50 Years of Text Games book on Kickstarter (and some other news)   8 comments

I feel like there’s a lot of overlap in readership, but not complete overlap, so for anyone who hasn’t heard I’d like to put forth that Aaron Reed just launched a Kickstarter for the book form of his 50 Years of Text Games series.

Kickstarter Link Here

As the Kickstarter page warns, all images are mock-ups.

The original series was free (this is the edited book form) so if nothing else, read his article about St. Bride’s School and the game Silverwolf.

In slightly less positive news (but still interesting) the early-computer-game collector community has recently been rocked by a counterfeit scandal, up to and including trying to print discolored labels on a dot-matrix printer. Particularly pertinent for this blog is a saga involving The Chambers of Xenobia, a game I wrote about when working through 1981. I was tempted, when the collector @A2_Canada wrote about finding an original copy, to tuck the news in as an addendum to the original post.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be a counterfeit copy, as discovered when the Apple II disk was booted up by the preservationist 4am and found to be a “cracked” copy from the Internet rather than an original.

Lots more detail on the saga at this webpage, Finding Deceit in the Chambers of Xenobia.

One nice incidental detail is Steven Sacks himself talking about the two games. He was originally thrilled an original copy was found as he didn’t own one himself.

Those 2 were the only games I wrote. I was about 14, had been messing around with the Apple II I had begged my parents for and decided I could write a game like the ones I was buying. I wrote Chambers of Xenobia and sent a copy of the game to about 5 publishers. Avant-Garde responded and offered me a deal and I took it. I think Chambers sold only a couple hundred copies, but Race for Midnight I think sold more than 2000. The royalties meant I had plenty of spending money through high school after I paid my parents back for the Apple II.

Posted June 7, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

8 responses to “50 Years of Text Games book on Kickstarter (and some other news)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The linked email with author Steven Sacks mentions an article about him & his games that was published in the American Airlines inflight magazine. The article was later reprinted in ‘TODAY Magazine’ should anyone want to read it… https://archive.org/details/TODAYV02N02/page/n21/

  2. A piece on the broader topic of vintage game forgery just appeared on Ars Technica: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/06/inside-the-100k-forgery-scandal-thats-roiling-pc-game-collecting/. At times like these, I’m more thankful than ever to have been born without the collector gene…

    • Lack of money stops me collecting which I’m thankful for in a way as my passion is homegrown games… and they’re all photocopied inlays and homemade cassette tapes and just ripe for being illegally reproduced!

      There were a lot of fake Zenobi games doing the rounds on eBay a while back, which caught out a few experienced collectors… Scanned and colour laser printed on white paper, rather than photocopied onto coloured card… missing all the key little features like the address label sticker and the telltale use of an electric “plastic ribbon” typewriter to print the game details.

      Like the examples in the post linked to above, when you actually have them in your hands they’re easy to spot but they look good in eBay photos where each one can sell for £30-£50+.

    • Same here. I’ve got some Infocoms but that’s basically it.

      Oddly I would have loved to have a real copy of Deadline for my recent writeup (the Lost Treasures copy had a poor reproduction of the photo and I wanted to zoom the image, fortunately Drew Cook had one that worked).

      I think many useful things can be found by studying the physical historical artifacts themselves, but I’m perfectly happy to let other people stuff their homes as long as the scans are good enough.

  3. Is it just me, or does the guy in the Chambers of Zenobia cover art look like a less naked version of He-Man?

    • Quite possible. Came out the same year? I don’t think there was an opportunity to do any literal tracing, though.

      • I didn’t mean to imply that there was any intentional copying, just bringing attention to the (likely) coincidental similarities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: