Free MS-DOS text adventure game by Graham Cluley

(Play Humbug via your browser, courtesy of the Internet Archive)


You, Sidney Widdershins, are sent to your Grandad’s for the school holidays.

  • Why is Jasper the dentist so desperate that Grandad should sell the manor?
  • Why has Grandad hidden a time machine in the cellar?
  • Why does the octopus insist on performing the ancient ritual of Wubble-A-Gloop with you?
  • What doesn’t Kevin the clockwork shark like about your haircut?
  • What would you do with a trombone, a terrapin and half a pound of lard? Yes, quite.

All this, and more, is revealed in Humbug. Humbug is a major advance on Jacaranda Jim, featuring far more locations and over 200 objects.

Strategy Plus Magazine said: “Humbug is the most entertaining text adventure that I have played since Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is crowded with wit and challenging puzzles… The game achieves the optimum balance of challenge, charm, silliness and sophistication…”

Make sure to read this incredibly detailed review of Humbug written in December 2018 by Joe Pranevich for the Adventure Gamer blog. Thanks Joe! And be sure to check out other reviews of Humbug if you’re interested.

Humbug screenshot

Free download of Humbug text adventure game

HUMBUG Version 5.0, fully-working including online hints.

Download HUMBUG50.EXE – Requires DOS. File size: 164 KB (168,735 bytes).

NOTE: If you have a modern version of Windows, it may not support 16-bit DOS programs. Some game players have reported having good results by using free DOS emulators like vDos, DOSBox or Boxer.

Originally “Humbug” was a shareware game, which required players to register to get access to maps and online hints. In May 1997 I placed Humbug in the public domain – and this new free version comes complete with all the goodies.

I have made this version of Humbug available as a self-extracting ZIP file. When you run HUMBUG50.EXE it will decompress the various parts of Humbug onto your hard drive. You then just need to run ‘HUMBUG.EXE’.

Tips for American players

Some non-British players of my games have struggled to understand some of the language used within them. So, here’s a quick cheatsheet translating some of the troublesome English words into American:

Tap… Faucet
Torch… Flashlight
Battery… Cell
Plaster… Band-aid
Humbug… A stripy hard boiled sweet (err.. candy) amongst other things

Full solution

A step-by-step complete solution for Humbug.

BEWARE! This file can seriously damage your enjoyment of the game. It’s much more fun to try and work out how to complete Humbug on your own. You have been warned.


A complete map, showing all the locations in Humbug. (GIF format, 80k)


Following the success of Jacaranda Jim, I unleashed Humbug on an unsuspecting world in about 1990 whilst studying computing in Bristol, UK. I intentionally set out to write a more professional, entertaining and deeper game than Jacaranda Jim – and as a result I am much prouder in Humbug than JJ (which is something of an embarrassment).

In approximately December 1990/January 1991 Humbug was the star game on PC Plus’s cover disk, and this was most people’s first encounter with the game.


As with Jacaranda Jim, Humbug proved very popular and I still get the occasional fan letter today.

I no longer sell or support Humbug or Jacaranda Jim. I have placed both in the public domain – so feel free to play them as much as you like, and copy them here, there and everywhere. You might like to point people to too. I hope you get as much fun from playing the games as I did writing them all those years ago.

P.S. You must remember that I wrote these games a very long time ago, and I don’t really remember the solutions. So it’s not usually worthwhile emailing me asking questions about them! :) Fortunately other people on the net have worked out the full solutions if you’re desperate.

More about Humbug