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Gunstar

Synapse Electronic Novels: Mindwheel, Essex and Brimstone

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Being a fan of Infocom games, I always wanted to try these electronic novels by Synapse, but as I recall, they actually required at least two disk drives (as stated in an actual Synapse catalog I had years ago), which is why I never got them years ago, becuase I only had one drive and no money to buy a second.

But with SIO2PC and multiple virual drives that's not a problem anymore for me. I have the disk images for these games, but after looking at the old ad below, I realized that they came with books too, which look to be needed. Are these books archived somewhere?

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Edited by Gunstar

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Yes they do require two drives as you have to load two disks at one time to start them. You can play them in a SIO2SD though. They also have copy protection that requires you type in a word from a page in the manual from a certain line. Don't remember if the word changes now though and might always be the same one.

 

You can get the manuals from atarimania scans though.

 

http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-mindwheel_3404.html

 

http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-essex_1879.html

 

http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-brimstone_793.html

Edited by kheffington

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Thanks, I guess I should have looked there...thought they would be harder to come by. I'd really love to get complete originals of them all, I do plan on a second, Indus GT, drive again and would love to have the real books. I also want all the Infocom stuff complete. I used to have Wishbringer and one other Infocom title. I liked them and played but never finished them back then, but I think I'll appreciate them all more now.

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I've always been super-intrigued by Mindwheel ever since Electronic Games or Computer Entertainment (can't remember which) ran a lengthy feature on it around 1985. The article made it sound incredibly complex, haunting, and poetic, and had an interview with Robert Pinsky. It also mentioned Essex and Brimstone, though without elaborating IIRC.

 

I played the DOS version for a little while about 10-12 years ago with Virtual PC and a PDF of the manual, but didn't get very far. When my girlfriend and I get back on an IF/text adventure kick, I think I'd like to give it a shot.

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Well, I decided to read/play Essex first, and I think these are all by different authors, so I'll have to get back to you on Mindwheel. I enjoyed reading the book, and was just starting to get into it when it ends and basically says, ok, now take it from here on the computer. I haven't done much yet, but it seems the game's vocabulary/commands is better than the Infocom games (was that called the 'parser?'), which is saying something. Much more detailed text is allowed. Anyway, so far seems to be as good or better than Infocom stuff, though admittedly I only ever played two, and never finished those. I intend to complete them all now.

 

Things happen in real time, but you can pause it to ponder, also, I like the command to print the story to your printer, that way you can look back at what you've done/tried/gone/seen before.

Edited by Gunstar

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Yeah, I remember that the parser was supposed to be VERY deep. Whether that translates to compelling gameplay, though, I'm not sure (and I mean that sincerely, not critically). Keep us posted!

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Strange I never saw this thread before, even stranger that I found out about these 'electronic novels' last night.

Thanks to Sio2OSX, I am going to give the one not mentioned yet a try, Brimstone.

 

If anyone is interested, I'll post my thoughts in this thread when I've had a chance to really get to grips with it.

 

Like Gunstar, I would also like to get hold of originals of these, but I've never seen them in the wild.

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Hi all,

 

I've got a complete Essex in superb condition that I'm willing to part with - I'll post the photo's later. Nice package and very atmospheric in its execution.

 

 

Cheers

Dom

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Mindwheel has a password protection technique that is asking for a word in any page of the manual.

This was very popular in the 90s for PC games.

 

Are there any other a8 games with this technique ?

 

Regards,

 

Devwebcl

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Thanks for the link Mr. Fish!

 

I've played a bit of both Brimstone and Essex, haven't tried Mindwheel yet though. I have games saved, but haven't gotten far yet. Part of it was bad images that had some issue or another, I forget now, I think the 2nd disk wasn't working or something like that. I found good images at Mr. Bacardi's site last year though, hacked versions with no book related passwords required, not that it was an issue with the .PDF's, but easier and they work.

 

But between my hardware hacking hobbies and playing other games, with all the new stuff coming out, I sort of forgot about them. I was also getting into practice with a couple Infocom titles, as they aren't in "real-time" like the Electronic Novels, Things happen while you are away in different areas in the Electronic novels!

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This site has the books for all 3 in PDF form, and with no watermarks.

 

mocagh.org: Broderbund - Electronic Novels

 

And, btw, a good site for Adventure/RPG/Simulation game materials in general.

Thanks for the link! I have been trying to find these games on floppy but I guess they must have been rare. I guess I’ll have to settle for copies for now. I just need to get my Sdrive Max up and working, so I can make my own copies on the 810. Edited by adamchevy
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