History of Magnetic Scrolls

Magnetic Scrolls was a small British Company that published adventure games in the 80es, Infocom style. They didn't do as many and weren't quite as successful. The depth of the stories never even comes close to Infocom's best, and puzzle-difficulty sometimes varies from trivial to fiendish in a matter of minutes of playing-time. For compensation, the elaborate parser understands phrases like 'remove the shrew's tail and use it to tie the pole and the noose together'. And more important: you get a healthy amount of absurd black humour and a mysterious dark atmosphere which still today can give me the shivers. Call me sentimental :)

The company's name derives from the top-screen menu, which could be scrolled down the screen to reveal illustrations of the locations you were in. The pictures were simple but beautifully done, and certainly helped to add glamour to the stories.

The games

All games are abandonware and free for download. For playing, Niclas Karlsson has written Magnetic, a neat little interpreter program now available for all platforms, through the help of others. See the links at the bottom of this page.

Here's a scene from 'The Guild of Thieves' in the original:

Guild of Thieves, Original

And here is what it looks like on Magnetic. The images are no longer scrollable, but you can adjust their size or open them in an extra window:

Guild of Thieves, Emulator

You can find the games, various interpreters and more background information here:

  • The Magnetic Scrolls Memorial
  • The .MAG files are the game files, to be opened with Magnetic. Microsoft Access will try and assiociate with it. They probably didn't like what would have been the obvious extension for a Microsoft Access Diagram. So if you find an Access file in your game folder, that's it.

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