Savage Island Part 1 (1980)   7 comments

Last time we had a Scott Adams game, he tried to turn up the difficulty with Ghost Town. Savage Island Part 1 manages to barely squeak into 1980 and is the game (along with Part 2 from 1981) where Scott completely and explicitly makes things as tough as possible. From the game’s blurb:

WARNING FOR EXPERIENCED ADVENTURERS ONLY!!!! A small island in a remote ocean holds an awesome secret. Will you be the first to uncover it?

Not one, two, or three, but four exclamation marks. Just so you know it’s serious.

No treasures here: this is a game of raw survival. But … also something else? It starts with the same in media res style from Secret Mission and The Count.

Unlike those games, there aren’t any context clues to quite figure out what’s going on (unless the stone head is a more significant hint than I’m catching on to). I’m also getting some vibes from Lost, albeit three decades early (up to and including having a bear on a tropical island; we’ll get to that in a moment).

You start with a watch that tracks your number of turns taken

and it became quickly apparent to me the game is exploring the dimension of time in addition to space when a hurricane hit at turn 67.

When we talk about exploration in adventure games, we usually mean physical space, but some games — often mysteries in particular — include a sequence of events set for certain times that seems just as mappable.

So far, I have access to the opening beach…

…a volcano area…

…and an underground portion in darkness.

(NOTE: Likely entirely inaccurate.)

The volcano area has a bear who will occasionally maul/eat me if I have a smell. For example, physical exertion causes sweat. A jump in the lake will remove the sweat, but that carries its own problems (you can’t get any objects through the lake without drowning).

The darkness area is probably (?) a maze, but possibly one that is meant to be mapped when it is still dark. The bear can come in and follow you around, so simple brute force doesn’t seem to help that much (and that’s not even including the probable time limit with the hurricane).

So, in essence: I have solved exactly zero obstacles. Despite this game clearly being very hard already, I’m enjoying myself more than Ghost Town so far; there’s more direction and structure, and the presence of the hurricane means there will be at least some sort semblance of plot.

Posted May 17, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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7 responses to “Savage Island Part 1 (1980)

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  1. Suggestions which you have perhaps tried:
    Feed fish bones to bear (and hope it will choke?)
    Feed the coconuts to the bear
    Ride the log through the lake (dunno what syntax this might take)

    • No feed verb, and give maps to drop. Bear didn’t seem interested in bones or coconuts. I could get him interested if I could transfer my sweat probably, but I haven’t had any luck.

      I did already try log in lake. I discovered “make raft” is a verb, and it looks like the jungle has vines you could cut with a tool, so I am guessing that might be where it goes. (Trying to swim in the ocean gets you eaten by sharks, so it may just go there.)

      “Look bear” notes the bear is sickly, btw.

  2. I had a vague memory of Scott Adams himself commenting on this game in, and after a brief search I actually found his post on Google Groups. However, it spoils puzzles in both this and Savage Island Part 2, so I suppose I shouldn’t link to it here at this stage.

    Petter Sjölund
    • He does have this to say about where you are stuck, though: “I’m not sure what I was thinking of when I wrote that part.”

      Petter Sjölund
      • Neat! I don’t remember him ever posting to

        And yeah, keep spoilers away, I don’t even want ROT13 at the moment. Play-along speculation by anyone who hasn’t played but wants to try stuff out is fine (see matt w thread above).

      • i figure that I am so unlikely to get anything right that my suggestions surely won’t count as spoilers.

  3. “Hurricane Alexis” is, of course, a reference to Scott Adams’s wife-at-the-time, Alexis Adams. I believe she’s credited with writing parts of Pirate Adventure, and with Voodoo Castle, both of which Scott Adams coded and published.

    I heard that they divorced some years later, though.

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