Jedadiah Leland’s Horrific Adventures In The Internet Archive #11: Anchorhead (1998, Michael Gentry)

Continuing my adventures in the horror section of the Internet Archive, I played Michael Gentry’s Anchorhead (1998).

Anchorhead is a thoroughly immersive text adventure of Lovecraft-style horror.  Think of it as being the interactive fiction version of a movie like The Dunwich Horror.

Anchorhead is the type of isolated New England village that should be familiar to anyone who has ever read any of Lovecraft’s work.  Other than the mysterious obelisks that dot the town, the most interesting thing about Anchorhead is the small university.  The library is full of ancient texts, the type that can drive a man mad just from reading them.  You and your husband have just inherited a mansion on the outskirts of the town.  The previous owner, a distant relative of your husband, recently died under mysterious circumstances.

Anchorhead has an interesting plot, strong writing, and challenging puzzles but the best thing about it is the amount of detail that goes into creating the town, the mansion, and all the characters that you interact with over the course of the story.  Not all of the details were necessary to solving Anchorhead‘s mysteries but they did all serve to bring the story to life.  After just a few turns, I felt like I was in Anchorhead.  I could fully visualize both the town and its inhabitants.  Anchorhead also works as a horror story, capturing both the tone and style of H.P. Lovecraft.  Considerably more violent and graphic than most text adventures I’ve played, Anchorhead is definitely meant for adults.

Anchorhead is challenging but worth the effort.  Several walkthrough can be found online but exploring this story is so rewarding that you might want to take your chances without them.


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