Sunday, March 1, 2020

Game 359: Might & Magic: The Lava Pits of Aznar (1983)

I feel like we've seen that dragon before. Interesting logo for Sanctum (bottom right).
          
Might & Magic: The Lava Pits of Aznar
United States
Sanctum Software (developer and publisher)
Released 1983 for Apple II
Date Started: 27 February 2020
Date Ended: 29 February 2020
Total Hours: 6
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (3.5/5)
Final Rating: 18
Ranking at Time of Posting: 85/368 (23%)
     
This is an interesting but frustrating game, created three years before its more famous namesake debuted. It's so obscure that I can't imagine Might and Magic creator Jon Van Caneghem ever heard of it. A search today finds a couple file hosting sites, a MobyGames entry, and a single ad from a 1983 issue of Creative Computing. Sanctum Software (of Springfield, Virginia) seems to have existed only for this game, and I can find no trace of author Rick Hoover.

Aznar was one of many early-1980s attempts to mimic the tabletop RPG experience in a text-based computer game. Its approach is similar to the better-known Eamon (1980): the player creates a character which is stored on a "hub" disk. Once loaded from that disk, he can then set out on adventures in any number of "module" disks. Hoover only ever created one Might & Magic "module," but he clearly intended to create more.

There are some ways in which he accomplished his goal admirably. Aznar is much larger and longer than an Eamon adventure or even any of the Maces and Magic titles. It takes place in an interesting setting: a ruined fortress sitting atop a volcano. I was never able to find any documentation for the game (there's a lot of in-game documentation, but it's all about the mechanics), but the goal seems to be to find and defeat the High Lord of the fortress and retrieve his magic amulet. The fortress is a sprawling place, but with logical clusters of rooms forming living areas, a dungeon, and guard quarters, as well as places where the man-made parts of the fortress transition memorably to caverns and underground hot springs.
          
My map of the game (click to enlarge).
             
The game is a proper RPG and makes use of its character elements. During character creation, players choose the character's race (human, elf, dwarf, hobbit), alignment (chaotic, neutral, good, evil), and class (warrior, wizard, and thief). Of these choices, the class is the most important. Each comes with a set of skills or (in the case of the wizard) spells that will see them through the adventure and must be used judiciously. Each class has its own way of navigating through the dungeon and solving puzzles, much like the later Quest for Glory series. So where a thief might pick a lock, a wizard will cast "Open Lock" and a warrior will just smash the door. But one thing I like is that warriors are not just unnuanced brutes. They have their own set of skills--"Power Leap," "Tower of Will," "Battle Lust," and "Death Blow" (as well as the aforementioned "Smash")--to employ at the right times.
           
Character creation.
          
The character's race matters less often, but it does matter. Elves and dwarves are alerted to some traps, for instance, and hobbits avoid damage that some other characters take. On studying the code, I don't think that alignment matters at all. Of the four attributes (strength, dexterity, wisdom, and charisma), I'm not sure charisma is ever called into play, but it's possible (I think) to create a character so dumb he can't even read, which blocks several parts of the dungeon and may even prevent winning.
        
The wizard gets across a lava pit in his own way.
       
The game also has a more advanced combat system than most text-based RPGs of the era. The game brings up your enemy's statistics along with your own and asks what type of attack you want to make. You either enter the name of a weapon or a special type of action like BACK STAB (for thieves), DEATH BLOW (for warriors), or BURNING HANDS (for wizards). Each class has to be careful about over-using skills during combat because they have a limited number of "class points" and need to save as many as possible for puzzles. You get experience for combat and solving puzzles, and you level up several times during the adventure. There are also (trivial) considerations of food and sleep.
         
Doing battle with an ogre.
           
Unfortunately, the game undoes itself with a horrible approach to its parser. I'm going to assume that it came with a document explaining the most common commands and thus forgive it for making me figure so much out on my own, but even then there are lots of problems. I'm no programmer, but my sense of most text-based games is that the commands are independent from the immediate situation. So if you're playing Zork, for instance, the game recognizes GET LAMP as a valid command even if there's no lamp in the area. It then feeds you back a context-specific error message like "there is no lamp here."

What Mr. Hoover seems to have done is to define the list of valid commands for each room at the moment that you're in the room. Thus, if you type OPEN DOOR in a room that has a door, no problem--the author anticipated that. But if you type OPEN DOOR anywhere else, the game has no idea what you're talking about, and you get a generic error message ("I do not understand this") as if you'd typed gibberish.
            
