Marvel Age - Cover

Marvel at this issue of Marvel Age featuring Questprobe!

Marvel Age was a sort of comic book that was published from 1983 until 1994. It actually was kind of an extension of the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins. Which of course offered news about upcoming books and events that all of us Marvel Zombies needed to know. Marvel Age went a step further by offering previews of new titles. In addition I was always impressed with the great interviews with some of the superstars of the time.

Furthermore how can you balk at a publication that featured none other than Crystar? I realize I may in fact be in the minority for my love of Remco’s crystal warrior. But that first issue of Marvel Age totally has a cover by the legendary Walt Simonson as well!
Marvel Age

I have in the past shared my memories and thoughts on the line of Questprobe games. The graphic and text based adventures by Scott Adams. While certainly they might appear to be rather dated in contrast to the Marvel games being made today. I think it’s equally important to remember that in 1984 – when Questprobe featuring the Hulk was released. These were a big deal and offered a new way to experience the adventures of our favorite Marvel Comics characters.

For one thing, you should keep in mind that one of the best Marvel Comic games at this point was 1982’s Spider-Man for the Atari 2600!

[Via] Retro Game Commercials

I certainly hope it doesn’t sound like I’m knocking the Atari 2600 Spider-Man game. As it is in fact one of my favorite games for the system. However when your text based actions help to trigger the transformation of Bruce Banner to the Hulk! That is a magical moment indeed!
Marvel Age - The Hulk

Which brings us to this particular issue of Marvel Age. Knowing my love of the Questprobe series of games. The esteemed Gary Burton picked up this issue at a flea market a little while back. Within the pages there are excellent interviews with the likes of then Editor In Chief Jim Shooter as well as Scott Adams of course. To say nothing of what looked like a bright future for the Questprobe series.
Marvel Age - Chief Examiner

How could they fail? They had twelve games in the works with the most popular Marvel Comics characters at the time. The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and even the duo of The Thing and The Human Torch! In short these were the only three games to be produced which was a terrible shame. The concept was intriguing and moreover they almost had the X-Men game finished when the plug was pulled.
Marvel Age - Spider-Man
Marvel Age - Human Torch and Thing

At the very least we still have those three Questprobe titles and they are readily available to play. Likewise there were 140 issues of Marvel Age to enjoy and they still are an excellent snapshot of the time they were produced.

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy issue 18 of Marvel Age. Why not check out my earlier posts on the Questprobe games?

For all of you fans of the Incredible Hulk – Here is my article from back in 2011!

Don’t you worry true believers! I also covered Questprobe featuring Spider-Man!

Z-Machine Wednesday: Scott Adams Is Awesome!

A big thanks to the awesome Get Lamp official site for the two photos you see posted below. I’ve gone on a bit on how much I like Scott Adams, especially his Marvel text/graphic adventures that I use to play on my Commodore 64. I wish I could get my photo taken next to that creature as well!

Of course make sure to follow that link up above to the Get Lamp site and make sure to secure yourself a copy of the amazing documentary by Jason Scott. If you have any love for the games we’ve shown on Z-Machine Wednesday you owe it to yourself to get your hands on that documentary.

Z-Machine Wednesday: Adventureland (1978)

A huge thanks to Moby Games for the above box art image for the classic Adventureland title by Scott Adams from way back in 1978. The very first text game to be published for personal computers and also the first adventure game made available for use on personal computers! It was the first of what would be 12 titles in the Adventure series, published by Adam’s Adventure International.

Tasked with collecting 13 lost artifacts, the player had to find:

1) A magic mirror
2) A Dragon’s Egg
3) A Golden Net
4) A statue of Babe, Paul Bunyan’s Blue Ox
5) A jeweled fruit
6) A golden fish
7) “Royal Honey”
8) A magic carpet
9) A diamond necklace
10) A diamond bracelet
11) Rubies
12) A Crown
13) The Firestone

In 1982 it was re-released with the addition of graphics.

I would like to thank Matt Chat for uploading the Scott Adams interview below:

Questprobe Featuring The Human Torch And The Thing

Just like the first Questprobe title featuring the Incredible Hulk, I had a difficult time finding the third entry in the series. I eventually stumbled upon it at my local K-Mart, just like the Hulk title, and soon I was ready to Flame on as the Human Torch and invest in some quality Clobberin’ Time as the Thing.

First up, I want to give a huge thank you once again to the fantastic Gaming After 40 Blog for not only most of the screencaps you see posted below but for reminding me of this great game series from my youth.

I will come right out and say I think this is possibly the hardest of the three Questprobe titles. I’ve mentioned in the Hulk and Spider-Man posts that there were some puzzles that really stumped me, and thankfully my Grandmother was by my side to help me with a few of them. Well, if you thought the Hulk transformation puzzle was tough wait until you see what the Chief Examiner (Actually the great programmer Scott Adams as Gaming After 40 pointed out) starts you out on in this title!

Questprobe #3 allows you to switch between the two members of the Fantastic Four team at will, something different at the time and honestly quite refreshing. The Gaming After 40 site does point out that this was merely part 1 of the Fantastic Four Questprobe series, that the second title would have surely featured Reed Richards and Susan Richards. The next Questprobe game in line was to be the X-men (I wonder what team members you would have played?), though sadly Adventure International went bankrupt in 1985 before it could be completed.

At the start of the game you learn that the Thing is stuck and sinking in a tarpit, which means you have to find a way as the Human Torch to free him…or so I thought when I first started playing. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent on this first puzzle and how many times I watched poor Benjamin J. Grimm sink to his death. Considering how much I loved the Thing, he is still one of my favorite of the Marvel characters…this was a tough thing to endure over and over again. So what could I do? Well, as the Human Torch I certainly could flame on and try to burn the tar…which sadly killed the Thing…I could fly, so I tried to grab the Thing while flying.

That worked, sort of. I could hold on to him but not pull him out of the tar. Next to the pit there was a shack, I could enter it and find a candle or when I was getting frustrated over watching the animated Thing drowning in the tar pit I could burn the shack to the ground in a fit of despair. That didn’t exactly help though.

Thankfully my Father who to be honest doesn’t have any love for gaming asked what I could do as the Thing, well typing ‘Switch’ I was now the Thing, stuck in tar. The obvious choices of Swim or when the Torch burned the shack down to reveal a chimney ‘Grab chimney’ didn’t work. My Father was the one who said the obvious, ‘Hold Breath’. Bingo. It all clicked at that moment. The Human Torch obviously doesn’t need a candle so I typed ‘Switch’ and gave the candle to the Thing, switched back and held my breath. Sure enough I went under the tar and received a message that states, “I’m being sucked down by something!”, but eventually that message stopped. Feeling around I was told that the Thing is feeling machinery…so it was obviously…Clobberin’ Time!

While you are still in the dark, you can now move about freely and eventually find a source of light, a wall of fire that can be used to light your candle and allow you explore the underground more easily.

There are a couple of guest appearances in the way of villains like in the previous Questprobe titles, this time you get to meet the Circus of Crime (Boy, Ringmaster really gets around a lot in these games.), Xandu, the Blob, and Doctor Doom…well, sort of Doctor Doom.