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Monday, December 2, 2013

Game 125: Dungeons and Dragons (1980)

Yep, that's what we get for a title screen.

Dungeons and Dragons
Written by Peter Trefonas
CLOAD cassette magazine, May 1980, for TRS-80
Date Started: 1 December 2013
Date Ended: 1 December 2013
Total Hours: 3
Difficulty: Easy (2/5)
Final Rating: 10
Ranking at Time of Posting: 5/121 (4%)

I have to hand it to whoever put Dungeons and Dragons (for some reason incorrectly titled "Dungeons n Dragons") on the Wikipedia list of computer role-playing games. He had to dig deep for this one. The game is the very definition of "forgettable," and its omission even on a "comprehensive" list of RPGs would be perfectly understandable.

I don't mean to insult the game; it wasn't even designed to be memorable. It was distributed via the TRS-80 cassette magazine CLOAD and probably written in just a couple of days. I reviewed another cassette game, 1979's Dungeon, back in February. Magazines-on-cassette tape were a brief fad in the late 1970s and early 1980s, superseded by magazines on floppy disk and then, of course, the Internet, and every issue would contain some articles and a few brief sample programs, none of them really intended to compete with commercial software. I don't doubt that there were occasional gems among the cassettemag and diskmag programs, but this isn't one of them.

I'm playing it because I'm stuck in Legend of Faerghail (the entrance to the derelict castle has completely disappeared, replaced by a tree), and because it's an excuse to learn a TRS-80 emulator. Dungeons and Dragons isn't the first CRPG released for the TRS-80 (that would be the Dunjonquest titles in 1979), but it does seem to be the first (and one of only three on my list) CRPGs released only for the TRS-80. The most prominent among these titles is Dungeons of Daggorath, which readers have been encouraging me to play since the beginning of my blog. I'll get to it soon. [Later edit: I guess I'm mixing up TRS models. This might, in fact, be the only RPG exclusively available for the TRS-80.]

Playing this game helped me sort out some of my own computer history. For years, I had been thinking that my first personal computer, purchased from a neighbor in 1983 with $60 I made washing cars, was a TRS-80. But when I looked at some images online while downloading the emulator, I realized that I was wrong. My first PC had no peripherals, no drives, no monitor even; it hooked up to the television. After some further searching, I've come to the conclusion that it was, in fact, the Timex Sinclair 1000 (TS1000) that I used to hook up to my TV at home and amuse myself typing:

10 PRINT "CHESTER BOLINGBROKE!";
20 GOTO 10
RUN

Never gets old.

However, I did use a TSR-80 in my sixth-grade classroom. I remember writing trivia programs on it to amuse the other students, and it spawned a brief trivia craze among them that manifested in both computer and paper games. (With embarrassment, I recall that one of my trivia questions was "What is Shakespeare's famous quote?" The answer was "TO BE OR NOT TO BE," because, you know, he had only one.) I got reasonably good at BASIC programming for a while, enough that I made some modifications to a program that my mother used for data analysis at her firm.

Dungeons and Dragons is slightly more sophisticated than anything I wrote in my heyday, but not by much. It feels like a hurried version of Eamon, combining some basic statistics and random combat with text adventure gameplay, in an attempt to create something that feels like a classic D&D module: random encounters, fixed encounters, treasures, quest items, and a final boss. If it doesn't succeed it's because the 346 lines of code don't allow for enough complexity or variety. It's not a bad approach, though, and it could have served as the basis for something more extensive.

When you start the game, you name yourself and your god (the only consequence of this is in a few bits of text). The game automatically rolls strength (hit points), dexterity, armor class (yes, this is a random roll), and starting gold pieces; you have no option to re-roll except to reload the game. You buy one or two of seven weapons, depending on what you can afford, the rest of your gold gets converted to elven healing cakes and torches, and then you're off to the catacombs of...oh, for the love of..."Khazad'Dum"...to find a "large blue-white diamond."


The game map consists of only 28 named rooms (in a fixed layout) plus a little "maze of twisty passages" whose navigation seems random. You pass through them with the N, S, E, W, U, and D commands while in "travel" mode. While in "command" mode, there's a limited selection of commands--TAKE, SAY, EAT, SCORE, FILL, LIGHT, and CLUE--and most of them work in only one or two places. There is notably no way to check inventory or current hit points.

My map of the game.
 
