• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

Planetfall is an Interactive Fiction game published by Infocom in 1983. It is Steve Meretzky's first game. The plot has the player crashlanding on an alien planet and exploring with the assistance of a Robot Buddy named Floyd.

It was followed in 1987 by a sequel, Stationfall.

The games are still fondly remembered for their humor and storytelling, and Floyd is commonly cited as a notable early example of a computer game NPC not made of 100% cardboard.

Tropes used in Planetfall include:

  • Continuity Nod: As Floyd lays dying, you sing his favorite song to him -- "The Ballad of the Starcrossed Miner". It's a blatant reference to the events of Starcross as humanity's discovery of FTL travel, setting it earlier in the Planetfall/Stationfall continuity.
    • Since Starcross itself has a Continuity Nod to Zork (there are grues in the onboard zoo, that were noted as having been originally captured on a 'primitive planet'), that ties multiple Infocom games together into one overarcing franchise. Since the ending of the Enchanter Trilogy is a The Magic Goes Away scenario, that even covers the lack of magic in the Starcross/Planetfall continuity.
  • Controllable Helplessness: If you do something wrong early in the game and get your overzealous superior officer mad enough at you, he'll throw you in the Brig, where you can continue to perform actions but none of them will get you anywhere. (Typing 'escape' tells you that 'Houdini himself would be stumped by this cell'.)
  • Cute Machines: Floyd is one of the earliest examples in videogame history.
  • Disney Death: Floyd makes a moving Heroic Sacrifice, but at the end of the game -- if you get the good ending -- it's revealed he can be repaired.
  • Gesundheit: The game's response if you type "Zork".
  • Golden Ending: Planetfall has three endings: one where you fail to save the planet and it is doomed to plunge into the sun; another where you save the planet but fail to fix the communication system or the planetary defense system and therefore are stuck there (but given the consolation prize of an unlimited bank account and a home in the country); and the best ending, where not only is the planet saved and you are found by the Stellar Patrol, but all the loose ends are tied up.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle:
    • Picking up too many items causes the item you last tried to pick up, as well as a random item from your inventory, to go tumbling to the floor. If you try to pick them up again without doing something with the situation, it'll just happen all over again -- with another item.
    • Hauling a magnetic object around for too long while also carrying a magnetic ID card will blank the latter, rendering the game unwinnable.
  • Late to the Party: The plot involves finding out what happened to the people on the planet you've made landfall on.
  • Robot Buddy: Floyd
  • Save Scumming: Parodied; whenever you save the game with Floyd around, he says "Oh boy! Are we going to try something dangerous now?"
  • Stalked by the Bell: If you stick around on the planet too long (8 days in-game time), the Disease will get you.
  • Stealth Sequel: Planetfall has a few references to Infocom's previous sci-fi work Starcross that imply it is set within the same universe several centuries later.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • Entering the rad labs turns the game unwinnable. That's fair, since the game explicitly tells you not to do so. But it also taunts you by having important-looking items in there. These items could be useful, but you won't live long enough to use them.
    • Keeping a magnet close to any of your cards longer than absolutely necessary will blank the cards without warning.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Planetfall notoriously had a lack-of-food timer and a lack-of-sleep timer. There's also a disease in the game, with the symptoms being an increased need for food and sleep, making the timers even shorter.

Stationfall provides examples of:

  • Brainwashed and Crazy/Homicide Machines: The pyramid slowly turns all machinery, intelligent or not, against their creators. And that includes your robot buddy, Floyd.
  • Character Select Forcing: You are given a choice of three robot companions: your plucky robot buddy Floyd from the previous game, a tank-like utility robot, and a secretarybot. Choosing the utility robot results in instant death, and the secretarybot can't copilot the shuttle that is the only means of reaching 95% of the game.
  • Ghost Ship: The plot involves exploring an empty space station and discovering why it's empty.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle:
    • Hauling a magnetic object around for too long while also carrying a magnetic ID card will blank the latter, rendering the game unwinnable.
    • The slowly evaporating explosive... which would invisibly evaporate if you have it inside a container.
  • Obstructive Bureaucracy: The Stellar Patrol administers an enormous galaxy-wide bureaucracy. Your mission at the start of Stationfall is to pick up a supply of Request for Stellar Patrol Issue Regulation Black Form Binders Request Form Forms.
  • Robot Buddy: Floyd
  • Stalked by the Bell: There isn't enough food around to last you more than a few days, as the food dispensers seem to be more interested in killing you. If you manage to ration your food long enough to last four days, the station explodes anyway.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • It feels like the boots will scramble your card in a single turn.
    • Putting the explosive in the thermos doesn't stop that item from evaporating; it merely slows it down by a factor of four while silencing the messages you would otherwise get about it. This is no fun if you decide to stash your safecracker tools in one location one by one as you get them; when you've got them all some hundred turns later, you'll find out that one thing has silently evaporated on you.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Stationfall has a lack-of-food timer, requiring the player character to eat every hour. Lampshaded with the explanation that highly-processed future food just isn't very nutritious. The supply of food is also very limited.