I'm in front of a golden door. I have a golden key. It shouldn't be this hard.
            
What makes this approach particularly infuriating is that the author wasn't consistent in his anticipation of commands. Sometimes the room is waiting for you to type LOOK, sometimes EXAMINE, and sometimes SEARCH. There are times that the verb is enough and other times where you have to specify a particular object. This is particularly annoying in places where the game didn't even bother to highlight the object in the description of the room, or even mention it. There's a hallway where, in order to get a password to a later room, you have to SEARCH WALL even though every room has walls and there's nothing special about this one's. There's a room where you have to SEARCH OGRE to get a set of keys, but the game didn't bother to tell you that the dead ogre is in front of you. There are a couple of rooms in which you have to intuit that LEAVE is the way out despite the command not being used anywhere else. I had to inspect the game's code when I was stuck in some of these situations.

Another oddity is that there is no sense of permanence. You can't drop objects, for instance, and the game just adds most items you find to your inventory automatically. It's common for the game to immediately transition you to the next room when you find a secret door or pick a lock, but when you return to the original room, the door is hidden and the lock locked again. Although it's generally good about remembering that you already killed certain monsters, there are a couple of rooms in which you can type ATTACK repeatedly to fight the same monsters indefinitely.

And then we have the spelling. While most of the text is well-written, it is peppered with the occasional howler of an error, as when in the instructions the author seems to think the singular form of THIEVES is THIEVE. Even worse is when you have to deliberately misspell what you want to do. A thief has to SNEEK throughout the game, and if you want to find the 300 gold pieces hidden at the bottom of the COULDRON, you'd better spell it that way.
            
A misspelling mars an otherwise decent description of a torture chamber.
        
The game begins at the locked door to the fortress, where right away the character has to use his skills or spells to get in. A bridge crosses a moat of lava on the other side, and a dexterity check determines if the character makes it across (with a loss of hit points) or dies immediately in molten rock. A trap must be disarmed on the next door or else the player experiences another instant death. In the fourth room, he has a limited amount of time to search it (for an orc sword and a note) and to reach the attic (for some gold, a battle with a stirge, and a golden key necessary to exit the fortress later) before the room collapses. If he gets out before it collapses, he finds himself in a hallway with no way to get back to the entrance, and things are quite a bit less deadly from then on. There are only a few instant deaths and the player can save anywhere.
          
An early room.
             
The main part of the fortress has some memorable encounters:
           
  • A group of half-orc guards drunk on ale in a storeroom. One of them is sober enough to fight and must be defeated. In an alcove of the room, the player discovers a troll feasting on one of the half-orcs and must kill it, too.
  • A watery cave with a broken sword in the water. If the player tries to investigate the sword, a slime drops on him from above and must be defeated.
  • A waste room with a plank crossing it. Careful players must find a quiet way to cross; otherwise, an otyugh erupts from the water and does battle.
  • There's a magic sword called "Ewansil" and a suit of leather armor hidden among a pile of bones in a fountain room.
  • If the player enters a kitchen, the terrified staff jumps down a trash "shoot" to escape him. If the player follows them down the "shoot," he finds (fatally) that it goes directly into a lake of lava. I guess he was so scary that the staff was willing to commit suicide.
  • Entering a small cave, the player finds a bunch of statues of previous adventurers in realistic, lifelike poses. He has only a moment to think "uh-oh" before he's attacked by a basilisk. The creature gets very favorable rolls with its gaze attack and is tough to defeat.
          
That's never a good sign.
          
In a "great hall" upstairs, the player finds a secret door in a fireplace. This goes to a series of tunnels that end in a cell in the dungeon. (There are prisoners, but they're all mute and insane from torture.) Searching the other cells results in getting surprised by an ogre and tossed back into jail, so after it happens for the first time, you have to pre-emptively ATTACK the ogre the next time, get his cell keys, open up the sixth cell, and get a hint to use the magic word ELWENTHRAL when stuck on the water.

Later, in a lower area, some stones cross a boiling underground lake and lead to the treasure chamber, where the player loots 500 gold pieces. (There are other opportunities to get smaller amounts throughout the fortress, but no place to spend it.) Using the magic word produces the boat, which the player can then sail downriver to a hydra's lair. I think this was supposed to produce a hydra, but the game was bugged and no command worked while in the lair, so I just left. You then have to climb down a well, and go through some other passages.
            
