Table of Contents

Below is a table of contents of all of the articles I’ve published so far for those of you who’d like to read me like a book.



52 Responses to Table of Contents

  1. Alexander G. Tozzi

    April 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Digital Antiquarian (I couldn’t find your real name)

    I just came upon your ‘blog while searching for information on Silas Warner’s “Escape” program for Apple II. Unfortunately the disk image you linked to is indecipherable. Do you have the code for this game on hand? It would come in handy in coding my own BASIC random maze generator.
    Keep up the great reviews of InfCom games. They’re awesome! :)

    • Jimmy Maher

      April 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Hm… works perfectly for me in AppleWin and CiderPress. Might want to try another emulator, and make sure your browser isn’t somehow munging the file…

    • Steve W

      September 18, 2022 at 6:46 pm

      Random maze generation is fairly straight forward…
      – set up an array for the size of the maze you want
      – pick your starting point (normally at an edge)
      – determine which directions are available to “move” to (not been moved to before)
      – randomly pick one of the directions
      – “carve” a path to the new co-ordinates
      – add the current co-ordinates to a stack
      – move to the new position
      – if no positions available, pop the (previous) co-ordinates off the stack and repeat
      – if back at the original co-ordinates (or stack is empty) your maze should be complete

      • GusCE6

        August 30, 2023 at 4:24 pm

        Interesting- I ended up using a good number of tiles with can interlock in any number of ways, they being randomly placed on a supergrid (each tile was 8 x 8.)

  2. Ian lippert

    February 24, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Just found this site. As a pc child of the 80s I love your work. You should publish this into an anthology. I’d buy it in an instant!

  3. Vidar

    April 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for this blog, it’s superbly written! I’m pouring over all your enties. Can’t wait for the next installment of the 68000 wars! Thank you again!

  4. G Grobbelaar

    July 25, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Hi, I myself grew up in the late 70 and 80 (born 71, the year some claim to be the same as when the home computer ‘born’ – don’t really know, was still a baby). My family never had computers – except if you count my sisters glorified casio which was sort of a giant keyboard with only a few dot line things that can play hangman, hehe! But that’s not why I am writing here. I do remember that some rich kids did have computers and those tape machines! I even once tried to record music on one of those tapes, yuk! The people’s voices sounded weird! I worked with the wife, who by change was in computers in 88 and when we met in 91 via my sister, at an internet cafe where I was sort of introduced into the text game thing which to this day I like to play on my pc, BB and tablet. (Security at graveyard shifts doesn’t seem so long!) I saw same strange stuff on the path of my own during the discovery of computers, terminals as my wife called them as they were connected to a mainframe, like simearth (ugly graphics) and the crude original SimCity which me and the wife played till 2 in the morning at her work! (Which was coincidentally the same place parts of the movie Chappie was filmed) We still had to work 4 hours later – I was at that time in the SAPS – and yes that time the SAPS was as is in that movie! What I like about your blog is that unlike other places, and believe me I have search in obscure places on the internet for the history of IF and text games, and only you and maybe 2 or 3 others speaks at all about other companies than the high and mighty Infocom and Adams! Yes true, they did pioneer a lot, but there is very little on mayor sites of Magnetic Scrolls, Level 9, Coktel, Softse, zenobi, psynosis, etc., etc.! Whole list is at adventureland website (rec.arts)! It is mostly a one sided affair from these companies perspective with a sort of “o and there was these other…” Thanx for enlightenment! And in this way I can really go and play those other games that some people, when reading those, may I dare say bias, articles of others! I have a long way to read ALL your articles. That IF book you wrote is the one that placed me squarely on the right path to play these games from the early ones and discover along the way how they evolved and became what they are today! Thanx a million – not minnion!

