I remember back in the days that I was a wee toddler (okay, I was a little older than 2, but you know what I mean) my dad had purchased a computer called a 'Sorcerer' which he would use when he wasn't at work (because even though he was an engineer, he would come home and fiddle with electronics and computers that had nothing to do with building missile defense systems – and before you jump up and scream that I am releasing classified secrets, this was back in the 80s so anything he worked on back then would be well and truly obsolete by now). Anyway, he had got some really basic games from this computer including space invaders:
among others. Mind you, unlike the screen shots above, these games were in black and white since the Sorcerer was a really primitive computer. Anyway, even though I would play around with these games the games that I became addicted too where a type of game known as Adventure Games, or as they are now known, interactive fiction (though I will continue to refer to them as adventure games). However, I have already written an entire post on these type of games here so I won't repeat what I have already written. Needless to say I absolutely loved these games.
The problem with having a really old computer back in the early 80s was that the amount of content that was available was incredibly limited – there was no internet and there was no Google Play where you could download I don't know how many games (I've got a heap on my phone at the moment and I don't even play any of them), so if you wanted a new game, and didn't want to pay new game prices for them (just go into your local EB and have a look at the prices of games there – taking into account inflation, that is basically what you would be paying for them, and this was Space Invaders) you would have to create them yourself, or at least type them in from a computer magazine.
Now, the thing with Adventure Games is that they were actually one of the easiest games to write (okay, there are easier games, but what I am talking about here are games that were commercially available) which is why you ended up having quite a few books dedicated to creating these games (and also why there were so many available in the discount section of the computer shop).
As for this book though, as a kid I loved this book – in fact I loved all of the Rigby Usborne books – they were so cool. However, reading through this book now it is interesting to see how they set it out. For instance there are a couple of times where they indicate that knowing how to write an adventure game can actually be a useful skill later on in life as not only are they complex databases, but also the design and implementation aspect of programming is something that is required as a professional programmer (I remember that I would simply write the program straight onto the computer and when I ended up doing IT in highschool I discovered that a lot more was required than simply writing code).
While this time I didn't pay too much attention to the code in the book, it does break the program up into its component parts to demonstrate how each section works. What was interesting was that as I read through it I was sure that the adventure games that I wrote (one of them was based on a Doctor Who episode called 'State of Decay' however the name I gave the game was 'Temple 2000', which I had blatantly ripped off another game which was called 'Pyramid 2000') were a lot tighter than the game in this book, however that was probably because I learnt how to write these games from a variety of sources which included my father (and of course, this book).
The other thing about reading through this book again was that ideas for Adventure games came flooding through my head (such as being a pilot of a spaceship that crashes on an alien planet and you have to go and scavenge components to fix it), and also computer code (namely BASIC) would also flood through there. Sometimes I wonder why it is that I never ended up studying computer science at university because it seems like I do have a knack for it. Moreso, when I was watching Elysium the other night and saw the scene where he plugged his laptop into the door and began to alter to code to enable the door to open I said to myself 'I would love to learn to be able to do that' until I realised that that is hacking, and hacking is illegal (not that that stops anybody).
Before I finish off though, the world of adventure games is still alive and well, as this article from The Guardian indicates.