Summoning a magic boat.
          
There's a secret door that only opens with a password; a set of runes only tells you to "speak the word" to open the door. You can spend a frustrating hour trying to figure out what the word could possibly be, or you can remember your "obvious clues" in cryptic crosswords and realize that what you want to say is literally THE WORD.

Later, there's another room where you're asked a password, and you've had to search a wall to find that the "gambler's password is look backwards." But it's not LOOK BACKWARDS; it's LOOK, backwards, or KOOL.

You pass through a room with a genie by just giving him your real name and defeat a two-headed troll in a "shaft room." Climbing down the shaft puts you in a cool cavern, and this is where my game ends. There's something bugged in the program that prevents the command prompt from loading in the cavern, so the game just hangs.
            
The last screen that I can experience.
            
However, I can tell from the game file that I'm very near the end. I'm supposed to search the cavern to find a wight, kill it, then search again to find a trap door in the floor. This leads to an encounter with the High Lord. Killing him lets you take his amulet, and the gold key found very early in the game (pity the player who didn't think to type SEARCH in the attic) opens the doorway out. The fortress rumbles and crumbles behind the player as he switches back to the "genesis" disk to save his progress. I was so close I'm going to call it a win, though if someone who knows more about what they're doing wants to fiddle with the code, I wouldn't mind seeing if there was a final graphic or something.

My character aged six years in the dungeon, and judging by the code, it's possible for you to spend so long trying to solve the game that the character literally dies of old age.
             
My character towards the end of the game.
           
Without the ability to at least scan the text in the code, I wouldn't have gotten very far in the game--the parser would have defeated me--and in the day, I would have felt that the game's advertised price of $39.95 was absurd. I presume other players felt the same way, which is why we never saw a second adventure.
            
The game has an okay combat system, but the "most advanced combat system" might be pushing things.
          
Aznar gets a 18 on my GIMLET, doing best in "gameplay" (4) for its modest length and replayability, "character development" (3) for the way it actually uses the character during the game, and "magic and combat" (3) primarily for the use of magic in puzzle-solving as well as a few combat tactics. It has no NPCs and no economy, and I set "graphics, sound, and interface" to 0 since it has no graphics or sound and the interface is punishing. (I normally wouldn't punish a text-based game for a lack of graphics and would have given it at least a 1 if the text hadn't been full of errors and the parser hadn't been a nightmare.)
           
My final battle, against a two-headed troll.

        
This is certainly one of the last text-RPG hybrids that we'll see. It's interesting how so many of these games didn't quite come out right despite (presumably) the greater ease in programming a non-graphic game. I think a truly excellent text-RPG hybrid, fully evoking the experience of a tabletop gaming session, is possible, but I suspect we'll never see it.

****

Update from 7 March 2020:

Reader Lance M. managed to fix the program and navigate Chester through the rest of the game, including the encounter with the High Lord:
               
             
The final battle with the High Lord:
        
              
And the endgame text:
           
         
This text gives us the additional information that the sequel would have been called The Outside of Hell Mountain, a title that recalls such classics as The Outside of the Wasteland and Wizardry: The Inside of the Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. Anyway, thanks, Lance! It always feels incomplete if I can't include the final shot.
           

61 comments:

  1. "I think a truly excellent text-RPG hybrid, fully evoking the experience of a tabletop gaming session, is possible, but I suspect we'll never see it."

    I gather that Kerkerkruip nails it, but as a 2011 release, you will be an old, old man before you get a chance to evaluate it.

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    1. Kerkerkruip is essentially a text roguelike. There are other text RPGs that fit the classic (hand designed rather than randomized) RPG forumula better, like Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom.

      And then there's a text game called "Element" which uses 2E D&D rules for its combat and has plenty of equipment. It might be the best text RPG I've played. The only weird thing about it? It's tickle fetish themed. Yeah, don't even ask me how I know about this.

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    2. Oh, come on, everyone who's ever been on RPGCodex knows about your fetishes :P

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    3. The funny thing is that a fetish game is one of the very few text RPGs out there with proper complexity. Most have rather basic RPG elements. I wonder why it never picked up as a genre.

