Mystery Mansion: Finished!   2 comments

As predicted I was quite near the end, but I had to do the extreme measure of opening the data file with a text editor to get there. It was worth it for the ending (which, I’ll be honest, is not something I’d ever expect to say for a Greg Hassett game, but here we are).

Mostly here for spoiler space: this is the image leading Greg Hassett’s article “How to Write an Adventure Game” from the book Big Computer Games published in 1984.

After the shenanigans in my last post, which included bringing down a force field with a phaser and chiseling a dime out of rock, I made it to a graveyard where I found out the objective of the game:

Nearby was a phone booth with a phone book. (Conveniently, the faux-dime made out of rock worked on it.) I suspected that the goal above would be reached via dialing the right number, but no permutation of >READ BOOK yielded a number; it wasn’t possible to look up the name HOGGS or the like.

Fairly soon I was out of obstacles, except for a large rock which didn’t have any writing and didn’t yield to any of the adventurer commands of TWIST / TURN / PULL / etc. After fruitless wandering back and forth I decided to open the file in a text editor and hope for the best.

I had overlooked my Star Trek references: if a phaser is in a game, *always* check it for multiple settings. Specifically, >LOOK PHASER revealed it had settings for REVERSE (the default) and DESTROY. I changed the setting to DESTROY and went back to the large rock:

This opened up a new passage into some secret archives.

Fortunately, letters on keypads haven’t gone out of date yet, so I was able to convert the clue into a number, and the glorious ending.

Just for reference, a quarter is about 5.67 grams, so 12 million of them would weight 68 metric tons or just a bit lighter than a large dinosaur. It’s going to be fun toting away the haul! (This is assuming the main character even survived the deluge.)

Most games from this era had perfunctory endings. I suppose this one did as well — just three sentences! — but the Monkey’s Paw style twist was enough for me to be happy. (I liked Zork’s ending as well as Local Call for Death’s, but I can’t think of any others from 1980 or before that were memorable.)

Posted February 11, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Mystery Mansion: Finished!

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  1. “Reverse” is a curious setting for a phaser. Did you try it on anything?

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