View Full Version : Adventure Games

08-16-2010, 12:44 PM
Many of you probably have never played "Text Adventure Games".

This is a "free site" and they have made available many different free Text Adventures.


When you get there, look for the Scott Adams Adventures. Then select the one called 'Adventureland'. I think that was his first one. I first saw it in the early 80's and played it on an old (new back then!) Commodore VIC20 computer. That computer had only 4k of memory (NOT 4mb!)

Anyway, these "Text Adventures" were the forerunners of the RPG games (Role Playing Games) and were some of the very first "entertainment" programs put out for the fledgling computer industry. I guess maybe the first game besides tic-tac-toe was the Star Trek Strategy Game. Whatever. These Adventure games really caught my attention so much that I became involved with them as a programmer!

Any programmer could sit down and write an adventure if he or she had the skills to design a program. But what I did was design a program that would allow ANYONE to develop an adventure game, limited only by their own imagination!

These adventures were in themselves simple. Each location was called a room. In that room you had the potential of going through exits in any of the walls (north, south, east or west) and also UP and DOWN. In some cases, there were hidden exits invoked by magic words.

Each Room in the adventure also had a table of values that could contain treasures, hints, useful objects that you could pick up and take with you. The objectives of the adventure might just be survival. Or it might be a quest to accumulate points scored by finding treasure. Actually the objective could be about anything that the person using the generator could come up with...limited only by the author's imagination.

The first Adventure game that I created using the generator was one based on the house and property belonging to my In-Laws. I have a nephew who at the time was in something like the 5th or 6th grade and who wanted to know how programs worked. That was the real reason I developed the generator: To show Bill the type logic needed to develop programs.

I didn't tell the real objective of the game. I made it non-obvious that the setting was his Grandparents house! But it was laid out exactly in the floor plan of their house and had many fixtures in the description that matched things in the house. For example: Clair was on the volunteer Fire department and as a volunteer, he had a special telephone with an obnoxious ring. Above the telephone was a police scanner.

During play of the game, the player would "see" blinking red lights with some conversation going on that could not be understood even when other people were not present. Then randomly, you would hear this earsplitting noise (the fire phone ringing) followed by the sound of heavy Ogres stomping (this was Clair running out of the house to get to the firestation located less than a block away.) Each room of the house was described in obscure detail with hints throughout that it was laid out like Clair and Daisy's house. Oh, there were diversions such as a secret tunnel that led from a secret door in the basement out to the garage with interspersed side tunnels which were dug by trolls and goblins of course.

The objective of the game, though now spelled out in the instructions, was to just survive until you finally figured out that the Adventure Setting was their Grandpa's House!

Before it was all over, almost everyone in the family took a crack at developing an adventure!

To succeed in these adventure games, one must completely immerse into the spirit of the game and then try to get inside the author's head to figure out what it is that he is wanting you to do to overcome the trials of the game and accomplish the objective.

08-17-2010, 07:49 AM
I played Zork back in the 80's when I had a Commodore 64 computer. It was actually a pretty sophisticated game for a text adventure and a lot of fun even though I was frequently killed by a grue...

08-17-2010, 08:01 AM
Never heard of these games before. Went to that sight and looks pretty cool. I tried the first adventure a bit but I'm way boring or something because I couldn't get out the forest. :hilarious: Will try it again when I have a little more time.

08-17-2010, 08:20 AM
Willie, are you playing "Adventureland" or did you pick up on "Adventure". Both start out in a forest I think. Make sure you select Scott Adams and then take the first one "Adventureland". It'll drive you Nuts!

In Adventureland, you give most movement commands with a single keystroke. "N" for "north", "S" for "south". You don't even have to type in "go north" or "go N". Just "N".

Now, there are a couple of other verb commands you use right off the start. You can "climb" a tree. You can "enter" something. You can "take" something. If you have for example, taken an "axe", you can use it to "chop" something.

I haven't made it very far myself even though I've played this game before...but it has been 30 freaking years since I last saw it! But I have made it "underground" and have accumulated 28 treasure points.

"Examine" everything and pay attention to the signs!

