To first understand what Eamon is, one must be familiar with the concept of a role-playing game (RPG). Perhaps the most famous such game is Dungeons and Dragons, which gained popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Simply put, an RPG is any game in which one pretends to be someone else, usually someone of heroic capabilities, in order to achieve some pre-determined goal. Eamon is just such a game. The player assumes the identity of an adventurer and, not surprisingly, goes on adventures.
Eamon is more then just an RPG. It is also what is commonly referred to as interactive fiction (IF). Unlike a video game which relies on joystick manipulation to play, IF games rely on an ongoing dialogue between the player and the computer. The more sophisticated the game, the more complex this dialogue can be. Early IF games were quite basic. "GET BOOK" or "GO NORTH" were about as involved as they got. When you enter the universe of one of these games, you are no longer Jon (or Jane) Smith, mild-mannered computer hobbyist. Instead, you become a character in a land of adventure, doing almost anything you want to.
In the land of Eamon, you will be a member of the select Free Adventurers Guild, which is made up of hardy individuals like yourself who want to live by your wits, defeating horrible monsters and finding glorious treasures. Unlike most games, there is no single set goal for you to achieve, no experience points to earn, no way to 'win' the game. Instead, in Eamon, you have a lasting goal to both better yourself and also get rich. If you set for yourself another goal (do good to all princesses, kill all evil wizards, that sort of thing), you may also work towards it in your quests.
Eamon allows the player to create a unique character and take him on adventures. The adventures, currently numbering about 250, are vastly different. Most revolve around the familiar elements of Dungeons & Dragons, i.e. dungeons populated by dragons. But adventures exist that pit you against all manner of enemies. You can visit the Death Star, Vietnam, or even a shopping mall. The basic structure of all the games is the same. The player is confronted with a problem of some sort, often something as simple as "escape from the forest." A description is given of the current surroundings, and then it's up to the player. He dictates his character's actions via commands given to the computer. The computer interprets the commands and reacts accordingly. The character moves about, interacts with various entities, encounters various artifacts, and (hopefully) in time, completes the mission. Poorly chosen actions, or sometimes simply bad luck, can lead to the death of the character. Fortunately, you can feel free to start over with a new character (or even resurrect the recently departed character).
Eamon is largely a text game with the exception of the Graphics Main Hall and the adventure Lost Island of Apple. Limited graphics appear in a few other adventures, but are rather rare.
Eamon is one of the oldest computer role-playing systems in history. The first version was developed for the Apple ][ in the early 80's by a man named Donald Brown. Don created a system that consisted of one master disk (Main Hall & Beginner's Cave) where you created a character, made small modifications and went on adventures. Each adventure was a separate disk with a database of rooms, monsters, treasure, etc.. Basically a cheap "Dungeons & Dragons". It was all non-commercial and Don encouraged people to do whatever they wished with it. Don Brown wrote the Main Hall, a few dungeon designer utilities, two manuals, and 8 adventures before completely dropping out of sight in the Eamon world, never to be heard from again.
The Eamon reigns were soon taken up by a programmer named John Nelson who started the National Eamon Users Club and hacked Eamon to the next level. The NEUC gave each adventure an official number, and a produced a semi-regular newsletter. John developed a new dungeon designer (DDD 6.2) and a series of utilities. He also standardized things such as doors, healing potions and levels of light in rooms. He eventually shut down the club and moved on to an IBM PC version of Eamon, among other pursuits.
The NEUC was then taken over by Tom Zuchowski and renamed The Eamon Adventurer's Guild <Hence the name of this website>. Tom also developed Eamon to the next (and final) level. Tom redesigned the database and base programs to be more efficient and take up less disk space. He also standardized things such as armor and increased the speed at which the system ran considerably. His efforts resulted in the final dungeon designer program (DDD 7.1).
Tom also produced a quarterly newsletter from June 1988 to January 2001. These newsletters are a great source of adventure reviews, dungeon design columns, Eamon walk-throughs, Eamon lore, and tons of other information. The entire set of newsletters can be found on this site. Most of the information on this website would not exist without the hard work and dedication of Tom through the years.
By now the Apple II world of Eamon (and the Apple II world in general) have pretty much ground to a halt. At last count there were 246 non-commercial adventures, 4 commercial, and a series of dungeon designer and utility disks. Not a small amount considering it's all free software. There have also been attempts to convert Eamon to nearly every other system. All Eamon adventures can be downloaded free off of the Internet (including this web page) in PC and Macintosh files. These can be run with an "Apple II Emulator" program. There are several emulators also available freely on the 'net. "Apple PC" and "AppleWin" to name a few.
There is a very old PC version written by a guy named John Walker which runs under BASICA and is a direct copy of Don Brown's Eamon. John Nelson has been developing his own PC Eamon for years.
SPECIAL NOTE: Don Brown, the "Father of Eamon" can be found on-line, but is not interested in any sort of Eamon-related correspondence. He hasn't answered anybody's mail (electric or regular) in over fifteen years! Please don't try to contact him as he wishes to be left alone and won't answer you anyway.
Much of this information was written by Frank Kunze and Greg Gioia. This page was last updated on 04/03/2011.