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Entry updated 5 March 2015. Tagged: Game.

Videogame series (1988). Infocom.

The Infocomics are a line of Comics which were sold as Videogames. Their plots are fully determined in advance, but at various points the reader can switch to a different character's view of the story; multiple readings are required to follow the entire plot. While their visual design and writing are generally unimpressive, the Infocomics are of some structural interest as an early form of computer-mediated narrative, with a fixed story which could be traversed in different ways. The first work of literary Hypertext, Michael Joyce's Afternoon, a story, was written in 1987 and published in 1990, making these two very different approaches to computer-driven fiction rough contemporaries.

The first Infocomic to be released was Lane Mastodon vs The Blubbermen (1988 Infocom, AppleII, C64, PCBoot) designed by Steve Meretzky, in which a hero resembling Edmond Hamilton's Captain Future saves the Earth from a Jovian Invasion (the first phase of which is to bombard the planet with rays which magnify household animals to gigantic sizes). This was followed by Gamma Force in Pit of a Thousand Screams (1988 Infocom, AppleII, C64, PCBoot) designed by Amy Briggs, which follows a team of alien Superheroes resembling the Fantastic Four as they struggle against a planetary tyrant. The writers clearly did not take these efforts particularly seriously; an adult murder mystery story was planned, but cancelled after the commercial failure of the line.

Related works: The last two Infocomics, ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle (1988 Infocom, AppleII, C64, PCBoot) designed by Elizabeth Langosy and its sequel ZorkQuest II: The Crystal of Doom (1988 Infocom, AppleII, C64, PCBoot) designed by Elizabeth Langosy are fantasy, based on the early text Adventure game Zork (1977-1979). Lane Mastodon also appears in a Comic included in the original release of Leather Goddesses of Phobos (1986). [NT]

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