A Mind Forever Voyaging
Description official descriptions
The year is 2031 and the world is near the brink of economic collapse. To avoid this, the president comes up with a plan to stop the disaster - but before applying it, the long-term impacts on the world need to be validated. This is done with a simulation visited by the computer project PRISM, designed to be a true AI. The game starts when PRISM awakes from a simulation of his own, human life and is told that he is in fact the world's first sentient machine. At this point, the player takes control over PRISM.
A Mind Forever Voyaging is a text-based interactive fiction game. The player reads descriptions which detail the surroundings and communicates with the game by typing in commands. Most of the time is spent in simulation mode where the player repeatedly visits the town of Rockvil and needs to record situations of everyday or special activities going on. If the player has recorded enough, the game progresses and the simulation ten years ahead can be visited. However, the recording device has no unlimited capacity - when full, the player needs to exit the simulation and let the recordings review by the project leader. Then the current simulation can be simply started again from the start to find new situations - the same applies when dying.
Between simulations and toward the end there are situations outside the simulation, but overall the game is light on puzzle-solving and more about experiencing how said plan changes Rockvil and its people over time. Outside the simulation there are three more modes to enter: communications (switching to various video/audio units to examine other locations and people), library (various documents and other information to read) and interlace (communicating and giving orders to the own subsystems).
Credits (DOS version)
|Development tools for Interactive Fiction Plus|
|Various Wizardries on the Micro-Computers|
|Package Design by|
|Advice and Support|
Average score: 80% (based on 7 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 59 ratings with 5 reviews)
This game doesn't attempt to boggle your mind with puzzles, that's not what the game is about. This game puts you into an interactive world that changes through the ages. The plot is magnificent; you are PRISM, the world's first sentient computer who is instructed to see if the President's Plan For Renewed National Purpose is a worthy cause, to bring the nation out of a state of chaos.
I really liked this game, but if I had to complain, it'd be about the lack of mentioning the "record" function in the manual, it confused me a bit.
The Bottom Line
My favourite Infocom game ever, and an infinitely replayable game.
DOS · by xofdre (78) · 2002
A Mind Forever Voyaging (AMFV) is another text adventure from Infocom, but it's slightly different from the company's text adventures that I played during the years such as Zork. It is the first of the “Interactive Fiction Plus” line, meaning that the game has greater memory requirements. However, in my opinion, it also means that the mechanics are different and that there is one instance of graphics.
In the year 2031, a sentient machine, known as PRISM, has lived an artificial life. It wasn't until your twentieth birthday that you find out that you are actually a computer designed to enter a simulated world in the future, see how society will be influenced by “The Plan”, and report your findings to the government so they can determine if it is worth implementing. Under “The Plan”, the future scenario may be idyllic, but you sense that something is wrong; and as time passes, you feel that you should be doing more than just sightseeing.
You are given five modes which you can use, with the majority of the game spent in “Simulation Mode” where you witness the events around you and record them, and present these recordings in “Communications Mode”. The commands that you enter at the keyboard can be short or complex to the point where you can specify two actions you want to make.
In Sim Mode, you can select what year into the future you want to view (in increments of ten) and what's great is that the future is different every time you visit. In each of the simulations, you have an apartment in the peaceful city of Rockville, South Dakota. You also have a loving family and there is no threat to them. Within the next forty years, the same apartment is raided by the Border Security Force who are looking to stamp out illegal immigrants, one of your children is converted to the Church of God's Hand, and the entire city begins to deteriorate.
What's also neat about AMFV is the way this is the first Infocom game I have played to use copy protection. Every time you try to enter Sim Mode, you have to refer to the Class One Security Mode Access Decoder that comes in the box. The Access Decoder is a code wheel similar to that use with The Secret of Monkey Island, and the game cannot be completed without it. Also, I noticed one instance of graphics when you have to go through a test earlier in the game.
Each copy of AMFV comes with the game disks and manual, as well as Dakota Online Magazine, a full-color map of Rockvil, a pen, and the aforementioned Access Decoder. Inside Dakota Online is a story about how PRISM came to be, and a couple of reviewers on here have been bragging about how excellent this is. I also recommended reading this story before playing the game. If you have an illegal copy, you will miss the joys of having all these freebies.
The only thing I didn't like was waiting a long time for a new simulated year to become available, even after you completed the previous ones. I had to wait two whole days before I could complete 50-year sim. Infocom could have made sims available when certain conditions were met, and one of these could have been that you have to do one or more sims that had been given to you earlier.
