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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13

by Pete Austin and James Horsler

Episode 1 of The Adrian Mole Diaries
Literary, Children's, Slice of life
1985

(based on 3 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

"I learned today that I am to be the subject of a computer game. The object of the game is to make me popular with everyone, which sounds dead brilliant. Apparently they've written an enormous programme containing 200 kilos of text, which Brainbox Henderson says is a lot. Now everyone else can have a go at coping with all the problems that beset me over an entire year of my life. It's an illustrated text game, which means you have artistic pictures to look at while you ponder about what to do next. So have a go, and see what it's like being a budding intellectual and poet who has to cope with my family, friends and the dog. Then you'll know what I have to put up with. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Adrian is a worrier. The problems of existence hit him hard. Spots, bits of him that won't keep still, the cracks in his parents' marriage, all prey heavily on his mind. There are some consolations. A fourteen-year-old feminist, an eighty-nine-year old chain smoker and his spoilt best friend all help to lift the gloomy introspection of Mole's moods. Mole believes he is an intellectual. He is dogged by ill-health as well as by an infuriatingly ever-present pet dog, and by a catalogue of misfortunes familiar to anyone over the age of thirteen.

The aim of the game is to make Adrian as popular as possible with everyone family, friends, and the dog! At regular points in the game your score will appear on the screen to indicate how well you are doing. (You can aim to make Adrian as unpopular as possible and see how low a score you can achieve!)

If you have already read Sue Townsend's books, you will find some characters you have met before and a number of familiar scenes. But, if you haven't yet read the books, you'll still be able to play the game and knowing the books won't necessarily give you an advantage: in the game, familiar scenes may well have a new twist.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A very early (1985) Slice of Life CYOA, June 30, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Level 9

This seems to be one of the first commercial CYOA computer games. Furthermore, it was the best selling game for Level 9. It is based on the book with the same name.

In the game we follow the teenager Adrian Mole for a year through his diary, starting on the 1st of January where he lists his new year resolutions. The aim of the game is to make Adrian as popular as possible. Thus, you are now and then told your score, starting around 40%. The score may go up as well as down, depending on how well you are doing. So you might try to maximize your score, but it might be just as fun to try to get as low a score as possible. The score goes along with a description, e.g. "I, Adrian Mole, score 59 percent, which makes me a superior kind of youth." etc.

The graphics are quite useless but can be turned off. Many of the diary entries come with three numbered choices. The order of the three choices have been randomized though, so it isn't sufficient to write down the chosen number if you want to reproduce a game session.

The writing is good and humorous and manages to capture some ups and downs of being a teenager. Most choices seem to matter, some short term, others long term. I played twice. Each playthrough took me about 2 hours.

To sum up, this is an entertaining CYOA, which I recommend.

PS: Some technical details (Spoiler - click to show)- Originally, this game was available for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit and the BBC Micro. It is now furthermore possible to play the game on Mac, Windows and Linux using Gargoyle or the standalone Level9.Net interpreter. However, I couldn't get Gargoyle to pass the score from e.g. the first part to part II (there are four parts in total) but with Level9.Net there were no problems. However, if you get hold of a well-working commodore 64 version, you can run it with the VICE emulator and set the speed to No limit. The game then runs very smoothly and you can disable pictures if you like.

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