Today's adventure games are sprawling, lavish affairs with photorealistic graphics and atmospheric audio tracks that strive to take the player to another place and time.  Sometimes it's hard to tell a modern 3D adventure from a full production film.  Things weren't always like that.

In 1980 Ken and Roberta Williams of On-Line Systems (who later founded Sierra On-Line, more recently known as, simply, Sierra) released an Apple II adventure game entitled Mystery HouseMystery House is notable for being the first adventure game to contain graphics; previously all adventures were text-only.  The game features 70 simple 2D drawings, created by Roberta Williams, that illustrate various locations in the game.  In 2007, GamePro named Mystery House the 51st most important game of all time.

The game takes place inside an abandoned Victorian mansion.  The player is locked inside with seven other people and as he begins to explore the many rooms of the mansion terrible things start to happen and the bodies of the seven--dead--begin to appear.  There's a murderer among them and the player must find out who it is to avoid becoming the next victim.

I spent some time with Mystery House on my Apple //c back in 1984.  And while even then it looked dated, I recall finding it to be a playable, basic adventure game.  Likely most of our readers have never encountered this nearly 30 year old title, but any iPhone gamer who'd like to give it a try can now do so on the go, thanks to Artsiness' recently released iPhone adaptation [App Store].

The game is currently being discussed in our forums.

(Mystery House was released into the public domain in 1987 at Sierra On-Line's 7th anniversary.)

App Store Link: Mystery House, $5.99

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Give the Apple II version a try at Virtual Apple 2.

    http://www.virtualapple.org/mysteryhousedisk.html

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Give the Apple II version a try at Virtual Apple 2.

    http://www.virtualapple.org/mysteryhousedisk.html

  • mudface

    $5.99?! You've got to be frickin' kidding me.

  • mudface

    $5.99?! You've got to be frickin' kidding me.

  • http://www.karmachimico.it Lu

    How long for Maniac Mansion?

  • http://www.karmachimico.it Lu

    How long for Maniac Mansion?

  • thr

    thats way too expensive for such an ugly game, even if its a legend or something. wake up sierra.

  • thr

    thats way too expensive for such an ugly game, even if its a legend or something. wake up sierra.

  • Adams Immersive

    I could complain a lot about that pine tree and chimney. But you should see MY KolaPad art!

    $5.99 today would have been worth $15.66 in 1980. Which would have been pretty reasonable for the best (only) graphics EVER in an adventure game!

  • Adams Immersive

    I could complain a lot about that pine tree and chimney. But you should see MY KolaPad art!

    $5.99 today would have been worth $15.66 in 1980. Which would have been pretty reasonable for the best (only) graphics EVER in an adventure game!

  • Rob Merritt

    I'm interested in this but I am going to wait for a price drop. I remember playing this and it would be a kick to play it again. Just not a $6 kick. Its not in the same league as Oregon Trail.

  • Rob Merritt

    I'm interested in this but I am going to wait for a price drop. I remember playing this and it would be a kick to play it again. Just not a $6 kick. Its not in the same league as Oregon Trail.

  • Destinite

    This was the game that taught me how to type when I was 4. While the nostalgia factor may warrant the $6, I'll wait for a price drop.

  • Destinite

    This was the game that taught me how to type when I was 4. While the nostalgia factor may warrant the $6, I'll wait for a price drop.

  • spiffyone

    Here's the problem I have with this:

    It was apparently released to the public domain back in '87...but the developer behind the iTouch/Phone port is charging $5.99 for it?

  • spiffyone

    Here's the problem I have with this:

    It was apparently released to the public domain back in '87...but the developer behind the iTouch/Phone port is charging $5.99 for it?

