1987. Ah, the good old days. Guns ‘N’ Roses was just hitting big. Nintendo was at the top of the video game market. Spider-Man hadn’t yet been cloned (at least not that we knew of).
A couple of other things happened in 1987.
For one, Apple released its Macintosh SE personal computer, which was a big improvement over earlier Macs and quite a popular computer for the next decade or so even though Apple stopped making the SE in 1990. Sure, the SE was a dull gray and had a bulky mouse, but it came with its own hard drive! Yeah, doesn’t sound like such a big deal now, but it was huge back then.
Another thing that happened in 1987 was a company known as Semicolon Software released a Mac game for shareware. That game? Scarab of Ra.
Scarab of Ra, by today’s standards, was quite the simple game, but it held plenty of fun.
The game was a first-person maze game in which the player clicks on the screen to travel through increasingly difficult mazes in an ancient Egyptian pyramid that has been unveiled by shifting sands in the desert. The gameplay is turn-based, meaning the player has only so much time to move, the amount of time depending upon the level of play. The player starts the game with some food and a lantern, but other items can be found within the mazes, some of those items important to continuing and completing the game.
To end the game, the player has to find three objects, the Staff of Ra, the Scarab of Ra, and the Crown of Ra. Once those objects are found, the exit door is revealed to the player.
There is a map available to the player, and this is important as the game grows more and more complex. Also, it is important to scour through each level before proceeding to the next level because important items might be left behind, and you can’t go back to earlier levels.
Also, the mazes on each level are randomly generated, so no game of Scarab of Ra is ever exactly the same as one played earlier.
There are dangers to be found within the mazes. One of the worst is the mummies, which can sap your strength, even kill you. Other dangers are monkeys, which can steal some of your gear, and poisonous snakes. There are also lions hiding around some corners, and you don’t want to run into them. Traps also can be found from place to place, and they can be deadly.
If you like simple video game fun and don’t mind old-fashioned black-and-white graphics, Scarab of Ra could be just right for you. Finding an old Macintosh computer to play the game is not always easy, but Scarab of Ra can be played on Macintosh emulator software. And don’t forget to go to the Semicolon Software site to download your own copy of Scarab of Ra.
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A former newspaper editor for two decades in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, Ty now earns his lunch money as a fiction writer, mostly in the fantasy and horror genres. In his free time he enjoys tabletop and video gaming, long swording, target shooting, reading, beer tasting and recalling fond memories of his late wife and their beagle baby, Lily. Find City of Rogues and other books and e-books by Ty Johnston at Amazon.