Category Archives: Text Adventures

Star Bores – an old Text Adventure from the early ’90s

A long time a go, in a city far far away (ok, it was a town then and it’s only 92 miles up the road from me now) I wrote a computer game. It wasn’t good, it didn’t sell more than a few copies.

The game was Star Bores, a Star Wars parody that originally pre-dated Spaceballs by two years. But, as you will see, it suffered massive schedule slip, a lot of delays, massive apathy and eventual consignment to the shitbin of computing history.

It all started back in 1985, when I got hold of a copy of Gilsoft’s The Quill adventure writing software for the ZX Spectrum. I’d played a good few games written with it, including some excellent ones by Delta 4. Thinking “I can do that, how hard can it be?” I launched half-heartedly into games design.

The first version was a simple 20-ish room affair which just involved getting Luke on the bus to get off the planet Tattoo.  I hawked it around school on cheap C15 cassettes for a while, until everyone told me to sod off. It was utterly awful, and I’m thankful that the likelyhood of any copies remaining is very very slight.

Version 2 (late ’85-early ’86) included graphics using The Illustrator add-on to The Quill. The text was cleaned up, the puzzles were made more logical, and it made more sense. I remember being particulary proud of the drawing of a Mercedes Minibus for the final end screen.

Sadly, in April ’86 my mother died, orphaning us. In the follwing upheaval I lost all my data tapes and notes, as they “weren’t considered to be important”. Neither was my self-designed ZX81 controlled Logo Turtle, but that another story that goes on and on and on…

Early 1987 brings us to the Amstrad CPC6218,  the Graphic Adventure Creator, and a re-write from scratch.  Once again it was awful. And thus swiftly abandoned.

Shortly afterwards, I managed to scrape up the money (by selling brushes door-to-door) to get a copy of The Professional Adventure Writer! It ran uder CP/M on the Amstrad 6128/PCW8258. It was great. Sadly, my game writing skills were still not.

But, Keeping calm and carrying on (before that was a thing), I reached a final release in early 1988. Two years after Spaceballs came out. It was still rubbish.

Still, I spent a fortune sending 3″ (yes) disks out to those magazines that might be interested. Nothing, except for a letter from Amstrad Action along the lines of “Thanks, but no thanks”. Some more copies were done for a local games shop, but more cases were stolen than games bought (Amstrad 3″ disk cases being rare as rocking horse shit at the time).

By 1990 I’d moved south and the CPC had packed up. By now the sorry saga whould have been over, but in about 1997 I heard about getting data from old Amstrad disks onto PC disks.  So I did. And I got it running on a PC!

Since then it has been available on a number of retro download sites, and in total has had over 1000 downloads (he says, making numbers up like a British Politician).

Anyway, you’ve come this far so you need some sort of reward.

Here is a zip of the CPM version: