Escape from Traam: One Puzzle   3 comments

Let’s get meta for a moment and talk about this blog project as a whole.

While I had inspiration from The CPRG Addict and his chronological gameplay, I also have greatly admired The Stack which has a rule about blogging 24 hours after any gameplay has happened. This occasionally has led to entire blog posts about technical issues in playing, or writeups on very small game elements, and I’ve always found them to be glorious.

With adventure games, especially in the early era, it’s quite easy to be stuck running in place for a while. I could of course extract myself with hints — look, there’s even an official Adventure International hint sheet — but I do want to recreate the original experience, which occasionally means being stuck for a while on just five rooms. Sometimes it allows for philosophical asides, or introspection on the actual nature of game-play and being stuck. At least, I consider each “post” to be part of an entire series rather than stand-alone, so if you go to my All the Adventures page, I link to tags rather than individual blog posts. (Even when a game is a one-shot, I use the tag in case something else comes up.)

Past the cryptogram from last time (the alien wants gold, which I haven’t found yet) I found a hill and a cave…

…a silver stream which “steams” (if you try to drink, it “vaporizes your body”)…

…and a forest, where I found a frond, but couldn’t climb any trees.

The cave is just, well, dark. I thought perhaps I could shoot my frond with my hand laser and set it on fire, but I found it was “jammed”. It turns out, even thought you can’t go UP, CLIMB still works.

This leads to a “small deserted cabin” with a locked trunk.

And that’s it. I guess climbing counts as one puzzle. Not much for a week, is it? Part of the issue is I’m not sure if what comes next is

a.) a “hidden puzzle”, that is, some action elsewhere I was supposed to take — even back in one of the locations I’ve already been

b.) a direct puzzle, like getting light to the cave (which may just be impossible) or unlocking the trunk (…but I get the intuition this game really is looking for a key)

c.) something even sillier, like a location I can GO to that I missed; I thought I tried everywhere, but I’ve thought such things before

I am curious how many people from that era really were willing to be stumped that long; even if you only had access to, say, two games — not all that odd — there comes a point where gameplay is just too much grinding with too little progress.

I’ll give it another spin, just to shake things out, but I’m guessing by next time I’ll have referred to that tempting hint page.

Posted March 19, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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3 responses to “Escape from Traam: One Puzzle

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  1. “I am curious how many people from that era really were willing to be stumped that long; even if you only had access to, say, two games — not all that odd — there comes a point where gameplay is just too much grinding with too little progress.”

    I remember being an adventure game fan in the early ’90s with little aptitude for the genre. My strategy was to make shallow headway into as many games as I could obtain, then wait months, weeks or .. never? for responses to hint requests on BBSes. (The advanced technique in this case was of course to go source code diving.)

  2. I was a kid when I played this and other adventures on my TRS-80. I’d return to games I got stuck on every few weeks. But some I was not able to solve, and felt both disappointed and a bit cheated, depending on how far I’d gotten. On the other hand, the hard ones I did solve were extra satisfying. I only finished “Asylum” years later, with the help of hints, on a PC-emulated version of a TRS-80, after the Web had been invented.

  3. Before you look at the hint sheet you may want to read my previous rot13’d comment as it’s a somewhat softer hint at Jyym Pearson’s idiosyncrasies that may well help you with the cave.

    If you’d like hints for your specific culs-de-sac, I’d be happy to provide them as well.

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