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I played this around 1988 (it could be as late as 1991, but that's unlikely) or so at my Uncle's house in California. I remember Autoduel also being on the machine. I think it was an IBM PC. I've tried asking my uncle about it, and he doesn't really remember.

I remember the beginning had a page of text explaining why you were playing. I think that it was your standard fantasy setup with the evil wizard in a tower. The opening was an action sequence where you were trying to navigate your raft from the top of the screen to the shore at the bottom using the arrow keys, avoiding hazards on either side of the channel. I don't remember if this was something possible to win or lose. It was in a fairly primitive line-drawing setup, I think.

After that, I remember it as being an Interactive Fiction kind of setup with typing in commands (GET MAGNIFYING GLASS, GO EAST, etc) with drawings at the top of the screen (draw in place with lines, I think, largely dark and few colors if not black-and-white). One of the items was a magnifying glass, which I think was used to ignite some brush. I mainly remember the magnifying glass because there was a scene where, if you entered a village, you joined in their festival and succumbed to food poisoning after which they carried you to the outskirts and left you there, with someone pilfering the magnifying glass from you. I have a fairly vivid memory of that screen, up at the top of a hill with trees to one side, and the village down at the bottom of the slope.

I don't think that we beat the game in the week we were visiting, and it's been a number of years, so that's about all I remember from the plot.

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    King's Quest 2? There is an aspect of that game where poisoned tastycakes come into play and you can get food poisoning
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:45
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    Maybe have a look at the wiki site for graphic adventures and start your search from there. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_graphic_adventure_games
    – Enroth186
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 16:41
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    No dice. I took a quick trawl through an Abandonware site too, but to little avail.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 17:06
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    Except for the animated slalom course, this sounds like an Infocom game. Are you sure the first bit is the same game as the second bit?
    – Yorik
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 17:45
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    filfre.net has a series of posts about the history of videogames, with a focus on 'interactive fiction'-type games. It's probably not easy to skim, but if you're interested in such things anyway, it's excellent to read and you might find a reference or review of what you're looking for there.
    – LAK
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 18:31

2 Answers 2

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+250

I'm pretty sure this is Dragonworld (1984). I'll be quoting from this Gamefaqs walkthrough a couple of times during this answer.

I remember it as being an Interactive Fiction kind of setup with typing in commands (GET MAGNIFYING GLASS, GO EAST, etc) with drawings at the top of the screen ... raw in place with lines, I think, largely dark and few colors if not black-and-white

Mobygames has screenshots of the various versions of the game. The PC version did indeed have very few colours, just shades of purple plus black and white. (I understand that this was common among CGA games; something I didn't know until a few days ago):

enter image description here enter image description here

Whereas the Macintosh version was black-and-white:

enter image description here enter image description here

There were also Apple II, C64 and MSX versions of the game, all with a lot more colours than the platforms above. The MSX version may only have been in Spanish, going by the Mobygames screenshots.

The opening was an action sequence where you were trying to navigate your raft from the top of the screen to the shore at the bottom using the arrow keys, avoiding hazards on either side of the channel. I don't remember if this was something possible to win or lose.

After the page of text, the game began with you having to step into a boat/raft, raise the sail, and then enter directions. In all the walkthroughs and screenshots I've seen, the player just entered 'E' to go east, and was immediately told that the raft had crashed. It was necessary to crashland on that particular shore to continue the game, so I don't know if there was any way to "win" that part either. But it's still playing like a text adventure here, not the action game you remembered. Perhaps an action subgame might have happened if you'd entered something other than 'E'?

I remember the beginning had a page of text explaining why you were playing. I think that it was your standard fantasy setup with the evil wizard in a tower.

It did have a lot of text at the start, although the plot was more "a dragon has been kidnapped and is being held captive somewhere!" than "There's an evil wizard in a tower!"

One of the items was a magnifying glass, which I think was used to ignite some brush.

As seen in this Youtube video of the Apple II version:

enter image description here

The walkthrough I mentioned uses a different verb ("Take" instead of "Get"), and has the player get the jewels and underbrush in a different order, but it still works in the same way:

>Take Underbrush

You gather some dry underbrush together and leave it in a small pile on the roadside.

>Get Jewels

You gather a few that have fallen to the roadside.

>Use Glass

You take out the magnifying glass that you carry.