The room descriptions are just brief sketches, though not badly written:

  • A cobbled hall: large moss-cover cobblestones cover the floor
  • Parlor of the Dead: Assorted bones lie scattered over the floor
  • Ante-Room: Walls are paneled with black walnut; plush furniture lies on a thick red carpet
  • Chamber of Fires: the air is stifling hot, and the walls are warm to the touch. A red glow eminates from the smoke along the SE corner

One of the room descriptions, with a special encounter with a demon.

A handful of the rooms have fixed encounters with treasure-bearing monsters--a demon, a troll, a stone giant, a vampire, and a gargoyle--but in most of them, you have a random chance of an encounter with something like a goblin, hobgoblin, berserker, or gnome. When you meet such enemies, you can try to flee, in which case the monster simply disappears from the dungeon.

If you attack, the game takes you to a weird real-time combat system. The enemy starts swinging at you, and you have to interrupt his swings with the "A" (regular attack), "B" (all-or-nothing attack), or "P" (pray) keys. The frequency with which you can interrupt his attacks with your own is based on dexterity, so this becomes the most important attribute in the game. (I found that any character I rolled with less than 12 dexterity was essentially walking dead.) If you're attacking, you have to specify the weapon's first three letters. Occasionally, the enemy knocks you down and you have to hit "S" to stand up.

Combat with a gnome.

The combats are quite deadly; if they weren't, the game would only take about 10 minutes. I rolled over 20 characters, some dying in the first room, before I found the optimal path through the game and was able to defeat the various fixed and random encounters.

Killing an enemy generally produces nothing but a slightly higher score, but in three places you get a special treasure: an amulet that raises your strength, a ring that lowers your AC, and a potion that increases your speed. There are also some scattered healing cakes throughout the dungeon.

Finding a treasure after defeating a gargoyle.

Your weapon can break during combat, and if you don't have a backup, you'll have to resort to your fists. But your fists can also "break," leaving you defenseless and soon dead.

Occasionally, if the monster's weapon and fists break, he'll surrender. If you don't accept it, you'll get a message that you've angered your god and he'll kill you.

There are a few navigation puzzles, such as one-way exits, all culminating in the "dragon's lair." The game manual takes perverse pride in noting that there are special commands that only work in the dragon's lair, and they don't bother to tell you what they are. Through a lot of trial and error (GIVE results in a message that if the dragon really wants something, he'll take it; PRAY says that not even the FSM can help you against the dragon), I figured out the solution was to RUB a lamp that I found in another part of the dungeon. This releases a genie who, in gratitude, banishes the dragon.

Apparently, the genie is more powerful than my god. I guess I'll be switching allegiances.

Then, for some reason I don't understand, rubbing the lamp again in a particular corridor results in a whispered message to hit SHIFT-B (producing a lower-case "b") back in the dragon's lair. Doing so takes you to a secret niche where the diamond is present. Grab the diamond and head back to the surface, and you get the winning message and your score. The score is based on the number of treasures you found and monsters you've killed; since monsters spawn randomly, there's no upper limit.


Wow! Not just lucky but "damm lucky!"

You have a kind-of "time limit" in that you have a fixed number of torches, and if you run out, you fall into a pit and "break every bone in your body"--this game's equivalent of getting eaten by a grue. Other than combat, other ways to die include going (D)own when on a bridge, eating mold from the walls of the cave (except a special yellow mold in one location, which heals you), eating cursed elven cakes (this happens randomly), refusing to accept an enemy's surrender, or doing the wrong thing in the dragon's cave, which results in him turning you to ash.
 
I give the game an 10 in my GIMLET, with 0s in the "NPC" and "economy" categories, 2 in "quests" and "gameplay" and 1 in everything else. It simply doesn't have enough RPG elements (especially character development) to be a good game.

Still, it deserves some credit as perhaps the first text adventure/RPG hybrid. Eamon--a much better game--was released the same year, but I think it was in the fall. Their releases are so close that it's hard to imagine that Dungeons and Dragons influenced Eamon, but I suppose it's possible. For some reason, this is the first game cited in Wikipedia's history of RPGs under the "personal computers" section, even though 13 others demonstrably precede it. It is the first RPG for the PC to use the Dungeons & Dragons name (if unofficially), although Dungeon of Death, abbreviated DND, came out a year earlier.

