I, of the Mask, ZX Spectrum

I, of the Mask is a strange 3D action game written by Ant Attack author, Sandy White. It was published in 1985 by Electric Dreams Software, and it still confuses games-players to this day…

I say “confuses” because it’s not entirely clear how to play this game, even after reading the instructions. From what I can tell, you play a little feller whose job it is to explore a maze, and the 32 universes within it, in search of parts of a robot. You have to collect the robot parts in a specific order, though – starting at the feet, and working your way up to the mask. Once you’ve built the robot, and collected the mask, you then “become the robot” and can escape the maze.

Although there is a game in there, my view is that I, of the Mask is little more than a lo-fi tribute to Dave Theurer‘s weird arcade game, I, Robot. I think Sandy White saw I, Robot and wanted to do something similar, and this was the result. The problem is: the actual gameplay in I, of the Mask seems like a bit of an afterthought as a result. Maybe I’m being too harsh on it, but I remember thinking exactly that after playing it for the first time in 1985.

Playing I, of the Mask now – it’s still confusing and I still don’t really get it. And that frustrates me because I don’t like not knowing how to play a game properly. Some maze games are really not much fun – the ones that just leave you wandering around, lost, not knowing what to do. And this feels like one of them.

Add to that the constantly grating sound, and you have a frustrating experience overall.

It’s a pity that I, of the Mask isn’t more enjoyable to play, because it looks great. The 3D tunnels are convincing (with atmospheric pseudo shading), and the mask itself is suitably threatening. Maybe one day the penny will drop with this game and I’ll be able to enjoy it, but – after two hours playing and getting nowhere – that day isn’t today.

More: I, of the Mask on World of Spectrum

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