This satirical game was released anonymously in 1989 as a response to police brutality during the Palach Week protests. In January 1989, several opposition groups organized demonstrations to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the self-immolation of Jan Palach, a student who set himself on fire to protest the post-1968 political developments in the country. On January 15, thousands of people gathered on Wenceslas Square, a traditional site of public events. Citizens’ efforts to pay respects to Palach and protest the oppressive regime were met with a disproportionate police response, including the use of tear gas and water cannons against peaceful protesters and curious bystanders. Undeterred by the police, people continued to gather for the following four days. The game takes place on the second day of the protests.
By 1989, Indiana Jones had become a popular character in Czechoslovak text adventure games, in part thanks to the popular series of unlincesed homebrew titles by the influential programmer František Fuka. As a result, the famous archeologist appeared even in this activist title. While geographically faithful, the game portrays Wenceslas Square as a battlefield where every careless move is punished by death; where tear gas, water cannons and policemen await on every corner. The game revels in spectacular game over scenes, which serve to highlight and exaggerate police violence. The game was released for the ZX Spectrum platform in the Czech language and spread among the users on cassette tapes, which were the default storage medium for 8-bit computers. Although its author remains unknown, it is possible that they were a participant in the actual demonstration. You can read more about the game and about computer games in Czechoslovakia in general in this book.
Something of a misnomer, the Wenceslas Square would be better described as downtown Prague’s widest and most spacious boulevard, and is a traditional site of protests, demonstrations, and other public events. 750 meters long, the sloped boulevard runs from the National Museum on the southeastern upper end down towards the northwest. The equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands, stands below the museum and is commonly used as a meeting point. The “A” subway line runs underneath the boulevard, with several entrances on each side.
The game takes place in the upper half of the Wenceslas Square. In accordance with common local usage, the directions used in the game are relative to the National Museum and the statue of St. Wenceslas, which are considered the “top” of the square. Geographically, “up” stands for southeast, “left” for northeast etc. The game mentions several sites of commerce and entertainment that were staples of Prague’s city life in the 1980s.
Text adventures (sometimes also called “interactive fiction”) describe the game world using text descriptions. Each location displays a description, a list of objects that your character can interact with, and a list of exits. These games are usually controlled by typed-in commands addressed to the player character. While playing text adventures, especially the ones from the 1980s, one would usually take notes and draw a map on paper. In this particular game, you type in commands and confirm them with the Enter key, similarly to the use of the command line in older operating systems. The game understands simple commands consisting of a verb and an object, such as:
You may also type in articles, but do not have to. You can shorten commands to the first three letters, using, for example, the following versions of the commands above:
To move between locations, type in the direction where you want to go. You can shorten the directions to just the first letter, such as:
The exception is the direction INSIDE, which cannot be shortened to I, because this command is reserved for the INVENTORY.
Most puzzles in the game can be solved by using the right object in the right location. You can only manipulate with objects that you can see or that you are carrying. You can carry up to two things at once, making it necessary to drop items that you don’t need at the moment. You can list the items that you are currently carrying by typing INVENTORY or I.
You can list all the actions used in the game by typing VERBS or ACTIONS. Please note that – as in the original – the dictionary of this game is quite limited, and you will have to use the generic verb USE to execute a wide range of actions. If you are stuck, the HINT command will display a hint for the current location. This hint system was not present in the original game and has only been added in this conversion.
You can save and load your game while playing using the SAVE and LOAD commands followed by a label, for example:
If you don’t use a label, the game will automatically call your savegame “SAVE”. You can list all savegame labels in use by typing GAMES. The savegames are stored in the local storage of your web browser. As such, they will persist even when you close the game window – but will be deleted when the local storage is cleaned by the browser.
I’m stuck. What should I do?
Try typing HINT. If that doesn't help, you will find a complete walkthrough at the bottom of this page.
The game doesn’t understand my commands. What should I do?
This title has a limited vocabulary. Instead of specific verbs such as “throw” or “chop”, use the generic verb USE.
Why can’t I defeat my opponents even when I know how?
Try defeating them from another location. Using some objects in one location can have repercussions elsewhere.
Can I get to a point when the game can no longer be finished?
Yes, two dead-end situations are possible. The HINT command will notify you if you have got into one of them. You can load a savegame or use the RESTART command to try again.
I've come across a bug. Should I report it?
Yes, please report the bug using this form.
The Czech-language conversion was made for the November 1989: The Road to Democracy exhibition, organized in 2019 by the Institute of Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and appeared on the 100 Student (R)evolutions website. We are grateful to Jiří Hlaváček and Pavel Mücke for their support. Thanks to Daniel Dolenský for proofreading the English translation.
If you’re in dire need of a walkthrough, select the following paragraph by clicking and dragging your mouse cursor:
EXAMINE TAIL, TAKE AXE, L, USE AXE, EXAMINE DEAD COP, TAKE SHIELD, R, D, USE SHIELD, DROP SHIELD, TAKE STONE, USE STONE, R, D, TAKE ROD, U, L, D, USE ROD, L, D, USE ROD, DROP ROD, EXAMINE DEAD COPPER, TAKE UNIFORM, USE UNIFORM, R, R, DROP UNIFORM, D, DROP DIAMONDS, U, TAKE UNIFORM, USE UNIFORM, L, L, TAKE ROD, R, R, DROP UNIFORM, D, TAKE DIAMONDS, L, R, L, D, R, DROP DIAMONDS, TAKE SPINACH, USE SPINACH, USE ROD, TAKE DIAMONDS, L, L, DROP DIAMONDS, DROP CAN, EXAMINE DEAD CIVILIAN, TAKE ID CARD, R, U, R, U, TAKE UNIFORM, USE UNIFORM, L, L, U, R, U, U, R, INSIDE.