Adventure (430 points) by Don Woods (1978)   2 comments

The famous axe-throwing dwarf, from AMC’s version of 350-point Adventure ported by Rick Adams. Even though the main window is a faithful port, there’s a nice tutorial alongside as well as bonus images that resemble modern Achievements.

We’ve seen so far modifications of the 350-point Crowther and Woods Adventure (both minor and major) as well as a made-from-scratch reimagining.

But what if one of the original authors wasn’t done yet?

/* ADVENTURE (REV 2: 20 TREASURES) */

/* HISTORY: ORIGINAL IDEA & 5-TREASURE VERSION (ADVENTURES) BY WILLIE CROWTHER
* 15-TREASURE VERSION (ADVENTURE) BY DON WOODS, APRIL-JUNE 1977
* 20-TREASURE VERSION (REV 2) BY DON WOODS, AUGUST 1978
* ERRATA FIXED: 78/12/25

This is directly from the source code of the 430-point version of Adventure made by Don Woods. Even though the game has a date of 1995 on the Interactive Fiction Archive, this seems to be simply the year Woods ported the code from FORTRAN to C. Consequently, as Jesse Silverman points out in a comment, this really should be considered a 1978 game.

I am extremely curious if this is a case of the creation running wild too early; that is, Don Woods was still in the process of writing and never intended the 350 point version to be the canonical one. Certainly we’ve seen many cases so far where mainframe games were tinkered with for years after their creation, and the “official” (and typically only) version used for play is the last one.

The most immediately obvious change is outdoors. Referring back to Jesse’s comment:

He expanded the forest to 20 locations that you can’t map reasonably even with Trizbort, and there’s only two locations that seem to be of any worth. I found both of those in 5 minutes of stumbling around, so there was no real reward for the few hours I spent mapping it afterwards.

To be specific, there’s this place:

You are wandering aimlessly through the forest.

Your keen eye spots a severed leporine appendage lying on the ground.

and here:

The forest thins out here to reveal a steep cliff. There is no way down, but a small ledge can be seen to the west across the chasm.

A small urn is embedded in the rock.

>get urn

The urn is far too firmly embedded for your puny strength to budge it.

I’m going to trust the comment and not bother with making a map. Doing so makes me wonder if that was in fact the intent. With some mazes of the era the intent seemed to be conveying “getting lost” without demanding exhaustive mapping on the player’s part. Don Woods mentions in an interview that when making the All Alike maze he made a “diagram … to check whether any simple repetitive actions would get you out”. This way you can’t get out by just typing NORTH over and over, but that still doesn’t bar a little bit of navigation by luck.

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Posted May 27, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Adventure (430 points) by Don Woods (1978)

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  1. “I am extremely curious if this is a case of the creation running wild too early; that is, Don Woods was still in the process of writing and never intended the 350 point version to be the canonical one.”

    I’d considered this myself. But the snippet you quoted from the source suggests to me otherwise. He clearly considers them two versions — the 15-treasure version (WOOD0350) and the 20-treasure version (WOODS0430), going so far as to bump the version number. WOOD0350 is clearly complete in its own right, so much so that it spawned an entire cottage industry, while WOOD0430 seems to just disappeared into history for about 20 years. This suggests that WOOD0430 may never have been widely distributed in its Fortran version. Why would WOOD0350 get all the glory if it were never considered an independent version?

    • At the stage I was writing this post (where I had only played for about an hour) I was uncertain, but getting to the end suggests to me it really is meant as the “master quest” version and not intended to subsume the original.

      Although as far as why did WOOD0350 get all the glory, that’s not necessarily something the authors can control. (To be honest, WOOD0350 is a lot better than WOOD0430, so that might be part of it.) Why did the Wander system disappear until we unearthed it two years ago? According to Peter Langston, the other stuff he wrote just happened to attract more attention (including Empire from 1971, which has been continuously played ever since).

      It’s like how when a video goes viral, and the maker tries for a part II, and lightning doesn’t strike twice.

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