Trinity

Tagged: Game

Videogame (1986). Infocom. Designed by Brian Moriarty. Platforms: Amiga, AppleII, AtariST, C128, DOS, Mac.

Trinity is a text Adventure that combines elements of magic realism, children's fantasy and science fiction, notably Time Travel with an overriding concern with nuclear weapons. The player begins the game as an American tourist in London, where reality seems subtly out of joint. A further breakdown in normality is announced by the appearance of an incoming Soviet nuclear missile, at which point time begins to slow down. With some difficulty. the player can escape ground zero through a mysterious door which leads to a whimsical world between worlds, where space and time are oddly distorted. This world contains other doors, each opening on the site of a historically significant nuclear detonation (including one in the game's future), all of which are frozen in time shortly before the explosion occurs.

Trinity is centrally concerned with the destruction of innocence by atomic weapons; it makes many allusions to British children's literature, notably J M Barrie's The Little White Bird (1901), some in the form of quotations overlaid on the game text. Nuclear annihilation is presented as a possibly inevitable consequence of human nature and scientific progress. At the end of the game, the player can enter the door leading to the Trinity site in New Mexico where the first atomic test was performed, with the intention of disabling the test device. In the event, however, it is only possible to prevent a far greater explosion than historically occurred, maintaining the reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At this point, players are transported back to the beginning of the game; trapped in a causal loop, they are ultimately permitted only to observe history, not to change it.

Structurally, the game is remarkable for the degree to which its puzzles are integrated with its message. At one point the player must kill a small animal as a means towards the end of reaching the Trinity site and attempting to change what happened there. This act intentionally puts the player in something of the same moral position as that of the scientists who built the Trinity bomb as a way of ensuring that Nazi Germany would not win the Second World War with atomic weapons. Such a successful fusion of the puzzle form with serious artistic intent has rarely been achieved in the history of text adventures. [NT]

see also: Time Loop.

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