  5. Gerhardus Grobbelaar

    August 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Just a question for interest sake. What was the longest, the most sophisticated as well as other extremes, most puzzles, most ways to die, etc. I am wondering about that for a while now. I know Macbeth is suppose to be long and all, but I think you are getting my point. Maybe do an article of the extremes. Not a top 10 list please, I get those by the 1000’s on the net! I am asking YOU as you are basically the only one that is not bias when it comes to these things. You may say this game is a level lower than garbage, but at lest do you not only say its that because how is someone to know this day and age that the dragon’s name is Puff, unless you have google on your side! Thus you not saying the game is bad, just dated and thus also not a good experience for you, but then you say at least try it yourself and if a person writes that she did like it, you don’t throw her out or say her opinion is based on a wrong assumption! I am ranting, sorry but one gets frustrated if you don’t have google on your side and when you ask it – yahoo and the countless others – give you results about the eruption of mount etna when asking what is the name of the guy that wrote Dreamhold!
    PS – I found out 30min later it was Andrew Plotkin and mount edna has zilch to do with it!

    • Jimmy Maher

      August 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Those sorts of questions are very difficult to answer because the metrics are so hard to define. What constitutes a single puzzle for a determination of most puzzles, for instance? And when we talk about the largest game are we just counting rooms or do we mean file size or, well, what? Not only do I lack metrics, but I also haven’t played and *certainly* haven’t exhaustively measured every game out there. I can and occasionally will note when a game stands out in one way or another and thus might rank highly in such a ranking; i.e., Acheton is *really* huge, etc. But I’m afraid that’s really the best I can do. All the other problems aside, that sort of thing very quickly devolves into the cataloging approach to videogame history, and that’s something I try to stay away from. There are already others who do that much better than I could ever hope to. Bad games annoy me too much to want to spend the time necessary. :)

    • Roger Durrant

      November 18, 2021 at 10:26 pm

      Mike Arnautov’s extension of Colossal Cave named Adv770 is very large; I believe 476 locations and a wealth of extra puzzles and just about everything is examinable. This is considerably bigger than Dave Platt’s and David Malmberg’ s versions.

      The old mainframe game Warp that I put up on IFDB is gigantic too. Even the endgame has over 70 locations and is another game swathed in puzzles.

      There are not too many other examples that contain over 400 locations. The Lost Crystal is one and Hezarin must be around that size too.

  6. G Grobbelaar

    September 18, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    is there a possibility that you can zip the html of your blog and make a zip file so I can download it as my BB is no longer, just say ‘live’ anymore. I have a tablet and use data bundles, but as most people may be aware, I live in South Africa wich curremtly has the highest rates when it comes to internet access, even BIS is now restricted to 1gig and after that is used, one has no way to get on the net except when paying massive overpriced data! Thus I am no longer able to read your excellent blog! To put the salt even deeper, i spend a lot today to get data bundle and save your entries offline, stupid as I am, I did not check the result and only when I got to 2013, I got tjhe shock that ALL the pages has the text on top of each other and even on the pc its not able to be deciphered! So please can you, make the text available! And if possible compress it in either zip or rar. All the best and if you dont hear of me, be assured that I will always remember how great your blog was, and if thw world does end on 23/09/2015 – which I doubt as all End Day predictions has 100% failure rate!

    • Jimmy Maher

      September 19, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Unfortunately, this is a dynamic site which builds pages when you view them from a backend database. So it’s not possible to just zip a bunch of static HTML and be done with it.

      I would look into the text-only browser Lynx if I was you. That would eliminate a huge chunk of the bandwidth usage, since it wouldn’t load images and the like. Best of all would be to use the command-line tool wget to pull the pages down, making sure not to get images, and then Lynx to read them. All of this may require a “real” computer, however. I’m not sure about availability of these sorts of tools on tablets — if available at all, they’re probably more likely to be on Android than iOS. Anyway, good luck, and I hope you can find a way to keep reading!

      • Scott Haley

        September 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm

        Lynx !!
        Lynx , pine and gopher are some things i discovered in earnest at Texas A&M in the 1990s.

        The history of those programs and trusty dial-up modem pools would be a cool rabbit hole to look into .

