Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Ferret: No Damage Done as You Landed on Your Head   31 comments

(Prior posts on Ferret in chronological order here, and in case you’re curious, we’re now at Part 34.)

The lake is defeated! (Probably.)

Last time I had arrived at a mysterious “Control Center” after moving past an airlock under a lake.

Control Centre
This is a large area that has been thoroughly ransacked. Only a few items of the original equipment remain, possibly because they appear to be immovable or of little value. Attached to one wall are a green button and a red button together with an electrical contact breaker. Near to the green button is a tiny slot. To the right of the slot, embedded in the wall, is a copper spigot. Set in the middle of the floor is a curved pipe surmounted by a big rusty wheel. There are tunnels leaving the area to north and south.

Past this there was a tower that you could climb in order to see a dam with a hole letting out water…

This circular area has a staircase leading down into the base of the tower. Your position commands a tremendous view of a wide lake surrounded by high mountains. One end of the lake disappears into mountains but at the other end is a dam. The concrete wall of the dam appears to be damaged as there is a vee-shaped disruption to the integrity of the wall that allows a torrent of water to flow out of the lake and away.

…and a waterfall, where entering the waterfall essentially sticks the player and forces them to restore a saved game.

Waterfall
You are standing in a most wonderful, beautiful awe-inspiring waterfall. The water has a wonderful cleansing effect but the sheer force of the water is totally disorienting.

Recapping my item list, I had put a “long duralium spanner” in the pocket of the diving suit I had used to enter the airlock, but otherwise wasn’t able to bring in any outside items. I also had access to a “PVC Bin” and an inflatable dinghy in a side room. None of these caused any effect from the parts of the Control Center. I tried pushing the buttons in various sequences, patterned and not. I tried turning on and off the spigot. I tried with and without pulling the contact breaker. I tried turning the wheel at various intervals.

-> push red
Click.
-> pull breaker
The contact breaker snaps downwards viciously, nearly smashing your fingers.
-> turn wheel with spanner
It won’t budge.
-> turn spigot
Done.
-> turn spigot
Undone.
-> push green
Click.

There’s also the “slot” in the description but the only plausible item to be slotted in was the spanner, which didn’t fit. So I switched to the assumption I was missing an item, and starting messing around with a “hogshead” (large cask) by the lake and seeing if I could get it to float over to the other side of the lake where the dam was. Mind you, the dam is placed such that you can’t actually reach the lake water, but I was low on options.

-> push off hogshead
It’s a bit of struggle given the weight of the hogshead, the roughness of the terrain and the unwieldy size of the barrel but eventually success is achieved. The hogshead is bobbing gently in the lake water.
-> get on hogsheqad
You are in the hogshead.
Lake
You are wallowing around in a hogshead on a beautiful lake. In the middle of the lake is an island.

The above works if you have no items, and no items stuffed in the hogshead. But you’re also stuck, and eventually float to your death:

Geronimo! Over the dam we go and you experience the sheer thrill of flying down a waterfall in a barrel. Unfortunately, the hogshead does not appear to have any form of braking (breaking yes, braking no). A fact that becomes strikingly evident as the hogshead explodes as it encounters a rather substantial rock outcrop snuggling under some shallow water at the base of the dam.
You have been smashed to smithereens.

It is still faintly possible — because the hogshead passes by the Treasure Island where we blew up a rock a little while back and got stuck underground — that there’s some relation to that, but I expect this is simply an extended red herring, as it turns out I was making things more complicated than I needed.

The diving suit has a second pocket!

-> look in suit
Peering inside you can see:
a comb pocket
which contains
a long duralium spanner
a coin pocket

The reason I missed this is a.) I had learned about the pocket second-hand, rather than seeing a direct message and more importantly b.) the game is very picky when it comes to verbs for looking at things. Specifically, LOOK AT, LOOK THROUGH, LOOK UNDER, and EXAMINE don’t work; the first three are included under the TEST verb (which if you remember, tries a whole bunch of verbs all at once). LOOK IN wasn’t included, and while I’ve used it with containers without prompting, I didn’t think of the suit as a container.

The coin pocket is enough to fit a “a tiny rectangle of mica” that I had been toting around — this is back when we solved the giant crypto-crossword and we got a code that got put into a keypad — and to the game’s credit, I almost immediately realized this had to be the item that I needed. Tucking it in my coin pocket, I went back to the control center:

-> put mica in slot
Done.
-> pull breaker
The contact breaker snaps downwards viciously, nearly smashing your fingers.
-> push green
Click. Off in the distance a tremendous rumbling starts and then gradually mutes to a distant hum.
-> turn wheel with spanner
Eek, eek, squeak, squeak and other onomatopoeias. The wheel requires a tremendous effort to turn. Once turned a distant whine appears to emanate from an unknown source.

This slows down the waterfall and lets you pass through, even finding a secret location in the process.

Waterfall
You are standing in a most wonderful, beautiful awe-inspiring waterfall. The water has a wonderful cleansing effect.
Exits: -SEW ——– —
-> s
Venus Crux
You are in a hollow in the concrete of the dam. There is a most wonderful, beautiful awe-inspiring waterfall to the north.
Exits: N— ——– —
There is a cellophane bag here
which contains
a strawberry ticket

Moving past the waterfall (and a hike of a fairly large number of “plain” locations) finally leads to a well, where two more puzzles awaited.

-> d
Wee. Oh. That’s no fun. Just looking forward to a good fly by no wire when the voyage is rapidly arrested by a jarring thump on something quite hard. No damage done, though, as you landed on your head.
Dog Leg
You are on a small ledge formed by a large rock intruding into the side of the well. The well does not appear to have been formed by hand nor machine, rather the shaft appears to have been rent in the earth’s surface, the contours of the shaft being irregular and uneven. The rock is only a short distance below the opening of the well so there is light from above.
Below you is only darkness.

First, surviving the trip farther down, which is just a plummet to death. As long as you leave it uninflated until this very point, you can carry the dinghy down here with you, drop it, pull a cord it has, and, well:

-> pull cord
Phsstt. Phssshhhh. Phsstt. The dinghy inflates to its full size. Amazing really considering the chances of an ancient dinghy still having enough compressed gas available to do the business. Lucky old you.
-> board dinghy
You are in the dinghy.
-> push off dinghy
It’s a bit difficult to launch when there’s no water around, let’s try pushing off anyway….
Wee. Oh. Great fun. This flying lark is wonderful. All the more so, by doing it in the dark, with no idea of the consequences. Let’s have a hard think while plummeting. What are the chances of a soft landing? Probably not good really. Squidgy plop. This dinghy is certainly a useful thing to have around as it forms a quite respectable bouncy castle cum emergency landing platform. After some considerable rocking and rolling you arrive at a reasonable level of equilibrium.
You are in the dark.

(Yes, PUSH OFF is also a weird verb choice, only used in this game as far as I know, but it dates back to Phase 1 now so I’m used to it.)

The problem is that you are entirely in the dark here with no way out. It took me not long to suspect I had done something wrong, and I’ll skip past some flailing (you can, through extreme shenanigans, take the teleport bracelet with you — it doesn’t work) to the point where I landed on something other than solid ground. Notice the difference in description below:

Wee. Oh. Great fun. This flying lark is wonderful. All the more so, by doing it in the dark, with no idea of the consequences. Let’s have a hard think while plummeting. What are the chances of a soft landing? Probably not good really. Squidgy plop. This dinghy is certainly a useful thing to have around as it forms a quite respectable landing craft, splashing as it does into some sort of fluid. Let’s hope it’s not dangerous. After some considerable rocking and rolling you arrive at a reasonable level of equilibrium.

What had happened is I created an unusual variant of the Parallel Universes Problem, which I’ll recap here to save you clicking the link:

Suppose you are a happy adventurer going from point X to point Z and manage to do so without any obstacles. However, you later restore a previous game (because you got eaten by a bear, say).

After restoring, you try going from point X to point Z, but get stopped in the middle at point Y this time. Something different happened! What changed? Perhaps you had picked up an item in universe #1 but didn’t realize it; perhaps there was some secret timing element that you lucked out on the first time. Either way, you ran across the frustrating situation of being in an alternate universe without being aware something had changed.

This time, rather than stumbling across a puzzle that was previously not encountered (due to it being invisibly solved) I solved a puzzle without understanding what had happened! (This is sort of like playing an adventure with a group, where a particular member of the group doesn’t have a new insight, but rather types things in a slightly different order so manages to get through. I created my own clone helper.) Fortunately, the game has ample scrollback and combing through my log I realized while I had in all iterations turned the spigot at the Control Center on, in the save that was working I had taken a brisker route to the well.

The water is timed: you have to turn the spigot, then make sure you move rapidly enough that you land in water.

-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
You are experiencing a strange therapeutic sensation, as if gently bobbing in water, which gives you slight feelings of elevation and elation.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
You feel a sudden rushing sensation as if you are being thrown sideways with quite considerable force. There is a period of buffeting with the sound of rushing water followed by a brief period of silence with a wonderful flying feeling as if you have been launched into free-fall. You confirm the falling sensation by falling into daylight followed by a slight bump as you come to rest on the floor of a cave.
Crux of Turbulence
A dimly-lit bowl carved out of solid rock. Above you is an angled hole in the rock roof. There is a similarly angled exit in the rock floor.
Exits: —- ——– -D
There is a human skull here

Going down leads you back out to the south side of the Lake, where you can get back on the train and leave.

