User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:26 pm

When we think of point-and-click adventure games, folks generally think of Lucasfilm games right off the bat. Then some might consider some of the Sierra classics from Leisure Suit Larry to King's Quest.

But there was another innovative company call ICOM Simulations that made some seriously cool games for the Macintosh, which were ported to tons of other systems including the Amiga. In fact they created a game engine called the MacVenture. And the games were so popular and well-received, ICOM would go on to create 4 games off the same engine.
  • Déjà Vu (1985, 1987 for Amiga)
  • Uninvited (1986, 1987 for Amiga)
  • Shadowgate (1987)
  • Deja Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas (1988, 1989 for Amiga)
These games, while very well-received in the US Gaming press, don't seem to be talked about in the same breathless way the Lucasfilm games are. Granted, they had but a shred of the marketing muscle Lucas and Sierra could flex. When these games came out Mindscape was still very early days.

Regardless, these games are very well-written adventures and have a very unique Workbench-based User Interface.

I've picked up two so far.

One is the original Deja Vu, and the other is Shadowgate. Finding original physical copies these days is kind of tough, but I've been patient. The packaging is interesting.

Check out "Déjà Vu, A Nightmare Comes True!!" [sic]

It comes in a thin, hard-bound folio. In the hand it could be mistaken for a very thin book.

Back in the day you could mail in $3.95 or thereabouts and purchase a "hint book". In the NES versions these were full-color little booklets. Each port of the game seems to have had a bit of a unique spin. With Amiga, the Amiga hints came on 3-pages of stapled together paper. Not very fancy at all, if this is indeed original. I believe it is. Getting this in the package was a total surprise.

Unfortunately, after all of these years my original disk didn't work as it has bad sectors that are unrepairable. But after a few hours of searching I found an ADF copy of the original disk that works perfectly. I moved it over to my hard drive and play the game from there, flawless victory. I needed to move over the topaz6 font to my fonts directory as well and create an Assign in my User-Startup file.

Intro screen which is only on-screen for a couple of seconds

The User Interface in this game - and all of the ICOM adventure games - is really clever and a joy to use. In fact, in some respects it's a lot easier to deal with than the Lucas games. I can even click and drag items in my 1st-person view and drag them right over to my inventory. Very nice!

I'll show the Shadowgate pickup here in a bit. I think I should scan these 3 pages of hints and make PDFs out of them! Mine still has original hand-printed extra notes jotted down by the original owner.

But don't read them unless you really need to. =)

User avatar

Posted Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:54 am

Back in the day I loved Shadowgate. Just was too young and not good enough with my English skills to have a chance to solve this.

I was amazed by the idea that a game or even a program wouldn’t have to launch an own screen but could be run in a, or, rather with, windows.

User avatar

Posted Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:03 am

I remember seeing these games on the Mac and thought they were incredible. I never played any. Funnily enough, I have an original disk for Deja Vu, but no box or manuals.

I wonder if the black and white original worked better for this game specifically?

User avatar

Posted Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:25 am

Don‘t know if they worked better.

Apparently the ICOM games and specifically Deja Vu left some impressions that still echo today:

Return to “Conquests”