Mystery House (On-Line Systems, 1980)

The first adventure game with graphics, Mystery House seems so poorly-constructed and immature that it is hard to imagine this game being any less laughable in 1980 as it is today. Considering that Infocom's Zork I: The Great Underground Empire was released about the same time (and probably, technically, developed still earlier), the two-word parser of this game is wholly inadequate, given the task at hand. The graphics are very simple, black and white line drawings, that, believe it or not, do a good job of getting across what they are supposed to. However, the poor writing and design of this game, from nearly every aspect, is what makes it truly as unplayable today as it must have been at the dawn of the computer gaming age. Definitely a game to play for nostalgic purposes, Mystery House is useful for seeing how far we truly have come in such a short period of time, either short term (between the commercial releases of Mystery House and Zork I: The Great Underground Empire), or between 1980 and the present.

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