Assuming this completes the Lake section, that means the only two left to tackle are Phases 15 and 16. As a public service announcement, I’ll mention the Holloway Museum in Phase 15 has a crash after all these activities:

-> n
Holloway Museum
A dark area between very high walls. To the south is a steel door, to the north a stairway leading to a raised area. High above you is a wire cable.
There is a mildewed infosign on the east wall.
Exits: NS– ——– U-
-> read infosign
Holloway Museum

Opened 1957

A system of deep trenches created through the woods during the War of the Three Forests.

To confuse the enemy in the event of invasion the trenches changed direction many times with curves, rises and falls to disorient anyone unfamiliar with the layout. The difficulty of navigation was exacerbated by the many dark, interconnecting tunnels between the trenches. An intrinsic feature of the deep sheer-sided trenches was the propensity to flood during rainy periods, which mandated the need for regular and frequent maintenance of the drainage system. Regular users of the Holloways knew to follow the green arrows painted on the wooden signs if the water level started to rise.

An infosign provided by the Trustees of Holloway Museum. Digest and Enjoy.
-> n
Raised Platform
A raised area between very high walls. There is a sunken area to the south.
High above you is a wire cable.
Exits: NS– ——– -D
-> n
Raised Platform
A raised area between very high walls. To the north is a staircase leading down into water. High above you is a wire cable.
Exits: NS– ——– -D
-> n
The Event that was expected wasn’t found; a situation that would cause Windows to crash, but in this world the next message will be wrong…

That’s because the area is now filled with water — dealing with the dam and control center has affected an entirely different phase! In order to prevent the crash (which is just a death that lacks description) you need to be wearing the life vest. (Which you can grab from the dark maze, which is way back like 7 posts or so.) This drops you in a watery maze, which I have solved (see in the comments if you are playing and need help), but I’ll get into it more next time.

Posted January 5, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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Enchanted Cave (1982)   Leave a comment

Sometimes, writing a history is just a matter of rephrasing the only material that exists. I always feel awkward leaving details out, especially when a statement is very personal. For the intro here, to today’s game by De Crandell and Joe Peterson, I’m just going to let the web page kick things off.

When I was 15 or so, my cousin, De, and I were into playing adventure games, like the mother of all text adventure games, “Adventure”. We wanted to make our own, so we wrote a simple one, but it was hard-coded and was a pain to create. So we came up with the idea to make a program that could interpret adventure “game files” that were written in a kind of adventure “language”. So we both wrote programs in BASIC to do this on TRS-80 computers (wow, 1.77 MHz!), and we wrote adventures in separate text files. We later merged our work into this program, which was dubbed “Explore”. By the way, I was really bummed when a guy named Scott Adams (not the Dilbert dude!) came out with a commercial program that used the same concept! Just think of all the money we could have made!

We came up with three adventures that were written in the wee hours of the morning on three separate occasions listening to Steely Dan. It was kind of a mystical inspiration I would say.

De is no longer with us, but these games live on for me as a great memory of our friendship, and I hope that they allow a little piece of him to endure.

The “text adventure engine” that Joe made is up on his webpage

10 REM ** EXPLORE ver 4.4 ** Copyright (C) 1982
20 REM by Joe Peterson
30 REM Peterson Computer Services

…but the actual original TRS-80 files are not. The two options for playing are directly from the website, or an Android app. Both are kind of a pain compared to running a TRS-80 game, but I ended up going with the online option.

The Android version does have a respectable number of downloads and reviews!

There are four games, three by De and Joe: Enchanted Cave, Lost Mine, and Medieval Castle; the fourth is by a different pair, Matt Melton and Robert Braver, based on the movie Porky’s (“Your goal: get through Porky’s cathouse!! Identification necessary!”).

For Enchanted Cave, the goal is simply to “escape”, although the game doesn’t announce that at first, and really seems for all the world to start like a typical treasure jaunt.

In fact, I only found out about the objective once I reached it and the game told me I had escaped and won. Except there’s no reason to go in the cave in the first place; I guess let’s just say the plot is “have an adventure”.

You start, as is traditional, at the Forest outside the cave.

As is also traditional, there is a place you can find if you ignore the cave and go wander for a bit:

There’s a bit of a tangle with the above location though —

When you get a little farther in you can find a chair you can SIT on which spins and takes you to a secret room. The room has a lantern and a “metallic sheet”. The matches in the room description above? They only appear after you find the lantern. I’m not sure why. This seems wildly cruel. I happened to luck out and find the lantern first, but on another playthrough while testing things found the no-matches effect.

The “if you go down, you probably won’t be able to climb back up” is cribbed directly from Adventure; otherwise this is both a much tighter design in word count and a much weirder one. I (being fooled by the “look”) originally approached with the notion of Adventure Clone but that isn’t really the right attitude; remember this was originally a TRS-80 game, and has a room count limit so not nearly as much wasted space. Also, a vague sense of silliness:

I’m pretty sure none of the variants of Adventure had a Taco Room, but this would totally fit into an early Greg Hassett game.

The urn, incidentally, contains some magic powder. If you recall the message from earlier about it scaring animals, well, let’s find an animal.

Keeping with the slightly-off vibe, the egg contains a piece of paper, giving a hint that ashes can be used to find hidden writing. Even more helpfully, the paper itself can be burned and turned into ashes! (This took me a while to find and was a legitimately good puzzle.)

Wandering more I got stuck for a bit, until I happened to “drink” some water in a pool taking me to a new area.

I was going through my “test verb list”. It was pure luck I was doing so while located here. I still had a lingering mentality of Crowther/Woods Adventure where you should get a bottle first to deal with anything watery, rather than just try to drink from the source.

This led to a place of curious buttons: red, blue, green and yellow. Referring back to the poem from the hut, only the yellow one is helpful; it takes you to a locked door which turns out to be the exit to the game. The only catch is finding the key!

This is me pushing one of the wrong buttons.

I did get a new item out of the deal, since there was a shovel next to the door. I used the shovel on a nearby burial ground for dinosaurs (!?) and picked up a bone.

Referring back to the “moving bone” hint, I noticed that WAVE BONE, rather than giving an error message, just stated this wasn’t the right time. So, right action, I just had to test it everywhere in the time-tested adventurer-lawnmower fashion.

Back in the Rooms of the World there was a picture of a caveman; oddly the bone worked there to “bring the caveman to life”, netting me a slab he was holding. The slab apparently had faint writing, so I tried the ash on it, giving me a key.

The key I was then able to take back to the final door.

I suppose this was fun enough for what it was — the game wasn’t too intense about random deaths. I will confess I did a stab at this game quite a while back (July of last year!) and didn’t get far, and I’m not fully sure why. I think each new game universe it can sometimes take a while to get “in harmony” and feel like I’m doing smooth playing, rather than trying to communicate with a crazed antagonist of a parser. That, plus I’m always uneasy playing a game off a webpage; I don’t believe the authors are collecting data in this case, but it still feels like someone is watching my antics over my shoulder.

I have a feeling the authors in 1982 were developing a particular style which is worthy of more discussion, but I want to wait until after trying their other games to see if it holds out.

In the meantime, back to Ferret tomorrow; we’ve finally defeated the lake and might finally be in the end stretch.

One last shot. The key says to use “for higher purposes only” and there are two locked doors, the one shown here being on the lower floor. This sort of minor trap is the sort of thing I associate with gamebooks where turning to 17 kills you because you didn’t read carefully enough.

Posted January 4, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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2022 Blog Recap (1982 Recap)   3 comments

It wrapped around by a little bit (the first 1982 post was December 28, 2021) but I can claim, essentially, I started 1982 in 2022. So, a brief recap:

I finished 43 games I’ve designated as 1982 (or “finished” in the case of some broken games like The Lazurite Factor, which I just wrote about. This was not quite the number I was hoping — really gunning for at least 65 or so — but of course, a gigantic chunk of time was taken up by the still-ongoing Ferret. I thought Time Zone was going to be the big calendar suck, and it did take two whole months as expected (from the start of January to the end of February).

I did do a little bit of “looping” as well, hitting Explore from 1979 (and its passive-aggressive jab at other TRS-80 software companies from time time), Mighty Mormar from 1980 (essentially straightforward theft of Dog Star Adventure), Planet of the Robots from 1981 (Softdisk’s first original “real game”) and the ICL game Quest, which I also sorted as 1981 by the copyright date in the text even though it technically was worked on from 1980 to 1983.

My looping bin isn’t atrocious and if I really felt a sense of pain leaving things behind it wouldn’t take that long to get through, but new things keep getting discovered, and out of the four games I just mentioned, Mighty Mormar is the only one I knew about before 2022 started. So there was a certain amount of running in circles on the backlog, there.

Some random moments through the year for your enjoyment:

Zodiac. A very difficult moment — you need four elements at the end, and much earlier in the game the only water in the game was from some melting ice. The urn breaks if you DROP it so you have to understand that LEAVE not only works but is interpreted as “DROP, but gentle”.

Time Zone. Done in 24 hours! And I don’t expect to be timing any of my other games, it is nerve wracking even when not that worried about going fast.

Lucifer’s Realm. Wherein we team up with Satan to defeat Hitler. Astonishingly good graphics. Jesus, hanging out in hell. The sequel (coming up for 2023) has Hitler’s army try to invade Heaven.

