Anchorhead (video game)
Michael S. Gentry
Michael S. Gentry
version= Release 5 / Serial number 990206
Interactive Fiction, Adventure, Horror
"Anchorhead" is the name of a 1998
interactive fiction computer gameby Michael S. Gentry. It is loosely based on the Cthulhu mythos. "Anchorhead" takes place in a New Englandtown by the same name that bears a resemblance to Innsmouth, Arkham, and other fictional towns created by H. P. Lovecraft.
The game is divided into days, with the first two corresponding to whole days and the third day divided up into a number of segments. For the most part there is no time limit; each day ends when the player has completed a required task or tasks. Only towards the end does the game impose constraints on the number of turns a player can take to solve the necessary puzzles. "Anchorhead" is unusual in that its protagonist is female. The player plays the part of the wife of a
professorand aspiring author who has moved to the town to take possession of his ancestral family home.
"Anchorhead" was hailed by critics and players as one of the best interactive fiction games available due to its complex and intricate backstory, well-written dialogue and descriptions, and absence of bugs (or even spelling errors). It won a number of awards after its release, including the 1998
XYZZY Award for Best Setting(it was a finalist for virtually every other Xyzzy awardthat year). [cite web | url=http://www.webcitation.org/5SOAxWG0D | title=Xyzzy Awards|accessdate = 2007-10-06 ] As of October 6 2007, "Anchorhead" is the highest rated game with more than one vote at "Interactive Fiction Ratings". [cite web | url = http://www.webcitation.org/5SOAqU8e7 | title = IF Rating Stats | accessdate = 2007-10-06 ]
The protagonist begins the game exploring her new home and the town and meeting Anchorhead's odd denizens while her husband, Michael, researches his family, the Verlacs of Anchorhead. As time passes, Michael becomes more obsessed and withdrawn into his research. The protagonist begins her own investigation of her husband's family and learns that the Verlacs are hereditary high priests of a demonic cult that dominates the town. Croesus Verlac, Michael's eighteenth-century ancestor, impregnated his own daughter and used sorcery to transfer his consciousness into her baby's body at the moment of his own death, beginning an obscene "family tradition" that spanned generations. Upon further investigation, she learns that the town sits on a focal point where, through the correct ritual, a gate can be opened to the Womb of Nephilim. Eventually it becomes evident that Croesus's soul, disembodied since the
suicideof its last direct-line descendant, now seeks to inhabit Michael's body. Worse yet, Croesus's followers intend to use a sophisticated optical device to summon a Great Old Onewhose home, a comet, is approaching a flyby with Earth. The protagonist must uncover the secrets of the decaying town, escape from an increasingly dangerous series of traps, stop the insane townspeople from bringing a vengeful being of godlike power to earth, and save her husband by banishing Croesus to the Womb of Nephilim.
On May 4, 2006,
Michael Gentry[http://mikegentry.livejournal.com/100470.html announced] a rewrite of "Anchorhead" in Inform 7 preliminarily titled "Anchorhead: the Director's Cut Special Edition".
A playable demo of this edition was released on December 15, 2006. [http://mikegentry.livejournal.com/125355.html]
* [http://baf.wurb.com/if/game/17 Anchorhead at Baf's Guide to the IF Archive] provides a brief review, links to other reviews, notes on awards won, and downloads of the game itself and related files off the Interactive Fiction Archive.
* [http://ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXgamesXzcode.html Interactive Fiction archive] provides the game for download.
* [http://www.edromia.com/ Edromia] is the author's web site.
*" [http://www.lcc.gatech.edu/~mateas/publications/NelsonMateasAIIDE05.pdf Search-Based Drama Management in the Interactive Fiction Anchorhead] " is a research paper describing work on programmatically organizing drama in a game. They modified Anchorhead as part of their experiments.
* [http://mikegentry.livejournal.com/tag/interactive+fiction Xtreme! Gentrification] The "interactive fiction" section of the author's blog. Here he discusses his work on the Anchorhead: Special Edition.
*" [http://www.game-couch.com/features/2006/12/interview_mike_gentry Interview: Mike Gentry] " by Terry at Game Couch about Anchorhead: Special Edition.
* [http://www.highprogrammer.com/alan/games/video/ifmaps/ Interactive Fiction Maps] contains high-quality maps for several IF games, including Anchorhead
* [http://www.ministryofpeace.com/if-review/reviews/20030228.html IF-review] - Review by
Interactive Fictionauthor Emily Short
* [http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/anchorhead/reviews/reviewerId,3413/ Mobygames] - Review by Terrence Bosky includes screenshots
* [http://www.quandaryland.com/jsp/dispArticle.jsp?index=265 Quandary] - Review by Karen Tyers
* [http://brasslantern.org/reviews/text/anchorheadkulczycki.html Brass Lantern] - Review by Gregory W. Kulczycki
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