Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Sorcellerie/Sorcery by Rafi Deryeghiyan: Inspiration for Harry Potter?

It was quite a while back that I translated to English and ported the source code for a text adventure written for the Matra-Hachette Alice 8-bit computer called "Sorcellerie" (Sorcery) by Rafi Deryeghiyan. This is a fascinating game: Here is the brief intro provided to the program:

Until 2036 the world was at peace, then unrest began to stir in society.

22 June 2037: Sorcerers reappear with terrifying powers. Small in number, they are easily controlled.

Christmas 2037: A wizard coup--all armies are destroyed. The dictatorship of witchcraft is proclaimed.

February 2038: Wizards are about to break the will of human resistance. Aware of the danger, some have tried to combat this evil power, but in vain.

After 6 years of research, you finally find a clue: the ultimate weapon is in a castle. What is this ultimate weapon? That is for you to discover!
This game was published in the December 1985 of L'Ordinateur Individuel, as a generic Basic listing. The IF Database site reports that machine-specific variations are known to exist for the Matra Alice and Thomson computers as well as my TRS-80 MC-10 port from the Matra version. I know that a French retro-hobbyist has also ported it to Applesoft Basic:


One thing that has always struck me about this program is the parallels it has with the Harry Potter stories:  The idea of sorcerers appearing from a "parallel universe" hidden existence; The attempt by them to take over the non-magical world; A mysterious castle.  It makes me wonder if there was some possible path of inspiration that helped contribute to J.K. Rowling's development of the wizarding world of Harry Potter?

I know that she studied romance languages. A quick search of the internet reveals that: 

"Between 1983 and 1986, J. K. Rowling studied French with a subsidiary (i.e., minor) in Classics at the University of Exeter in Britain."

I'm sure she might have travelled to France in that time period, or after. Who knows, maybe she met someone with an 8-bit computer and played a game of "Sorcellerie" and it helped plant a seed of a parallel world of wizards?  Perhaps the author Rafi Deryeghiyan might deserve some credit in helping inspire one of the most influential stories of our age.

The storyline itself is clearly very different. You can get a sense of the game from the following game map:

Progenitor of Hogwarts?

Here's a text walkthrough by Alex Dijkstra for the Alice 32 version of the program:

"E, E, E, E, PRENDS GANTS, O,  N, OBSERVE LIT (you find some batteries), PRENDS PILE, S, O, DEVISSE
AMPOULE (you need the gloves to do this else you'll burn your hands),  PRENDS LAMPE, POSE
GANTS, E, S, POUSSE TABLEAU (you find a cave behind the painting), ALLUME LAMPE (you need the lamp
and the battery to see in the dark), VA GROTTE, E, PRENDS SCIE, PRENDS FIOLE, O, O, LANCE FIOLE,
PORTE (the acid from the flask burns a hole in the door), VA PORTE, POSE LAMPE, POSE PILE, N, PRENDS
CHIENS (the dogs are killed by the poison inside the cake), S, PRENDS ECHELLE, N, N, N, MONTE DRAPS,
N, E, N, N, E, N, OBSERVE PLAFOND (you see an opening where you can pass), POSE ECHELLE, MONTE
ECHELLE, OBSERVE STATUE (it's an image of satan), EMBOUTIS STATUE (if you don't do this
you will get hit by lightning in the next location), E, PRENDS PARCHEMIN, E, INSERE PARCHEMIN, FENTE
(the text of the parchment now is readable), PRENDS PARCHEMIN, LIS PARCHEMIN. 
You've found the secret weapon you were searching for!! The parchment reveals a way to get rid of all the sorcerers. You obtain the title of superman of the 21st century."

The game is your basic "Basic" text adventure. You explore the castle, figure out puzzles by collecting items and interpreting clues. These lead you to do certain actions that allow you to penetrate deeper into the castle. Eventually you find a parchment that allows you to destroy the wizards.  No Voldemort or "Hogwarts," obviously, but there is a basement with a long abandoned room (Chamber of Secrets?).  Yet the idea of Wizards taking over after coming out of hiding is intriguing. Unless someone can ask J.K. Rowling whether she played a manky 8-bit French text adventure from the mid-80s, we'll never know...


  1. I notice that we have a second "wizard" game by Rafi listed on CASA... Le monde des sorciers... published in 1988 for the Apple II... http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C4622/Monde+des+sorciers%2C+Le.html which might well be the same/similar adventure?

    1. This is the same game, and I've managed to download the version published by Tremplin Micro in 1988 from http://www.apple-iigs.info/revuetremplinmicro.php.
      You can also get it from my website http://www.retroprogrammez.fr
      Have fun...

    2. Thanks to both of you for the additional info on this fascinating little game.