I decided to re-engage my imagination and play a text-based adventure computer game like I used to enjoy as a teenager. I figured, being an adult, I could solve all the puzzles and walk away unscathed.

I found one of the old Infocom games I remembered from the 80s and loaded it up. Well…

Infocom text adventure death screen

Okay, so I have some learnin’ to do.

I know I’m being nostalgic, but I do have fond memories of these games, namely the Zork series, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Wishbringer and Planetfall (screenshot referenced above). Not to mention The Leather Goddesses of Phobos, cited in the recent Matt Damon movie The Martian as a complete nerd reference (FYI The Leather Goddesses of Phobos allows “tame,” “suggestive” or “lewd” modes depending on what type of adventure you want to have, age appropriate of course).

And as a sheer coincidence while I was engaging these old games, I caught a CBC commercial about video game designers, and lo and behold episode five of their series The Artists focuses on these Infocom text adventures: CBC Infocom text adventure mini-documentary (link opens in a new tab).

So where do I go from here? Well, let’s play. Start game….


Andrew, you are sitting in front of your computer writing your blog post wondering where you go from here.

[Andrew] >go east

You can’t go that way.

>get out of chair



You are carrying:

Used Kleenex
Black licorice
$10 in cash
A wonderful time-travel portal device designed to fulfill your entire history-changing dreams
A crappy TV remote

>use remote to change channel on tv

Um, are you sure you don’t want to use the cool time-travel thing?

>use remote to change channel on tv

Sigh. You use the remote to change the channel to a rerun of I Dream of Jeannie.

>sit back in chair

No kidding. Are you sure you don’t want to travel through time?

>eat licorice

Okay, you’re in the damn chair again, eating licorice and watching 60s sitcoms. You don’t care about time travel, or if there are any aliens in orbit, or anything else in this game, right?

>use 10 dollars to buy beer

That’s it. As a game engine, I’m done. I solemnly declare you’ve been eaten by trolls or whatever and game over. Good luck with all that. Whatever.

>so whats the word on the beer

[Computer crashes]