Download *
This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details.
This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details. *
MS-DOS Application
Play Online via
Use capital letters only.
Play this game in your Web browser. *
This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details. *
This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details.
This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details.
compatible with C-64 BASIC
VMC10​ *
Contains VMC10.exe
Type CLOAD & hit ENTER. Select LIVNGSTN.​C10 in the JimG subdirectory of the Cassette directory. Type RUN...
Windows Application (Windows XP and later)
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page

African Adventure

by Ralph Fullerton, Becky Fullerton, Carl Russell, and Karen Russell


(based on 7 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

Originally published under the title "Dr.Livingston: The Search For..." for TRS-80 in Softside, vol 2., no. 12, Septmber 1980, pp. 26-29; Vol 3., no. 1, October 1980, pp. 76-78; corrections vol. 3, no, 4., January 1981, p.76. Unofficially ported to Atari 400/800, Commodore 64, and TRS-80 MC-10

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: BASIC
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
Baf's Guide ID: 333
IFID: Unknown
TUID: s4ymecwvma7sllme

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

Being a BASIC text adventure from the early 1980-ies, In Search of Dr. Livingston features (quite unsurprisingly) almost no plot and minimalist descriptions. Those are quite doubtful virtues in themselves; unfortunately, the game has got a few more confusing surprises for the player. One of them was the way it only understood commands in upper case for the most part; this was especially delusive because some of the commands (e.g., QUIT) were understood both in upper and in lower case, and as I found out later, at a couple of points in the game lower-case input was required. Then, there were several minor bugs or, rather, behaviour inconsistencies - sometimes, one action would have different results when repeated for no apparent reason (like room exits mentioned in the descriptions: some of them were totally unavailable in spite of being listed, but a few of them would suddenly get you somewhere after you tried entering them several times). The worst of all, however, were the puzzles - mostly of the "try something random" type. I quickly found myself completely unable to solve the game, and resorted to the source code that came with it. Even then, it wasn't *that* easy - as mentioned above, the game was written in BASIC, and untangling the spaghetti code turned out to be quite a feat. In fact, I lost patience before long and gave it up, feeling I already spent more time on it than it was worth. An even harder task, however, was thinking of one single reason why someone would play this. The only thing I could come up with was nostalgia; since, however, my personal childhood isn't burdened with memories of playing primitive (or any, for that matter) text adventures, In Search of Dr. Livingston had got no chances on me, sorry.

-- Valentine Kopteltsev


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
Write a review

Most Helpful Member Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Yeah, it sucks, September 8, 2010
by Xervosh (San Jose, Northern California)

This is a pretty awful game. I have played it a bit in recent years (I would sort of like to solve it on principle, but its not very entertaining, to put it mildly, and so I never have put in the effort needed to do so). I was born in 1970, and I played this game in 1981, or maybe '82, on my friend's Commodore 64, when it was actually new. It was only the second IF game I ever played (after Scott Adams' "The Count"), and I actually did enjoy it back then (that just shows how desperate we were in those days). Unless you, personally, played this game during the early 1980s, there is no reason to play it now; its all about the nostalgia. I suppose IF history buffs might find it intriguing (but in fairness, it wasn't even close to being state-of-art at the time of its 1980 release - its difficult to imagine when this game would have been considered sophisticated...1973, perhaps?). (Spoiler - click to show)The only detail from it that ever struck me as remotely interesting happens to be a puzzle spoiler. There's a deadly snake (a "viper") blocking your way, and you evade him by using the command "dodge viper." This seems almost slightly clever...until you check Wikipedia, and see that they didn't begin manufacturing the Dodge Viper until 1991. So I have no idea why that puzzle was included in 1980. Weird.

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
One of the worst games ever, November 19, 2010

I spent a number of hours on this one. The c64 version using an emulator. The navigation around the world is like one big maze where going East then West right away may take you to a completely different path than where you started. In addition, I found Dr. Livingston, but I could not get him or rescue him. I looked at a walk-trough and what I was typing should have worked, but there seem to be serious problems with the parser -- at least on the version I played. I spent way too much time on this out of nostalgia when I could have been playing something else.

Try the original Version, June 16, 2017
by jgerrie (Cape Breton Island, Canada)
Related reviews: TRS-80 MC-10

I have read the other reviews and can't but wonder whether some of the frustrations result from the versions they are playing. The parser is not so problematic in the TRS-80 versions of the program. These machines often ran in all caps mode (the original TRS-80 didn't have uppercase characters and the TRS-80 MC-10 never had them). Apparently there were also changes made to the puzzles in many of the unofficial versions. The TRS-80 version I ported remains entirely true to the original TRS-80 16K version.

There are some intentional inconsistencies to the movement in the game. I didn't find them all that bad (especially compared to some other games from the era). For the most part I think they were carefully chosen and meant to enhance the effect of being "lost in the jungles and savannas" of central Africa. To a large extent, I think this technique works successfully in this adventure, where the setting makes it appropriate to use. Once I had some mapping in place, it wasn't all that problematic and there is a kind of logic to the backs-and-forths.

There are some really charming aspects to the game. The quicksand graphic is a wonderful piece of TRS-80 chunky pixel 8-bit animation. (Spoiler - click to show)If you die the program simulates a return to the basic command prompt, before surprising you with a resurrection to a restore point part way into the game (preventing a need for a complete restart.

The game is challenging and doesn't have any of the totally arbitrary deaths that are so common in games from this genre. I found the plot to be a nice balance between slightly humorous almost fantastical whimsy and and an attempt to remain true to the Victorian mythology of the quest for Dr. Livingston.

For fans of 8-bit Basic adventuring I would highly recommend this game. But for less hardy souls, it might be better to stay away from venturing into the dark heart of the Victorian imaginary.

See All 4 Member Reviews

If you enjoyed African Adventure...

Related Games

People who like African Adventure also gave high ratings to these games:

The Cavern of the Morlocks/La caverne des Morlocks, by François Coulon
Average member rating: (2 ratings)
Eh oui ! Depuis H.G. Wells, on n'a rien inventé de mieux comme jeu d'aventures : à vous de délivrer la belle princesse... (L'Ordinateur Individuel 77HS décembre 1985) In addition to the version for the Matra-Hachette Alice, there is a...

Uncle Tays' House Adventure, by inexorabletash
Average member rating: (1 rating)
In this adventure you find treasures and valuables in your mad uncle Tays' house type simple commands: north, south, etc. To move (or just 'n', 's'). Take and drop, inventory, look, read, move, and so on. Some commands are complex: 'move...

The Treasure of Elgon, by Keith Hawthorn
Average member rating: (2 ratings)
There are VZ200/300, ZX Spectrum, Microbee and TRS-80 MC-10 versions.

Suggest a game

This is version 6 of this page, edited by Nomad on 17 June 2022 at 3:58pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item