Tuesday 31 December 2019

Missed Classic 81: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1987)

By Ilmari

Let the year 2020 begin!

I considered saving my take on this game as an April's Fool post. I would have pulled a trick on you readers and published my previous Adrian Mole -post second time, with just some necessary modifications. It would have been a faithful reflection of my own feeling of dejavu, after playing this game, and reading the book the game is based upon, and watching the TV series based upon the same book.

Sunday 29 December 2019

Missed Classic: The Price of Magik - Won! (With Final Rating)

By Ilmari


Last time, I had just explored a house from top to bottom and defeated a giant slug with some salt. Beyond the slug opened up a completely new playing field. It seemed the game was funneling me towards some direction, since there were so many one-way connections between rooms (in truth, there was always a route I could backtrack to the house).

I love the decoration

Friday 27 December 2019

Missed Classic 80: The Price of Magik (1986) - Introduction

By Ilmari

It's again a time to celebrate the start of a new year with a round of Missed Classics. Just as 2010s are changing into 2020s I am about to come to an end in my own Level 9 marathon by playing, first, The Price of Magik, and then, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Magik witk k, bekause it sounds kool?

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Missed Classic 79: A Christmas Adventure (1983)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Merry Christmas! Welcome back to another Christmas at “The Adventure Gamer” where we are looking at our sixth holiday adventure game! Time flies while we are having so much fun and I’m just amazed that we keep finding new holiday adventures to play. This time out will be 1983’s A Christmas Adventure, a “bitCard” (more on that in a bit) by Chartscan Data, Inc. This game has two notable distinctions: First, it is the earliest Christmas game that I have found so far. Merry Christmas from Melbourne House and A Spell of Christmas Ice were both 1984 games, but this one is a full year earlier. This may be the first commercially released Christmas adventure ever, but we’ll keep looking for more. Second, this game was brought to us by you! Last year, we ran a brief GoFundMe to purchase the only available-to-the-public copy of the game from Retrogames. Our community pitched in some funds and we purchased and sent the game off to the Internet Archive. Unfortunately, they were unable to get the game imaged for the holidays and we detoured to Humbug instead. The archivists uploaded our game in January and that gave us plenty of time to review it for this Christmas.

The Christmas Adventure story begins in Montreal, Quebec at the home of Frank Winstan. It was spring or early summer 1983 and he was working on an idea to design and sell personalized software as an electronic holiday or greeting card. You wouldn’t just play an adventure game, you’d play a game that knew your name and would have personalized messages and other features set by your friends or family. Even in the 1980s, the holiday card industry was hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly sales; if they could tap even a tiny portion, the upside would be huge. In part due to a fear that someone else could capitalize on a similar idea first, he set his sights on a Christmas release for his first electronic “bitCard”. Even for the fast development cycles of early games, the timing was incredibly tight and made all the more so due to a lack of marketing or distribution infrastructure. Winstan needed to bootstrap a startup and ship their first product in less than five months. Was that even possible?

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Interlude: A Very TAG Christmas

Written by Joe Pranevich

We all have our secrets, but the time has come to reveal one incident in the Secret and Absolutely True History of The Adventure Gamer. I tell you this now of my own free will and not because any well-armed elves are presently in my house, raiding my refrigerator looking for eggnog. That would be crazy. I’m not crazy, but maybe you’ll disagree after you hear my tale.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Gobliins 2 - Magic Mushrooms

By Ilmari

Last time, I had just arrived at the castle, where the titular Prince Buffoon was held as a prisoner by demons. My first task was to get rid of a guard in front of the entrance. Luckily a nearby tower held important provisions.


My my, he’s gone to pieces

Thursday 19 December 2019

Ween : The Prophecy - Alchemy and Redcurrants

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Last time we left our friends WEEN, PETROY and the two stupid twins, we were on a beach near Volcano Island which seemed like the final step of our journey. For memory serves, the twins had been robbed of the haversack containing our inventory by “a gigantic monster with fangs”. Turns out the gigantic monster is here and it looks suspiciously like a peaceful owl. Talking to it gives you the classic “mafia talk” : I found your abandoned haversack, and I can give it to you in exchange for some valuables.

You should be more careful with your stuff, so many people can’t be trusted…

The twins admit that this was the monster that stole the haversack but it “has grown thin”. Tchh. Stupid twins.

