Ars Technica has a fascinating new long-form article about The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Wenceslas Square in Prague on January 16, 1989, an unauthorized text adventure created and passed between anti-government activists in Czechoslovakia in the 80s.
In 1989, students and dissidents had flocked to the center of Prague to protest Communism, only to be beaten and arrested by the riot police—an incident that took place during the lead up to the country's historic Velvet Revolution. These individuals could not fight back in real life, so they'd later use their computers to get a fictional revenge. A Western hero, Indiana Jones, came to their rescue to teach their oppressors a text-based lesson.
The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Wenceslas Square in Prague on January 16, 1989 puts the famous archeologist when and where the protests took place, video game historian Jaroslav Švelch, assistant professor at Charles University in Prague, Czechia, tells me. This title and others created by Czechoslovak teenagers in the late 1980s became part of the "chorus of activist media" that included student papers, rock songs, and samizdat—handwritten or typewritten versions of banned books and publications that circulated illegally.
This Indiana Jones game, however, stands apart as a cultural curiosity. And Švelch, a zealous academic interested in the social aspects of gaming, has recently translated it into English. After 30 years, people from all over the world could finally play and learn about this unique moment of early activism in video game history.
You can play the whole game online — but really, you should read this wild story of underground programmers using Indiana Jones to fight for freedom, because it's pretty cool.
How Indiana Jones, Rambo, and others ended up in 1980s Czechoslovak text-adventures [Andrada Fiscutean / Ars Technica]