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Cover art for Sinclair QL version
The Pawn is a text-based interactive fiction game by Magnetic Scrolls, first published for the Sinclair QL by Sinclair Research in 1985. It was then released for other platforms in 1986 by Rainbird. It is remembered[by whom?] for its excellent graphics (on some versions) and the opening music available in some game versions. Also the game itself—story and parser—got mostly positive reviews. The story takes place in the fairy land of Kerovnia, from which the player must escape.
The game is written in 68000 assembler. Later versions use a cut-down 68000 virtual machine even on less powerful machines like the Z80-based Sinclair Spectrum. The Amiga version uses digitized instrument samples in its title music early in that computer's lifecycle. The peaceful title music was composed by John Molloy and it features guitar and flute sounds .
The Pawn was Firebird's second best-selling Commodore game as of late 1987. The game won the award for best adventure game of the year in Crash magazine. It was also voted Best Adventure Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards.
Compute! described The Pawn as "parod[ying] the entire genre of interactive fiction, showing us that much of it—even the serious stuff—has its shortcomings", giving as example a character campaigning to eliminate mazes in text adventures. It stated that some of the Atari ST version's graphics were "superb" but wished that the pictures contributed to solving the game instead of being optional. The magazine concluded that "Firebird has given us a good adventure, one that bodes well for the company and for all of us adventurers". Computer Gaming World stated that The Pawn "shows how well something can be done for the Amiga when one KNOWS the machine". In Dragon #114's "The Role of Computers" column, reviewers Hartley and Pattie Lesser stated that the game's ""painted" scenes will leave you in awe". The game was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #134 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars for IBM micros and compatibles version with an EGA board, but only 2½ stars for systems without an Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) board.
- Meier, Stefan. "Magnetic Scrolls Fact Sheet". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "Adventure Corner". Personal Computer Weekly. Sunshine Publications (66): 28. 10 October 1985. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "The Pawnbrokers". ZX Computing. Argus Press: 54–55. August 1986. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Maher, Jimmy. "The Pawn’s Second Life (or, When Tony Met Anita)".
- Ferrell, Keith (December 1987). "The Commodore Games That Live On And On". Compute's Gazette. pp. 18–22. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "The 1987 CRASH Readers' Awards", CRASH, Newsfield Publications (51): 57–58, April 1988, archived from the original on 1999-01-01
- "Golden Joystick Awards". Computer and Video Games. Future Publishing (66): 101. April 1987. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- Randall, Neil (October 1986). "The Pawn For Atari ST". Compute!. p. 60. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Wagner, Roy (December 1986). "Amiga Preferences". Computer Gaming World (33). p. 45. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Pattie (October 1986). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (114): 72–76.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (June 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (134): 80–86.
- The Pawn at the Magnetic Scrolls Memorial
- Download The Pawn here
- The Pawn at Lemon 64
- Amiga version title music for The Pawn in original format (The LHA-compressed Module file can be listened to with the freely-distributed DeliPlayer program, with the Oldsk00l  plugin for Winamp, or UADE)
- The Pawn at SpectrumComputing.co.uk; includes cassette inlay and links to original reviews
- The Pawn at the Magnetic Scrolls Chronicles
- Images of The Pawn package, manual and screen shots