Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.


Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Most games hand-wave time progression either by making it only noticeable after story sequences or by not acknowledging it at all. NPCs stay in their places at all times in most games. The few games that do acknowledge time passing do so in very different ways. Today’s game is one of the first to use time in an adventure game as a method for solving the mystery. Today’s game is The Colonel’s Bequest, developed by Sierra and released on the Atari ST, Amiga and MS-DOS in 1989.

The Colonel’s Bequest is the first game in the Laura Bow Mystery series, designed by famed adventure game designer Roberta Williams. The game begins in 1925 with aspiring journalist Laura Bow being invited to stay at an old sugar plantation owned by Colonel Dijon. When the Colonel calls for a reading of his will with all of his living relatives, tensions flare and a murderer strikes. Laura Bow decides to investigate and determine the culprit.

The Colonel’s Bequest has time progress in increments of 15 minutes. Time does not flow in real-time but instead moves forward whenever plot elements are discovered or if Laura is in the right place at the right times. This doesn’t mean things cannot be missed however. The house is almost entirely open to Laura so plot threads can be discovered in any order. The character’s, however, have scheduled paths throughout the adventure and if Laura isn’t in the right place when a character reveals an important detail, then it will be missed forever.

The Colonel’s Bequest is meant to be replayed numerous times to learn the paths of the various characters, discover their secrets, and ultimately reveal the culprit. Unlike most Sierra games of the time, The Colonel’s Bequest has few puzzles and none that are required to complete the game. The player is given a score at the end but no points can be seen during the gameplay.

The Colonel’s Bequest received positive reviews although it was criticized as being too easy compared to other adventure games at the time. This is likely due to the game focusing more on discovering characters’ stories rather than spending time on puzzles like most Sierra games. In retrospect, critics tend to be more positive about it, especially in the context of Roberta Williams’ overall career. The Colonel’s Bequest is available for modern day players on GOG.com, playable on modern Windows computers.

Thank you so much for listening! Hey, do you love learning about classic video games or just video game history in general? Then check out Old School Gamer Magazine. They are a completely free digital magazine sent out six times a year. The upcoming issue has an article talking about the amazing history of arcade artwork and how cabinets would capture gamers’ attentions and tell the story of the games that awaited. If you want to subscribe for this free digital magazine, head to oldschoolgamer.com/day. That’s oldschoolgamer.com/day. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.