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About the Story
Not a single spell! After two full years of study! Every Enchanter—every mortal with the power to change very nature of the universe with their words—has a spell book! Filled with words of power collected over years, decades, generations...and yours is blank after two entire years of study. It is shameful!
Language: English (en-US)
First Publication Date: July 29, 2015
Current Version: 2
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Polite
Makes reference to Enchanter, by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling
Makes reference to Sorcerer, by Steve Meretzky
Makes reference to Spellbreaker, by Dave Lebling
Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
IntroComp 2014: Scroll Thief
Scroll Thief is a puzzle game set in the Enchanter universe. This was fun! Which came as a surprise to me, since “Zork/Enchanter homage” is up there with “games about the zombie apocalypse” and “office-setting games where the main puzzle is getting some coffee” as categories that I regard with extreme prejudice. But Scroll Thief is better than the average entry for this kind of thing, relying less on nostalgia or goofy parody and more on actually designing cool puzzles of the kind that made me like Enchanter in the first place.
I imagine there are people who won’t care for the old-school style, or for the various ways in which (as far as I can tell, anyway) you can make the game unwinnable. But I enjoyed the style of puzzle design: scrolls! cute joke messages for using the spells on the wrong things! scrying orbs that let you see into other locations! things where you get an NPC to do stuff that you can’t do yourself! bits where you have to understand the map as a three dimensional space in order to understand where something is likely to be coming out! Meta-spells that modify the effects of other spells!
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These Heterogenous Tasks
IntroComp 2014: Scroll Thief
So: it is a notable thing that even though my neuroreceptors never imprinted on the particular brand of catnip that this is peddling, I kind of want to play Scroll Thief. There’s a small and precious set of games – Savoir Faire, Suveh Nux – which operate on an Enchantery kind of logic, a logically rigorous set of magical powers which interact with the world and one another in fair, clever, unexpected ways. That’s the core experience that Scroll Thief is really going after, and for that I can forgive its attachment to Zorkian tropes. It also keeps the wackiness to a tolerably restrained level; there are rather a lot of extra-diegetic shout-outs, but that’s about the extent of it.
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IntroComp 2014: 'Tales of the Scroll Thief' by Daniel M. Stelzer
Deliberately old school, The Scroll Thief incorporates some of the rarer techniques from the old commercial era of IF. Its in-jokes and meta references provide the same self-parody for the current IF community that the original Zork provided for the hacker culture at MIT. Some of the puzzle concepts are quite interesting and creative, but the spare and buggy implementation prevents the puzzles from being explored thoroughly. The game can be interpreted as Infocom fan fiction, and also as a wry but largely unironic homage to traditional text adventures.
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Winter of our Discontent
IntroComp 2014 - "The Scroll Thief" by Daniel M. Stelzer
Ah, a Zorkian game! Thank Christ! I love the Zork world and all of its eccentricities, homages, and anachronisms. I even made one myself, but that was just a simple dungeon-crawl. "The Scroll Thief" by Daniel M. Stelzer is, by far, much more than that. Heralded by the author as a non-canonical sequel to the Enchanter Trilogy, in my opinion, Stelzer captures the heart of those stories making "The Scroll Thief" an enjoyable romp in a familiar fantasy world.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Scroll Thief was an Introcomp game that was received well and is now finished. In this game, you are a student who is trying to steal some magic as you deal with the events occurring in the game Spellbreaker.
The game is split into two parts, Act I and Act II. In Act I, you are searching a magical library for enough spells to make it worth your while. As you do so, you begin to get the sense of a larger storyline, and Act II ties into this.
Act I plays out almost like a large escape-the-room puzzle, like Suveh Nux. You are mostly on your own, investigating a variety of enchantments and magical objects, and tinkering with them until you are ready to leave.
I preferred Act II, which reminded me more of the original Enchanter games. You are tasked with discovering more about a mysterious and threatening situation, and you enter some darker and more dangerous regions. It is a bit shorter than Act I, which keeps the game from dragging.
Overall, the game is well-polished, with many testers listed and no errors I found. I had trouble finding topics to discuss with the NPCs, but I may just have tried the wrong topics. The game has implemented some unusual things with difficult-to-code objects and situations (involving long-distance communication and rope, among other things).
The game references Enchanter a lot, but you should be able to play without any previous knowledge of Enchanter (I recall that I was able to play Balances, a small game in the same world, without having played Enchanter). The author also includes references to his testers and Club Floyd players, which I think is nice.
The hints are progressive-style, and purposely don't tell you everything. So even with the hints, you have to make some small leaps of intuition. I enjoyed that, as I play most games with the walkthrough from the get-go, and it was nice to experience those jumps again.
Overall, I recommend it, and strongly recommend it to fans of the Enchanter trilogy.
Although Scroll Thief is said to be an unofficial sequel to some famous Infocom games, any unfamiliarity with those should not deter anyone from playing Scroll Thief. At least it did not me, and I’m all the happier for it.
Most of the game deals with understanding and using spells to obtain more spells, and this was at times deviously tricky. The back story sustains the puzzles perfectly and is capturing enough to fuel a puzzled puzzler forward. A particularly impressive point of note is that Scroll Thief contains some really new (for me at least) and interesting way of interacting with NPC’s.
When first starting the game and reading about how to do all the magic stuff, I was afraid that it would be a bit overwhelming and/or tedious with all the copying and preparing and scrying and whatnot, but this was actually much easier than my first impressions implied. It turned out these things were automagically simplified for the player.
There were a few things I found confusing, however. Scroll Thief is listed as polite on the cruelty scale, but seeing this actually prevented me from progressing in the beginning; the proper way to move forward gives the same warning as one that (presumably) would prevent the player from winning. Also, several puzzles have multiple solutions, which I generally condone, but here, for me, these ended up as red herrings that took me a lot of time to unsuccessfully figure out.
The second act of the game went much smoother, and having learned how to best utilize the magic at my disposal it was simply pure fun. Then it suddenly ended.
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