Pirate Adventure (1978)   1 comment

This one’s credited by as being by Alexis & Scott Adams, which marks the first credit in the adventures I’ve played for a woman. (Alexis comes back again in 1979 as a solo credit for Voodoo Castle, and Roberta Williams doesn’t get started until Mystery House with 1980).

piratemap1

Unlike Adventureland (which while fun had a bog-standard setting) Pirate Adventure gives a feel of environment-as-story. The above map represents the starting area, where it’s possible to imagine oneself lounging in a London flat before going on an adventure. I even did some small amount of role-playing, feeling the rug and smelling the book (neither works, but the fact I wanted to is a good sign).

I also find it interesting the number of exits that aren’t n/s/e/w — for example, to go up in the first room you have to GO STAIRS. While slightly irritating in terms of user-friendly interface, it does go some way in unlocking the geography from “the grid” and the artificial “everything is oriented on the compass” feel of a lot of other interactive fiction.

Doing JUMP from the window sends the player to “Never Never Land”, but unfortunately not the good kind. The proper method of exit is the magical word YOHO.

I’M outside an open window
on the ledge of a very tall building

>SAY YOHO

Everything spins around and suddenly I’m elsewhere…

I am in a sandy beach on a tropical isle. Visible items:

Small ship’s keel and mast. Sand. Lagoon.
Sign in the sand says:
“Welcome to Pirates Island, watch out for the tides!”

Some obvious exits are: EAST

In contrast to Journey to the Center of the Earth Adventure which tries to convey a sense of location via its prose, Pirate Adventure relies on description-by-objects. By not relying on prose descriptions, Scott and Alexis were able to pack in richer detail and possibility given the limitations of the TRS-80.

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Posted March 23, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “Pirate Adventure (1978)

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  1. Nice. This was the first text adventure I ever played, on my family’s TI-99/4A, when I was about 6 or 7. My whole family participated in trying to solve it, and sometimes would even have visited friends help out. I think it took several weeks or months, but we finally did solve the game. We had a few more Scott Adams games, one involving a vampire and, I think, Adventureland as well. But, Pirate Adventure is the one that sticks in my memory. To this day, “YOHO” has more magical connotations for me than “xyzzy”.

    Matt W (not matt w)

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