Trying to find something I only slightly recall

I have this memory of an old text game that was packaged with an illustrated book. It was sort of like a dungeon crawler, but it would use the book for most of its flavor text and all of its illustrations other than the title screen of the game.

You would do something in the game, and the game would update your character’s stats and whatnot, lets say you entered a new room, but it’d give you a page number to turn to in the book that matched up with what you were experiencing in the game. It was like a bizarre amalgamation of an early cRPG and a proto-CYOA book.

The book was nonsensical and unusable without the game; it wasn’t a standalone CYOA book. Whereas the game was very dry and and text minimum without the book. The game was nearly unplayable without the book as key details needed to progress the game were included in the book text.

Basically, the game escaped its size limitations by offloading all of the static text and images to physical ink and paper.

The problem is I don’t remember the title, or even much about it. I can’t find it online.

Does anyone know of a game designed like this? Because it’s starting to bug me that it seems to only live in my memory.


There were several that I can think of, that relied on illustrations in the manual. Such as…

Tower of Despair… Computer Game Museum Display Case - Tower of Despair

The Dan Diamond games… Computer Game Museum Display Case - Fishy Business


OMG!!! I forgot about the cassette tape!! You just made my head spin with memories!!!

It wasn’t either of these two, but it was DEFINITELY done in the same style!

Thank you for making me feel less crazy!

Did these types or styles of cross digital/analog games have a name?

Was it on C64? Narrowing down the platform might help.

I don’t think there was a particular name for this time of hybrid adventure. “Bookware” tended to be used for games that were sold with books, though, but they didn’t tend to be integrated as these examples are; with the need to use the illustrations in the manual in these cases.

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Eureka is another one that used its manual as part of the game…

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It was my uncle’s computer (I was very young) and it was definitely pre-DOS.

This wasn’t it, but the monitor was like imbedded, I guess:

images (37)

It won’t be this but just listing this one as an example of more RPG-style of game with a book that you used alongside the game for hints…

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Also Wasteland…

You had to refer to the book to read paragraphs of text.


I’m sorry I can’t be more useful with the platform. My first operating system was DOS, which led into being able to boot to early windows from DOS, etc. I was exposed to other systems, but never to the point where I grew familiar.

I really do appreciate you sharing these with me, though. It was definitely one of these style of games. I even remember the cassette tape.

temple of apshai had descriptive text in a surprisingly large (for its time) manual. there were room descriptions and sometimes atmospheric messages, too.

It had a PET release, which might fit your hardware description. There was definitely a tape version.

I played the c64 version a lot.

there were a lot of games that had supplementary text. I recall Pool of Radiance as a later example.

Temple of Apshai - Wikipedia



Thank you!

Also, looking up the PET, that looks alot like my uncle’s computer waaaaayyyy back when, before placental mammals walked the Earth.

Early tape versions of the game had no means to save progress. The player was prompted to write down all statistics when quitting the game and had to type them in when resuming play. Later floppy versions fixed this by saving the status on the disk.

Oh! I remember this too!


Not the game you’re thinking of, but Dragon Wars is another game with much of the content in a book of paragraphs, if anybody is a fan of that kind of thing generally. No illustrations, sadly.


Was it on one of these, not the PET?

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Here’s the recreation i was working on. Runs on the original machine, but with randomly generated dungeons, zoom and pan in real-time!


… I dunno… maybe? I was maybe 5 or 6 at the time. I thought it looked like the PET I looked up, but it could have been that too. You’re talking 30 years ago.


Here’s the original manual on Mocagh for Temple of Apshai…

Which then spawned a larger series…

You might’ve also been playing it on Apple II.


Thank you very kindly.