A New Port of Night of the Vampire Bunnies   7 comments

I wrote quite a few text adventures in my youth, including one when I was about 7 or so which went something like: you were on the surface of Mars, which was also a maze. You found three colored buttons. If you pressed the wrong button, you blew up. If you pressed the right button, you went inside the planet to safety and won the game.

Let us just say I had the opportunity to save some of my old GW-BASIC source code, and declined.

The exception would be Night of the Vampire Bunnies, which I wrote when I was 10/11 (I believe I had my birthday somewhere mid-progress). There was a discussion of juvenilia on the rec.games.int-fiction forum and I decided to upload the thing, whereupon people have since treated it far more seriously than I would expect.

This includes a port for z-code which just appeared out of the blue one day — Patrick Kellum emailed me after the fact mentioning he had written it, and it includes a compass as well as a hint system.

We can add a second port to the pile, by the prolific Jim Gerrie. It’s for the TRS-80 MC-10 and allows more of a full retro effect.

The real damage done to Jason’s program, beyond condensing his descriptions, was that he had a fairly complex parser which I removed. It is clear that he did not simply use a standard existing two-word parser example program like “Tower of Mystery” from Compute’t Guide to Text Adventures (1984). He created his own unique system for parsing command input. He had a complex system for removing extra article words like THE and ON and TO. He had ways of breaking the sentences input not just into VERB NOUN, but also W1$ and W2$. He had the ambition to have his players type in more complete English sentences and then to try to parse the input into coherent instructions that could be handled by the program.

By the time I had written it, I was mainly playing Infocom games, so clearly a two-word parser would not do. However, there wasn’t anything in the game that seriously demanded the full parser, so the demake plays just fine.

While I’m mentioning Jim Gerrie, I’d like to point to two of his other ports: his version of Dave Kaufman’s Star Trader which is a seminal early 1970s game that is mostly forgotten today, and his port of Shoplifting Boy, the first stealth game, originally by Hiroshi Suzuki in 1979.

Posted March 12, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

7 responses to “A New Port of Night of the Vampire Bunnies

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  1. Your first effort sounds like it may have been influenced by Zak McKracken (a maze on Mars, three buttons inside the pyramid that’s connected with the one on Mars, three buttons you need to push in order to open the giant door on Mars…) but maybe you wrote it before that?

    • Yes, this was before LucasArts made any adventure games. I believe the only commercially released adventure game I might have had at the time was the Golden Oldies Volume 1 from Software Toolworks which had a port of Adventure (the only port which Crowther and Woods got any money from).

      Other than that I typed stuff from books I got at the library.

      • So maybe David Fox was a fan of the Vampire Bunnies, then?

        Anyway, I reckon I’ll give your game a spin soon; it sounds like it has a nice (at that age probably unintentional) b-movie vibe going.

  2. Thanks for a great game and a nice post about my port. Soon I’ll have a TRS-80 Color Computer and a Dragon 32 version available too. I’ll let you know when they come out. Your bunnies continue to procreate;) They’re “prolific” like me!

  3. Here is a link to info about the Coco and Dragon version of Bunnies: https://jimgerrie.blogspot.com/2020/03/some-new-text-adventure-ports-for-coco.html

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