James Clavell's Shogun

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How to play James Clavell's Shogun

Each game uses different controls, most DOS games use the keyboard arrows. Some will use the mouse.

James Clavell's Shogun Description

James Clavell's Shōgun is an interactive fiction computer game written by Dave Lebling and released by Infocom in 1989. Like most of Infocom's games, it was released for several popular computer platforms of the time, such as the Apple II and PC. As the title indicates, the game is based on the book Shōgun by James Clavell. It is Infocom's thirty-third game.

The game reproduces many of the novel's "scenes", few of which are interconnected in any way. The player assumes the role of John Blackthorne, Pilot-Major of the Dutch trading ship Erasmus. During a voyage in the Pacific Ocean in the year 1600, the Erasmus is shipwrecked in Japan. Blackthorne must survive in a land where every custom is as unfamiliar to him as the language. After learning some of the society's ways, he is drawn into a political struggle between warlords and falls in love with a Japanese woman. Eventually he embraces Japanese life and is honored as a samurai.

By 1989, Infocom no longer categorized its games according to estimated difficulty level. Shogun could be said to fall anywhere from Infocom's former "Standard" level to "Expert". Players who are intimately familiar with the novel, of course, may find the game to be much easier than those who have not read the book.

Shogun features several illustrations in the style of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcuts. While graphics of any kind were disdained in Infocom's early years, many of their final games included at least incidental illustrations and images.

In sharp contrast to Douglas Adams' close work with Steve Meretzky on Infocom's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game, James Clavell contributed little to the design of the game, although he and Dave Lebling met several times. He treated the game as a traditional licensing agreement rather than a collaboration. Consequently, the game contains many scenes from the novel presented verbatim or made thinly interactive.

Dave Lebling has said that he considers Shogun the worst game he was ever responsible for overall, although he is proud of several of the timing puzzles.

James Clavell's Shogun - additional information

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James Clavells Shogun DOS Cover Art