Voodoo Castle: Finished!   6 comments

I was indeed quite close to the end.

Image via eBay.

Image via eBay.

I needed to move a soup kettle (which was described as having a hole underneath, but I somehow originally assumed the soup was in the hole; text-minimalism strikes again) and get a rabbit foot, and soon I had everything I needed, using the ritual described in my last post.

What's with lots of the As being in caps? This happens through the whole game and this sort of text glitch happens in other Adams games too.

What’s with lots of the As being in caps? This happens through the whole game and this sort of text glitch happens in other Adams games too.

I had fun out of proportion to the puzzle quality, which was decent but not spectacular. I think this was due to the implicit plot, which I realize I’ve never defined very well, so now is as good a time as any.

EXPLICIT PLOT: The main plot events as described in the text; if you read a transcript which does a straight-to-the-end walkthrough you are just experiencing explicit plot.

IMPLICIT PLOT: The story the emerges from the actual actions done in the game (successful or not). If you wandering around every room in the game trying to DIG with the shovel but not getting any response, that’s part of the implicit plot (imagine your character frustratedly hitting each spot of ground) but not the explicit plot (since it advances nothing).

While we are at it, I’d also include:

LITERAL PLOT: The plot that includes meta-commands like saving and restoring. Occasionally this can be reflected in the main game — in Quondam (1980) the game kills you if you try to save too early, and a very recent game I will leave unnamed to avoid spoilers (it’s one word, nine letters) uses the literal plot quite extensively and remembers what you did in prior save games.

In any case, the process of playing Voodoo Castle involved criss-crossing over locations multiple times, in some cases (the chimney, the lower area with the medium) revealing new things at each pass. The implicit plot of the adventure was a good fit, and the game felt like genuine investigating as opposed to just finding the right key for the right lock.

In other news, Emily Short linked my initial post about Warp to her blog, which I’ll take as a hint I need to get back to writing about it. I did finally find a use for those crazy IF-THEN statements in the parser. I’ll try to explain next time I post.

Posted February 1, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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6 responses to “Voodoo Castle: Finished!

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  1. Great adventuring! I’ve been following and enjoying all your All The Adventures posts, but I’ve skipped the Voodoo Castle ones (even though I’m commenting here!) to avoid spoilers because it sounds like an intriguing game. I’m hoping I might even get round to playing it one day.

  2. This was the second text adventure I ever won (after Pirate Adventure, both on the TI-99/4A). I liked it much more, exactly because of the better story. It was also this game that made me realize that it would be good to have a parser that could understand more than two words per command. Figuring out how to give Count Cristo a lucky charm was difficult.

    • This is a circumstance where playing games in chronological order helped; Secret Mission had the same issue where you had to BREAK WINDOW and then type WITH RECORDER but the game was very explicit about the syntax in that case.

      Definitely the two word parser was showing its cracks even at the time.

  3. I’m guessing the randomly captialized A’s might be a side effect of the machines they developed the adventures on.

    Both the original Apple II, and the TRS-80 Model I, were uppercase-only. (The TRS-80 Model III, which I think Jason’s emulators are modeled on, has both upper and lowercase — but it didn’t come along until the middle of 1980.) You could still TYPE lowercase letters on these early machines in some circumstances, and this would give you a different ASCII code if you were typing text, but both uppercase and lowercase ASCII letter codes were rendered on the screen in uppercase. So an “A” and an “a” both looked like “A” and you couldn’t tell them apart.

    If Alexis had done some of the text coding on one of these uppercase-only computers, she would’ve had to control upper-vs-lowercase by holding down the Shift key at the right time and hoping the computer read her input correctly, because she wouldn’t have gotten any visual feedback.

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