The Program Power game Adventure. While there is no physical difference between TAKE and STEAL here, the parser interprets it in a much different way. The “man behind the curtain” essentially is collaborating in the plot.

Deadline was so incredibly good.

One of the randomly-generated maps of Mad Monk, a weirdly ambitious adventure-roguelike title for the tiny UK101 computer which jammed in a 3D maze section and a space invaders game.

Omotesando Adventure. An adventure by the publishers of ASCII magazine, wherein you precent the next issue from publishing due to a “magnetic monopole” bomb. Also, the first adventure written in Japan.

Two of the thieves from The Queen of Phobos, which managed to handle random elements unusually well.

Arrow of Death, Part 2. The final boss. An improvement over the prior Mysterious Adventures, including an “unexpected hub” area which gradually grew larger in the early part of the game.

One of the self-contained mazes of Hamil, which requires passing through every connection and returning back to the start.

The “guide card” from Mystery House (1982), the first adventure game written in Japanese.

From the opening puzzle of Devil’s Island. You start in a cell with nothing, and to solve the puzzle, you need to wait nearly 2 real-time minutes, even though the game appears to be turn based (and the rest of it is!)

Adventures in Videoland, which hooked up an Apple II to a videodisc player with a copy of the movie Rollercoaster to make a text adventure with both images and video.

A map from the still-ongoing Ferret, from the really fascinating section in the Cathedral.

One last shot from Time Zone, an entirely optional scene. You can kill Brutus early but Caesar trips and dies anyway. Alternatively, you can go the Grand Theft Auto route after reaching this scene and start stabbing the rest of the senators.

Coming up ahead in the earlier part of 2023:

– I’m going to go finish-or-bust on Ferret — I’m putting a hard stop at the end of January, otherwise I have to move on.

– The next really-difficult game will probably be Asylum II, the return of the TRS-80 3D-view.

– At least two Apple II games, one of them wildly obscure.

– The return of Infocom (there’s two choices, I’ll let you guess which one).

– And of course plenty of odd surprises besides, and maybe something else will get discovered none of us even know about yet!

Posted January 1, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

Ferret: Fire and Water   43 comments

(All prior posts on Ferret here.)

Oddly enough, we’ve started to close in on a finish for Phases 9-15. As of the events mentioned in this post:

9: probably complete

10: probably complete

11: more than half complete

12: mostly complete (still haven’t dealt with the cyborg, but it might be optional)

13: probably complete

14: probably complete

15: ???

16: still haven’t gotten anywhere yet

For the small glimpse players had of 17 (Guru) it seems to be more of a meta-section as opposed to a region to explore, and there probably is a separate “endgame” after. Still not sure on a finish time; I’d really like to at least wrap up the 9-15 region by the end of the year but I don’t think we’re quite going to make it. (Also, 16, where we are currently blocked by a ticket slot, might have some new information which requires a revisit to a past phase.)

From a 1953 booklet on Operation Doorstep, making a simulated town to test the effects of a nuclear blast.

To recap from two posts ago, we had left off on what appeared to be an Oscar Wilde puzzle where you were given the initial letters of a quote and had to type what the quote was, with all the spaces removed.

type amancanbehappywithanywomanaslongashedoesnotloveher
type alwaysforgiveyourenemiesnothingannoysthemsomuch
type americahadoftenbeendiscoveredbeforecolumbusbutithadalwaysbeenhushedup
type anyonewholiveswithintheirmeanssuffersfromalackofimagination
type argumentsaretobeavoidedtheyarealwaysvulgarandoftenconvincing
type biographylendstodeathanewterror
type consistencyisthelastrefugeoftheunimaginative
type everyportraitthatispaintedwithfeelingisaportraitoftheartistnotofthesitter
type experienceisthenameeveryonegivestotheirmistakes
type fashionisaformofuglinesssointolerablethatwehavetoalteriteverysixmonths
type geniusisbornnotpaid
type iamnotyoungenoughtoknoweverything
type ithinkthatgodincreatingmansomewhatoverestimatedhisability
type ifyouwanttotellpeoplethetruthmakethemlaughotherwisetheyllkillyou
type illusionisthefirstofallpleasures
type itisaverysadthingthatnowadaysthereissolittleuselessinformation
type itisalwaysasillythingtogiveadvicebuttogivegoodadviceisfatal
type moralitylikeartmeansdrawingalinesomeplace
type oneshouldalwaysplayfairlywhenonehasthewinningcards
type patriotismisthevirtueofthevicious

Curiously, at least two of them are misattributed Wilde quotes; “illusion is the first of all pleasures” is from Voltaire, for instance. “Genius is born, not paid” also is misattributed. Despite that, both are commonly attributed enough to Wilde that the difficulty was in finding the rarer quotes (like Sha1tan spotting “Biography lends to death a new terror”) as K managed to plow through a number of them but collecting some Wilde texts and using a regex tool.

The puzzle resulted in giving us a scroll, mentioned in my “One Puzzle” last post.

As noticed by Andrew Plotkin, you can word-for-word change #2 into Radio Detection and Ranging, that is, RADAR.

This was enough for others to pile on and solve the puzzle. All the acronyms turn out to be military ones:

PATRIOT (Phased Array Tracking to Intercept of Target)
RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging)
AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System)
NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes)
SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe)

I’ll refer back to how these get used later, as the direction of solving actually went from Phase 9 (done?) to Phase 10 and the fire in the theater.

The problem was that downstairs in the theater is dark, and turning on the lights requires flicking a switch which also starts a fire.

-> turn switch
Click.
There is a not inconsiderable explosion as the ancient workings of the brass switch generate a miniscule arc of electricity which, combined with the methane gas, causes a conflaguration that knocks you bodily down the stairs.
Rehearsal Room
You are in a large circular area with a low roof. There is a stairway leading up from the room. In the middle of the space is a podium mounted upon which are four pads. The pads are designed in the shapes square, triangular, oval and round.
Exits: -S– ——– U-

There’s a zinc key nearby as well as a PVC vessel that explodes when you shake it and wait, but neither was a help for solving the puzzle. The mystery of the pads had the triangle give a long beep, and all other buttons give short beeps followed by long beeps.

Some major lateral leaps made by Voltgloss and The Larch led to the thought that the buttons are differentiated by number of sides; we can say the circle is 1 side, the oval is 2 sides (kind of?), the triangle is 3 sides and the square is 4. So there’s something to differentiate them.

Then if we think of it in a sort of binary system (where 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, etc. make up numbers) then the 1, 2, and 4 buttons are for typing the numbers, and the 3 is for entering them in. We were needing to form the number 119 (Dial 911, “a retrospective”, from the poster in phase 9); for the “1” digits just pressing the circle sufficed, and and to input a “9” we needed to do 2 + 1 + 2 + 4 to get a sum of 9.

-> press round;press triangle
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a long beep.
-> press round;press triangle
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a long beep.
-> press oval;press round;press oval;press square;press triangle
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a long beep.
The podium gently levitates as a hidden trapdoor opens above you. The base of the podium stops moving once it is flush with the stage which is currently participating in a significant conflagration.
Well, that’s saved the crematorium a job.

This apparently resembles the old Data General Nova in form, so I’ll let the Ferret authors themselves give some more detail:

The pads are enumerated according to the number of sides.

Short beep = Add.

You can’t enter the same number twice in a row as this resets to 0 (just to make the puzzle interesting and stop repeat, repeat, repeat).

Triangular pad emits long beep so not part of the sequence.

There are such things as Triangular Numbers (0, 1, 3, 6, 10…) so there was scope for trial and error by experimenting with different values.

The Triangular Pad is Shift Right, effectively Multiple by 10 (Long Beep = Long Add, i.e., multiply).

PRESS ROUND PAD: 1
PRESS TRIANGULAR PAD: 10
PRESS ROUND PAD: 11
PRESS TRIANGULAR PAD: 110
PRESS SQUARE PAD: 114
PRESS ROUND PAD: 115
PRESS SQUARE PAD: 119
PRESS TRIANGULAR PAD: Enter

It will be interesting to see if you think this is the hardest puzzle in the game?

I’m not sure about “hardest” (that’s difficult to measure) but I will say it is the only puzzle that seems to be a fourth-order one. You need to realize:

1. the sides on the buttons are what matters (and oval counts as 2)
2. the triangle lets you “input” numbers
3. the numbers are being added
4. the sequence needed is 119

None of these have any feedback if you are on the correct trail! So essentially, four puzzles need to be solved all in combination with only the hope that it might work.

So no, I wasn’t a fan of the puzzle design, although the bit after was neat: how do you survive the fire? Notice pushing the buttons does not bring you back up to the green room (where the fire was) but into the center of the stage (where the fire has spread after starting). So really, the puzzle is: how do you keep the fire from spreading? Fortunately, due to being stuck on the buttons for long and suspecting some other gimmick, I already knew about the oddly-placed doors on the map that could be closed, which I have marked in orange below.

Closing both doors before activating the switch gives you a route to walk out of the theater before it collapses in dramatic fashion. I’ve already gone on the record as “preparation puzzles” being highly satisfying, and the case here was not an exception.

The explosive and the key turned out to both be immediately helpful in Phase 11. I was able to hop onto a ferry over to Treasure Island, where a new location awaited.