Interestingly enough, the twins look up when talking to WEEN. The mystery of their actual size continues…

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Missed Classic 78: Crash Dive! (1984)

Written by Joe Pranevich

For the era that we study, Brian Moriarty is one of the giants. He brought us three of Infocom’s classics, starting with Wishbringer, and jumped over to LucasArts to create Loom, one of my favorite adventure games of all time. Before we move on to Trinity (1986) and start the story of Infocom-under-Activision, I’d like to reverse course and fill in the final blank from his early career. In the early 1980s, Moriarty worked as a writer and eventual technical editor for Analog Computing magazine, celebrating the Atari personal computers that he loved. In that role, he wrote his first game, a tepid Adventure in the Fifth Dimension (1983) that failed to foreshadow the fantastic designer he would become. The following year, he penned Crash Dive!, his final Atari game before joining Infocom. Does that game show his potential? That’s what I would like to find out.

Inspiration can strike from just about anywhere, but Crash Dive! has perhaps one of the more unusual origin stories that I have ever heard. It starts with a failure: in 1982, Analog’s Jon Bell and Tom Hudson wanted to make a submarine action game. Bell and his team even toured two submarines (the Nimitz and Dace) for inspiration and historical accuracy. Cover art was commissioned, the game was announced, and even the back-of-box copy was written… but it evaporated into thin air. Despite the time and expense, it was never released. That would be the end of the Crash Dive! story, if it wasn’t for its “inspirational” cover art and a very special issue of Analog Computing.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Gobliins 2 - Making an Omelette

By Ilmari

I am happy to tell that so far Gobliins 2 has been mostly a positive experience. Lot of my positive feeling is due to an improved interface, so let’s begin with that immediately.

Saturday 14 December 2019

What's Your Story - Mr. Sack

Answers: Mr. Sack
Introduction and Captions: TBD

And today, we have somebody who sent in their What's Your Story answers before commenting on the blog. It's time to welcome the self-described "long time fan, first time caller," Mr. Sack!

Sunday 8 December 2019

Game 114: Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon (1993) - Introduction

By Ilmari

That's pretty big guarantee! Could I play the game to completion, come to the conclusion that some small detail didn't satisfy me and get a new game?

What a better way to begin a new year of gaming, but with - not one, but - two Coktel Vision games. Alfred has for a while been playing Ween: The Prophecy, and now I get to continue the saga of Gobliiins

Friday 6 December 2019

Intermission: Med Systems Marathon – That was 1981!

by Will Moczarski

We’ve finished the second year of our Med Systems marathon now, and there are only four adventure games left. The company would exist for two more years, and in 1983 it was rechristened Screenplay. They would continue to operate under the new name until around 1986 but their output was meager and no new adventure games hit the market after 1983. In 1981, however, Med Systems were slowly reaching their peak: three of their innovative 3-D maze adventure games had been released by January 1981, they attracted new and talented programmers and entered the Atari market after having been an Apple ][ and especially TRS-80 company exclusively. Of course, they were not alone: 1981 was a seminal year for what was still being called “micro games”, as can be gathered from reading an extended feature from the August 1981 issue of 80 Microcomputing Magazine. In it, Med Systems Software were featured as one of the most important players of the time, and it’s the best source of information you can get if you’re interested in the history of the company.

I’ve compiled some of the most interesting quotes here to set the stage for the year that was 1981 – as usual, I’ve played the non-adventure games, too, and report back about the other software released by Med Systems.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Ween : The Prophecy - Small Worms and Giant Mushrooms

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

NB : Thanks to Laukku to have pointed out about the pixel smoothening filter Boxer was using. I removed it so the screenshots should look better this week.

Last week we had put our hands on the second grain of sand. We stopped after another cryptic intervention by the Borgol and we were standing in front of three doors. Three doors can only mean one thing in an adventure game : a MAZE! Don’t worry, though, this is probably one of the simplest mazes I’ve seen in my memory of gamer.

Behold the fabled doors of the sword, the sun and the Aston Martin.

Monday 2 December 2019

The Year That Was... 1992

By The TAG Team

Luckily they didn’t convert this movie into an adventure game

Licensed adventure games have appeared from time to time, but this year their number was considerable. We had games based on books (Gateway and Dune, which might also be based on a movie), games based on TV series (Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Inspector Gadget and L.A. Law Game), games based on contemporary movies (Hook and Batman Returns) and games with main characters lifted from other media (Fate of Atlantis, The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes and Consulting Detective II, which is also an adaptation of a board game). The usual story is that licensed games are just a way to sell garbage to suckers, but despite the few stinkers in the mix, some of these licensed games were quite good in their own right.