Loom is a graphical adventure game originally released in 1990. It was both developed and published by Lucasfilm Games (later called LucasArts) and was the fourth game to use the SCUMM adventure game engine. The project was led by Brian Moriarty, a former Infocom employee and author of the classic text adventures Wishbringer (1985), Trinity (1986) and Beyond Zork (1987). In 2009 the game was released for digital download on Steam content delivery system.
A departure from other LucasArts adventure games in many senses, Loom is based on a serious and complex fantasy story. With its experimental interface, it eschewed the traditional paradigm of graphical adventures, where puzzles usually involve interactions between the game character, the environment, and multiple items the character can take into their possession.
Loom 's gameplay centers instead around magical four-note tunes (drafts) that the protagonist, Bobbin Threadbare, can play on his distaff. Each draft is a spell that has an effect of a certain type, such as 'Opening' or 'Night Vision'. Drafts can be learned by observing an object that possess the qualities of the relevant draft; for example, examining a blade while it is being sharpened gives the player the 'Sharpening' draft.
Some drafts can be reversed by playing their notes backwards, so the 'Dye' draft played backwards becomes 'Bleach', while others, such as the 'Terror' draft, are palindromes and can not be reversed in this manner. The player's abilities increase over the course of the game, with more and more powerful drafts. At first, only the notes C, D and E are playable, but by the end of the game F, G, A, B, and high C ' are also available.
Loom was also the first game to follow the LucasArts Game Design Philosophy, which states that the player will never be killed or forced to restart the game and won't have to 'spend hours typing in synonyms until [they] stumble on the computer's word for a certain object' (see guess-the-verb).
The game can be played at three difficulty levels, each with slightly different hints. For example, the 'Expert' level does not mark the distaff and is played solely by ear. In the original version, the expert player is rewarded with a graphic sequence that does not appear in the two other levels. The DOS CD-ROM version, however, shows a much shorter version of this sequence to all players.
Drafts functioned in much the same way magic spells do in traditional adventure games, but with the caveat that Bobbin can use them as often as he pleases, so long as he is in possession of his distaff (for spinning the threads that make up the draft) and the object or creature being affected by the draft is susceptible to it.
Drafts take the form of musical note sequences on the C major scale. The note sequences of most drafts change each time the game is played, and thus have to be learned as part of the game. Bobbin is initially capable of spinning drafts with the notes C, D and E. Often, drafts can be heard by Bobbin, but he cannot repeat them as he lacks the necessary notes. As the game progresses, further notes are added in order, finally reaching C D E F G A B C'.
Bobbin learns the note sequences for drafts in several different ways, for example by reading books or listening to others spin. The sequence of notes used in the draft can be played in reverse, which often provides the opposite effect of the original draft.
The great Loom on Loom Island is capable of echoing the last draft spun in its presence, with the sole exception of any drafts Bobbin spins himself, which was a necessary game device in order to ensure the player does not become stuck by forgetting a recently heard draft. There are quite a few drafts Bobbin can learn.
This version of Loom was designed for personal computers with operating system MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System),
which was operating system developed by Microsoft in 1981. It was the most widely-used operating system in the first half of the 1990s. MS-DOS was supplied
with most of the IBM computers that purchased a license from Microsoft. After 1995, it was pushed out by a graphically more advanced system - Windows and
its development was ceased in 2000. At the
time of its greatest fame, several thousand games designed specifically for computers with this system were created. Today, its development is no longer continue
and for emulation the free DOSBox emulator is most often used. More information about MS-DOS operating system can be found
Available online emulators:
5 different online emulators are available for Loom. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Loom are summarized in the following table:
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