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    4. It occurs to me, that'd count as an RPG for the blog. That'd make for a very... interesting, post on the off chance it gets that far

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    5. Legend of the Red Dragon, a BBS door game, was a text adventure RPG. It was released in 1989. Maybe someone can hack together an environment and zip it up for Chet to play, or just play online at one of the still remaining BBS hosts.

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    6. How do you tickle-fetish a text-based RPG? Just include a lot of tickling? Like every time you meet an NPC, he tickles you?

      "Hail," says the guard. He reaches for you and his fingers do a playful dance on the side of your torso. "What's the password?"

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    7. Spells and melee attacks consist of tickles, mostly. It's all rather hilarious. And it's well-written, too, which makes it even more absurd. It's probably the best parser-based text RPG out there, but then there aren't very many of those in existence anyway.

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    8. Harland - LORD is an RPG that uses text, I'm not sure it's a "text-adventure RPG" in the sense that I understand it, in that it's menu-based rather than parser-based.

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    9. There are plenty more menu-based RPGs that run mainly on text than parser-based ones. One could even call the cities of Darklands menu-based text adventures, or the entirety of King of Dragon Pass a menu-based text game despite the graphics.

      While menu-based and parser-based can both be legitimately called text adventures or RPGs, the two are fundamentally different from each other and should be considered distinct subgenres.

      In recent years, the text adventure community has quite heavily skewed towards menu-based over parser-based. Most of the submissions to the yearly IF Comp tend to be menu-based Twine games these days.

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    10. Will Addict be playing any MUDs? For example, DikuMUD (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DikuMUD) was written in 1990 and it spawned numerous high quality text adventure MUDs like ArcticMUD (mud.arctic.org) that have truly fantastic text-rpg gameplay.

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    11. MUDs and MMORPGs are generally not part of my list.

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  2. The dragon image reminds me of the crystal palace dinosaurs.

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  3. PetrusOctavianusMarch 1, 2020 at 1:41 PM

    Sounds like you should have waited with this game until a patch was released.

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    1. The incorrect spelling would have made me apoplectic. The original release of "Colonel's Bequest" made you "poor oil" instead of pour and made me want to throw the monitor across the room.

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    2. Also reminds me of my stupidest of pet peeves. In "Ultima IV" every town has a shop with 'ARMOUR' containing the British U emblazoned along the top yet has VALOR and HONOR without the U as virtues and will even penalize you for spelling them incorrectly at key moments. Gah, pick a convention and stick with it.

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    3. I think Ultima 6 only looks at the first four letters of the words you enter. Is 4 different?

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    4. Ultima VI, as we discovered, basis its responses off the first three or four characters that it recognizes anywhere within your response. You can actually type full sentences. If you say "WHAT IS YOUR JOB," it reconizes JOB, but if you say "NAME YOUR JOB," it treats it as if you'd just said NAME.

      Ultima IV, if I recall correctly, just reads the first four for most dialogue options. But there are some places where you have to get the whole word right. The endgame at the Codex is one, and I think meditation might be another.

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  4. Good job. I wasn't able to even figure out how to open the first door without searching through the code when I added this game. How many more terrible ancient RPGs am I going to make you play? :P

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    1. I can't complain that this one isn't legitimate. It definitely belonged on MobyGames's list.

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    2. I for one love these oddities that are buried under piles of GW-BASIC deep in the bowels of the history of computer coding.

      I'll be a bit sad when the list is complete!

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    3. Chet, you must be getting pretty good at reverse engineering old basic code. Too bad there's not much market for that these days...

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    4. No, I suck at it. I don't even know how to look at it. Every time I try to load and read Apple II programs using Apple DOS, I just get error messages. The best I can do, and what I did here, is open the disk file in Notepad and scan for actual words.

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    5. Hell, that's what I would do, although I'd probably use a much less painful text editor.

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  5. so where did you spend more time as an actual playtrough to get the pictures for this one?

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    1. love the coverage thou

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    2. I feel like I keep seeing this comment on other posts and am not sure if I'm missing an inside joke or something.

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    3. Some commenters on RPGCodex seem to believe that I only pretend to play these games by stealing screenshots from other sites. (They conveniently ignore that I fully describe the games and that my screenshots are not actually found on other sites.) This commenter is either one of those people or thinks he's being funny by pretending to be one of those people. Either way, I don't find it funny.

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    4. It seems like pretending to play the games but researching them well enough to make up the articles would be even more work than playing them. And less fun.

