Thursday, January 22, 2015
One of the reasons I started this blog was to document the history of gaming, and adventure games have come to be my primary focus. While I tend to focus on detailed discussions of specific works, I'm always interested in the people and history behind them, and I'm grateful for all those who have taken time to comment here, sharing stories and setting the record straight.
I've recently been talking with Sean Murphy, the gentleman behind www.figmentfly.com, an invaluable resource for documentation and information about several text adventures published by Radio Shack for the TRS-80 Model I/III and Color Computers back in the day. We're trying to resolve a few mysteries about those games, and I'm throwing a post out here in case any of my readers might have some new information. Feel free to chime in with ideas in the comments, or if you'd prefer a more private forum please send me an email.
Most puzzling is the authorship of the Spectral Associates/Radio Shack Color Computer adventure, Madness and the Minotaur -- it's a maddeningly difficult adventure due to some randomized elements, which is why I've yet to cover it here. But the game's authorship is also a conundrum -- it's consistently credited only to Spectral Associates. My best guess, though only a guess, is that it might have been written by John Gabbard, who wrote the earlier Spectral Associates adventure Keys of the Wizard, or his frequent collaborator David Figge. Does anyone have any clues about who might have written this game?
We're also trying to track down contact information for Robert Arnstein, author of most of the Tandy-published adventures -- Haunted House, Pyramid 2000, Raaka-Tu, Bedlam, and Xenos. (Clearly I need to update my index page to group his games together!) We have reason to believe he's in his late 50's and living in the Dallas, Texas area, but the confirmed trail ends around 2000. Anyone know Mr. Arnstein? (Please try to reply privately on this one -- I do vet all comments before publishing them, though, so if you contact me that way I'll still be able to get the information to Mr. Murphy without publishing it here.)
Finally, Roger M. Wilcox asked a very good question I was unable to answer. Many articles and websites mention publication of Scott Adams' source code for Adventureland in BYTE magazine circa 1980 -- almost certainly an influence on the many text adventures published in the early 1980s. But in trying to find that actual article, all I've been able to come up with is his BASIC engine code and data files for Pirate Adventure, published in BYTE in December 1980. I suspect this information has just gotten confused and propagated, and that the December 1980 article is the only one that was actually published and everyone's just assumed that the featured game was Adams' first effort, Adventureland. I've had the same "fact" in my head based on secondhand sources, but in trying to locate the primary source I'm coming up empty. Is anyone able to confirm such a BYTE article published earlier, perhaps in 1979 or 1980? Scott?
Posted by StillGaming at 7:04 PM