A rare screen capture.

Haunted Gaming - QUEST (CREEPYPASTA)07:40

Haunted Gaming - QUEST (CREEPYPASTA)

QUEST on Haunted Gaming

Many people are familiar with Adventure (also known as Colossal Cave Adventure), one of the most famous text-based games of all time. During the late 70's, it was one of the most popular games of all time, due to the freedom of choice it allowed, and its great atmospheric detail. In some venues, productivity would cease while people tried to solve the game. It could be found on many university computers, passed from one student to another, and many phrases from the game have since entered into the popular culture of the computer-literate.

However, there was another, less commonly known game that was making the circuit of many of the same schools at the same time. This game, called simply "QUEST", remains to this day something of a legend, spoken of rarely, but regarded by the few who know of it as by far the more impressive of the two.

While the spread of Adventure was due entirely to its popularity, QUEST never seemed to come from anywhere. It would be found on systems that no one admitted to putting it on, turning up at seeming random when people were looking for other software. Once found, the game would be available for a time, but the computer seemed almost to forget the location of the data at times, with the QUEST game disappearing and reappearing like some kind of ghost ship in software form. The common explanation was simply that users would remove it, due to its faulty coding, and others would put it on, wanting to play.

The game itself was even more strange. It would start with a description of a scene, outlining a minimal amount of backstory, a task that the player needed to accomplish, and some additional piece of information that could range from an inventory to a summary of a memory or dream. However, each of these elements could be different on each playthrough. Not only that, but players often claimed that it was impossible to enter a bad command. Or, according to some, a command would only be rejected when it was something that the player could not do in the present circumstances. The story seemed to be very open ended, to the point that any actions the player would try invariably continued the player's journey, much like the open world role-playing games of today. To date, there are only two known limitations that a session of QUEST was known to have. Firstly, there was no way to save your progress. Secondly, death was the end. This didn't simply mean a game over message. The QUEST program would crash if the player died, and took some time to get running again.

This was only one of the problems the game was known to have. Though it had no "iconic" lines, as the dialoge wasn't consistent from one playthrough to the next, QUEST was characterized by odd, occasionally stilted dialogue. It was commonly agreed that either QUEST's programmer was not a native English speaker, or else the system used to generate the dynamic stories that QUEST told had some strange failures in its grammatical rules. During play, the game would be prone to occasional freezes and slowdowns, taking up to ten minutes to process the results of some actions. Players would complain that the computers with QUEST were prone to making strange noises while the game was running. The biggest thing that troubled players, though, was an "entity" that existed within the game. It wasn't a character, or creature, but rather a behaviour of the game itself, a way of presenting prompts as if attempting to engage the player directly that caused players to personify the game itself as The Narrator, or sometimes The Storyteller.

Sooner or later, every player would be asked for an input outside of simply telling the game what you wanted to do next. It was like the game wanted you to tell the story with it...and indeed, some players claimed to have given detailed answers to these "off" prompts, and have their replies integrated into the story of their session. Eventually, though, the game would begin to ask questions of a more personal nature, usually starting with the phrase, "ARE YOU FEELING LONELY?". From this point on, the game would become more psychological, focusing more on the feelings and motivations out of the player, and seemingly trying to evoke an emotional response. For example, one player claimed that after fleeing from spiders throughout the game, that after being asked if they were lonely, the game began declaring spiders everywhere. At some point while this is going on, the player will make what QUEST considers to be a mistake, and the game will end. This is the only time players ever report getting a Game Over or a score, though it isn't clear what the maximum number of points actually is.

People have reported still being able to find QUEST on computers running operating systems as recent as Windows XP and Mac OS 9. In all this time, the experience players describe is still the same. QUEST shows up randomly in a file search, and brings up the game in a green-on-black display. However, with the advent of more modern operating systems, tales of this mysterious game have become little more than the stuff of legend. Indeed, many modern users laugh at the idea of such a game. Others, however, view the tale of QUEST with suspicion and fear. Is it something to fear? Who can say? Questions about who made QUEST, where it came from, and how it came to be on so many computers persist to this day. Perhaps, though, these questions will never be answered. Perhaps in this modern age, QUEST has finally disappeared for good. Or, maybe...just maybe...for whatever reason, QUEST is hidden away on someone's computer right now, just waiting to be found again.

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