The Adventure Game Toolkit v1.7(281k)

1994 | Mark Welch | Text

Mark Welch developed an amazing easy to use text adventure creation program in the late eighties. Unfortunately, text adventures were on their way out so AGT didn't really get that much attention.

Still, AGT was a lot of fun for me to use. Not only were games similar in parser and plot quality to Infocom's readily available, AGT made it possible to create my own little cute games. I still have them, and I'd post them if the spelling and grammar wasn't so poor (hey, I was only 10 years old).

In 1994 Welch released AGT 1.7, the final version, as freeware. Since then, text adventure has gone through a small resurgence in popularity and has been renamed "interactive fiction." I think that's what these games were originally called anyway.

A good place to get some of this "interactive fiction", if you're interested, is Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive which has reviews of most of the text adventure games out there. Some of the games are actually pretty good.


BattlestarMUSH(http link)

It's a MUSH.

When I was a freshman in college (on my PS2) and in the beginnings of the internet's entry in mainstream culture (right around the release of Mosiac) telnet was the thing to do. And boy did I telnet. After becoming disenchanted with most of the MU** and so on I found Battlestar MUSH and joined up a month before it opened. I love Battlestar Galactica, so it was the perfect place to begin my journey "online."

I stayed on there for about a year, got super-involed, and then when summer came along I got a real life and have only logged back in about 5 times. MU** consume a tremendous amount of time - but they are fun (if you don't really have a life).

But still, for the curious, go on the web site and check it out. If it's anything like I remember it, the coding is great, the roleplaying is fun, and the people are groovy.


The Great Escape(121k)

1986 | Ocean Software | CGA

This game (which you will definitely need Mo'Slo) is based on the movie of the same name. You're a concentration camp prisoner and (surprise) have to escape. There's a lot to be explored in the game, but its unusually difficult. I never finished it.

BUT YES! There is a way to finish the game! Ivan, now a friend a superultraclassics thanks to his submission, tells all here! (will open a new window).


Hero's Quest: So, You Want to be a Hero?
Split Files: 1 2 3 4
(total: 2.5MB)

1988 | Sierra | CGA - EGA

Yes, I played plenty of Sierra Games (King's Quest 1 -3, the Manhunter Series, Police Quest, etc.). I put Space Quest 2 on this page because it was the first adventure game I'd ever bought - but I had qualms about putting up a bunch of games that all the other abandonware webpages already had.

But this game deserves a special mention. It is *not* Quest for Glory I. Sierra's "quest" series had, in my opinion, started to run itself into the ground. Nothing really changed sequel to sequel except graphics and the number of disks.

But Hero's Quest added something fresh to Sierra's lineup. It was an RPG game but simplified to the point of making it sellable to the general adventure market. Not only that, but the ability to choose three different classes of character (fighter, magician, and thief) didn't just give a person different stats but it changed the way each problem and obstacle had to be faced. Each character really did have a different game to play.

Then some board game company sued Sierra for stealing the name Hero's Quest. However, Sierra not only repackaged the game but they also tweaked a lot of great humor and twists out of the game to make it more "adventure-like." Hero's Quest and QFG1 are essentially the same (as far as graphics and plot go) but a lot of the humor is missing that was in HQ1.

That's why I've included this little gem. You won't find it anywhere in stores and Sierra won't be selling it anytime soon. I remember borrowing the game (all six 5 1/4 floppies) from a friend/acquintance my freshman year of high school. He never asked for them back, and I pretty much "forgot" to bring them back. Whoops. (don't think I did this all the time - I'd lost several games the same way so I think it was computer-game-karma rewarding me)

Split Files: 1 2
(total 1.5MB)

1991 | MicroProse | CGA-VGA

What's the difference between MicroProse's Lightspeed and Hyperspeed? About ten bucks.

Actually, the engine is exactly the same but MicroProse included some (poor) cinematic sequences and two extra, larger galaxies to explore. In fact, the two Lightspeed galaxies are both included with Hyperspeed. As far as I knew Lightspeed didn't sell that great, even though it is a fun game. So why make a sequel/upgrade? Who knows.

UPDATE 4.27.99:
Many of you, including myself, have been having the worst time trying to get this to work. Well, a faithful friend of superultraclassics, munypunny, SOMEHOW got this little gem to work right!!! If you've had problems running this (it usually happens for me when you try to go to the nav map by hitting "N") then this'll fix it for you.

Make sure you run this outside of Win 9x - in other words run off a bootdisk or drop totally to DOS (no shells). It'll work for you, and you'll find yourself immersed in 4 (that's right, countem, 4!!) entire galaxies each subsequently larger than the last! Enjoy! And a big thank you to munypenny!!! WOO WOO!


