Gonsoft is one of those one man bands mentioned earlier and Videoworld (CPC cassette) is its first major production. Text only, it is written by a keen adventurer who believes, in company with many others, that the best graphics are in the mind and not on the screen.
You are just settling down in front of your television to watch yet another repeat of The Great Escape. Having seen it all before, you nod off-Awakening with a start, you find yourself in front of a battery of TV cameras, the star of the program. Around you is your living room but outside your window you rapidly find yourself in a German prisoner of war camp.
You know just where you are when the first person you meet is a dead ringer for Steve McQueen and he starts talking about finding a motor bike. All is not plain sailing, as the plot includes nightmarish elements such as Daleks and Triffids, not to mention the second part that takes place in London and is reminiscent of the final episode of The Prisoner.
Although written using The Quill adventure writing program which has been used for many commercial games, the parser in this instance is limited to a fairly rudimentary verb/noun input. I found I wanted to expand my commands, but this may have been because I had been playing concentrated Knight Ore for some days previously. A novel system for movement is used that takes a few moments to get used to. Instead of typing in GO SOUTH or GO WEST (or S or W|, locations accessible from your present position are highlighted in the descriptive text and typing the first four letters of these will take you to that location.
This is not the only way of moving around, as you can also use ENTER and EXIT. As there is no definitive indication as to when to use these, it is wise to try them everywhere to see if anything happens.
The idea of this being a TV set is well thought out and the atmosphere is enhanced by having phrases such as: "Standby! And cue the star!", "Camera! Lights! Action!" or "O.K. Ready when you are!" appearing after any responses -though they did become a bit boring after the first 50 repeats. Screen layout is very important in text only games and on the whole Videoworld was quite good, the only fault being the whole screen scroll. You have to type in LOOK (or L) to re-read the location description for any exits or additional things to examine.
There is no RAM SAVE/LOAD facility but a tape SAVE takes only a few seconds. This is highly recommended as several actions that can terminate your activities prematurely. It's an interesting program that is fun to play and not too expensive to buy. On the low end for presentation but hopefully Gonsoft will improve as time goes by.