A Tribute to the Dick Smith System 80
(aka Video Genie and PMC-80/81)

Downloadable Disk Images - Programs on the Dunjonquest disk

These are two famous role-playing games available for the TRS-80 and compatible machines. They mirror the "dungeons and dragons" board games popular in the 1970s and 80s where a player would take on a warrior-persona with attributes (strength, dexterity etc) and arm themselves with various weapons and defenses before plunging into some mysterious "dungeon", where danger lurked around every corner.

In the board game, a person is nominated as the dungeonmaster. They control the game. However, in this digital manifestation, the computer takes that role, and displays the status of both player and environment on the screen. The graphics display is very crude, but the authors more than make up for that by the very descriptive manuals which fill in the details of every component in the dungeon. For example, a "Wraith", which may be graphics block on the screen, is described in the manual as "These ghostly creatures appear as skeletal figures garbed in hooded frocks. Their eyes are fiery points of light within their cowls. They move effortlessly about leaving no trace of their passing and are capable of passing through solid matter at will. Many have died under the chill touch of their bony hands."

Get the picture? The manual is not just a manual, it's The Book of Lore. Not only does it explain the rules but it's an interpreter to what you actually SHOULD see (in your imagination) during the game. This is very necessary because the graphics are certainly not up to it. Strangely enough, it works! Like reading a book, you can visualize the action. The dots of the screen are simply cues to where you are and what's going on. Most of the game is in the mind. The manual also contains the prequel, so (as the player) you know why you are there.

It's a long way away from the RPG experiences afforded by on-line gaming nowadays. But it was the start of the concept!

For that reason alone they are worth checking out.

Name (and filename) Description What to type at the dos prompt
Temple of Apshai (apshai/jcl)
Auxiliary files include...
Dm, Inn, Levels 1-4, lchr
By Automated Simulations (1979).
So begins, the adventures of Brian Hammerhand...
chain apshai/jcl
Note: you must use the chain command to load this file.
Hellfire Warrior (hellfire/jcl)
Dm2, Inn2, Levels 5-8
The sequel to Apshai. Four more dungeons to explore!
This is the one I actually started on, in its cassette manifestation.
chain hellfire/jcl
Note: you must use the chain command to load this file.

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