I spent most of the evening trying to find some things I thought I had and apparently have lost. The main thing I was looking for were my literary magazines from high school. I just wanted to flip through them for a little nostalgia, and was disturbed to realize they weren’t in the drawer I thought they were in, and I actually haven’t seen them in several years. I’m worried that they got lost in a move or thrown out at some point—a prospect that makes me inexplicably sad.

(The other thing I was looking for was a 16-page handwritten and hand-illustrated manuscript entitled Tile of a Rat, the first story I ever wrote, at age six. It would have been Tale of a Mouse except I ran out space on the page to fit the word “mouse,” and I didn’t know how to spell. Couldn’t find that either, but I’m semi-confident that it’s around somewhere.)

While looking for the magazines and the long-lost manuscript, I found a stack of old floppy disks from high school and that I can’t read because computers don’t come with floppy drives anymore. (This whole experience has left me feeling really, really old.) I also found a CD backup of some of my old Mac disks, which I made at my parents’ house a few years ago after they got rid of my Mac from college. Even though they tossed the computer, they had the good sense to hold onto the floppies for me. I remember being depressed that I never got to say goodbye to that good old all-in-one Performa. It may have been heavier than a load of bricks, but it served me well.

And on that CD, I came across this letter:

October 17, 1995

Dear Sierra,

I am currently playing Police Quest 4, and I think there is a bug in the program. I am playing with a Mac CD. I’m on Wednesday, in City Hall. Right after I address the mayor, Dennis Walker stands up to hit me. I draw my gun, and then when I click the “talk” icon on Dennis (or anywhere else), the police car “wait” icon comes up, and he hits me anyway. No matter how quickly I click on Dennis, the police car appears and he kills me. I’m pretty sure there’s a problem with the program, because I tried shooting Dennis, and the same thing happened. The gunshot sounded, but he still started to hit me while the computer was bringing up the box saying I was dead because I shot someone.

I went onto Compuserve but couldn’t find any patch programs for this problem. I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, because I looked in a hint book. Has anyone else experienced this difficulty, or is there a problem with my individual software? Please get back to me quickly, because I’m hooked and am really anxious to keep playing.

Sierra’s response to this letter, as I recall, was to mail me a floppy disk with a saved game on it.

I miss the nineties.