  7. G Grobbelaar

    September 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Thanx. Unfortunately that way is even more expensive here! The mongrels stealing the money in the Cellular industry, made it that it is suppose to be cheaper, that’s true, but marginally so. As my wife pointed out that if I access your site when I have a data bundle, I should use the mobile version, not the desktop version. So I will soon be again trying to save for off-line reading, as for “feedback” or some useless info from my side in the comments, that however will be not an option anymore. As for the games, I was the odd one out for years now, but the winds of change is blowing here where text games are concern as more and more people are now aware of old and new ones and there has been quite a few asking me advice and solutions, as it is one of the easiest ways to get graveyard shifts in security to get by! So, to use a cliché: Live Long and Prosper!

  8. G Grobbelaar

    October 11, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Sort of back! Not fully, but sort off! Barter is the new way! The people asking for my advice on ga,mes and such, no money please, airtime, someting some has a lot off! Then i just convert it to data bundles! Graveyard shifts, I was duly showed, by one of these eager ones – strangly PUFF being the dragons name, to the answer to a game he needed help with (insert twilight zone tune) – fall into the time that tje cellphone companies sell data bundles for discount! This means for about R20 ($2) I can get 250 to 500 mb, which makes it easy to read, as well as coment, on your blog with my useless info! Just hope You don’t ban me (:-)

    • Jimmy Maher

      October 12, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Glad you got it sorted. Welcome back!

  9. Harmony

    November 21, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Found your blog from one of Patreon’s recommendation emails. I’m glad I did! Video game history is an area of huge importance to me (heck, I’m planning to go into game archiving), and what I’ve seen of your writing so far is excellent.

  10. Michael Seery

    December 7, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Please sort the entries on this list with the newest on top (reverse chronological order). That way visitors can see what’s new without scrolling the page.

  11. G Grobbelaar

    January 9, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Just a suggestion/”request?”/something thatabouts. Any change of doing something like say suggest a specific game, eg HHGttG(not infocom one) that’s available – not pirated – then let the readers maybe have a week, then send some comments on the game, then you post either the ones you deem appropriate/relevant/on criteria you may deem important, or all the comments or give an overview of what the experience was for the players. The thing I’m getting at is, if this is possible, then due to the global readership of your incredible Blog, believe it could be tremendously insightful/hilarious/interesting, to see where in the world which type of game is more enjoyed/liked/hated.
    Just a zorkmind in the silver fountain.

    • Jimmy Maher

      January 12, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Thanks, but that’s just a little more administration than I’m really up for. Anything like that takes away from my real focus, which is writing and researching. People are always welcome to have their say in the comments, and I think that will have to be good enough.

  12. Ibrahim Gucukoglu

    March 6, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Hi Jimmy. Hope you’re well. Glad to see this blog is going strong, however I would be very interested if you could compile an EBook of your articles written about Infocom and text adventures/interactive fiction generally? I ask this because firstly this is my main area of interest when focusing on classic gaming as I grew up mainly playing those games, but secondly because of your excellent Filfre program, shows that you were, possibly even still are a fan of the infocom classics. A complete compendium of every relevant article would be great to load on to my iOS device which is now my main platform for on the go gaming.

    • Jimmy Maher

      March 6, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Sorry, it’s just way too complicated to start carving out ebooks by topic as well as year. You can always download the existing ebooks and just read the articles that interest you.

      • Ibrahim Gucukoglu

        March 8, 2016 at 6:00 am

        Hi Jimmy. I understand, the EBooks are already on my iPhone as we speak and they’re easy enough to navigate, thanks for bringing these articles all together.

  13. Matt

    November 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    I feel fortunate that I started my computer interest during what I think is the start of the “Golden Age of Computer Gaming.” Which for me started around 1985. Much the same way Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenburg captured the “Golden Age of Science Fiction” with an anthology, it seems to me that you’re doing the same thing.

    I enjoy this site. Thanks for your hard work and commitment to keep it moving.

