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back to article Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit

Every few days, Veronika Megler gets email from a stranger. Some thank her for teaching them English. Others acknowledge her role as an influence in their decision to pursue a career in computing. Megler was never a teacher, nor a mentor, to those who send the messages. But her correspondents remember her fondly as one of the …

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Holmes

Maybe I missed it

No mention of Sherlock??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_(video_game)

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Maybe I missed it

Veronika didn't work on Sherlock, but the same game engine was used.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe I missed it

No shit!

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Happy

Ahh, the memories...

I remember you could ask Gandalf to pick you up, and you would then be carried around the world map! I read how this worked in a mag (Sinclair User?) and nearly fell off my chair when I tried it and it actually worked...

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Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

Hi all,

this is purely out of curiosity, I couldn't find it anywhere. Wikipedia just mentions what it means, Google knows that what I really want is English so it will only show the results for that, no matter if I use + or "" before / around it, bing allowed me to search for that in the end, but didn't return any links that answered my question...

From the Wikipedia entry I believe it could other be "Input English" or "Interactive English", but I also have an unmatched talent at generally being wrong at things.

If nobody has an answer to this, I can cope with it... Cheers!

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Headmaster

Re: Typo in my post - Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

I believe it could ether be "Input English"

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Headmaster

Re: Typo in my post - Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

EITHER! EITHER! EITHER! I should still be in bed :)

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Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Typo in my post - Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

I presume you also meant "etymology"....

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Re: Typo in my post - Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

I did indeed. Noted :)

I don't think I saw the ety- prefix many times in my life and I wasn't familiar with the spelling, so I went for the italian one I am familar with. Thanks :)

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Re: Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

I think I read, all those years ago, it was like English, but not quite English, hence Inglish.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

Re: Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

I was about to post sympathising about Google. It's maddening when they 'correct' your speling and absolutely refuse to believe you want to search for what you typed.

But then I tried it for myself, and got this on the first page of results:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Inglish

Hope this helps.

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Re: Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

You can switch on "Verbatim" mode on the results page when that happens, then it'll only search for exactly what you typed...

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Happy

"Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold."

That is all.

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Mushroom

"Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold."

You're a dead man, Vanni. I'm still scarred for life by that, since I discovered that you can put yourself into the chest in Bag End.

You see, if you climb into the chest then close it, the game very cleverly knows that it will be dark. Unfortunately, it being dark means you cannot see. So, despite being inside an unlocked chest, you can't get out again because you can't see it to open it. I spent far too long trying, and much if it went like this:

> THORIN, OPEN CHEST

Thorin ignores you.

> THORIN, OPEN CHEST

Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.

> THORIN, OPEN CHEST

Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.

In my next game, I discovered there is a very small chance that KILL THORIN will actually work.

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Bronze badge

"I had been writing assemblers for years"

Do you mean "I had been writing /in/ assembler for years" ...?

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Stop

Someone has to write the assembler too

It's a program just like others. These days they tend to be written in languages like C, but it's quote possible that is exactly what she meant.

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For a lot of the old computers, a decent assembler was hard to get and we often had to write our own.

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Facepalm

Re: Someone has to write the assembler too

Ah, yes---my first job out of uni I wrote Z-80 assembly, and indeed maintained the assembler.

My favorite story from that job, though, came from writing FORTRAN on an HP 2100 mini, and maintaining the compiler (proprietary, but we did get the source). About when my program started getting large enough to be useful, the compile started crawling. I noticed the speed went way up when I didn't ask for a variable listing, so I poked around.

They were using a O(n**2) sort. I.e., it would make one full pass over the symbol table for every symbol it emitted.

Ah, the early days, when even econ majors wrote code.

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Anonymous Coward

Cute!

Did you think the CPU just parsed the text of your assembly file? That is just ADORABLE!

I'm Glad that your attempt at patronising someone about their career has backfired publicly. Perhaps in future you will be less keen to show off how very clever you are!

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Re: Someone has to write the assembler too

Yes, I've written loads of assemblers myself, it's just odd to see somebody else say the same. ;)

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Assembler

> For a lot of the old computers, a decent assembler was hard to get and we often had to write our own.

I remember that sort of thing. I typed in the assembler from INPUT magazine but don't recall ever getting it to work (it could have, in which case I lacked patience with it - and the commercial offerings we also had).

Ultimately, my machine code ended up finding its way into RAM courtesy of a short routine that read the target address/es and corresponding hex byte sequences from a BASIC program's REM statements ... and being small and simple, it ran from the printer buffer.

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Indeed

For my final year project, in '87, before I could work on the software, I had to write the assembler. On a VAX.

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Re: Indeed

Macro 32 Assembler?

I can beat that for sad, in the ate 90's there was (is) a company still using a VAX with 700+ live users on it. I had to look at some of that Macro 32 to fix problems in the bespoke language the system was written in..

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Silver badge

Re: Someone has to write the assembler too

I thought it was a perfectly reasonable question, since earlier in the article she mentioned working in assembly, but not writing assemblers. Certainly she could have been writing assemblers - as others pointed out, it wasn't uncommon in days when 8-bit PCs roamed the earth to maintain one's own assembler - but there's no evidence elsewhere in the article that that's what she did. So the line in question could well have been an error.

The multiple downvotes for the original post are clearly from people who have difficulty with critical thinking.