Alright Corral
A road running from north to south with steep rockfaces on both sides of the road which is blocked by a mass of fallen rock possibly from a mountainous outcrop overlooking the road. In front of the rockfall is a giant slab of rock with an irregular crack running from top to bottom.
Exits: -S– ——– —
-> shake vessel
Whatever internal partitions that were keeping the vessel’s contents separate appear to have been demolished by your violent behaviour.
The vessel appears to be ticking now.
-> put vessel in crack
Done.
-> s
Treasure Island
-> wait 2
Time passes (yawns).
There is a small explosion nearby.
-> n
Alright Corral
A road running from north to south with steep rockfaces on both sides of the road which is blocked by a mass of fallen rock possibly from a mountainous outcrop overlooking the road. To the north, apparently blown out of the mass of the rockfall, is an entrance to a cave.
Exits: NS– ——– —
-> n
Cave of Despair
You are in a small rock cave formed by an explosion within a rockfall. There is a brightly lit exit to the south. Set into the road is a manhole cover.
Exits: -S– ——– —

The cover is locked but the zinc key works on it, giving what appears to be a one-way trip down.

Graveyard
You are in a small room with concrete walls that appear immensely strong as rusty reinforcing bars are visible in various places. The room is gloomily illuminated by a dim light entering though a hole in the roof. The east wall of the room is formed from a mound of rubble.
There is an emblem on one wall.
Partially buried in the floor is a juvenile’s skeleton.
There is a rubber ball here
There is a rigid pvc hoop here
There is a birch cane here
There is a weathered satchel here.

This appears to be another “information trip” where the whole point is to gather knowledge but otherwise the only way to escape is to restore to a previous game; yet another doomed quantum echo. The emblem and answer sheet I gave last time; the answer sheet never got solved so I’ll give it again:

The emblem technically gave a hint (mentioning NORAD) for the scroll with military acronyms, but surely that’s not the whole point of the section? (I’m not even sure if Andrew was referring to this when he made his breakthrough; it doesn’t seem necessary given the clues on the scroll already present.)

Back to the scroll’s solution: we knew (from explicit hint of the authors) that the scroll served to give a hint for a mobile phone hooked up to some explosives.

Asylum from Enmity
A dank crepuscular room made from reinforced concrete as if to survive a blast overhead. There is some form of opening in the ceiling apparantly to permit the ingress of light and ventilation. Against one wall is a safe surmounted by a resin slab.
Exits: —W ——– —
The resin slab contains:
a mobile phone
some Semtex explosive
-> type 219934875
Typed.
The communicator emits a beep followed by a ring tone. After 2 rings the line clears and you hear a voice that says “Text Sequence commenced”.

We now had the list of acronyms to follow up, but just trying to “type” the words doesn’t work; they need to be numbers. I (and Voltgloss, in the comments) thought of old phones and how they will “cycle” to do texting (that is, a number says ABC, so you press it twice to get a B and three times to get a C) and tried translating the five acronyms into numbers:

dial 7287774446668
dial 777232777
dial 2922227777
dial 6622333444
dial 7777442733

This works, if you’re next to the explosive, but that kills you. It also kills you if you are a few steps away, and I was stumped trying to survive.

Voltgloss mysteriously got through by standing far enough away, but I kept getting a busy signal.

What we eventually discovered (after some back and forth) is that when the message about “you have failed to register with The Department” the communicator is charged enough to send messages, but if you wait an extra turn, the communicator gives off two more beeps and is now “fully charged”. This gives it slightly more range, which is sufficient to dial and live.

There is an explosion nearby that causes the ground to rumble and dust to rise as a blast-wave hits the air in the immediate vicinity. Thankfully you are far enough away to avoid any concussion.

Going back to the safe reveals we have found…

Asylum from Enmity
A dank crepuscular room made from reinforced concrete as if to survive a blast overhead. There is some form of opening in the ceiling apparently to permit the ingress of light and ventilation. Against one wall are the remnants of a safe, the top has been sheared off leaving a ragged edge. The room appears distressed, as if it has suffered a recent explosion.
The rusty safe contains:
an asbestos bag
-> open bag
Opening the asbestos bag reveals:
a diving suit

…a third diving suit! We knew the one in the sewers was a red herring, the one under the trapdoor was probably a red herring, and here we have one we can finally access. It feels like the end of a long shaggy dog joke. (There was some ultimate use in seeing them earlier — K somehow discovered the presence of “pockets” while noodling with the suit. There is no mention in the description.)

Moving on, the issue with the suit it is too big to move around in unless underwater. So normally we’d go to the end of the pier and fall in the water; DIVE does exactly that but seems to be a bug; the idea being we can’t move enough at all.

Pier
The pier overlooks a wonderfully picturesque lake. In the middle of the lake is an island. The pier is made from ancient cedar planks. There is a rocky path to the south.
-> DIVE
Weeeeeeeee … splash! Oh, this is fun, splishy, splashy, splishy, splashy. Uh oh! There appears to be some undercurrent here. It is dragging you beneath the surface. You are beginning to fill with water.
You seem to be all drowned init.

We did know that the entry point surely had to be the pier, because entering the room gives 50 points! One of the general observations we’ve made is that point-increase usually indicates a hint about an important room. For example, the room near the gate in phase 9 increases points, yet is apparently a dead end; that’s supposed to mean you can bust through.

It turns out the pier’s description contains a very small clue “The pier is made from ancient cedar planks.” The ancient is supposed to hint they can break. Unlike a similar situation in the phase with the number riddles, jumping doesn’t work. What does help is crating over a bunch of heavy items (I used the rug that was covering the trapdoor in phase 9, plus the “security casket” from back in phase 8 that had the card and was now empty) which causes it to break.

-> n
Pier
The pier overlooks a wonderfully picturesque lake. In the middle of the lake is an island. The pier is made from ancient cedar planks. There is a rocky path to the south.
Exits: -S– ——– —
There are some interesting objects here:
a colourful rug
a security casket
The pier emits an ominous creaking sound.
-> wear suit
Dropped.
Done.
The pier emits an ominous creaking sound accompanied by a worrying snapping sound.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The pier emits an ominous creaking sound accompanied by a worrying snapping sound followed by a terrifying splintering sound as the ancient timbers of the pier give way. You feel briefly weightless before plummeting into the icy depths. Good job you took your preparation seriously as the diving suit appears to be performing its function, albeit not too well as the suit starts to fill with water.
In a Lake
You are at the bottom of a lake. The water is very murky here.
Exits: NSEW NENWSESW —

Fortunately it doesn’t take too much searching to find there is an “airlock” nearby.

Airlock
You are in a very small room that is full of water. Set in the middle of the floor is a curved pipe surmounted by a big rusty wheel. There is a steel door in the south wall and an armoured door to the north.
Exits: -S– ——– —
The diving suit continues to fill with water.
-> turn wheel
It won’t budge.
The diving suit continues to fill with water.

Part of the issue is parser-related; CLOSE DOOR, which you think might logically apply to the open door (the one to the south, the steel door, which we had to open to enter the airlock) actually gets applied by default to the armoured door, the one to the north that is already closed. You need to CLOSE STEEL DOOR specifically. (I mention this because I surely won’t be the only person passing through who makes the same mistake.)

The other issue is the wheel being stuck. We had a “spanner” from an earlier phase which seems to fit the bill, but how to get it underwater? (Anything on the pier when it breaks disappears.) I mentioned already the discovery of mysterious pockets. What you can do is put the spanner in the pocket, cause the pier-breaking sequence, and when you get in the airlock and close the steel door, drop the suit; this gives you exactly one turn to do one more action.

-> close steel door
Closed.
The diving suit continues to fill with water.
-> drop suit
Umm, it’s a bit of a struggle with all this water around but I think I can just about…. Oh no, I haven’t. Oh, I have. Silly me. What came over me. A lot of water apparently.
-> turn wheel with spanner
Taken.
Eek, eek, squeak, squeak and other onomatopoeias. The wheel requires a tremendous effort to release it from years of disuse, but once freed the water is rapidly emptied leaving you in a small room.

Phew! This opens yet another brand-new area I haven’t experimented enough with, containing a dam which begs to be blown up with the explosive and an inflatable boat seemingly taken straight out of Zork.

Control Centre
This is a large area that has been thoroughly ransacked. Only a few items of the original equipment remain, possibly because they appear to be immovable or of little value. Attached to one wall are a green button and a red button together with an electrical contact breaker. Near to the green button is a tiny slot. To the right of the slot, embedded in the wall, is a copper spigot. Set in the middle of the floor is a curved pipe surmounted by a big rusty wheel. There are tunnels leaving the area to north and south.
Exits: NS– ——– —
-> n
Maintenance Tunnel
This tunnel-shaped area is quite claustrophobic with little room left for your passage due to many pipes running the length of the room.
Exits: NS-W ——– —
-> w
Storeroom
A featureless undecorated chamber ground out of rock.
Exits: –E- ——– —
There is an inflatable dinghy here
There is a pvc bin here

My suspicion is we can now go across the lake with the boat and explore, but I haven’t done enough yet in this section to give a full report, so we’ll save that for next time.

Two of the mannequins used in Operation Doorstep, hiding behind a ladder.

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

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Ferret: One Puzzle   19 comments

(All prior posts on the super-long adventure game Ferret are here, in chronological order.)

