If you were a teen (or older) in the 80's, you may have experienced the rise of a game company called Magnetic Scrolls. The company developed adventure games for the state of the art C-64, Amiga and Atari ST platforms and was known for combining great visuals with an advanced text parser and interesting story lines.
Some of the better known games of the company were The Guild of Thieves, The Pawn, the company's first game released in 1985, and Jinxter.
I was fascinated by the company's games even though my command of the English language was severely lacking at the time. The visuals were incredible and while I never got far, I always had fond memories of the first time I started one of the adventure games back in the days.
While text parsing adventure games were "the thing" in these days -- LucasArts would revolutionize the adventure genre with Maniac Mansion and its icon-based action interface that made things a lot easier later -- it was also a frustrating experience as you needed to type the right command to move forward in the game. If you did not, and there was always the possibility that you wanted to do the right thing but used the wrong command, you could become stuck easily.
For this Game Saturday tip, I'd like to take you with me on a journey to this time long forgotten by many. You can play all the Magnetic Scrolls adventure games in your browser of choice, and become an aspiring member of the infamous Guild of Thieves, a character in the fairy land of Kerovnia, or a broker who was made partner in the city of London.
Just head over to the Magnetic Scripts page on the Magnetic Scrolls Memorial website to get started.
All available games are displayed in a circle. Tap on a game to open a page with an introductory page and the option to start playing it right away. To browse the games, click or tap to the left or right game to move it to the front and make it available for selection.
The user interface of each game is in plain HTML which means that it should work in all modern browsers. Since that is the case, it is possible to use copy and paste options, and access the list of the last 50 commands to reissue them easily. You can tap on the image to switch between 8-bit and 16-bit graphics, and also turn off images completely.
Another important thing to remember is that you can use save and load commands to save your progress and restore it.
The games support a very similar set of commands for the most part. You use direction-based commands such as North, Up, Enter, jump, or SouthEast, and verbs such as look, find, or get to interact with the environment.
You will probably encounter the dreaded "I don't follow you" often; it happens when you type a command that the parser does not understand.
All games come with a hint systems that you activate with a click or tap on the question mark icon. You find common questions, two hints for each, and the answer. If you are stuck, you may check them out to continue the game.
Playing the games can be a frustrating experience. Modern adventure games come with all sorts of systems to assist players, including displaying all possible action options, and highlighting items, people and locations of interest. The Magnetic Scrolls adventure games were created in a time where all of these options were not available. It is important to read carefully, and to use your imagination similarly to how you would act in a pen and paper roleplaying game.
Playing these games nowadays is not the same as having played them in the 80's. The main difference is that the visuals are not as impressive anymore as they were back in the days. The stories on the other hand have stood the test of time and still enjoyable after all these years.
Now You: Do you play adventure games? Which is your favorite?Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.