Cavern of Riches (1980)   18 comments

In 1980, John O’Hare wrote a trio of games for the Commodore PET:

Adventure 1: Cavern of Riches
Adventure 2: The Great Pyramid
Adventure 3: Haunted Mansion

All three were later ported to C64, including one version sold by Keypunch Software in 1985 in such a way I am fairly certain the original author never got any money.

Via The Museum of Computer Adventure Game History. Ah, the halycon days where you could grab some BASIC games off somewhere, slap them on a disk, and put them on sale.

I played the C64 version which ended up having a major bug I’ll talk about at the end of this, so I’d recommend using the original PET version instead. I’ve confirmed the PET version doesn’t have the same bug.

The complete game map. Click to enlarge.

Now, we’ve seen a lot of creativity by 1980, enough so that there have been more non-treasure-hunt games than treasure-hunt games. I’m sad to say that’s not the case here. Not only is this a raw plotless treasure hunt, the author more or less stole more than half of the locations and puzzles from Adventure.

Exhibit A:

This is not actually the first screen of the game; you start outside a log cabin instead.

Exhibit B:

I find it interesting how even though the game clearly understood what I meant from >enter bridge it enforced I go back and type it as >cross bridge.

Exhibit C:

Ah, another round of “guess the noun”.

Exhibit D:

This is simplified from Adventure in that you only have to water the plant once.

Ok, enough ragging: complex programming within the limits of the PET was a bit of a hassle, so this was clearly just a game where the author was figuring things out. Despite slavishly copying Adventure, the game has two interesting creative touches.

First, if you die (a little tricky to do, but you can jump into a volcano, for instance) the game sends you to “Limbo”.

Assuming no knowledge, you then have a 1/6 chance of living, since 5 of the exits take you to the gates of heaven, whereas only one (east) brings you to life. (ADD: As Wade points out in the comments, this is a moment cribbed straight from the Scott Adams game Adventureland.)

I also liked this moment with a blue light.

If you try to take the floating sphere, you die (you get electrocuted). It serves no purpose at all. It doesn’t even model light correctly (if you turn your lamp off, you can’t see it). But still, for a brief moment, I got a feel of Atmosphere. I’d like this to be the start of the game. Where is the light coming from? Is it a creature, or a ghost, or a projection created by some device?

Oh, and the bug:

I gathered all 12 treasures, but dropping a treasure does not register anything on the score (I ended with 0 out of 120 points), so there’s no win screen. I’m fairly sure the version I had was the Keypunch one.

Yes, Keypunch put on a sale a game that was broken so that not only is it impossible to win, it’s impossible to score any points at all. I’ll still calling this one done, but I’ll stick with the classic PET version when I get to O’Hare Adventure #2.

Posted May 1, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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18 responses to “Cavern of Riches (1980)

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  1. 74 carats (kudos for them spelling it correctly, anyway) seems specific. I wonder if it’s a reference to something, or merely a number picked to sound large.

  2. No, that’s what I mean. You appear to have 24-karat, i.e. pure, gold in mind. The two terms are actually related (see, but no particular carat size of a large gemstone leaps to my mind as being a “typical” one.

  3. It’s kind of like if Scott Adams had written Advent.

    Was there a proper port of Advent for the PET at the time? If not, the borrowing is forgivable.

  4. “Re: it’s kind of like if Scott Adams had written Advent” – his incarnation of Advent was Adventureland, which the style (asterisked treasures) and hazards of this game here (the limbo room, ‘find right exit and live’ sign) are pretty much direct lifts.

    • Uh, yeah, that was kind of my whole point.

      • It looks like Mr. O’Hare may have modified the Adventureland source code directly to make his game, although I haven’t examined super closely (the formatting is the same and the intro-text is the same).

    • Just came across this blog. I wrote these adventure games. The inspiration was definitely the original Crowther & Woods adventure. My dad was a computer programmer and I would either play on a terminal he brought home from work or if I was lucky, a few times I got to go to work with him and play all day. Did not lift any code from Scott Adam’s adventures…the only computer I had access to was my Commodore PET. Hard to remember that long ago, but I likely read a review or saw something about his adventures online and may have copied the style. I also translated a handful of adventures written by others to the PET…like the ones on the diskette pictured above so may have copied some of the style from those as well.

      • Wow, thanks so much for coming by!

        Had you seen the Keypunch distribution? Or was it unauthorized?

        I particularly enjoyed Great Pyramid (I confess the tiger puzzle outwitted me) and Haunted Mansion, I’m assuming you found my posts about those already.

      • I hadn’t seen that distribution. I wrote these for the Commodore PET. Had nothing to do with them being ported to the Commodore 64. Same thing with a Monopoly game I wrote…someone added color and sold it for the 64 under the name Monopole.

      • Glad you enjoyed the games. I should probably go back and play them. I think my own “puzzles” would fool me at this point since it’s been 40+ years since I wrote those. :)

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  7. You can fix the scoring bug by quitting the game and changing line 178 into

    178 if mid$(ob$(i),2,1)=”*”andob%(i)=tr then sc=sc+tv

    Then run again. The problem probably comes from adding color codes to the object description in this version of the game.

  8. Wow….interesting to come across this. I wrote these Adventure games a LONG time ago along with a Monopoly game for the Commodore PET. The original Adventure was definitely the inspiration…played it on a mainframe where my father worked many times.

  9. Pingback: Fantasyland (1982) | Renga in Blue

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