Caper in the Castro is a 1989 adventure game by artist and designer C.M Ralph. You play as private detective Tracker McDyke, on the trail of kidnapped drag queen Tessy LaFemme. Rich in self aware, camp noir sensibilities and booze-soaked dark humor, Caper in the Castro plays somewhere between a DOS text adventure and a more modern point n’ click.
Speaking to Paste in a 2014 interview, Ralph talked about the inspiration behind Caper in the Castro.
“In 1988 I had moved from Southern California (behind the orange curtain) to the San Francisco Bay Area. I was so impressed and grateful for the freedom of the LBGT community here as compared to what I had lived in down in SoCal. I wanted to give back to the community and also create a way to raise money for AIDS Charities. The game was distributed as “Charity Ware” and instead of asking for payment, I requested that people who downloaded the game donate money to the AIDS Charity of their choice.”
So, absolute fucking hero, then.
In his article for Motherboard, Jordan Pearson describes how the emulation was achieved by Andrew Borman imaging the original floppy disks. Though ‘originally thought lost’, they were ‘found by the original author, CM Ralph, and sent to Borman by the efforts of Temple University professor Adrienne Shaw of the LGBTQ Game Archive.’
You can play Caper in the Castro here. Players also have the option of supporting the internet archive with a donation. Or, if you want to keep the spirit of Ralph’s game going, you could always make a donation to aids charity GMHC. Happy Gayming!
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