Title           Balances
Game Type	Adventure
Author		Graham Nelson (1994)
Players		1
Compatibility	All (with interpreter)

This game is probably the most played modern Interactive Fiction Text
Adventure Game around. It only has about a dozen locations, two dozen
objects, and a handful of NPC's (non player characters), but is most
entertaining. It is loosely based on a sample transcript that came with
one of Infocom's Enchanter trilogy games, set in an age of magic and
adventure. The game supports their highly enjoyable spellcasting
process. Most puzzles are fairly easy to solve and logical, a few
however have highly dubious logic, and weak clues. There was a big fuss
on the interactive fiction newsgroup about one problem in particular. If
you get really stuck, the best things to do are examine and search all
objects and locations very carefully, including using your senses of
smell, touch, and hearing. It's easy to miss some tiny clue, or exit to
another location. Then if this fails, try every spell you have on every
object there is, save first, as some spells have highly detrimental
results on you, or the object. It's a lot more fun solving IF games on
your own, then asking someone else for hints.

The author of this game is regarded as a minor deity in interactive
fiction circles, having masterminded the creation and maintenance of the
Inform Interactive Fiction Text Adventure Language, and written several
full size games, while holding down a Mathematics Professorship of
Oxford University. Inform is one of about a half dozen really good IF
languages, it is probably the best, but takes a lot of learning, and has
been used by software companies such as Activision to prototype Graphic
RPG's. Don't bother trying to Email Graham, he is very busy and doesn't
appreciate it, unless of course you find an error in his language. I
suspect if he replied to all his fan mail he wouldn't have time to do
anything else. If you want to find more about IF consult the following
very useful web sites, which will point you in the right direction:

There was a long period at the time Infocom was taken over, where IF
disappeared, technology having passed it by, and all professional games
companies writing Graphic Adventures. But Text Adventures, like books
have a quality of their own, human imagination being far more powerful
than a load of fancy graphics and sounds. As Infocom said, "A picture is
worth a thousand words, we give you the thousand words". There was a
hard core of fans who refused to see the text adventure die, and started
hacking away at the Infocom Z Machine Code, which was never released.
They reverse engineered it and worked out how it operated, first
building new interpreters, to run old games, then languages so new games
could be written. Also old games can be decompiled, giving all the
original text, and object tree, unfortunately most variable and
procedure names are reduced to meaningless opcodes. It is now possible
for one person to write their own text adventure, the interpreters and
compilers are free, technical and prose advice is available from
newsgroups, as are games testers. The only things you need are a lot of
time and patience, imagination, and a computer. Just about any type as
the Z machine was designed to operate on any platform, long before the
internet. There is also an annual contest where you can win prizes (not
very good ones mind), get reviews (good and bad), and get your work
promoted. A few very good games are even published by Activision. There
are now hundreds of new modern IF games about, the quality varies
enormously from bug infested drivel, to Shakespearean. Reviews give a
resonable idea of what they're like, but it does depend on taste as
well. IF is one of the few areas where lots of modern games are
available for the Amiga.

Game code available from:

This game requires an Inform Interpreter available from:

Workbench 1.3:

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