House of the Seven Gables (1978)   1 comment

madcatalogcover

houseofseven

 

Greg Hassett followed Journey to the Center of the Earth Adventure with yet another game based on a book title (by Nathaniel Hawthorne) and once again there’s no relation otherwise. It even seems to fundamentally misunderstand what a “gable” is. This is a gable:

gableroof

That is, it’s an architectural feature, not a room. Yet, here’s my map so far (currently incomplete):

gablesmap1

I guess he means “the room next to a gable”?

I’M AT THE FIRST GABLE. IT OVERLOOKS A HUGE YARD OF TALL GRASS.
I CAN GO — E

At the beginning of the game there are no compass directions mentioned, but a “shiny compass” on the ground. After picking up the compass, the compass direction to the south appears. If you drop the compass later, you can’t move at unless you pick the compass up again. (Mystery Mansion has a similar but more elaborate trick which allows relative motion. Every few years on interactive fiction forums someone brings up how artificial compass directions feel; this anxiety apparently went to the beginning of adventure game history.)

There’s two enemies that can pop up randomly: a “ghost” and a “one-eyed ghoul”. The ghost wants a treasure; I’ve found exactly one (silver candlesticks) which I can give to the ghost who will leave me alone. I have yet to defeat the ghoul, so my gameplay consists of wandering around until the ghoul randomly appears, then reloading.

Other than the maze, I have solved essentially one puzzle: going east from the dining room.

gablesdoorknob

Rather unusually, I figured out what object would work before trying the object. I knew there was an “axe” on the map (I wasn’t holding it — see ghoul reloading) but I wanted to test if it would work, so I tried CHOP DOOR.

WITH WHAT, MY BARE HANDS?

Typing YES results in

I DON’T KNOW KARATE!

so even though I couldn’t solve the puzzle right at that moment I knew the use of the axe.

I suspect other puzzles may be due to verb difficulties, which are extreme here. Garlic + vampire seems to go together, but I have yet to be able to use the garlic in any fashion. It’s possible I have used a successful counter to the ghoul without realizing it because the verbs are so picky. This is a problem common to the TRS-80 games at the time; I may give in and dive into the source for a verb list. Especially since HELP is not as useful as in Journey to the Center of the Earth:

gableshelp

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Posted April 12, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “House of the Seven Gables (1978)

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  1. I realize I never mentioned it in my followup post — the proper syntax to apply the garlic to the vampire is SHOW GARLIC. I figured it out by browsing a “verbs beginners can use in IF” list for inspiration.

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