by Tom Repstad
THE WAIT IS OVER!
Computers were inherently boring until a few years ago when two creative geniuses named Willie Crowthers and Don Woods developed "Adventure", a classic fantasy role playing game that has been the standard for years, and the model against which most adventure games were designed.
'Mere are probably very few mainframe computers today that don't have a copy for the original adventure (whether sanctioned or secretly placed on the system by some daring programmer). Well, you know the computer field, you take one good idea and it's going to snowball. And so it did. The original adventure has grown from one adventure designed for the big mainframes to hundreds of adventures available for the personal computer owner.
Adventure International has recently made available for the ATARI it's series of adventure games. Adventure International is probably better known by the name of its creator, Scott Adams. Scott Adams was one of the earliest people to come out with adventures for the personal computer. His programs are written in assembly language and are highly imaginative. Also available are adventures from the following sources:
"The Quest": Survival Software, 3033 La Selva #B306, San Mateo, CA 94403, "Drac is Back": Syncro Inc. (Software division), 31332 Via Colinas, Suite 107, Westlake Village, CA 91362 and of course there is the adventure offered by A.N.A.L.O.G.
The object of any adventure is to surmount the obstacles the author of the program has placed in your way while you gather treasures, slay monsters, survive, and perform various other feats of derringdo on your way to finishing the adventure.
Do not expect to be able to sit down and finish even the simplest adventure in an hour or two. Most adventures require many hours of playing over several weeks (depending on the frequency of play), but virtually all adventures allow you to "SAVE" your game in progress and pick it up again at a later time. This feature also allows you to try some dangerous stuff without worrying about getting killed and having to start over from the beginning.
Most adventures have a theme or scenario for play. These adventures are oriented to a particular location, time, geography, and cast of characters. For example, Scott Adams "GHOST TOWN" takes place, appropriately enough, in an old west ghost is the adventure offered by town. All of the objects and treasures are oriented toward things that can be found there. Some of the things you will find are a horse, "GOLD NUGGET", jail house, "BOOT HILL" and other such items.
This theme is what you should always keep in mind when playing. It allows you to narrow the scope of your thoughts while you are trying to overcome the various puzzles you will encounter. Don't narrow your thoughts too much however, because you will find that many programmers have sadistic streaks. If you can't solve a problem using logical means, then by all means try illogical solutions, ridiculous solutions are very often useful too.
Most adventures use a simple one or two word command format. This format consists of a verb and a noun, or in some cases just a verb. Some examples:
VERBS: GET, LOOK, OPEN, CLOSE, TURN, DIG, JUMP
NOUNS: DOOR, BED, LAMP, **GOLD NUGGET**, HORSE, CELL, GRAVE
To give a command you simply combine a verb and a noun. For example:
OPEN DOOR, LOOK CELL, JUMP GRAVE etc...
In addition some verbs will do all by themselves, some of these are:
QUIT, SLEEP, LAUNCH, DRIVE, SAVE etc...
All these verbs would have an implied noun, the noun of course would be game dependent.
There is one more special case, the motion verbs. The simplest form is simply using compass directions. Virtually all adventure games recognize this form of motion. You can usually just type the first letter of the direction you want to go in as the command and you will find yourself propelled in that direction. Example:
N (NORTH), S (SOUTH), E (EAST), W (WEST), U (UP) etc.
You can usually precede the motion words with "GO" or "MOVE", i.e. "GO NORTH" "MOVE SOUTH", etc. But unless you are into the "JOY OF TYPING" you will probably find yourself using the terse form of the command.
Most of the nouns or objects will be described to you by the game. Some objects will have hidden meanings or functions, be on the lookout for these. In addition some adventures define all allowable verbs in the instructions, others make you discover what verbs/commands are valid. Discovering which verbs are valid is done on a trial and error basis in these kind of adventures.
Last but not least, THE MAZES! Mazes are the curse of every adventure player. The only really useful tool you will have if you encounter a maze is to try and "map it out". This is done by dropping objects in each room of the maze so you can tell where you have been already. In your map you draw a box for each room and indicate what object you left there. You should also indicate which direction you entered and exited the room from. Remember, most rooms have multiple entrances/exits. The most important thing to remember about mazes is PERSEVERE. No adventurer ever successfully finished an adventure because he gave up in the mazes. Scott Adams doesn't use a lot of mazes in his games, but I am sure you will run into a great deal as more and more adventures become available for the Atari.
Well that about sums up most of the high points of adventuring. If I had just one word of advice to give a novice adventurer it would be:
"NEVER SAY DIE"
My second word of advice would be:
"ASK FOR HELP!"
If you can't find someone to help you with an adventure and you are ready to commit suicide, send me a S.A.S.E. and your question. I'll do my best to give you a little help (I warn you that I only give clues, not outright answers). Well, good luck and good adventuring.