I’m officially old, even if it doesn’t feel like it. On the one hand, I know this because I’m knocking on the door of the high-risk group for covid-19. On the other hand, I know that because the computer games I used to play as a teen are now so obsolete that they’ve either faded into public domain or their owners have stopped caring about their copyright.
They’re still fun, though. Personally, I find a little bit of fun and a flashback to the Reagan Presidency is greatly desired right now.
I’ve mentioned Infocom before in the Owl. That’s because of their impact on computer gaming, and specifically adventure gaming. They did not invent the format, but the care they put into their work and the broad array of words and commands recognized by their programs made them stand high atop the gaming field thirty-five years ago. While other companies were focusing on trying to interface graphics with information to produce flight simulators, city simulators and wargaming simulators, Infocom just brought the player into a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style game of action and response, a predecessor to roleplaying games.
Remember what I said about not caring about copyright? Infocom isn’t really one of those (although I wish it were). It was too big and popular. But success breeds imitation, and there were many competitors who weren’t quite as successful. For the most part, they’re classified by techs as “abandonware”… software so outdated that the claims on them have just been neglected.
The text adventures weren’t the only ones left behind. Most of the other software of the time, whether simulators or attempts to replicate existing arcade games, have joined them in being abandoned. That doesn’t mean they’re suddenly bad, though; it just means you’re getting what you pay for… and in this case, you’re paying only your time.
For tonight, I thought I’d put up links to a couple of sites that house a few of them. They’ve got classic arcade-style games, and classic text adventures. So, if you’re in need of a momentary break…
Question of the night: What was the first PC game that you loved to play?