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Loom

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Description official descriptions

The Age of the Great Guilds has arrived. Communities and states comprised of people united by a common trade were created. The Guild of Weavers has achieved such mastery in their trade that they discovered the secret of weaving the very fabric of reality. They were treated with suspicion by other guilds, who eventually accused them of practicing witchcraft and banned them to a secluded island, which they called Loom.

Bobbin Threadbare is a young man from the Guild of Weavers. He is outcast from the guild and blamed for the lack of prosperity in recent times, though he does not know why. On his seventeenth birthday he is summoned by the Elders of the guild, who intend to decide his fate. However, shortly thereafter all the inhabitants of the village except Bobbin are turned into swans. Bobbin finds out that he is the child of the Great Loom, found by Lady Cygna, who tried to use the loom's powers to save the guild. Bobbin's stepmother Dame Hetchel teaches him the art of weaving magical drafts, and Bobbin embarks on a journey to find the lost flock, and the answers to his questions.

Loom is an adventure game that sets itself apart from other titles in the genre through its unique gameplay system: the player character does not carry items around, but rather manipulates objects through the use of spells (called "drafts" in the game). The drafts themselves are woven by playing magical notes on a special instrument called "distaff". All the puzzles in the game are solved by learning and correctly applying these drafts.

Each draft is a sequence of four notes within one octave. The player learns new drafts by exploring the environment and interacting with it through a simple point-and-click interface. Once a draft has been learned, it may be applied in a different situation in order to solve a problem. Drafts range from simple general actions (such as opening) to more specific and complex commands, e.g. turning straw into gold. Drafts can also be "reversed", i.e. played backwards, in order to execute the opposite action (for example, closing something instead of opening). As the game progresses Bobbin learns to play higher notes on the distaff, allowing him to access more drafts.

The game features three difficulty levels, differentiating them by changing the way the interface works. The easiest level displays names of the notes as well as marking the correspondent areas on the distaff; Standard level features the distaff with the marks at the bottom of the screen, but no written notes; whereas Expert does not display the marks at all, requiring the player to memorize and play the drafts by ear.

The CD DOS version of the game has enhanced 256-color graphics, audio tracks, and full voice acting. However, it also removes a few close-up scenes and conversations. The FM Towns version preserves these scenes and includes similar graphical and musical enhancements, but has no voice acting.

Spellings

  • האורגים - Hebrew spelling
  • ルーム - Japanese spelling
  • 紗之器 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

123 People (108 developers, 15 thanks) · View all

A Fantasy by
Project Leader
Lead Design
Characters Designed and Animated by
Visual Effects Animation by
Additional Programming
Conversion / Porting
Interpreter / Development System
Graphics / Artwork
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Music by
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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 48 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 292 ratings with 19 reviews)

One of the best point/click adventure games

The Good
Well, good story, good characters, good dialogue, good voice acting. Of course the game is an interactive story and you never die, though it's true that you can become stuck if you forget the notes of a musical, magic spell. I haven't studied to find out where Brian Moriarty got his story ideas from, but it sounds inspired by religion and conflict within religion and the game may have quite a serious moral message in it, relating to religion, law, elitism, child abuse etc. There's an element of feminism too i.e the heroism of Lady Cygna, the mother of the male protagonist, Bobbin Threadbare.

The Bad
Frankly I wish the game kept its own record of drafts(magic spells) you've discovered, that way you'd never get stuck, because of forgetting a draft. Also, the story and gameplay get's a bit confusing after "Chaos" is released and the world is torn in two. I didn't find the ending quite satisfying enough. Certainly, the problems of "Planet Loom" weren't resolved and it was hard to comprehend what had really happened to it and how it was going to end up.

The Bottom Line
I say, one of the best point/click adventures, for anyone who is interested in such games. And you could suggest it to someone who isn't necessarily into adventure games as a game that's not huge and won't waste much of their time.