Of the developer, Peter Trefonas, I can find nothing. Between 1978 and 1981, he wrote a series of games for CLOAD, including Worm (a variant of the arcade game Snake), Blockade, Hustle, and Empire. He falls out of sight after that. He apparently contributed some thoughts to a TRS-80 fan site in 1996, but the e-mail provided by the site bounced back.

I'm playing the game via the "TRS32" emulator, and I'm indebted to Dale Dobson's "Gaming After 40" blog for providing such clear, specific instructions to help me with the .bas and .inf files that I was able to download. If nothing else, this experience set me up well for future TRS-80 games. The next "retro" game on the list is Dunjonquest: Hellfire Warrior. I wasn't able to find an Apple II version a few months ago, but perhaps I can find a TRS-80 version.

****

Further Reading: The issue of CLOAD in which this game first appeared (coverage begins towards the bottom of Page 2); my coverage of Eamon, which takes a similar approach.


45 comments:

  1. First of all: holy catfish, I think I remember playing this. I'd totally purged it from my memory banks, but it's ringing a vague but definite bell, especially the real-time combat and "LUCKY . . . IT MISSED".

    Second, I've mentioned this before, but this comment of yours is in error:

    "Dungeons and Dragons isn't the first CRPG released for the TRS-80 [...] but it does seem to be the first (and one of only three on my list) CRPGs released only for the TRS-80. The most prominent among these titles is Dungeons of Daggorath"

    You're mixing up the TRS-80 Model I/III architecture (used by the present game and the type-in game Quest for the Key of Night Shade) with the TRS-80/Tandy Color Computer aka CoCo (which Dungeons of Daggorath is for). They're totally different computers with different CPUs, etc. and very little in common, and you should have separate platform categories for each.

    In fact, the CoCo should be further broken down into CoCo 1/2 (which Daggorath runs on) and CoCo 3 (which is backwards-compatible with CoCo 1/2 but has games of its own, including a couple CRPGs if I'm not mistaken).

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    1. And BTW, another CoCo 1/2 game to add to the list: Gates of Delirium, which as I understand it is an Ultima clone.

      Delete
    2. The CoCo3 is still supported today by a company named Cloud-9. They make SCSI/IDE adapters, memory upgrades, etc.

      They also have a CPU upgrade for the Atari 800XL that I've been thinking about getting which bumps the system from a 6502 to a 6809, though what advantage that is, I don't know.

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    3. Fair enough. I'll re-do the research and fix the sheet.

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    4. Which of these computes is the much derided 'Trash-80' that I've heard reference to when browsing old Wikipedia articles on Usenet culture?

      Delete
  2. "I'm stick in Legend of Faerghail (the entrance to the derelict castle has completely disappeared, replaced by a tree)"

    This multipage thread may turn out to be helpful at some point:
    http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=34864

    Hopefully no bug can stop you from finishing it.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know. The bug they're talking about is different: it prevents entry to the elven pyramid. Since I was just there, that's not my problem. I've been Googling, but I don't see anywhere a bug that prevents entry to the castle.

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  3. All hail the FSM!

    http://www.venganza.org/2009/08/fsm-prayer/

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  4. Minor, but amusing, typo: "CLOAD cassette magazine, May 1980, for TSR-80" should say "... for TRS-80". But TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) was the original publisher of D&D.

    CURSOR Magazine published some very good programs on cassette for the 8 KB Commodore Pet computer. Two that come to mind were RATRUN, a 3D "rat maze" in which you had to find the cheese, and Indian Poker. In the latter, you could see your opponent's cards, but not your own, and had to try to win bets. What made it special was that each opponent had a unique "personality". You could sometimes tell from their expression whether they were trying to bluff you. I found it amazing that anyone could squeeze such impressive games into 8KB of memory. Try to find anything that will run in 8MB today. :-)

    Ref the CoCo, I fried my brother's by inserting a cartridge while the machine was powered on. I think I had to pay $75 to replace the CPU (and maybe the entire motherboard). Afterwards I looked at the schematics and found out why I fried it - The cartridge was unbuffered. If you put it in even slightly skewed, it would short out several lines in the computer. I was shocked that they would take such a shortcut in a device that kids would use. I guess they designed it that way to reduce the cost and possibly to save space on the motherboard.

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    1. Ah... I still remember fondly of that Red Dragon symbol until it was being obtained by WotC (bastards!) in a hostile takeover.

