“You nibble playfully at her toes, then consume most of her main organs.” Happy birthday to Jaws: The Text Adventure…
It’s ten years to the day since the release of Jaws: The Text Adventure, a wonderful ZX Spectrum throwback in which you play cinema’s most famous shark as it heads off on a bloody rampage.
Created by Matt Round, Jaws: The Text Adventure was initially released for browsers, but Round later ported it to the ZX Spectrum in 2015. In a forum post at the time of the game’s original launch, Round imagined it as a lost classic: “In 1984, Mirrorsoft commissioned husband-and-wife coding team Dave & Sara Crud to create a blockbuster ZX Spectrum movie tie-in, only for rights holders to back out and leave it unreleased for nearly three decades. Or at least that’s the backstory I wrote as my own brief…”
The game perfectly apes the classic text adventure style, with some wonderfully gory pics of the shark munching down on the poor sea-enjoyers of Amity Island, as you command it to ‘EAT YACHTS’ and the like. It all gets very silly indeed, and I’d highly recommend giving it a whirl yourself right here.
Jaws: The Text Adventure wasn’t the first time that players took on the role of the film’s shark. Back in 2006, the mobile game Jaws Unleashed by Appaloosa Interactive encouraged gamers to munch down on swimmers in a blood-soaked orgy of violence. Since then, we’ve had Maneater by Tripwire Interactive, which although it didn’t have the Jaws film license, was very much in the spirit of the movies, as you controlled a giant killer shark munching its way up the food chain.
There have been quite a few Jaws video games down the years. The first was the simply titled 1987 game Jaws on the NES, which saw you piloting a boat on a hunt for the shark, and was timed to coincide with the release of Jaws: The Revenge. Then in 1989, Intelligent Design released a Jaws game for home computers in which you played police chief Brodie as he searched for a weapon to kill the marauding shark. In a nice touch, you’re able to close beaches to prevent shark attacks, but at the cost of losing business and irritating the mayor. There was also a 2010 mobile game – again called Jaws – in which the aim was to guide swimmers away from the deadly shark.
But none of these games can come close to the wonderful humour of Jaws: The Text Adventure. EAT BUOY, you might suggest. “Your teeth grind against metal as you wonder if the buoy feels loneliness.”