Who wouldn’t want to be a member of the Ghostbusters? (No, not the new version. I’m talking about the version with Venkman and Ray and Egon.) I got a chance to try when, while exploring the dark side of the Internet Archive, I played Ghostbusters — Basic Training (1987, Activision, Inc.).
Unfortunately, it turns out that catching ghosts is far more difficult than I originally assumed.
This is what the game starts with. A night in a haunted house? No problem, I can do that standing on my head. I pressed return.
There’s the familiar logo! I pressed return again.
Good. I’m in front of the house. Let’s get started with the training. From my own experience playing text adventures, I know that the first thing I should do is check my inventory.
A text adventure that does not understand one of the most basic commands in interactive fiction? That seems strange but I’ll adjust. Since the description of my location disappeared when I typed in inventory, I’ll take another look around.
“Look,” I type.
An adventure game that doesn’t know the look command? I search my memory and try to remember the directions that were previously listed. The house was to the northwest.
“NW” I type.
What? Maybe I got the directions wrong.
You get the idea. Because the game and I are speaking different languages, I have yet to actually enter the house and get trained. I haven’t even managed to step on the porch yet.
I’m never going to be a Ghostbuster.