Friday, September 11, 2020

TSR Computer Games

I didn't have a personal computer in 1983, when this page appeared in a TSR catalog. All the models mentioned above were quite expensive, with the cheapest, the Atari 400, being over $500 – a not insignificant amount of money at the time. I had a couple of friends whose families did and, through them, I got my first taste of computer games. Even by the standards of the time, most of them weren't much to look at, owing in large to technological limitations. Nevertheless, I took a keen interest in them and was pretty well informed about most of the games that were released in the early to mid-1980s.

Somehow, and despite being a TSR fanboy, I never heard of, let alone saw the games listed above. Of the three, Dawn Patrol is the only whose title rings a bell at all and that's because I knew and loved the tabletop game on which it was based. A quick search online reveals that it was released in 1982. Here's a screenshot from its title screen:

Of the other two, I can find no evidence of their existence, which suggests they were never released. What's notable is that neither of the titles listed above – Ordeal of Magic and Alien Conquest – are in any way associated with an existing TSR property in the way that Dawn Patrol was. One would expect, at this point in history, for Ordeal of Magic to be associated with Dungeons & Dragons, like the Intellivision games were. It's very strange.

Equally strange is that, if you look carefully at the photo – my apologies for the poor scan – you'll see that the two games shown other than Dawn Patrol are not titled Ordeal of Magic and Alien Conquest but rather Theseus and The Minotaur and Dungeon! Theseus and the Minotaur is a real game, produced by TSR in 1982, as you can see.

The computer version of Dungeon! is also real. Here's an image of the under side of the box, which includes some screenshots of the game itself (from BoardGameGeek).
This is a revelation to me and a part of TSR's history of which I know next to nothing. I'll have to devote some time to finding out more about this, since I'm sure it'll yield some additional insights into what was happening at TSR at this point in its history.


  1. James, good to see you back.
    You reminded me I had a post on the back burner about this. I link out to an emulator for the Apple IIe game and a video of the walk through.

  2. I had no idea these games existed. I would have been especially into the Dawn Patrol one. Fascinating discovery.