The Search For Sanity

By John Carpenter

Originally published in EUG #68

The Search For Sanity, as its introductory screen informs us, is "exactly the same as The Search For Sense, except it is the off-line version". Which presumably means that this Public Domain game originated as a Multi-User Dungeon type adventure game, played on the old bulletin boards that were the preserve of the rich BBC Micro owning schoolchild.

This version of the game has been newly converted for the Electron by Dave E from a BBC only version found on the disc MAD RABBIT #024. Curiously enough, despite the conversion process itself taking only a few hours, the game itself was a difficult one to convert because it seemed to be written purposefully in an appalling manner. The text was awash with spelling mistakes, the code was littered with unfinished death sequences (in which you would not die because the programmer had forgotten to call the death sequence) and the formatting process was not constant.

The Search For Sanity however, is a completely random game, with very few rules and where any progression the player makes is simply by trial and error. Many of the mistakes therefore seemed to be somewhat of a 'house style', and it was difficult to tell if they were actually features of a game that was meant to appear very amateurish. Ever the perfectionist, Dave E has removed bugs, double full-stops and the strange CAPITALISATION of words that pervaded the text decriptions. If you are fortunate enough to have access to a BBC machine, then the original BBC version, without his changes, is certainly also worth a look too! Doubtless you will prefer one or the other.

Full instructions (and quite a lot of extraneous information) are given on screen during loading.