Inhumane wasn't my first game -- that was the even-more-pure amalgamation of in-jokes I called Enchanter 2. But it was the first that I know other people noticed. I know that because in 1985 (perhaps a year later), I saw a book in the computer section of a bookstore called The Book of Adventure Games II.
The book (and its predecessor) were by a man named Kim R. Schuette. He had invented an early archetype of what we'd now call a strategy guide -- a walkthrough collection of dozens of mid-80s adventure games. The first book had covered Adventure, all the Scott Adams and Infocom games through 1984, Mystery House, Oo-Topos, Madventure, The Wizard and the Princess... (Those are just the most recognizable titles.) Each game got a little write-up, a complete map, and a walkthrough. Many had screenshots as well. Schuette also wrote introductory chapters on the history of adventure games, how to play, what makes a good one... It was an exceptionally coherent and complete overview of the field.
Well, the first book must have sold pretty well, because The Book of Adventure Games II appeared in late 1985. It covered another list, including the latest batch of Infocom titles, Adventure (again -- 550 point version!), Mindwheel, and... Inhumane. Right there between The Incredible Hulk and The Institute.
You can imagine how I felt, fifteen years old, when I saw that. Well, you can't. I can't reconstruct it either. I think I was mired in a flatly incoherent mixture of "I am famous!" and "This isn't really a very high-profile book" and "Look! I matter!" and "This will impress Mom" and "Is this what it's like to be a grownup? Does this happen all the time?"
Twenty-plus years later, I can say, no, it doesn't happen all the time. But sure is nice when it does.
Text by Kim R. Schuette
All-text spoof of Infocom's Infidel
DescriptionThis is a take-off on the desert epic Infidel with Roboff, the villain from Mask of the Sun thrown in for good measure. Roboff has abandoned you in your tent after looting the nearby pyramid of most of its goodies. All that's left for you in this forty-six location game is the gold casket. All you have to do is find it.
PlayabilityThe trick here is realizing that you must get killed nine times before you even think of getting to the gold. There are two minor puzzles that you have to solve to get credit for being killed. After that, it's a matter of finding and springing the nine traps. The vocabulary is fair considering that the game was written in BASIC. There is no save-game feature, but you'll probably solve it quickly enough not to need one. Aside from its semi-humorous premise, this game doesn't offer much.
Compatibility and PricePublic Domain, Apple II (Other machines unknown).
Illustration by Mia McCroskey, also the editor of book 2
Scan of complete game map
(What, you think I'm going to transcribe all the spoilers here?)
Inhumane - play in browser - play as Java applet
Zarfhome (map) (down)