Task: Play Infocom’s Planetfall on an Atari 8-bit Computer
Needed: Planetfall Disk or ATR file
Time: 1-2 hours
Infocom was king of the text-based adventure games in the 1980s. I played Zork I with a friend and was instantaneously hooked. He had already played Zork on his Apple II computer and helped me when I got stuck (remember the maze?). Planetfall was the first Infocom game I played through to the end all by myself without any help. I solved all the puzzles and recall feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Further, I really enjoyed the story line and the setting as I created it in my head. Planetfall was written by Steve Meretzky and, according to Wikipedia, was the eighth title developed by Infocom. It was released in 1983.
The plot is captured very nicely on Wikipedia. I won’t repeat the details here. Basically, you sign up for exciting adventures in space and end up with the unflattering duty of cleaning the ship. Something happens to the ship and you end up in an escape pod headed for the surface of a strange planet. You find a deserted building and start the process of trying to escape. The game is great fun!
I highly recommend this Infocom game. My other favorites, which I also played all the way through, is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy based on the famous book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and then the game when I was in high school. I will cover this one in a separate post.
I still have my original Planetfall disks but not the box. I recently picked up a boxed version in very nice condition with the disk and all the documentation and fun items included (see photo below). This set me back $90 not including shipping. I don’t normally drop this much on Atari items. I made an exception for this one since I so thoroughly enjoyed this game. Boxed Infocom games in good condition typically go for $50 to $150 or more on eBay. The ones with interesting boxes can go for more if they are not damaged. Expensive!
The original boxed version of Planetfall will set you back $50 to $150 on eBay. They do come up for sale from time to time. The good news is that the ATR files (disk side A and B) are available for download from Atari Mania along with the documentation. This will allow you to play on an emulator or burn your own disks for play on original hardware.
If you love Infocom games you will love the Eaten by a Grue podcast hosted by Kay Savetz and Carrington Vanston. They did a wonderful epsiode on Planetfall. Worth checking out! They cover a bunch of Infocom games and other text adventures.