      From what I heard, it was because Richard Garfield (creator of Magic: The Gathering) wanted to join TSR in his youth but was rejected and bore a grudge with them ever since.

      Many years later, with the success of his TCGs, he bought out TSR. Probably while screaming, "Oh, reject me, won't you? You're too good for me, aren't you? Well, guess who's The Man now? Who?! ME! Muahahaha!!!"

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    2. Ugh. I must have typed "TSR-80" a dozen times while writing the post and corrected it every time, but I missed one.

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    3. Kenny, it wasn't a hostile takeover. The shareholders sold TSR to WOTC in order to bail themselves out after the executives of the company ran TSR into the ground. Calling it a hostile takeover is a bit harsh:

      http://insaneangel.com/insaneangel/RPG/Dancey.html

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    4. @Corey Cole: 8K is lots of memory. :-)

      You should check out some of the amazing 4K demos.

      http://awards.scene.org/nominees.php?cat=10
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhJy705g9Vk
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QvPmCgnjnw

      The 64K demos are really impressive too, such as:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oPpcSZa3NE
      Be sure to check

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    5. @Deuce Traveler - Not what came from the horse's mouth and I quote from The Golem in Google discussions who had a transcript of Tracy Hickman (THE Tracy Hickman who wrote the Drangonlance saga):

      ">>What I would like, is if any one has any actual information on this,
      >>could they please post a source? Basically, until a TSR rep says it, or
      >>it appears in a trade mag, or somebody is quoted, I'd take any rumors
      >>with a barrel full of salt.
      >I really doubt there's much to it, though it's possible the current
      >owners are looking to sell TSR. If they've already made a deal, the
      >layoffs might be housecleaning before the company changes hands. That
      >way the new owners don't look like the bad guys. But I'll believe it
      >when I see it in the papers.
      Here's the quote I got, from the alt.starshield.rpg newsgroup, and
      written by Tracy Hickman (I think everyone knows who he is. BTW, he
      is a regular participant on the newsgroup, as Starshield is his new
      RPG\book series).

      ----
      None of us know exactly what the future will bring -- however, I can
      pretty well rule out TSR as a potential purchaser since they are
      currently in the middle of a hostile takeover and have failed to pay
      their royalties for over two months in an effort to fill their
      warchest.
      ----

      There you go, make of it what you will.

      ________________________________Peter John Miller
      http://www.dragonfire.net/~peter/ --> CURRENTLY DOWN!
      Traveller, RPGs and the Home of the Imperium Games FAQ!"

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    6. Kenny McCormick: Odd, I've heard a very different story in several interviews with TSR people from the time. They didn't like WotC, but they were totally out of money due to horrible, horrible mismanagement.

      Delete
    7. That quote from Tracy Hickman is ambiguous at best, as well as undated, so it's impossible to tell what it was referring to. In fact, it doesn't make much sense for it to be referring to WotC's purchase of TSR; that happened in 1997, and Hickman last worked at TSR in 1987... so either he wrote that a time when he hadn't been working at TSR for years and had no access to inside information (in which case that quote certainly wasn't "from the horse's mouth"), or he was referring to something else entirely.

      There was a hostile takeover of TSR, but it wasn't by WotC. It happened in the mid-80s, when the Blume brothers obtained a majority share of the company's stock, and started running the company into the ground with bad business decisions. When Gygax got them ousted from the board of directors, they retaliated by selling their shares to Lorraine Williams, who managed to force Gygax out of the company. This is what led to the horrible mismanagement that Deuce Traveler and Canageek mention. At the time WotC bought out TSR, the company had been going down the tubes for years, and was pretty much bankrupt. Whatever its flaws, WotC did far better by the company than the Williams and the Blumes had.

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    8. (Er... "than Williams and the Blumes", that should be in the last sentence. There were two Blumes brothers, but as far as I know, Lorraine was only Williams involved.)

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    9. That Williams woman was not very popular, I think. I recall reading in an old computer gaming magazine that at a convention she had two "gorillas" at her side at all time. I wish I could remember the excact wording, 'cause it was funny.