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  6. I feel like a game that truly evokes the feeling of a tabletop RPG would be a terrible video game. Part of the fun of a tabletop RPG is that your party members are individuals with their own play style and skill level, not just game icons you can move around arbitrarily. Ishar, with its party members taking a vote on who to let in the group, is a good stab at such a dynamic--and everybody agreed with you that it was a terrible design decision, myself included.

    Then there's my idea that a single player adaptation of the TTRPG experience is doomed to failure. Nobody plays D&D with just themselves, or themselves and a DM. At least three, preferably four or more human players make for the best gameplay. And it involves a lot of stopping to get everybody's opinion, and occasionally stepping back to let somebody else take the lead. Nobody likes that out of a video game, where all your party members are constructs supposedly under your command.

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    1. In fact I played Czech version of Dungeons and Dragons just with my wife or before just with my brother and we had a lot of fun too. Ok, I agree that more players are usually better because of interaction between that players, but it is not like "Nobody plays D&D with just themselves, or themselves and a DM".

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    2. *Ahem*. A game that truly evokes the feeling of a tabletop RPG as they were played in 1983. Sometimes I get the idea that "multiplayer interactive improv theater" is the alpha and omega of what people think RPGs are.

      Lots of people in '83 (and since) love the dice combat and exploration parts of the game. Not so much the game as excuse for human social interplay.

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    3. It's not entirely the "role-playing" that I mean. Most groups that I join "role play" by giving NPCs and themselves various comedy accents, and the focus is indeed on mechanics.

      However, a godlike perspective in which one player has total control over all characters is antithetical to the experience of a cooperative multiplayer game, regardless of how much dreaded "social interplay" there is. Imagine a blackjack game in which there are no stakes, just one person playing the dealer, their own hand, and three other hands besides--is that poker, or just a single person playing around with a deck of cards?

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    4. IMO the most fun part of an RPG is when you end up coming up with plans outside of the normal game mechanics to avoid combat. The fun part isn’t using tactics and strategy to storm the goblin lair and kill the goblins, it’s coming up with a plan to poison the goblins’ food supply so they all die then sneaking in and stealing all their gold. The thing is, for this to be a real strategy you’d have to have it programmed that goblins need to eat, that they have a food supply, and that you can obtain poisons.

      The only game I can think of that really allows this kind of ridiculously elaborate planning is Dwarf Fortress, which is only possible because that game stimulates every single aspect of the world.

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    5. I’m probably not the majority on this but I really don’t care about tactical combat in RPGs mainly because video games do it so well. I’d rather just play Final Fantasy Tactics or Demon’s Winter again than play an in-person version where I only control one character and everything takes 10 times as long.

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    6. Lots of nerds are introverts who don't require the same level of stimulation caused by intense interaction with other people. The problem comes when such people who DO enjoy the intense interaction come in contact with the nerds. The introverts don't interact in what they consider to be an appropriate way, and this makes them feel weird.

      To get rid of the weird feeling, they need to get rid of the person. This leads to ostracizing behaviors. Introverts, while being introverts, nonetheless are quite sensitive to ostracism. The feely people won't stop until the nerd is gone, because they think they're on the right side (their weird feeling tells them so.) They inflict pain on the nerd until he leaves the group.

      After enough experimental trials, the nerd figures out that the problem was the feely people who are likely to be everywhere he tries to join a social interaction. He naturally concludes that if he stops trying to join in, they will stop hurting him. This accounts for the popularity of single player CRPGs.

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    7. Wow, generalize much?

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    8. A) Half of nerds are women.

      B) The 90s want their misconceptions back.

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    9. It's not common, but the Mythic GM Emulator makes it possible to play tabletop roleplaying games solo. My blog is all about actual-play reports from mythic games, although I haven't updated in about a year. It can be quite fun.

      Kind of a cross between true roleplaying and creative writing, but far closer to real roleplaying than a choose-your-own-adventure or a video game.

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    10. Ostracism is hurting people until they go away. Did people see themselves in that comment? Perhaps being more tolerant to others is the answer.

      "Also, as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself defending your inalienable right to make someone else feel like garbage, you're on the wrong side of the argument."
      -- Rich Burlew, author of Order of the Stick

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    11. Somehow, I don't think the person who is always in here screeching insults at anyone who enjoys anything in a way he doesn't approve is the most appropriate person to use that quote.

