A old fashioned type in adventure game

Island of Secrets (A Computer Adventure Game) - Jenny Tyler, Les Howarth

I'm a little disappointed that I am having a lot of trouble locating some of these old Rigby Usborne books from my childhood. It is not so much trying to find the books, but remembering the books beyond those vague impressions that I have from reading them in my primary school library. I particularly liked some of the science ones (though I believe they were all 'science ones'), especially one particular book about UFOs and another about the future. However, as mentioned, I simply cannot remember all that much about them to be able to effectively identify and thus search for them over the interweb.

This particular book though was hidden up the back amongst a lot of other books that I have collected (and since looked at). While a lot of the other books by this publisher tended to be a bit technical (for kids that is), this book simply contains the code for an adventure game called 'The Island of Secrets'. The game itself is pretty basic (namely because it is designed to be typed in from the book, something that simply does not seem to happen these days) and the book provides the background story and also accompanies the game.

The story is that a race of 'sky people' were on the verge of going to war with another race of 'sky people' so they gave this trusted guy a number of artifacts and an entropy cloak and was told to hide them so that they would not be lost in the war. However this trusted guy ended up being driven mad by the power that had been given to him, so when the war ended, and the 'sky-people' didn't return, the Earth drifted into a dark age. Now you are then requested to go off and attempt to locate these artifacts and to also attempt to defeat this nutjob that has them.

I remember typing this game in when I was a kid, and as I mentioned, the game itself is pretty basic, namely because to be more complicated than that would require the game to take a lot longer to type in and require the book to be much thicker, and since this book is aimed at children (and knowing that children do happen to have short attention spans) simplicity is the key. What the book does do is that it provides not just background, but also pictures of locations that you are likely to visit and people that you are likely to encounter. The thing about this game is that you need the book to complete the game because there is information that you would not know without the book (such as there being a snake wrapped around Grandpa's hut).

The other thing that I noted as I was scanning through the computer code is that the game also has another layer of computer code on top of the code that you are entering into the computer. The reason for this is that when you are typing in a game from a book (or magazine), especially adventure games, you end up getting a lot of hints on how to complete the game. Basically you will know all of the locations, objects, and commands in the game, which can spoil the fun. The problem with the way that this book does it, namely by encoding the place names and such, is that it makes it much more difficult for children to learn how to program a computers (though I suspect that teaching children to program computers may not have been the major purpose of this book).