DOS · by Andrew Fisher (695) · 2018

an absolute triumph of the imagination

The Good
Everything.

What, you want me to be more specific?

Okay... the storyline is fantastic, a complete world is created that we just glimpse through enough to get interested in, but it leaves a lot to the imagination. The musical aspect is terrific, yet simple enough to appeal to players of every level. The graphics were awesome for the time (EGA only, but man, some people could work magic with 16 colors only. It's a shame that it has become a lost art). Also, the difficulty level was just right - it was one of the few adventure games that I could beat without consulting any kind of walkthrough, and I didn't feel empty when finishing it - far from it. The music is great, was great for the time if you had a Roland MT-32 and the add-on disk. Of course, now the CD version is out and the music got even better. I was completely immersed into the game, my character, and the story. Also, depending on your musical talent, there were varying levels of difficulty.

The Bad
Nothing really. Could have been a bit longer. And there should have been made a sequel.

The Bottom Line
Unfortunately a sequel never happened. It didn't sell too well. Monkey Island 1 - with VGA graphics, etc - came out a month later and blew the EGA Loom away. People did realize later though how awesome the storyline and idea was, and even today the game commands a healthy sum on eBay - a true collector's item if you can get the 1990 original with Dolby Stereo cassette, etc. Nowadays, of course, there are compilations with like 10 LucasArts adventures or so and it's not all that hard to get, but well worth the effort. On a side note, I feel that Zelda - Ocarina of Time (for the Nintendo 64) borrowed quite heavily from Loom as far as the musical aspects are concerned.

Two thumbs up! I would give more, but that's all the thumbs I have...

DOS · by Gothicgene (66) · 2001

Probably the single best game in recent history.

The Good
A word of warning: although the floppy version of the game is nothing to sneeze at, the CD-ROM version of Loom is what turns this game from a magnificent game into a genuine masterpiece, and although most of what I say here is just as true in regard to the floppy version, it primarily addresses the CD-ROM version of Loom.

Loom is a game of grand proportions, an ambitious project that is wonderfully executed. It is an incredible epic adventure set in an amazing fantasy world like no other. The sensation of playing Loom for the first, second and even hundredth time is unparalleled in any game to date. The atmosphere in Loom is so heavy, so realistic and yet adds a sense of fantasy like no other game. Playing Loom is an immersive experience, as enlightening and sensation-heightening as is possible without the use of illegal chemicals. Loom is incredible.

The first thing one notices in Loom is its wonderful, lush graphics. Just take a look at the screenshots: this game is beautiful. The backgrounds are the best I've ever seen in a game, and are accompanied by some of the best character drawings ever seen (particularly the image Chaos and the dragon). Whereever you look, Loom will show you the most imaginitive drawings in a computer game. The artistic creativity and realism in this game is simply unparalleled: take a look at the Forge - have you ever seen anything quite as fantastic, and yet realistic in a way?

The second thing about Loom is its incredible music. Music of this quality is rarely heard in a computer game (one of the notable examples is another creative masterpiece, The 7th Guest). Loom's original musical tracks (which are wonderful in their own right) are accompanied with perfect executions of Tschaykovski's famous Swan's Lake, and the game is largely based on concepts from the music. Every important point in the game is accompanied with background music of quality unmatched at that time (my personal favorite being the glass city). Add to this the outright MAGNIFICENT 30-minute audio drama on CD-ROM (even the casette version should feature reasonable quality) that includes plenty of beautiful music compostions, and you've got the qualifications of an artistic masterpiece. Loom does not fail.

