Reality Ends (1980)   6 comments

For the first time, I don’t have a name of an author. Reality Ends is an even-more-obscure-than-usual title from Med Systems Software, most famous for Asylum from 1981. This particular game isn’t listed on Mobygames, Wikipedia, or The Interactive Fiction Database. It’s only indexed on the Casa Solution Archive because the crew over there is even more obsessive than I am.

Given how many of these companies started as one or two person operations, the author could be Frank Corr, Jr. of Deathmaze 5000 from the same year, but since I haven’t played that game yet, I’ll shelve my suspicions for now. (ADD: I got confirmation from someone who owns a copy — the author is William F. Denman, Jr. who wrote quite a few of the other Med Systems games.)

My first encounter with Reality Ends was the clip above, via the Med Systems Spring 1981 Catalog. The “over 200 parallel universes” bit definitely had me puzzled until I opened the game itself.

The room description fills the top of the screen, your inventory is in the lower left, and the lower right has a map. The actual grid is 12 by 18, so there are 216 “parallel universes”, one for each “room” in the game.

Back when I was writing about Haunt I referenced adventure games that play roughly on a grid. There was an underwater section on a giant cube that I got out graph paper for. This time I went a step farther and went full spreadsheet.

Making a spreadsheet to play a game crosses a threshold of some sort, but I’m not sure what from or what to.

You’ll notice a lot of blank space; this is a compact way for the game to claim more than 200 locations when only some of them are implemented. Fortunately, navigation is less irritating than you’d think because there are no NORTH / SOUTH / EAST / WEST commands, you navigate by just pressing arrow keys.

Besides the map, I haven’t made much progress other than a few early pick-offs. I got food and did >FEED DOG to get a loyal companion, I went to >HIRE MARKSMEN and managed to >USE GOLD to get them to follow me around, and I used an umbrella to fend off some acid rain and pick up some diamonds. Technically speaking, the game doesn’t seem like it has to be a long one (excluding rooms with just objects out in the open, there are only twelve of significance) but we’ll see what kind of new frustrations this can conjure up.

Like this one. Ow!

If anyone is hankering to actually play the game, you can do it online. Use the link below and click on the very first option “DEFAULT TYPE (CMD)”

Play Reality Ends

Posted February 26, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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6 responses to “Reality Ends (1980)

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  1. Very nice to see someone else play this game, too. ‚ currently playing through it for The Adventurer Gamer and was also hard pressed to find anything about it. It‘s part of a Med Systems marathon and I‘ve already finished Deathmaze 5000 and Labyrinth (plus Rat‘s Revenge, but more as a bonus) if you‘re interested to read about them. I‘ve found most of their games (apart from Samurai and Bureaucracy which appear to be lost) and tried to contact William Denman multiple times but no dice. Love your blog in general, btw! All best, Will

    • Thanks for stopping by! I already had linked the first post in your progression in my “Finished!” post, although I only read the intro parts because I am avoiding spoilers (since I’ll be getting to playing those too).

    • I have confirmation from the proprietory of Ye Olde Infocom Shoppe that the author of this game is William F. Denman, Jr. (he has a copy)

  2. That’s great! I’m looking forward to reading your take on them. It’s for the same reason that I haven’t seen your link yet – to avoid spoilers, I’ve only read the introduction of “Reality Ends” so far.

  3. I made a very similar spreadsheet btw, so I can relate to your feeling of crossing a threshold pretty well…

  4. Pingback: Intermission: Med Systems Marathon – That was 1981! – The Retro Gaming Treasury

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