ID text-only game from 1985 news footage? (might be B-roll)

A local TV news segment from 1985 was just posted to YouTube on the topic of then-hot home computer games. The segment jams in the barest mention of text-only games at the end, including an unidentified game which appears to be playing on an Apple II-class machine. Anybody know what game talks about a shark and strong currents and such?


A transcription, as best I can make out:

    [...] is an outdoor spo[t...]
    [...] it is always wet,[...]
   [...t]ant.  The sky, tem[...]
    [...]and sea can combin[e...]
    [...] a great or misera[ble...]
[...sunn]y day is best for [...]
    [...]good lighting so y[ou...]
   [...s]hark sneaking up o[...]
   [...u]n in a warmer clim[ate...]
 [...war]m and so are you. [...]
   [...c]reate strong curre[nts...]
   [...t]o swim and can eve[n...]
   [...e] not careful.  An [...]
   [...t]o South America is[...]
            [...]Divers lik[e...]

Things in square brackets are my guesses.


@jbdyer , recognize this by any chance?

He’s been doing the All the Adventures Project for any unfamiliar with it. (I searched it for ‘South America’ and ‘shark’ and didn’t come up with any likely candidates.)

Infocom’s Cutthroats is from 1984 and is about diving, but I assume that’s not it, otherwise some knowledgeable forum colleagues would already have recognized it? (And a cursory look at Cutthroats’ intro text and at a Youtube walkthrough doesn’t seem to turn up such a passage, either.)

Thought of that, searched the Cutthroats source and it’s not there.

Is it perhaps Terrormolinos?

This is the only 1985 game turning up on an IFDB search for “shark.” The IFDB summary says that the puzzle-hunt aspect of the game centers around taking pictures of various things, and that jibes with the “good lighting” mentioned in the screenshot. The vacation element also seems to line up with the pictured screenshots.

I don’t have a Z80 emulator set up and running or a chance to set one up today, though, so I can’t check, but that is certainly a screen that might be on any of a number of Z80 machines.

1 Like

Not off the top of my head! That’s definitely an Apple II so a ZX Spectrum game (that is, Terrormolinos) wouldn’t be it.

There’s not much set in South America – the only one off the top of my head is Chrichton’s Amazon, and I am fairly certain that doesn’t have a swimming section as illustrated.

I’ll take a look at the lists I have and report back.

1 Like

Inca from 1985 is close but no cigar. 80 character width, text doesn’t match.

Honestly, the text-only combined with 40-character width make this an oddity. Most Apple II adventure games had graphics (putting aside Infocom and a few other rarities like the one above).

The fact that mobygames doesn’t have 40-character screenshots isn’t proof.

The Apple’s 80-character display required add-on hardware. Therefore, any game that supported it had to also support a 40-character display, or they’d be losing customers.


Is it possible they just wrote some text-adventure-esque copy in a word processor to get the shot?


They would never have bothered to do that.

Hugely inconsequential though this is, I am now on tenterhooks waiting for the mystery to be solved!

I used to work in TV news, and I can definitely see myself faking some footage like that if I realised in editing that a news item needed it. That is also the kind of thing that might get you fired if you get caught.

1 Like

I stand corrected - in my wide-eyed innocence, I’d never have believed TV journalists could show such a lack of integrity.

I kind of hope it is made up now, so someone can retroactively spin it into a full game, like The Cavern of the Evil Wizard.


The text seems to me more like a brochure/advertisement for a diving spot/service than a game. Remember that CYOA type of games aren’t popular during the era.

1 Like

It could be the theme for the next Speed Jam! :slight_smile:


It’s plausible that they used generic B-roll of an Apple II text screen instead of a shot of text adventures the software dealer was obviously talking about.

The (partial?) slug code at the top might be a clue, actually:


Someone with old-school journalism training might recognize it.


I’m honestly not sure how Inca specifically would work in 40, looking at the setup – unfortunately haven’t run across a copy to test it. Will update if I do.

Therefore, any game that supported it had to also support a 40-character display, or they’d be losing customers.

I don’t disagree they’d be losing customers, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it anyway (80s computer company, after all).

Wear Gloves South American Swimming Edition could have a snorkel that allows you to
breathe underwater!