Scolt Adams was a legend in his own Californian jacuzzi. He was one of the first programmers in the '70s to transport text-only adventures from massive, powerful, mainframe computers on to paltry 16K micros such as the Commodore Vic-20.
I say was because, although many followers began to regard him as a demi-god and follow in his footsteps, he never progressed very far from his simple text style and verb/noun player input.
Now US Gold has packaged up four of his adventures on one tape, Scott Adams Scoops.
Three of the games on the compilation - Pirate Adventure, Voodoo Castle and Strange Oddyssey - originally appeared on the early Commodore machine, the fourth, Buckaroo Banzai, is a recent film tie-in.
Pirate Adventure was the first adventure he wrote. You kick off in your classy London pad where you collect everything you'll need to survive on Treasure island. But where is the island and how do you get to it?
Voodoo Castle, the next in line, is a spooky little number set in a Transylvanian penthouse where Drac's cousin's had a curse put on him by his enemies. He's trapped in his coffin and you have to crawl around the castle, again using verb/noun input. The game's described as moderately difficult which means that you spend hours tramping around the first five locations.
In Strange Odyssey Adams turns his attention to the mysteries of space. Your ship's crash-landed on a strange planetoid. It's easily the weakest of the compilation Remember to put on your space suit before you press the red button to leave the spaceship... yawn.
And finally, there's Buckaroo Banzai, a moderately difficult game taken from a very bad movie. It's set in a futuristic city with laser beams and ultra- weird pop groups. Adams seems to have jettisoned a great deal of film plot and gone for his usual mixture of problems.
What's the verdict? There's no question that adventure game programming has moved on. leaving Scott behind.
For all that, we're talking real history of adventure gaming here, and Scott Adams Scoops is a great value package.
None of the text-only programs, though, match the style and technical panache of the Delta 4s or Magnetic Scrolls of this sophisticated software world.
Label: US Gold
Reviewer: Gary Rook
Simple text-only adventures from the pen of a master. It's a slice of history in a good value-for-money collection.