Who said everything should be handed to you on a plate? You want graphics with your fantasy adventure games? Better start imagining them...

Source // Wikipedia

"That's probably a pretty impressive hand drawn dragon for the time, actually". It's such a strong image to represent Eamon in fact, that this is what 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before Your Die chose to represent the game too. Perhaps a picture of text based gaming above a block of text about text based gaming is too much text. Whatever the case, my only expectation from this game is that there will be a lot of text.

But my first impression was actually one of 'oh, wow, what?', as I discover that Eamon was designed to be built upon by any Tom, Dick and Harry that wanted to create role playing adventures for people to play on their apple ]['s, with a list of hundreds of offerings from the community to pick and choose from.

Not only that, but I find that the platform is still being developed for, and that you can freely download a deluxe edition, which includes all the bells and whistles that decades of fan innovation and interest has brought.

There is, then, no excuse to not dive right in.

Hit X then Y as soon as you can


Of course I'm diving into the past, no matter how easy to get into Eamon is these days. I know its a text adventure, it's going to involve lots of verbs and mental map making - physical, if it comes to it - and so I really ought to get into some kind of zone when playing it. It's time to slow down, sit back, think outside of the box and navigate the imaginatively named Frank Cavil (armed with a trusty mace and little else) through the Beginners Cave.

Well, shit
So it's ruthless. It's aggressive. Or is it just a reflection of me and the preconceived notions I bring to this game?

Oh, come on...
This is the Beginners Cave. I've navigated my cardinal directions, I've looked at things really, really hard, I've said "Hi" to no reaction, and I'm rewarded with combat from hermits, rats, even the priest.

Story of my life
"What am I doing? What am I supposed to do?" That is what will be at the forefront of your lips if you've never played a text adventure before.

Fond Memories

But I have played a text adventure before. Loads of them. The only difference is that I played them in a different, easier medium - paperback. Grab some dice, grab a pencil and scrap of paper, grab whichever Fighting Fantasy gamebook you're tackling next and get reading.

Everyone remembers their first FF...
Source // Wikipedia
Read some text, make a decision, move on to see if you died or not. Sure, it could be as brutal as Eamon, where a wrong choice would result in instant death, but you weren't stuck on a section for any reason other than that you couldn't read or couldn't decide what to do.

In Eamon though, I find myself navigating like a bumbling idiot. Perhaps an example of brilliant role playing on my part, actually. It's not like there's a huge learning curve - type and see what happens. If you type the wrong thing, you get asked to clarify your command, or nothing happens. Or you turn into a fish and die. Whatever, you know.

Fun Times

Now that all sounds a bit doom and gloom, which games shouldn't be. There is obviously a kind of player who will gravitate towards these games, and while I'm not that sort of player, I was surprised at The Oregon Trail and got into the swing of things rather quickly. Eamon may lack the graphics, but it far surpasses the depth of The Oregon Trail - if I give it time, if I sink my teeth into it over a few hours.

Luckily, the Deluxe Edition comes preloaded with plenty of adventures (and plenty more on the way, as and when they're updated) and, importantly, pre-made characters of higher level, should you not get your noggin around the ability to edit your character.

Basically, I can let others sink the time in and simply waltz into an adventure to reap the rewards.

Well that was easy

Using a vastly overpowered character in an adventure that isn't designed to cope with you isn't the best scenario for finding out what a game really plays like. I'd imagine the cleric and the ninja who joined me along the way (presumably because I smiled at them; I spoke to neither, nor they to me) would be useful in a fight against dragons, drunks, goblins and midgets (yes, really) had I a more rounded, human character, as oppose to the deity I appeared to pick, but they were pointless on this particular run.

And that's all on me, really. I can't blame the adventure. It had it's humorous lines, it was a fleshed out castle full of opponents to stumble into. It's just that I'm not the target audience, despite having history with Fighting Fantasy, Dungeons & Dragons and so on.

Final Word

Does Eamon deserve it's place on the list? Definitely. If you invest the time into fully exploring your character and the world around him, you can get lost in a maze of another gamers creation, potentially a gamer from ten, twenty even thirty years ago.

Eamon Deluxe gives you a few viewing options, the ability to edit your characters, absolute handfuls of adventures and if you want more, approach the community to see what the future holds.

In a world where high quality mods can get their own fully realized games, it's nice to know that back in the day, people were doing it with 5 &1/4 inch floppies for love, not money.

Fun Facts

Over 270 adventures are available for Eamon, and they've been reviewed, should you want to track down the best before trying it out.

Eamon, developed by Donald Brown, first released in 1980.
Version played: Eamon Deluxe 5.0 (Mac OS X), developed by Frank Black.