Archive for the ‘Interactive Fiction’ Category

Warp: Swimming and Sailing   25 comments

With IFComp, I’ve managed to plow through about 10 Twine games and 0 text adventures. Warp occupies enough headspace that I have trouble fitting anything similar in, but other interactive fiction seems to occupy a different brain category. (I will probably do reviews, but as a “compilation” where I will compare a bunch of games at once.)

A “majestic Spanish Galleon” which patrols the seas. If you’re swimming, it doesn’t bother you; if you’re sailing, it fires cannons. Warp has the largest amount of ASCII art I’ve seen in an adventure game. Both mainframe Zork and Stuga included a handful, but I’ve seen something like 30 pictures in Warp so far.

 

I’ve opened up quite a bit of map and found many more treasures, although I haven’t done a run yet where I’ve gathered them all at once. Part of this has to do with a nasty discovery Roger Durrant made.

I had (without too much difficulty or fanfare) discovered that in the Bank of Warp, the vault opens at a particular time (hinted at by a note in the Director’s office). I was then able to sneak in and grab some gold bullion, delivering it to the display case in the Warp Museum and netting a total of 35 points. Roger subsequently tested out the same solution and found he couldn’t do it; essentially, if you miss the time window near the start for entering the vault, you have broken the game.

I am hence somewhat paranoid about other potential softlocks, and since Warp is fairly open, I’ve got various save games running in parallel as I thwack at the various mysteries and puzzles. Most notably, there’s a lamp with a battery having limited time, just like Adventure/Zork/Acheton, and I’m worried once all the uses are taken into account the time limit is tight. I still remember in the last part of Acheton having to walk through darkness to the endgame (saving repeatedly and restoring when I fell into a pit by chance); with Warp I have no such way out, because if your lamp gives out in darkness you die right away.

My major lamp use went into mapping a maze.

I first thought this was going to be a “well-behaved” maze where directions go back and forth in the direction you expect, and indeed the first portion of my expedition went that way. The map was laid out in “micro-floors” with up-and-down stairs connecting a little randomly, but each floor being normal. There was a treasure which took a little effort to find, I mopped up most of the available directions, and that was that.

However, in one of the last exits I checked (in a pair of rooms marked “Kilroy Was Here” and “Kilroy Was Here Too”) the micro-floor idea continued, but there were now many more “punishment” one-way exits. By that I mean if you went the “wrong way” you were sent far off course, essentially guaranteeing there was no way to find a good route at random. Structurally, this seems intended as a fake-out — trying to coax players into giving up at finding the first treasure and assuming the maze has nothing else to yield.

Secretarial Pool.
This is a large room with a high ceiling, glass walls, and a large, deep, swimming pool in the center. There is a sign next to the diving board that reads

WARP BUILDING SECRETARIES ONLY!
(Executives Forbidden)
Please Wash Toes Before Entering
the Pool.

There are two ways out, to the east and back to the north.

I can see the following:
Fins
Swimming Pool
Secretary
Postage Stamp

Incidentally, JUMP IN POOL is death.

You gracefully execute a perfect swan dive into mid air. In your great haste, however, you failed to notice that the Warp Building Maintanence crew has drained the pool to keep it from leaking into the Operating room below. But they are efficient, and will undoubtedly scrape up your remains before refilling the pool …

In an adjacent room there’s a hole that you can pick up, and move to other places (!). I haven’t worked out the full mechanics of how this works. I was too busy otherwise trying to map out the ocean.

Haunt’s 7 by 7 by 7 cube of water was technically larger, but this still trumps anything I’ve previously played in terms of elaborateness. You can swim out alone (although if you are out more than 3 turns, you get attacked by sharks). There is the occasional stable position which resets the “shark counter” — like a fog bank — so I was able to use those to do produce quite a bit of the map.

Some locations are just too far from shore and you need a boat. There is a boat sitting out in the open and I’m fairly sure using it wasn’t really intended as a puzzle, yet it’s very easy to miss how to launch it. You can go DOWN and find another room.