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    10. I finally found that panel I was talking about; this contains a lot of talk of TSR, mismanagement under both it and WotC, Loraine Williams, and some amusing stories. http://35privatesanctuary.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=541:paizocon2013-special-013-secrets-of-tsr&catid=35:the-tome-know-direction&Itemid=34 (Or just http://35privatesanctuary.com/podcasts/paizocon2013special013-secretsofTSR.mp3 )

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  5. I´ve never heard of the castle bug in LoF. Is it still there in an old savegame ? That is to conclude wether the problem lies in your savegame file rather than the gamediscs you are using. I had problems with corrupted savegame discs and took backup of that directory at every playing session.

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    1. I just started a brand new game, and the castle is there. I guess I need to fiddle around and figure out what the specific difference is.

      Delete
  6. Timex Sinclair 1000! Now that machine was known as the ZX81 in Europe where it had 1k of RAM while the Timex had 2k.

    There is even an extremely simple "RPG" for the ZX81 that I played back then. It is called "Caverns and Pitfalls" and you can find the listing on this page, chapter 29: http://amigan.1emu.net/aw/not30.txt

    While there is no reason to really type in and play this "game", the "Caverns and Pitfalls" chapter is still an interesting read.

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    1. Edit: Caves and Pitfalls

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    2. Interesting. I just read through the basic code. Thankfully, I can reject it as an RPG as having none of my core criteria (no character development, no inventory, combat entirely random); otherwise, I might feel compelled to type it into the TRS and play it!

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  7. "YOU FELL INTO A PIT AND BROKE EVERY BONE IN YOUR BODY!" dates back to 1975 and Crowther's original version of Adventure.-

    I might have seen a text adventure/RPG hybrid in a 1979 type-in lurking somewhere. I'll let you know if I can dig it up.

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    1. Thanks! Nice to know that bit of lore.

      Delete
  8. Since Hellfire Warrior is mentioned, I just noticed it's listed for the C64 in the game master game list, but it should be for the Atari 8bit instead.
    The Apple version has been made available online a short time ago I believe.

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    1. Thanks. I made the change. One of my readers, Josh, sent me a link to an Apple II version incorrectly categorized on Azimov.

      Delete
  9. I KNEW I had heard of the Dungeons of Daggorath before! This, from the installer for the PC port:

    "Daggorath PC-Port
    Version 0.5.0

    ==========

    The copyright for Dungeons of Daggorath is still held by the original author, Douglas J. Morgan.
    (c) 1982, DynaMicro

    ==========

    The following is taken directly from http://members.tripod.com/~Frodpod/lisence.html
    Grant of license to reproduce Dungeons of Daggorath

    My name is Douglas J. Morgan. I was the president of DynaMicro, Inc. (since dissolved), the company which conceived, created and wrote Dungeons of Daggorath, a best selling Radio Shack Color Computer adventure game.

    I have examined the contract I signed with Radio Shack for their license of the game. The contract provides that Radio Shack shall have an exclusive license to manufacture and produce the game, but that said exclusive license shall revert to a non-exclusive license should Radio Shack cease to produce and sell the game. To the best of my knowledge, they have not produced the game for many years. Thus, it is my belief that the right to grant a license for the game has reverted to me.

    I hereby grant a non-exclusive permanent world-wide license to any and all Color Computer site administrators, emulator developers, programmers or any other person or persons who wish to develop, produce, duplicate, emulate, or distribute the game on the sole condition that they exercise every effort to preserve the game insofar as possible in its original and unaltered form.

    The game was a labor of love. Additional credits to Phillip C. Landmeier - who was my partner and who originally conceived the vision of the game and was responsible for the (then) state of the art sounds and realism, to April Landmeier, his wife - the artist who drew all the creatures as well as all the artwork for the manual and game cover, and to Keith Kiyohara - a gifted programmer who helped write the original game and then contributed greatly to compressing a 16K game into 8K so that it could be carried and produced by Radio Shack.

    The game did very well for us. I give it to the world with thanks to all who bought it, played it or enjoyed it.

    There is one existing copy of the original source code. Anyone willing to pay for the copying of the listing (at Kinko's) and shipment to them, who intends to use it to enhance or improve the emulator versions of the game is welcome to it.

    Verification of this license grant or requests for the listing can be made by contacting Louis Jordan, Thank you.

    ==========

    This product makes extensive use of the Simple DirectMedia Layer library, which is licensed under the GNU LGPL. It also uses the SDL_Mixer library, which likewise is licensed under the GNU LGPL.

    You can find the GNU LGPL licence in the file SDL_LICENSE.txt in this directory.

