Trinity

aka: Trinity - An Interactive Fantasy, Trinity: The Basic Power of the Universe has been unleashed.
Moby ID: 477
Commodore 128 Specs
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Description official descriptions

Trinity is a text adventure game, its events beginning in the near future. The player character finds himself trapped in the London Kensington Gardens, as hordes of nannies mysteriously block the exit. To make matters worse, a Soviet nuclear missile is about to fall. The protagonist finds a strange door and steps through it. The bizarre location outside of space and time contains other doors, each leading to a site where a historical or a fictional nuclear explosion has taken place. The player has to interact with the environment and solve puzzles to change the course of history before traveling to the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, and affecting the events of the fateful Trinity Test.

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Screenshots

Credits (DOS version)

30 People (25 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Original Concept
Project Manager
Packaging
Copywriter
Illustrator
Photography
Inner Cover
Sundial
Map & Crane
Production Coordinator
Playtesting
Microcomputer Interpreters
Interactive Fiction Plus(TM) Development System
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 9 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 35 ratings with 4 reviews)

Eerie, baroque game with nasty difficulty level

The Good
Trinity is sideways Infocom storytelling at its best. The prologue in Kensington Gardens is lovely and sad: just as you leave a world populated by nannies and children, a white shape drops out of the sky...(this is not a spoiler)

The world of Trinity itself is a baroque turn down the rabbit hole. More so than in any other Infocom title, the possibilities of textual description and anti-logical puzzle resolution are given full rein. If Trinity was a book, it would be an experimental novel; a movie, well, there'd be no order to the scenes and your head would feel strange after ten minutes in the the cinema...

The Bad
To someone with limited time and stamina, some of Trinity's puzzles are a little TOO anti-logical. It's a very tough cookie of a game, far more so than any of the Zork series. As with almost all text games, it's possible to get extremely stuck and frustrated while navigating Trinity's set of puzzles. And the solutions to some of the problems will have you screaming in rage.



The Bottom Line
Trinity is not for the weak. Anyone in this day and age who wants to get into text adventures is strongly recommended to cut their teeth on something more accessible such as Zork, HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

Having said that, Trinity is a very satisfying game to work through and complete. In its political themes and near-modern setting it evokes an unusual range of feeling for a computer game, while the internal "logic" of the world is as beautiful and difficult as complex calculus.

One of the best.

DOS · by Colin Rowsell (43) · 2002

This one is hard.

The Good
Nice "present day" feel for the main part of the game, and I also enjoyed some of the more surreal images/scenes.

The Bad
Puzzles are very difficult, and some still have me stumped. The gameplay also seems to be non-linear, but it's difficult to tell if it is actually supposed to be that way or if you are just wasting time pursuing one course of action when you can't solve it until you complete another first.

The Bottom Line
Great if you like a challenge. Definitely not for beginners!

DOS · by Mirrorshades2k (274) · 2000

Among the most unique and interesting works of interactive fiction

The Good
When those who play graphic adventure games think of Brian Moriarty, they probably connect him with LucasArts’ “Loom”. However, before writing “Loom” he wrote “Trinity”, a text adventure or interactive fiction for Infocom. “Trinity”, named for the Trinity nuclear test in New Mexico, is one of the most unique games in the Infocom canon.

Released in 1986 and set in the context of the Cold War, the player is a tourist in London when nuclear warfare erupts. The player must escape the destruction of London and visit an unorthodox combination of a fantasy world and events from the history of the atomic bomb. Places in the game are based on inspiration from children’s works including “Mary Poppins”, “The Little White Bird” and “Alice in Wonderland”.

The anomalous world of “Trinity”, with its skillful blend of fantasy and reality, proves to be an interesting one. Despite the relatively sparse amount of NPC interaction, the author manages to keep the story of “Trinity” engaging throughout the game’s duration with the settings the player visits. Both fantasy and historical settings are well-constructed through prose and the game has a literary quality. Another notable point about the game is the author’s appropriate and intriguing use of select quotations and narration during gameplay.