08-17-2010, 08:28 AM
Cathy, I've played "Zork" also. It is still available out there! It was the next generation of Text Adventures after the inroads that Scott Adams made. If you like Scott Adams programs, you can eMail him and he'll answer you. I had quite a lengthy conversation with him a couple of years ago. He had just added some primitive graphics to his "Pirate Adventures".

Oh, and this go-round ""Adventure Land", I've been bitten by a spider, eaten up with chiggers, stuck in quicksand, stung to death by African Bees, and have been trapped in an endless loop in a maze of caves.....but I have not awakened the sleeping dragon yet!

I miss the old tape based game. With it, you could save the game before attempting something dangerous. With this on-line version, you takes your chances and if you die you have to start all over from the beginning and renegotiate all the hurdles to get back for another attempt.

08-18-2010, 08:57 AM
I was on the other one. I will try the one you suggested but if it's not a leisurely kind of game, will quit. My life's to stressful already to get all intense with a game where I get eaten alive or suffer some disfigurement. :hilarious:

08-18-2010, 10:42 AM
Nah Willie....you don't get disfigured....but you can "die" in the game. Scott Adams did have a sense of humor (still does!) and sometimes it comes through in the games he designed.

This is NOT one of the games where the object is in any way violence. In fact, I know of no instance in the game where you try any act of violence that accomplishes anything at all.

It is a game that requires somewhat Warped Logic to get around in. I'm over half way through it and have overcome several obstacles that were not easy.

You will become frustrated several times over <LOL> because to learn how to overcome some of the obstacles, you will have to just try different things that when they fail, all you can do is quit the game and start over and try something else.

In a couple of instances, your success will depend on the ORDER that you do things. When you do accomplish them, they sort of make sense....but not always.

There are some magic words that you can use but you'll have to find them in clues.

If you get stumpped (and that's a subtle hint right there!) and can't get going, holler at me and I'll PM you a clue or a solution if you want it.

Oh, and I looked in my archives and found a version of "ZORK I" that was ported over for use on a PC such as we are now using. Don't know if it would work on a MAC. Probably not. What is amazing is that the entire monster adventure that "Zork I" is, is contained in a Zipped file that is only 81kb in size!

And in the Zork series, you can "save" your game before you attempt something that might "kill you" so you can restart at that point without having to actually restart the game.

Back when these games came out, TAPE (cassette tape) was the medium that the programs and saved files were stored on so it wasn't that big a benefit to be able to save the game. It took forever to load a tape or save a game! You could restart from scratch and get back to where you were before you could save and restore! Of course now, it's almost instantaneous.

I really liked these games. It was ALL Virtual! Nothing Visual. You had to imagine the scenes in your head and because of that, you could imagine them as cells in a spreadsheet or as elaborate and realistic as your imagination could conjure up!

The down side to these games that were concocted back in the 70's is that the text parsers were pretty primitive. You would have to give commands that were exactly what the author was looking for. For example, you might want to ask a magician for a secret word. It wouldn't do anything other than give an error saying it didn't understand you UNLESS you typed in "ASK". Then when it came back with "Who do you want to ask a question of" you would have to type in "Magician". At that time, it would know that you would only be asking for a magic word so it would give you the clue.

This was particularly frustrating with Scott Adams because his were of the very first of the Adventures and were consequently very primitive in parsing.

Zork I think, was an evolution that introduced full sentence parsing. I'm not sure about that though. But as such, those parsers had a little more AI than the early Adventures and would deduce from what you typed what you probalby meant. They would come back when you said something like "Talk to the Magician"....did you mean "Ask the Magician a question?" If you answered affirmative, then it would give you what you were looking for even though you didn't get the exact phrasing. Scott Adams didn't have that!

08-20-2010, 12:03 PM
WOW! I'd forgotten a lot of the frustrations with these games. IMPERRATIVE that you explore enough to know EXACTLY what you need to do and also figure out the ORDER in which you have to do them! This is really an exercise in both logic and in controlling your impatience! <LOL> Fun though and you do end up with a sense of accomplishment when you successfully complete the challenges.