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Dog (Death) Star Adventure (BASIC)

Posted: February 15th, 2016, 12:12 pm
by scotland
Dog (Death) Star Adventure

released as BASIC source code for the TRS-80 in May, 1979 issue of Softside Magazine
Miklus says it is derived from the FORTRAN game Colossal Cave Adventure, at Stanford University
Programmed by Lance Miklus
Size: 16K (11 pages of code in the magazine)
Original Retail Value: $1.50 for the Softside magazine plus typing skills
Today's Value: None. Copies of the source code are online.
Brings to Mind: Star Wars (for theme) and Zork (for gameplay)

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Another bedrock game, this is one of first text adventure games to have their code published. It was almost certainly Star Wars themed (witness the ASCII art), but for publication Lance wisely decided to fudge the names (so Leia becomes Leya, etc). When it was ported to the Commodore PET, the Star Wars theme was returned, and it was as "Death Star Adventure" that I played the game. The TRS-80 actually had 16k, which is pretty impressive when you think of the Atari VCS, but the VCS could do sound and graphics far better. Text is memory consuming, but a text adventure is just right for the TRS-80.

The game is both simple and inexplicable. Its a simple two word parser, so you 'get this' or 'push that'. You are on the Millenium Falcon on the Death Star, but have no directions. You find yourself in a supply room with 'lots of supplies', but 'look' tells you nothing. Unless you look at the source code (which you probably typed in) you have a monkey's chance of stumbling into 'get blaster' and other things. Since the source code was published, it became the base of other games. A search for unauthorized Star Wars games brings up someone's recollection on playing as Luke shutting off the tractor beam, which is probably just adapting this code a bit.

So, before there was the Arthur Award for Difficulty from Ghost and Goblins (and other games that led to the phrase 'Nintendo Hard' for NES games), there were these confusing text adventures that existed because that was pushing the technology of the TRS-80 at the time.

Re: Dog (Death) Star Adventure (BASIC)

Posted: February 15th, 2016, 4:47 pm
by Sut
Text adventures, a genre that can either engross or completely put you off them forever.
Have you ever played Scott Adams Spider-Man text adventure game ? The game is so obtuse as to be unplayable how anyone beat that back in the day without some sort of guide amazes me. ... 28598.html

Enjoying these 'retro retro' reviews Scotland. Keep 'em coming.

Re: Dog (Death) Star Adventure (BASIC)

Posted: February 16th, 2016, 9:07 am
by scotland
Thanks Sut

In reading about and playing Dog Star Adventure (whose roots are in university mainframes), I may try a few more of these early games, including some of these Scott Adams games and Colossal Cave Adventure.

Scott Adams is one of the big names in early text adventures, including those Questprobe games that had Marvel comic tie-ins. I found you can play some of them on the Internet Archive site through MESS, which is kinda neat. I am pretty terrible at these text adventures though.