Curses (video game)

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Curses game screenshot.png
Curses being played in a modern interpreter.
Developer(s)Graham Nelson
Publisher(s)Self published
Designer(s)Graham Nelson
Genre(s)Interactive Fiction, Aventure
Mode(s)Single player

Curses is an interactive fiction computer game created by Graham Nelson in 1993. It was originally developed on an Acorn Archimedes using Acorn C/C++, before Nelson moved to his Inform programming language, which was simultaneously released.[1][2] It was the first non-test game developed in the language.[2] It is distributed without charge as a Z-Code executable. Writing for The New York Times, Edward Rothstein described the game as "acclaimed."[3] The Inform source code is not publicly available. Appearing in the beginning of the non-commercial era of interactive fiction, it is considered one of the milestones of the genre. The player takes the part of an English aristocrat called Victor Meldrew. In the course of searching the attic for an old tourist map of Paris, Meldrew steps into a surreal adventure to uncover a centuries-old curse that has been placed on the family. The goal of the game is to find the missing map, and thus annul the curse.


Curses contains some innovations that contribute to its appeal.

  • Managing the player's inventory by automatically placing items in a container to make room for an object needed in hand (such as placing an item in the rucksack when reading an entry in a book), eliminating the tedium of having to manually drop one item before picking up another.
  • Commands places and objects, displaying all the locations visited and all the objects seen during the game.

See also[edit]

  • Jigsaw (video game), another Graham Nelson game that serves as a loose sequel to Curses
  • Turtle (robot) (a voice-operated form of the robot appears in one of the game's more difficult puzzles)


  1. ^ Montfort, Nick (2005). "7 The Independents". Twisty little passages : an approach to interactive fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-63318-3. Before Nelson began work on Inform [...] Using an Acorn Archimedes and programming in ANSI C, he quickly abandoned his small game to begin developing Curses, using that to put the in-progress compiler through its paces.
  2. ^ a b "Interview: Graham Nelson". XYZZY News. Eileen Mullin. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-10-30. I use two languages, the excellent Norcroft ANSI C compiler and Inform.
  3. ^ Rothstein, Edward (1998-04-06). "TECHNOLOGY: CONNECTIONS; In the intricacy of a text game, no object is superfluous, no formulation too strange". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2008-11-13.

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