Split Files: 1 2
(total: 1.2MB)

1990 | MicroProse | CGA-VGA

Elite + Starlight = MicroProse's Lightspeed. I don't think it fared too well - even though the graphics are decent, the sound is good, and the premise creative (relatively). Lightspeed has diplomacy, trading, space combat (large ship and small fighter craft), and a few galaxies to do it in.

But I liked it enough to get the sequel/upgrade, Hyperspeed which was better but not good enough to sell.


Megatravller I: The Zhodani Conspiracy(558k)

1990 | Paragon Software | CGA-EGA, Tandy

By the time I picked up this game it had made its way to the bargain bin at my local computer store. Nevertheless, I still had a lot of fun playing it.

I'll admit it, I've never been an RPG-lover. I don't really think Wasteland is (personally) a great game - but for some reason I think space RPGs are cool (ie. Sentinel Worlds, the Megatraveller series). I can't tell you why that is though - if you can let me know.

I think the game is based on a paper RPG but (again) I'm not much on RPGs so if someone wants to write me and tell me the history of the game that'd be nice.

JE sent me some info on Traveller, the paper RPG that MTraveller is based upon. Looks pretty cool to me:

"Traveller was written in 1978 by Marc Miller, and published by Game Designer's Workshop (GDW) . . . Awesome RPG. Megatraveller was the second edition of Traveller, it featured more details than the first edition and an expanded history of the imperium . . . Traveller: The New Era was the next edition, which detailed the fall of the empire, and T4 was written in 1996, a GURPS version came out last year, and the next edition is slated for publication in april or so (though it looks like it will be a bit late.)"

JE was also kind enough to send a link to a very complete Traveller FAQ. Visit it now.


Monkey Island EGA
Split Files: 1 2
(total: 1.5MB)

Monkey Island VGA
Split Files: 1 2 3 4
(total: 3.15MB)

1990 | LucasArts | EGA1990 | LucasArts | VGA

Bottom line: if LucasArts had to face off with Sierra in a Celebrity Deathmatch LucasArts would win hands down.

Monkey Island is a fantastic series of games. I just bought Curse of Monkey Island and it lives up to its predecessors. But that shouldn't be any surprise because LucasArts has always made some of the best adventure games around. There's not one of them that I can think that I didn't enjoy playing and end up replaying.

I own all three of the Monkey Island games and it amazes me every time I play them how funny they are. Sierra games were mildly humorous in a geeky kind of way. They made you smile but that's about it (and the Leisure Suit Larry games were just stupid). But LucasArts games had humor that transcended computer games and at some times was even on par with Monty Python.

I also like how you can't die. No matter what. You never die. In Sierra games you hit the wrong key and you die. That's stupid too.

Anyway - Monkey Island I was a brilliant game. It came out around the same time VGA did so it ended up being one of the first VGA games. And it looked great. I remember gazing at the glossy advertisement of a 256 color Guybrush Threepwood standing outside of Stan's Used Ships and gawking.

For archival purposes I've included both the EGA and the VGA version so you can compare. Have at it pirates.



1987 | MicroProse | CGA-EGA

One of the best games of all time. This was the very first game I bought with my own money (made from a newspaper route). The game seems so large, even by today's comparisons. You want to trade? Ok. Find your relatives? Sure. Marry? No problem? Pirate? Of course.

Even the manual was cool (something MicroProse has always been good at). I remember reading it during class at juniorhigh school.

Every once in a while I get a hankering to play Pirates! again and do so for quite a while. Probably the most played of game I've ever owned.



??? | Public Domain | 80x60

db says:
"Even though I'm not much into role playing games, I figure Rogue stands out because it was a game written very early on that provided the player with an enormous universe. Each level is randomly created, with a different map, monsters, and items, everytime you play. The game originally was played on mainframe systems but a failed business venture with Eypx brought it to the PC in 1984. This was one of the first games we had."

Something I (superultra) think is cool about this game is that we bought it Radio Shack. You can also read some of the history (one of the guys who created it is working for and download other versions of the game at the Rogue Home Page, or at the Dungeons of Doom (which has a very unique design).


Sentinel Worlds: Future Magic(336k)

1988 | Electronic Arts | CGA-EGA

You've probably picked up that I'm not a big fan of RPGs. You're right, I'm not. I can't really tell you why, except that it may be that fantasy-stuff seems to me to be all a rehash of Lord of the Rings (then again, maybe sci-fi all seems to be a rehash of Assimov??).