  14. G Grobbelaar

    July 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Hi, long time ago I wrote here! Much has happened – work change, health problems, etc – got your epubs (with and without comments). Keep up the unique an very important work. Thanx

  15. Scott

    July 24, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Did you see this ?

    I’m wondering who was the first author keep track of everything in a database ?

    Maybe you know… or it would make for a good article.


    • Jimmy Maher

      July 25, 2018 at 8:22 am

      A really interesting article. Thanks! Afraid I’d have no idea where to even start on your question, though…

  16. cbmeeks

    November 9, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Any plans on writing some articles about the IBM PCjr?

    I believe it’s really an under-rated computer that gets almost no love.

  17. Chris

    March 23, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Jimmy, I’ve only just recently discovered your site (via looking for info on the H2G2 game), and absolutely love it.
    One RPG that stands out for me that most people aren’t even aware of is Amberstar on the Amiga. It’s a massive game that combines top down and 1st person view points along with turn based combat, and it really sucks your time away. It’s available via emulation but I’d recommend getting hold of a pdf of the manual for it as well as there’s so much to it.
    I’d love to hear what you think of it.

    • Jimmy Maher

      March 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      I’m aware of it, although I haven’t played it. It’s interesting to me in the abstract, but the time-sink aspect of these huge CRPGs can actually be a bit of a problem when you’re playing them for the syllabus. ;) I find I kind of have to limit myself to games in that genre that really do something unusual, rather than even well-executed variations on the classic approaches. I suspect I’ll lump the Thalion history into an article on Albion, which I definitely do want to cover. Maybe if a window of time opens up I can do a little more with it.

      • Chris

        March 23, 2019 at 5:03 pm

        Albion is also a really good game, though I didn’t get on with it quite as much as I did Amberstar, and because of that I don’t really remember too much about it other than the more sci-fi approach to the story. I certainly don’t remember it being anywhere near as big. IIRC it was written by former members of Thalion and released under the Blue-Byte label.

  18. Paul Smith

    May 7, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Excellent articles. I’ve paid good money for actual books that aren’t as good. So, erm, please keep giving me stuff for free…..

  19. David

    May 12, 2021 at 6:32 am

    You have done something quite magnificent here. A real in-depth history of the start of a new age. I was an untalented but enthusiastic teenage programmer during the late 70s and 80s and it really brought back memories – CPM, DOS, the 640k barrier!! I remember it all so well and I’m glad to see those memories are shared by others. Thank you for this.

  20. Gerhardus Grobbelaar

    September 3, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Hi quick hello and thanks of book update. Since my hostage episode i don’t go online that much. Read and write a lot these days. Yet i do find some time to play these games or download let’s plays. Keep up the good work.

  21. Tom Aitkens

    November 9, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    I bought the first PC ever built as part of a large corporate buy. Our IBM Purchase Order was FOB the IBM plant which put me first in line. IBM said I would get the first one.

    In service date was upon installation (although we took ownership FOB plant) in our plant by IBM reps. I confirmed the in-service date by auditing the IBM warranty file listing all sales including ours. This verified we got the first one.

    I think IBM liked that they had control of installation for a new product for the first few months of production. As part of PO if there were any problems they were to switch out with a replacement over night.

  22. Jerry

    December 30, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Jimmy!

    I’ve been a fan for a while now, and I just ran across something that might interest you:

    The URL pretty much tells the story: recently translated games from 80s Eastern Europe. Seemed like it might be up your alley.

    • Jimmy Maher

      December 31, 2021 at 10:05 am

      Yes, it was mentioned to me on Twitter. Looks like a fascinating exploration of cultural history.

  23. Adam

    April 1, 2023 at 1:10 am

    Hi Jimmy, I was wondering if you would be interested in making an omnibus ebook of all your articles on the history of Commodore, from beginning to end, inclusive of the Amiga? Given that some of your articles outside of the “68000 wars” series also cover aspects of the Commodore story, it is hard to determine which ones I need to read to get the entire chronology of events.

