Argonath Adventure: Finished!   6 comments

From the official Irn Bru Facebook page.

I should’ve known.

The pattern: I write about some halfway-dodgy program, abandon it, and assume I’m done.

The date here differs from the other one in the source of June 19th. I would guess the date here is when this particular room was made, as opposed to the code being started.

My readers take it up as a challenge and finish the thing anyway (Chou’s Alien Adventure being a prime example).

Here, I felt satisfied with what I had seen with Argonath Adventure, but Redhighlander had to go and make it to victory, so I was obliged to give it another try.

The full map, the room is orange being ones I didn’t visit before.

To be fair, I probably should have given it another spin. I often overlook USE as a verb (being so non-specific) and I only figured out how to pick up the Irn Bru at the end of my last session. The way is blocked by some spiderwebs, and while I’m unclear what contribution this particular beverage might provide (is there lore about it being a powerful acid?), here’s the result:

This leads down to a small area with two kitchens, a “monster” that is hungry, and a computer where you are supposed to INSERT a DISC (which I had already from elsewhere).

Of the two kitchens, one of them has a red lever that deposits you in a volcano.

The other has a blue lever that gives you food.

You can take biscuits from elsewhere and feed them to a monster at a jet engine. I’m unclear what purpose this serves, but the monster goes away once USE BISCUITS happens.

Moving over to the computer, you can INSERT DISC to get teleported to a room with a key.

The key then lets you go south from the “Neon Sign” room I gave a screenshot of earlier, and make it to the exit.

The final screen suggests a sort of second game concurrent with the first one, where you try to kill the various monsters for score before escaping. FIGHT alone works, you can’t type the name of the monster, but it doesn’t matter, because this mechanic really does seem to be broken: you just die, even if you fortify yourself first by sleeping and eating.

I admit to finding the “optional objective” here which is almost entirely separate from the main game intriguing, even if it is entirely broken. The closest comparison I can think of from pre-1982 games is Lugi, with a randomly generated map and had tasks like “gather money” which could lend points but didn’t affect the actual element of escape. With platformers and the like, the interface can usually convey that Collectible X is there for points and a shiny medal; with adventure games, it is never clear to the player when one element really is separate, as there just might be a clue or hidden item that requires the right amount of progress.

Is this really the first Scottish text adventure? Well, there’s still not absolute verification of Danny Browne’s identity (but who else would insert a casual Irn Bru reference?) and of course there’s plenty of games on the 1982 list I have yet to examine, but whatever the circumstances, this has a high likelihood of being in the first handful of text adventures from the country.

Posted September 28, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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6 responses to “Argonath Adventure: Finished!

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  1. It’s possible that the web/irn-bru puzzle was just based around the normal idea of fizzy drinks being corrosive. Parents would often tell us that they’d “rot” our teeth and our insides back in the 1980s!

    There was a further link between spiders and Irn-Bru in the minds of a 1980s kid, though…

    One of the late 1970s TV adverts for Irn-Bru retold the story of Scottish national folk hero Robert the Bruce and the spider. In the original tale, Robert was hiding in a cave, having had his armies repeatedly defeated by the English. He was inspired to battle once again after watching a spider persistently try to construct a web. Although the spider failed each time he just kept on getting up and trying again until the web was eventually completed.

    The TV advert, as far as I can remember, set the tale up in a similar way but then saw the giant spider handing Robert a can of Irn-Bru. After drinking it, Robert rushed out of the cave (presumably destroying the spider’s web… I can’t quite remember… the advert doesn’t seem to be online) with the cry of, “Out of my way spider! I’ve got work to do!”

    (I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an 1980s text adventure out that that bases a puzzle on the most famous Irn-Bru advertising slogan, “made in Scotland from girders”.)

  2. Wait until you get to McMurphy’s Mansion. As an Englishman even I found the Scottish text jarring. It greets you with “Are you a laddie or a lassie?”

    • I think that one is more of a “Groundskeeper Willie” situation, given it seems to be of Canadian (or at least North American) origin. Not that the English don’t have their own long tradition of “C. U. Jimmy”-ing things up.

      • Magnetic Scrolls games are among the most flagrant in that regard. The use of “Wossname” becomes tiresome. A very East End of London trope.

      • I remember as a kid not knowing wossname was some specific slang and figured it was made up (the Magnetic Scrolls atmosphere lends itself to that a bit).

      • This conversation reminds me about how one Garfield strip ended with the use of “lawsey”, a regional term used in place of “lordy”, which apparently caused some deal of confusion over the years. Makes me wonder if there are any games that use that term or if any other games used some obscure local slang that got brushed off as game specific flavor.

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