Dracula Avontuur (1980)   11 comments

Velen hebben reeds getracht de schat van Lord Dracula te vinden, weinigen zijn teruggekomen. Jij wilt het dus ook proberen…

To recap our past shenanigans with non-English text adventures, we’ve so far played

In all three cases, I played in English. Dracula Avontuur is (probably) the first original non-English game made for home computers, and (probably) the first text adventure in Dutch for any system.* It has never been translated, so I have to play it in the original Dutch.

Dracula was written by Ronald van Woensel in 1980 for the Commodore PET using only 8K of memory (tiny, see ADV.CAVES for comparison), but the text was later expanded in 1982 and ported to CP/M; what I’ve got access to is the expanded version from the author’s website.

From the 1982 commercial version.

The objective (as given by a note in your house) is that Lord Dracula has a great treasure, and you want to try to go get it. I’m glad it’s that and not “open parliamentary proceedings with interpretive dance” or “solve progressively harder sets of anagrams” because I’d have no idea how to solve that kind of puzzle in Dutch.

I’ve had to puzzle out what to type rather like I was playing The Gostak (which is a 2001 IFComp entry where the language itself of the game is a puzzle, and you have to infer what everything means). Thankfully, the game had mercy on me early and gave some possible sample commands…

Ik geloof, dat je niet helemaal begrijpt wat de bedoeling is.
Je moet steeds opdrachten geven van 2 woorden, je kan bijoorbeeld nu intypen:
SLUIT RAAM ,om het raam te sluiten
GA ZUID ,om naar die slaapkamer te gaan
KLIM GAT ,om te proberen dat gat boven je te bereiken
INVENTARIS ,om te zien wat je bij je hebt
LEES BRIEF ,om dat briefje wat op de grond ligt et lezen.
KIJK ,om nog eens te zien waar je bent en wat je kan doen.

…and for fun, for any non-Dutch speakers out there, what do you think they say?

Is “duivelaarsmunt” a normal Dutch word?

I’ve only made a smidge of progress, so I’ll get more into my gameplay process in my next post. So far I’ll describe it as “fun but exhausting”.

(*) There is another candidate, also in Dutch, but it could have been written anytime from 1980 to 1981, so I’m going to wait until I’ve done more research before playing it.

Posted August 29, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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11 responses to “Dracula Avontuur (1980)

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  1. In a foreign language? This is truly adventuring!!

  2. I was going to leave some not very constructive guesses about the meaning of the commands, but they ran aground on the fact that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe hadn’t started yet so it’s not likely that this would include a command to call Ram Man a slut.

    Also it is throwing me that “je” means “you” when I know enough French to read it as “I.”

    Let’s see:
    Inventaris = inventory
    Ga zuid = go south
    Kijk = hint? use it (once?) to see where you are and what you can do?
    Lees brief = look around? to see what’s lying on the ground and what you can see?
    Klim gat = no idea
    Sluit ram = as far as I can tell from the words that follow it, this command calls Ram Man a slut

  3. oh dear. I 100% blame the WordPress commenting interface.

  4. “It has never been translated”

    Given that, over the course of playing through it, you will be translating every individual bit of text in the game… maybe the culmination of this playthrough could be the release of an English language version, at long last?

    • I wouldn’t want to commit to anything like that until I know how complicated the game really is. (It might be more doable than your average translation job, though.)

      • Not trying to commit anyone to the work, just wanted to indicate the possibility sitting there on the table. Seems to me that for BASIC-era text adventures, translation might well be a relatively straightforward matter of text substitution.

  5. As a native speaker of Dutch, I can say that I have never seen or heard the word “duivelaarsmunt” before. It seems to be an original coinage. Pun intended. ;-)

    • I’ve heard the variant “duvelaar” with the meaning of rascal / mischief-maker (in Flemish Brabant). Definitely not standard Dutch though. No idea what a duivelaarsmunt might be.

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