Loom also excels story-wise. Featuring one of the most creative, well-told and immersive stories in a computer game to date, Loom merely uses the previously discussed qualities to leverage what could have probably become a book of great promise. The creative ideas used serve to heighten the game's atmosphere to levels that no other game manages to reach. I cannot help but love the way myths and religious symbols were used by the creators of the game: Chaos, for one, is simply a work of marvel. Intimidating and appealing at once, Chaos combines a perfectly fitting eerie, scary aura with surprising wit and personal charm. When Chaos is amused, she will provide entertaining commentary (or turn Hetchel into roasted chicken); but when Chaos should look scary, she damn right is. I don't know if anyone else has noticed it, but Chaos uses notes outside the C major scale (that is, half-tones, which Bobbin cannot weave) whenever she casts an "evil" spell, which I personally think adds a great deal to the atmosphere of any meetings with Chaos.
Loom's ending is, I belive, as good as they could make it; any other ending wouldn't allow any room for imagination (nor a sequel), and would also probably reduce the overall lasting impression of the game.

Also commendable is Loom's excellent, purposefully simple and minimalistic interface. Regardless of any feuds the designers might have had towards Sierra's games, the interface is without a doubt the most convenient of any game to date. The spell-weaving scheme is original as well as effective, and the design of The Book of Patterns certainly helps; none of the three skill levels are difficult enough to frustrate anyone, however the Expert skill level will provide reasonable challenge for those with with musical tendencies.

And last, but not least: the voice acting in the CD-ROM version of the game is spectacular! Every single actor is simply professional and does his or her job perfectly, and the voice acting in the CD-ROM audio drama brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it.

The Bad
While Loom is generally perfect, there is only one thing that bothers me about this game: It is too short. Simply that. Anyone with some adventure-game experience will find it extremely easy (Loom's unique quality, that is both an advantage and a drawback), and most people will probably finish it in two, maybe three hours. It is that short, which is unfortunate... but it only goes to show that length does not necessarily corrolate with quality.

Another thing some people might find to be a drawback in Loom is actually due to the nature of adventure games of its kind: a completely linear plot. The game does not change direction, nor does it feature different endings.

The Bottom Line
Loom is a perfect adventure game, rewarding as well as enthralling. Anyone will find something in Loom: either the amazing music, the beautiful graphics the incredible story line... or all of them combined.

If you can find Loom in a local shop, get it, no matter the cost. You won't regret it.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000

[ View all 19 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
freeware ? Wormspinal (619) Feb 7th, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Loom appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled sequels

Apparently the Loom sequels were NOT cancelled due to poor sales. According to Brian Moriarty (post):

Contrary to popular belief, the LOOM sequels were not abandoned because LOOM didn't sell well. LOOM has sold more than half a million copies in various formats since it was published in 1990. The reason the sequels weren't made is because I decided I wanted to work on other things, and nobody else wanted to do them, either.

Graphics

At the time Loom came out for the PC, it was pushing the edge of what could be done with graphics cards. Many people bought it primarily to show off what their fancy new graphics card and SoundBlaster could do.

Hebrew version

Loom was actually translated and released in Israel in a Hebrew version, which unfortunately did not include the 30-minute audio cassette.

Manual

Loom came with the "Book of Patterns", a beautiful booklet containing description and history, drawings and a place to write the notes, of many "drafts", meaning spells. Many of the drafts in the Book of Patterns do not appear in the game at all, such as Folding, Waterproofing, Blessing and Aphrodesia.

The manual has a passage that reads:

We believe that you buy games to be entertained, not to be whacked over the head every time you make a mistake. So we don't bring the game to a screeching halt when you poke your nose into a place you haven't visited before. Unlike conventional computer adventures, you won't find yourself accidentally stepping off a path, or dying because you've picked up a sharp object.

We think you'd prefer to solve the game's mysteries by exploring and discovering, not by dying a thousand deaths. We also think you like to spend your time involved in the story, not typing in synonyms until you stumble upon the computer's word for a certain object.

This is possibly a not-so-subtle jab at most Sierra adventure games published up until the time this passage was written.

Radio drama

The original Loom (not the CDROM re-release) was packed with a 30 minute drama on cassette, adding much depth to the story.

