Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Expedition: A Quick Note

First Expedition sounded like an interesting game: a naval navigation simulator set, for some reason, on an alien world called Yorland. The detail that it provides on things like triangulation, firing cannons, and navigating stormy seas suggests that it is a cousin to Sid Meier's Pirates!, first released the same year.

But whoever wrote the MobyGames entry is on hallucinogens, because there's really no way you can justify this as a CRPG. Yes, the manual does start with the words, "You play the role of Braun at the helm of an explorer craft." But come on: in Half Life you "play the role" of Gordon Freeman, but no one would try to justify that as a CRPG.

Screenshot courtsey of MobyGames

In any event, even if I was interested in playing around with knots and fuel and trading goods, the question is a bit academic since I can't get the game to run on any of my DOS emulators. It crashes almost immediately after startup with an error about not being able to find some file or another. I've tried downloads from two sites and get the same thing.

And since it's not a CRPG anyway, on to...sacrebleu! Un autre jeu en français! Let's see if I do better at this one than Tera: La Cité des Crânes.


  1. If you need help with French translations...

  2. Thanks! I can definitely tell I'll need help finding a French manual, and maybe tech support. See my posting tomorrow.

  3. I notice Nethack is forthcoming in a few games. This is a great game, and very influential, so I hope you find it to be enjoyable. It has complexity far beyond most other games. However, if you plan to keep to your stated rules of using no spoilers, be prepared to leave this one unfinished- I've only heard of one person ever completing this game with absolutely no use of spoilers, and it took him years.

    Nethack does raise a question, though. Most roguelike games have multiple playable versions of the code, each iteration adding new options and complexity. Since you are placing Nethack at 1987, are you planning to try the (far, far simpler) version 1.3 that was released at that time? I can help track down that version if needed. The latest version, 3.43, is a far, far different game than 1.3, and was released in 2003. If you play 3.43, you are actually playing the version that had 16 years longer to develop. And since almost all roguelikes are developed under similar conditions, the same question is likely to rise again.

    If you are open to advice in this matter, I'd try playing the first released version, then the last released version, as they appear in the timeline, and remain open to moving on before beating the game. Six hours is not nearly enough to finish most roguelikes, but is more than enough to be able to intelligently evaluate the game.

    Let me know if it would be useful to you for me to track down the 1987 version of Nethack.

  4. Yes, I think I will play the 1987 version, and I'll be glad for your assistance with a good link.

    I've heard what you're saying about Nethack, and I've been thinking about how to approach it. I figure I'll play it until I run out of new things to say, then move on to the next game but keep Nethack open and maybe post an occasional update until I win--if, indeed, I like it enough to keep playing.

  5. I've only been able to locate 1.3d in the form of source code- compiling it on your behalf is unfortunately beyond my expertise, but if compiling it yourself does not present a problem, I will send you a link to the source.

    I have, however, located version 1.4 precompiled. It was released only months after 1.3d, and in the same year, so I think using it would be true to the spirit of your blog. (It works in DosBox- I tested it- but you'll have to make it think it's running off of a directory called c:\games\nethack1. Not too hard to achieve)

    The binary is at

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any trouble, or if compiling source code is less intimidating for you than it is for me.

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  7. If you can be bothered to do so, it'd be good to get the erroneous RPG tag off the mobygames entry of this and any future title. I believe you need an account. Select Contribute, Correction, Genre Errors. A small note, and then in a week to a month hopefully that database will be cleaned up. I've gone ahead and done this one. Any others I'll be happy to do if you point them out to me.


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