PLATO Adventure: 36.5%   Leave a comment

I am, somewhat disappointingly, quite stalled. I might have to stop my traversals here until I can summon up source code or the like.

It’s hard to put a good fixed narrative on what happened, since I essentially went through multiply forays where I started getting more of the lay of the map, but according to the documentation which lists 148 rooms, I have found only a little more than a third.

Various things I found:

• A curtain of light that I wasn’t able to do anything with; one of these is in the Bank of Zork in original Zork but there’s no way to pass through the wall I could find. I may just have the syntax wrong, or there may genuinely be a change to the puzzle.

• Speaking of changes to puzzles, the four colored buttons are in at the Dam #3, but the only way to get them to work I could find was to push all of them in reverse order, causing the room to start flooding. That led to the bolt outside glowing, and then I could TURN BOLT WITH WRENCH, which for some reason opens a staircase in the ravine below the dam as opposed to (apparently) operating anything logical. I feel like the form of the puzzle was taken but not the exact sense.

• Relatedly, I found the “echo room” from Zork, but the only way to solve it is the original way: by just typing the word ECHO. The solution involving stopping the dam water from rushing by only was added later.

• I found the thief and he on one encounter stole my stuff, and on another encounter killed me. I think if you just immediately flee when you see him he doesn’t do anything, which nullifies the impact a little.

• I found a maze of rooms “all alike”. Rather evilly, if you try to drop items to map things out, they end up getting moved to a “central room” which has a set of keys. I just had to guess my way out.

• The mine area is in, kind of — the diamond is out in the open and you don’t need to do anything special to get it — but the rusty rod with a star on it from Adventure is there also. I’ve tried waving the rod in various places with no success.

You’re locked in here and have to PUSH NEXT to get out. The NEXT button is a PLATO in-joke — it gets used all of the time in navigating the network system.

• I found two riddles in addition to the SHADOW one from last time. One of them was the WELL one from original Zork, and one of them is a regular classic.

My main sticking points are a.) the fact I still haven’t been able to get back outside, to the trophy case where the treasures are stored. b.) I don’t have a bottle of water, and I can’t substitute any other container — I can get an empty gas can but the game is just confused with syntax if I try to fill it. This means the plant calling for water in a pit (like in Adventure) can’t be grown into a beanstalk. c.) Relatedly, there’s a rusty steel door, and there’s oil, but I can’t bring one to the other. Oddly, if I try to fill the gas can with oil the game just says it’s now covered with oil (??).

I do worry there might be some bug stymying my progress. Trying to open an object gives a message about opening a book (I don’t have a book in my inventory) and the wobbly parser generally makes me concerned there’s some command too messed-up to deliver. I’m still going to make honest whacks for a few days but I may shelve this game for the moment and move on with my 1981 sequence a little more.

If you’re interested in playing the game yourself, the cyber1 server has it — you have to follow the login instructions, and when it asks what program you want to run, type “adventure” all in lower case. I still don’t understand how to set it up so save games work.

Posted March 8, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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