Retro Gamer




Do you remember the first adventure game you played?

Yes – it was The Sphinx Adventure, a game bundled with my first computer. I received an Acorn Electron for Christmas 1984.

What do you love so much about the genre?

My teenage imaginatio­n was filled with exotic locations, fantastic creatures and daring adventures, fuelled by The Lord Of The Rings and Fighting Fantasy books. Text adventures were the next step into that world, giving me more control over the story with non-linear narratives. With games such as Twin Kingdom Valley, The Hobbit and Sherlock, the inhabitant­s came alive and had minds of their own.

Did you ever use The Graphic Adventure Creator?

I never had the opportunit­y to own and use GAC. As with the Profession­al Adventure Writer, it was a premium utility, and £22.95 was way out of reach for a young lad with limited disposable income.

What do you think of it today?

GAC had its foibles and wasn’t as easy to develop with as The Quill, predominan­tly down to it evolving from Sean Ellis’ own quirky adventure language. Regardless, once a developer mastered the tool, they seemed to be able to turn out some pretty competent games. Authors such as Charles Sharp were very prolific, and Mastertron­ic’s Play It Again Sam showed what the utility was capable of.

Do you have any favourite GAC adventures?

I have a fondness for Alex Williams’ Matt Lucas, pretending I’m Don Johnson, solving crimes and driving around in a Ferrari. Great stuff.

Do you think the availabili­ty of utilities such as The Graphic Adventure Creator helped the demise of adventure games in the mid to late-eighties?

No – quite the opposite. I think they gave innovative writers who couldn’t program the tools to turn their ideas into fast, machine-code-driven, commercial-grade text adventures. It was the publishers that abandoned the genre in favour of visceral arcade experience­s. However, some of the best adventures were created during this period, such as Level 9’s Scapeghost and Magnetic Scrolls’ Corruption.

Who’s been your favourite interviewe­e in Classic Adventurer?

I’ve done so many and enjoyed them all immensely. It was a pleasure to do a huge feature on a hero of mine – Fergus Mcneill, author of my favourite adventure game, The Big Sleaze, and such a wonderful, funny, creative genius. Others that spring to mind are Trevor Lever and Peter Jones, who created Hampstead, Terrormoli­nos and Dodgy Geezers. Lastly, I was the first person in twenty years to interview Anita Sinclair of Magnetic Scrolls. She was warm, highly intelligen­t, articulate and had a razor-sharp memory.

Thanks to Mark for his time – you can download PDFS of The

Classic Adventurer for free at classicadv­

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