You find yourself in the main cabin of the boat. The walls here are dark paneled, and there is a well-used bunk along the port side. A small wooden cabinet is built into the wall at the bow end of the bunk. At the aft end of the starboard wall is a large closet, and the remainder of the room sports nothing of interest other than a few shelves. A few short steps at the aft end of the cabin lead back up to the main deck, while next to them another short stairway leads down, apparently to a lower deck.

I can see the following:
Bunk
Wooden Cabinet
Closet

There’s a sail in the closet; take it upstairs and RAISE SAIL and the boat will become mobile.

While reefs are no threat while swimming, they smash up the boat if you hit them while sailing. I find the dual-meaning to the locations intriguing. (There actually seems to be triple-meaning because diving underwater seems to be possible, although I haven’t tested it yet — hopefully next time.)

I will be traveling so the next post might be delayed a little. If you need some reading material in the meantime, there is a spreadsheet that is collecting the current reviews for IFComp.

Posted October 6, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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The 25th Interactive Fiction Competition is Open   1 comment

You can find all 82 entries here.

Posted October 1, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

Warp: Everything So Far   15 comments

So, IFComp 2019 is about to hit, and I do intend to play and even possibly write about some of the games, but I also wanted to keep my momentum going on 1980. What better contrast to a bunch of small games than a very, very, very large one?

From >READ POSTER in an early room in Warp.

I will try to keep my Warp posts to a more-or-less weekly pace, and put my IFComp posts in between.

You may want to read my old entries, but the summary is: Warp was an attempt one-up Zork developed all the way from 1980 to 1985, and made gigantic in the process. The sole objective is to gather all the treasures and get all the points (1216 of them). Even though I have my old map, just looking at it scares me.

Even given the amount of work I put in, I barely made any progress. This is one of those wide-open puzzle games where there are far too many things to work on at once and I’m not sure where to start.

I often have this sort of “game paralysis” with strategy games — I’m on move 3 and there’s lots of choices already, and I’m worried that the wrong direction will screw my game up at move 40 (because sometimes, it has) so I end up just losing interest. If I can overcome this kind of start and get immersed, the game can get going. I’ve never come up with a good coping mechanism for strategy games (I’ve only got through the start of every Six Ages game I’ve played and it’s been on my phone since release day).

With adventure games, sometimes it helps for me to list everything out. Both for my benefit (given my last “real” Warp post was over 3 years ago) and so y’all fine people see what’s going on, I broke the giant map into five regions.

THE WARP BUILDING AND NEARBY ENVIRONS

Central Plaza.
You are standing in what appears to be the central plaza of a small seacoast resort. There is a large fountain in the center of this square, and the plaza extends quite a distance to both the north and south. You can see the ocean in the distance to the west, and to the east there is a large building on which there is a sign that reads “WARP BUILDING”.

The game starts right outside the “WARP BUILDING”. Nearby the building is a place with a video game (I have no coins for it) and a police station. The police officer wanders the area and will arrest you if you are carrying a weapon.

It is unclear what the building is used for. After getting by a security guard (with a nametag out in the PARK area) there’s an abandoned kitchen and dining room, an two elevators with three buttons each (one which is “out of order” and kills you if you use it), and a “mad doctor”.

Operating Room.
This is a very clean, sterile-looking room with white walls and chromed stainless-steel fixtures. There is a large operating table in the center of the room, and various pieces of machinery surrounding it. There are exits to the north and west.

I can see the following:
Bag
Mad Doctor
Suddenly the doctor produces a huge syringe, and quickly flings it at you.
You feel a painful sting as it sticks in your leg!

The mad doctor runs rather like a Zork battle with random messages; I haven’t experimented with fighting back yet.

Other items: Round peg, Digital watch, Digital scale, Banana.

The banana is considered a weapon, and the policeman will arrest you if you have it.

THE PARK

You’re standing in the northeast corner of Warp Park. The grass in green, the sky is blue, and you can go almost any direction. There is one particularly large tree growing nearby.

There’s a silver flute here which counts as a treasure (and makes a high pitched “dog whistle” sound), a nametag (used in the Warp building), a sign which warns you not to dig on the grass, a crank and well, a random fig tree and pine tree, and a “bathing ugly”.

