It was back in the middle years of the 1980s that text adventures were at their height. They’d never again become as popular as they were then; in fact, the text adventure market all but collapsed around 1987. Companies like Infocom, Level 9 and Magnetic Scrolls authored many unforgettable games, and made millions – only to lose them again when the market went bust.
Today, text adventures still exist, but they are now exclusively in the domain of amateur developers – that is, unpaid – which is not to say that they aren’t any good. There are some excellent text adventure writers out there that can rival Infocom and Level 9. The genre of text adventures has come such a long way that powerful and versatile authoring toolkits now exist, examples of which are Inform 7 and TADS. A tool like TADS is in many ways more powerful and versatile then anything Infocom ever had available.
Somewhere around 1988 – if I recall correctly – I had a text adventure called Korenvliet. It was special, because it was written in Dutch. The adventure had some interesting puzzles, but the author had chosen not to include any room or object descriptions. Looking at it recently, I saw that is was written in GW-BASIC, and that there may have been no descriptions due to space concerns.
Because I have fond memories of playing (and not solving) this game, I’ve made a reimplementation in TADS (in English) based on the GW-BASIC source. The remake tries to be faithful to the original, in the sense that the original puzzles are there. However, it adds room and object descriptions to give the game more atmosphere.
The result is available for download:
- A TADS 3 story file (.t3). that you can load using a TADS 3 interpreter
- A Windows executable built from the story file. which can be run without an interpreter
Korenvliet is also available on Github.