Archive for the ‘adventure-501’ Tag

Adventure 501: Finished!   16 comments

I gathered all the necessary treasures, but the endgame wouldn’t trigger. Cross-checking with the source code, I’m definitely at maximum, so I must have run into a bug; I can call this one done. (Also, the source code indicates an essentially identical endgame with Adventure 350, so I’m not missing anything.)

Before I made it to the end I was going to call this post “Annoyances” because I ran into legions of them. Case in point: gathering the necessary treasures isn’t just a matter of dropping them in right room. There’s a safe that stores most of the items. However, some of them don’t fit, but *do* fit in the pirate chest (it is unclear how one would know the pirate chest can contain extra loot and is an acceptable holder). Some don’t fit in either so really are just dropped on the floor. One of them (a radium stone) is radioactive and can only be stored in a special container; the score only increases when storing the stone in the container and it doesn’t matter where the container goes in the well-house. The only way to figure all this out (other than spoilers) is to keep an eye on the current score and test every possibility out.

You might remember last time an outdoors location that was reached by going north from a certain location where the destination was chosen via random number generator. The game does it again on an important indoors section, going south from the East End of Long Hall:

(Rant Mode On) Again, I should note the room-exit based version of this doesn’t seem to be a Thing outside of ports of Adventure, but in other adventures I have seen characters and/or objects only appear in certain rooms based on a random chance. Suppose, as a game designer, you want an Event to occur in a certain central location. Since the location is central, you expect the player to pass through 10 times, and you set the Event to happen with 25% probability. Surely the player will see it?

75% to the 10th power is 5.6%, so approximately 1 out of 20 players will never see the event by random chance! Don’t be lazy: engineer things so the event may seem random but the player is guaranteed to see it in a timely manner. (/Rant Mode Off)

The sad thing here is that the annoyance is followed by the best puzzle in the game, and in fact the best instance of re-appropriation of an object I’ve seen any of the Adventure variants.

You’re in the Cloakroom. This is where the dreaded Wumpus repairs to sleep off heavy meals. (Adventurers are his favorite dinner!)
Two very narrow passages exit NW and NE.
A lovely silken cloak lies partially buried under a pile of loose rocks.
In the corner, a Wumpus is sleeping peacefully.

The Wumpus stays asleep until you grab the cloak, at which point it starts chasing you. You have about six moves to somehow escape or defeat the Wumpus. As is tradition, I will not solve the puzzle here, but I did leave enough information in this post (as long as you’re somewhat familiar with original Adventure) to figure things out. Answers in the comments are welcome.

From Dennis Donovan’s map of Adventure 751.

Back to annoyances: I ran into two deadly guess-the-verb issues in a row. I’ve tried to argue before that guess-the-verb is rarer than the reputation of old adventures suggests, and then a game like this comes along and asks me to exit a boat:

I don’t know in from out here. Use compass points or name something in the general direction you want to go.

I don’t know in from out here. Use compass points or name something in the general direction you want to go.

I don’t know in from out here. Use compass points or name something in the general direction you want to go.

There is no way to go in that direction.

I don’t understand the word escape.

What do you want to do with the boat?

I pretty much rammed through every verb I could think of until I came across this, which is so bizarre it might be a legitimate bug.


Immediately after this there are some bees where I wanted to get to their hive. I had some flowers where I thought >GIVE FLOWERS, >THROW FLOWERS, or some variation thereof would work. It eventually came down to >FEED BEES which I guess sort of makes sense, but I don’t think is the word most people would use.

One infamous aspect of 350 point Adventure is “the maze of twisty passages, all different” which contains a vending machine that dispense batteries for the battery-powered lamp. It was a way to extend the time allowed for solving puzzles, but since getting the batteries required using rare coins (and thus destroying a treasure) the vending machine was useless for anyone who wanted a high score.

One consequence of expanding the map in Adventure 501 is that the battery-powered lamp doesn’t have enough charge to get through every puzzle, even in the most optimized route. In this game there are “lead slugs” you can find which work in the vending machine. However, the map is big enough that once the lamp starts going out, there often isn’t enough time to go pick up the lead slugs and trudge all the way to the maze. I lost one of my “final runs” just from getting in an impossible scenario here, and on my subsequent attempt made sure I picked up the batteries early before I even needed them. This isn’t outrageous, but it did surely count as an Annoyance.

(Adventure 550 had a similar conceit of needing a lamp recharge, but there was a magic word that recharged the lamp when it got low and the magic word could work anywhere. Therefore, the annoyance was neatly avoided.)

