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aka: Psycho: ArcadeQuest
Moby ID: 2364
DOS Specs

Description official description

Psycho is a graphic adventure game with a key-based verb interface.

A set of jewels has been stolen. At the time of the theft, a curator was with the jewels, so he got stolen, too. And who's the suspect? Norman Bates, of course. The next night, a daring detective drives out to the sinister Bates Motel. His plan: a) find the jewels, b) free the curator and c) take a nice hot shower, should time suffice.

Psycho is entirely controlled with the keyboard: direction keys for moving your character around, shortcut keys for performing actions. You need to stand close to an interesting object in order to examine it. Adversaries will appear at random throughout the house, putting you to sleep by touch and thus draining your precious time -- you've only got four hours to solve the case. You may shoot the enemies as soon as you find a weapon. As there is no other option for character interaction, this is how you'll deal with the Bates family as well.

Groups +


Credits (DOS version)

Screenplay & Graphics
Game Design
IBM Programming



Average score: 23% (based on 3 ratings)


Average score: 1.7 out of 5 (based on 25 ratings with 2 reviews)

Hilariously bad game!

The Good
Well, there's lots of humor, though it's all unintentional. Based on the classic horror film by Alfred Hitchcock -- and by "based on" I mean that they both have the same title -- this gets my personal vote as the best bad game ever created.

Where oh where oh WHERE to begin? Well, for starters it's by Box Office Software, well-recognized in the industry for bringing lots of cheapies to market in the late 1980's. It's all CGA graphics... in 1988, mind you. Your detective character holds his magnifying glass constantly at arm's length and just shuffles his feet when he walks, making him look dorky in the extreme. Viewed from the front, he resembles like a monkey in a trenchcoat.

The room descriptions are... well, let me just direct-quote a couple:

 "I found this is a big living room."

 "I found this is the same big room."

"Clues" you find along the way offer such helpful tips as, "Skeleton keys open doors, not skeletons." Exits are laid out so that at times it's practically impossible to tell which door leads where. Trying a locked door simply doesn't work until you find the right key, and gives no indication that it's locked. Nasties such as a dog, a ghost, and Norman's mother appear randomly and PUT YOU TO SLEEP (!) when they catch you.

There are bugs all over the game, the funniest being when you dig up a key in the coal bin. After you pick it up, it still shows up in the room, and you can keep taking it over and over and earning infinite points. And taking it repeatedly gives the message: "I found more keys just like the one I found before." Yes, they chose THAT as the alternative to adjusting the graphics so the key is no longer there.

I swear to God I am not making any of this up! Play it for yourself and see! It all adds up to a major, MAJOR laugh-fest.

The Bad
Everything listed above, when taken from an actual gameplay standpoint. It astounds me that a game with such a complete lack of quality ever hit stores, even considering Box Office did it.

The Bottom Line
Adventure game legend Scott Adams must be hideously embarrassed about doing the programming on this travesty of a game. Play it only to laugh at its sheer ineptness (and there are some major hoots). An absolute must-play for all fans of truly TERRIBLE games. If you can chortle at inept design, buggy coding, sloppy graphics and unbelievably dopey text, the belly-laughs this game will induce are more than worth the brief time you'll spend solving it.

DOS · by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1674) · 2001

Why did I buy this?

The Good
I only liked it for the Licensing of Psycho.

The Bad
The game doesn't work. It actually is unplayable. Miserable graphics, atrocious 'gameplay' make this a true loser.

They even had ghosts in the game... in Psycho? Ghosts?

The Bottom Line
The game that time never knew to forget.

DOS · by Game22 (35) · 2004


This adventure involves 8 (!) objects and roughly the same number of puzzles. It can be solved in under five minutes.

Caution: This game is extremely buggy, featuring such classics like "The Stuck Player Sprite", "The Room of No Escape", "The Vanished Object" or my all-time favourite, "The Common Crash".

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 2364


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by -Chris.

Amiga, Commodore 64, Atari ST added by Servo.

Additional contributors: LepricahnsGold.

Game added September 5th, 2000. Last modified August 17th, 2023.