There is a bucket in the middle of the room.
> Get bucket
Its to heavy
> Lift bucket
Its to heavy
> Kick bucket
You kick the bucket...

Neon Bar

You are in a pitch black room
> Inventory
You have a Match and a Candle
> Light Candle
The candle lights first time. Briefly, in its warm glow, you see the word DYNAMITE written on the side...

Neon Bar

There is a large door
> Open door
The heavy oaken door is stuck fast
> Pull door
You pull harder. The heavy door comes off its hinges and flattens you...

Neon Bar

> Go North
You turn north and step inside an Iron Maiden. As you turn around to get out, a gentle breeze slams the door firmly shut...

Neon Bar

> Sorry, I meant Go South
You turn south and step inside an Iron Maiden concert. As you turn around to get out, a denim-clad usher drags you to a front-row seat and chains you to it...

Neon Bar

> Stroke Gerbil
The gerbil purrs gently. And then suddenly shoots up your trouser leg and eats you alive...

Neon Bar

You see a large barrel with a tap
> Open tap
A thick black syrup oozes from the tap. It tastes familiar. Suddenly, the barrel bursts open and treacle starts pouring into the room. In vain, you try to reach the door but your feet are sticking to the ground. You suffocate slowly as you sink in the thick, sticky sludge...

Neon Bar

Glory, glory, what a hell of a way to die.
Glory, glory, what a hell of a way to die.
Glory, gloreee, what a hell of a way to die....
And I ain't gonna play no more.

If you happen to be one of the dedicated band that's played one of millions of adventures, you won't find these deaths at all remarkable. The gerbil example is tame by comparison with the gory and unexpected endings you meet in real games.

Adventure programmers of the world unite to announce a completely unoriginal and tedious concept in adventuring: Instant Death.

Yep folks, adventure games bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "One move and you're dead...."

Wherever you turn, its like the man said: Instant Death is gonna get you. And it'll be the death of the adventure game too. Because spending hours on a game where you could lose everything purely by chance on your next go is about as pleasant as drowning in strawberry yoghurt.

Indeed, if you've got this far, you've probably already got a reputation as the sort of weirdo who gets a kick out of dying. Because most people are so sick of Instant Death that they'll have switched off the moment they suspected this piece had anything whatsoever to do with adventures.

Can you imagine what films and books would be like if they were like adventure games?

You know, Marty McFly leaps into the dotty doc's De Lorean time machine, hits the accelerator and it explodes. End of film, time for an ice-cream.

Or James Bond gets carried away with the title music, minces to the middle of the screen and turns to fire his PPK right at you. And then walks straight into a lamp post and cracks his skull open.

There's no way ET could know about road crossings. So after that touching start, how come the little rubbery lump of Plasticine wasn't rubbed flat by a passing juggernaut as he wandered through downtown KitchVille?

Why do Captain James T. Kirk and his enterprising crew never beam down into the middle of a brick wall?

Ask yourself, did the guys in Journey To The Centre Of The Earth even once forget to switch their lamps on?

Come off it! Instant Death is only fun if you happen to be a cartoon character.

The good adventure games are those where you can wander round in reasonable safety. Where you get the odd warning sign (just before it falls over and crushes you to death). Ones where you seem to lead a charmed life. Just like in the movies.

But there ain't that many of them around.

And it isn't even some great megabrained technical problem. Because adventure programming is pretty trivial these days. Most adventures are based on the same old code that's worn to death. Some games occasionally push adventure technology a little bit further ahead. But few of them have made the giant leap that takes humdrum Computer Adventures and turns them into Computer Thrillers.

It's a problem of games design. It's all too easy to think that an adventure consists of a map, a bunch of objects, a handful of puzzles and about 101 unpleasant ways to meet your maker. And much easier to churn out the program.

No-one seems to want to put the time and trouble into writing an adventure that is really playable, completeable and - above all else - enjoyable.

Arcade games are another story. No they're not - they're the same story. We seem to have been stuck with five or six different games for years now. But at least a quick change of sprites and scenery, the odd new twist and maybe a film tie-in make arcade games ... well, playable, completeable and - above all else - enjoyable.

I'm not against adventures. On the contrary, I'd really like to be an adventure freak. I'd like a list of completed games as long as my arm. Because the potential is great. Because adventure games are an incredible medium and can be utterly addictive. And very, very rewarding.

But at the moment, it's more fun wearing a balaclava backwards and taking a stroll down the fast lane of a Motorway.

And it's a hell of a lot safer..........

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