Once upon a time, back in the days when PCs had floppy disks and a massive 512K of memory (if you were lucky), computer users used to while away the long, cold evenings playing something known as Adventure Games.
Unlike modern games in which people, cars and space ships fly around on screen in colourful 3D graphics, Adventure Games didn't display pictures at all. Nor did they have sound effects. In fact, many of them didn't even show colour - well, after all, most PCs were restricted to showing green text on a black background, so there was no alternative, really..
But what Adventure Games lacked in terms of graphics they made up for with imagination. Authors of these games often preferred to think of them as 'interactive novels'. Just like a novel, the game described a complete, self-contained world using words. Unlike a novel, the reader (or player) could move through that world and interact with the things it contained, picking things up, throwing them, opening doors, stealing or breaking things.
The first adventure game to become really popular was called Colossal Cave. Later, Zork expanded upon some of the ideas from Colossal Cave but added a better 'parser' to make sense of short commands that were entered by the game player.
When I first decided to learn how to program, in the early '80s, I knew that there was only one type of program I wanted to write. An Adventure Game. I spent a solid year learning how to do this from scratch. In the course of that year I wrote The Golden Wombat Of Destiny. When I started writing the game, I knew nothing at all about programming. When I finished writing it, I knew just enough about programming to hate all the code I'd written at the start. Frankly, I am amazed I ever got the thing to work at all.
But work it did. And, almost twenty years after I first released the game, people are still playing it. I know this for a fact, since they write to tell me.
If you've never played an adventure game, you may want to while away a few hours (or possibly years?) trying to solve the Golden Wombat. Be warned, this is a trip down memory lane. Games were slower, and quieter, back then. Ah, happy days..
The version available onsite is Wombat 1.2, which was a slightly updated version of the original. All the puzzles are the same but a few bugs have been removed. The game comes packaged into a Zip file which you can open using the Explorer in Windows XP or by using a Zip utility such as WinZip.
Download The Golden Wombat of Destiny
Be sure to read the file, ReadMe.txt. There is also a short manual, Wombat.Man, which you can load into Windows Notepad. Good wombatting!