A Mind Forever Voyaging

by Steve Meretzky

Science Fiction/Slice of Life
1985

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Number of Ratings: 101
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- Lance Campbell (United States), December 24, 2021

- Nomad, August 20, 2021

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great Introduction to IF, August 12, 2021
by ccpost (Greensboro, North Carolina)

As a recent convert to interactive fiction, I have been looking for good games to get started with. Although this is perhaps not a typical work, I was intrigued by the sci-fi dystopian premise and encouraged by the wealth of critical praise heaped upon AMFV. Rather than detailing specific aspects of the gameplay or plot that I found especially effective, I want to focus this review on the merits of AMFV as an introduction to IF.

In short: I found AMFV quite stunning in its own right and also an effective introduction to IF more broadly. The work opened my eyes to the artistic potential of IF as a form and delivered a playing experience that was easy and engaging for someone with only minimal prior exposure to IF.

A few more detailed points:

I appreciated the relative lack of puzzles. Though I'm not averse to puzzle-heavy IF, I wanted a work without punishing puzzles or cruel game design (e.g. unwinnable states, lots of learning by dying). I loved that the main mission of the game is to explore the simulated versions of Rockvil, which still requires some careful attention to the description of places and objects without the demands of a typical puzzle (e.g. finding just the right use of an object to get past an obstacle). AMFV helped to ease me into the playing mechanics of IF without suffering the pain of banging my head (literally or metaphorically) against some puzzle to make progress.

I also thought that AMFV did a great job of introducing the a novice player to the poetics of IF, that is, the joys (and challenges) of navigating a simulated world via a text interface. Cleverly, the simulated versions of Rockvil can be seen as sorts of IF worlds within the broader IF work -- Perry Simm is in the same role as the player. This effect was achieved quite well and not in an eye-winking kind of way.

Finally, this work is clearly significant in the broader history of IF, which is obvious even to a newcomer like myself. Playing it definitely helped me to better understand the historical foundation of where more recent IF works have come from, but the experience was not that of an 'eat your vegetables' history lesson. The work is still fresh and enjoyable on its own terms, and indeed the satirical thrust of the work is still very relevant (even if the political satire could be heavy-handed at times -- probably my only real complaint about AMFV).


- Karlok (Netherlands), April 14, 2021

- beecadee, November 14, 2020

- mifga (Brooklyn, NY), October 15, 2020

- jcompton, June 22, 2020

- The Defiant, June 16, 2020

- Arrowhead12 (Edmonton, Alberta), June 11, 2020

- Zape, May 24, 2020

- Artran (Prague, Czech Republic), May 1, 2020

- plutonick, February 7, 2020

- Sobol (Russia), December 9, 2019

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A Deserving Classic, October 3, 2019

I knew two things about the game before I started playing:

* There's not much of a "game" in it, with only a few puzzles near the end
* Steve Meretzky intended it as a blistering attack on Ronald Reagan's policies

The first point is definitely correct--most of the game feels of a piece with the more recent walking simulators, where the focus of the experience is just to explore an environment and get a general sense of what's happening. This isn't a complaint! Wandering Rockvil, watching the decay, was fascinating; the dread from witnessing just how bad things got was palpable.

For the second point, though... Maybe it's just a consequence of being 30-some years removed from Reagan and no longer viscerally angry about or afraid of his platform, but I had some quibbles about the politics--it's hard for me to draw a straight line between the Plan as described and a fascistic cult coming into power, for example. And since 2041 is pretty OK, wouldn't it be possible to implement the Plan now and then change course in 10 years? (Also, just from a writing perspective, the 2071 segment is so, so bleak, it's almost funny that Dr. Perelman's response is, "Well, maybe it turns a corner at the 50-year mark." (Spoiler - click to show)The state's running gladiator fights to punish ration cheats!)

Despite my reservations there, I really did enjoy this game and have no qualms about recommending it.


- Otheym, August 18, 2019

- jjsonick, August 17, 2019

Infocom at its finest., May 1, 2019

by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

Lauded by critics and mostly ignored by the public, A Mind Forever Voyaging is more of a story than a game, being essentially puzzleless. But man, what a story. Taking place in the year 2031, America is doing poorly and some crackpot scientists have developed a sentient computer named PRISM. Its purpose: to enter a simulation of the future to see if popular conservative Senator Richard Ryder’s plan for renewed national purpose will lead to prosperity. You are PRISM.

If you can set aside the ridiculous notion that a simulation of the future would ever come close to being accurate (hell, we can’t even predict next weekend’s weather with certainty), then you should enjoy this entertaining look into Steve Meretzky’s political vision of a possible future. While your goal is to record evidence of what’s going down in the years to come (from banal activities like eating a meal in a restaurant to more charged activities like meeting with government officials), the real purpose and joy of the game is to simply explore. The town of Rockvil, South Dakota is vividly imagined and detailed, and one could complete the game without visiting 90% of what the town has to offer. And while the story’s progression is fairly predictable, it consistently remains a poignant and touching story of self-exploration throughout and boasts one of the best endings out there.

My only criticisms are that things can be a little repetitive at times and the NPCs are not as developed as I prefer (especially your simulated wife). But in the grand scheme these are mere trifle. More of an experience to be enjoyed than completed, A Mind Forever Voyaging should be at the top of any gamer’s list of classics to try.


- mils32k, January 7, 2019

- Zach Shifflett (VA, United States), December 12, 2018

- oscar-78, December 5, 2018

- Sergio (Trento, Italy), November 30, 2017

- Xavid, November 22, 2017

- lobespear, October 31, 2017

- jakomo, September 21, 2017

- sushabye, September 2, 2017


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