Today’s Quest: Have fun at your local arcade… until you’re trapped inside with a beast. We’ll go totally retro in Table Talk, then find out which big game project you selected to be built. Tally ho!
First time here? Adventure Snack is a game series I email to subscribers. Play quests for free, twice a month, and turn your inbox into an adventure!
Your Local Arcade, 1985
You wake up. Gum is stuck to one of your cheeks. Gross.
In the reflection of the dark arcade monitor you see there's sharpie marker all over your face.
Your friends must have drawn all over your face when you'd passed out playing your favorite 1985 Arcade game! (You know the one)
Wait... dark arcade monitor...
The whole arcade is... Very. Very dark.
👏 Today’s quest was created by Matthew Ritter, a veteran video game writer, narrative designer, and Adventure Snack player. He’s the creative director of Dead Horizon, an amazing western adventure game I highly recommend you wishlist on Steam. Play the demo on Itch.io!
Text edited by Hank Adams. Pixel art by Kyle Templeton.
When your quest is complete, it’s time to debrief. Join your fellow adventurers at the virtual D&D table we call the comments section. The rules for commenting are on page 271, table F of the Commenters Guide.
Discuss one (or all) of today’s topics in the comments:
👾 What’s your favorite retro arcade game? When I step into a retro arcade, I always make my way over to Centipede. I like how it presents a bit more strategy and variation than other shooters from that era I enjoy, like Galaga. I’m drawn to the bright colors, the trippy insect villain, the unique trackball controller, and a level of difficulty that’s challenging without being overbearing. But I’m in the process of getting my own custom arcade cabinet, a dream since childhood, so I may soon discover a new all-time favorite soon!
🌆 Did you ever get lost somewhere as a child? Were you brave, scared, or both?
🎟️ If you had unlimited tickets, what prize would you take at the arcade?
✍️ Bonus Challenge (+50 Points): Create a 1980s store for malls across America. Give your shop a name and a product line. For example, my store is called Jazzbands, a store that sells fuzzy headbands specifically designed for Jazzercise workouts.
THE GAME YOU SELECTED AND OTHER NEWS!
🖨️ The poll results are in: Fix Your Mother’s Printer was selected by you and your fellow adventurers earlier this month to develop as our IFComp entry this fall! All three games did well in polling and had their followers, but adventurers had the most enthusiasm for, and found the most potential in, Fix Your Mother’s Printer by a fair margin. Coincidentally, I’m about to go home to Buffalo for a week and stay with my mom, so I’ll be able to write off the whole trip as a R&D! My sincere thanks to everyone who voted and shared their opinions. Now let’s go help our moms!
🗳️ Speaking of competitions, you can nominate Your Post-Apocalyptic To-Do List and other amazing interactive fiction games in the annual Spring Thing festival. No registration or account is required to vote. You can vote a game “Best in Show,” plus you can make up your own custom ribbons like, “Most Laughs,” “Best Ink Game,” or “Wildest Hogs.” I’ll have a mini-guide to Spring Thing and my favorite games next month. Vote here!
🧛 I was a featured contributor in the latest issue of the awesome and free zine ChoiceBeat! They review story-driven games, including interactive fiction, visual novels, even FMV. I wrote about how I got “frightened” out of parser-based text adventures when I was a kid by some spooky Apple II classics. Read the issue on itch.io. As if news and reviews weren’t enough, inside the issue is a text adventure game where you play a theme park mascot trying to get fired. So good! Love you, ChoiceBeat!
👹 There’s a new Adventure Snack x The Midnight Codex TTRPG collaboration! Last time, I designed a quest based on designer Ben Bailey’s urban fantasy universe. This time, Ben adapted a classic Adventure Snack game for his system. Download the Gremlin Invaders side quest for free and match wits with mall gremlins!
🗒️ If you use the Substack app, join me on their new “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Social Media” network called Notes. It’s like Twitter, but in the “Subscribed” tab you only see posts and replies from authors you’re subscribed to. Less hateful algorithm, more hilarious nonsense from me and other wonderful newsletter authors. Here’s an example of a note I posted giving a peek into my process…
St. Louis County, 1984
My first job:
🏰 Arcade manager at Magic Castle Pizza -- a medieval-themed Chuck E Cheese knockoff
👾 10 pinball machines, 30 arcade cabinets, 3 skee-ball games
🧝 Green polyester serf outfit
🪙 Token dispenser
🗝️ Keys to the cabinets
Fun! Totally reminded me of being in an empty arcade when I was a teenager. Spooky on many levels.
I love Centipede myself, but pinball has become my big fascination.
This interactive story device is really inspiring me lately.