Science Fiction RPGs are harder to come by. There's only been a few that are decent.

I picked up Sentinel Worlds in a bargain bin a year or two after it was released and was extremely impressed. The plot is fantastic. It's not deep enough that you end up having to write down names, but it's interesting enough to keep you going through some of the more monotonous stages of the game. And that's something I didn't really like in RPGs: you always had to build up stats. In Sentinel Worlds that happens but only as the plot progresses.

The copy protection was kind of a dumb idea. Maybe it was to save on code space too? Anyway, when someone says something that's longer than a paragraph you look up a corresponding number in a speech booklet.

I still have the disks for this but haven't posted it because the game is unplayable with the document. But Home of the Underdogs managed to dig up a copy of the game that has both the manual and the speech booklet! Wooowoo! So here it is, courtesy of Underdogs. Make sure you look over the readme. If you don't install in the root directory you'll crash your computer.



1986 | Masteronic | CGA

This is MasterTronic's graphical adventure/rpg of Shogun. You choose a personality from Shogun which gives you certain stats (money, charm, etc.) and you try to convert the other characters from Shogun to join your following. This was one fo the very PC first games I played. The interface is difficult, but the game is rather rewarding and interesting once you get into it.



1983 | Norland Software | Text

A shareware game that I played quite a bit. It came on one of those shareware disks that you could buy from the computer store for $6.99 (before the days of the Internet). Pretty much a rehash of clue but in quaint little ANSI.


Space Quest II(447k)

1988 | Sierra On-Line | CGA-EGA

A great game, although nowadays it seems smaller in geographic adventure size that when I first played it - but I can still remember some of the lame jokes.

Every other site has it, so I won't say much about it here except that I think after SQ3 Sierra started losing focus on what made their products so entertaining. Now they just buy other companies and use their ideas.



1986 | Binary Systems (EA) | CGA-EGA

Without a doubt one of the best games I've ever played in my life. The game included so much to explore and do that it made the Starflight universe truly immersive. The story was original, the design was perfect, and the graphics were state of art. Diplomacy, exploration, adventure, combat, mystery: it's all here.

The coding is extremely impressive. They fit so much of it onto two 360K disks that today's programmers should be taking lessons.

I would do the exploring and leave the tedious mining to my younger brother (under the promise that I would take over as soon as a new alien race was encountered). That's the way to play.

One cool thing about Starflight is the depth. I still haven't really figured out who the Mysterions are, or how to contact the Enterprise <grin>, etc. etc. etc. It seems (to me) like the designers kept coming up with stuff to add to the game after they'd finished it, and they'd go back and rewrite it to add the extra detail they thought off in the shower. Games like Starflight should send a signal to modern game publishers who push a product out so quickly that it becomes "stillbirth"ed.

Included is the codewheel to use to get out of Starport without meeting the Intersel Police.


Starflight II: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula(469k)

1989 | Electronic Arts/Binary Systems | CGA-VGA

If Starflight I was the best game ever made, Starflight II is the next best. It seems that game sequels are either so different than the original that they no longer really resemble the original (Star Control II, for example) or they are too much like the original.

Electronic Arts hit the right mixture of old and new with Starflight II. The differences include a much more advanced trading system, better graphics, and more aliens. The humor in SF2 is a little more obvious than in SF2. Iit's a game that those who've never played SF1 can pick up on, but those who have will appreciate some nods to the previous game.

If you've never played it, get it. Documentation is included. The game actually cracked itself, it relies on a clock-speed function which is obsolute now because clock-speeds are too fast for it to measure. So no matter what # you use when you leave Starport, the Intersel Police will never show up (unless you're running it on your old 286).


Tradewars 2002(http link)

1998? | Unknown Author | Text

My afterschool agenda in early high school consisted of racing home to try and get logged onto the BBS before the lines were full, then completing all my Tradewars, Legend of the Red Dragon, and Land of Destruction (LOD) moves, and then doing homework and watching Batman. I almost lost a best-friendship because I blew up his ship and planet.

Tradewars 2002 was *the* multiplayer game of the eighties. You could play as both good or evil, and each had its own advantages and disadvantages. You could pirate or trade. You could join up on a corporation (an early precursor to "clans"?) and build up a home planet. You could discover secrets of the universe. . . it was truly a great game. Not only that, but the SysOp could add custom designed plugins to add features to the game. Tradewars also sported some of the best ANSI I've ever seen.

The game is no fun by yourself, so that's why I've linked to a site which lists some free games that you can play by telnet. If you've never played it, make sure you try it out; it's alot better than it sounds, and due to the restrictions of ANSI gameplay is at its best.