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December 5th, 2017, 07:49
Well, there's no way I'm going to get a screenshot (Wikipedia has the splash screen, though) so I guess I can just write right here!

Eamon wasn't just a game, it was a game system that was completely in the public domain. You would get the "Main Hall" program and run it (off your floppy disk, of course) to create your character. It also included a beginner dungeon to get you started. Your character stats and equipment were stored on that disk. Then you would get hold of more disks with more adventures on them that were compatible with the Eamon system. When you run the program on one of those disks, it prompts you to put your Main Hall disk in, it loads up your stats, and off you go! When you finish the adventure, you save your character back to the Main Hall again with your new stats & equipment.

The adventures themselves were pretty standard text adventures - much like Zork only with actual stats for your character and battles to fight. Because it was an open system, there was no central theme to the adventures. You might be fighting creatures from Greek mythology in Zyphur Riverventure, then be fighting Storm Troopers in the Death Star. Or do the adventures the other way around so you can fight Cerberus with a light saber.

When the Eamon system started off, modems and BBS's were rare. I'm sure they played a roll in getting the system going but the adventures I got came through simply copying disks and passing them around. Maybe your cousin from Denver would bring some when he came over for Christmas and you could give him what you had managed to scrounge up at school. Until BBS's got popular, it wasn't easy to find the adventures - at least where I was living. And, by the time BBS's did get popular, text-style adventures were already fading away.

Eamon didn't fade out completely, though. Hundreds of adventures were created over time. The Eamon system got converted over to DOS and is now even available on the iPhone!

As for the actual quality of the early Eamon adventures, well, that's hard to translate. We're talking early 80's here. Computers were just starting to show up in people's homes. REAL computers! Machines that people could program to do… well… we were only just starting to imagine what they could do. And here comes this system of games (yes, people could teach these things to play GAMES!) where some guy from… well, somewhere made this system. And some other guy made this adventure. They didn't even have to know each other - one could be on the east coast and one of the west. One could even come from CANADA!! And they do it for free because all they have to do to get another machine to play the game is copy a couple of disks! Just the fact that it works at all was mind blowing!
The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views….
-- Doctor Who in "Face of Evil"
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