Mad Venture: The Key Is the Food to Your Problem   8 comments

Mad Venture is one of those games in split-screen format where room descriptions, objects, and exits are consistently displayed on the screen, so the command LOOK by itself (which makes sense in single-window games to reproduce the room description) is a little redundant. In Mad Venture it gives the message

OK. SEEMS SAME SCENE SEEN!

and I suddenly had 20-year old memories flood in.

You see, this reminded me of Nick Montfort’s game Ad Verbum (2000) which I was a beta tester for.

Sloppy Salon
Simple social space, sadly spoiled. Some skewed situation’s sequel, surely. Seemingly, slovenly students sojourned — scraping, scratching, scuffing surfaces.

Stuff: … stainless steel stapler… sizable sofa.

This is a room where only words with the letter S work. To get by this point you need a word meaning “exit the room” which starts with the letter S.

This alerted me to that — at least to some extent — Mad Venture is a wordplay game, where the physical selves of objects are just as important as the words attached to them.

I had previously managed to get small by eating a sandwich, and pop in a rabbit until to an underground area. From there I was stuck; there was a nasty sandwich there, but if I tried to eat it, it ate me back. I was too small to pick up any of the items, including the lamp, so I wasn’t able to travel anywhere.

Previously, aboveground, I had found a book that read “THE FOOD IS THE KEY TO YOUR PROBLEM” that I used as a hint to eat the sandwich; since I sent everything underground, including the book, I decided to try reading it again and was surprised to find the text had changed:

THE KEY IS THE FOOD TO YOUR PROBLEM

Oho, what about EAT KEY?

This opened the map up much wider.

The left half of the underground, as I’ve mapped it so far.

To the west I found a “small, low chamber” that was “filled with dusty rocks”. You might be familiar with this location from Adventure. Keeping the wordplay in mind, I tried to CLEAN ROCKS:

THE DUST SEEMS TO REVEAL “KATIE WAS HERE” SCRIBBLED ON ONE OF THE ROCKS.

The word “KATIE” in this particular word serves to teleport the player back and forth from the lobby of the movie theater where all the treasures need to be dropped.

I mostly haven’t had other progress. I did find a boulder I pried away with a crowbar, and a beggar who wanted one of my treasures.

I haven’t seen the beggar since; at the moment I’m assuming you get a hint later but not an optimal score if you hand over a treasure.

I got stymied by a guard who wants a gold coin, and found a very strange L I B R A R Y that didn’t let any of my objects in.

I also found a puzzle which utterly blew my mind.

Remember, in a wordplay game, words only connect tenuously with their corresponding objects, so–

Actually, let’s pause a moment. What can happen next?

I found a SMILING CHESSER CAT down one of the branches, but I don’t know what to do with him yet.

While FORK does refer to a fork in a road…

Notice the room description change.

…it can also refer to a utensil, so GET FORK works, and removes the fork in the road! This changes the map so rather than there being a northwest and a northeast exit, there’s just north.

Posted August 4, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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8 responses to “Mad Venture: The Key Is the Food to Your Problem

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  1. Do the NW and NE branches lead to useful places? Or is it a dead end until you figure out the fork puzzle?

  2. Things I can’t do anything with:
    “Chesser” is surely deliberate, and I feel like outdoor tablecloths often have a checked pattern, but I don’t know how that could be put together.
    A tortoise shell is also a kind of cat, but you can’t wear it, and the cat shows no interest.
    If you try to “Go bottle” when four inches tall, it says “You’re not a genie!” If you rub the lamp, a genie says “Wrongo!” and disappears. Is there a way to get the genie into the bottle?
    If you “pray” in the Christine Chapel it says “Amen!”
    I think the Tuesday Ruby randomizes your motion?

    • “Christine Chapel”? lol. I assume the Star Trek reference is deliberate? (not to mention a referenec to the Sistine Chapel, which makes me wonder if that was intended in the naming of the character…)

      • I don’t know the Star Trek reference! I had sort of assumed it was a reference to one of the authors of the game.

        There’s a chapel in one version of Adventure but I don’t know if that is the version that is influencing this game!

    • You can take the TUESDAY RUBY into the library, for some reason. Dunno how that’s helpful, yet.

      You can take the book in which does make sense, and you get a new message:

      PROFESSOR PLUMM, WITH THE REVOLVER, IN THE CONSERVATORY

      Again, no idea of the significance here.

  3. @matt w, Nurse Christine Chapel is Majel Barrett’s character (other than the voice of the computer) on the original series. It doesn’t fit with the apparent theme of the game, but I figure anyone who is authoring computer adventures in this period stands a good chance of at least being familiar with Star Trek, so I have to wonder if it’s a nod.

    • Thanks! The Pearl Bailey and Crystal Gayle references are outside the Alice theme too, so this seems pretty likely!

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