CP/M Documentation for the Orbquest (1981-82) and Nemesis (1981) Games

Bill Loguidice's picture

After being lucky enough to acquire the ultra-rare RPG/strategy games Orbquest (Alternate World Simulations, 1981-82 (Second Edition), CP/M) and Nemesis (SuperSoft, 1981, CP/M), each on 8" disk, a gentleman by the name of Lorne Knowles was able to convert them to standard 5.25" Kaypro and Osborne compatible disks for me. Eventually I plan on getting around to making the disk images available for everyone to be able to play these games in the CP/M emulator of their choice (or in turn the real world disk format of their choice), but for now, please enjoy the photographs of every manual page (photographs because I did not want to damage the original manuals for scanning). You can see them on Flickr here. If you'd like these in PDF format, please e-mail me, as they're very large file sizes and require download from a shared A Drive. I also plan on making a video of the games in action soon (hopefully). Enjoy!

IMG_3135_edited-1
IMG_3137_edited-1
IMG_3154_edited-1

IMG_3155_edited-1
IMG_3156_edited-1
IMG_3180_edited-1

Comments

Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2006
What kind of games are these, Bill?

I'm assuming that these are CRPG's, but are they Rogue-likes, Wizardry style, Ultima style? The sketch-style cover art is intriguing, and makes me want to draw something again!

Any chance of some in-game screenshots, or better yet, a video review?

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
CP/M "graphics"

I believe one is a Rogue-like, the other perhaps a bit less so, but they'll both be classifiable as RPGs. I can probably do both screenshots and a video review, I just need to set aside some time to do it (I have not actually played them yet). Naturally there won't be much in the way of "graphics", because we're talking pure CP/M here, whose "graphical" capability is limited to clever use of text characters and whatever was standard in the CP/M set.

Here are what the graphics for Orbquest look like:

IMG_3142_edited-2

And what the graphics for Nemesis consist of:

IMG_3170_edited-1

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
I'm confused about the PDF

I'm confused about the PDF issue. Big sizes? The guys at replacement docs seem to be able to make PDFs of even big full color manuals under 5 or 6 megs (in an unzipped format). Might want to look into compression options and all that...!

I found this guide on replacement docs that might help. Obviously, the raw scans or images are great, but if you're interested in going the extra step--seems like it'd be worthwhile. Looks like the key is that program called "Distiller." Is it part of Acrobat?

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Thanks, Matt. Yeah, I'm

Thanks, Matt. Yeah, I'm sure I could optimize it and all that, but I really didn't want to put the effort in beyond what I did. If someone wants it in PDF format, they just need to e-mail me for the link. I did save it as a higher resolution PDF than it probably needed to be, but I don't mind that (whoever wants it can down-convert it). Also, they can work with the raw JPGs via Flickr and do it themselves if they were so motivated, so lots of options there. Part of the issue naturally is that these aren't scans, but 10MP digital camera photos, which I just directly sent to PDF. It's not like anyone can really do anything with it at this point anyway until I'm able to generate IMG files from the disk because I don't recall ever seeing these games available anywhere and the other owners of these games have not put in the effort (or had the desire?) to make it available to others (and I'm only aware of one other owner of Nemesis, who has also made his manual available: http://vgmuseum.chaoticmonkey.com/loadpage.php?getgame=nemesis [Note the Dungeon Master expansion] , and no other owners of Orbquest).

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

n/a
Calibrator
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2006
Thanks for posting this stuff

And also for the link to the full manual (good site, BTW!).
While I knew both games beforehand from pictures and IIRC from Matt mentioning them in his book or here at AA I haven't seen as much info on them before. Really scarce. For a while I thought they were only text adventures!
Though I have no CPM system (real or emulator) and am not really interested in playing them I do think it's interesting to see what they have to offer and how they interface to the player.

take care,
Calibrator

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
CP/M
Calibrator wrote:

And also for the link to the full manual (good site, BTW!).
While I knew both games beforehand from pictures and IIRC from Matt mentioning them in his book or here at AA I haven't seen as much info on them before. Really scarce. For a while I thought they were only text adventures!
Though I have no CPM system (real or emulator) and am not really interested in playing them I do think it's interesting to see what they have to offer and how they interface to the player.

take care,
Calibrator

Probably not in Matt's book, but we do mention Nemesis in the Rogue Vintage Games bonus chapter: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4013/the_history_of_rogue_have__yo... . I was able to throw that one in there because I found it on Howard Feldman's Website, which I linked to in an earlier comment. He actually sent me a 5.25" copy of the game he had, but I was not able to read it on any of my CP/M systems (and neither one of us had a usable 8" drive). I was lucky to stumble upon both Nemesis and Orbquest on eBay and with BIN prices I could actually afford, which is how they're now in my possession. Then it was just a matter of being further lucky to have an offer from Lorne Knowles to convert them for me from 8" disk to various 5.25" formats. He did that gratis, by the way. Very, very cool. Now it's up to me at some point to get them into IMG files.

I would suspect that they'd be tough to get into because of their almost pure text natures, but it is a rather pleasant experience (at least for me) doing stuff on a good CP/M machine. It's very much like doing things on the original IBM PC - it's really the same type of computer we're using today more or less, just in a more "raw" form, which is rather refreshing in today's world of hi-res GUI's and mouse control.

On a side note, it's actually criminal how little info there is on commercial CP/M games. Really, the only high profile CP/M games were the Infocom stuff (I believe Blue Chip might have released their popular Millionaire on there as well - another text only game). Part of this is due to the more professional nature of commercial CP/M systems and their origins and only hacker friendly assemble-it-yourself boxes, combined with the fact that only a few CP/M had graphics, and those were brand specific.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
What always amazes me about

What always amazes me about these old games is how much imagination went into them. The graphics and gameplay may be simple, but they often had very elaborate backstories and such that were known only in the manuals.

n/a
Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Those 8 inch discs are insane aren't they?

PS3: MarkVergeer | Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
8" disks

They really are. They're the coolest things from a tech perspective, but even a hardcore collector such as myself has difficulty handling them. 8" drives are very tough to acquire for reasonable prices and then getting them to work with something, etc., makes it a real headache. I have to see if I can get anything going with the S-100 chassis with 8" drive(s) I have for my Exidy Sorcerer, but I bet I'm out of luck with that since in a bizarre turn of events, the seller sold the software for it separately. If whenever I have time to work with it I can't make something happen, I'll probably end up selling the S-100 chassis. Hopefully it will go to someone that can make it work and I get my original investment back and then some.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

n/a
Anonymous (not verified)
Nemesis

Intriguing... i remember a full write up on Nemesis/Dungeonmaster in an ancient computer magazine called Creative Computing
that I read as a kid. I have been searching off and on for information on this game since the web debuted in the early/mid 1990s.
I have never been able to find anything interesting until you posted those manuals. Thank you!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.