The smoke curls up into the sky. The windship spirals down towards you. A rope ladder is lowered.

Cutting to the other scene you remembered:

I mainly remember the magnifying glass because there was a scene where, if you entered a village, you joined in their festival and succumbed to food poisoning after which they carried you to the outskirts and left you there, with someone pilfering the magnifying glass from you. I have a fairly vivid memory of that screen, up at the top of a hill with trees to one side, and the village down at the bottom of the slope.

Let's see how this screenshot matches your memories.

enter image description here

You and Hawkwind are in the bazaar of Kandesh, a huge dirt floored tent filled wth stalls and wagons. North is a physician's wagon; a tailor's booth is to the northeast, east is a moneylender's tent, southeast a makeshift tavern, and directly south a gaming house.

It's not actually a festival - this set of tents appears to be an everday thing in Kandesh. There appears to be a slope which could be a hill, and one of them might be on top of it, but the rest are on the sides of the hill. And there are trees to the side of the hill, like you remembered.

You'll visit this location a couple of times in the game; this is the first one. You do get robbed when you visit the tavern, although they don't take the magnifying glass - just all of your money:

enter image description here

There's no mention of food poisoning, but since this happened immediately after the bartender gave you your drink, you might have misremembered it as being poisoned. Your character is taken straight to the doctor's after this happens, but that's to treat injuries sustained during the fight:

enter image description here

In the text at the bottom, the doctor is telling you that you'll have to leave one of your posessions with him. Perhaps you decided to give him the magnifying glass? In the walkthrough, the player just gave him some leaves.

Now, later on in the game, you return here. On this second visit, the game informs you that "Suddenly you realize how hungry you are."

The player in the video decided to sit down at the restaurant and order some food:

enter image description here enter image description here

As you can see, no harm came to them from ordering the soup. Perhaps if they'd chosen one of the other items, they might have been poisoned? That "coldrake pate" sounds suspicious!

Let's see how another Let's Play handled this scene:

enter image description here

And indeed, just as you remembered, food poisoning! Passers-by carry you to the physician (not the outskirts), and then you discover... you've been robbed!

enter image description here

Your money was stolen, but not the magnifying glass. The Let's Play-er decided to go back to an earlier game state so they could choose the soup instead, meaning I didn't get to see how this would have played out. That said, they did visit the locations in a different order to the Apple II LP-er, and so they were later robbed again in the tavern brawl. They gave the magnifying glass (now called a "magnifier") to the physician, so it can't have been stolen there:

enter image description here

And with that, we come to the end of this answer!

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    I think that's maybe it! How did you find it?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 14:39
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    @FuzzyBoots I don't recall the exact search terms, but I was searching specifically for a text adventure where you'd need to use a magnifying glass to set something on fire. I found a TVTropes entry for this, and the "Video Games" section stated "In the text adventure Dragonsworld, Amsel signals an airship by using his magnifying glass to ignite a pile of leaves. " So I did some more research... Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 14:51
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    Note that this was NOT the first attempt I'd made. I think I first encountered this question in 2020, and I'd tried several Google search term combinations related to "festival", "food poisoning", "raft" and "computer game"/"text adventure". On multiple occasions, without success. It was only when I went after what seemed like the least unique detail that I actually got anywhere! (I'd tried searching CRPGAddict and similar blogs specifically... but as I said, no luck until I searched for the glass-igniting-fire bit.) Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 14:53
2

Could it be Guild of Thieves?

It begins in a boat, but it is controlled by text commands as is standard in text adventures.

Gameplay video here

From the Wikipedia entry:

The player's character is "an aspiring member of the infamous Guild of Thieves" and is to steal all the valuables that can be found in and around an island castle. The game features "extremely atmospheric"2 descriptions and 30 artistic renditions of key locations.

Wikipedia article here

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  • It's a good guess, but as best I can tell, it doesn't have that salient memory of getting robbed at the festival.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 20:59
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    I vaguely remember that, but I don’t seem to be able to separate all the elements from all the various games anymore. Too many knocks to the head, perhaps
    – Blair
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 21:01
  • This game is a sequel to "The Pawn" - mayhaps it's there. Also - is there any possibility of conflating two games into one memory?
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 21:07
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    I think I, at least, have now rolled all text adventures into one game, with the exception of Hampstead which was so different I still vividly remember it. And the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy with that **** babelfish!
    – Blair
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 21:09

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