The previous post in this series explained how to get Graphics Magician images to display from Applesoft. Now, I'd like to go over the structure of the program listed in Write your Own Adventure Programs. The bulk of the program listing consists of the game data including objects, room descriptions, verbs and state flags. Most of the remaining code is comprised of a series of conditions that check how the player's actions affect the objects in the game world.
You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
Having recently played the Apple ][ game Transylvania and its sequel, I was inspired to mess with the art program which those games used. The Graphics Magician was a huge hit for Penguin Software, but I never actually had a chance to use it when we had an Apple ][. I just remember it being advertised in every computer magazine I had.
Back in the late 80s, I learned much about computer programming from this book: Write Your Own Adventure Programs For Your Microcomputer. This is the same book that I used as a guide when creating Malfunction for my Apple IIgs back in 1988.
What you see pictured here is some of the DVD packaging for the independently produced documentary film about text adventure games, Get Lamp. In the digital age, packaging matters and the creators of Get Lamp went above and beyond in creating a DVD package that satisfies collectable object fetishists like myself. The inner gatefold sleeve is covered with a nostalgic fantasy illustration that looks like it came straight off of an Atari 2600 cartridge. The DVD also came with a fancy numbered and editioned coin (mine's number 1540), which would seem kind of cheesy (alá the tin coin that came Ultima V) but is actually very well crafted and, dare-I-say cool. All this comes together in a well made cardboard DVD case that alone almost justifies the $40+ dollar price tag.
I have discovered the best sound to use for a new mail notification in your e-mail client. It's the object pick-up noise form Atari's Adventure for the 2600. I've attached the WAV file to this post so that you to can feel like you are grabbing the goblet next time you get a v!@gr@ ©ialis spam in your in-box!
(Okay, Masterpiece should probably be in quotes too!) I have been on a bit of a retro computing kick this evening. I have been playing around with AppleWin, which is the best Apple ][ emulator for Windows that I know of. I played a little bit of the original Castle Wolfenstein and then decided to fire up my trusty Apple ][gs and port some of my old Applesoft programs to PC.
My overview of the video game classics continues with the LucasArts adventure game, Grim Fandango. In many ways Grim Fandango can be seen as the high point of point-and-click adventures. The genre, at least as a commercially viable entity, has since retreated into the more uncomfortably geeky corners of gaming world—the gaming world's parent's basement as it were. Rather than calling these adventure games, these keepers of the flame prefer the term interactive fiction. The hardest of the hardcore scoff at the notion of representational graphics cluttering up the ASCII purity of a command prompt. However, even these holdouts can't deny the artistic vision and narrative brilliance of Grim Fandango.
If it wasn't for the fact that the game requires a user to click and solve puzzles, Grim Fandango has the makings of a Pixar-type animated feature. We all know the tried and true Pixar formula. Take a group of non-human things: ants, toys, cars, fish, etc. Anthropomorphize them, and show us the secret workings of their society when the people aren't around. In the case of Grim Fandango, we get to see the secret life of Mexican Day of the Dead statuettes.
Recently I have discovered the joys of DOS emulation on my Windows XP machine. DOSbox is an open-source project which provide MS-DOS emulation that is tailored to gaming. There are builds for Win XP, Mac and Linux.