There’s also a koala bear high in a redwood which also counts as a treasure, although it eats through your inventory if you’re carrying it around. Also, if you try to put it in the display case for treasures (see the next area), it wanders off, so I’m guessing I need some sort of sedative-laced food.

THE MUSEUM

Just east of the park is the museum, which has a wandering curator and a display case for storing the treasures of Warp.

Curator’s Office
This is a large office with a musty smell. The walls are lined with rows and rows of books. Numerous stacks of paper and partially restored objects are piled about the room. A large desk with a leather-backed chair stands in one corner of the room. The only exit is through the door to the east.

I can see the following:
Display Case

The display case has a lamp (which the curator doesn’t mind if you take). The curator does mind if you abscond with anything else; there’s a Mayan Room with an odd disk (with a cryptogram I’ve written about before), a gemstone room with “Leeverite”, a Sarcophagus Room with a casket, a dinosaur room with a Warpasaur.

THE LIGHTHOUSE

To the west of the park, if you dive through the ocean and swim, you can find an island and a lighthouse.

You’re standing in a gently sloping meadow, surrounded on three sides by steep rising cliffs. To the east, there is a small sheltered cove, its waters placidly lapping near your feet. A rickety boat dock extends somewhat out into the water. You can go most any direction.

There’s a cave entrance but it is dark inside and I haven’t been able to get the lamp from the display case over because the ocean washes away any items I try to carry.

Other items: hardhat, rusty shovel, ruby lense. (Spelled that way in the game.)

THE DESERT AND THE MALL

To the east of the Warpian building is an area with a mall, an alley, and a desert.

You’re at the northeast corner of the Cobblestone Square, where before you looms a magnificent statue of Miles A. Weigh, one of the most famous of the Warpian explorers. The cobblestones stop, but the square appears to continue to the north.

The alley has a mugger who is Warp’s equivalent of the thief from Zork, and is keen on stealing all your treasures.

The mall has a bank and a subway station, which I haven’t quite worked out how to use even though I have a “transit pass”. I assume I can reach another new large section once I get in.

Heading east from here there is a “desert” with a sign warning of falling rocks, and if you keep going east you die via a rock randomly falling out of the sky on your head.

Immediately after making this list, I went over to the “hardhat” (which required swimming over the ocean in the far southwest of the map), wore it, was able to get through the ocean without dropping it (since I was wearing it) and used it to scoot through the desert safely and make it to a region beyond, which looks like it might also be big. This game just keeps going and going.

I have marked the location of the hardhat and the place where it solved a puzzle, just to give an idea of what kind of back-and-forth is required in this game.

Posted September 30, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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City Adventure   8 comments

You can generally rank the obscurity of my games for All the Adventures by how many of my three main sources they appear in (CASA Solution Archive, Interactive Fiction Database, and Mobygames).

As of this writing, City Adventure appears in zero.

Joining the ranks of teenage entrepreneurs Greg Hassett, Joel Mick, and Charles Forsythe is the team behind Software Innovations; according to the article above, it was founded in 1980 via “$100 investment donations from parents and the selling of shares in the company for $25.” The employees listed in the article above are

Evan Grossman, aged 16: stock, advertising, company catalog
Roy Niederhoffer, aged 14: orders and mailing labels
Steve Sanders, aged 16: treasurer
Tim Binder, aged 16: mailing lists and printed company material

The physical tape (marked copyright 1980) only mentions it is by Software Innovations, and the article states “All the executives pitch in to produce the company’s marketable software” so I’ll credit it to the company label.

One thing you may notice is missing from the advertisement above is the overall goal of the game. This isn’t the first ambiguous objective I’ve hit during this era, but it previously hasn’t been a hindrance in my gameplay; eventually, I’d find some treasures lying about or otherwise run across some kind of directions. Here, I genuinely reached a point where it seemed like I was “done” but I wasn’t done. More on that (and the odd reference to “Interludes”) later; you start, as in common in Your House Games, in a bed:

Any direction leaves the bed, which does make sense, yet this is the first adventure game bed I’ve seen with such a setup.