The manual and other quality items (“feelies”) included in the “Trinity” game box provide critical background information for playing and understanding the game. Among these items is a booklet titled “The Illustrated Manual of the Atomic Bomb”, which provides a humorous and sardonic look at the history of the atomic bomb and context for the game.

The puzzles in “Trinity” are generally absorbing and satisfying to solve. Solving a lot of the puzzles is contingent on understanding the strange logic of the game’s world, but generally this was not a problem. The unconventional puzzles and settings of “Trinity” made it worth playing and put it among the most memorable works of interactive fiction.

The Bad
Although the puzzles in “Trinity” are generally reasonable, the game still proves incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, this difficulty stems from reasons other than clever puzzle design. One aspect of the game’s difficulty is that it is easy to miss or leave behind critical items at certain points in the game and become irrevocably stuck. The player has a limited inventory capacity in “Trinity”, so it is often difficult to know which items to carry at a given point in the game in order not to become stuck. Certain sequences only allow the player one chance to complete them, which can be fatal if the player has not saved a game recently. Also, while the game’s parser is generally responsible to a good range of player input, some puzzles hinge on finding the right phrase to give to the parser.

The episodic nature of the plot of “Trinity” can be frustrating because it is often not clear where the player should visit next. At places it is also difficult to navigate “Trinity” because some rooms are difficult to find since they are not explicitly mentioned in the description of a connecting room. With all these factors contributing to the difficulty of “Trinity”, it can be overwhelming. Even experienced adventure gamers will likely need clues or a walkthrough to complete the game.

Another note about the story of “Trinity” is that the author never gives a cohesive explanation of why the player visits the locations they do and why events occur as they do. This has the appeal of allowing the player to draw their own conclusions, but it also unfortunately means that they are not given an overarching explanation for what they have encountered.

The Bottom Line
“Trinity” ranks among the most unique and interesting works of interactive fiction. Its mixture of fantasy, history and children’s literature proves a compelling combination. The puzzles in “Trinity” are generally well-written, but overall the game is extremely difficult. This is due to unfortunate factors such as the ease of leaving behind critical items or failing a sequence that can only be attempted once. The lack of a clear overall direction in the game can also prove frustrating.

The bizarre world of “Trinity” will not appeal to everyone. Due to this and the game’s difficulty, “Trinity” is probably best avoided by those new to interactive fiction. However, experienced interactive fiction players are encouraged to try “Trinity” at least once.

DOS · by Ingold (119) · 2009

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

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

Credits

In most Infocom games, the credits are hidden somewhere in the game. In Trinity, go see the old woman and type Ask the old woman about Trinity to see the complete credits.

Development

Designer Brian Moriarty about what he wanted to achieve with the game (Computer Gaming World #32, November 1986):

I wanted people, when playing the game, to feel their helplessness. Because that's what I felt when I was reading and talking to these people and seeing these places. You could just feel the weight of history on you. Going to Trinity site and being there and realizing what this place means. I just wanted people to feel that weight on them when playing the game. Have it crush them in the end, because that's what I got out of my studies and research.

Extras

(From Infocom Home Page fan site)

The game contained a comic "The Illustrated History of the Atom Bomb", a map of the Trinity site, a cardboard DIY sundial, and instructions for folding an origami crane.

Size

Trinity's source code is 1.32 MByte big, more than three times the size of Brian Moriarty's first Infocom game, Wishbringer (400 KByte).

Source: Happy Computer magazine #8/86

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #120 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • Happy Computer
    • 1986 - Runner-up as Adventure Game of the Year

Information also contributed by -Chris and Belboz

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tony Van.

Commodore 128 added by Corn Popper. Apple II added by Droog. Amiga, Macintosh added by Terok Nor. Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Pseudo_Intellectual, mo , formercontrib, c64fan, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added November 26, 1999. Last modified April 9, 2024.