Archive for the ‘followers-adventure’ Tag

Followers Adventure (1982)   4 comments

We’ve had so many visits on this blog now to the universe of Roger M. Wilcox he almost needs no introduction; we’ve so far played 18 of his games, including In the Universe Beyond and the Trash Island trilogy.

This is number 19, and still one of his “private games” not for general release. (He tried to get Vial of Doom in the Captain 80 Book of Basic Adventures but missed the deadline; otherwise, these haven’t been leaning for publication.) This leads here to content that may have been otherwise avoided in the marketplace: religion.

We’ve had games with the PRAY command, but to fairly generic in-game deities. Followers Adventure involves a protaganist who is sort-of-kind-of Jesus.

It was a rather sarcastic adventure game set in Palestine about two millennia ago, if you catch my drift.

Only kind of, since I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t use The Force, as in the literal Force from Star Wars.

The premise is to make every single person in your (small) country a follower. Here’s you converting your mother —

And yes, the only way to learn about the command USE FORCE is from the HELP command; this is kind of meta like In the Universe Beyond teaching you to beam up only if you use the HELP, or the very first command of Don and Freda Boner’s Game Fortress at Times-End being the HELP command being the exact thing that opens the front gate. It’s awkward, because there are games where HELP or HINT really does give extra information to help out of trouble, rather than absolutely necessary info, so I’m always reluctant to use it.

Moving on, I’m going to save time by specifying the nickel is shown to have a weak seam if you examine it, so you need to break it first. This gives you two “half nickels” and one can go to the beggar, who apparently doesn’t appreciate the fact it probably doesn’t work as legal currency any more.

(Normally, you give the whole nickel, and only find out later in the game you messed up. Be forewarned this game is designed for satire, not fair gameplay.)

Moving on, there’s a sword stuck in a stone nearby you can’t get out, and a roman legion who will crucify you if you aren’t careful in stealing their chariot.

However, you can USE FORCE again to distract the entire legion, and the abscond with their chariot. This lets you ride to a new area.

Yes, there’s a spaceship. This goes a bit off the hook.

There’s a nearby blind beggar that gave me a lot of parser trouble; I tried to CURE BEGGAR and HEAL EYES and so forth, assuming Jesus had some extra powers other than messing with brains. The right command is HEAL.

There’s a scene with a “starving crowd” where I instantly knew I needed a miracle, but the exact nature was bizarre: take a basket and use the command RAISE BASKET. According to Roger commenting in Dale Dobson’s blog, this came from a scene from one of the 1979 Jesus movies (In Search of Historic Jesus or The Jesus Movie).

ASIDE: There were four Jesus movies in 1979; in addition to the two serious ones there was the Monty Python movie Life of Brian, and the rather less-well known Italian film White Pop Jesus described as “Disco Jesus comes back to Earth and takes on the Mafia.”; pretty sure the IMDB date for the latter is for the English release.

Moving on: we find Young Arthur who is susceptible to the Force, and will follow you (unlike all your other followers). You can take him back to the sword in the stone where he will pull it, so you can get Excalibur. Then you can take Excalibur to the King of the Jews to get another follower.

Sure, why not.

This gives you, according to the game, 50% of the country in followers. Here you seem to be stuck, and if this was counting “treasaures” like a standard game of yore, you would be since the Roman legion will not convert. However, all you need is for everyone in the country who is alive to be your follower.

There’s some other fussing about where you can get a glowing green sphere (via using the other half of the nickel in a slot) and some wings to fly, and then climb up some obelisks and fly over to a spaceship.

That’s a cryptogram letting you know this spaceship uses voice commands for splitting and firing missiles. The problem is SAY FIRE and so forth doesn’t work. You have to give the commands in the language of the cryptogram. (Both SAY SPLIT and SAY FIRE are needed to attain victory.) I really don’t know how this gets vocalized but by this point I wasn’t letting it worry me:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Also, I have a spaceship I will use to annihilate the Romans with missiles before we conquer the world.”

The people responded, saying “Gnarly! We’ll be your followers!”

…ok, I appreciated this game. While this level of satire applied to religion was there in the cinema, we barely had anything about religion at all in 1982 computer games. (BibleBytes launched in 1982, so prior to this there weren’t even really religiously-earnest types of games yet.) This was no doubt partly enabled by being a private game for fun, so even though the player is asked to do some fairly absurd commands (and say the word %2%* out loud) I appreciated the satirical atmosphere.

So in the end I was happy, or at least I remembered:

ASIDE ASIDE: perhaps you might be wondering what religious background Roger M. Wilcox had. Quoting from his webpage:

My personal experiences with Orgonomy go way back. Some people are raised in a Catholic family. Some people are raised in a Jewish family. I was raised in an Orgonomy family. And despite Reich’s insistence to the contrary, Orgonomy is a religion, filled with sacred truths which can never be experimentally verified, a single central theme which tries to explain everything in the universe, a Fall from Grace in the mythical past, and even a Christ figure in Reich himself.

If none of that rings a bell, I endorse his rabbit-hole dive and skeptic’s breakdown of the world of Wilhelm Reich and “orgone energy”. It still doesn’t fit in my brain. My best reckoning is something like Scientology but without the aliens.

ASIDE ASIDE ASIDE: Ok, fine, here’s the entirety of White Pop Jesus with English subtitles. You deserve it today.

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

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