Tandy TRS-80 – The Institute

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Finally coming out of the closet.


Written by Jyym Pearson in 1981, this text adventure is so close to being a masterpiece, it’s not even funny.

You are a patient in a mental asylum and you have to break free.
You walk around the facility and talk to some mean workers until you stumble across some kind of powder.
What to do with it?
How about hiding in the nearest closet and eaingt it.
You then wander through various dream scenarios, solve puzzles, talk to weird creatures and look for clues that will help you escape the asylum.

The game is very dark and the dialogue is poetic and sinister and obviously geared towards a mature audience. The puzzles are obscure and sometimes cryptic, but it works in the whole dream/hallucination context.
It’s truly unique.
You also not only have the simple text in front of you but a little drawing of the building that flashes left to right everytime you enter or exit a dream.
Nothing that distracts from the experience, but a nice little touch.

You could end up disfigured like me…or you may escape…but…DON’T…GIVE…UP!

The biggest only problem is that you have to go back and forth between dreams to pick up specific items. You can’t skip them (like going from dream 1 to dream 4), so you have to read the same things over and over again. And that’s where the game loses some of it’s magic.

You have to play it though.
There were moments when I had to sit back and take a deep breath.
Or to hype it even more: In it’s best moments, this is the greatest game for the TRS-80 and in it’s weakest moments, it’s still better than any Scott Adams game.

8/10

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