystery of the Noble White Lady").[6][7] There are differences in this enhanced remake: the game recognizes verb commands typed in kana (Japanese syllable system) or Latin alphabet. For convenience, some of the most common verb commands (Look, Take, etc.) can be accessed by pressing a corresponding button, but the player still has to type the name of an object. This remake also helps the player to interact with the environment by displaying a list of objects after the player has typed a command. Also, unlike the original, the remake contains enhanced graphics; every location has a unique background picture, on which the text is super-imposed, like in the PC-9801 version of Enchanter.[6][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. ^ Cobbett, Richard (February 20, 2011). "They Did It First". PC Gamer. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Maher, Jimmy (2015-03-12). "Moonmist". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  4. ^ Randall, Neil (July 1987). "Moonmist". Compute!. p. 34. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  5. ^ Brillig (February 1987). "Moon Eclipsed". Atari User (22).
  6. ^ a b "PC-98x1 게임 도서관 :: System Soft의 게임 목록 (1992년)" [PC-98x1 Game Library :: SystemSoft's Game List (1992)] (in Korean). PC-98 Library. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  7. ^ "PC-9801 User's Manual for Moonmist". VGJunk. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Enchanter: Wakaki Madōshi no Shiren". MobyGames. Retrieved 16 December 2016.

External links[edit]