Rather than narrating absolutely everything from last time, I wanted to just focus on a single puzzle we’ve gotten up to, since this is the sort of thing random visitors (including you, the one reading this right now) might be able to help solve. I will loop around and describe the dramatic collapsing theater escape next time.

We’ve found, after some fussing with a puzzle involving Oscar Wilde quotes, this scroll:

The bottom part (astutuely solved by Matt W.) is a number written in calculator digits, but you have to look at the negative space. That is, look at the grey on the image below:

The number lets us make a phone call but then we are asked to text a “sequence”.

-> type 219934875
Typed.
The communicator emits a beep followed by a ring tone. After 2 rings the line clears and you hear a voice that says “Text Sequence commenced”.
-> type Donne
Typed.
The communicator emits a beep followed by a series of tones. After a short pause you hear a voice that says “Sequence failure”.

The first five questions seem to be relevant for the next discovery, a “graveyard” with an emblem…

The emblem is circular with a crest illuminated with a large bird, possibly an eagle. There is some wording around the crest which is illegible due to age. Beneath the crest is written “Project Casper. ICBM Silo 6”.

…and a satchel with an “answer sheet”.

Our assumption (which might be false) is that the two papers go together, and the solutions to the clues in the first set (cryptic crossword clues? something else?) fit into the second set of clues. I will just add that the list of famous English poets whose last name is composed of five letters is not terribly long. Of very recognizable ones I just get

Blake, Byron, Donne, Eliot, Keats, Hardy

and maybe Wilde or Yeats (who are Irish but someone might confuse for British) could count. (Eliot was born in the United States but moved and became a British citizen.) For more obscure poets there’s

Brock, Clare, Carew, Guest, Green, Jones, Noyes, Nixon, Prior, Padel, Raine, Smith, Smart, Watts, Wyatt

although I suspect the missing poet is off the first list.

As I hinted at earlier, solving here is open to everyone, and for this post (if it is about this specific puzzle) let’s avoid making comments in ROT13 encryption to make it easier for anyone to join in.

Posted December 24, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Puzzles, Video Games

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Fun House (Ramella, 1982)   4 comments

Every once in a while, just for fun, I dig amongst my pile of “unsorted” games; no year, probably no author, possibly not even a title. Today’s game is just listed as “Adventure” on the TRS-80 site willus.com, which has just the sort of genericism I was looking for.

Adventure (191)   1,3   BAS   19xx   Author Unknown

What also caught my eye is the extraordinarily tiny file size of 2353 bytes; even the absolutely minimalist VIC-20 games we’ve seen had more to work with. Surprisingly enough, the game was playable, and while simplistic, had some unique elements and atmosphere. With a little more research I managed to figure out not only who the author is, but where and when it was published, and why the game is so small.

80 Micro, September 1982.

In 1982, Richard Ramella wrote the book Computer Carnival, with sixty very small computer programs intended for children. Quoting a later volume of Microcomputer Magazine:

Children will find mazes, word games, graphics, puzzles, and quizzes.

I haven’t figured out a publication month, so I’m unclear if it started before or after, but in September 1982 Richard Ramella started a column with 80 Micro with a similar aesthetic. Very friendly, small code, meant to be complete in one or two portions of a page; not long to type, and easy to study. The “study” part is somewhat incidental, as Ramella stated:

Fun House is not meant to teach programming, though the simple methods can be good material for the beginner.

I think a similar thread can be drawn with Andrew Colin’s game Dungeon which was part of a VIC-20 tutorial; putting out something that invites the user to tweak the code on their own, without any hand-holding.

The programs (not always games, but at least “fun” in some way) are short enough that the column includes multiple programs, like Pachinko, Motor Mouth, Hot Dog, and today’s game, Fun House. All the games are short; not only does the reduced length make them easier to type in, but it gives room for expansion. Fun House involves escaping a dark maze, and if the player is displeased with the size of the maze, they can easily add more material without breaking the memory limit of their TRS-80.

With such a small file size no parser is possible — but if this is intended for kids to learn programming, this seems an appropriate choice. The only actions are movement directions, and at the exit, typing in a code (more on that in a moment). You’re walking “blind” without described exits but it is appropriate here, as the player is just getting IMPRESSIONS if each room while walking through the dark; one room laughter, another with a cold hand.

This Fun House is a building about 80 by 40 feet. I won’t be exact act because you travel through in complete darkness. You will know how many feet you’ve traveled, and you will know your location only by what you hear, smell or touch in that location.

If you walk in a direction that doesn’t work the game will explain why.

Adventure games almost never give exact positions, but here, it tells you number of steps taken as you move around.

A little way in there’s a choice like Nightmare Park, but less deadly: if you pick the wrong door you just get sent back to the entrance.

Halfway through the maze there’s a room where you get a code you are supposed to memorize; just a little later the game needs you to type in the memorized code to exit.

So: navigate a small maze, pick the correct one out of three doors, briefly remember a three-character code. This is decidedly not a complex game, but that isn’t the purpose. And despite that, the game has three distinct novelties. First is the use-of-other-senses concept; typically in an adventure of this era (…really, any era?…) darkness means a complete lack of navigational means; other senses are not available. Here, scents and sounds make up the room descriptions.

110 DATA GIGGLING,SPIDER WEBS, AROMA OF PERFUME
120 DATA SOMEONE CRYING ABOUT BEING LOST,SILKEN CURTAIN
130 DATA MANIACAL LAUGHTER,SMELL OF POPCORN, HOLLOW KNOCK
140 DATA A COLD HAND ON YOUR NECK,WHISTLING IN THE DARK

Second, as already mentioned, is the positional idea; the game is not oriented around a graph-theory construct. Let me show my map and the author’s map (printed in the next issue of Micro 80) to show what I mean:

The author was thinking in terms of coordinate positions, so all step counts are measured accurately; when I first made my map I had “overlap” because I wasn’t extending the longer passages in terms of step count. (As sort of a combination of the two ideas, it is also reasonable that movements would not be all the same length, since the player keeps walking until they hit the next stimuli.)

Novelty three (or perhaps two-and-a-half) is that the room descriptions are randomized at the start. You always start at an entrance followed by “Whistling in the Dark”, but the placement of the smell of popcorn, someone crying about being lost, etc. are placed differently each game. This isn’t the full adventure-roguelike experience (like with Madness and the Minotaur and Lugi) but it is interesting to see even in an absolutely minimal context the author decided to add randomization.

The author kept his column until 1984 (when 80 Micro became less games-oriented). He eventually switched to the Amiga, editing the diskmag JumpDisk from 1986 all the way to 1993.

We will see him again at least once, as he wrote the graphical adventure Lurkley Manor in 1985. In the meantime, I appreciated the chance to rescue another game off the 19xx bin; even these odd experiments that would otherwise be passed over can be fascinating when studied more carefully.

Posted December 21, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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Ferret: A Level Only Just Below Living   57 comments

Just when I think this game has reached maximum chutzpah, it ups the ante again.

(Prior posts on Ferret here.)

Close-up of a dusty Data General Dasher keyboard, via Reddit.

Perhaps moreso than any previous traditional adventure game I’ve played, the Phases 9-16 section of Ferret has felt like a Puzzle Hunt of the same nature as Masquerade or Alkemstone; lots of clues spread out where they have to be fit into a larger structure but without much guidance, and a large enough “landscape” (given the number of locations available) that the ability to “go anywhere” in a real-life Puzzle Hunt is mirrored here.

This carries the same unfortunate issue many Puzzle Hunts share which is combinatorial explosion. There are no so many clues and cryptic words and numbers that it is non-obvious what might match with what. If there is a clear surface similarity (like the giant red herring ADFGVX code) then the pieces can easily fit together, but otherwise there needs to be a second-order leap which isn’t highly motivated or obvious, making what might be a simple puzzle into something much harder. The best example of this is the crypto-crossword having some “starter clues” in a later phase, but it took a lateral leap of faith to try to apply one to the other. In retrospect the connection seems obvious, and maybe from the author’s standpoint it is, but from the player’s perspective there is no guarantee an attempt at connection will be fruitless. My discussion of second-order puzzles here is highly relevant, as are my thoughts about how adventure game puzzles typically involve abductive reasoning, yet authors don’t often account for this:

…with deduction, we have fully known rules and circumstances that when together force some kind of conclusion. With abduction, we have circumstances where we have to infer the chain of events, but it’s a probabilistic guess.

Abduction can be highly satisfying when it works, but the lack of guarantee of it working can cause a fair amount of strain in adventure game if there’s a long route between forming a guess and testing it.

Let me first get into a satsifying use of abduction. One room I mentioned in passing last time was a Bibliotheque with no books.

This room is very large and softly lit. The walls are covered with shelves all of which have been deprived of their contents. One bookcase remains, apparantly still resplendent with books. There is a spiral staircase in the middle of the room that leads up.

The bookcase can be pushed, which suggests a new area.

The bookcase revolves around a central vertical axis carrying you with it. After one revolution the bookcase grinds to a stop returning you to your original position. During your journey you perceived a brightly lit tunnel, possibly carved from rock, leading away from you.

