Wishbringer was the 16th game released by interactive fiction pioneers Infocom. It was designed to be an "Introductory" level adventure game. It takes place in the town of Festeron (which was first mentioned in the Zork I booklet "The Great Underground Empire: A History").
Game designer/programmer (or as Infocom called it, "implementor", or "imp") Brian Moriarty had been working on the technical side of the company, including creating the split-screen sonar display in Seastalker. His real goal, however, was to become an "imp". He got his chance when Infocom decided that it needed an "Introductory" level adventure that was set in the same universe as the popular Zork trilogy, and that was a little tougher than the "Junior" level difficulty of Seastalker. (Moonmist is Infocom's only other game classified as "Introductory" level difficulty.)
Seastalker had received some criticism for what was thought to be excessive hand-holding of the player. In Wishbringer, the Wishbringer stone can be used to resolve puzzles, but is not needed to complete the game. Thus, less experienced players can fall back on the Wishbringer when they get stuck, and more experienced players can give themselves a greater challenge by opting not to use it.
The player takes the part of the local postman who is sent to deliver a letter to the proprietor of "Ye Olde Magick Shoppe" in North Festeron. When the letter is delivered, Festeron becomes Witchville, a twisted and dark version of the town. The player must find the magical stone "Wishbringer" and stop The Evil One from taking over Festeron and the whole world.
As had become traditional for Infocom, Wishbringer 's packaging contained collectibles (or, as they were referred to, "feelies") to help set the mood of the game. Wishbringer's "feelies" were:
- A 10-page-booklet called "The Legend of Wishbringer", providing the Wishbringer stone's backstory and veiled hints. (This is presented as a library book borrowed from the Festeron Public Library, as is the "Legendary Ghosts of Cornwall" booklet in Moonmist).
- The letter from the "Evil One" that you carry at the beginning of the game, along with envelope.
- A letter from the postmaster and your boss, Mr. Crisp, that accompanies the above letter.
- A map of Festeron.
- A plastic, glow-in-the-dark replica of the Wishbringer stone. This is now a very sought-after collectible.