Ultima 4 [1985]

So there I was, seven or eight layers deep in a dungeon, when I start losing hit points in all my party members every time I take a step. I'm not poisoned, that's easy to tell... turns out I've been down there so long exploring that I'm starving. Oh shit! I check the map to … Continue reading Ultima 4 [1985]

Super Mario Bros [1985]

Despite being such a big nerd over music, I have barely discussed video game music outside of my post on Space Invaders [1978]. Nevertheless, throughout the early 1980s it steadily expanded from the beachhead, bringing video games from a medium where some or many games had no sound at all or only rudimentary sound effects, … Continue reading Super Mario Bros [1985]

King’s Quest [1984]

The most infamous puzzle in King's Quest [1984] is the Rumpelstiltskin puzzle. Schematically, this puzzle is strikingly identical to the hideous Odysseus puzzle in Zork [1980]: Based only off knowing the general milieu of reference material (fairy tales here, Ancient Greek mythology there) and a loose aesthetic association (between Rumpelstiltskin and a hut made of … Continue reading King’s Quest [1984]

Portopia Serial Murder Case [1983]

(Content warning: Police abuse, suicide. Spoilers for Portopia.) While both Colossal Cave Adventure [1975/77] and The Portopia Serial Murder Case [1983] are nostalgic reveries of a real location from the author's life crammed into the computer, Portopia must abridge its Kobe City. It's not as geographically exacting, instead compressing locations into composite sketches and eliding … Continue reading Portopia Serial Murder Case [1983]