However, the bookcase’s full revolution is an issue; it seems like it would be helpful to jam something, but none of the items I was trying were helpful. The leap here is to realize that this is similar to a scene way back at the Deslination Plant which involved riding a canoe. If you’re holding a long pole (which is a pretty natural thing to do at this puzzle, I assumed it was going to be used for paddling) it gets jammed up all on its own:

As you surge onward down the canal the banks narrow to a width where the pole wedges itself between the banks. As you were holding it at the time you are physically lifted out of the canoe which charges off down the canal.
The flow of the canal reduces to a mere trickle and then to nothing.
Swinging on a Pole
You are swinging on a pole above a dry area of canal bed. It’s very cold here.

This is what we want to happen. So, we’ve had precedent that long objects will automatically jam into things if carried, and we need to jam something. This suggests a “javelin” that has been sitting out the open would be useful to be holding (it is heavy enough it is not likely it would be in the player’s inventory accidentally).

The bookcase revolves around a central vertical axis carrying you with it. The javelin you are carrying is forcibly jammed between the bookcase and the wall, unceremoniously throwing you forwards.
Adit
You are in a brightly-lit tunnel cut through rock.

There isn’t enough data to call this induction; this was still clearly a guess based on the information that could have failed. If the javelin had failed, though, it isn’t too long a side-trip to pick it up, and more solving attempts could have easily been made after.

On the other hand, there is the puzzle I solved which still involved picking up on a subtle clue, yet required so much work to even test that it brought annoyance rather than satisfaction. Let me go back to the ghost house:

Study
A small room with a writing desk, sideboard and chaise longue. There is a marble fireplace in the east wall.
There is a security capsule here
-> examine capsule
The capsule appears very robust, possible because it is designed to be a secure item. It is cylindrical in form. Embossed along one side is the legend: “Property of FTS (Subway) Systems Ltd. If found, deposit in any mailbox with your name and address and a reward will be payable. Thank you.”
-> climb chimney
Initally the chimney is wide enough to allow ingress but eventually, just as you expect to become stuck, you hit daylight. Oh joy. As you leave the chimney you feel wonderfully light-headed, oops, oh no, its falling, falling, falling, not light-headedness. You slide down the roof of the cottage and land on the ground with a sickening thud.
Your health has become constrained to a level only just below living.

Oops, I didn’t mean the last part (as discovered by K, a reverse-Santa in the holiday spirit)! I meant just the security capsule. Usually, when typing UNLOCK ITEM WITH KEY on a locked item, the game states:

“Shan’t” returned Algy, teasingly.

and if unlocking is to occur, it is to be by means other than a key. However, in the case of the capsule, I got the message

I don’t think that will work somehow.

suggesting that a key does really work here.

I need to rewind a bit to right after landing the helicopter and entering Phase 8. I had a pile of items that fit in the helicopter…

an orange pin
an indigo pin
a white pin
a black pin
a brown pin
a shining silver disc
a silver key
a gold key
a pretty envelope
a short letter

…but I now needed to go down a hole, and not all the items would fit, so I had to prune down further. I found I could take all the pins + one and only one key. Since I had used the silver key already to drive a subway car, I took the gold key, as it had not been used yet.

In any normal game, this would be sound logic. You’ve got an item unused in any puzzle, that’s the one that should be moved forward. Ferret is not a normal game. You need to take the silver key even though it has already been used; the gold key is a red herring.

I want to emphasize the silver key was dumped all the way back at the start of phase 8. I had to play the entirety of phase 8 again to get here, with no confidence this would even work:

-> unlock capsule
Done.
-> open capsule
Opening the security capsule reveals:
a teleport bracelet
-> examine bracelet
The bracelet is circular and quite thick. It is large enough to slip on quite easily. Around the outer edge of the bracelet are some strange hieroglyphs.

I have yet to get the bracelet to activate, but I suspect it only occurs somewhere special. In the meantime, back to that passage that I jammed with a javelin:

New locations are in orange. Rather straightforwardly I found a spanner, some tweezers, and yet another clue to toss onto the pile:

Crypt
You are in a dimy-lit room carved into the rock.
Along one wall are a number of stone tombs, opposite is a solitary marble tomb with an rococo inscription.
Exits: –E- ——– —
-> read inscription
Here lies the most distinguished and exulted family of Jocasta.
Theirs was the misfortune to be the most gifted yet the least loved.
They gave their lives for their country, every last one.
Their legacy is the freedom we all enjoy in a beautiful land.
If only you had one hundreth of their dignity and honour.

The tweezers let you get the “rectangle of mica” unstuck from the trapdoor (PULL RECTANGLE WITH TWEEZERS) so you can open it and go in and find it closes behind you and you are stuck forever. Terrific! Also, there’s yet another diving suit (like in the red-herring sewers) to rub salt into the wound.

Weee, oh, woe is you. The trapdoor has slammed shut behind you.
Chambre Forte
Obviously designed for sanctuary this hideaway was probably once stocked with provisions. All, of course, are long gone, leaving a squalid little dingey bolthole.
There is a diving suit here

I did make one more piece of progress — I mentioned another “password computer” with a strange message. What I hadn’t tried before was the HINT command. Every time the game has had a “riddle sequence” the HINT command has worked.

-> push rocker
Click.
There is a whispering of fans and a hum of mains flow.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AMCBHWAWALAHDNLH
-> hint
An aphorism is a clever, usually short, saying that is used as an expression or metaphor for a generally recognised truth. They were much liked by Oscar Wilde (to quote Python: “his majesty is a stream of bat’s piss”).

So the letters AMCBHWAWALAHDNLH spell a phrase. This comes from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. You have to jam the phrase together all as one word.

-> type amancanbehappywithanywomanaslongashedoesnotloveher
Typed.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AFYENATSM

This one’s easier to find: “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” Also Wilde.

-> type alwaysforgiveyourenemiesnothingannoysthemsomuch
Typed.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AHOBDBCBIHABHU

This last clue I have no idea. I scoured common Wilde quotes thoroughly, but it could be a completely random phrase from any of Wilde’s works. (The HINT hasn’t changed, so I think it is still Wilde; this would be untenably hard otherwise. Not like the authors wouldn’t be willing to go that far!)

Posted December 20, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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Ferret: No Real Conception of Barriers As You or I Might   58 comments

(Prior posts on Ferret here.)

From the British “Operation Hurricane” atomic bomb test, October 1952.

I managed to wheedle out a few more hints from the hive-mind collection of Ferret authors; including the one from last time I still haven’t been able to utilize yet, they are

1. Regarding the exploding mobile phone:
Have you found a scroll by The Honourable Society of the Party for Freedom from Persecution?
Have you found a communicator?

2. You can lead an automaton to water…
You got very close before. Once you have taken the automaton to the gate you have to do something.

3. We can make a start on one of the harder puzzles in the game:
The pads in the theatre – have you found anything that may relate to a theatrical production given that the theatre might be on fire?

4. You found the Pier at the lake – notice anything about it?

Number 2 is the one we’ve made progress on, but brief discussions on the other three first:

1. Still not sure what scroll is being referred to here; last time I guessed the ticker tape…

-> empty tin
Done.
-> break cake
The sponge crumbles to dust revealing a strip of ticker tape.
-> read tape
CMRD SMLNSK + PRCD STNDRD DRPFF PNT + NJY CHCLT BR + DSRPT CPTLST PGDG PWR SPPLY + NRCH TH LDRS T FR TH PPL + STOP

…which as John Bruce observes, has + signs, suggesting addition, but I still haven’t gotten anything productive out of this. It is possible there is still a missing clue. The only other sincere clue might be that when getting scanned upon activating the communicator with the charger back in phase 10:

Darkins, you have failed to register with The Department for an excessive period. According to standard protocol you must text the first 8 characters of your Security Pass Number to 80085 immediately, whereupon you will be notified regarding your court hearing.

This suggests maybe the system uses five-digit numbers, but that’s very tentative. After the communicator activates you can type an unlimited number of times to test out designations, but I’ve always got a error signal.

3. The theater in question is one where if you pull a switch, you get a light going, but you also get blasted downstairs and blocked by a fire.

Click.
There is a not inconsiderable explosion as the ancient workings of the brass switch generate a miniscule arc of electricity which, combined with the methane gas, causes a conflaguration that knocks you bodily down the stairs.
Rehearsal Room
You are in a large circular area with a low roof. There is a stairway leading up from the room. In the middle of the space is a podium mounted upon which are four pads. The pads are designed in the shapes square, triangular, oval and round.

The triangular button consistently causes long beeps. The other three cause a short beep, and if pressed again, a long beep (but only if the same button is pressed twice in a row). This allows for morse-code type messages, although there are multiple ways of causing the short and long beeps.

This clue here suggests this particular poster is relevant:

I have now tried every version of 9-1-1, where 9 is long-long-long-long-short and 1 is short-long-long-long-long, but with no success.

One extra wrinkle to the whole proceedings is that the building eventually collapses.

There is a catastrophic crashing of blazing timbers as the theatre collapses. You are reduced to dust in the ensuing fireball.

However, if you duck into a nearby closet, the collapsing timer stops entirely. I highly suspect this is just a bug, but I wanted to mention it anyway. If we assume the timer limits our typing, the full text D-I-A-L-9-1-1 isn’t possible to enter, although it is possible to barely make it to N-I-N-E-O-N-E-O-N-E spelled out as letters.

I get the intuition we are on the right track but missing a small thing to make the result work.

4. I have noticed nothing at all special about the pier, but since I skimmed by it last time, let me excerpt the process of getting a ferry.