While they later became a plague of the text adventure enthusiast community, in 1980 Your House Games weren’t even a genre yet. Out of the all the adventure games up to 1980 (including the ones I haven’t written about yet) the other only ones that seems to start with “you in your house” are Pirate Adventure, Lost Dutchman’s Gold, Dracula Avontuur, and Will ‘O the Wisp.

There are no fantasy elements at all in the opening to City Adventure; the obstacles are along the lines of finding your glasses (you feed your Doberman and then get them to FETCH), getting exact change for a bus (you have a five-dollar bill and the driver needs $1.10), turning off an alarm system, and unlocking the front door.

I’m unclear why there would be a code needed to unlock the door from the inside. Maybe we’re still playing The Prisoner.

While in this section the game drops hints about various locations at city intersections.

The reason why becomes very clear after you finish wrangling the bus change; you get dropped off in the city.

Going north reduces the street number, south increases it. Going east reduces the avenue number, going west increases it. This system isn’t purely mechanical either, as “Lexington” is squeezed amongst the low-numbered avenues. To find the locations of the game, you have to get to the right intersection; for example, 44th and 5th has a bank. (This is similar to Thomas M. Disch’s Amnesia, but six years early.)

For a not-many-K TRS-80 BASIC game, this does effectively deliver the illusion of a big environment without the coders having to add many more rooms. The problem is the MUGGER as seen in the screenshot above. The mugger is quite aggressive and has (according to the source code) a 1 out of 7 chance of stealing something at any particular turn. While you can find the stolen items later, there’s a bug where the act of an item being stolen reduces your inventory capacity. After not too long I had the hilarious scenario of carrying no items at all yet also not having room to pick anything up.

If you bring the Doberman with you to the city, the mugger stays away, but there’s a 1-in-50 chance of the Doberman running away, and once that happens, the mugger visits start in. I eventually resorted to the tried-and-true method of “edit the BASIC source code”.

159 IFO(15,0)=-1THENF2=F2+1:IFF2>25ANDRND(50)=1THENF2=0:O(15,0)=-2:PRINT”DOG BARKS AND JUMPS DOWN”:O(143,0)=R:GOSUB6

Rather than stopping the mugger code, I just changed the dog code above so RND(50)=1 became RND(1)=9, meaning the dog will never run away.

As a note from the house indicates, “Suzy” is waiting at 45 & 6 NY. I’m not sure how to express GO ON A DATE, and the game didn’t seem to either; all I could do was TAKE SUZY and cart her around (so the adventurer is toting around both a dog and a girlfriend).

I found a SCRAP of metal and a place nearby I could wash it; it became a SHINING MAGIC RING.

IF YOU BY CHANCE SHOULD SAY MY NAME, I’LL TAKE YOU BACK FROM WHENCE YOU CAME!

A “magic shop” at a different intersection had the clue to this:

Typing “SAY ONE” teleported me back to the bed. (I guess riding the bus back was too hard.) However, I haven’t been able to end the game here. It’s possible to KISS SUZY while at the bed, but the game says “THIS IS FUN! BUT YOU HAVEN’T COMPLETED YOUR ADVENTURE!” Studying the source code, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere the “date” can go to (maybe being in town was the date). There is a computer store (the player avatar’s workplace) where the TRS-80 program INTERLUDES resides, which was famous in 1980 as an adult computer program (the manual comes with suggested activities). The player’s home does have a TRS-80, so I imagine the goal is to then run the program, but I never worked out a syntax how. Checking the source code, the end message is then

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE COMPLETED YOUR ADVENTURE!
(BUT I CERTAINLY HAVEN’T COMPLETED MINE!)
MOVE OVER A BIT THERE, SUZY!

I’m 95% sure I just need to puzzle out the parser issue to attain the endgame message, but I’m fine bailing out early on this one.

Posted September 27, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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The Prisoner: Be Seeing You   Leave a comment

I escaped, although I left a lot of cryptic things behind. That seems to be the intent, really; The Prisoner feels meant to be an experience as much as a game.

Spoilers follow.

