One of the earliest companies that made a go of making and selling software for home computers was Scott Adams’ Adventure International, which was started based off of the success of his first game, Adventureland, way back in 1978, almost 45 years ago. Just to be clear, this is not the Dilbert Scott Adams! Adventureland predates Infocom and Zork, although not the original Dungeon written for the PDP-10. Adventure International would go on to make thirteen more games before going out of business in 1986 due to a declining market. Their old work is available for both download and immediate play via browser-based emulation from the Internet Archive.
Recently Scott did a video Q&A over Zoom, the record of which is up on YouTube (listen for a certain familiar name to come up near the end-I was one of the spectators of the Q&A). One of the things revealed is that there is a modern remake of Adventureland, called Adventureland XL, on Steam for a mere $5! It’s in Early Access, and has been for some time, but they’re geared towards finishing it up for full release soon.
Adventureland XL is described as a “Conversational Adventure” game, which is to say, it’s driven by a text parser (although a better one than the old Adventure International games) and has text descriptions. But, like the original, it also has included illustrations.
Scott works for a company called Clopas, which has a Kickstarter going for another new game called Stereotypical, to be made for iOS and Android platforms. It’s just getting started and has a month to go. They have a very charming pitch video! Please consider it, won’t you?
Another couple of items of interest came up in the Q&A. Scott Adams did games based on several Marvel properties at the time, which are Marvel’s very first computer game adaptations. They also made a graphic adventure version of cult movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, which The Retroist discussed here, and links a quick playthrough here.
A couple of other related items:
Mike Taylor has made available tools for using Ruby to compile your own adventure games using the old Adventure International engine, which you can find on GitHub.
And also mentioned at the Q&A is FujiNet, which is a line of network adapters (and other useful tools) that work with 8-bit computers. They work by handling all the actual networking within the device so it doesn’t strain the resources of their old processors. They can even emulate printers (so as to produce PDFs of output by the machine) and storage devices like disk drives, making for a nice all-in-one device.
During the talk someone mentioned what I think was a version for the Atari Lynx portable console, and even talked about using it to play Lynx Rampart with others over the internet, and since I am the biggest Rampart fan in the entire world, it felt like they were pressing my buttons specifically.