Computer Games Research: Haunt

Haunt was a text-based interactive adventure. It was inspired by Advent, although Haunt was a bit over-the-top, and quirky (and a bit buggy). Haunt was developed by me while I was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon around 1980-1981. At that time, I was involved in research on rule-based systems (working with Allen Newell), and decided that I wanted to use rule-based systems to create a game (inspired by Adventure). Haunt was written in OPS-4, which in turn was written in Interlisp and it was never ported to any other machines, so I'm afraid that Haunt is really dead. I started to port Haunt to OPS-5, but quickly gave up. Haunt was the first rule-based system to have over 1000 rules and it topped out at around 1500. Because of its size, it served as an important data point in early research on building large rule-based systems. The source code is probably on tape somewhere at CMU, but I'm not sure.

The plot behind Haunt was that you had to explore a haunted house, find treasure and escape the house with your life. It violated most, if not all, of the design guidelines for good interactive fiction in that you could get killed much too easily, the puzzles were way too obscure (many based on Saturday morning cartoons from my youth), but it had a certain charm.