Aural Quest, a ZX Spectrum video game on a music album.

We continue with hidden programs in old albums. This time, it’s Aural Quest, hidden on certain versions of the cassette of an album.

Instead of repeating all the previous articles each time, I’ll refer you to the dedicated page, which explains what I do with vinyl records and lists all the pages containing programs, explanations, etc.


The album in question is Aural Sculpture by The Stranglers. The game (or rather games) are only found on the cassette version, and only in certain editions. I was initially fooled by ordering an original French cassette, and the game isn’t there. According to Discogs, there are four editions, in 1984 and 1987.

The game itself is a text adventure game, sometimes a bit complicated. You play as the manager of the band and you have to type the right commands to progress. I’ll give you a quick summary with the right phrases below. I always struggle with games that regularly kill off the character, and just the first thing to do, the logical solution involves death…

There are several versions of this game, let’s start with the one from the cassette 40-26220 (black cover). I thought it would be fairly simple with my USB cassette player but in my initial attempts, it wasn’t conclusive. I couldn’t load the file into the emulator (Fuse). After some research, I came across a Python script capable of transforming a WAV file into a suitable file with good error correction, which saved me from manual corrections. Once TZXWAV was installed, I used this command to generate the file. It handles errors well and displays any potential issues. It’s not very fast but it works.

tzxwav -o AuralQuest.tzx AuralQuest.wav -v -tlow -Thigh -lshort

Note, as seen in the video, the program starts with an audio introduction from the creators. The first video just shows the game loading. In the second, I used a walkthrough to finish it. The introduction message lasts about 45 seconds, the loading was sped up 8x to make it bearable.

The opening

The first screen

There seems to be a second version of the game (probably depending on the edition) but I haven’t (yet) found the right cassette.