Game Workshop's Adventure

An early British version of the mainframe text adventure? Or an action RPG game?

Games Workshop, better known for its wargame minatures and Fighting Fantasy books (white later got videogame conversions) also dabbled early on with games for Commodore computers.

They ran adverts in Practical Computing in February 1979, March 1979, April 1979, May 1979 and June 1979.

Their Commodore PET games Torpedo Run and Yam were reviewed in Practical Computing June 1979 and Man Eater was reviewed in Practical Computing July 1979.

Here's them advertising in Practical Computing in March 1980...

Their Adventure was published later.

This advert was found by John Metcalf in Practical Computing July 1980...

"Our own version of this classic computer moderated fantasy adventure game in which you explore an underground dungeon populated by snakes, trolls and menacing little goblish which constantly bar your way. As you explore, you give the computer commands such as - get gold, open lock, drop bottle, kill goblin etc. - and tell it which way you proceeed. The computer responds with your revised situation and awaits your further instructions."

The description certainly makes it sound like a "proper" parser-driven text adventure game.

Adventure appeared to have been popular at the Games Day held in 1980...

Source: White Dwarf issue 22

(4,500 people attended Games Day '80; which was held on the 27th September 1980 in the Royal Horticultural Society's New Hall in London, UK)

The founders of Games Workshop, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone weren't programmers themselves but had the help of computer expert Rob Easterby.

Steve Jackson in PC Zone issue 72 (January 1999):

"In the 70s, a programmer called Rob Easterby showed us a game he'd written for the Commodore PET. It was a simulation of the scene in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker flies down the trench and blows up the Death Star. I played it for hours and Games Workshop even published it."

Steve (I think), speaking in Crash magazine (issue 13) in February 1985, about that Star Trek trench game (Torpedo Run) and the disappointing response to their early videogame releases...

"I know it's old hat now, but at the time nobody had ever done that. And if you look at the graphics now compared to what you get today — well it was just about 8K! But it was quite a good game and everybody who came along to Games Day enjoyed it, and we released this range of six games and arranged quite a bit of advertising for them, and they bombed out completely. It was a terrible disaster! All the copies we made were on our own little PET. That was our best selling game and I think we sold about 60 of them! That was the state of the computer games market. We consoled ourselves with the fact that at least we could say we were ahead of the time."


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