The Bottom Line
A Mind Forever Voyaging is a more advanced Infocom adventure where you take control of a computer sent to witness the effects of “The Plan” in a simulated future, and report your findings to the government. It is one of the titles in the IF+ line, due to the fact that requires more memory and that the game mechanics are quite different. Also, like any Infocom game out there, AMFV comes complete with “freelies”, and these are worth having even if you don't have any plans to play this game.
Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2016
The only text adventure game I've ever liked; A Mind Forever Voyaging is not played, it's experienced. Infocom was famous for their statement regarding graphical games, which I quote here: "You'll never see Infocom's graphics on any computer screen. Because there's never been any computer built by man that could handle the images we produce. And there never will be. We draw our graphics from the limitless imagery of your imagination - a technology so powerful, it makes any picture that's ever come out of a screen look like graffiti by comparison." I think most gamers reading this would disagree, but there's no denying they made some genius games and this is perhaps their crowning achievements.
The plot has similarities to Stephen King's The Dead Zone. Taking place in 2031, A Mind Forever Voyaging depicts a dystopian future world where crime, war, pollution, poverty etc are going through the stratosphere. But a charismatic man in the US senate, Richard Ryder, is trying to change all that. Like the politician in King's novel, he proposes sweeping reforms to tax, employment and draft laws that will effectively turn the US into a police state. Understandably, there is a lot of controversy over Ryder's plan and more data is needed before anyone will green light it.
These events coincide with the creation of the world's first sentient computer, which happens to be you. You've lived 20 years of your life as an average suburban man, until one day a scientist walks into your life and explains that you are not in fact human but a computer program who is living in a simulated world in a computer lab. Since Ryder is pushing his plan so aggressively, you must travel into an alternate future (created through another simulation) to see if the plan would actually work. Once you've collected enough information, you must return to the real world and make a report to the scientists.
If you think that's a crazy idea for a game, you've got it in one. AMFV is very different from your usual text adventure. There are NO puzzles (except for a small one at the end) and very little dialogue. It's possible to die, but since the game takes place in a simulated world you can simply jack back in. This game is about exploring and observing. Are the people happy? Is the economy strong? Is the government abusing its power?
Since AMFV is experienced rather than played, it's kind of hard to call it a game at all. The term "interactive novel" may carry a lot of negative connotations these days but that's what this is. It's a captivating experience that defies comparison to almost any other game. One of the coolest things is that you can slip in and out of the same city at varying times in the future. Sure, maybe things look fine 10 years from now. But what about 20? 40? 80? In one of the alternate futures you visit there's been a nuclear war and you must fight off attacks from zombies and mutant dogs. I'm telling you, this game is weird.
But it's not a completely random excursion into dreamland either. There's a strong plot tying everything together and AMFV is quite politically sensitive next to other Infocom games, particularly in its criticism of right-wing conservatism. And the cynical way in which it looks at mankind's utopia dreams meant the game was billed as the world's first serious speculative fiction game, and regardless of that statement's truth there is a lot of similarity between AMFV and the hard SF novels of the 50s and 60s.
In the Infocom tradition you get a box of feelies (including a ballpoint pen, a fictional magazine from the future, and a color wheel allowing you to crack the game's copy protection). AMFV also comes with a professionally written novella detailing your character's "life" that is so good you could seriously publish it, never mind the crappy 800-word intros that get shoved in game manuals these days. "Less is more", who the hell came up with that idea?
Nothing, unless you want to get petty and complain about the game's complexity (there's a huge vocabulary of several thousand words and a lot of your time is spent typing in synonyms) and its often-dubious interactivity. Like I said, it's a long stretch to call AMFV a game.
The Bottom Line
A weird-ass adventure game, AMFV is almost one of a kind. Now regarded as one of the greatest games in the Infocom canon, but curiously underrated all the same, there will perhaps never be another game like AMFV.
What if AMFV had graphics? To be honest, I'm not sure whether I would have enjoyed it as much. Perhaps this is a game best experienced with your imagination.
DOS · by Maw (833) · 2007
1001 Video Games
A Mind Forever Voyaging appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
A Mind Forever Voyaging contained a copy of "Dakota Online Magazine"; a map of Rockvil, South Dakota; a yellow pen ("Quad Mutual Insurance"); and a Class One Security Decoder (used for copy protection). As of 2004 it was reported that the pen still is in working condition.
The man on the cover looks like a young Timothy Hutton.
- December 17, 1999 - 2nd Best Ending in PC Gaming History (Editors' Vote)
Related Sites +
A humorous review on PC Gamer
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All about the game with introduction, images, related links and comments area.
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High-quality scans of the grey box package and manual of A Mind Forever Voyaging.
- MobyGames ID: 94
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Brian Hirt.
Game added March 10th, 1999. Last modified August 13th, 2023.