1. Original Adventure

by Garry Francis, Sydney, Australia

 

Issue 9

May/Jun 84

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Background

In the early 70's there was a little group called the Castle and Crusade Society who published a set of fantasy rules for wargamers. This caused a surge of interest in fantasy wargaming and as a result, the group grew and prospered. Dave Arneson drew ideas from these rules to create a more complex and exciting game and in due course, news of this reached Gary Gygax. In 1974, Gygax and Arneson got together and published a set of fantasy rules which would take the world by storm. They were called Dungeons and Dragons.

A short time later, a computerised version of Dungeons and Dragons was being played out at a computer consulting firm called Bolt, Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This inspired Willie Crowther to write a computerised fantasy simulation called 'Adventure'. It was initially written in FORTRAN for the Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-10, but was later implemented on the popular PDP-11. It was extensively expanded by Don Woods and in 1976, it was released to an unsuspecting world through the Digital Equipment Computer Users' Society.

Adventure soon became the most popular program on the DECUS library. Wumpus and Star Trek were old hat. Everybody wanted to play Adventure! It was translated into different languages (such as BASIC and APL) and converted to other computers (such as Prime and IBM). Bootleg copies were passed throughout the land and Adventure rapidly gained a cult following. Computer installation supervisors estimated that at least two full weeks of work were lost when Adventure arrived. They tried various means of restricting access to the game, but nothing really worked. There was no solution but to let the craze run its course. When the staff had solved the game, then and only then would they get back to work.

The Adventure program is big. My printout of the FORTRAN source code is 96 pages long. In the early days, no one would have dreamed that a program of this size could be made to run on a number of micros including the ATARI!

The game

As Original Adventure is one of the very few computer games that can honestly be called a 'classic', it seems appropriate to review it in the first Adventure column. The ATARI version is written in Basic by Robert A. Howell. The story of how he did it was published in Creative Computing, August 1981 and makes quite interesting reading. The program has all the flavour and features of the original including almost 130 rooms, 2 mazes, 15 treasures and all the same puzzles and obstacles.

When you begin the game, you will find yourself standing before a small brick well-house. If you enter the well-house, you will find a number of objects that any Adventurer will recognise as being potentially useful later in the game. I'd suggest that you take everything that you can carry, then set out to search for the entrance to Colossal Cave a vast underground empire full of treasures and monsters. You will have to collect all 15 treasures from the cave and return them to the well-house, but in order to do so, you will have to outsmart the monsters and overcome various obstacles. The cave's inhabitants include a huge green snake, a burly troll, a vicious bear, a fierce green dragon, a bearded pirate and a seemingly endless hoard of pesky dwarves who are determined to make you into Adventurer shish kebab. Some of the solutions to problems may seem illogical, but they are all in keeping with the original version of the game.

You can see how you are doing at any time by typing SCORE. You are given points for solving certain problems, finding treasures and returning treasures to the well-house. The maximum score is 301 points, but the last point is very difficult to achieve. It is essential to draw a map or you will get hopelessly lost. And make sure you use a LARGE sheet of paper!

Original Adventure is not easy! If you are new to Adventures, try something simple like Adventure International's Pirate Adventure or Voodoo Castle before tackling this one. And do not expect to finish it in one session! It took me about four sessions to complete (including a whole weekend) and even then I did not get the full 301 points. Fortunately, the game can be saved at any point using SUSPEND and a saved game can be restored using RESUME. You will probably use these a lot.

The only bad points about the game are some bad spelling and grammar and the dismally slow response time. Some people would eagerly blame the slow response on BASIC but that's really no excuse. I have written a BASIC Adventure with a superb parser which responds faster than the Scott Adams Adventures, and his are written in machine language!

Original Adventure used to be marketed by Creative Computing Software. Unfortunately, they introduced two problems which weren't in the original version. The first was only cosmetic and involved a messed up display on the SUSPEND/RESUME screens. The second was more disastrous as it caused the game to crash with an ERROR 5 if you typed SCORE after RESUMEing a game. Creative Computing seems to have pathetic distribution and after sales support. I remember waiting about four months for my program to arrive and when it finally did, it had been crushed in the mail due to poor packaging!

