The Ghost of Briarcliff Castle

Hey all,

Has anyone played or at least heard of this game?

( The Ghost of Briarcliff Castle : Robert Wayne Atkins : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive)

I just downloaded it and started playing, and it’s a strange experience. Apparently it was a commercial game in 1991 and it was updated and rereleased as freeware in 2006. It has the feel of something much older though. It has a two-word parser (with some exceptions) and a screen divided into rectangles for terse descriptions, inventory, rudimentary automap,…
The author is one Robert Wayne Atkins. Apparently he was quite prolific in the late eighties, early nineties.
I could not find this game nor any of his others on IFDB. Does anyone have some more info on the game(s) or the author? I’m quite intrigued.

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A medical degree in not required

Shame about the intro typo surviving the 2006 re-release…

Looks like he was pretty prolific around 1990. Internet Archive Search: creator:"Robert Wayne Atkins"


Interesting find. Horrible interface tho. Did that have a material release (i.e. a box version), or was it something like shareware? Shallow googling doesn’t help.

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My point exactly. A prolific author around '89-91, but I couldn’t find anything except a list of games on The Internet Archive.

Edit: The help section of the game does point to an internet adress that seems not to be in use anymore: www dot grandpappy dot info
The only thing that resembles this is www dot grandpappy dot org. This is a christian/survivalist website devoted to survival in the End Times. Interesting stuff surely, but no mention of interactive fiction.

Looks like the same guy and the same sort of content, just purged of ~1990ish entertainment options: Grandpappy's Information Home Page, by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E., Christian Poems, Free Games, Recipes, Wilderness Survival Tips, Six-Sigma Quality.

He must have denounced the Parser God and Its Crooked Interface Angels in favor of a superbeing with better game at some point.

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That’s what I love about this site. I just pop over for something to read while I’m sipping my tea, and there’s no telling what someone has unearthed from the gas-lit end of the internet.

Kudos, guys! :heart:


I have just recently begun to deviate from the path laid by IFDB in search of older DOS-games. There sure are some black holes in that gas-lit end. Digging through obscurity, and I have only begun to scratch the surface.

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If you enjoy this sort of thing then run, don’t walk, to Real-Life.

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Ken the athiest says: "There is no god. Do as you please."
What would you like to do?

> As I please

You can't do that. At least, not now.

Wisdom from the ages eighties.


Thank you thank you thank you for the link. I have been looking for these games for years. I was 13 when I found them. The first one that I remember was “The Lost Crown of Queen Anne.” It was included on Big Blue #(??), which was a monthly subscription that you would receive each month and it had 3 or 4 games (approx) and it really was a blue disc, though it was a 3.5" floppy which is the smaller of the 2 disks available at the time. I quickly noticed that the filenames of the files that make up the game, is a list of the author’s name, address, and phone number as well some copywrite information. So I called his house (he must have known somebody would do that if they ever paid 3 seconds of attention to the filenames) and talked to his wife, who sent me a list of the games that he had at that time. I managed to scrounge a few more over the years, but lost them all when I joined the Army. The only thing about them that I remembered was the name of the programmer, Robert Wayne Atkins. As soon as I bought a computer after the Army I started searching for these games simply for the nostalgic value. I had many different types of games at that time, but spent more time playing these than anything else (and no, not because they are slower and take longer to play, but because I really enjoyed them).
So again, thank you for posting that link. It’s frustrating because the link to this page was 4 search result pages deep and I was about to give up. Not even his personal pages are any help in finding these.


Most people’s first experience with his games learned about them by subscribing to either Big Blue Disk #28 and/or Loadstar #57, which were a subscription service where you received a 3.5" floppy with a few games every month. The game released that month was the “The Lost Crown of Queen Anne.” It was frustrating at first because there was no instructions and it was just trial and error to make it do anything. I probably killed my player in less than 5 minutes the first 20 times I played.
I don’t remember clearly if when I called his home and talked to his wife if there was an option to buy them all at once as a box set, all I remember for certain is getting a 2 sheets of paper in the mail, 1 with a list of the games in the collection at that time and 1 with ordering instructions–whatever those were.

That website you found IS the author of the games. He also has a whole bunch of books available on Amazon. If you keep searching or maybe scan through the links on the site you found, there should be a list of his books on there.

I was also pages and pages deep in a random Internet Archive IF-related search when I stumbled across The Ghost of Briarcliff Castle. I downloaded it and explored a bit but I found it nigh-unplayable. I keep it around on my hard drive for historical value. I’ll probably get around to actually trying to play it sometime.