Although it's not widely realized, Wishbringer takes place in the Zork/Enchanter universe. The Festeron Town Library, where the Legend of Wishbringer book is checked out from is also the source of some of the documentation found in the Zork Trilogy. In Wishbringer, you begin as a mail clerk in the Festeron Post Office, who is sent to deliver a letter to the Magick Shoppe at the other end of town. When you get there, you discover that the shop owners' cat is being held by the Evil One in exchange for the magic Wishbringer stone.
When you leave the Shoppe you discover that the old woman has slipped you the stone, and that the town of Festeron has changed into a dark caricature of itself called Witchville. As you explore, you find that the former items and occupants of the town have transformed into twisted alter egos of themselves (the effect is much like that of classic Star Trek's "Mirror, Mirror" episode). Your mission is to defeat the Evil One and your boss, Mr. Crisp, and to transform the town back into Festeron, with the help of the Wishbringer stone, some friendly platypii, and your own raw wits.
Wishbringer's puzzles are generally very easy, and most of them have multiple solutions, being solvable either through reasoning, or using the Wishbringer stone to wish for some sort of aid. But if you rely too much on the wishes, you may fail to acquire items that you may need to solve later puzzles. In online conferences author Brian Moriarty has said that because of this, the moral of the story is that frivolous wishing can be a bad thing.
The atmosphere wavers between being comic and sinister, and is difficult to classify. At times it seems almost as though it is trying to be a children's game, what with having the plot revolve around a kidnapped cat, and supplying such fanciful images as talking platypii, and disembodied boots that patrol the town.
Wishbringer was one of the 5 older titles chosen to be reissued in a bare bones Solid Gold edition with onscreen hints. This was probably purely to extend its marketing cycle, as it is one of the Infocom games that least needed onscreen hints. Indeed, the "wish for advice" function of the Wishbringer stone already partially fulfilled this role. Since the Solid Gold editions had greatly reduced documentation, the Legend of Wishbringer book was deleted from the packaging and incorporated into the program itself, appearing as a storybook in your starting inventory.
Wishbringer was also one of the books chosen to be novelized in Avon's Infocom books series. The novelization of Wishbringer, written by Craig Shaw Gardner, author of the Batman Returns novelization (among others) deals with a different transformation of the town, and a different postman named Simon, who deals with the problem in a different way than in the game. Though very well written in points, and one of Avon's better Infocom books, the plot is not always completely consistent. For example, at one point we are told that the Evil One needed to physically acquire the stone to make the transformation permanent, and that if no one had it that that it would be temporary. Later, we are told contrarily the Magick Shoppe owner must herself possess the stone in order to prevent the transformation from being permanent. Since she had voluntarily let the stone out of her possession in the first place, this makes her look either very stupid, or very confused, or both.
Wishbringer is generally a very fondly remembered game, even by those who feel moved to apologize for the ease of the puzzles.
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