Curse of the Seven [7/Severn] Faces

One of the earliest ZX Spectrum text adventures with a "buffer save" (ramsave) system; and an interesting publication history, with three publishers associated with the game in under a year.

The first mention of the game was in July 1984, where it was reviewed by Tony Bridge and being sold by a new publisher Classic Computing. The authors were listed as Alan McDonald and Peter Galbavy, with proof reader Zoe Meeson. (A later version of the game lists Peter as the "text editor". Alan McDonald gets sole author billing.)

Tony Bridge comments on the unique "buffer save" system, indicating it was quite unusual for a British text adventure of the time. Were there any earlier, pre-1984 games that used a similar ramsave system?

Source: Popular Computing Weekly - 19/7/1984

A month later Tony was back reporting that the game had been snapped up for publication by Artic Computing. Presumably some copies will have been sold by Classic Computing after Tony's original review appeared?

An Enterprise version of the game (and perhaps even an Amstrad one?) is hinted at.

Source: Popular Computing Weekly - 16/8/1984

Personal Computer Games said that the Artic release of the game would happen in November 1984...

Source: Personal Computer Games October 1984

Tony Bridge mentions it as one of his favourite games of 1984 in his round-up of that year's adventures in the second week of 1985...

Source: Popular Computing Weekly 10/1/1985

The Artic version in the archives has several hidden messages, including one that states that version of the game was from August 1984.

So a 1984 release date for the Classic Computing version seems justified. But did any copies of the standalone Artic version sneak out in any form other than review copies?

The game was reviewed in Crash in February 1985 as being published by Artic (no price listed)

Source: Crash February 1985

It was reviewed in Personal Computer Games in February 1985 as an Artic game but with a STOP PRESS announcement of Imperial Software publishing it instead...

Note... an Amstrad version is mentioned here too both in the main review and in the corresponding information box..

Source: Personal Computer Games February 1985


So, why the change of publisher?

An news article in Micro Adventurer Issue 17, March 1985, explains...

Source: Micro Adventurer Issue 17

The Imperial Software release seems to have been a lot more low-budget & homegrown than any potential Artic one. Also note the mispelling (or deliberate spelling?) of seven as severn.

Imperial Software were based in Poole, Dorset. They released another similarly packaged text adventure, Clues 'O'.

Source: Full inlay

Future reviews now refer to the game as being published by Imperial.

Home Computing Weekly in February 1985...

Source: Home Computing Weekly February 1985

The Sinclair User review from April 1985...

Source: Sinclair User April 1985

Your Spectrum April 1985...

Source: Your Spectrum April 1985

A mention in the news section in June's ZX Computing...

Source: ZX Computing June 1985

Reviewed in C&VG in August 1985 as being published by Imperial Software for £8.95...

Source: C&VG August 1985


Curiously, the game did eventually get an Artic release as part of the Assemblage compilation in late 1985 / early 1986...

Tony Bridge was still raving about the game in this form...



What about the Amstrad version of the game? Presumably a planned release by Artic, and probably shelved when the game moved to Imperial, there doesn't seem to be any other references to a release on that format aside from a really curious mention in the introduction for The Pilgrim's column in Amstrad Action #4 (Christmas 1985). It seems like the game might've been reviewed for that issue and then dropped... as it's not included in that month's column...

Source: Amstrad Action Issue 4 - Christmas 85/January 86


Additional Links: Curse of the Seven Faces on ZX Computing


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