I suppose if there’s anything positive I can grasp out of this experience, it’s that a coherent map is a pleasing thing. The expansion allowed many gaps to be filled in, and many more routes to be created to get from points X to Y. It led to routing decisions: if I want to reach object Z, do I use a boat, do I walk in from the bridge going the other direction, or do I teleport in with the ruby slippers? (Predictably, they’re just a Wizard of Oz reference; wearing them and typing >CLICK works.) The general feel of Adventure 501 was exploring an real environment, not a node graph.

I’d still recommend Adventure 550 over this one, though; it didn’t suffer nearly as many annoyances.

And that’s it! I can say I have played and written about every adventure game of the 1970s. I’ll likely make a summary post at some point and dive into 1980, but before that, I’m going to do something entirely different.

Posted August 9, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Adventure 501: Outdoors   4 comments

Part of Dennis Donovan’s map from 1980.

In yet another episode of Whose Version Is This Anyway?: I mentioned in my first post that there was two later branches that was derived off Adventure 501 (a 551 point version and a 751 point version). There’s a part involving a spider and fly in the port I’m playing which is not in either branch, leading to the theory that this particular version was modified by an anonymous person off of David Long’s no-longer-in-existence original. The addition is very slight, so it’s perfectly fine to call it the “same game”, but it has a silly/annoying scoring trick I wanted to point out:

You have entered Haunted Chamber. A cold wind whistles eerily throughout the room. Strange chords from an unseen organ echo from all over. A passage leads east and a small hole leads south. There is a giant spider in the eastern corner guarding the door. He is grinning at you.

The spider grabs the fly, wraps it in silk, and proceeds to quietly munch on it, leaving the door unguarded.

This obviously loses the fly, but it also loses points. Even though the description of the fly doesn’t have the patented exclamation mark at the end (like all the other treasures do) it gets points if stored as a treasure.

I had explored the outdoors at the very beginning of playing this game, and had concluded there weren’t any additions. I apparently missed going west two times from the starting room, because there’s an extensive outdoors section:

I originally went north from the “Jumble of Large Broken Rocks” where I was led to the “High Cliff”, dutifully marking my map and assuming I had reached a dead end.

Soon after, I had reached the point of stuckness that I decided to peruse the Dennis Donovan map excerpted at the top of this post. The map really is a pleasure to look at, and it makes the game feel like a real location far more than any other map I can recall. It’s also useful for meta-solving; consider this portion on the lower-left corner:

This is technically of the 751-point version, although there only seems to be one small portion that doesn’t match with Adventure 501. This was sold commercially at the time; no high-resolution scan was available until earlier this year when Arthur O’Dwyer happened upon a copy.

I never found a “Thunder Hole” on my map, but it certainly looked like it was accessible. I made a return trip and found that going north from the “Jumble of Large Broken Rocks” also can go (simply at random) to the “Thunder Hole” area instead. Argh! This kind of trick I’ve only seen in Adventure variants, and I am deeply grateful nobody else picked up on it the way other authors ran with mazes.

Posted August 8, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Adventure 501: Wrong Number   2 comments

Adventure variants are named after their high score. This is imperfect when more than one version has the same top score, and especially confusing in the case of Adventure 501:

If you were to quit now, you would score 45 out of a possible 505.

To clarify (?), the game doesn’t have a hard-coded high score; it’s determined by the events / treasures placed in the game. At one point this port (by Scott Healey) showed a maximum score of 622; after fixing a bug, the high score went down to 496. After fixing another bug, the high score went up to 501. Now it seems to have floated to 505.

According to David Long’s own information (circa 1978) the high score should be 501. So I’m sticking with that, especially since Adventure 501-ish doesn’t sound like a good title.


1. I managed to solve one significant puzzle: the sword in the anvil.

You are on a narrow promontory at the foot of a waterfall, which spurts from an overhead hole in the rock wall and splashes into a large reservoir, sending up clouds of mist and spray.
Through the thick white mist looms a polished marble slab, to which is affixed an enormous rusty iron anvil. In golden letters are written the words: “Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of This Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King-Born of All This Mountain.”
There is a narrow chimney on the east side of the promontory.
A gleaming sword is stuck into the anvil!

When this happened in Adventure 550 a boost of strength was required. Alas, brute strength here doesn’t help.

You grasp the sword’s handle and give it a mighty heave, but with a loud clang the sword blade shatters into several fragments.

