Ground Zero Text Adventure
The term ground zero describes the point on the surface of the Earth that was closest to a detonation.
In the case of an explosion above the ground, ground zero refers to the point on the ground directly below an occurrence of a detonation.
The term has often been associated with nuclear explosions and other large bombs, and is also used in relation to other events such as epidemics and earthquakes.
The term is often re-used for disasters that have a geographic or conceptual epi-centre.
Well back in 1984 it was also the name of rather harrowing computer game. This cult classic title was a text adventure available to owners of the ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64, and it dealt with an all too grave subject that was always at the back of your mind during the cold war era...
The Cassette Sleeve For Ground Zero
Ground Zero - The Game
This adventure game was based upon the events leading up to and surviving a nuclear attack on Great Britain.
The aim of the 'game' was to negotiate all the problems expected in such unthinkable circumstances!
The adventure-world was set in a typical British suburb and involved collecting all of the items necessary for survival.
Written using the 'Quill' system (which as a useful tool for creating text adventures), it was the final game in the classic 'Adventure' series released by Arctic computing, which had begun with 'Adventure A: Planet of Death'.
This game was 'Adventure G' and really finished the series off on a serious, sombre and very much downbeat note.
It picked up quite a lot of publicity due to the subject matter of the game, some of this publicity positive and some of it negative.
Creating a text adventure based on the subject of nuclear war, at the height of the cold war era was always going to raise some eyebrows.
Due to this, despite it never being a true classic of the genre, it is a well remembered game due it being pretty controversial back in the day...
The Full ZX Spectrum Cassette Inlay For Ground Zero
The Harrowing Loading Screen To Ground Zero
Ground Zero is a classic pure text only adventure game
Ground Zero Gameplay
Unsurprisingly the aim of the game was to survive a full scale nuclear attack.
You began the game in your own home just as the chaos was beginning.
The locations were well described (this was text only remember and no in-game graphics were present) and built up the atmosphere nicely.
You would come across neighbours in shock (I recall a man sitting in a deck chair simply staring into the sky), people looting the local shops, automated emergency broadcasts via the television and telephone and more.
In the usual style of games in this genre you had to find objects, use them appropriately and solve puzzles to advance through the game.
Would you build your own shelter or would you try to make to a more secure government bunker? What about food supplies? All of this had to be contended with as you advanced through the game.
You only had a certain amount of moves to make too, meaning you had to find safe haven before the bomb dropped, otherwise it was game over as you were vapourised in the blast.
Not a nice thought.
Here Is Me Playing Ground Zero
Ground Zero, just how good was this game?
Despite the rather harrowing atmosphere this game was actually a decent text adventure that played quite well, created a believable atmosphere and did not tend to throw unreasonable puzzles at you (apart from the well known bug in the hallway of your house of not seeing the table with drawer to open).
I remember actually playing this to completion (it took me a good two or three weeks to figure out the whole game) but as you may expect, the ending to the game was cold, scary and utterly bleak.
There was more than one way to 'finish' the game, but only one way to survive the actual nuclear blast.
The games author (Colin Smith) deserves a mention for tackling such a sensitive subject within a computer game - and it did make a change from fighting wizards, warriors and orcs.
Not a bad game overall for text adventure enthusiasts.
A Further Note About The Author Of Ground Zero
Colin Smith was a former journalist who decided to sell his house in Dorset to raise the funds to launch this computer adventure game.
Colin was quoted "I thought that participating in the game would bring home to people the horrors of nuclear war more powerfully than any film or book,"
He also intended the game to highlight what he considered the inadequacies of the Government Protect and Survive civil defence scheme.
I must say that the game certainly achieved it's objective.
- Acorn Atom
The Acorn Atom was the ancestor to the BBC series of computers manufactured by Acorn
- Acorn Electron
The Acorn Electron was an 8-bit Micro manufactured by Acorn
- Amiga 600
The A600 from Commodore
- Amiga 1200
The A1200 was the finest 'low end' Amiga
- Amiga CD 32
The Amiga CD32 - a decent gaming console
- Amiga Games
Lots and lots of classics for the best in 16-bits
- Amstrad CPC 464
During the 1980s entrepeneur Alan Sugar made a foray into the home computer market
Asteroids (along with the seminal Space Invaders) must be one of the most famous arcade games of all time
- Astro Blaster
Astro Blaster was a table top arcade game released by Hales
- Astro Wars
Astro Wars was an electronic arcade game of the 'table top' genre
- Atari 2600
- Atari 5200
Not quite Woody
- Atari Falcon
The Falcon was Atari's final home computer
- Atari ST
The Atari ST was a 16-bit home computer
- Awesome Graphics
Some awesome graphics were created on many retro computers
- AY Music
Cool retro tunes
- BBC Micro
The BBC was also blessed with many fine adventure games
- Best PC Games
Best PC Games - get the best in online games for free
- Commodore 16
The Commodore 16 was an 8-bit micro
- Commodore 64
The Commodore 64 was the flagship of Commodores 8-bit fleet
- Commodore 128
The last of Commodore's 8-bit machines
- Commodore Amiga
We love the Commodore Amiga!!
- Dark Star
Dark Star was released for the ZX Spectrum by Design Design software in 1984
- Dragon 32
The Dragon 32 was an 8-bit home computer
Frogger is an arcade game which was released waaaay back in 1981
- Funny Games
A chuckle-fest of rib-tickling games
- Games Online
Games Online - one of the phenomenons of the modern internet
- Miniclip Games
Just what are Miniclip games?
- Missile Command Games
Missile Command (along with Space Invaders, Pac Man, and Asteroids) must be one of the most well know arcade games of all time
- Oric 1
The Oric 1 was a British computer
- Oric Atmos
The Oric Atmos was a British computer
For those retro gaming fans among us, who can forget the year of 1980 when Pac-man first appeared in the amusement arcades?
- Scramble games
Scramble must be one of the most famous arcade shoot em ups ever
- Sinclair Interface 2
2 Player Sinclair Action and instant loading times
- Space Invaders
Space Invaders, an all time classic that really launched the genre of the shoot em up arcade game
- Spectrum emulator
Play those classic games again
- Tomy Sky Attack
Tomy Sky Attack was one of the first 3D games
- VIC 20
The Commodore VIC-20
The Vectrex classic arcade console
- World of Spectrum - Software - Text Adventures
- ZX Spectrum Games
Lots and lots of Speccy games, a quiz and programmer interviews
- ZX Spectrum Music
We are talking about the original ZX Spectrum here
The Sinclair ZX80
The Sinclair ZX81 was great for text adventures
More by this Author
Ocean Software produced many classic games in the 1980s and 1990s
Pacman was released in 1980 and became a world wide gaming icon
Some handy tips for anyone buying a new used car from a dealer