Vacation Gone Awry is an old-fashioned text adventure where you wake up on the first day of your vacation in Germany and you discover that your family has disappeared!
Searching your three-room cabin doesn’t do much good. Your wife and your daughters are nowhere to be found. Even looking under the bearskin rug doesn’t reveal the trap door that I had been led, by years of playing text adventure games, to expect. Finally, I went outside, got in the car, and decided to just drive away.
Right, it’s not going to happen. Your family may have abandoned you but you abandoning them is not an option.
If you do go back to the cabin, you will eventually discover what has happened to your family. Like many of the puzzles in Vacation Gone Awry, the solution to this problem is to specifically look at everything. That may sound easy but the cabin is do detailed that it can be easy to get distracted. I wasted ten turns in the cabin’s bedroom, trying to open my wife’s makeup bag before I finally accepted that it wasn’t an important clue.
Once you discover what has happened to your family, you are free to once again get in your car and attempt to drive into town. However, while driving, this happens:
It seems that aliens have accidentally lost a piece of their spaceship and now a group of research scientists are on the verge of opening it up and killing everyone in the vicinity, including you and your family. You have no choice but to make your way through a blizzard, find the research station, and stop them!
Your enjoyment of Vacation Gone Awry will depend on how much patience you have for searching locations and solving puzzles. This is one of those text adventures where no door can simply be opened. Instead, you have to figure out how to unlock it. Finding the solution will often depend on not only carefully reading the descriptions of the location but also taking a closer look at things that you may have already examined. Especially when compared to more recent works of Interactive Fiction, Vacation Gone Awry is puzzle-driven instead of plot-driven.
It’s challenging but, if you’re a puzzle person, there is enjoyment to be found in the game. Vacation Gone Awry is available for free on several sites. I played it at the Internet Archive.
Good luck saving your family!