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Video Game / MacVenture

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Get ready to die. A lot.

The MacVenture games are an Adventure Game series by ICOM Simulations. These games are known for their characteristic interface, with one window showing graphics in first-person view, one window showing the inventory, one window displaying text, and eight command buttons like EXAMINE, TAKE, CONSUME (what the commands are depends on the version) and The Many Deaths of You. They were some of the earliest games to use simplified commands instead of a Text Parser.

The games have been released on a multitude of systems, including Apple Macintosh, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, IBM Personal Computer, Apple ][, Nintendo Entertainment System, PC-98, Microsoft Windows (as Windows 3.1 versions and on Steam), Game Boy Color, Java, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Games in the series:

The Sword of Hope (the original, 1989, and the sequel, 1992) were developed by Kemco, who published the NES versions, and have a similar interface, but are not considered part of the MacVenture line. There have also been several games inspired by the series, including a trilogy by GrahfMetal (Infested, 2016, Spectacle, 2020, and Video Game/Themeire, which turned out to be an official sequel called Beyond Shadowgate, intended for 2023), Keineged an nor (July 2018), and From Beyond Prologue (December 2018).

These games provide examples of:

  • Border-Occupying Decorations: The 8-Bit Adventure Anthology release of the games adds a border related to their setting on the sides (skeletons in the halls for Shadowgate, city buildings for Déjà Vu (1985), chapel walls and candelabras for Uninvited).
  • Cosmetic Award: The manuals of the computer versions always mention a prize at the end. Winning one of them lets you print out a certificate that's related to the theme with your name on it.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The NES versions just send you back one screen upon dying.
  • Emphasize EVERYTHING: The NES versions have all text in ALLCAPS, and some sentences (particularly involving surprises or deaths) end with TWO EXCLAMATION POINTS!! The drama! The drama!
  • The Many Deaths of You: Each game boasts at least twenty different ways to die, which sometimes doesn't have to involve dying but just getting arrested, like in Déjà Vu (1985).
  • Nintendo Hard: None of these games are easy. You have to make sure to manage your inventory well and solve difficult puzzles.
  • Press X to Die: Can be easily achieved if you have a weapon (a gun, a sword, an axe, etc.) or something else that's deadly and use it on SELF.
  • Red Herring: Taken to an art form in this series. You'll find all manners of widgets and gizmos in your travels that you'll never end up using to reach the ending. Some items even kill you when used.
  • Strategy Guide: The first two games would have standard, walkthrough-like hintsheets. The latter two would have hintbooks that give hints of varying usefulness, jumbled up in a way that wouldn't spoil the game if you just read them. Level A gave a vague hint about what you needed to do, Level B asked a question which would guide you in the right direction, and Level C outright told you the answer.
  • Timed Mission: All of the games have a mechanic that forces you to finish the game quickly which they'll remind you of once in a while, as actions cause the timer to pass. That said, the NES/GBC versions of Déja Vu lack a timer as you die from amnesia when you reach the office instead, the NES version of Uninvited only has a timer when you have the ruby in your possession, and all other versions of Déja Vu remove the timer once you regain your memory.