  • Jt

    Yeah, I agree with everyone else- why the he'll would I pay six dollars for something in the public domain? I can understand that porting it took time and work, but surely not nearly as much work as any other game in the six dollar range.
    I would consider it (I do love this game) if it were a dollar- that seems appropriate for a thirty year old game that nobody has to pay lisencing on- but for now, I will emphatically pass

  • Jt

    Yeah, I agree with everyone else- why the he'll would I pay six dollars for something in the public domain? I can understand that porting it took time and work, but surely not nearly as much work as any other game in the six dollar range.
    I would consider it (I do love this game) if it were a dollar- that seems appropriate for a thirty year old game that nobody has to pay lisencing on- but for now, I will emphatically pass

  • benjamin

    this game is way to old but for the old style fans it's really worth the money.so,why not.

  • benjamin

    this game is way to old but for the old style fans it's really worth the money.so,why not.

  • Ryan

    wouldn't even DL for free.

  • Ryan

    wouldn't even DL for free.

  • S. Shiflett

    No one's a bigger Sierra fan than myself--gaming isn't what it used to be, alas.

    However, $6 is too much for this game.

    Now, give me King's Quest, Space Quest, Hero's Quest, Police Quest, etc., and consider it sold.

  • S. Shiflett

    No one's a bigger Sierra fan than myself--gaming isn't what it used to be, alas.

    However, $6 is too much for this game.

    Now, give me King's Quest, Space Quest, Hero's Quest, Police Quest, etc., and consider it sold.

  • Jim

    Open mailbox. Take leaflet. Read leaflet.

    "Welcome to Mystery House: a completely original concept that doesn't look like it is just Zork with shiddy pictures."

    Hello sailor.

  • Jim

    Open mailbox. Take leaflet. Read leaflet.

    "Welcome to Mystery House: a completely original concept that doesn't look like it is just Zork with shiddy pictures."

    Hello sailor.

  • Brad Newsom

    No offense S. Shiflett, but you forgot one of the best sierra games of them all. Gabriel Knight. The one game series from Sierra which included all of those games in one. Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Drama, Humor, Puzzle, and a beautiful long running story.

    Anyways, its funny how people have been commenting on Oregon Trail and said, I'd prefer to buy the original Apple II version instead of the revamped.

    You guys are SO FUNNY!

  • Brad Newsom

    No offense S. Shiflett, but you forgot one of the best sierra games of them all. Gabriel Knight. The one game series from Sierra which included all of those games in one. Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Drama, Humor, Puzzle, and a beautiful long running story.

    Anyways, its funny how people have been commenting on Oregon Trail and said, I'd prefer to buy the original Apple II version instead of the revamped.

    You guys are SO FUNNY!

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    An early game in the same spirit, I'd love to see Transylvania (from Penguin Software) brought to the iPhone.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/2397735229/in/set-72157604441725927/

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    An early game in the same spirit, I'd love to see Transylvania (from Penguin Software) brought to the iPhone.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/2397735229/in/set-72157604441725927/

  • Brad Newsom

    Wow, I miss Transylvania!

    Come to think of it, we need more nostalgic games like this. Just not 5.99.

    Really not that hard to port and code such games. Its pretty much amatuer stuff to be honest.

    • Marksaal

      Then do it, amateur.

  • Brad Newsom

    Wow, I miss Transylvania!

    Come to think of it, we need more nostalgic games like this. Just not 5.99.

    Really not that hard to port and code such games. Its pretty much amatuer stuff to be honest.

  • Pingback: Mystery House: Nostalgie-Gefühle auf dem iPhone » gamgea.com

  • http://www.roemobiledevelopment.com Ken Roe

    Transylvania for the iPhone has just been submitted to Apple for review and should be available any day. Check out the Web site http://www.roemobiledevelopment.com/Site/Transylvania.html.

    The iPhone version features sounds, a few animations, a new touch interface, a picker dial to show the list of available commands.

  • http://www.roemobiledevelopment.com Ken Roe

    Transylvania for the iPhone has just been submitted to Apple for review and should be available any day. Check out the Web site http://www.roemobiledevelopment.com/Site/Transylvania.html.

    The iPhone version features sounds, a few animations, a new touch interface, a picker dial to show the list of available commands.

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