I recently found a YouTube with playthroughs of old Apple II graphic adventure games that I remembered playing, that were really influential. I couldn’t believe I saw them again. They were all terrible adventure games. The writing is especially awful. The art was mind blowing at the time, especially because I understood the advances in Apple II programming that were producing the art in these games.
AppleAdventures on YouTube, has the great thing of hearing the disk drive whirr. It used to tell you whether you entered a command that was actually going to do something, change the game state in a forward direction.I remember Scott Pelszarski writing routines for filing in areas of drawing with borders, with a pattern. Not a color, a pattern. This is what everyone does now. I spelled his name wrong, but he wrote these routines, and then there were games like Death in the Caribbean. There were early things I wrote on my own Apple II, like Xxamu.
There were the Scott Adams games, S.A.G.A., graphic adventures. There was Kabul Spy. Which I remembered as being a SierraOnline vaguely arcade like thing, but was a graphic adventure game, which paid tribute to the original Adventure, with a well house for a large spring, inside is a brass lantern. But that’s the whole problem.
So I played a whole bunch of these Apple II adventure games, that were trying to be puzzle IF, and things that really I was into, like Mask of the Sun, which had a whole thing of figuring out how to write the page of graphics to memory, and play a few of them from buffer to screen really fast, and seem like animation.
I really remembered Mask of the Sun, and I was excited to watch it be played on YouTube, and then, it was really terrible IF. It starts with a story, and then it’s a lot of maze, of roads. Solve maze, go inside, new maze. Almost at random, you get to put a thing from one place to another place.
Especial reward, an animation that was not possible on Apple II. Oh, that’s why I remember it.
After watching three or four of these things, Death in the Caribbean was real bad, Cranston Manor was bad, they’re all bad. They were all thinking, ok, it’s puzzle game. text. Now we can do graphics. We have got an Apple II to draw a hole in the ground with a staircase.
I understand that it was mostly some game programmer geeks who were writing better graphics code, making these games. But they never hired a writer. You are our writer. You have four lines at most, never mind that, you have 280 characters, you have to write with. This is ridiculous to a twitter generated generation.
Nobody ever thought, okay, the player can see that we’ve got the graphics guys to draw a hole in the floor, and some stairs. Don’t write, “YOU ARE IN A ROOM WITH A HOLE IN THE FLOOR, AND A STAIRCASE.”
That’s what I don’t quite understand about this Apple II graphic IF period. Nobody in the room said, “they can see the hole and the stairs, let’s use the 140 characters we can write with, to write something else. something that describes more than that, or adds atmosphere to that. Or goes a whole creative way that has nothing to do with that.”
Obviously this is where we are now. And I mean that, meanly.