Phantom of the Arcade – A Text Adventure



Enter The Escapist’s very own haunted house … if you dare!

Phantom of the Arcade is a text adventure in the style of Infocom classics like Zork and Planetfall. Fans of the genre should be able to jump right in, but in case you’re not familiar with text adventures (also called interactive fiction), here are a few pointers:

  • You interact with the world of a text adventure by typing in simple commands such as TAKE BOOK or OPEN DOOR. To move from room to room, type the appropriate compass direction, such as north, south, or west (or n, s, and w if you don’t feel like typing out the whole word).
  • Here’s a list of verbs that you may find helpful while playing the game: LOOK (to see everything that’s in a room, including the exits); EXAMINE (to see something in greater detail); TAKE (to add something to your inventory); DROP (to remove it); INVENTORY (to remind you what’s in your pockets); PUSH (if you see something heavy); OPEN; CLOSE; GET; GIVE; PUT; WEAR; REMOVE; UNLOCK. The game will recognize other verbs, too, but these are the ones you’ll probably use most often.
  • Text adventures can be a little strict with the words they recognize. If you see a “fluffy dog” in the game, then try to pet the “puppy,” the game might not understand what you mean. If you’re having trouble making something work, try phrasing it a different way.

Lost? Check out this amazing map by our very own Landslide!

Lost? Check out this amazing map by our very own Landslide!

You can play right now just by clicking on the image above. There may be a Java security dialogue the first time you load the applet. Or, if you’d rather not play using the Java version, you can download the game and play it with an Z-Machine Interpreter you’d like.

We encourage you to help each other out with hints in the comments, but please, no spoilers or walkthroughs.

If you want to keep it old-school, feel free to bust out the graph paper, but we’ve provided you with a map in case you’d rather not.


If you can make it out of the arcade in one piece, enter your Escapist username at the end and follow the instructions to earn a special badge!

Don’t miss 30 Zombies in 30 Seconds and 30 Monsters in 30 Seconds on WarCry for some more hauntingly good fun. Complete all three events for a special Halloween badge!

About the author