The Aching

the aching teaser
Jack Allin

Written by Jack Allin

April 12, 2023

Demo also available for dark fantasy adventure running in an emulated Tandy 1000 environment


Whoever said “they don’t make ’em like they used to” clearly never knew about The Aching, a newly released but very retro dark fantasy adventure by indie developer Hadrosaurus Software, designed to run on an actual Tandy 1000 computer.

Trapped on an isolated island, you play a pale humanoid creature who wakes up “alone, cold, and without memory of who you are or where you came from.” The only clues to your predicament are a small silver locket and “a patch of cave wall painted in what you hope is red paint.” If you’re to recover your identity, figure out the relevance of the locket, and hopefully find a way to escape alive, you must set out to explore this “dark world somewhere between dream and nightmare.” It won’t be easy, however, as there are “traps and dangers around every corner” that are sure to end your adventure prematurely if you’re not careful.

Originally conceived for a game jam and inspired by the early Sierra and Lucasfilm classics from the 1980s, The Aching proudly wears its old-school inspirations on its sleeve. Featuring 16-color low resolution graphics, 3-voice sound chip, a keyboard control system and a text parser for typing in commands, the game is meant to mimic the “extremely limited hardware of the era.” Indeed, its engine was designed to “run on an actual Tandy 1000 computer off of a single floppy disk.” Fortunately you won’t need a long-defunct machine to play it, as the retro environment has been emulated for modern computers and “runs well in DOSBox” on Windows, Mac and Linux.

If you’re hurting for a fix of major 80s gaming nostalgia, you can grab the full version of The Aching now from either Steam or, with the additional option to download a “self-playing demo” and the original game jam version exclusively from the latter.


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