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pixelpedant

Any chance of manual for or further info on The Great Word Race by John Phillips?

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This is an educational game I've had since the late 80s, and not really touched in the many years since, though I certainly played it then.  I popped it in (well, popped it in, determined the contacts were not cooperating, cleaned them, popped it back in, and played), for the sake of reminding myself how it played, today.  I can barely find reference to it online.  It's mentioned, but only in name, on this page, regarding John Phillips games.   Mine, looks like this, at this point:

 

image.thumb.png.cb65699810db14cd0e64c3e670c9c79f.png

 

Lode Runner/Midnite Mason sort of thing, but in which you're collecting letters to assemble words in letter order.  Has the ability to edit word lists and save/load them from disk, so that's neat. 

 

Anyone know anything more about it?  Any chance of a manual?  Can't find one in the places I've checked so far. 

 

Here's a recording of the basic gameplay:

 

 

I know it's not the sort of game people care much about, a few decades on.  But I was always a word nerd.  So it found a very fitting audience in me, at the time. 

 

Edited by pixelpedant
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So from what I can see (it's one I'd heard mentioned plenty of times, but never owned or played), Face Chase is the same design, just collecting faces instead of letters of a word?  Does seem like it takes away the main thing that drew me to the other (the word game aspect, with an editable word list). 

 

Though it seems to have a fancier death animation (in which the character is enlarged).  Then again, it's possible I'm missing just about anything at all about either one, since I have the manual for neither. 

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I think I may have a copy of the manual squirreled away (with the cartridge)--I'll look for it and try to get a scan up for you.

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That'd be awesome!  Maybe nobody else who's excited about this game, in 2020.  But I've fond memories of it, and it's been fun rediscovering it.  Funny I never gave it another whirl in recent times until today.  But I guess I'd kind of dismissed it out of hand as an educational game, which must therefore be uninteresting.  And left it in the mostly ignored pile that also includes Early Learning Fun and what have you.  Which in retrospect, doesn't really make sense.  Because I did get a fair bit of fun out of it, at the time.  And the design itself is fairly clever. 

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9 hours ago, pixelpedant said:

I know it's not the sort of game people care much about, a few decades on. But I was always a word nerd. So it found a very fitting audience in me, at the time.

I think I have stuff like Hangman and Crossword on my list (or slightly off the list). Would you be interested in new word oriented cartridge games for the TI-99/4A ? Do you have anything in particular you'd like to see ?

 

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I figure a Wordtris clone for TI-99/4A would be cool, and very doable.  Particularly if it had the same ability as The Great Word Race has, to edit the vocabulary and save to and load from disk. 

Actually, if nobody else does that, I might even get around to doing that myself, at some point.  But all the better if somebody else puts in the work ;)

Word games are definitely my jam.  Family played a lot of Scrabble, growing up. 

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Oh, one more thing about The Great Word Race and Face Chase: anyone know what the "VM" logo on the destination point (to which words are collected) signifies? 

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Following up on this question: John Phillips commented on the video the following things (in the YouTube comments), one of which is an answer to that question:

 

 

Quote

I really enjoyed designing and programming this one. Still one of my better creations.

Quote

As I recall you can press the space bar to engage an emergency umbrella to float down to safety. You have to be on a crossbar in order to engage an umbrella.

Quote

There was a question on another post what the VM stands for. It stands for Video Magic, the company name of my video game creation business that I registered in Collin County, TX back in the late eighties. Face Chase and The Great Word Race were created from the same base code. One was intended to be educational and the other entertainment.

 

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