Instant Classic: Multiplex

Please go to the following web site with great haste:
and download Maarten Koornneef's Multiplex, a new text-mode game that is described as an homage to old text-mode games. The screenshots look quite impressive.

Also, and off-topic, I turned off comments since they are apparently being used exclusively for comment spam.


Site happenings

It appears that this site is moving. The new site is going to be ascii.classicgaming.gamespy.com. I guess they're going to nuke the old site, but the new one is already up. I haven't made any changes because I didn't know what my new ftp site address was. I know what it is now. I don't know that I'll do a whole heck of a lot with the site anyway. It is what it is. I'd be willing to pass the torch to someone else if they really cared about the subject. I expect I'll continue to do the occasional update and ignore peoples' e-mails about how to get x game to work. And, just a reminder, I didn't make the Text-world game. Not me. Nor have I made any of the games or utilities on this site.


BBS and China Sea Trader

I am looking into BBS games to see what they're all about. I was never a part of that wacky world, the internet before it became the internet. I don't even know what I'm talking about. The wikipedia entry is helpful. Fascinating. BBS games are text games, but not graphically text-mode as such. Still, why not do something? I already made an allowance for Interactive Fiction. If I don't, who will? Do I care? These and other questions to be answered in due time.

Someone e-mailed about China Sea Trader. I googled that term in quotes, followed by the word 'game', and there it was on the second page. In BBS lingo, a 'door' is a way to communicate with an external program, commonly a game, thusly the term 'door game' is used. China Sea Trader is such a game.


clarifications and things

Just a few items:
1) I've been getting a rash of e-mails (does three count as a rash?) telling me that what they like or dislike about my games on the site. Please understand that these are not my games. I have authored not an one of them. Where possible, I include information about the authors and publishers. I have not authored nor published anything, with the exeption of a Linux game called Dancing Fingers v1.01, a Dance Dance Revolution-inspired game in glorious black and white (and some yellow). This was an assignment for a class last semester. Needless to say, I got an A, wO0ht!!11

2) If you send an e-mail requesting some help, unless I know the answer off the top of my head I will probably not respond to your e-mail. I haven't played or used many of the games/programs on my site. The site is an archive. In other words, you probably know as much as I do about the game you're downloading, and often much more, since many of you recall fond memories of playing X on a PCjr or whatever. I may know more about zip and bat files, but these ancient games presume a rudimentary understanding of DOS on your part. Even that's not necessary with most games, which will run in an XP terminal session just fine and dandy. But some are a little more in-depth, written for DOS, an OS that doesn't do in-depth.


A note from an author

I got this in the mail:

Hi, this is Robert (Bob) Lancaster, the guy who wrote the MicroLink Games (Yaht, Shut The Box, etc) back somewhere in the Middle Ages.

Thanks for putting the site together! Text-mode games were definitely a different beast. I occasionally get the urge to write another one, but I'm not even sure what I would write one IN, unless I got my old IBM XT out of mothballs and fired up Turbo Pascal again...

I've also considered writing more modern versions of the old ML Games, but I've been considering that since Windows 3.1, so don't hold your breath.

Anyway, I thought I'd let you know about one nitpicky thing: On your page for my Otra game, you describe it as "Ye Olde Sliding tile game" or somesuch. That would more accurately describe my Loyd game. Otra is essentially a Simon-like game, and is only playable nowadays using one of the slow-down utilities.

Again, thanks for putting the site together. I went through your list of games, and found several which bring back fond memories of my days as a Shareware/Freeware author. I had snailmail correspondences with a lot of other Shareware game authors (such as the minds behind Stained Glass and Islands of Danger), and it was fun to see screenshots of their games as well.

Best regards,

Robert Lancaster

Nice! It's always cool to hear from authors of the games. I've interviewed several and received e-mails from others, which makes me wish that I did more research about the games. For the most part, what I know is what I've read on someone else's site or in the documentation included with the games. The truth is, I haven't even played many of the games on my site. Priority one is to simply make the files available. But I digress. Robert Lancaster says that he wrote these in the middle ages. I'd probably say that in terms of computers, these would have been written well before that. What are the middle ages of computers anyway? Dos 6.22? Windows 1.x (didn't know there was a Windows 1.x, eh? It was rubbish). I think I'll go give Stained Glass a try again. But first, this:
This is my final project in Linux Programming, a great class with a great teacher. This is based on the Dance Dance Revolution games that are so popular with the kids these days. Some of the only exercise many of them get. It's my first and only text-mode game. Only works in Linux, though. If anyone wants to port it to Windows, I'll give you the source code. Just a matter of replacing ncurses with whatever handles text in a Windows terminal, I imagine. Written in C.

...I'll get that screenshot up as soon as I remember what my FTP password is.



I'm in school and busy. Just an fyi.



Wow. I haven't put anything here since May. I got addicted to a game (which I'm done with)(really!) and it consumed the time I'd otherwise use for the blog.

I try to help everyone who has an issue with a game, as these requests aren't too numerous. Frankly, there isn't a large demand for text-mode games, what with all the competition in the form of, I don't know, the Sims, Half-Life 2, etc.

The truth is, most of my advice consists of "read the manual", "use DOSBox", and "try re-installing". Occasionally I dig deeper to solve a problem, as with NFL Challenge. I was quite proud of myself for figuring that out. Clever me. On the other hand, I'm a CS major and that kind of thing should be right up my alley.

Any news in the world of text-mode games? I was contacted by the author of J.D.Spy. The e-mail is at home and I'm not. I'll pass along what he said, and maybe update the J.D.Spy page. But you never know when I'll get around to doing anything on the site.


Technical issues

I'm happy to help anyone with game issues. One of the current issues is getting Star Fleet I to work properly. This is a favorite, and it happens to be one of the games that causes a lot of difficulties in trying to run. If anyone has some good advice on that, let me know. I know that a manual is available at the-underdogs.org, but it is 24 MB, that's right, MegaBytes, and the bandwidth is less than stellar (but we love them anyway). If you have the time, download the manual here (beware the popups!!).


There is a new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie coming out in a few days. But you knew that. Someone e-mailed me regarding the game (there are two versions under Games and Utilities: The PC version and the Apple// version which can be used with an Apple// emulator on your PC). So I thought I'd play the game. It's fun, Guide fans will appreciate it. It follows the book somewhat, but reading the book will by no means spoil any of the puzzles. There is a hint system for the slow class, of which I am frequently a student. Download and Play Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy if you want a little pre-movie hype.

I also updated the Hitchhiker's Guide page as it had some erroneous information (I was using the Tetrafix page as a template, and neglected to update it so it said "thanks for such a great game, Russia" which is completely inscrutable).


B1 Nuclear Bomber (b1bomber.zip) was corrupt (not a virus, just scrambled somehow) and would not unzip. This has been fixed. Thanks to the tip from Jumpa49. Also, I'll be uploading a version of Castle Adventure where the files' read-only attributes have been removed, so you can save and load games properly.

...Castle Adventure update is complete.