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Anne Summers

Premium-rate phone-in games?

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Remember these, used to be advertised in games mags all the time in the 80s.

0895 costing 38p per minute. At the time I didn't see how anyone could be rich enough to afford to call, considering that for the price of a budget Speccy game I'd get less than five minutes of playing. 

I guess people must have played them though as they were around for ages. 

This one is by Ian Livingstone apparently, so they had some big-name involvement in coming up with the stories. 

Did anyone ever call one? I imagine they were pretty basic, just someone reading a Fighting Fantasy-type story? I suppose whatever they were, they are probably lost now, as unlike computer games they are very hard for anyone to archive. 

MVIMG_20200727_141332.jpg

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There was a whole thread about it here:

 

 

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Can't find much about that War of Wizards online, wonder what it was actually like.

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14 minutes ago, K said:

There was a whole thread about it here:

 

 

 

That advert was what immediately came to mind when I first read this! 

 

And as @deKay pointed out, look who the proprietor was....

 

Screen_160421_123239.png.be38740edf029384abb765d089074182.png.83de1d9ecab4ad8d8f833ba70345cf2c.png

 

Did Codemasters not do something similar with their console games? Like an 0898 number to get hints and cheats? 

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14 minutes ago, gone fishin' said:

Did Codemasters not do something similar with their console games? Like an 0898 number to get hints and cheats? 

 

I don't know about consoles, but they definitely had helplines in the inlay cards for Dizzy games. I seem to remember there being a line for Game Genie too.

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KISS certainly had a hints and tips line for all the point and click games they released on Amiga.

 

Don't remember those phone games in mags, I must admit. Guessing they would be just like the adventure books where you had to turn to a set page. That said they would be before dial tone phones, back when you still had rotary dial phones. So doubt you would be told to press 1,2,3 etc..

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2 hours ago, robotattack said:

Ian's on Twitter, maybe someone can ask if he remembers it?

 

 

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At uni back in 1998 (fuck, I’m old) one of my housemates had to call a premium rate tips line as we were all stuck on ocarina of time. 
 

turns out we had to play the song of storms to drain the well in Kakariko village. 
 

cost us £5 that tip did. 

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3 hours ago, Ninja Doctor said:

At uni back in 1998 (fuck, I’m old) one of my housemates had to call a premium rate tips line as we were all stuck on ocarina of time. 

My dad let me ring up about Broken Sword 2. I was fuming because it didn’t help at all and I had to start again because I decided if i didn’t jump on the branch as the boar runs, there was no other way to progress. Turns out I was correct and smashed through the rest of it on my second play through.

 

Game breaking harshness back in 1998.

 

Having just googled it, it seems there was a way around it, and the branch just reveals a shortcut, but I’ll be damned if 11 year old me could find it after trying for literally hours over the course of at least four evenings.

 

Thinking back, I’m surprised I actually remember that game so fondly, considering how much I hated that week of my life. :lol:
 

Definitely rang up at least twice too, costing my dad a fair bit.

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I've found these from looking up Computerdial, although it's only about Steve Jackson's FIST rather than anything by Ian Livingstone, but I would imagine they worked on the same basis.

 

It does essentially sound like a Fighting Fantasy story, but with actors and sound effects.

 

The first game was so successful Jackson bought a Spanish villa with the royalties.

 

https://fightingfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/F.I.S.T.

 

https://fightingfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Computerdial

 

Edit: And a bit more about it in this Guardian article (there was a YouTube video in that demonstrating it, but it's gone)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/23/steve-jackson-fist-telephone-game

 

Another update: There is some audio from FIST in this BBC radio interview (I'm assuming it's the original and not recorded for the programme):

https://clp.bbcrewind.co.uk/b23053cc8e378b53976129f2fbe25f3a

 

There was a supplementary interactive documentary to go with the programme that was supposed to feature a portion of FIST, but it seems to have gone now. 

 

Update-me-do:

 

There was another phone game from Steve Jackson called The Slaughterhouse that was advertised in Zero https://gamer.livejournal.com/825135.html

 

I came across that from this blog that mentions the version that was in the BBC programme (that seems to have now gone). The author had already touched on resurrecting FIST. 

 

Still nothing about the Ian Livingstone game though!

 

mYzcw7F.png

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I was really curious about these back in the day. I assumed they would be really crap and a complete rip-off, but had a tinge of doubt that they could actually be amazing and I was missing out.

Also I though FIST was called EIST because of the typeface. :facepalm:

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I was thinking that. Maybe Deathtrap Dungeon with the screen turned off?

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It seems like something that could work well with Alexa (other AI virtual assistants are available). You'd have to bark your choice at it instead of bleeping, of course.  

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2 hours ago, robotattack said:

It seems like something that could work well with Alexa (other AI virtual assistants are available). You'd have to bark your choice at it instead of bleeping, of course.  

I saw some  " adventure games" work on Alexa, haven't tried any yet but I imagine it's this sort of thing.

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The Fighting Fantasy one was Steve Jackson only and called FIST - Fantasy Interactive Scenario by Telephone or something. Careful which FIST premium number you dialled!

 

I tried the fighting fantasy one secretly one day for a few minutes, can't say it was anything memorable and the fear as a 10 year old of getting busted by the parents put me off!

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