Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take lantern

I was in my twenties when personal computers started hitting the market in the U.S., and becoming (well not really) "affordable". My first usable toy was the Commodore 64. While it did have graphics capability, it only had 64 K of RAM, so the games available were pretty limited. By contrast, I'd worked part-time as a tech in the Physics lab at the university and they had a DEC PDP-11 minicomputer, with games on mag tape. One of the games was the original text adventure ADVENT. During my breaks, I used to play ADVENT just to see if I could break my record of fewest rounds to finish. Later, similar games came out, specifically HAUNT and DUNGEON, but they were buggy and I always got stuck somewhere, unable to finish. Eventually, the Infocom company started up and brought DUNGEON to the market under the name Zork I. At this point, I was hooked on text adventure games and I made a point of buying up everything Infocom put out. Unfortunately, their software quality went downhill with each new product and some of the games would simply crash in the middle. I never did finish the Hitchhiker's game because of that. And of course, home computers got better, the C-64 became obsolete and the asteroid hit earth, killing off all the dinosaurs.

Over the years, I'd be reminded of ADVENT, and once in a while I'd surf the net to find a Flash port of the game. But, in the last few days I've gotten more antsy and started digging harder.

I found a port of the original DUNGEON, but the thief never showed up, so I gave up and tried Zork I. There's no save function, but with the walkthrough, I was able to finish it off in a couple of hours. Now I need to decide if I want to play Zork II all the way through, given how much I really NEED that save function...

If you want to flip through the various text adventure games, check out the archives

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