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Mystery House - Review

Review by Dorothy


Last edited:
Apple II

Mystery House was the first graphic adventure created by Sierra On-Line in 1980. It was released into the public domain to celebrate Sierra’s Anniversary.

Hi-Res Adventure #1 (Mystery House) takes place in an old house with many rooms. The plot is simple, there is a killer in the house and you must find him (or her) before they kill you.

This game is naturally very dated but was interesting as a piece of history. Input is verb/noun and it uses the old fashioned term "go door," "go hole," etc. North, South, etc. can be abbreviated to their first letter but don’t bother trying to examine things. Instead you must LOOK. Once you have looked at something, for example LOOK REFRIGERATOR, you will see a picture of the inside of the refrigerator and must type LOOK ROOM to see the main view of kitchen again.

It is necessary to study the picture carefully, as a lot of the objects with which you need to interact are not described. I had trouble picking up the jug in the refrigerator until I thought about it and remembered it was an American game. It is called a pitcher.

Pressing return without typing anything toggles the text/graphics. The graphics are nothing to write home about, but they must be viewed keeping in mind that this is a historical piece of work. Despite what it tells you in the introduction about taking hours to move and weeks to solve a puzzle, it isn’t a difficult game – by today’s standards anyway – I completed in just over an hour.

Overall (Rating: 2/10)

Very simple, but notable for its place in adventure history.