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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #70: Questprobe

As huge Marvel fans, my brother and I were excited in 1984 when our beloved comic characters began showing up on our Commodore 64 screen. The Questprobe series was intriguingly conceived, introducing the persona of the Chief Examiner as a strange alien presence intent on testing the mettle of our heroes. The first game to make it to market featured the Hulk, followed by Spider-Man, then the Human Torch and the Thing. Each game was accompanied by a tie-in comic book. Twelve games were planned (and twelve books), with tests awaiting the X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, and others. Unfortunately, in 1986 the programming company Adventure International went belly-up, and the entire enterprise was cancelled. There was a time, kids, when Marvel wasn't necessarily a good investment.

It was a shame, really, because the games weren't all that bad. They were basically a text adventure, sort of like Zork with pictures. The pictures, by the way, were the best part of the whole thing. For the limited dot-matrix time, the graphics were lush and engaging. Far more engaging than the relatively simple puzzles and rock-stupid language engine, which was the real frustration and failure.

Now that Marvel is a global behemoth, it would be awesome if they rescued Questprobe from the dustbin of the '80s and brought the Chief Examiner back to finish what he started.

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