Temple of Apshai
|Temple of Apshai|
Cover art for Apple II and TRS-80
|Release date(s)||August 1979|
The Temple of Apshai is a role-playing video game from Epyx. The game was first released for the TRS-80 in 1979 under their original Automated Simulations company name, but was followed by an updated version on the Apple II and Atari home computers in 1980 under the new Epyx brand. In 1983, it was released for the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, and IBM PC compatibles. Even later it was made available with improved graphics for the Amiga and Atari ST home computers. Temple of Apshai was the first title in what became the Dunjonquest series.
Temple of Apshai was an enormous success for its era, selling 20,000 copies by 1980 and remaining a best-seller for four years. It won numerous awards, and sold 40,000 copies by the end of 1982. It remained a benchmark among graphical adventure games for years.
The player assumes the role of an adventurer who explores the mysterious ruins of the Temple of Apshai. This player character investigates room after room of this dungeon setting while seeking treasure and combatting monsters. Along the way, the player discovers powerful weapons and armor with which to overcome the Temple's inhabitants. Like many early role-playing games, Temple of Apshai records player statistics, which increase through accumulation of experience rewarded for defeating monsters and acquiring treasure. The object of the game is to develop the adventurer's capabilities to further escape from the dungeon.
The set layout of levels in Temple of Apshai permitted use of printed descriptions of the many rooms. Pen-and-paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons frequently make use of verbal depictions given by dungeon masters to suggest to players what is of interest in a setting. Similarly, in Temple of Apshai the player matches an on-screen room number to its entry in the manual that accompanies the game. One sample entry reads in part, "The aroma of vanilla makes the senses reel [...] Gems stud the south wall". To the player, the aroma suggests the presence of a giant ant, and the gem-studded wall might conceal a passage leading to treasure. Such use of printed material to detail a game setting was rare at the time of Temple of Apshai's release and has since been employed infrequently in graphical CRPGs.
Two add-ons to Temple of Apshai were released: Upper Reaches of Apshai and Curse of Ra. Both required the original game and expanded play through the introduction of additional content, including a total of 12 levels, 568 rooms and 37 monsters. This trilogy was later released as a whole as the The Temple of Apshai Trilogy, which unified look-and-feel while improving both graphics and sound.
By 30 June 1982, Temple of Apshai had sold 30,000 copies; in comparison, contemporary RPGs Wizardry and Ultima had sold 24,000 and 20,000 copies, respectively, by that same time. In total, Temple of Apshai went on to sell 40,000 copies by the end of 1982.
In Dragon #114's "The Role of Computers" column in 1986, reviewers Hartley and Pattie Lesser stated that, along with Rogue, "These are classic adventure games that have been further enhanced due to enhanced computer graphics, sound, and screen displays. Both programs are well-worth your interest."
- "List of Top Sellers". Computer Gaming World 2 (5): 2. September-October 1982.
- Personal Computing, October 1986, p. 88
- Paul Freiverger, "This Company Is Serious About Games", InfoWorld, 11 May 1981, p. 10
- Among them, "Game of the Year", "InfoNews/Software", InfoWorld, 17 May 1982, p. 61
- Hendricks, Fayyaad (22 December 2011). "A complete history of role-playing videogames: Part 2". EL33TONLINE. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- Gordon McComb, "Playing the new adult-rated computer games", Popular Science, July 1984, p. 94
- Lesser, Hartley and Pattie (October 1986). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (114): 72–76.