I remembered that old motto' 'Adventure players do it without the instructions, so I plunged in headfirst. A Speccyfication of a Commodore (Ptui!) original, text-only and GAC'd, the game began at 5.06pm on the afternoon of Wednesday September 15th 1941. I was in my office - "A window behind my desk blinked a neon message for a moment then dulled, the office pausing in darkness only to reappear like a rabbit pulled out of a magicians (sic) top hat as the neon blinked again.' Blinkin' 'eck.
I was carrying a watch, a gun and a photograph. I examined the watch. It was 5.08pm already. Better get a move on. But where, and for why? Damn it, where did I put those instructions? I examined the gun. A .38 automatic, six bullets. The photo? Three people standing before a large log fire - a distinguished man in his early '30s (sounded like me), a very attractive brunette (sounded like my kind of dame) and Alverson (sounded like no-one I'd ever met before in my life - where were those instructions??). The back of the photo provided an address, 237 Bluehills, so I decided to go take a visit. But hang on, which way? That rabbit about the rabbit in the hat had been all very well, but where was the damn door? N, S, E, and W all produced the same interesting response - "I wouldn't do that!. No? So what would you do? OPEN THE WINDOW?. Nope. OPEN THE DOOR, LEAVE THE OFFICE? Not understood. NORTH, NORTH-EAST (and all the rest)? No. JUMP THROUGH WINDOW?. No, not understood either. This was getting serious.
And then I found the instructions. A glossy, very handsomely produced booklet which, God be my witness, fell open at the very page which said "Interactive Technology stories incorporate an advanced interpreter (parser) that can understand not just two word commands but also complex sentence structures.' Oh yeah? So how come I got one that understood sweet FA?
Then, inspiration... O-U-T spells..' OUT. I stepped straight from my office and into my car, burning rubber to 237 Bluehills. A butler opened the door, asked me my name. Well hell, who was I? Oh yeah, Philip Marlowe, of course, so I typed in MARLOWE and he slammed the door in my face, muttering something about reporters. So I tried PHILIP MARLOWE instead. That got me in. It was that goddamned advanced interpreter again - just too advanced.
Inside I met Marcia. She said "I suppose your (sic) here to ask questions? So I asked her some questions. But that was a drag because Marcia's answers always prompted me for the next question 'til she let on about some folders on her husband's desk. So I went to the study. EXAMINE THE DESK. Sure enough there they were, lying on the top. GET FOLDERS. "I couldn't see that," came the reply. Mmm. Things were shaping up for another grey day in Tinseltown.
Dead End is based on the film of Farewell My Lovely, from the Raymond Chandler novel, and I wonder whether the author's obtained permission to do it. He certainly hasn't done it very well - typical GAC faults of missing full stops and closing quotes sitting on their own at the start of the following line. For £7.95 you could probably get the complete works of Chandler in paperback, and I recommend you do that instead.