Viewing Deck
The path runs from a ravine to the southeast into a wide area of rock overhanging a beautiful lake to the north. The rock overhang forms a pier, which is fenced on both sides. At the end of the fence on the east side is a steel post, attached to which is an iron chain which disappears into a mass of swirling fog which hangs over the lake. Also attached to the steel post is a nautical bell.
Exits: N— —-SE– —
-> ring bell
Clang, clung, clang. It seems to be a little out of tune.
-> wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
-> wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
-> wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
Time passes (yawn).
You can hear a strange clanking noise apparantly coming from the fog on the
lake.
-> l
Viewing Deck
The path runs from a ravine to the southeast into a wide area of rock overhanging a beautiful lake to the north. The rock overhang forms a pier, which is fenced on both sides. At the end of the fence on the east side is a steel post, attached to which is an iron chain which disappears into a mass of swirling fog which hangs over the lake. Also attached to the steel post is a nautical bell.
Exits: N— —-SE– —
A chain-powered ferry has hoved into view and neatly docked itself at the pier.

I included all those wait statements to emphasize just how much waiting is involved (and to explain why prior to getting a hint I bailed and went somewhere else before seeing the result). After landing:

Treasure Island
A wide area of rock overhanging a beautiful lake to the south. The rock overhang forms a pier, which is fenced on both sides. The north aspect of the pier continues as a road. At the end of the fence on the east side is a steel post, attached to which is an iron chain which disappears into a mass of swirling fog which hangs over the lake.
Docked next to the pier, to the south, is a ferry.
Exits: NS– ——– —
-> n
Alright Corral
A road running from north to south with steep rockfaces on both sides of the road which is blocked by a mass of fallen rock possibly from a mountainous outcrop overlooking the road. In front of the rockfall is a giant slab of rock with an irregular crack running from top to bottom.
Exits: -S– ——– —

Incidentally, despite the crack feeling like it could use some manner of explosive, it might not be the same explosive as the mobile phone. That’s in the same Phase as this lake scene; let me reproduce this image just as a reminder of the Phase order:

Back at the fire-theater (Phase 10) there’s a zinc key and a “sealed pvc vessel” downstairs, and if you shake the vessel and set it down it eventually explodes. While it could be related to the beeping puzzle it may be just that you need to survive the fire long enough to bring the vessel here.

All this lack of progress is counterbalanced by the “Once you have taken the automaton to the gate you have to do something” hint, referring back to Phase 9. Solving the puzzle opened a large new area which could almost have been a new Phase in itself, Phase 9b if you will.

Voltgloss managed to crack open the case more or less by fiddling until getting lucky, than reverse-solving what happened. This happened in the area with the automaton and the a very heavy “portable generator” which the automaton will follow when it is activated.

In the southwest corner of the area (where the map is a bit broken, that’s likely a bug) there is a bracelet.

The bracelet is rather chunky and ugly, not apparently designed for decoration nor adornment. Etched into the surface of the object is a caption: “Super Tag. 100% reliable, will not fail (excludes wear and tear, faults in manufacture, malfunction, act of bod, unexpected faults, misuse, unauthorised repair, high humidity, low temperature, frost, excessive heat, general use, authorised repair or any circumstance not foreseen or otherwise by the manufacturer. Terms and Conditions may be changed without owners consent, permission or notification. Changing the battery invalidates the warranty).”

The bracelet is the key for manipulating the automaton further. Sometimes it will try to pick up the generator and move around on its own; however, for some reason, it actively avoids the room the bracelet is in if it is moving independently (but it will still happily follow you into a room with the bracelet). There is no clue whatsoever to this. (I would expect maybe the bracelet to vibrate in the presence of the automaton, or something like that?) So if you go to the southeast corner of the map, which has a locked gate to the south, and lead the automaton there, and then seal off its exit by placing the bracelet to the north, rather than moving back and forth to the north and south in the two already-accessible rooms it will bust through the locked gate to the south and let you in the new area.

The automaton has liberated the generator and then decided to leave the area. Being an automaton it has no real conception of barriers as you or I might. Accordingly, it takes the one available route out and trundles serenely into the gate, bursting it open in the process. The automaton has left the scene.

I am frankly still baffled and I suspect something is broken in the code. But hey, progress!

Phase 9b starts with a “raised path”; not much to comment on about it, other than a “gated deadend”.

Raised Crossroads
A grassy pathway. The ground to the side of the pathway falls away rapidly and prevents access below.
Exits: NSEW ——– —
-> w
Gated Deadend
A grassy pathway. The ground to the side of the pathway falls away rapidly and prevents access below. To the west is a long high wall with an enormous wrought-iron gate set between two high stone columns. Atop one of the columns is a granite spheroid, the other column is vacant. Through the gate you can see another path heading towards the horizon in beautifully cultivated gardens which stretch as far as the eye can see.

It is tempting to think the same “automaton smash” trick works here, but my test came out negative. The automaton’s tendency is to move north/south, and additionally, the word “gate” isn’t even recognized by the parser at the gated deadend, suggesting the item doesn’t get used.

To the east is a cottage with a ghost.

The ghost starts to the room immediately to the north upon entrering, and seems to travel to one adjacent room if you move in any direction.

Hallway
A narrow connecting room.
Exits: NSEW ——– —
-> n
As you enter the room you are greeted by the incredible sight of a spectre in full frenzy. The ghost seems a triffle upset at your invasion of its privacy. The ghost aspect may be a little exagerated as your body is most manifestly invaded by an energy form you cannot comprehend.
Anyone got the marmalade, the toast is ready.

The big loophole is that it only is worrying about movement, and in at least one room you are allowed to attempt to move (even though it doesn’t work) causing the ghost to change rooms by one step. Fiddling with this allowed me to run and grab the two apparent items, a jade globe (probably a red herring but you never know with this game) and a security capsule, which is very interesting indeed.

Study
A small room with a writing desk, sideboard and chaise longue. There is a marble fireplace in the east wall.
Exits: N— ——– —
There is a security capsule here
-> examine capsule
The capsule appears very robust, possible because it is designed to be a secure item. It is cylindrical in form. Embossed along one side is the legend: “Property of FTS (Subway) Systems Ltd. If found, deposit in any mailbox with your name and address and a reward will be payable. Thank you.”

The southern portion is a little more elaborate, being manor with multiple floors.

Salon
This room is quite large. It appears to have been looted as all the contents of the room are absent. There is a spiral staircase in one corner of the room that leads down.
Exits: –EW ——– -D
-> d
Bibliotheque
This room is very large and softly lit. The walls are covered with shelves all of which have been deprived of their contents. One bookcase remains, apparantly still resplendent with books. There is a spiral staircase in the middle of the room that leads up.
Exits: —- ——– U-
-> read books
Although there is the appearance of books, in reality it is one of those illusions popular in Victorian England whereby the wall is painted in such a way as to mimic a bookcase full of books and thereby hide itself amongst the other bookcases in the library. Unfortunately, in this case, as all of the real books have been removed the false books stand out like a sore thumb.

One room might have another computer-where-you-type-riddle-answers sequence, like back in the office building. The problem being I can’t solve the first riddle, assuming it even is one.

Cabinet
A bare office. Running along the north wall is an old Pomme.
Exits: –E- ——– —
-> examine pomme
A standard edition Pomme consisting of an enormous cabinet running the full length of the room. The cabinet is surmounted by an industrial strength keyboard. On the front of the cabinet, below the keyboard, is a rocker switch.
-> push switch
Click.
There is a whispering of fans and a hum of mains flow.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AMCBHWAWALAHDNLH

One passage gets you stuck into a “Tres Tres Petite” chamber, whose only purpose for entering is to read a “scribble” (you can’t back out, but by now we’re seen plenty of circumstances where information is given in ways that can’t be part of the main save file.

-> read scribble
It appears that a builder from some distant time in the past (the language appears to be ancient estuarine) has left his calculations inscribed for posterity on the wall.

Wifdf = AX
Hiftf = BY
Lemff = 9782C310

This suggests a home for the “X” and “Y” graffiti moments earlier (Graham’s Number and Pi) although I’m unclear what the ramification is.

A “Bureau” has a table on a rug that can be moved to the side to reveal a trapdoor.

The trapdoor is somewhat ordinary and non-descript although the oak wood is quite beautiful. The trapdoor appears to be jammed by what looks like a tiny rectangle of mica.

(Yes, we have one of those — from solving the complicated crypto-crossword and getting the number sequence, we got a tan block where after trying to eat it we were granted a mica rectangle. This indicates a common pattern such that other rectangles are _very_ important or it indicates a common pattern where other rectangles are totally irrelevant red herrings.)

Finally, there’s a grab bag of other items in a side room, like a mirror, a transistor radio…

Although the box seems to be from an old-fashioned transistor radio it appears to have been modified to fulfill a different function. The top half of one side of the box features the original LED display, beneath which, etched into the surface of the box, is:
Model ZR186B
Prototype 7 (Multi-Terrain, All Weathers)
Get-u-there
Produced in association with
Phlegmatic Terrestrial Positioning Systems Ltd
All Rights Reserved.
All of the conventional radio controls have been removed and the box sealed. The surface coating of the box looks as if some form of water-proofing has been applied.

