Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cover to Cover: Acorn Software Fall 1981 (p. 6)

What's next in the Acorn Software Products catalog for Fall 1981?  Page 6, featuring more games of the sort we played at the dawn of the industry:

I wasn't able to find either of these games in the online archives, though there are some similarly-named titles by different authors out there.  So this discussion is purely speculative, based on the descriptions and the technology of the time.

Everest Explorer claims it "goes beyond most adventures" to present a thrilling tale of mountain-climbing conquest, but in TRS-80 terms we can speculate that this concept becomes a turn-based logistical simulation, requiring the player to manage resources and make decisions under severely constrained circumstances.  These types of games can be a lot of fun -- Oregon Trail remains an enduring classic -- but in practice many of these experiences tend to break down as soon as the player figures out how the simulation "thinks."  Also, with a text-based interface, the actual gameplay experience tends to go something like "Buy supplies?  Climb?  Rest?  Hire guides?  Make Camp?  Quit?" -- Q, please.

Word Wars is a pair of word games; one appears to be a hangman-style guess-the-phrase game, the other a deduction exercise similar to Mastermind.  At least the program includes a database of words to support single-player mode, but in 16K of tape-based memory the range of possibilities was likely pretty small.

Okay, folks, there's nothing much to see here.  On to page 7!

1 comment:

  1. 1981 is probably too early for a good mountain climbing sim, but the 1987 Final Assault, from Epyx was pretty good (at least the Apple IIgs version). You chose your supplies at the beginning, and a trail and then there were minigames for climbing rock, ice, traversing flat portions, etc. and you managed fatigue and when to use your supplies. According to wikipedia is was available for the spectrum!