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Have You Played... Ingrid's Back!


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I couldn’t tell you if Ingrid’s Back! is any good. Because I’m very old, and things that happened 30 years ago are lost to me like wee down a shower drain. But what I can tell you is it’s the first game I ever played before it was released.

Because I’m so great and cool and interesting, I now more often play games before they’re on sale than after. Because I’m an international thief, and break into development studios to steal their prototypes, and then just pretend a PR sent me preview or review code. But back in the 80s I was but a human child, and had yet to develop such skills.

But somehow, my brilliant late father ended up play-testing text adventure games in his spare time. Which is odd for a dentist. So it was that in 1988 we had a copy of Level 9’s Ingrid’s Back! for our Atari. (But it came out on PC too, so there’s nothing you can do to stop me writing about it). And we played it, looking for typos and logical inconsistencies, that sort of thing.

I think it was because, at that time, the British adventure game development community was so small you could know everyone. There’s a good chance my dad might have just befriended brothers Mike, Pete and Nick Austin, who made up Level 9.

I remember that it was funny, and had big pictures, and spelt everything “gn” because of the gnome theme. “What gnow?” it asked for every prompt. But does anyone else remember it?

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Who am I?

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run

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