In the mid-eighties I was deeply in love with my Commodore 64. Surrounded by friends who felt the same way, it was a great couple of years. One of the great things about having pals who were also into the same computer system as you, is the availability of tradable games. We traded and copied constantly.
One of the games that was passed around was The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Text Adventure by Scott Adams. Released in 1985 as tie-in to the 1984 film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. The game puts you in the role of Buckaroo Banzai as you attempt to gather up parts to get your jet car going and disarm a bomb that will destroy the world.
While not exactly on par with the high-energy off-beat film it is based on, this text adventure is a challenging romp through the somewhat distorted, but extended Buckaroo Banzai universe.
For those not familiar with Scott Adams text adventures. They are text-based puzzle games that you would play using a verb/noun combination. The most famous game of this type is probably Zork, but Adams made a string of amazing games using this format.
I played most of Adams’ early games on my Commodore VIC-20. When I moved over to the c64, I was swept up in the ability to have high-quality graphics that it was difficult for me to go back to text-only worlds. Luckily The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Text Adventure by Scott Adams included graphics, which while static, still helped my imagination along.
The game was released on the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 16, Commodore 64, Plus/4, DOS and ZX Spectrum. Later it would be ported over to a browser game.
So why have I not heard of this game?
Unfortunately it did not sell very well. Which means that original copies of the game are pricey. Often north of $200 online in a complete state.
If that is outside of your price range, or if you are just a more casual user, you can do a quick search and find ROMs online for your platform of choice if you are using an emulator. If you get stuck, you can constult this online walkthrough and convenient map.
Not big on text gaming, but still want to see it in action? Of course a playthrough exists.