    The GNU LGPL license applys to SDL and SDL_Mixer, not to the Daggorath PC-Port Project. It's included here to comply with the license's terms for usage of these two libraries.

    You can download a zipped copy of the SDL and SDL_Mixer source code from the same place you downloaded this project:

    http://mspencer.net/daggorath/builds/

    Rick Hunerlach
    November 14, 2002"

    For historys sake :)

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  10. not even the FSM can help you against the dragon
    The Flying Spaghetti Monster? I didn't realise its divine pastafarian lore went back to TRS-80 days!

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    1. Oh, and here I thought they were talking about a Finite State Machine.

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    2. Perhaps Chet should change his religion to the IPU.

      http://www.invisiblepinkunicorn.com/

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    3. Chet entered the FSM as his god, so I'm guessing it's generated from that. You can see it in one of the screen shots.

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  11. Ahh Dungeons of Daggorath brings back memories of furiously typing "A" [space] "L" [enter] as fast as possible, over and over. Combat was pseudo realtime; the faster you typed, the more hits you scored. Eve more effective if you tossed junk out to distract the critter you were beating on.. Fun times

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  12. I actually remember playing this on a little known computer the Colecovision ADAM. I ordered the game from some catalogue I picked up at the local users club. I was so envious of my friends IBM after spending hours playing Ultima on his dad's IBM, and the advertising blurb made it sound amazing, "One of the best games ever" "Comparable to Ultima III and the Bards Tale". Boy was I disappointed 2 weeks later when it arrived in the mail!

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    1. Really? I had no idea it was ever marketed commercially. That's almost unforgivable.

      Delete
  13. Oh wow... I remember playing the heck out of this game on my TRS-80 Model III back in the early/mid 1980s. I seem to recall that the best weapon available was a two-handed sword, which could be abbreviated as "THS".

    Through the years, I've tried (unsuccessfully) to find a copy of the game. If it isn't too much trouble... would you mind providing at least a hint as to where you found it? "Dungeons and Dragons" is a pretty unhelpful search phrase on teh interwebs. If it makes you feel any better, I did have a licensed copy back in the day. :)

    Also, I don't recall ever knowing about the diamond after the dragon. Some kind of spoiler warning would have been nice! (Yes, I'm joking.)

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    1. That is correct. It's hard to get enough starting money to buy the two-handed sword. I didn't realize that THS worked; I used TWO throughout.

      I honestly don't remember where I downloaded it, but if you e-mail me, I'll be glad to send you the files.

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  14. This might be the Peter Trefonas who wrote the program - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/pete-trefonas/3/753/980

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    1. I think I checked that guy out, and he was too young. One of my readers named Peter found Mr. Trefonas's Twitter account, but he hasn't responded to a message I sent there.

      Delete
  15. Yup that is me (Pete Trefonas). I wrote this game when I was about 19 yrs old. I understand the criticisms, but please understand, the game was designed to work in only 16KB, and it had to use the BASIC interpreter, and was purchased and produced by CLOAD. At the time, the game had quite strong positive reviews and interest.

    You can find my FB account, there are only 3 people with my name in the world, and I am related to the other two of them.

    The LinkedIn cited is a dead link (hasn't been updated in 4 yrs or so, and I cannot access it due to someone who altered the password and my email changed). I can be reached at p3voices@REMOVETHISgmail.com

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    1. Man, the 16 KB is the impressive part; BASIC is not an easy language to do useful stuff in!

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    2. The game included a primitive word parser too, which I think was the first microcomputer game to have this concept (and the word parser fit into a 16K program, and limited by BASIC).

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    3. Pete, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I realize my reviews must often seem insulting to the original developers, and I apologize if that's the case here. I'm writing from the perspective of a game player from 2013, evaluating how enjoyable these games are today, and not through the lens of how enjoyable they must have been at the time. I agree that Dungeons and Dragons did as best as could be expected in 1980 given the limitations in memory, language, and distribution. I also realize it wasn't meant to compete with commercial software.

      The combat system is actually more intriguing than I credited in the post. Later systems adopt an "attacks per round" approach, but yours is the only one I've seen that literally mimics the effects of dexterity on combat speed by how frequently the game allows you to interrupt your opponent's attacks.

      Thanks again for writing, and thanks for your contribution to this genre.

      Delete

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