Anchorhead by Michael Gentry

From wikipedia:

"It is loosely based on the Cthulhu mythos. Anchorhead takes place in a New England town by the same name that bears a resemblance to Innsmouth, Arkham, and other fictional towns created by H.P. Lovecraft."

You take a deep breath of salty air as the first raindrops begin to spatter the pavement, and the swollen, slate-colored clouds that blanket the sky mutter ominous portents amongst themselves over the little coastal town of Anchorhead.
Information in this game listing is copyright Michael R. Bacon, Michael Roberts, Emily Short, Michael Gentry, Ghalev, Jacob Gunness, Jordan Magnuson, Edward Lacey, is taken from IFDB, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Review by Savio
14 Mar 2021
Really immersive. Incredibly well-written. Some spine-tingly spooky moments.

Review by shrimpslord
09 May 2020
Not only the best interactive fiction game I have ever played, but one of the best works of horror I have ever read. It really is like being inside HP Lovecraft's world, the suspense is so masterfully built, the clues just difficult enough to be an accomplishment, and the sensory writing is perfectly balanced with the protagonist's stream of consciousness. That being said, this game IS difficult. I had to rely on a walkthrough after getting halfway through and realizing that certain clues I missed put me in a checkmate situation. However, the story is so good that I replayed with the walkthrough anyway just to find out what happens.

"Although it appears spacious from the outside, the house's interior feels cramped and gloomy. The walls seem too close together; the ceiling is too high. The doorways, leading in several directions, are narrow and filled with shadows,
and the stairs leading up to the second floor are steep and rickety. This is not
a house that makes you feel welcome. It is a house that makes you feel tiny and
timid, and afraid of dark places. It is a house that makes you feel alone."

TIPS: there are NO items in the game that you will not need. Take them all.

If you've played the game before- I drew out the full family tree and was stuck on it for so long, thinking I missed a bunch of fathers! Imagine my surprise when I realized I didn't, lol.

Review by bowlofjelly
27 Jan 2020
I absolutely love this game! The world Michael Gentry created is immersive and riveting! 10/10 highly recommend! When the game ends, you get that sad, hungry feeling you get when you wish you could have had more, or that the story had continued on further. If you share this same feeling afterwards, check out Cragne Manor, a game inspired by Michael Gentry's Anchorhead!

I only have two warnings. When you see pants, "x pants". I ended up not being able to retrieve specific info that carries the game forward because I missed an item that wasn't static, and by the time it finally came around, it was too late.

And save often because there are a few points where you can die.

Review by shinobidef
11 Jan 2019
Absolutely loved it and wish there were more like this around. A tremendous amount of work has gone into the game - not only well-written in terms of the story, but the detail that has gone into providing instructions (so you know what verbs you can use, for example), and also the fact that the player doesn't need to be so specific when entering commands or referring to objects as some other games I've played which can leave you extremely frustrated.

Granted, there are a few small niggles and it's always a bit frustrating to make an error in a game only to find out much later that you cannot win, but no games are perfect and the rest of the elements more than made up for it. Some of the puzzles are a bit tricky so I did need to cheat on a couple of occasions!

The game is pretty big which, for me, is a good thing - I want something I can get stuck into and have time for the story to develop. I thought it was a great balance between horror and mystery. Unfortunately, I didn't beat it (although I think I know where I messedup) but I enjoyed reading the walkthrough to see what would have happened if I'd managed to win.

I had some problems working out how to save different game versions (in case you mess up and need to go back a few turns) but if you copy the URL after saving into a draft email, you can just click the relevant link to go back to where you need to be.

Overall, highly recommended and well done!

Review by blackknight
03 Dec 2017
One of the best games ever!

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Average rating
Written by
Michael Gentry
External Link
Published 01 May 1998
Listing added 12 Jan 2014

IFDB listing