The Time Machine

Buy on Commodore 64
[ All Stores/Prices ]


The Time Machine is the second in the Mysterious Adventure series of text adventures by Brian Howarth. You are a newspaper reporter, come to investigate the eccentric professor who lives all by himself out on the moors. You start the game in a swamp and must find your way to an old manor house. When you get there, you find the place deserted though. Ultimately you must rescue the professor by finding 3 missing prisms which control his time machine, which are lost in time. Items found in one destination sometimes have to be used in another.

As the other games in the series, the game uses an interpreter similar to the Scott Adams adventure engine, and thus also has the same limitations - a basic 2-word parser, limited vocabulary, and brief descriptions. Illustrations are included in Spectrum, C64, Dragon and Oric ports.

Groups +


Credits (Commodore 64 version)

4 People (2 developers, 2 thanks)

  • Liz [Wife]
  • Michael [Son]
Artwork by



Average score: 84% (based on 3 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 14 ratings with 1 reviews)

An early Mysterious Adventure that involves time travel

The Good
The Time Machine is the second game in the ”Mysterious Adventure” series designed by Brian Howarth. He also ported the graphics version of Adventureland over to the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, which is why the two games feature the same presentation. You are a journalist sent out to interview Dr. Potter in his old manor. When you get there, the Doctor is not even present. He took it upon himself to get lost somewhere in time, and it is up to you to find his contraption, using it to travel to different time periods. Ultimately, you need to locate three glass prisms and fit them in the machine one by one. Only then will you be able to control the time machine.

The time periods that you have to warp to include the brig of a deserted ship, a swamp inhabited by dinosaurs, and the treacherous sands of Egypt. Most of the scenes within these time periods look fantastic. The highlight of this game is the time machine itself. To operate it, there are two buttons: one that moves you forward in time, and the other moving you backward. When you push them, there is a ten-second wait as the game switches the display of two different scenes.

The screen is split into two portions. The top half is reserved for illustrations of each of the game’s scenes, while the bottom half is used to enter two-word commands. Although these usually take the form of a verb-noun sequence, directions and the inventory can be entered as a single letter. If you press [Return] without entering anything, the game switches to text-only mode reminiscent of the Zork games. I enjoy playing the game in this mode; not only does it give you additional information such as a description of the scene, the objects in that scene, and the available exits, but it also allows you to move between a lot of scenes quickly without worrying about the illustrations coloring in themselves.

You can save the game at any time, but make sure you have a blank cassette handy. Before the game starts, you are asked if you want to load a saved game. Like many adventures, it is important to map out each scene on graph paper, as well as any characters and objects that inhabit each scene. The game world is huge, and it is quite easy enough to go around in circles.

The Bad
When you switch to text-only mode then change back to graphic mode, the illustrations re-draw themselves. This can be frustrating especially if you have to move between a whole lot of scenes.

The Bottom Line
The Time Machine is the second game in the "Mysterious Adventures" series, in which you must travel through time to rescue a doctor. To progress through the game, two-word commands must be entered, although single letters can be used for movement and for listing your inventory. You can also go back and forth between graphics and text-only modes. The illustrations look fantastic, but although it is nice to have each of them colored in, this could be annoying because it repeats this every time you switch back from text-only mode.

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2022



  • Zzap!
    • May 1985 (Issue 1) - #8 'My Ten All-Time Favourites' (White Wizard)

Related Games

Time Machine
Released 1990 on Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64...
Mario's Time Machine
Released 1994 on NES
Mario's Time Machine
Released 1993 on DOS, SNES, Windows 3.x
Time Machine I
Released 1993 on DOS
Time Machine VR
Released 2016 on Windows, PlayStation 4
Igor: The Time Machine
Released 2002 on Windows
The Time Machine Search
Released 1986 on Dragon 32/64
The Time Machine: Trapped in Time
Released 2009 on iPhone, Windows, Macintosh...
Time Machine: Rogue Pilot
Released 2010 on PlayStation 3

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 29400


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by mocagh.

Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Dragon 32/64, BBC Micro added by Trypticon. VIC-20, TRS-80, Electron, Oric added by S Olafsson. Commodore 16, Plus/4 added by FatherJack. Colour Genie added by Kabushi. Browser added by Pseudo_Intellectual.

Additional contributors: LepricahnsGold, FatherJack.

Game added September 23rd, 2007. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.