Happy holidays from your ol’ buddies, ol’ pals at FemHype! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood Max. With “Game of the Year” games being announced, there really are only so many triple A games that one can afford. So, for this holiday season, we are giving you lovely FemHype community members the gift of cheap, fantastic games that we can nerd out about together. So here we go, fam!
Moonmist (PC), Aphelion
A ghost of video gaming haunts 1986 interactive fiction mystery game Moonmist. When writers Stu Galley and Jim Lawrence sat down to collaborate on a new work for game company Infocom, they drew on the oeuvre of famous fictional detective series Nancy Drew (Lawrence had anonymously penned several Nancy Drew novels in the early 1980s). Historian Jimmy Maher wrote that this inspiration was so prescient, “The game and its accompanying feelies … would really kind of prefer it if you could see your way to playing as a female. Preferably as a female named ‘Nancy Drew,’ if it’s all the same to you.”
In Moonmist, you take on the role of a detective coming to the aid of your friend, Tamara Lynd, concerned about the haunting of her fiancé’s manor, Tresyllian Castle, near Cornwall, England. The classic text adventure system was praised at the time for its elegance. Copies of the game included physical materials—“feelies”—to aid the player in navigating Tresyllian, including a story about “The White Lady of Tresyllian Castle,” the ghost Tamara claims has been harassing her.
Moonmist is especially notable for including a character who is arguably the first gay character in a video game—I covered the character in-depth in a piece, with major spoilers, in video game history e-zine Memory Insufficient Volume 2: Issue 2. Like spooky spectres haunting a British castle, a number of free emulators of Moonmist float around online.