Software Developer Tracks Down Code for a Beloved 41-Year-Old Text Adventure
“You are in a large, tarnished brass bed in an old, musty bedroom. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling…”
In the late 1970s, when two students graduated from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute they left behind the interactive text adventure “Castlequest,” which remained installed on the school’s computer system.
More than 40 years later, after five years of searching, the original Fortran code for that game has been re-discovered and resurrected, thanks to the diligent efforts of an amateur game preservationist who had fond memories of playing the game when he was 11. It’s a story of dedication and perseverance, but most of all how far one can go with the fondness for a minor piece of tech culture.
And there’s something reassuring in knowing that memories can be preserved and that childhood joys can be experienced again, even if it’s only restoring a fanciful college student game about exploring a medieval castle.
“All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925