    • Jimmy Maher

      April 2, 2023 at 5:44 am

      I’m afraid it’s really time-consuming to keep making bespoke ebooks. (This time it’s Commodore; next time it will be something else…) However, I fixed up the archive so that the early posts about the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 now have the “commodore” tag. (I have no idea why I didn’t do that when I wrote the posts.) This link should do what you want:

      • Adam

        April 3, 2023 at 12:36 am

        Thanks Jimmy, that’s a good alternative.

  24. Ralph Unger

    May 8, 2023 at 3:20 am

    How do you run a flight sim on a computer that creates 10 fps as the early NASA sims did? Answer, use a projector that automatically create the “Tweens” Tweens are the frames between video input and the next video input. Enter the Talaria projector. Wiki it,. Because you are the digital antiquarian and the analog antiquarian, you should appreciate this. Light from a Xenon arc lamp was modulated by a light valve consisting of a rotating glass disc that was continuously re-coated with a viscous oil. An electron beam similar to the one in a cathode ray tube traced a raster on the surface of the coated glass, deforming the surface of the oil. Where the oil was undisturbed, the light would be reflected into a light trap. The raster traced into the oil formed a diffraction grating. The oil moved in an analog fashion as it literally had to physically move, so the the image moved in an analog fashion. It oozed from frame to frame. There was no frame rate to worry about. I think I was one of the last people to use that tech as late as 2000.

    • Ross

      May 8, 2023 at 2:37 pm

      By the way, do you have any documents about how this worked? From what I understand, what you’re describing isn’t the normal way for a Talaria to work, but I can imagine how you might be able to drive one to work like that with a crafted video signal. What I’m imagining reminds me a bit of a demo I saw once where someone generated a VGA signal using entirely analogue components.

      • Ralph Unger

        November 22, 2023 at 1:13 am

        All I used was a regular VGA signal from a 8088 PC. The signal was digital and probably 60 Hz, but somehow the projector was analog. So it kinda had an infinite resolution like an analog computer. I probably should not have posted about a machine I do not understand. :-)

  25. Raplh UInger

    May 8, 2023 at 3:37 am

    I was in charge of two Talria projectors at work for about five years, even though I could fix them, I still have no idea how they actually worked.

    • Ross

      May 8, 2023 at 12:12 pm

      After watching a video about the broadly similar Eidophor system, I’m struck by the extent to which I kind of understand basically all of the components individually, but the way they’ve been frankensteined together into a working system is sorcery.

  26. james

    July 24, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    Hello there Jimmy. I came across your filfre interpreter, my question is this, is it accessible with screenreaders such as NVDA and jaws? I tragicly need to be able to use a screenreader with it, as my lack of vision makes things harder for me to navigate without it.

    • Jimmy Maher

      July 24, 2023 at 3:56 pm

      It’s not something I have any personal experience with, but I do know Filfre was the go-to interpreter for a lot of visually impaired people back in the day, because it uses standard Windows widgets for text display that apparently behave quite well with screen readers.

      However, that comes with a big caveat: I haven’t updated Filfre in more than a decade. I couldn’t compile a new version now if I wanted to, because it’s based on the Borland C++ Builder development tools, which have long since been thrown on the scrap heap of software history. I don’t even know if Filfre will still run on the latest versions of Windows.

      All of which is to say that I’m sure there must be better solutions for your needs out there now. I would ask on the Interactive Fiction Forums ( I know that IF once had a considerable following among the visually impaired, and I’d be shocked if that isn’t still the case. Unfortunately, the demands of keeping up with this little journey through history have caused me to rather lose touch with the state of the art in modern IF.

  27. Brian Bagnall

    August 14, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    One RPG from the 80’s that really deserves the Digital Antiquarian treatment is Alternate Reality. The designer, Philip Price, is an interesting guy. Talk about being ahead of his time! There were only two games released in the series out of a planned six, mainly because Datasoft got greedy.


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