Suspended

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Release 7: April 19, 1983
Release 8: May 21, 1983
Release 8: May 21, 1984

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Suspended: A Cryogenic Nightmare is an interactive fiction computer game written by Michael Berlyn and published by Infocom in 1983. Like most Infocom titles, it was ported to most popular personal computers of the day, such as the Apple II, PC, Atari ST and Commodore 64. It was Infocom's sixth game.

Contents

Background

The player's character has been embedded within a facility that controls vital systems, such as moving public transportation belts and weather control, for an Earth-settled planet called Contra. During the player's five-hundred-year tenure, the player would normally be kept in stasis while his sleeping mind serves as the Central Mentality for the largely self-maintaining systems. As the game opens, however, he is awakened by severe error messages; something is going wrong. The facility has suffered catastrophic damage from an earthquake, and the Filtering Computers are shutting down or becoming dangerously unstable. The inhabitants of the city assume that the Central Mentality has gone insane and is purposely harming the city, as a previous CM had done. The player's task is to repair the damage and restore the systems to normal states before a crew arrives at the facility to "disconnect" his mind, killing him, to be replaced with a clone.

Gameplay

Suspended takes a novel approach in its game mechanics; rather than being free to move about and interact with the game world directly, the player's character spends the entire game in a state of suspended animation (hence the title) and can only interact by controlling the actions of a number of robot surrogates. Each robot has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and describes the same rooms and objects in completely different terms based upon those specializations. The robots are:

  • Iris - The only robot with visual sensors, Iris can provide visual descriptions of locations and objects. As the game begins, however, Iris has suffered a burnt-out microchip and cannot see. Iris is confined to the area surrounding the Central Chamber.
  • Whiz - The most technical robot, Whiz is used mainly for interfacing with a central library computer for historical and technical information.
  • Waldo - The most capable physical manipulator, with several limbs for grasping and holding objects. Waldo perceives the world using sonar. (The term "Waldo" was originally coined by Robert A. Heinlein to describe teleoperated robots.)
  • Auda - Auda is equipped with sensitive audio receptors and can provide information on sounds and vibrations.
  • Poet - A diagnostic robot, Poet can sense the flow of electricity; he tends to communicate in somewhat cryptic language.
  • Sensa - Sensa is specialized for the detection of magnetic and photon emissions.

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