Switch Text Adventure Games

Text from the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (30th Anniversary)

Text from the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (30th Anniversary)

Windows PC On Screen Keyboard

To mark the 30th anniversary of Infocom's The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy adventure game, the BBC have re-vamped their on-line version. This is great news for two reasons. Firstly, it's a brilliantly funny if super tough game. Secondly, it's switch accessible if using the Windows On Screen Keyboard (search on OSK then go to the Options button next to the Help key).

Playing with a single switch requires zen patience, so I highly recommend getting a BBCid and using the SAVE and RESTORE COMMANDS. This gives a taste of 1980s switch gaming at its deepest, available on a small number of computers at the time. Most common would have been an Apple II (see video below) with Adaptive Firmware Card and switch interface although there were other possibilities too.

Some other late 70s and early 80s computers had morse-code entry and/or switch scanning keyboards that could play such adventure games. I think there were Possum POSM units that could do this, but info is thin on the ground.

I found it interesting to learn that the world's first Internet multi-player on-line role-playing game was created and hosted at Essex University (I've lived in Essex all my life), which all MMORPG's can trace their roots back to.

Much more interesting still is Vine which makes creating a text adventure playable in a web-browser possible without a lot of technical know how. The games are largely switch accessible (TAB through options then RETURN to select - although some games can't be restarted that way sadly) and are point and click compatible. Additionally, text can be resized and read out with standard browser tools. Great starter advice here from Anna Anthropy and a whole slew of games at Twine Hub.

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