A short entry for what was an Italian graphic text adventure which is currently at large. The same developer has a number of other creations already in Gamebase, but this this title and one other has yet to be found.
Interestingly both were credited as being published by Arscom, so did the company go under before the games were released?
Thanks to Fabrizio Bartoloni, we have added an interview below with Roberto Tabacco, who reveals a bit more detail and kindly translated. This was taken from a long gone website via web.archive.org at https://web.archive.org/web/20031221210655/http://members.xoom.virgilio.it/SYS64738/arscom/arscom.html
There are also a few more extra screenshots added too.
More soon we hope on this one.
Contributions: Gamebase64, Fabrizio Bartoloni
The production of adventure games in our country
Interview with Roberto Tabacco, manager of the software house Arscom.
The first adventure games in Italian with graphics available on our market were published in a magazine on cassette called “Next Strategy”, whose first issue came out in April ’85.
Since that day more than two years have passed and Arscom, a company producing adventure games in Italian, has continuously improved its products, trying to offer the best of adventure games in Italian with colour graphics. Through the following interview you can better understand the work done by the Genoa-based company.
Commodore Gazette. For the last two games made by you, “Vampyr Motel” and “I predatori della valle dei re” (it could be translated in English as “The predators of the valley of kings”), you have chosen the distribution by post, preferring it to that through newsstands. What is the motivation behind this decision?
Arscom. Users interested in adventure games are profoundly different from those who play arcade games. It is a user preferring a game focusing on the use of reflection and logic than the speed of reflexes. It is a particularly demanding market segment and this is stimulating for us. Those who have already purchased one of our products follow us with confidence, so we tried the direct route: from the house that produces to the consumer, skipping the various editorial distributions.
C.G. How did you make these two new games, what procedure did you adopt?
A. First of all, we made a complete revision of the adventure module; it is a module that is not a real editor, but something that, overcoming all the limits of editors, allows you to advance in a very articulated way, varying and renewing the schemes according to the needs that emerge from the story itself. The plot and the interweaving of the game are treated with particular attention and we always try to propose questions that can be solved with a little common sense and logic. We are against abstruse and arbitrary solutions. An interesting detail that I would like to stress concerns the fact that in building a story we use the contribution of film and television scriptwriters, which allows us to obtain a solid narrative structure.
C.G. Why do your products cost so little, don’t you think this could be harmful?
A. For the moment, and for these two games, we have chosen a policy of particularly interesting prices, not for a greater competition with other producers; it is, more simply, a special offer, aimed at encouraging even those who have never played with our products so that they can know and appreciate them. The price is certainly not an indication of the value of these programmes.
C.G. We mentioned the creative phase of the game, tell us now how your adventure is born.
A. First of all, you choose the story on which a sort of textual storyboard is built with the most important movements. Then, we add the various details, so as to create the necessary tension line in the most important and exciting points of the game. We tend, in practice, to create a double or even a triple story that continues independently from the main plot, but that does not lead to the solution.
We work a lot on the narrative development until we are completely satisfied with the results. When the game has been completed we move on to testing, for which we always invite people from outside our staff. At this stage the game is questioned, taking into account the reactions, gestures, expressions and comments of the players invited to the test. The program is then retouched and refined before being delivered in its final version to the public.
C.G. “Vampyr Motel” can be found in two versions, one on disk and one on cassette, is there any difference between the two versions, how come the same thing was not done with “The Raiders”?
A. “Vampyr Motel” was born as a game on cassette. We then realised that many users own the disk drive and are often inclined not to consider buying a cassette game. For this reason we decided to make a version of the game on disk drive that is identical to the previous one. As for “The Predators”, instead, we decided to start immediately with the disk drive, so that we could make use of special management such as the use of relative and sequential files. The game, obviously, is wider than the previous one, thanks to the possibilities offered by the use of the disk. It is a program of considerable size, very articulated, able to engage the player for a long time. The results obtained have given us great satisfaction.
C.G. Proposals for the future?
A. There are important news that we have been working on for a long time, but for the moment everything is top secret.