Waxworks (1983 video game)

Last updated
Developer(s) Brian Howarth
Publisher(s) Molimerx
SeriesMysterious Adventures Series
Platform(s) C64, Commodore Plus/4, ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, BBC Micro, Dragon 32/64, Oric-1/Atmos
Release1983 (1983)
Genre(s) Interactive fiction
Mode(s) Single player

Waxworks is a text adventure game by Brian Howarth and Cliff J. Ogden. [1] It was originally published by Digital Fantasia in 1983 for the Commodore 64, Commodore Plus/4, ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro. [2] It was the 11th game in the Mysterious Adventures series. [3]

Brian Howarth is a British video game designer and computer programmer. He wrote many interactive fiction computer games in the early 1980s in a series called Mysterious Adventures. He was born in Blackpool in 1953.

Commodore 64 8-bit home computer introduced in 1982

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64 or the CBM 64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. It has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 10 and 17 million units. Volume production started in early 1982, marketing in August for US$595. Preceded by the Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore PET, the C64 took its name from its 64 kilobytes(65,536 bytes) of RAM. With support for multicolor sprites and a custom chip for waveform generation, the C64 could create superior visuals and audio compared to systems without such custom hardware.

Commodore Plus/4 home computer

The Commodore Plus/4 is a home computer released by Commodore International in 1984. The "Plus/4" name refers to the four-application ROM resident office suite ; it was billed as "the productivity computer with software built-in."


The story is about a waxworks in which the protagonist is trapped. Escaping involves finding statues of famous people (like Hillary and Tenzing).

Wax museum

A wax museum or waxworks usually consists of a collection of wax sculptures representing famous people from history and contemporary personalities exhibited in lifelike poses, wearing real clothes.

Edmund Hillary New Zealand mountaineer

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal.

Tenzing Norgay Nepalese Citizen Sherpa mountaineer

Tenzing Norgay, born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer. He was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Whilst some of the statues are exceptionally easy to identify, others are not so simple without acquiring the necessary clues earlier in the game. For example, identifying the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George is exceptionally problematic without first finding a clue to his whereabouts. It was also noted that, owing to limited graphics capacity, several of the statues bear a striking resemblance to actor David Niven.

David Lloyd George Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was the last Liberal to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

David Niven British actor and novelist

James David Graham Niven was a British actor, memoirist and novelist. His many roles included Squadron Leader Peter Carter in A Matter of Life and Death, Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days, and Sir Charles Lytton in The Pink Panther. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Separate Tables (1958).


CRASH magazine reviewed Waxworks in their July 1984 issue. The text parser was described as "eccentric" but with "some noteworthy flexibility", being a modified verb/noun form that also allows adverbs and conjunctions ("QUICKLY GET THE LAMP, SWORD, CLOAK AND STAFF", for example). The graphical display was also highlighted, making up for the absence of long room descriptions. [4]

Your Commodore thought the game was not as good as the Zork series and with inferior graphics to rival title Dallas Quest . Overall it was considered to be "a standard adventure with standard graphics." [3]

Personal Computer Games said the game had good graphics, but they took a while to draw so the option to skip them was useful. They also noticed that the response to commands was "nice and fast." The reviewer thought it likely that the game would become as much of a favourite as the other titles in the series. [5]

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  1. https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.php?cat=96&id=7174
  2. Waxworks at SpectrumComputing.co.uk
  3. 1 2 "Waxworks review". Commodore User (3): 48. December 1984.
  4. "Waxworks" review; CRASH issue 6, pp77; July 1984
  5. https://archive.org/stream/personalcomputergames-magazine-08/PersonalComputerGames_08#page/n91/mode/2up