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 …
Great wake up messages we have known
You are in a comfortable tunnel like hall
One thing i liked was how you can enter long strings. I never tested the limit of it because the engine gets slower and slower as it parses each step, but you can start the game with something like this:
"op chest and say to thorin "climb into chest" and close chest and close door and break door and e and e and se and hello and hello and eat lunch and hello and w and t key and n and un and op and n and t all and s and s and se and sl elrond with sword and t elrond and e and e and e and e and op and op and t and eat and eat and n and e and e and e and throw rope across river and pull rope and d and u and e and e" though if you do that and i haven't got anything wrong you'll now be stuck near the elvenking's halls without a ring and with thorin locked in the chest back at bag end and starving. you'll also probably be growing a bit tired carrying around elrond's rapidly decomposing body.
I'm not sure whether to be impressed, or to call the nurse.
These are not mutually exclusive :) Also I think I'm going to try that now and see if it works - I must have missed a couple of easts out somewhere.
it gets as far as the "hellos" in rivendell and then craps out :( i guess it only had about 5k or less to devote to the input buffer so that's not much of a surprise but it's still mildly disappointing
also you can't take the food in beorn's house that way because you're carrying too much, so i stuffed elrond's body into the cupboard, took the food, and closed everything up again. it's also ne from there, not n.
this update brought to you by tedious updates on 30 year old computer games limited.
I think I speak for everyone here when I say: Please stop.
heh, four thumbs up for my first post, and then four thumbs down for my second.
I guess the smiley face is still necessary for some people to understand what is and what is not humour.
Ha, yes, people can take things rather too seriously on this place. If it helps, I just upvoted you to show it wasn't me :) I was beginning to have to hold myself back from saying anything more, and shut down the computer.
HFG, that's utterly brilliant. And seriously twisted, too.
When I bought my copy for the Oric, you got a free copy of The Hobbit book, along with the tape.
I never actually finished the game. I got the ring, killed the dragon and got all the way home only to have [I presume] a bug cause whatever text was on screen as I traipsed my weary way home to suddenly have appended to it "... suddenly a poisonous spider drops from a tree and kills you. You are dead!" ...or words to that effect —it's been a while! Happened every bleedin' time. Most frustrating for a spotty young jackanapes.
Thanks to Dan 55 and Alex Galbraith for pre-empting my question about whether or not it was still available anywhere. Pity it requires Java though. T'would have been a fun thing to twiddle with on my iPhone.
Re: Ah! Memories! (of waiting for the drawings to finish...)
I had a copy on my Oric I at one time (pirated, sorry), but playing it was frustrating because drawing of the images was horribly slow (like a minute for some of them). So I got too frustrated to get further than the Elf kings cave. The Spectrum version I saw at a friends was much faster, I wonder why.
But it is amazing that a game of such complexity could be crammed into 48K (and no disk accesses to help! Everything was loaded from the tape at the start).
Re: Ah! Memories!
Strewth, I hope that was an Atmos you had. Couldn't imagine anything more frustrating than a text adventure on the dodgy chicklet keyboard of the Oric 1. Having said that I did write a disassembler and got a fair way through a basic compiler on an Oric 1 before upgrading to a beeb.
I wasn't much for The Hobbit back in my Spectrum days. I didn't really get into adventures until the later part of the 80s. Rigel's Revenge was probably my favourite, as I preferred SF to fantasy.
But Penetrator was the dog's danglers, especially considering how early in the Spectrum's life it was written. I must have wasted weeks with the level editor, trying to create insanely narrow vertical canyons that were still navigable or seeing how many rockets I could get to launch at once into a confined space. The game was credited solely to Philip Mitchell on the loading screen, so knowledge of Veronika's contribution is new to me.
Still, The Hobbit. Imagine writing one of the most iconic games ever (one that probably helped launch a thousand careers in game design) and not knowing about its popularity until years later. Absolutely inconceivable now.
(Nuke for the final screen of Penetrator, which was bloody difficult even without ham-fisted level editing).
Penetrator was awesome and I wasted many hours on that as a spotty yoof. Now I'm happily watching a youtube vid and remembering all the sound effects and startup music :-)
I'm with you on Penetrator. I remember my parents playing The Hobbit but it really didn't do anything for me. For it's time, Penetrator felt fast and furious and being able to design your own levels felt revolutionary. I was just getting into programming through the school computer club and code listings in magazines. But the graphics on games you wrote yourself were always crappy (even for a 8 bit home computers) so being able to design levels with the engine used in Penetrator felt amazing.
Halcyon days! It was an awesome scramble clone.
The level editor was amazing, although we usually ended up flattening everything and then propping a coffee mug on the fire button to rack up a huge score - cos that's how we rolled as kids! :D
Ah Penetrator! When I bought my speccy (ok, when MY DAD bought my speccy) it was the only game I liked the look of in the shop, and I spent many many hours playing it to death before I got more. And loved the level editor too...
One of the first games I played on my Speccy. Did anybody else keep trying to get through the narrow gap at the end of the last level to see what came next? :-)
Seeing the graphics on The Hobbit was the inspiration for adding graphics to my own first commercial program, The Graphic Adventure Creator, and also a reminder of the pain of writing in hand-assembled assembler. Kudos to Veronika, and so nice to see her finally recognise the recognition she deserves.