References

The three elders who appear in the beginning of the game are named after the three Moyras of the Greek mythology - Kloto, Athropos, and Lachesis.

References to the game

  • In the game Monkey Island, another game created by LucasArts, if you enter the bar at the beginning of the game one of the pirates is wearing a button with LOOM written on it. All he says is "Aye," but if you talk to him about Loom, he will give you a lengthy and rather blunt advertising plug. This is another example of LucasArts off the wall humor.

  • The seagull seen eating a seashell in Loom has made several appearances in later LucasArts games, such as The Secret of Monkey Island (on the dock outside the Scumm Bar's kitchen) and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (on the top of the pile of maps).

  • Loom was parodied in Space Quest IV by Sierra. Roger Wilco browses games at the store, among them are one called "Boom" with the following description:

The latest bomb from master storyteller Morrie Brianarty, BOOM is a post-holocaust adventure set in post-holocaust America after the holocaust. Neutron bombs have eradicated all life, leaving only YOU to wander through the wreckage. No other characters, no conflict, no puzzles, no chance of dying, and no interface make this the easiest-to-finish game yet! Just boot it up and watch it explode!

ScummVM

Still got a copy of Loom lying around somewhere? Have you been desperately wanting to play it, but can't get it to work on modern systems? If so, check out a program called ScummVM, an ingenious program that lets you run Loom and other classic LucasArts (as well as a few other) adventure games. It's free and 100% legal as long as you use an original copy of the game.

Secrets

There is a bonus cutscene that plays near the end of the game (when you return to the island). This scene only plays if you are playing at expert proficiency mode.

Soundtrack

Apparently an ultra-rare Japanese re-arrangement of the soundtrack was sold by Brian Moriarty on eBay for $238.03. According to the seller:

Here's the story behind this unusual disc: In late 1990, the Japanese record company Meldor approached Lucasfilm. They wanted to produce a pair of soundtrack CDs based on Lucasfilm games. The first disc was to be a collection of songs from Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken and a few other titles. The second disc was to be devoted entirely to Loom.

Engineers arrived from Japan, made copies of the game soundtracks and disappeared over the Pacific. Months passed. Eventually, a handful of sample CDs was delivered to the game designers at Lucasfilm. This auction is for one of those sample discs. No other copies are known to have escaped from Japan!

An enhanced soundtrack (with an added overture not heard in the original version) for Roland MT-32 was written by George Alistair Sanger (The Fatman). As of 1999 it could be downloaded from Lucasarts' website.

The music heard in Loom is actually taken from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Swan Lake" -- a pretty appropriate choice, considering the part swans have in the game's storyline. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, a romantic ballet composed in 1875 and 1876, consists of over 50 movements. As a shortcut for those keen on hearing orchestral renditions of the Loom music, here's a list of the in-game pieces (in order of appearance) and the movements they correspond to:

```

Loom Theme Act 1 No. 4: Pas de trois: I. Intrada: Allegro The Elders' Council Act 4 No. 27: Danses des petits cygnes: Moderato Crystalgard (The City of Glass) Act 2 No. 13: Danses des cygnes: IV. Allegro Moderato The Shepherds / The Dragon Cave Act 1 No. 6: Pas d'action: Andantino Quasi Moderato The Blacksmiths' Guild Act 1 No. 4: Pas de trois: IV. Moderato The Cathedral Act 1 No. 4: Pas de trois: II. Andante sostenuto The Loom (Finale) Act 2 No. 14: Scene: Moderato

```

Version differences

  • This is one of many wonderful early CD games where the audio is stored onto a Redbook audio track. If you drop the Loom CD into your CD player, you can listen to the dialogue and music. It's especially fun to hear all of the little one-liners from Bobbin back-to-back: "I guess that isn't a draft," "That thread's too high for me," "I like the view from the cliff better," ad nauseum... :)

  • The CD version of the game, in what was an apparently limited edition, included a much higher quality version of the original audio casette with (apart from the story itself) also included additional instrumental music. The dialogue varies quite a bit between the CD-ROM and original diskette versions of the game. It had to be rewritten in order to condense it enough to fit onto one CD-Audio track. During two sequence later in the game, blood and corpses were removed.