…a smudged pamphlet…

Report of the Vlandorf Expeditionary Force
Date: 27 November 1957

How long is it since we took a good look?
Could we ever find what we were looking for?
Once we analysed the text and found the missing “the”.
Luckily that led us to the location of the pylon.
Another thing that we should have thought of.
Unless we had made that expedition to Xepherous.
Xepherous gave us lots of clues as to when.
Eventually, though, we may just end up floating.

Your humble servant Obcequs, the Tharp of Tranydore.

…and an envelope with a “glossy voucher”.

A Jenny Talls Promotion

The Fashion Event of the year featuring:

Heady Grobuttucks

Noni Nonutts

Hugh Ampleforth

This voucher admits one only.

Non-transferable. Not for sale.

Validation Number: 55378008

(Ooh, a number! Toss it on the pile with all the other numbers.)

So in summary, this makes for concrete progress, but the kind of progress that provides more questions than answers.

Posted December 17, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

Tagged with

Ferret: Herring, Colour of Red   27 comments

(Prior posts on Ferret here.)

Data General Eclipse 32-bit, from Novas Are Forever.

Last time I had left off in phase 15, on a roof with a “Cradle of the Window Cleaners” which I could, if holding enough items, cause to move downwards.

The ancient, and probably malfunctioning, automatic equipment that controls the cradle grinds into action, transporting the cradle down the building.
Cradle of the Window Cleaners
You are in a window cleaner’s cradle. To the south is a large building, to all other points of the compass nought but a view of terrible devastation.

I inquired from help via the authors who indicated that there was more to be found here; specifically the floor the cradle goes down to is determined by the player’s weight. So finding different floors is a matter of finding different weights.

Eventually I came up with holding the truck and robot from way back in Phase 8 (which I had been toting around not really expecting to use) gave enough weight to land on a floor:

Cradle of the Window Cleaners
You are in a window cleaner’s cradle. To the south is a large building, to all other points of the compass nought but a view of terrible devastation. The building has lost its curtain walls permitting access to the building.
Exits: -S– ——– —
-> s
Bluebottle
Apparently a conference room in an office block. The external curtain wall on the north side of the office block is missing allowing egress from the room. There is something written on a Nobo Board attached to one wall. There is a corridor to the east.
Exits: N-E- ——– —
You hear the cradle machinery whirring and receding into the distance.
-> read board
1. AVG
You hear the cradle machinery whirring and receding into the distance.

What follows is a giant office corridor, 10 tall, with rooms to the west and east, each with a letter excerpts as shown above.

Wallace Greenslade
Lobby area giving access to a pair of swing doors in the east wall and a corridor to the west. Painted on each door is a large number 4. There is\ some writing etched on one wall.
Exits: —W ——– —
-> read
20. GX

When listed in order, the excerpts came out to be

AVGVAGFFDVGGFXFVAAGFDGGGAAXFGVFGFXXXGAVFDGGVGVGGAXGX

which I already knew immediately how to solve. As I observed from a message in the sewer way back in Phase 9, there was a ADFGVX code grid that could be used for decryption as long as I had a message that only used those letters.

A code word is also required, but that turns out to be just FRET. The process of decipherment was then quite easy as I had already found a website to do it for me, so I eagerly awaited to see what new secrets I would learn, and found:

THIS AREA HERRING COLOUR OF RED

The entire 30-room floor is a red herring, as was the setup message from the Sewers. I’ve never played a cheekier game in my life.

Regarding the sewers, I already asked about a weird poster about someone’s “life’s research” to be passed on

Every story of lore had three protagonists, they say. Let’s call them A, B and C.

but I already inquired of the authors who indicated this bit was a red herring. So the only piece of information from there that might be left was hidden in a cake tin.

-> empty tin
Done.
-> break cake
The sponge crumbles to dust revealing a strip of ticker tape.
-> read tape
CMRD SMLNSK + PRCD STNDRD DRPFF PNT + NJY CHCLT BR + DSRPT CPTLST PGDG PWR SPPLY + NRCH TH LDRS T FR TH PPL + STOP

I’ll get back to this message later, but I will also say (inquiring further) that I have confirmation that the sewers from Phase 9 are a one-way trip. Assuming the information above is useless, that means the entire sewer section also is useless as there is no way to get what might seem like useful items (like the diving suit and the key) out.

But back to the Cradle first: it turns out while that particular floor was a red herring, with a little less weight you can visit the floor right before and get inside as well. There are no doubt many combinations that work; this one in particular does:

-> i
You are carrying:
an indigo pin
a gold key
a beautiful ruby rod
a security casket
a piece of linen
a puce transparency
a lime ticket
a chunky bracelet
a translucent fruit bowl
a silver obol

No messages on the wall, but rather: two interesting rooms I haven’t had much progress on. One involves a projector screen I assume the puce transparency goes on.

Sellers
Apparently an office in an office block. There is a corridor to the west. Hanging from the ceiling in front of the north wall is a projector screen. Next to the projector screen are two cords, one long and one short.

For the longest time I thought of “cord” as electrical cord; no, they’re just pull cords.

The long cord does nothing. The short cord kills you.

Your yanking behaviour activates the projector screen mechanism which appears to be faulty as its initial movement is to fall rapidly to the floor accompanied by a loud screeching noise. Unfortunately, you are in the drop zone and receive a glancing blow to the head. You feel absolutely nothing of course, but the dull spark that was your life has finally been extinguished.
You’ll be an ideal addition to the nearest wormery (which might eventually turn you into something useful if you don’t poison the worms first).

The other interesting room involves a kitchen with a heating element that can be activated, as well as a bunch of cupboards:

Opening the left cupboard reveals:
an osmium cube
an ebony pebble
a stick of chalk
a stick of charcoal
a driftwood branch
Opening the middle cupboard reveals:
a wire chip basket
Opening the right cupboard reveals:
a vinyl cup
a vinyl beaker
a vinyl spoon

Putting the basket on the heating element causes it to activate, but it overheats and causes the basket to stick.

A strange ethereal humming noise eminates from underneath the plexiglass. The plexiglass starts to glow, first red, then orange then white. You smell the acrid stench of burning from a long uncleaned surface. You appear to have discovered an automatic induction hob. Bang! A faulty one too. The food detection system seems to have inappropriately calculated the cooking temperature required resulting in some overheating, thereby welding the chip basket to the surface of the plexiglass.

If you also have one of the vinyl items inside, it makes a puddle of vinyl. Otherwise (with everything I’ve tried) it just gets vaporized. Voltgloss theorized we could somehow construct a helmet this way, and the fruit bowl mentioned earlier seems like it’d be the right size, but no: the bowl just gets vaporized. The one extra interesting element is you can put things inside of things; that is, you can put a beaker in the wire basket, and then put another item in the beaker. I don’t know if this nested technique helps at all.

I did manage to wheedle a few more hints from the authors other than the ones already mentioned. One involved the explosive in phase 11, and let me just re-quote the room in full.

Asylum from Enmity
A dank crepuscular room made from reinforced concrete as if to survive a blast overhead. There is some form of opening in the ceiling apparantly to permit the ingress of light and ventilation. Against one wall is a safe surmounted by a resin slab.
Exits: —W ——– —
The resin slab contains:
a mobile phone
some Semtex explosive
-> examine slab
The solid resin slab is rectangular and semi-transparent. It appears to contain a number of structures, principally a lump of Semtex explosive, embedded into which is a mobile phone comparable to many a Hollywood big time stylie bomb.
-> get slab
Do you know what happens to old explosives?
They become unstable to the point where any kind of disturbance can cause them to blow – literally. Your fussings appear to have provoked that senario. The bluebottles are swarming.

The hints were:

1. Have you found a scroll by The Honourable Society of the Party for Freedom from Persecution?

2. Have you found a communicator?

I have no idea what scroll is being referred to. The ticker tape (from the cake tin that I quoted earlier) is not a scroll but that’s the closest I’ve found. The communicator (from phase 10, after you go through charging it) does let you try to dial numbers, but I haven’t had anything other than a dial tone. I’m up the point I might make a very hardcore script to try every single number from 1 to 9999999 in the hopes one of them will work, but as always, I’m happy to get assistance from readers. I’m fairly sure I’ve given nearly every scrap of text in the game so far, except for one bit of graffiti I missed at the start of phase 10:

Blap, blap. This is fierce. Y, oh Y, does the posse go mental when I jive some symbols at ’em? All I said was “pi and mash”.

Otherwise no clue. Can anyone help?

(Oh, and I also found I could ring a bell at the lake to summon a ferry as long as I waited long enough — I wasn’t waiting enough before and thought there was no effect. However, this gets you immediately stuck on a rock blocking my way with a suggestive crack, like it can busted open with explosives. No dice prodding around there, either.)

Posted December 14, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

Tagged with

TRS80GP New Version (exciting, trust me)   3 comments

So, the best TRS-80 emulator in the known universe, TRS80GP, has just received an update.

Download here

The emulator receives regular updates so this wouldn’t normally be good enough news for a post, but I want to mention some very special news.

That’s the top two options in the menu, there: save states! Yes, finally, in addition to impeccable emulator handling and fantastic visual options, save states are supported, and they work quite well with adventure games. Just in time for Asylum II! (…as soon as I can finally shoot down Ferret, which I will update on soon. Keep an eye on the comments of my last post if you want to see the meanest red herring from both sides of the Atlantic.)

Posted December 11, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games