Lost Ship Adventure: Finished   7 comments

Last time, I was stuck not being able to mark a map. While I knew the EXAMINE command worked, for some reason I had neglected to EXAMINE FEATHER which yielded “it’s a pen!” and the object changed.

Once I had the pen, I was able to >MARK MAP; then I could >SET SAIL to an island visible from the Crow’s Nest. (It’s unclear why you *had* to mark the map in order to move the ship.)

Upon arriving, a manatee climbed on board. I went down to the water and — using the fishing net from the cargo hold — I was able to catch some fish. I gave the fish to the manatee, who dropped a gold key.

Walking to the island, I found a jungle maze (GO NORTH, GO EAST, GO NORTH gets you through if you’re playing). Past the jungle was a cave with a dead pirate and a chest. The chest opened with the gold key and I found some gems.

I carted the gold key, chest of gems, and the two treasures from last time (jeweled dagger and bag of gold) back to the original beach. I was then able to STORE each one in turn (I don’t know why it worked now but not before, I’m guessing it was just a bug).

There was no announcement I was done finding treasures. SCORE just gives the number. I just had to guess I was done, at which point I found out upon QUITting that I found all four of them.

A promising start was essentially utterly wasted. It’s been a while since I’ve been outright disappointed in a game.

I realize this is maybe just in contrast with the extreme difficulty of Deathmaze 5000, but I even found Nellan is Thirsty to be a better experience than Lost Ship Adventure, and that one was written explicitly for children. This was marketed like a regular game!

In a theoretical sense, the most interesting part was how long I was stuck. I devoted quite a lot of time to re-copying the opening map, checking verbs, pondering the item list, etc. I had simply missed to >EXAMINE FEATHER when I had examined nearly everything else. I’m not sure the feather was even intended as a “puzzle”; perhaps it intended more as a piece of theatricality.

This is an experience that can happen even in “good” games, where you miss clicking on one particular door or miss an item interaction for no particular reason and get stuck for hours on useless actions. On a moderate-to-difficult game, it can make later puzzles simpler (having objects and their interactions memorized) but in this case after finding the pen I wrapped the entire thing up in less than 10 minutes.

Those reading this: do you have any stories of a similar experience?

POSTSCRIPT: I realized a day after posting this there was an aspect to the game I hadn’t seen before. Note how while the room description pops up all at once, the objects “scroll in” on the display.


The scrolling text effect can happen on old machines and especially when playing a game on a printer (like Zork on a mainframe sometimes was done) but this is the first time I’ve seen an adventure with the delay intentionally added.

I normally associate this effect now with visual novels, but it’s interesting the author went through the not-insignificant effort of putting it here.

Posted July 24, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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7 responses to “Lost Ship Adventure: Finished

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  1. I remember a game (Eruption, by Richard Bos) where I got stuck for a while on the last step, digging through a pile for a lot of useless stuff and/or easter eggs, before I remembered that I had started the game with an object in my inventory which was what I needed to accomplish the last task. This seems particularly silly given the back-story behind Eruption.

    In Lost Ship Adventure I tried LOOK as the examine synonym and was confused. Maybe EXAMINE was in the manual? I sort of thought I tried it. Anyway the underwater maze did me in, particularly because the air gauge didn’t reset when you surface. (This may be realistic.) If I were enterprising I could figure out how to edit the source code to give me lots and lots of air, but I’m not.

    • I missed most of the IFComp games from about 2004 to 2012 (except the year 2007 where I did reviews). I really ought to try them sometime.

      If you get HELP you do get the message TRY EXAMINING THINGS. I could easily see that being in the manual (although it doesn’t exist on the Internet).

      I maybe should have just started testing EXAMINE right away given my last game let you examine things, but in this case I hit upon it by accident. I tried to READ something that didn’t have any text, and got a response that looked an awful lot like examining. It turns out they’re just both mapped as synonyms.

  2. I wonder if the text delay is just a side effect of a very inefficient word-wrapping routine, not a deliberate feature?

  3. OK. Thanks.

  4. That is a very NEAT chart of plot evolution. Please, consider copying and pasting that chart and explanation at the “All Adventures” page.

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