The golden letters give a hint. Earlier, I found a new area by the Hall of the Mountain King:

You are on the east side of the throne room. On the arm of the throne has been hung a sign which reads “Gone for the day: visiting sick snake. –M.K”
An ancient crown of elvin kings lies here!

If you wear the crown, pulling the sword gets a different result:


2. As I predicted, there was a large section past “Dante’s Rest” (map shown above). The trident has been moved from its original spot in Adventure 350 to this area.

You are on the eastern shore of the Blue Grotto.
An ascending tunnel disappears into the darkness to the SE.
There is a jewel-encrusted trident here!

You can’t swim. You’d best go by boat.

There may be another area with the aforementioned boat. The strangest part past Dante’s Rest is the Rotunda:

You’re in the Rotunda. Corridors radiate in all directions.
There is a telephone booth standing against the north wall.
The telephone booth is empty. The phone is ringing.

As you move towards the phone booth, a gnome suddenly streaks around the corner, jumps into the booth and rudely slams the door in your face. You can’t get in.
You’re in Rotunda.
The phone booth is occupied by a gnome. He is talking excitedly to someone at the other end.

There’s a horn and a lyre elsewhere that I’ll try out later to see if I can annoy the gnome enough to get him to leave, but as the setup resets whenever you leave the room, I suspect the solution has more to do with outrunning the gnome than chasing him away.

3. One portion of the game, the section past the troll chasm, looks entirely unchanged at first; no special passage through the lava this time.

From Kim Schuette’s The Book of Adventure Games.

However, there’s one slight difference that has me stumped. I think it may qualify as a new category in my mod taxonomy, but I don’t know what the word for it would be.

Normally the “tasty food” from the opening of the game serves to make the bear happy, but this occurs instead:

All you have are watercress sandwiches. The bear is less than interested.

I don’t have a good answer. This and the phone booth are the only two puzzles that seem to be available. That doesn’t discount the possibility of hidden puzzles; combing over all the prior rooms is a good way to procrastinate while I’m stuck.

Posted August 7, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Adventure 501 (1978)   3 comments

From the cover of Creative Computing port of Adventure, via the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History.

This version of Adventure (by David Long) marks the last one of the 1970s I’m writing about. There are a few that are essentially direct ports I have skipped, but I’ve played all of them that modify Crowther’s original game in some fundamental way.

501-point Adventure has a tangled history, but I’ll simplify things down to say this was the basis of a “lost” 751-point version by David Long in 1980 (it was on Compuserve, and died when Compuserve did) as well as a 551-point version by Doug McDonald from 1984. I’m playing the version at Gobberwarts.

A difference between this version and all the others pops out right away:

You are inside a building, a well house for a large spring. Off to one side is a small pantry.
There is a shiny brass lamp nearby.
There is a leather sack here.
Taped to the wall is a faded poster.

The poster has on it a picture of a short, fat wizard with a bushy red beard and a white painted face. He is playing an electric guitar. The caption reads: ‘LOOK OUT KISS!! Here comes WIZZ!!!! Brian Baas lead singer and vocals. Playing at a Woodstock near you!’

Hidden behind the poster is a steel safe, embedded in the wall.

I thought for a brief time you were denied the typical food / water / keys at the start of the game, but the pantry can be entered.

You’re in the caretaker’s pantry.
There is food here.
There is a bottle of water here.
It contains:
Clear water
There is a large black fly here buzzing around rather lazily.
There are some keys on the ground here.

Note how the bottle “contains: clear water” as a separate entry, as opposed to water just being an object. This game has a “proper” container system where in order to, say, free a bird from a cage, you have to >OPEN CAGE before getting the bird out, or if you want to pour the bottle of water, you have to >OPEN BOTTLE first. In a way, this makes for stronger simulationism, but it’s also more of a pain in practice to type two commands with something that previously only needed one. In short, improving the underlying system made the surface parser worse. For a container system to be an actual improvement, it needs “assumed actions” like in the Infocom parser — that is, if you POUR WATER without having opened the bottle, the game says “(first opening the bottle)” to avoid the tedium of typing an action that was clearly implied.

In any case, I haven’t run into too many more differences yet. There’s these two areas early on…

…but neither as of yet seem to be extensive or interesting (given I found no treasure or item associated with the “Haunted Chamber” I suspect I’m missing something).

I also found a sword in an anvil (very similar to the sword in the stone from Adventure 550) and a chasm called “Dante’s Rest” where I suspect the rest of the rooms are hidden. I will report back my results next time!

Posted August 5, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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