Archive for the ‘houseofthesevengables’ Tag

House of the Seven Gables (1978)   1 comment

madcatalogcover

houseofseven

 

Greg Hassett followed Journey to the Center of the Earth Adventure with yet another game based on a book title (by Nathaniel Hawthorne) and once again there’s no relation otherwise. It even seems to fundamentally misunderstand what a “gable” is. This is a gable:

gableroof

That is, it’s an architectural feature, not a room. Yet, here’s my map so far (currently incomplete):

gablesmap1

I guess he means “the room next to a gable”?

I’M AT THE FIRST GABLE. IT OVERLOOKS A HUGE YARD OF TALL GRASS.
I CAN GO — E

At the beginning of the game there are no compass directions mentioned, but a “shiny compass” on the ground. After picking up the compass, the compass direction to the south appears. If you drop the compass later, you can’t move at unless you pick the compass up again. (Mystery Mansion has a similar but more elaborate trick which allows relative motion. Every few years on interactive fiction forums someone brings up how artificial compass directions feel; this anxiety apparently went to the beginning of adventure game history.)

There’s two enemies that can pop up randomly: a “ghost” and a “one-eyed ghoul”. The ghost wants a treasure; I’ve found exactly one (silver candlesticks) which I can give to the ghost who will leave me alone. I have yet to defeat the ghoul, so my gameplay consists of wandering around until the ghoul randomly appears, then reloading.

Other than the maze, I have solved essentially one puzzle: going east from the dining room.

gablesdoorknob

Rather unusually, I figured out what object would work before trying the object. I knew there was an “axe” on the map (I wasn’t holding it — see ghoul reloading) but I wanted to test if it would work, so I tried CHOP DOOR.

WITH WHAT, MY BARE HANDS?

Typing YES results in

I DON’T KNOW KARATE!

so even though I couldn’t solve the puzzle right at that moment I knew the use of the axe.

I suspect other puzzles may be due to verb difficulties, which are extreme here. Garlic + vampire seems to go together, but I have yet to be able to use the garlic in any fashion. It’s possible I have used a successful counter to the ghoul without realizing it because the verbs are so picky. This is a problem common to the TRS-80 games at the time; I may give in and dive into the source for a verb list. Especially since HELP is not as useful as in Journey to the Center of the Earth:

gableshelp

Posted April 12, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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House of the Seven Gables: Dewitched   5 comments

From The Captain 80 Book of Basic Adventures by Robert Liddil. I think the cover is supposed to be the hero tentatively entering the haunted house, but it just reminds me of the axe scene from The Shining.

From The Captain 80 Book of Basic Adventures by Robert Liddil. I think the cover is supposed to be the hero tentatively entering the haunted house, but it just reminds me of the axe scene from The Shining.

Out of the two wandering enemies (the ghost which wants one of your treasures and the ghoul who just kills you) I managed to defeat the latter:

gableghoulend

Unfortunately, doing so triggers a bug which causes the inventory slot to not be properly reduced, causing inventory capacity to drop by one. This would not be such a problem if more ghouls didn’t drop by unannounced.

I also defeated a witch; after destroying the witch you’re no longer trapped in the house. In this spirit of my “solve it yourself” Acheton puzzle, I’ll give an inventory list and let you figure it out:

VALUABLE RECIPES
SILVER CANDLESTICKS
BEAUTIFUL ROSE
SULTON’S DAGGER
OLD RUSTY AXE
FRESH GARLIC
SOME CHEMICALS
BUCKET OF WATER
BANANA PEEL
TEST TUBE OF FLUID
PRICELESS REMBRANT
SPARKLING DIAMOND

Finishing the game was truly odd. Clearly there were adventures to collect, but there was no obvious place to put them. I tried the living room in front of the exit, typed SCORE, and noted it went up. That’s wildly meta.

gablesend

There were still plenty of loose ends, but knowing Hassett’s strange red herrings from his last game, I’m not sure if there’s anything to them.

1.) I never did defeat the ghost, but it seemed like it would only appear if I had treasure, so I waited until late in the game before I moved treasures around. Both solutions at the CASA Solution Archive just expect the player to rush through without meeting either the ghost or the ghoul.

2.) Occasionally, for no apparent reason, my score would start dropping by 10 points each turn. I have no idea why this was happening. Negative numbers are possible.

3.) #2 might be related to a black cat which — if you attempt to take it — will teleport somewhere else, where you can attempt the same routine. It doesn’t seem to have any use or relevance other than atmosphere.

4.) The compass starts off as a “shiny new compass” but ends up as a “tarnished old compass” throughout the trip. I don’t know when it happens or if it’s significant in some way.

gablesfinalmap

(Click the image above for my final map. Notice the only addition from my last map is that going down from the top of the staircase does not bring you to the bottom, but rather an entirely different area. Sigh.)

Posted April 13, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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