Once I got my score up from last time, I went back to the Theater and tried to make contact with the people whispering; I suspected perhaps my “notoriety” or whatnot was up and they would recognize me.

I CAN VOUCH FOR HIM
I’VE BEEN WATCHING HIM
SEEMS SUSPICIOUS TO ME
LET US TAKE A VOTE

THE MOTION IS CARRIED
WE ARE THE BROTHERHOOD

WE ARE DEDICATED TO OVERTHROW
OF THE ISLAND
ARE YOU WILLING TO JOIN US?

Why YES, I would.

GOOD. ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE YOUR LIFE, COMMIT MURDER
COMMIT ACTS OF SABOTAGE WHICH MIGHT
CAUSE THE DEATHS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE
CHEAT, FORGE, BLACKMAIL
DISTRIBUTE HABIT FORMING DRUGS
FOR THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM?

Also YES, and also a not-unexpected 1984 reference (see also the game cover above). “You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases—to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party? If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face—are you prepared to do that?”

They then wanted to give me an assignment which I believe involved the Carnival; fortunately, I was able to pass and get a different assignment instead, to change the headline at the newspaper to DEUS EX MACHINA.

If you get paper and the General Store, and then answer PRINTING when the newspaper proprietor asks if you want anything else, he “takes you to the back” …

… whereupon there is another mysterious machine. After some experimenting, it looks like the numbers you can enter are just ASCII codes, so start with 68 for D, then type 69 for E, 85 for U, etc.

After finishing I was sent back to the “maze” location at the start and had to trudge my way through again. I went back to the theater and they congratulated me.

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESS
YOUR REWARD IS THIS CLUE FOR ESCAPE
THE ISLAND IS A MACHINE

Uh, thanks?

One of the things I’ve been trying is saying various catchphrases to the Caretaker and the Priest. (I never got anything useful out of the Priest.) THE ISLAND IS A MACHINE didn’t seem to do anything useful either, as the Caretaker (picking up on “ISLAND” I’m guessing) responded NO MAN IS AN ISLAND.

Well, maybe it’d help to be more specific?

THE ISLAND IS A COMPUTER

I found out after the fact (via Andrew Plotkin) that the instructions are the method of “cutting and pasting” on an Apple II, so you’re really just typing the [=] symbol if you follow the instructions.

This is followed by an animation which looks like a computer getting unplugged.

Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Nice try, game. I typed some nonsense.

This is not quite the end of the game but let me make a few asides before I get to that.

What Happened to The Prisoner 2?

I did mention in my first post I would try the “sequel”, but I rather quickly concluded it was much different than the original.

The opening maze has a first-person aspect, and there was a key in one part. Trying to visit the Caretaker, I was told YOU NEED A KEYHOLE.

In the Rec Center, the pit now has moving platforms.

The overarching idea and the 20 buildings of the Island are the same, but given the changes to the puzzles, I can’t really consider it the same game — I’m kicking it up to 1982 where it belongs.

Further Reading

If all this makes you want to try the game/experience, I would say go for it now; if you’d rather watch from a safe distance, then I highly recommend Jimmy Maher’s writeup from 8 years ago (!) which includes comments by both David Mullich and one of the founders of Edu-Ware. There’s an entire scene I missed involving “escaping” but having the whole thing be a ruse. I’m guessing it comes about from finishing the business with the loan and the slot machine but I never was able to get a cross.

I also don’t have anything to add to his analysis, or those of others who have tackled the same game. It’s not often gameplay and theme blend so perfectly. The downside of playing a game in a paranoid and confusing environment is that you are playing a game in a paranoid and confusing environment. Instructions are intentionally obtuse; controls are intentionally finicky. This is more a game for Art rather than Enjoyment but that’s ok, especially considering how little of this sort of thing was about in 1980.

You might incidentally wonder (as Andrew Owen does in the Maher thread) if this was the first game with meta-tricks. Dr. Livingston (1980) has a pretty good death fake-out; Acheton (1978) requires you die once at a prompt where most people would restore their saved game. There’s a very old game (1968) which has what might be a bug, or what might be considered meta — I’ll have to report back on it in some future post.

