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Entry updated 19 January 2017. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (1988). Superior Software. Designed by Peter Irvin, Jeremy Smith. Platforms: BBCMicro (1988); Electron (1989); Amiga, AtariST, C64 (1991); CD32 (1995).

Exile is an example of a Videogame form which was popular in the UK during the 1980s, but rare elsewhere and hardly seen since, that of the "arcade adventure". In works of this type, solving physical puzzles is combined with the reflex and coordination based jumping and fighting gameplay which is characteristic of "platform games" (see Videogames). The first such work may have been Adventure (1980 Atari, AtariVCS; 2008 iOS) designed by Warren Robinett, a distant descendant of the original text Adventure which transposed its ancestor's design to a graphical, action-based form which appealed to the Young Adults who were Atari's main customers in the early 1980s. Later examples include the science-fictional Alien 8 (1985 Ultimate Play The Game, Amstrad, BBCMicro, Spectrum; 1987 MSX) designed by Chris Stamper, Tim Stamper, in which the player controls a robot which must save the frozen crew of a starship with damaged Suspended Animation equipment. Exile itself is an exceptionally well-crafted game which requires the player to rescue the crew of a disabled spaceship, who are being held captive by a Mad Scientist somewhere inside a large underground tunnel network. Hostile alien creatures and a range of cleverly designed puzzles act as obstacles to the player's explorations; interestingly, the solutions to many of the game's problems depend on its realistic Physics. While the arcade adventure form has essentially disappeared from the modern Videogame industry, similar experiences have remained popular in the shape of action Adventures such as Beyond Good & Evil (2003), which evolved from graphical Adventures to provide a more three-dimensional version of Exile's gameplay.

Related works: The original version of the game, for the BBC Micro and the Electron, was sold with an included novella by Mark Cullen, also called Exile (1988 chap). [NT]


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