Pirate Island: Finished!   4 comments

Back on my Pirate Island post where I was stuck at 12 out of 16, Tom Shave (one of the sons of the author) showed up and gave some hints.

Now this is going back a while so I don’t have all the answers (my Dad wrote this game when I was about 8 years old and my brother and I used to play test it. I think we got 29p for any bugs we found!). The wood shavings I’m pretty sure are to make some sort of tinder box. A light to help you down the well perhaps. The cheese is to give to a Ben Gunn type of castaway in exchange for treasure or a map. I can’t remember where he is though (perhaps down the well). There is indeed a map and it gives you a location to dig. You won’t find it by randomly digging though.

I admit I’m quoting the whole thing just because I love the “29p for any bug” story.

While this did not tell me exactly where to go, it strengthened my suspicion I was missing a room exit (a mistake that long-time readers of mine should be familiar with). After poring over each room in turn, I finally hit the Sandy Beach, and right there in the room description, it mentioned both a west and a south exit.

I may have been fouled up by the physical position I used on my map of the connection to the boat. When there’s more than one way of drawing a map, it’s possible to get a slightly different mental image than the author; I was imagining the boat more or less being to the “south” and only drew it to the side for compactness sake.

This led me to a cave that required using my tinderbox for light. Inside I found a man with a paper; I handed over some cheese and he became friendly.

Picking up the paper revealed it was my long-sought-after map:


Going back to my list of things I hadn’t used: the spade (which clearly is about to show up), the bottle (which I could fill with water, although I didn’t know what yet), some wood shavings (it turns out these can refill the tinderbox if it burns out) and a parrot. Ah, the parrot!

It had been hanging on my shoulder. I had not been able to interact with it at all, but the message from the game hinted at a verb; I tried ASK PARROT and it said “PIECES OF EIGHT.” (This led me on a long useless side attempt to get the parrot to steal the pieces of eight back I had already spent for the last treasure; we’ll get to that.)

I took the parrot over to a suspicious-looking tree and typed ASK PARROT.

Hurray! I dug the X with my spade, revealed a treasure chest …


… and found … that I had gotten thirsty from the digging, and the chest was too heavy to pick up without a drink of water. On that particular run I hadn’t got the water yet.


Unfortunately, leaving the X mark means you can’t find it again, so I had to reset and make sure I got the water first before digging. Amusingly, on my “winning run” the pirate stole the chest before I could pick it up; I don’t know if that “short circuits” the puzzle so you don’t have to drink water. (It does work on the puzzle with the gorilla that you need to give bananas so you can take a silver bar; one time I ended up with both the bananas and the silver bar because the pirate stole the silver for me. Accidental emergent puzzle solve ahoy!)

This let me get 14 out 16 points, but the last 2 remained elusive. Sneakily, the two pieces of eight used to buy the antidote from the natives can count as a treasure, so I spent a long time trying to either steal the antidote or steal back the pieces of eight with no luck.

redhighlander, who has helped on a previous treasure-laden island, managed to sleuth out the missing 2 points. You may remember I cut open a crocodile to get a clock, but the crocodile wasn’t done being useful yet.

I’ve been trying to reverse engineer how I could have figured this out myself. I’m not sure, other than perhaps the relatively elaborate descriptions of cutting the crocodile were intended as a clue.

Incidentally, the “I am your puppet” idea where you are “remote controlling” a character shows up in full force here, with the line “THIS ISN’T THE SORT OF THING I ENJOY.” It’s like the player character is only reluctantly carrying out your orders. Except, the player character is also the computer, somehow. I find the clash disconcerting. (Also, when we return to Michael Berlyn, we’ll see he plays with this player character vs. computer relationship in the game Cyborg.)

I’m winding down on Mad Venture (it really isn’t a “large” game) so hopefully, by my next post, you’ll see victory there as well.

Posted August 6, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “Pirate Island: Finished!

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  1. can parrots whisper?

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