The Thing I Was Most Disappointed In Missing

I heard about this trick secondhand a long time ago, but I had to check the source code after finishing to find it.

In the “Free Association” test at the Hospital, if you type a word like FREEDOM or the like, you get this message:

Notice there is no THIS IS NOT A DECEPTION message here. On an Apple II the usual thing is to LIST 417 to figure out what went wrong, but in this case, it very much is a deception.

Yes, 417 was the resignation code.

The End?

So the endgame screenshot I produced above (“HAVE YOU NOT ALWAYS BEEN IN CONTROL”) is more or less the same one as Jimmy Maher’s. You end at what appears to be the “Apple prompt” where you can type directory commands and so forth. However, if you try to go ahead and type something, the game intercepts your input and instead types:

Posted September 24, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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The Prisoner: -53 Points   2 comments

The game keeps a running score, but given its predilection for flashing messages like YOUR SCORE IS 4 OUT OF 8 I wasn’t really sure what to believe, until I noticed something on the Carnival (that place that was crashing my game) — the “SCORE” in the corner seems to be accurate. If I do something that is Island-friendly, so to speak, the score consistently goes down.

Fortunately, typing EXIT leaves this place safely without crashes.

I found this testing out the hospital; each visit costs 20 points.

Additionally, at the slot machine where you enter a “piece of yourself” to spin, each spin costs 1 point.

After a number of other tests, I found that if you “discover” the clone room in building #19 (just push “L” for left, then type “NO” about knowing about cash) you earn 40 points. This action can be repeated over and over and over for 40 points every time. Fairly soon I was looking at 767 points.

These sort of wild swings suggest to me that perhaps score is entirely meaningless and just another red herring meant to keep you trapped on the Island. At least I managed to “discover” something, though?

Where I’m really stuck is still finding a cross. I get trapped whenever I enter the church. If someone knows the way out and can ROT13 me a line, I’d appreciate it. (No hints if I’m barking up the wrong tree entirely, though — that’s part of the experience, I gather.)

Posted September 23, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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The Prisoner: This Is Not a Deception   5 comments

One of the buildings you can find in The Prisoner is a “General Store” where you can buy a map.

The Island is on a wraparound grid, with buildings numbered

1 -2 -3 -4 -5
6 -7 -8 -9 -10
11-12-13-14-15
16-17-18-19-20

but where you only see 2×2 chunks at a time so you might be standing next to 15, 20, 11, and 16. Also, sometimes, a building is missing for no apparent reason.

It’s not as if building #13 is gone permanently — later in the same game it was building #12 that was missing. I have no idea if this is a bug or not. The nature of this game is such that bugs might be intentional.

I have organized the buildings by Slightly Off, Quite Curious, Downright Bizarre, and The Carnival.

Slightly Off (2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 20)

The Caretaker (#2) was the building from last time (or least, I think so, based on process of elimination). I haven’t been able to get anything useful from the conversation, but I suspect there might be some key phrase or word that will later trigger a hint.

#6 is where the game starts (The Castle with that invisible maze), and you can go back there if you like; I’m not sure if there’s any use. I did somehow reveal the resignation code (417) once while in the maze and I’m not sure how, but I got this message:

It’s possible to just die elsewhere, but you get a different screen — so I really did divest the resignation code somehow.

#7 is the Island Mutual Savings and Loan. If you want a loan — and it looks like you do, for reasons I’ll get into, you need a gold watch, a black tie, a diploma, a cross, and a percolator.

#10 is the general store and includes a percolator (one of the needed items I mentioned).

#11 is a NEWS STAND. You’re asked which newspaper you want, but get told the only one available is THE ISLANDER. It seems to have vague hints, like “THE ISLANDER LIBRARY NEEDS CONTRIBUTIONS OF BOOKS”.

#13 puts in you in a “class” run by a machine.

The machine plays a game of Simon with you. It gives short sequences of numbers that you need to memorize and type back. Fairly deep into the game (I’d say several minutes) one of the sequences included 4, 1, 7 right in the middle. I was able to avoid the trap. I suspect the diploma is available here (I didn’t quite finish the minigame — I was still mapping and just wanted to look around).

