Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to acquire a whole bunch of Infocom adventure games from a generous donor over in the USA. Even though the cost for me to get them all shipped over to the UK was significant it was all worth it when the package finally arrived and I got to open it up. So here’s a look at one of the games I received in that delivery… Hollywood Hijinx from 1987.
Considering this game is 36 years it’s in superb condition with just a little creasing to the spine towards one edge in the middle. The previous owner clearly looked after it really well.
This particular adventure takes place in the mansion and surrounding grounds of your rich Aunt and Uncle who have recently passed away. Your Uncle was a famous actor and amassed a lot of wealth over the years and you stand to inherit the lot – but only if you can find the ten treasures your Aunt cunningly hid away (before she died obviously) around the estate. Oh and you have to collect every single one of them in just one night!
Hollywood Hijinx’s difficulty level is rated by Infocom themselves as ‘Standard’ which means it is supposed to be playable by normal mortals. I’ve never played this particular adventure before so that remains to be seen. However they do have two higher difficulty levels of Advanced and Expert so that does encourage me somewhat. The easiest difficulty for reference is ‘Introductory’ which they say is suitable for children aged 9 and above.
This is a fictional Hollywood tabloid that sets the scene for the game and is integrated into the box lid as is usually the case with Infocom’s ‘grey box’ releases. There are numerous stories about your Uncles exploits that gives some background info for the story. There’s also some other completely unrelated, ludicrous but often humorous tales that you might expect to see in such a ‘trashy’ magazine. The publication then transitions into the instruction manual, describing how to play the game and providing tips on drawing a map and so on.
Inside the Infocom Hollywood Hijinx box
As with all Infocom games there’s far more than just a disk included here.
Removing the plastic ‘lid’ from the recessed ‘hole’ inside the box reveals a small treasure trove of trinkets and extras (or feelies as Infocom used to call them).
When picking up these games second hand I often find the lid has been lost (along with some of the contents too if you are unlucky). Happily it was included here, probably explaining why everything was present and correct within.
The game runs off a single floppy disk which was in great condition with the original label that, although a little yellowed with age, had not succumbed to mould or graffiti. Amazingly the game still loads perfectly from that disk too.
The United Products of Infocom ‘passport’ was included with this game. This is basically a little catalogue showing you all the other adventure games they had available at the time. The registration card (unused) and Quick Reference card is also present and correct.
One of the most prominent of the ‘feelies’ included is the amazing ‘Lucky palm tree swizzle stick!’ which really is the same size as in the fictional advert. Luckily it was included with the game otherwise I would have had to pay $12.95 plus $3.00 P&P to get hold of one! Sadly no matter how many times I twizzled my stick (oo’er missus) I’ve not uncovered a chest of gold coins whilst digging in my garden!
Also included is a suitably cheesy signed photo of your Uncle Buddy which looks like it was taken after he’d doused his hair with an entire bottle of Grecian 2000…
Flipping the photo over reveals a note off your uncle with some clues to help point you in right direction to find the treasures.
Last but by no means least there is a letter written by your Aunt explaining why they have left everything to you and also why they hid the treasures away instead of just giving them to you.
However your nieces and nephews have also received a similar letter, so, in a nutshell; you get first dibs on the treasure hunt as your Uncle’s favourite nephew… but if you can’t find all the treasures in a single night then tough luck – your other nieces and nephews will get a shot instead and you’ll end up with nothing!
This sounds like a fairly straightforward treasure hunt game, albeit with a timer. I haven’t played it yet but am really looking forward to having a go at this one and seeing how many treasures I can find!
If you enjoyed reading about this game then here’s a look at some of the other Infocom games in my collection that I’ve posted about.