Adventure 501: Outdoors   4 comments

Part of Dennis Donovan’s map from 1980.

In yet another episode of Whose Version Is This Anyway?: I mentioned in my first post that there was two later branches that was derived off Adventure 501 (a 551 point version and a 751 point version). There’s a part involving a spider and fly in the port I’m playing which is not in either branch, leading to the theory that this particular version was modified by an anonymous person off of David Long’s no-longer-in-existence original. The addition is very slight, so it’s perfectly fine to call it the “same game”, but it has a silly/annoying scoring trick I wanted to point out:

You have entered Haunted Chamber. A cold wind whistles eerily throughout the room. Strange chords from an unseen organ echo from all over. A passage leads east and a small hole leads south. There is a giant spider in the eastern corner guarding the door. He is grinning at you.

The spider grabs the fly, wraps it in silk, and proceeds to quietly munch on it, leaving the door unguarded.

This obviously loses the fly, but it also loses points. Even though the description of the fly doesn’t have the patented exclamation mark at the end (like all the other treasures do) it gets points if stored as a treasure.

I had explored the outdoors at the very beginning of playing this game, and had concluded there weren’t any additions. I apparently missed going west two times from the starting room, because there’s an extensive outdoors section:

I originally went north from the “Jumble of Large Broken Rocks” where I was led to the “High Cliff”, dutifully marking my map and assuming I had reached a dead end.

Soon after, I had reached the point of stuckness that I decided to peruse the Dennis Donovan map excerpted at the top of this post. The map really is a pleasure to look at, and it makes the game feel like a real location far more than any other map I can recall. It’s also useful for meta-solving; consider this portion on the lower-left corner:

This is technically of the 751-point version, although there only seems to be one small portion that doesn’t match with Adventure 501. This was sold commercially at the time; no high-resolution scan was available until earlier this year when Arthur O’Dwyer happened upon a copy.

I never found a “Thunder Hole” on my map, but it certainly looked like it was accessible. I made a return trip and found that going north from the “Jumble of Large Broken Rocks” also can go (simply at random) to the “Thunder Hole” area instead. Argh! This kind of trick I’ve only seen in Adventure variants, and I am deeply grateful nobody else picked up on it the way other authors ran with mazes.

Posted August 8, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “Adventure 501: Outdoors

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  1. I actually like the random-chance-of-success room connections. :) In this case it’s simulationist-fair, too: you said “go north” but you didn’t say whether to go “up to the top of the nearby cliffs” or to follow the “narrow treacherous path […] at the foot of the cliff”! If you actually use the words UP or DOWN, you’ll go in the appropriate direction 100% of the time; it’s only NORTH that could mean either way.

  2. “there only seems to be one small portion that doesn’t match with Adventure 501” — The huge castle in the upper left, yes? :) And the Elephant Graveyard and Leprechaun Rock leading up to it, apparently north of the east portal of the Gothic Cathedral. Also, in between the castle and the salt marsh, there’s a sort of drainage ditch, and also a sort of shelf of rock (covered in ivy) with something on top of it; these might be just decoration, I’m not sure. (I take the centipede on the left for decoration, but again I don’t know for sure.) And then in the marsh there’s a sign and a flat bit that I take for the helipad.

    • I’m fairly sure those bits are from Dave Long’s 751-point extension, which derived from this one. However, no copy of that version has survived (as far as I know – which is why he could get away with using that map veen though it’s technically for the wrong version, because he’s essentially spoiling a game that doesn’t exist.)

      • Yep. I just didn’t look too closely at the NW corner of the map. (Although to be honest, Adventure 501 got more fun once I started using the map — see the random-chance exits.)

        I was going mess with Carl Ruby’s “blind port” of Adventure 751 when I got to it (which is technically a 1980 game, so it won’t be that far off from now!)

        Even if I had the real source I probably wouldn’t play all the way through anyway, I will just check out the new stuff.

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