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  7. It's so obscure that I can't imagine Might and Magic creator Jon Van Caneghem ever heard of it
    While Might&Magic itself seems like an obvious enough alliteration, the fact that it was distributed by a Sanctum Software and the first M&M game as the subtitle Secret of the Inner Sanctum makes it much, much more suspicious.

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    1. Ha. That is interesting, but it's still hard to see any connection. Maybe I'll interview JVC some day and ask him.

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  8. "A watery cave with a broken sword in the water. If the player tries to investigate the sword, a slime drops on him from above and must be defeated."

    So *that's* where Miyazaki got that idea.

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    1. What is this from? I swear I've seen this exact situation in a Dungeons and Dragons module or something but I can't quite place it. Does anyone recognize it?

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    2. Dark Souls, 1 and 3 at least.

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  9. A kind of "choose your own adventure" text storybook eh? If games like this ran in speech, they´d be good for the visually impaired.
    Chet a question, if you were wealthy, would you say plan a game and then commission skilled programmers to make it?

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  10. This was so interesting, too bad it didn't seem to live up to the idea. I really wish this idea had worked out better one of the times it was tried.

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  11. I'm slighty disappointed you didn't mess with people by telling them Might&Magic would be up next.

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    1. Carl Muckenhoupt did something like that once (look up "wurb stack portal" on Google).

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    2. You know, I might have thought of that if I'd been planning to play it. Instead, I was just looking for a quick game so I could do a quick entry in a busy period. It ended up taking longer than I expected, as usual.

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    3. Has any of these planned quickies ended up being as short as expected?

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  12. FYI the parser is far and away the most complicated and sophisticated bit of coding any text adventure from scratch (which is why most text adventures today tend to be built in one of several pre-existing engines), and it's the sophistication of their parser that enabled Infocom to dominate this small field.

    As someone who coded a couple of (trivial, now vanished) text adventures in high school, I can confirm that what this game does is relatively easy to code, whereas something like what Zork does was exponentially harder.

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    1. That's quite cool... I'm afraid my best programming was along the lines of:

      10 PRINT"Arthurdawg is awesome!"
      20 GOTO 10

      Actually getting a text adventure running... nice!

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  13. "I'm not sure charisma is ever called into play, but it's possible (I think) to create a character so dumb he can't even read, which blocks several parts of the dungeon and may even prevent winning."

    Wow, this game anticipated Fallout (where you can make a character so dumb that you are locked out from a lot of dialogue options) by a good 14 years.

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  14. ich brauch mehr... eintr├Ąge
    ich bin ein crpgaddict addict

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  15. Readers, please note the addendum above which chronicles the end of the game.

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    1. It's far outside the scope of this blog, but with games that get patched after you post I'm curious what was broken and how it was fixed.

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    2. Well I can certainly explain what I did to fix this game, but I don't know of a short way to do that without leaving holes for those wanting detail. So if you are not into long winded explanations, my apologies.

      I think the reason it needed to be patched in the first place was due to disk corruption or bad read during copying. There were two sections of about 290 bytes each that had nulls instead of code. My guess is if there was more than one copy of this game available, it wouldn't have needed to be patched.

      This game consists of 2 disks. Side 1 contains the boot program and the character files. (save game) Side 2 contains the main code for the game spread across 4 files. These side 2 files are called: Level1, Level2, Level3, Level4. The only file I touched was the file called Level4. Where Chet's game ended lead me to this file by searching for the text on his screenshot.

      This game was so easily patched for two reasons. 1) the code is in a non-compiled language. (AppleSoft Basic) 2) The missing code sections happened to be replicated at the bottom of each of the code files. It replicates this code as only one of these four files is loaded into memory and active.

      While I did my patching using a hex editor, I was viewing the code using CiderPress to make sure it looked correct. CiderPress allows you to extract individual Apple disk files and more importantly in this case, view AppleSoft Basic files by just double clicking on them.

      So after extracting all four of the Level files and comparing where the nulls occurred to the other files, I was able to easily determine the missing pieces. I did make one other correction that I found during this process. I found one reference to an address that didn't exist due to having an extra '0' on the end. So I removed that '0' so it could be called correctly.

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    3. Thanks for the explainer! (and for your work, hope GayBlade is a fun ride for you!)

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    4. Thanks! As for GayBlade, I have low expectations for it as a game. It is all about the novelty and the rarity. Hopefully it isn't a total chore for Chet.

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I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.