I exit the tunnel and find myself in front of a giant tree. Fuck, I'm in the forest! Oh well, at least I'm at a special location within the woods. This tree is obviously special somehow... I bet I can climb it. My character might slip and die as a result, but it's worth a try.


      Sweet, I didn't die. For some reason, there's a telescope at the top of the tree. I bet I need to use it to see the combination to Nurse Edna's safe. Let's look through it and see what happens.


Apparently, I can see a trapdoor in the attic ceiling. I wish I could visualize it.


      Oh... nevermind. How come I didn't see the trapdoor when I was ACTUALLY IN THE FUCKING ATTIC? I would like to think that my character can examine the attic ceiling much better with his eyes than he can by looking at it through a dusty window with a cheap telescope. Anyway, I might as well see what's up there.


      I climb down from the tall tree and then go DOWN again. I'm in that damn forest again. Everything still looks the same and I still can't figure out if there's a trick to navigating the forest. However, I *do* know that one of these screens holds an invisible door to the kitchen. My plan, and I'm not saying it's a good one, it type OPEN DOOR on every screen I visit until I find the kitchen door.


      After way too much effort, I finally the kitchen door. In case you're wondering, you want to go NORTH four times once you get down from the big tree. Now that I'm back in the house, it's time to head up to the attic.

There's that stupid trapdoor that I couldn't see before. I open it up and climb the ladder into the secret room.


      I'm in a tower. Daisy is holed up here, and there's a note as well. Why the fuck is Daisy hiding? Everyone else is already dead, why didn't she just hunt me down and kill me too? The psycho bitch is holding what appears to be a stinky old banana, but it might be a shiny new knife. I better examine her more closely, just to make sure.


If Daisy thinks I'm gonna let her banana me to death, she's got another thing coming. I'll fix her little red wagon... permanently.


      You dead, motherfucker! What you think I am, huh? What you think, I'm a fuckin' worm like you? I told you, mang. I told you, don't fuck with me! I told you, but you wouldn't listen! Well, you stupid fuck! Look at you now.


      Since Daisy's dead, I guess I'll take her note. The note reads: IT'S IN THE BASEMENT! I'm gonna assume she's talking about the jewels and not her diaphram. You know, I wish I had known the jewels were there before, because I don't want to go through all those secret passages and shit again. Wait, maybe I don't have to. There was that passage in the pantry that was blocked off on one side, maybe I can find the other side and open it up. Pantries are generally connected to kitchens, so I think I'll head there.


      There's four major pieces of furniture in the kitchen: a stove, a fridge, a sink, and a cabinet. Since the cabinet is the only of the pieces that is self-sufficient, I decided to try moving that one. It worked.


The wall is bricked up behind the cabinet. It's hammer time, bitches! I know I said that before, but this time I mean it.


Excellent. I've almost won... I've just gotta find those jewels.


      I make my through the hole, into the pantry, and then back down into the basement. The jewels are in this room somewhere... but where? The basement walls are covered in algae, that must somehow be important. After all, the game only gives me two lines of description for each room. Why would it mention algae if it wasn't a clue of some sort? Maybe I can get rid of it. Let's see if it wipes off.


It does wipe off. Unfortunately, my hands are now covered in slime. At least, I assume they are. I suppose it's possible I used to towel I stole to get rid of the algae. In fact, that's a better solution, so let's go with it. The freshly cleaned wall has a loose brick. Gee, I wonder what's behind the brick...


      Holy shit, I found the fucking jewels! Remember though, finding the jewels is not the same thing as TAKING the jewels. I take the jewels and make a run for the front door. Yes, I'm well aware that everyone else is dead and there's no reason to run. I just feel like I could use the exercise.


      The front door locked behind me when I entered Mystery House, trapping me inside. Fortunately, I found that giant motherfucking key down in the basement and surprise, it opens the front door. I head out the door to the porch. When I go down the porch steps, I receive the game's thrilling ending sequence...


      OK, so it's not so much an end sequence as it is one of the most poorly constructed sentences I've ever seen that in a video game that WASN'T translated from Japanese. I have beaten adventure! I am declared a guru wizard! Shouldn't I be declared a game guru? Or a game wizard? Or a game master? Or some other title with the word "game" in it? Whatever, I don't care anymore.

      By and large, Mystery House is a bad game. Not because of the hilariously antiquated graphics, but because of its limited vocabulary. The game wages a relentless semantic war against the player, one where STAIRS must by always preceded by GO but SOUTH can never be, one where PUSH is not an acceptable alternative to PRESS. The game is also guilty of blatant false advertising. The instructions claim that the game takes weeks to beat. That's complete fucking bullshit; I beat this game in two and a half hours and at least ten minutes of that was due to swearing-related restarts. Still, Mystery House's place in history in unmistakable. It paved the way for far better graphical adventure games, such as Shadowgate. The game also somehow sold well over 10,000 copies. While it's kind of sad that that many people were willing to pay $24.95 for a simplistic text adventure with rudimentary monochrome graphics in an era when systems such as Atari 2600 and Intellivision offered home gaming experiences in stunning technicolor, it's a good thing they did. Without the success of this mediocre game, the world never would have gotten to experience the brilliance of games such as King's Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Phantasmagoria. Mystery House may have been a weak start, but it was a start nonetheless.


Posted by: Syd Lexia