  • Loom was also ported to a Japanese computer called FM-Towns, it had the graphics of the VGA version and the dialogue of the EGA version (cue heavenly angels singing...). It was released in two languages--Japanese and English. Be warned, next to impossible to find. It version had all of the music from the 16-color version in CD quality (and able to play indefinitely). It had no voice acting, but all art from the disk version (including character close-ups) was in 256 colors and used in-game. The original dialogue from the disk version also remained. During one sequence later in the game, a puddle of blood was removed.

  • Loom had one console port: a PC Engine SuperCD (Turbo Duo in the U.S.) version. Although the PC Engine version was a CD based version, it isn't a port of the PC CD-ROM version. Instead, it's a port of the floppy version (all of the dialogue and everything is straight out of the floppy version, in fact) with enhanced CD music. There's no spoken dialogue anywhere, but that doesn't stop the fact that it was one of the better LucasArts console ports.

  • The 30-minute Audio Drama that was included on audio cassette was ALSO included on specially marked boxed-editions of the CD-ROM, as a second CD. The audio drama is presented in reference-quality stereo sound on the second disc.

  • The Windows CD version, to accommodate the size of the speech files, heavily rewrote and condensed the disk version's dialogue. Also, a lot of animation from the 16-color version was not used in this one (including the close-ups, which are still in the resource files on the CD.) In addition, music did not play over long periods like in the disk version, but only occurred briefly, during cutscenes.

  • The original 16-color diskette version of Loom had several lengthy music tracks from "Swan Lake" and closeups of the characters' faces in cutscenes.

  • There were actually two different 256-color versions: a VGA CD port for the FM Towns computer in Japan (in English and Japanese), and the more familiar CD version for Windows with full speech.

Awards

  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (issue #00) - #72 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
  • Computer Gaming World
    • September 1990 (Issue #74) – Special Award for Artistic Achievement
    • November 1996 (15th Anniversary Issue) - #81 in the "150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1991 - Best Graphics in 1990 (DOS version)
  • ST Format
    • Issue 01/1991 – #7 Best Adventure Game in 1990 (Atari ST)

Information also contributed by -Chris, Adam Baratz, Apogee IV, ArtfulGamer, ATMachine, Bizboz, Ingsoc, Mickey Gabel, NatsFan, PCGamer77, Satoshi Kunsai, Seer, Swordmaster, Tomer Gabel, Trixter, Unicorn Lynx, weregamer, willyum and Zovni

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Related Sites +

  • Hints for Loom
    These hints by Robert Norton will get you through the game without spoiling it for you.
  • LucasArts' Secret History
    A multi-article feature about the game by the LucasArts news site, The International House of Mojo. The feature article includes an unscored review, short responses written by members of the site's community, trivia, downloads and other such resources, a feature article arguing for an interactive fiction understanding of the game, the reflections of a few of the developers, and a narrative walkthrough.
  • ScummVM
    supports Loom under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.
  • Unused Graphics from the DOS CD version
    Images from the DOS CD version of Loom that are not used in the actual game but are still in the resource files.
  • Walkthrough for Loom
    All actions needed to complete Loom - step by step and all at once.
  • Wikipedia: Loom
    article in the open encyclopedia about the game

Identifiers +

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Eurythmic.

Windows added by Picard. Amiga added by POMAH. Linux added by click here to win an iPhone9SSSS. Atari ST added by ektoutie. Macintosh, CDTV, TurboGrafx CD added by Kabushi. Antstream added by lights out party. FM Towns added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Tomer Gabel, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Sciere, Hitman23, Zeppin, Macs Black, Petr Maruska, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added July 22nd, 1999. Last modified August 21st, 2023.