If you really believe it will happen, they say. And it actually did, even though I had to wait 34 years. Thanks to Hugo Labrande, dedicated coder and adventurer, I am now the happy and proud possessor of a brand new text adventure running in my C128 in native mode. But Hugo’s endeavor doesn’t stop here since Tristam Island (that’s the name of the game) is not only a downloadable text adventure for Windows, macOS, and Linux, but also a retro game running on possibly every 8 and 16-bit platform. From the PET to the Amiga, without forgetting Amstrad, Sinclair, Electron and even the Oric; from the Apple II to the Gameboy and the Dreamcast, you will surely find your platform of choice, for a total of 36 different ones. By the way, it also runs on the upcoming MEGA65. Surprises don’t end here, though, since by buying the game you will also gain access to the raw “.z3” file which will allow you to run the game in any interpreter sporting a Z-Machine, including the Spectrum Next, the Raspberry Pi, the Palm Pilot, etc. Finally, instructions are also available for CP/M machines (Osborne I, Kaypro II, DEC Rainbow, but also the PC-88), and for the TRS-80 Model III. Can you believe this? You won’t find many games that can be played on that many platforms!

As the author says: “TRISTAM ISLAND is a text adventure made from the mold of Infocom; expect a large geography to explore, lots of prose, a rich parser, diverse puzzles, some humor and some darkness. To use Infocom’s classification, I’d rate the game’s difficulty as “Standard”; however, the game’s design is modern and eschews all the frustrations commonly associated with 1980s text adventures. No hunger timers, no frustrating mazes, no blocking situations that force you to restart!”.

Delving into the story, the adventure starts after you crash your plane at sea due to a storm. You end up drifting to a small island, with not much to survive. You explore and find out the island was inhabited, years ago. But why did the people leave? And why is there a fence around the white house at the top of the hill? The game promises 6 to 8 hours of gameplay, enough to keep you entertained for quite some time. I will keep playing the game until completion and I will report back with an extended review asap. Please support the dev and be advised that a physical version is planned for 2021. Stay tuned!

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