Dolphin, get the coconut.

Yeah, not the best of images to look at...

I don't have anywhere near the amount of knowledge on text adventures as I do on video games that have graphics - and that's not exactly encyclopaedic in the first place. What that basically means is that Trinity is completely new to me, I have no idea what it's about and I will most likely not get very far in it.

But let's make sure.

Not that you can tell, but the walkthrough is on the left...


As expected, I didn't get off to the best of starts. To be fair to Trinity, I found it more approachable than other text adventures. There are all kinds of inputs that it understands and some can lead to humorous situations and remarks.

You start off in Kensington Gardens, a tourist on his last day in London. You can wander around your immediate vicinity and are sort of funnelled into the right direction. There's not much to distract you from the story, but you're still tasked to work out how to make progress before things turn bad.

By 'things turn bad' I mean 'a nuclear missile lands on your head kicking off World War III'. You don't want that, and nor does a strange roadrunner, beckoning you into a glowing white door suspended in thin air. I've absolutely love to join you, Roadrunner, but I can't get to you because I can't figure out how to get across this grass - grass which is alive to the point of dumping you straight back onto the path you came from. The fantasy elements in Trinity are there from the start.

So, I bumbled around and got nowhere, but the story intrigued me and I took to the nearest walkthrough to see what was what.

Still not the best images...

Fun Times

With the exact inputs needed to make every step count, I was able to see what the story of Trinity is all about. Even when listening to the text read aloud (thank you, WinFrotz), and having read a bit of background beforehand, I still wasn't quite sure just which part of the 'go back in time to stop the development of nuclear weapons' plot I was in at any given point.

Things get weird and stay weird, tasking you with solving a variety of puzzles, including basic navigation, fetch quests and the like, before coming back into the realm of realism and having you wander around the New Mexico test site of the Trinity nuclear test, looking for the means to thwart its detonation.

In some places you'll be able to see the game go all meta. You can find a book that isn't just about you, but about what you've done in the last few turns, for example. The writing isn't as in depth as some of the other text adventures we've seen, but is nevertheless great at what it does.

Final Word

But if you're going to be headbutting the wall trying to think of the solution to a puzzle, are you going to care how good the writing is? How do you get across the grass at the beginning of the game? You grab a pram from another location, knock an umbrella out of a tree with a football, wait for the wind to come from the right direction, sit in the pram, open the umbrella and hang on. Hands up who would have thought of that.

I understand that these kinds of games lend themselves to certain kinds of people more than others, and as much as I can admire the writing, I think by this point it's safe to say that the gameplay is not for me. Which is sad, because I think at one point, after one of these games, I mentioned that I wanted to make one myself... Probably not going to happen...

Trinity can feel a little bit like a grind, even following a guide, but the story it wanted to present is certainly an original one, so if hunting for the right input or struggling to map the world around you is your thing, then fire up this text adventure and have a blast.

I've just made a nuclear weapon joke. What have I become?

Fun Facts

Trinity included 'feelies' like many games of the day, which included a short comic book called 'The Illustrated Story of the Atom Bomb'. Hidden in its panels were clues to help you in the game. I of course didn't see them until pointed out to me, but still, they're there.

Trinity, developed by Infocom, first released in 1986.
Version played: MS-DOS, 1986, via emulation.