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).
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).
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
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.
Out of all the Scott Adams games, Pirate Adventure is the only one with a difficulty level of “Beginner”. Does the designation hold up? Heavy puzzle spoilers ahoy.
The map is still a work in progress. Roughly in order of when I did things:
1. There’s a pirate in a grass shack. Getting rid of him is simply a matter of providing a bottle of rum. Then you’re able to take his treasure chest and parrot.
2. There’s a “maze”, but it nearly seems like a formality (unless I’m missing some secret) because the useful destination can be reached from the opening room.
3. The rug at the London flat gives this response upon an attempt to take it:
Sorry I can’t
Its nailed to the floor!
Fairly early on there’s a “claw hammer”, which when brought back to the flat, you can “take nails”, and then “take rug”, which reveals a set of keys.
5. The keys then unlock the pirate’s treasure chest.
They’re plans to build the Jolly Roger (a Pirate ship!) You’ll need: hammer, nails,
lumber, anchor, sails, and a keel.
So far I’ve got the hammer, nails, and keel.
6. I know where everything else is, but it requires getting through a locked door in the maze.
I am in a pit. Visible items:
Mean and hungry looking crocodiles. Locked door.
Some obvious exits are: UP
Crocs stop me
So far, I don’t think there’s the unfair timing (bees, chiggers, limited light source) of Adventureland, and there hasn’t been what I’d call outright trickery so far. We’ll see if things stay fair.
The only real obstacle I made it through since last time was getting by the crocodiles, but that let me make a boat.
But your Adventure is not over yet…
The clever bit was the lagoon; the tide goes in and out. A fish out farther in the ocean gets away if you bring it back when tide is low. If you wait for the tide to be higher (so the fish stays in water longer) you can bring it to the crocodiles and feed them, who let you pass (and access all the supplies mentioned above).
The dynamic aspect helped add to the feel of the environment; too much IF (even modern works) has static terrain.
I’m stuck immediately after.
The only possible “crew” I’ve seen in the game so far is a pirate I immediately bribed away with a bottle of rum; he disappeared and I stole his treasure chest and parrot. Somehow I don’t think he’d be happy to join.
I’ve found a mongoose that has been no use so far, and apparently mongooses also do not count as ship crewmates. The parrot chatters quite a bit and eats crackers but remains unable to hoist the mainsail.
From the rare Australian cover at the Museum of Adventure Game History. Given there’s only one pirate in the game, it seems to imply you’re the one on the left.
So “Beginnner” as a difficulty was right. Perhaps “confusing plot-wise” might also be apropos.
The pirate I mentioned in my last post is indeed the missing crew-mate. You find him sleeping in your flat.
Perhaps he’s the same teleporting one from Adventure? In any case, I’m not sure why he’s all happy at helping you. I almost suspect there was some missing conversation from before the adventure started, but why would he be grouchy at taking your treasure chest then?
So having the pirate on board allows you to sail to Treasure Island.
(Click the image if you want the complete game map.)
Following the map conviently obtained from the pirate’s treasure chest you can dig up a box with a shovel. The box has … rare stamps? Not what I’d associate with pirate treasure, exactly.
The other treasure involves braving typos:
My dictionary weeps.
The snakes will kill you if you try to take the treasure. However, the helpful mongoose from earlier … is apparently not a mongoose, and if you try to use it, you will end up with a “dead squirrel”.
The parrot, on the other hand, will chase the snakes away, again just like in Adventure.
I liked the parrot so much that I took it home with me in triumph.
You may plausibly ask, what happened to the pirate? Well, he got drunk again, then after I woke him we sailed back to Pirate Island and I went home and got the screen above. He didn’t seem to care about the treasure. I guess for him, rum was the real treasure.