Re: An inspiration
You wrote the GAC? Respect :) Spent many months playing with that on my friend's Beeb. Although, being around 16 at the time, we wrote an adventure game about getting laid that's so embarrassing in retrospect I can't believe I just mentioned it. (It didn't have graphics, don't worry.)
Re: An inspiration
GAC!!!! Wow that takes me back. I always wanted to write a game like the Hobbit and worked on one using GAC. Unfortunately I can't remember the plot any more or if I ever finished it.
Re: An inspiration
GAC, I spent hours, weeks and months playing with that making various elaborate quests.
With frequent confusing of E and W on my part leading to added complexity and accidental dead-ends.
I would kill for a PC version.
Re: An inspiration
Wow, I loved the GAC. Most of the games I wrote for my mates were excessively puerile and or scatalogical mickey takes of other adventure games, e.g. Lords of Midshite.
Thank-you for hours of sniggering and trying to draw boobs with the image editor.
Re: An inspiration
Wow. Used to mess about with GAC loads on the BBC. Wrote some truly rubbish games and even thought at 14 my game may have been cool enough for Level 9 so sent it to them. They did reply but just said thanks for the effort but they couldn't load the thing. Probably a good thing!
Did write a game with it for a school project though. No one actually played it but got top marks for the effort.
Re: An inspiration
I spent many happy hours on GAC after buying it for £24 (Five weeks paper delivery money!) My best effort, suitable for the mid-late eighties, was a Red Dwarf adventure. With lots of gradual paint-in images like The Hobbit.
Re: An inspiration
Fantastic memories! I started with The Quill, Moved onto PAWS and then GAC (bows down). A few months ago I found my old Cassettes and rigged up some cables and managed to load a couple of the adventure games I wrote into a Speccy emulator... yep, they still loaded after a bit of tweaking.
Time passes - Thorin cleaves your head with an axe.
Dragonworld anyone ?
I played something called 'Dragonworld' in what I remember as 1984, but IIRC it was on the Commodore 64. It had quite decent 320 graphics - on colour! - and I seem to remember the parser was quite good, although this might just be a fond memory now surrounded by the mists of time.
I think I'll start looking around for some emulators and dig up all those old classics.
Did you know the original Hawaii 5-0 and Mannix shows are now available on DVD ? I was amazed to discover they were actually in colour too !
Re: Dragonworld anyone ?
Ah, simpler times indeed! Dragon World was also the official magazine of the Dragon 32 computer, published by Dragon Data Ltd. for a massive 3 issues. If that kind of namespace clash happened these days there'd be some kind of lawsuit.
Hobbit remake for PC
You can get the PC remake for The Hobbit at the above link.
Re: Hobbit remake for PC
But does it have all the bugs?
Oh I remember....
Great game. One thing I always remember was the chest in the Hobbit hole. You could open the lid to the chest, climb in, close the lid, but thereafter all you could see was darkness.... you couldn't get out! LOL
One of the best games I ever played. I was a big Tolkien fan at the time and asked for this game along with my Spectrum for Christmas 1983. I eventually completed it a few times but I had to draw a map of the goblin caves because it was so easy to get lost.
BTW the pic on the first page of the article says "The splash screen for The Hobbit, circa 1992", you're ten years too late there unless that's when you actually took the pic!
Lots of comments,
THE ROOM IS TOO FULL TO ENTER.
I think I never completed The Hobbit. I suspect I never paid for it, maybe, someone at school had a tape-copying stereo. But I think I got a copy later.
Re: Lots of comments,
C60 tapes were brilliant ;)
Didn't realise she did Penetrator, I used to LOVE that game :D
One bug no-one's mentioned yet was...
At the black river it was possible to kill gandalf by getting him to drink from the stream.
If you then you continue on and complete the adventure, after putting the treasure into the chest at bag end, you get the following...
"A cheering crowd of dwarves, hobbits and elves appears. Led by dead Gandalf, they carry you off into the sunset proclaiming you hero of heroes and master adventurer."
somewhere in the loft ...
is a copy of the boxed game for the Spectrum. A very nice package for those day AFAICR.
There's also a Beebdroid version:
Re: Android emulator
It's a bit bollox - no graphics.
Ah, that takes me back. Not that I ever completed it as a kid. I really must go back to it. I still tend to think "ope do" when opening doors, which is a bit worrying now I come to think about it.
After this, the Lord of the Rings game was a big disappointment, mostly because it barely worked (maybe I had an iffy tape). Although that's how I got my copy of Fellowship of the Ring, so it turned out all right in the end.
That's bizarre - I used to work at Beam/Melbourne House (amongst other things I worked on the ill fated buggy and badly reviewed sequel - The Lord of the Rings) not too long after The Hobbit came out, and I never realised The Hobbit wasn't written entirely by Phil. Not doubting - just surprised at my own ignorance.
The Hobbit: once I was working back late at night - 2 or 3 in the morning I guess - and the phone rang. I picked it up and a kid with an English accent said (with no introduction or preamble of any sort) "I'm stuck in the cellar and I can't work out how to stand on the barrel." or something similarly adventure-gameish. I presume he had obtained his parents permission before making an expensive international phone call.