Having Played Every Adventure From the 1970s, Some Thoughts   10 comments

From Captain 80 Basic Adventures.

First off, note that all my travails are archived at this link: All the Adventures.

I was browsing my old posts, and I dug up this one from way back in 2005:

However, most details I’ve seen (on those companies specifically and in general) tend to be on the companies themselves, rather than innovations in game mechanics. There’s a lack of material on the actual content of games, so a student looking for a particular element needs to start from scratch; there’s an intimidating number of works to plow through if someone is searching for a mechanic rather than a plot theme.

I find a real need for the sort of history work done with art and music history, with details about content that go past “in the old days, there were more mazes than there are now” so a future scholar can pick out that obscure game from 1980s that advances his or her point.

Even though I wrote this excerpt long enough ago I forgot it existed, it captures some of my motivation. If nothing else, looking at adventure history this early results in a lot of Firsts, and by playing everything I can say fairly definitively when things were actually first, like “this was the first time relative directions in an IF game were tried” (see: Mystery Mansion) or “this is the first experiment where navigation is done without a compass at all” (Empire of the Over-Mind).

Some other curious firsts:

– First defined player character: Aldebaran III
– First use of choice-based interaction in a parser game: Stuga
– First dynamic compass interface: Spelunker
– First dynamic puzzle generation: Mines
– First free-text conversation in an adventure context: Local Call for Death
– First adventure game comedy: Mystery Fun House

To another very real extent, though, the history is incidental. I just happen to love adventure games dearly. I want to get better and playing them, and I want to see and experience as much as I can.

My current (probably inaccurate) count of adventure games for 1980 is 63 items, more than I’ve written about so far (for the record, 47 games). I realize there is no chance I’ll ever finish every year; time keeps advancing and more adventure keep being written. Let’s see how far we can get, though!

Posted August 25, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

10 responses to “Having Played Every Adventure From the 1970s, Some Thoughts

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  1. Pingback: End of August Link Assortment | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling

  2. >Let’s see how far we can get, though!
    Oh, yes, please, definitely! I’ve been following all your posts and am very grateful for them: Thanks. I have played only a few of the games, but many more from the early 1980s, and am looking forward to reading analyses of them.

  3. Pingback: Lazy Reading for 2017/09/03 – DragonFly BSD Digest

  4. Pingback: Lazy Reading for 2017/09/03 – FreshBSD.com

  5. This post has motivated me to create an IFWiki page to store those ‘important firsts’, for our enjoyment (and game historians’). Don’t hesitate to contribute, this is just a rough draft :)

  6. Do you by chance have a list of those roughly 63 adventure games from 1980? I would very much be interested in that! It may be a lot to ask, but I will be watching this thread in case you are able to post it. Also I will give my e-mail address in case that would be better: lance3335@gmail.com

    • This link has most of them.

      There are a few missing, some for reasons of they sorted it a different year than me (I’m putting Haunt in 1980 rather than 1979) some because they’re a different language (like a Dracula game I’ll be getting to) and some for no apparent reason (like Warp or The Zyphur Riverventure). There’s also difference of opinion on what constitutes an “adventure” (I’m going to include the two Eamon games from 1980, but they are RPG-y enough I may stop after 1980).

    • Except for the alternate languages, I think this is the list of missing ones:

      Haunt by John Laird
      Warp by Rob Lucke and Bill Frolik
      Dungeons and Dragons by Peter Trefonas
      Castle of Doom, by Donald Brown (1980)
      The Cave of the Mind, by Jim Jacobson and James Varnum (1980)
      Cavern of Riches, by John O’Hare (1980)
      CIA Adventure by Hugh Lampert
      Dante’s Inferno by Gerard Bernor
      The Demon’s Eye by John Dueck
      Ghost Town by Scott Adams
      Haunted House by Darren Deloach and Tim Koonce
      Manticore: An MS 8k BASIC Adventure by Anonymous and Jon Bradbury 1980
      Operation Sabotage by Ray Sato
      Pharaoh’s Curse by Tim Koonce
      The Zyphur Riverventure, by Jim Jacobson (1980)

      CIA Adventure, for instance, is on the site, but as 1983 (which is definitely off! they no doubt were using the date given on a port)

  7. Excellent! I thank you!

  8. Pingback: The Adventures up to 1980 in Review | Renga in Blue

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