Robert Howell now has the rights to market Original Adventure himself and if you buy direct from him, you'll find the service is good and there are no bugs in the program! In addition, you'll receive an eight page manual with loading and playing instructions, brief history, details of replacement policy and 86 coded hints! It is available on a 32K cassette or a 40K disk by sending US$20.00 in the form of an International Money Order or a Bank Draft in U.S. currency payable at a U.S. bank to: Robert A. Howell, 20 Richman Road, Hudson, NH 03051, U.S.A. The price includes return Air Mail postage. Discounts are available for bulk orders or users' groups and what have you. Write for details.

In summary, Original Adventure is not suitable for rank beginners, but it is an absolute must for anyone with one or two Adventures under their belt. You cannot really call yourself an Adventurer until you have solved the one that started it all!

Hints

This issue's hints are (naturally) for Original Adventure. They are coded in the same format as the hints for the Scott Adams Adventures. Simply look through the clues until you recognise the area where you are stuck, then decode the hint by matching the numbers with the words in the attached list. Once decoded, you will have anything from a subtle to a cryptic clue. The cryptic ones may need a little thought, but remember that they are only meant to be hints and not downright answers! In fact, I hope you get as much fun from the hints as from the adventure itself.

Original Adventure hints

Can't catch the bird?
64 5 12 49 52 34 15 12 49 52 20 50

Can't cross the fissure?
62 1 63 33 7 43

Can't get past the snake?
13 48 9

Dwarf keep killing you?
23 2 27 75 27 23 2 52 50

Can't get out of Witt's End?
59 69 31 52 20 56 50 50 50

Troll want a toll?
23 52 67 18 53 10 57

Bear acting vicious?
5 6 17 46 5 8 66 72 57

Can't get past the troll on the return trip?
70 28 9

Missing a pearl?
39 5 18 22 21 57

Can't open the clam?
16 74 63 32 43

Stuck in a maze of twisty little passages all alike?
3 12 49 26 51 36 50

Pirate keep pinching your treasure?
55 6 74 68 73 14 8 43

Can't open the rusty door?
8 5 44 4 65 50

Stuck in a maze of twisty little passages all different?
64 5 11 47 50 51 36 37 70 27 50

Dragon won't budge?
24 29 71 67 63 32 50

Missing a platinum pyramid?
18 36 4 60 19 14 18 10 50

Can't see in the dark room?
18 35 40 19 58 60 30 70 41 50

Still can't see in the dark room?
35 40 5 45 73 10 26 25 36 50

Missing a ruby ring?
64 1 38 43

Can't earn the last point?
3 61 69 54 42 50 50 50

1 AIN'T
2 UNTO
3 DROP
4 WITHOUT
5 IS
6 HE
7 ROD
8 IT
9 (ANAGRAM)
10 TREASURE
11 ELEVEN
12 AN
13 BRIEF
14 HIDE
15 AND
16 POSEIDON
17 GROWLING
18 A
19 COULD
20 DON'T
21 MADE
22 PEARL
23 DO
24 BRUCE
25 ADJACENT
26 IN
27 OTHERS
28 BARROW
29 LEE
30 ON
31 FIRST
32 TROUBLE
33 ORDINARY
34 NEED
35 MAGIC
36 ROOM
37 JOINS
38 ONE
39 HOW
40 WORD
41 SITUATION
42 END
43 !
44 TOIL
45 RELATED
46 OR
47 ROOMS
48 RED
49 OBJECT
50 .
51 EACH
52 YOU
53 BOOMERANG
54 WITT'S
55 SUPPOSE
56 SUCCEED
57 ?
58 THROW
59 IF
60 LIGHT
61 MAGAZINE
62 THAT
63 NO
64 THERE
65 TEA
66 HIS
67 HAVE
68 NOWHERE
69 AT
70 THE
71 SHOULD
72 STOMACH
73 TO
74 HAD
75 AS

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