The 1981 Games That Remain   7 comments

When I was nearing the home stretch of 1980, I made a post giving all the games still left to play. Here I’m doing the same for 1981.

Some caveats:

a.) I’ve got a set of 1980 games I need to loop back to still, and these are not included. (In one case I definitely want to hit a 1980 game before a related 1981 one.)

b.) I’ve got a few games on my list published in 1982 but clearly were written in 1981 that I’m going to save for 1982. I’ve been going by writing rather than publishing due to circumstances like mainframe games that were never “published”, but the mainframe era mostly has wound down by 1982, and as a compromise (except in cases like Roger M. Wilcox games which weren’t really “published”) I will play the games while I’m “in” the years they were published but back-list them to a prior year if it turns out to be the most appropriate sorting (or list both dates as I’ve done in a few cases).

c.) I’m leaving off one 1981 game due to a few issues including compilation trouble, but it could pop up again. (It had some development in 1982 so I don’t feel bad in skipping it.)

d.) I’m not done with Alkemstone, and I have a very big update that I will be sharing later this summer.

e.) Any discoveries between now and the end of my playing through 1981 that happen to fall in 1981 I reserve the right to either add now or just save for a future loop down the line.

Jymm Pearson, including his switch over to Med Systems with The Institute.
Saigon: The Final Days, The Institute

Two Atari Program Exchange programs remain.
Chinese Puzzle, Sultan’s Palace

The grand conclusion to the TRS-80/Mac saga. Hopefully I’ll get the Mac version going smoothly here for the pretty pictures.
Forbidden City

The very last game of Highlands, now in color!
Mummy’s Curse

On-line Systems (later Sierra) with their only non-graphical adventure:
Softporn Adventure

Brian Howarth (previously of The Golden Baton and The Time Machine) sneaks one more in for 1981, although part two isn’t until 1982.
Arrow of Death Part 1

Part of a “make your own Scott Adams style adventure” adventure creation kit.
Burglar’s Adventure

Michael Berlyn’s followup to Oo-Topos.

Not the Infocom version.
Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

CLOAD had Frankenstein Adventure and Troll’s Treasure, but also these for 1981.
Elephant Graveyard Adventure, Medieval Adventure, Jerusalem Adventure

A pretty (in)famous Radio Shack offering, and another instance of the adventure-roguelike genre.
Madness and the Minotaur

December of the Softside Adventure of the Month.
Black Hole Adventure

Roger M. Wilcox has three more offerings for us before getting out of 1981.
King of the Jungle, Trash Island, Escape from Trash Island

There’s one last game to go in the Captain 80 Book of Basic Adventures, and it will definitely feel like I’ve ended an era once I’m done.
Arctic Adventure

Posted July 3, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

7 responses to “The 1981 Games That Remain

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  1. It’s a shame that Hitch Hiker’s is likely to be the only Supersoft “1981” game that you’ll be able to cover… with the other British PET games from them (Catacombs, Goblin Towers, and Weird Wood) missing; although Goblin Towers does exist in a later version. Despite quite a lot of digging, and a copy of Weird Wood actually existing in the hands of a collector, they’ve proven impossible to locate.

    Still plenty of interesting games left in 1981. (And no doubt even more out there for a potential second loop!)

    • Cracks of Doom has a C64 version as Cracks of Fire. (There’s also Streets of London but I don’t think it had a PET version? You likely know more than me about it.)

      You’re right earliest Goblin Tower did sneak in 1981! I’ll put it on my straggler list.

      The one that hurts the most not to have right now is Level 9’s first game (Fantasy). I’ve thought about writing a “placeholder” type post talking about it even though we don’t have a copy.

      • Yeah, Fantasy is a gaping hole in the history of Level 9… together with the 16K versions of their early text adventures. Fantasy is, in a way, more intriguing as we know so little about it. Perhaps, one day, the Austins will be persuaded to dig into their archives.

        Yes, Streets of London had a PET release… It appeared has Pythonesque on the PET in 1982… It was also later published on the C64 under that name, as well as Streets of London. Just to make things even more complicated, it was also reworked into The Cricklewood Incident (for the Dragon and ZX Spectrum) and The Kilburn Encounter (for the Oric). The history of early British text adventures is rarely straightforward, it seems. :)

  2. Hello, longtime reader, first time commenter here. This post and discussion reminds me of something I’ve wanted to ask here for a while…

    Do you keep a comprehensive list of known to be “missing” adventures somewhere on this site or privately? It would be interesting to see, because the 1980s text adventure era seems to have the largest number of obscure and mysterious MIA games that I’ve come across over the years, even (or especially?) for major platforms of the day like the ZX Spectrum and Apple II. It seems like a lot of historical preservation work is needed, and may be too late already for many forgotten games…

    Thanks for your time!

  3. Promise of an Alkemstone “very big update” has me very intrigued!

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