Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cover to Cover: Adventure International Spring 1981 Catalog (pp. 23-24)

More from the many pages of Adventure International's Spring 1981 catalog of home computer games...

Page 23 presents two substantial science-fiction games:

Robert Nicholas' Project Omega appears similar to the historically-inspired civilization management games like Hammurabi, transplanted to outer space in this case.  SimuTek is a collection of five smaller action sci-fi games, including a completely unlicensed rendition of Star Wars' concluding trench battle, and the ad layout features a truly unusual feature for the time -- a screenshot, revealing more about the (often disappointing) actuality behind the glowing descriptive copy.

Page 24 returns to more traditional gaming territory, with implementations of a number of enduring casual themes that still turn up with regularity today:

 Golf, a treasure hunt, Conway's classic Game of Life simulation, and military wargaming are all represented here.  Shark Attack is the closest thing to a unique title, and appears to be a simulation rather than an action game.

I often wonder how many copies these games sold -- in today's market, hit titles sell millions of copies, but according to Wikipedia the original TRS-80 Model I sold about 200,000 units, so there were some natural constraints on the 1980s marketplace.  Similar, technologically superior games are available today at far lower prices -- so while the good old days were fascinating, the best was yet to come.  I don't know that the same can be said for this catalog, but there's still more to look at here, and we'll continue next weekend.

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