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Margaret Thatcher's late husband Denis was known to like a drop of gin, a fact frequently exploited by satirical magazine Private Eye. As such, this text adventure stars you as Denis, on his quest to escape Number 10 Downing Street (and Maggie) to get to the Gravedigger's Arms pub.

Denis must get a drink within 10 moves, or else it is game over. The location descriptions are written in an unusual style, set to rhyme and featuring wry observations about the drudgery of political life from Denis' unique position. Similarly, the Help feature often gives terse, sarcastic and less-than-helpful responses.

As you progress through the game, mock headlines from The Sun newspaper appear to comment on your situations. The game is written in Quill, a popular adventure creation package from Gilsoft themselves.


Denis Through the Drinking Glass Commodore 64 Ten moves without alcohol -> game loss
Denis Through the Drinking Glass ZX Spectrum Avoiding listening to a Maggie speech was a national sport back then...
Denis Through the Drinking Glass ZX Spectrum This isn't helping
Denis Through the Drinking Glass ZX Spectrum 'Plug' as in 'subtle self-promotion' - nice pun to start things off

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Crash! ZX Spectrum Apr, 1984 83 out of 100 83


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Cancelled successor

Applications Software later worked on another adventure in a similar vein, called The Tebbit (a play on and a reference to UK politician Norman Tebbit). The game was never released despite being advertised in mid 1984. In November of that year the IRA blew up The Grand Hotel in Brighton, where the Conservative Party was holding its annual conference. Tebbit and his wife were seriously injured, which surely ended any chance of the game surfacing.


If this game's name rings a little bell, you are thinking of Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

First commercial Quill game

The Spectrum version of Denis Through the Drinking Glass was the first commercially released game written using The Quill. It was released on November 5th, 1983 not long after The Quill first appeared.

Poetic style

Author Roger Taylor liked to say that Denis was "the only adventure game written entirely in doggerel".

Old joke references

One of the reasons the game is almost impossibly hard to play now is that it assumes that as well as a detailed knowledge of UK politics and media circa 1983, you are also familiar with a number of corny old jokes. For example, one of the early puzzles in the game will only make sense if you know that the answer to "Why do policemen have bigger balls than firemen?" is "Because they sell more tickets!"
Contributed to by S Olafsson (53763), Kabushi (257705) and Martin Smith (79939)
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