#15 is a church.

It involves a dialogue (like the Caretaker) where the priest/pastor/whoever starts with “DON’T WORRY. ALL IS KEPT IN CONFIDENCE IN THESE CHAMBERS” and responds to any text I’ve tried with vague platitudes like “A SMOOTH SEA NEVER MADE A SKILLFUL SAILOR” and “HE THAT IS DISCONTENTED IN ONE PLACE IS SELDOM HAPPY IN ANOTHER”.

For the sake of experiment, I tried 417, and the game ended. So much for all being kept in confidence. I’m sure the cross I need is here.

#16 has a clothing store, where you can get (among other things) a black tie, a clown suit, and a clone suit. I haven’t tried the clone suit yet, but the clown suit lets you get into building #5 (The Carnival, which I’ll discuss last).

#20 is a casino.

Using “A PIECE OF YOURSELF TO PLAY” doesn’t seem to extract anything other than displaying a random three-digit number. I have the feeling if you play too many times the three-digit number will be 417.

Upon leaving the casino, I had someone mention escape was through slot #1, and they could sell a silver dollar for 5000 credits (hence the need for a loan). The mystery person then said THE BROTHERHOOD LIVES when I left.

Quite Curious (1, 3, 9, 12, 18, 19)

The Hospital (#1) gives you a “test”. It shows five random characters and you press a button and the characters change. You are then told you are adjusting nicely.

The Town Hall (#3) gives you control of the island.

You can tweak the numbers up or down. I tried turning GATES down as far as I could go and I was told security was fixing the gates. I never was able to get “DEATHS” to go up. Eventually, I gave up and was given a gold watch for doing a good job.

#9 is the Theater.

After watching … something happen for long enough, a conversation started:

WE ALL KNOW WHAT THE ISLAND IS
ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS PULL THE …
SHH, WHO’S THAT!
WE’VE BEEN DISCOVERED!
WHO ARE YOU

I answered “2”.

WE DON’T KNOW A ‘2’
GET RID OF HIM

The Library is #12. If you bring two books (you can get them at the general store) you can play some sort of “preference game” where you choose between two options (two types of toothpaste, say) and after enough time, you get a rating.

Then you can “play a game” which rolls a random number. I don’t know if the random number needs to be low or high or what, but I “won” once and got a hint

DON’T UNDERSTAND THE GAME
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

#18 is the Recreation Hall, where there’s a pit you can fall in (it’s game over if you do).

On the map shown above you just walk on the letters and get through, but then you get another pit:

I’m not sure how to get through. If you disobey instructions and “walk on the sides” an invisible wall blocks you.

#19 is the Gemini Diner. You can buy nondescript food, but if you step “left” while there you find a “cloning machine”.

The proprietor says you can clone yourself for 10000 Credits.

Downright Bizarre (4, 8, 14, 17)

Building #4, I have no idea.

Sometimes by pressing buttons I got the number to change. I don’t know.

If you enter building #8 you find yourself in “court” prosecuted for “rebellion”.

The “plead his case” bit involves a very fast string of BASIC code. The Prosecutor and Defense both do one, and then you play a game of hangman. I got up to _ A P T U R E and then was booted from the building being told THE VERDICT IS NOT GUILTY. I have not been back.

#14, The Cat and Mouse: you can order gin for 5 credits. I tried walking in but got stuck with being asked repeatedly if I wanted gin, and strange sparkling rectangles kept growing in different parts of the room.

I had to quit. This may or may not have been a bug.

Building #17 involves a change in perspective. You suddenly are no longer the prisoner, but someone electrocuting the prisoner, trying to ferret out the secret resignation code.

The Carnival (5)

You can’t enter the carnival without a costume. Getting the clown suit from the costume store and entering, I found this screen:

I can’t even begin to tell you what’s going on. I was able to type WT to “add weight” but after doing it a few times, I got this message:

Then I was told my current score was 4 out of 8, and asked (by a message that blinked almost too fast to see) if I wanted a hint for 10 points. Then the game exited with BE SEEING YOU.

Posted September 20, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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