by Will MoczarskiMed Systems Marathon Overview – Catch up here!:
(a) 1980 Summary
(b) Reality Ends
(c) Rat‘s Revenge / Deathmaze 5000
If 1980 was the year of programming
for Med Systems with a total of 14 releases advertised in various magazines, 1981 certainly was the year of advertising
. Many Med Systems games, among them Deathmaze 5000
, got more attention with belated reviews – in fact, Rat‘s Revenge
which was released in September 1980 was only reviewed by the 80 Microcomputing Magazine in November 1981. This was all part of a larger focus on the TRS-80 as a gaming platform: Scott Adams’s Adventure International games had taken hold on the Tandy, and “micro games” certainly were a new trend.
While Med Systems released only five games (four of them adventure games) in 1981, they got a lot more media attention than before. The August 1981 issue of the 80 Microcomputing Magazine is especially noteworthy, as it contains a feature about micro games which quotes William Denman as well as an interview-based article about Frank Corr. Furthermore, the company name pops up in a few more general articles, and their 3-D adventures had apparently become a brand of their own. In the October 1981 issue of the same magazine, Med Systems was able to afford three full-page ads back to back which is quite an investment. The prices are probably not comparable with, say, late 1990’s game magazines, but still this makes Med Systems one of their major customers.
I’ll go into more detail about all of this once we reach the 1981 summary of this marathon but today I’d like to talk about Asylum. Now this is not only the most famous Med Systems game by far but also one with a very confusing backstory. When I started this marathon I thought that this was the game that had piqued my interest as I used to play an adventure game called Asylum
on the Commodore 64. However, that was its sequel Asylum II
(1982) which was renamed as Asylum
for all subsequent 1983 (Atari) and 1986 (Commodore, DOS) releases. The 1981 Asylum
is entirely new to me, and I’m looking forward to playing it quite a bit.Asylum
is another maze game but with more adventure elements than the previous ones. It is also the third part of the so-called “Continuum Series” but that brand name apparently only came up in late 1981. In Mike Nadeau’s aforementioned article about Frank Corr (titled “Frank Corr – Making the Ultimate Maze”), Corr suggests that in Asylum
everything was “twice
as good as Deathmaze
”. He attributes that to a new routine they used to store graphics as data. Asylum
is also supposed to be a lot easier than Deathmaze
which suggests that there are possibly not so many arbitrary puzzles in it. I’d like that! The game was co-written by Corr and Denman and released in February 1981. Its vast success apparently led to a sequel, programmed by Denman only. This is also the last we’ll hear of Frank Corr although it seems that he had great plans for his next game which was supposed to be set inside a space station or a similar setting and use octagonal rooms.
|You didn’t warn...wait, you did.|