Does anyone remember this game?

The first IF I ever played was a parser game for the Atari ST in the early/mid-90s: I think it came on a disk with a games magazine published in the UK, as I can’t think where else I would have got it.

It was set in a world where nursery rhymes had all gone wrong. Humpty Dumpty was gleefully throwing himself off his wall and springing right back up again, because there was a mattress behind it. (I think you could remove the springs.) There was a chip shop, which was closed (“it looks like there’s no frying tonight”) - I had a vague idea that you might be able to get vinegar for Jack and Jill there. The only other thing I remember is that, at the start of the game, you are walking up a gravel path and your feet crunch over the gravel. I don’t think I got very far with it.

I did do a quick search on the IFDB but I don’t think it’s there (I don’t think it’s Rhyme Cryme by Karen Tyers: 1996 sounds slightly late, and this description sounds completely wrong).

It’s not a lot to go on, but I was curious to know if anyone else recognised this.

This is The Case of the Mixed-up Shymer, by Sandra Sharkey.


:o Yess! I remember now! Thank you!


Wow. I’m really impressed how quickly this question got answered, especially since it’s a game I never heard of!

It reminds me, so many text adventures, so little time.

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I am in awe of @r_f 's skills, particularly since the IFDB entry is so bare. The title instantly came back to me as soon as I read their post.

I’m going to add the “nursery rhyme” tag now for future reference.


For a little more info on its history and other versions, see :: CASA :: Case of the Mixed-Up Shymer, The


Yes, the author Sandra Sharkey was an active member of the UK text adventure community during the 1980s and 1990s.

Sandra was one of the founding editors of the long-running adventure fanzine, Adventure Probe. She was an Amstrad CPC user at that time, which is what the game was originally written for, using the GAC by Incentive. It was “home published”… first by Sandra herself and later by Mandy Rodrigues of Atlas Adventure Software. The game was ported to run on GAC for the ZX Spectrum and C64.

Sandra was quite heavily involved in the testing of the system’s sequel, the STAC for Atari ST. Indeed, her faulty fridge/freezer gave the programmer some headaches (but that’s another story). She reworked the Amstrad GAC original using STAC, with graphics by Dicon Peake. The Atari ST version was often used as a demonstration of what STAC could do.

Sandra was, for a brief time, The Sorceress of Sinclair User; before that role was take on by Peter Gerrard. Sandra, Peter and Dicon collaborated with Pete Austin on the final published text adventure by Level 9, Scapeghost.


Sounds like a story begging to be told?

Here is Shaun writing about it…

The Tale of Sandra’s Freezer
By Sean Ellis, author of STAC

During the development of the ST Adventure Creator, many bugs were uncovered and uncermoniously stamped upon. However, one of our playtesters, Sandra Sharkey, consistently found bugs which noone else could reproduce, let alone hunt down and kill. This perplexed me for quite a time, pouring over listings, staring square-eyed into my monitor until the early hours of the morning, and tracing linked list structures by hand… not a pleasant task.

All this was to no avail. New reports came in from Sandra almost every day. I became more frantic, and began to curse the ST operating system. This is a common practice of most ST programmers at times of crisis.

After this failed, I used the long-honoured technique used by crossword puzzlists. I put it down for a while, intending to have a look at it later.

Finally. I received a phone call from Incentive saying that Sandra had tracked down all the bugs in one go, and that they resided in… the cooling mechanism of her freezer.

It seems that what happened was that Sandra’s (rather old) freezer had been sending spikes down the mains whenever the cooling mechanism started up, causing havoc with the programs and data within the ST.

Needless to say, I was very relieved!

The moral of this story is: if a problem’s snow joke and it threatens your cool, put it on ice (groan…).


That’s a fantastic story, thanks! I am impressed by the wealth of information at everyone’s fingertips :slight_smile:

It’s not everyone, just Gareth (@8bitAG). He’s a walking encyclopedia of adventure knowledge.