From first seeing the map of “The North 2065”, the title emblazoned on a pie, I knew I was in for something special. Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing is evocative of the text adventures of my youth. Echoes of The Hobbit, Zork, and the HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy sprung to mind as I embarked on my quest.
Watching out for technology dead zones, robots, and the impenetrable Pennines. I set out to investigate the future as imagined by the youth of Wigan, Burnley and Hull.
Making my bold (or was that foolish?) choice to start in Wigan, I felt a warm nostalgic glow set in as I saw the Ceefax/Oracle graphics. Happily, I set out to explore this brave new world.
The game quickly presents its sense of humour, on finding a forest, the description is:
You’re in a dense forest.
It is dense.
The only paths open are to the north, south, east and west.
The dry sense of humour appeals to me, I miss games with a sense of sarcastic humour. Northern Powerhouse wears its sense of humour proudly, it happily makes jokes and has its tongue planted firmly in its cheek.
Leaving Wigan for a while, I decided to explore the east coast and visit Hull. Hull is a different experience altogether, the story style changes, and I am in an educational establishment of the future. I find myself curious about this new place and what it all means.
Several hours pass, and I emerge blinking from the Northern Powerhouse of 2065. I like to think that by playing the epic text adventure my 94-year-old robot self will be equipped to comprehend the brave new world!
Revisiting the world of text adventures and interactive fiction through Northern Powerhouse has been a wonderfully retro-futuristic nostalgic trip! The creativity of the game’s authors shines through. They’ve taken to the technology and made it their own, as soon as I’ve finished my review I shall be heading back in there!
Waste no time, seize the opportunity to visit the world of 50 years hence, it’s a fantastic and fascinating place, just watch out for those pesky robots!