Back in the days of the ZX Spectrum (which regular readers will have gathered by now was the computer I started-out playing games on) I only remember spending a lot of time on one text adventure. I played others, I remember playing The Hobbit a couple of times and there was another one called Kentilla which involved a lot of fighting with creatures called Urga-mauls one of whom had a “nasty knife” and a sword that magically appeared in your hand when you said it’s name; I also spent a little time with Sherlock, a buggy game based on the famous detective (and which had a character who called you a “bloody snob”, I was shocked!).
The only text adventure I can recall spending a lot of time with, though, was Quest for the Golden Eggcup, a wonderfully silly fantasy game by some chaps called Smart Egg Software wherein you were sent to the afterlife to retrieve the eggcup of the title. I spent ages on it, found two of the three eggcups needed and only found out where the third one was in the age of the internet when I could finally read a solution (and it was a bugger of a sneaky puzzle too). If we’re going to be honest, it also pretty-much made me love the whole text-adventure genre which is why I returned to it (now being called “interactive fiction”) in the late 1990s.
And the weird thing is, apart from a few modern games, I mostly found myself going back to the old-school stuff. I discovered another Smart Egg game that had passed me by called Rigel’s Revenge and it remains one of my favourite IF games (even though I only got halfway through it) as well as Rainbird’s terrific The Pawn and… Zork
Yes, Zork. Or Dungeon as it’s sometimes called. This crusty old 1979 treasure-hunt game has been bugging me since I first played it in around 1997 and, having emailed the z-code version to a friend who I’m introducing to IF, I thought I’d load it into my interpreter and give it a go…
And I’m hooked all over again. Please, won’t someone give me a hint about that stupid bucket at the bottom of the well, or the cube, or the curtain of light or…argh!
Alternatively, play some of the games I’ve handily provided links to above which seems to be the point of this rather rambling post…
(note: Rigel’s Revenge is in two parts so you need a Spectrum emulator that can save-out data as actual files to play it. Them was the times, I’m afraid. And it’s worth it)