Adventure 89 Hat


Adventure 89 and MUGS MegaMeet

In the background a sombre Manor House stands with the wind whistling through its old chimneys. On the lawn below a huge blue and white marque has been erected with flags flying, puffing in and out like a great dragon breathing. The field of Agincourt? A joust before the King to win a ladies favout. No none of these. This was Adventure '89, the annual convention of adventure games played by computer. This year the event was sponsored by Micro-Net and took place in the grounds of the Manor House owned by Pip Cordrey, the event's chairman.

Twenty multi-user games were represented and could all be play tested. This was a great chance for players and programmers to meet and discuss the various games. Throughout the day the lecture room was busy with talks being delivered by well known game coders Chris Butterworth, Pip Cordrey and Alan Lenton covering topics from writing a multi-user game to the latest graphically-orientated concepts. These sessions were very well supported.

Third Millennium Systems, a new company owned by Neil Newel the coder of the now famous game Shades took this chance to launch a new game called Trash. This game will be available in the new year on Micro-net, Prestel, Telecom Gold and the premium-charged Callstream network. In his words; 'Where else could you grow your own spaceship, meet fire-breathing cabbages, teach machinery to hum in tune, cause pink blancmange to rain from the sky, clamber through a giant statue and drive around in an inflatable hover-car...all whilst clearing up rubbish?' Shades of course was demonstrated at the show on the smart Micro-Net stand.

MUD, the original multi-user game written by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle was resurrected for the day. This has now of course been replaced by MUD II but the air was thick with nostalgia as old hands like myself looked over the familiar MUD landscape again. MUD II also had a stand and players took the chance of chatting to Richard who was running it this year.

The Mirrorworld stand was interesting as it was demonstrating their highly intelligent multi-plexer by running four games and an E-mail system all at the same time. They also demonstrated their multi-user adventure language called Slate, with which any kind of adventure can be written. If you want to write and run your own multi-user game clearly these are the people to speak to, as they supply all the hardware and software you would need.

There were too many small new games to mention in detail, but one stand is worthy of note. This was Save the Planet, not a computer game at all but a board game demonstrating the damage that we are doing our good earth, and showing how the effects of pollution and defoliation are culminative in destroying our planet. This is a well thought out board game just looking for a coder.

One of the most interesting features of the MUG phenomenon is their social aspect, not just in the game, but outside as well. Every game holds social gatherings, and at these events all the players get together and enjoy meeting the people behind the personae. It's always amazing to see people who were battling each other in cold fury the previous evening sitting down together over a pint, discussing tactics. Previously all these meets have tended to be in pubs and halls up and down the country, although the bigger games have held parties. This year Clubspot and the larger games got together and put on a single major event. The adventure meeting and multi-user game party. The food was excellent and the disco hit just the right sound level, so as not to interfere with conversation. The local pub laid on a bar, and the food was excellent and generous, not to mention hot and non-stop. The party went on late into the night. Some of the players that came from long distances stayed in the marque over night and held the now traditional sugar cube fight in the early hours. Most people were glad of the free tea and coffee which had been served non stop through the day and the night.

Usually when you talk about a window in the weather, you mean that the sun streams through in the middle of a storm. The Adventure '89 weekend was nothing like that. This time the weather took time off from being brilliandy sunny the week before the event and the week after the event. But the day of the meet the wind speed cups over the greenhouse were reading 70 mile an hour, and driving a fierce rain before it. But intrepid adventurers were not dissuaded by the weather and the years Adventure convention goes marked down as another successful meeting that was just not to be missed.


Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: cnfdec89.htm