Archive for the ‘timequest’ Tag

Timequest (1981)   11 comments

Timequest is also known as Time Quest, via the printed disk label and the opening title screen, and the title is given on a followup screen as Timequest Adventure. I’m honestly beyond being surprised when this sort of thing happens, although no game can match the pure naming chaos that was Dragon Quest Adventure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Timequest shares a publisher in common: The Programmer’s Guild.

From the Museum of Computer Adventure Games.

The author of Timequest, William Demas, is better-known for doing the majority of work on Scott Adams Adventure #12 (it was a scenario like Pyramid of Doom where Adams just did some editing) and two “talking games” (Forbidden Planet and Forbidden City) for the TRS-80 published by Fantastic Software.

Timequest, on the other hand, has fallen down a memory hole of sorts; CASA is light on information, Mobygames has wrong information, and its existence doesn’t get mentioned at all in this interview with the author. There are no hints or a walkthrough anywhere, and nobody I can find has played it on video.

This is nearly identical to Journey Through Time in the premise: go through time, nab treasures, 12 in this case. However, the time periods don’t really have any theming; it’s more like you’re using a general teleportation device rather than visiting Nero or printing yourself a brand-new Gutenburg Bible.

Rather unusually, the game does not start with “home base” in the “present” of 1981.

Yes, 1886. I suppose a time traveler’s home base can be any-time and any-where. You can PUSH LEVER to go to 2930 or PULL LEVER to go to 1235. There are no other time periods (at least as far as I’ve gotten).

The “where” is somewhat important, though — there is some sense that you are fixed in location as you travel in time. The machine starts in a basement, but you can drag it outside (PULL MACHINE). If you travel forward in time while outside, you end up outside a mountain.

If you travel forward in time while inside, you end up inside the (fortunately hollow) mountain.

Traveling to the past while the machine is outside is fatal; your machine falls into a swamp. If the machine is in the basement, you get taken next to the swamp instead.

So (as of yet?) there are two 2930 locations, one 1886 location and one 1235 location.

My map so far, but certainly not complete, given I’ve only seen 3 treasures out of 12.

Even though the game doesn’t fully use the “fun” aspects of time travel (historical events and/or setting up paradoxes) the map still gets naturally broken up in sectors, which gives it a crisp and modern feel.

Besides figuring out the time machine itself, the puzzles so far have been straightforward; I found a key in a sandbox and used it to unlock a room that is supposed to hold treasures. The same room had a snorkel which I used to get a fish and gold trident from a river; I also found a flashlight lying around which led me to get a gold chain and shovel. The shovel then let me dig to an underground area in 2930.

I’m stuck on

1.) the underground area, which has a reel of tape, some silver coins, and an angry mole; while I can get in, the angry mole kills me if I try to get out.

2.) 1235 has a cave guarded by a lion.

3.) 1235 also has a swamp which you sink in and die if you try to go in (this may just be a trap)

4.) 2930 has a dead raccoon that is diseased and you die if you try to pick it up (the game implies you need gloves).

So far, I have yet to use a BRASS RING (that you start the game with), a FISH, a FROG, a FUR COAT, and some SAND. The two treasures I’ve gotten which may or may not be of use are a GOLD TRIDENT and a GOLD CHAIN. It is of course possible that the KEY, SNORKEL, and SHOVEL somehow get reused, but otherwise, that’s all I have to work with. (The snorkel doesn’t work on the swamp; you can’t kill either the mole or the lion with the trident.)

The game has me interested enough I haven’t resorted to hacking at the game file itself yet. If you want to try it out, this link will let you play online (it’ll delay, then give an error, then you need to type TYME2 and hit ENTER).

Frog is another William Demas game. This is the first I’ve ever seen an in-game ad for something sold by an entirely different publisher.

Posted September 22, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Timequest: 12 Out of 12 Treasures   2 comments

Thanks to comments from Matt and Voltgloss I trudged my way to victory.

My key sticking point was missing one of the game’s invisible norms.

From the Museum of Computer Adventure Games.

Navigation in Scott Adams-inspired games is often not just by compass directions, but by “GO LOCATION”.




For the room above, while you can just type WEST, GO BUILDING and GO STREAM are also possible. The game uses this relatively extensively, and it seemed like the norm was that whenever a location was enterable, it would always be mentioned as a separate object (as opposed to implied by the location line).

This was a false assumption.




By the description above it looks like east and south are the only exits (if you try to GO MACHINE the game gives the explicit syntax GET ON). However, you can GO MOUNTAIN.

I suspect the author didn’t even think this was really a “puzzle”; one of the items you find up the mountain is a book. The book hints that TURN ON and TURN OFF are syntax for the flashlight and that spinning the brass ring (the one in inventory from the start of the game) could make something interesting happen. If you haven’t found the book, you’re almost guaranteed to run across the flashlight and try to use it. Why would you put a parser hint for the flashlight in the book if you didn’t expect it to be read first?

Invisible norms still haunt pretty much every videogame genre, but to stick with adventure games, consider the norm where the main player has items in their inventory that go unmentioned until INVENTORY is typed. I think most modern authors would not consider that aspect a puzzle, yet it is something players could clearly get stuck on.

I found the remainder of the game fairly satisfying, so if you’re interested, now is the time to veer away before I spoil the rest of the game.

The mountain also had a jade buddha treasure and a glove.

This was enough the make the rest of the game go smoothly. The glove I immediately knew was used to pick up the diseased raccoon, which I fed to the lion blocking the cave. This led me to a waterfall (hiding some coins) and a slab.

The SPIN RING worked at a the slab to teleport. Then I was frozen instantly, but already had a coat for that problem.

I ran across the only live human in the game. For time travel in 1235, most games would visit some European area. (I’m not sure how aware people in 1981 were of the word “eskimo” being offensive.)

The spear (from the screen above) was sufficient to kill the angry mole I was stuck on last time. Additionally, the ring/slab combination also worked in the future to get me to a computer room.

This led to a few more treasures, and victory.

So: was this really a time travel game?

Genuinely, I wonder what the author was thinking: as I’ve already mentioned, the compartmentalization of time zones made for a good structural organization, but in the end I was dealing more with teleportation than time travel. The far-future computer device uses a reel of tape; one of the treasures is some TECHNICAL MANUALS and the only other gizmo is one that turns sand into a copper bar (Which is sort of impressive but not something I’d time travel for).

The cover (from my last post) suggests some sort of wild trip to the far future, with an odd creature in the center, and this game had none of that. Maybe this was somehow a well-planned enough time travel trip that the protagonist knew not to meddle with areas containing people (paradoxes, etc.) I did enjoy myself, but it was curious to play in a genre that lacked nearly all the elements of said genre.

Posted September 24, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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