While researching the proper way SCREEN$ load on a Spectrum, I was distracted by somehow running across an old adventure game.
Hampstead was by Melbourne House, who put out a fair few classic text adventures in the 1980s. As the instructions put it:
Hampstead is a quest, but not for gold. The aim of it is to reach the pinnacle of social status, and acquiring wealth is only one part of the problem. If you wish to go up in the world you also have to gain the admiration and respect of your fellow men, and there's more to that than a fat bank balance.
There’s been a flickr of rediscovery in the past: Aleks Krotoski wrote about it in the Guardian Gamesblog in 2007, as did Anna Black earlier this year. Personally, I find it interesting for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s one of those games during the flowering of 8-bit home computers that tried to reflect everyday life, and perhaps even comment on them (as did Manic Miner and Skooldaze/Back to Skool). For another, there’s this comment in the Crash preview of the game:
It is different to most adventures, in that its purpose is to amuse people rather than provide a hard adventure. Indeed, the adventure is extremely simple, which the authors say is so that anyone can complete it, and so reap more enjoyment from it.
That’s a sentiment that’s getting traction again these days, at least amongst certain people I know. Perhaps I’ll even download the game and give it a go. After all, who doesn’t want a bit of Hampstead once in a while?