Infocom rated Enchanter
as "Standard" in difficulty.
Enchanter may be the only game in the Zork
universe not to feature grues; the creatures that kill you in dark rooms are not referred to by name, and the game doesn't even know the word "grue".
A novelisation (perhaps better termed a cross-promotional tie-in loosely related to the original property) of the game was produced by Byron Preiss
(with a grey-striped cover design emulating Infocom game packaging), published by Avon Books. It was written by Robin W. Bailey (who gives Marc Blank
and Dave Lebling
special thanks under the dedication) and first published in May of 1989. Its ISBN is 0-380-75386-3 and the rear cover blurb reads as follows:
"It's a very original, really funny fantasy novel--well worth reading. I loved it. Robin W. Bailey should become an outstanding name in the field." - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Anesi was the grandson of the wizard Stribel Wartworth, but he'd never really studied magic. His father had pulled him out of the university after less than one semester. Anesi wasn't even allowed to use the little magic he knew.
Then the entire Thriff Guild of Enchanters came to his family's little house in the woods. The whole world was threatened by the evil of the Great Terror, and they were helpless before it. To fight the Great Terror would require a magical prodigy, one who was untouched by the petty temptations of a wizard's life.
It would require Anesi.
With his friends at his side--Fidget, Cubby the brogmoid, and Tyrillee the dryad--he began his march to the south to face the greatest danger his world had ever known
Infocom, Inc., is the foremost publisher of interactive fiction software. Since its first release, the best-selling ZORK(r), the company has had an unparalleled string of successes, including Dave Lebling's and Marc Blank's fantasy world of ENCHANTER(r).
The game has a parser that understands over 700 words, making it the most advanced interactive fiction game of its time.
There are references scattered throughout Enchanter
's documentation and gameplay comparing the use of spells by mages to the use of command line interfaces by programmers, and comparing mages to hackers in general. Many of the spell names, such as FROTZ and GNUSTO, are taken from MIT hacker slang of the time; others are various pop cultural references or anagrams. For instance, the NITFOL spell allows one to speak with animals, and NITFOL is a truncated reversal of "LOFTING", after the author of the Dr. Doolittle stories.
References to the game
Frotz, a modern open-source interpreter for Infocom games (as well as independently written interactive fiction) draws its name from a spell ("cause object to glow with illumination") in Enchanter and its sequels. Another spell, Blorb ("hide an object in a strongbox"), provides the name for a standard wrapper for interactive fiction multimedia resources. Several other IF tools have also been named after spells from the series.
(From The New Zork Times
Vol.3 No.2 Spring 1984)
Some statistics about Enchanter
- Apparent number of rooms (those seen by the player): infinite
- Number of rooms: 74
- Number of different ways to die: 17
- Number of words in vocabulary: 718
- Number of takeable objects: 31
The game was intended, at one point, to be a sequel of sorts to the Zork
trilogy. In Zork III: The Dungeon Master
, a device slowly cycles through "scenes" from each of the Zork
games as a number is displayed above it. A depiction of the sacrificial altar from the then-unreleased Enchanter
appeared under the number "IV".Information also contributed by