Jewels of Sancara Island
This game existed only as a listing.
Statement by Matthew Hall, about “Jewels of Sancara Island”, 1st September, 2013:
During my youth, I wrote a lot of text adventure games. Most were on the Commodore 64 and just one for the Microbee. This is the only one that has survived intact, and the only one that anyone else ever played.
I wrote this for a computer class I took at Edenhope High School. I was in Year 8 at the time, which means I was 12 when I wrote “Jewels of Sancara Island”. The course lasted for 10 weeks. I remember doing some designs at home, but the only time I got to sit at the computer to put the game together was one class a week and during some lunchtimes. My friend Wayne put together the sound effects.
This was my first program written in Turbo Pascal.
The structure for this and all my other adventure games was “Creating Adventures on your Commodore 64”. The book was bought for me by my Grandpa. All my C64 books are still intact at home, but this one was never to be found. If you have it, I’d like it back!
It was an adventure game, following the standard themes of the time. You wash up on a mysterious island. You have to find the jewels of Sancara Island and escape!
Though it was several years before the release of “Monkey Island”, the graphic adventures were starting to appear around this time. “Labyrinth” was the first that really opened my eyes to the potential of adventure games. I didn’t actually play “Monkey Island” for many years.
I wouldn’t call it foresight, but I remember the teacher looking over at me, not so happily, as I wasted a lot of computer paper printing out “Jewels Of Sancara Island”. And so this game survived. Everything else was stored in Microbee 3.5″ disks and so they are long gone.
Hall was very young when he was making games in the 1980s (10-14 years old), and was unaware as to how to go about publishing games. He ran the very successful one man company KlickTock, created mobile phenomenon “Crossy Roads” with Andrew Sum as Hipster Whale and is also a member of the Australian superdevgroup Mighty Games with Ben Britten and Matt Ditton – so now knows a lot about getting games published.
“Jewels of Sancara Island” existed only in print out form, as does one game that Hall wrote for the Commodore 64, entitled “SETUP”. Sadly, Hall’s other games written for the Commodore 64 were stored on tapes and have not survived nor have his Microbee games on 3.5″ disks.
Update: March 2014
Forgotten what amused your 12 year old self? Rediscover the pleasure of school boy gags and code with this lost game of the 1980s.
Matthew Hall‘s Microbee adventure game the “Jewels of Sancara Island” had survived the last thirty or so years as a Turbo Pascal listing has been resurrected by Alan Laughton from the Microbee Software Preservation Project.
Laughton OCRed the listing correcting any errors that crept in in the process before compiling it for the Microbee. Sadly part of the audio was missing so this version has no sound. Hall assures us that it is not a major loss to Australian Art history however Laughton, as a true conservationist, left no stone unturned in trying to address the issue before the compromise was made.
Download and Play
To play the game, download ubee512 emulator (for Windows or Linux), install. Get the 2 ROMs that are needed and put in ubee512/roms folder, then drop the jewels_of_sancara_island_ss80.dsk file into the ubee512disks folder from MSPP. Then in a DOS/Command box, CD to your ubee512 folder and just type in
ubee512 -a jewels_of_sancara_island_ss80.dsk
and it will boot up the same as if on a real ‘bee. Double click the Window to get to full screen, CAPS Lock on and your off and running.