Oh, and AC@18:43: You're an ass.

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This post has been deleted by its author

The Micro User

Reminds me of this July 1985 cover of The Micro User.

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Re: The Micro User

Now THAT takes me back ....

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Re: The Micro User

remember when Bob (i think) took his beeb to be upgraded, I loved those articles, wonder if I still have them.

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Bod

Re: The Micro User

I recognise that cover. Very sure I had that one.

Frustration with the BBC version were the bugs. They really did make you attempt to kill thorin.

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Valhalla

Only related by the fact it was a ZX Spectrum game also, but there was a feature in the game Valhalla, that if you entered a swear word a dwarf would run on and punch you while the legend 'Mary is not amused' was printed at the bottom of the screen, everyone presumed that it was a reference to Mary Whitehouse.

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It's good to have more known female role-models. I know a number of women who are programmers, but although gender is irrelevant, it's still good to have some big names out there to encourage girls at school to consider the career.

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Inspired

I was inspired by this game and a while afterwards decided to write a Lord of the Rings adventure on the commodore PET (because that was what I owned). The game had each character doing its own thing as you played the game and wandering around the map trying to achieve their own goals. I got quite far before running out of memory and realising that my design would never fit in 32K. The autonomous non-player characters also lead to some problems, but could be quite amusing. One of the first attempts at playing it worked well as I was progressing towards Weathertop, but every now and then I would get a description of the location followed by: "Here there is a dead Nazgul" then when I got to Weathertop I was greeted by "Here there is a dead Gandalf".

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wait

You wait ... time passes.

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Re: wait

Gollum appears

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Happy

Re: wait

Gollum start asking you riddles

Heh, this also take me back. Was one of the best (and frustrating) adventure games I've had... :)

Will introduce my kids to it.

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Silver badge

Getting drunk

I remember that once you where drunk the parser would put an h after every s in the output making sitting on Gandalf fun to my young and deprived mind.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Getting drunk

Thanks - I have just had a LOL moment with that - never tried that on my C64 version..

you owe me a new keyboard....

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Pint

"Give lunch to elrond and say to elrond give lunch to snori and say to snori give lunch to thori and say to thori ... give lunch to thorin and say to thorin give lunch to gandalf and say to gandalf give lunch to me."

It was a huge amount of typing and you had to be very lucky, but sometimes the lunch went all the way round and got back to you.

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Coffee/keyboard

@rurwin

You have just caused me to laugh helplessly for about the last five minutes!!

:-)

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Happy

LOVE!

Ah, the first adventure game I ever completed. I really loved it. . I also wondered at how they managed to fit it all into the 48k memory. But those were simpler times, when people really could get close to the device and make something useful without spending a grand on a compiler/ide/debugger.

I liked the fact that with "Inglish" the user could add to the atmosphere by adding in your own adverbs and adjectives, which would be repeated back: "You violently attack the vicious warg with the sword." I don't think it made any difference to the outcomes, but we could pretend.

This game stood up against many others created for 8 bit computers and still did up to 5 years later.

Such a wave of nostalgia you created with that article. Many thanks.

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Unhappy

Re: LOVE!

"without spending a grand on a compiler/ide/debugger"

Hum, back then I had to spend £30 on an editor/assembler/debugger, and £25 for a BASIC compiler that worked so badly it could be adequately described as a complete waste of £25. (I was 14. £25 was a LOT of money.)

Nowadays I can download all these things for nothing, from multiple sources, often including source code (although, in the case of gcc, you're better off not seeing that - c.f. laws and sausages).

Are you thinking of Visual Studio? That has a ticket price in the region of a grand, IIRC, although there are countless ways to get it cheaper (it comes free with an X360 dev system, for instance). And even without those, you've still got the magnificently crippled Visual Studio Express if you just want compiler/IDE/debugger.

Mind you, I'd gladly pay a grand for an XCode which was as good as Visual Studio.

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Silver badge

Bugs...

I vaguely remember several, one involving making a tower with several characters carrying each other and the one at the bottom being killed meaning nobody else could get 'out' into the room and one involving barrels being thrown through a trapdoor.

I might re-enable Java and play it online, if I ever got time to waste...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bugs...

My favourite bug was the response to entering "ex do" at the start:

THE WATER EVAPORATES.

THE BLACK WATER EVAPORATES

THE FAST RIVER EVAPORATES.

THE CRACK IS DEAD.

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Unhappy

Re: Bugs...

I got stuck in the barrel room ;You got imprisoned in there, and to escape you had to get into a barrel and then dump it though the trap door into the river- do it without and you would drown. i threw the barrel out first one time, and could not proceed, so quit and reloaded from tape. This time when I was thrown into the room, there was no barrel, and it was never there ever after - this was without doing a game save- I have no idea what happened...

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If you want to play it again...

http://www.twinbee.org/hob/play.php?snap=hobbit

:)

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Play online:

Or you could try here:

http://www.c64s.com/game/418/hobbit,_the/

Does anyone know how to solve the game? Any walk throughs available?

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Happy

Slight pedant mode

The founder of Melbourne house was Alfred Milgrom not Alfred Migrom - note the L. I also don't remember him ever being called Alfred, it was always Fred.

Oh those were happy days :-))

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