Through the Looking Glass (Macintosh)

Through the Looking Glass Macintosh Title screen. Under emulation, this is only visible for a moment with no floppy access to slow it down.

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Description

This is one of the first Macintosh games released and was created in-house at Apple. It was announced at the computer's launch and was featured in the original brochure, but its release was delayed until a couple of months later. It's an action game set on a chessboard and featuring Alice from Lewis Carroll's famous novels. The board is viewed with a depth-perspective so that pieces and squares appear smaller the further away they are.

At first, 6 chess pieces are lined up at front of the board and you choose which piece you want Alice to take on the moves of. Once the game starts, Alice (seen from a behind-view) must capture all pieces on the board. All pieces will hop around in arcing moves above the board and you as Alice must click on squares that are valid to move to according to the abilities of the piece you chose at start. If you are captured, your score decreases, and increases based on the value of pieces taken. A perfect score of 999 is only possible if you allow all the pawns to become queens before capturing them.

There is an options screen if you hold your mouse pointer over the score. The Cheshire Cat appears on-screen and you can alter the game speed, flip the board upside-down or activate holes to appear randomly on chess board which capture any piece unlucky to be on that square.

The game disk also contained some extras such as fonts and a maze generator game called Amazing.

Screenshots

Through the Looking Glass Macintosh Gameplay.
Through the Looking Glass Macintosh Title screen. Under emulation, this is only visible for a moment with no floppy access to slow it down.

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Alternate Titles

  • "Alice" -- Working title and in-game title.

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Trivia

Development

The game was initially developed on the Apple Lisa. Suggestions eventually trickled in from all sorts of Apple staff: the Mac's first marketing staff member, Joanna Hoffman, whiled away many hours playing it and complained that it was too easy -- resulting in the default computer skill level being notched up to a level more challenging to her and downright intimidating to home players. Meanwhile, Steve Wozniak suggested that the mouse cursor follow the exaggerated perspective employed by the board and shrink when maneuvered into the "background".

Publishing

The game was nearly published by new upstart EA, whose founder Trip Hawkins had until recently been the Apple Lisa's marketing manager. Apple released it in-house, with detailed medieval wood-cut-style cover artwork concealing a very small Dead Kennedys logo, one of the author's favorite bands.

Despite its being a favorite of everyone in the company, Apple held off on marketing this game in order to maintain the initial impression that the Macintosh was a serious business computer, not a disposable piece of gaming electronics.

Title screen

The image seen upon starting the game is adapted from a public domain source, William Caxton's 1474 treatise The Game and Playe of the Chess, viewable here.
Scaryfun (16550) added Through the Looking Glass (Macintosh) on Mar 06, 2008