SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

Games for Spectrum, C64, Amstrad, Amiga, Apple ][ and the rest of the 8-bit and 16-bit platforms. Pleas for help, puzzles, bug reports etc.

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Garry
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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#61 Post by Garry » Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:45 pm

Strident wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:19 pm
It sounds like it's going to be an excellent, and fairly complete, archive once you've finished tinkering.
There's still a lot of work to do. Only two games missing: 'The Pyramid' and 'The Orb of Power'. I'm hopeful that they'll still surface.
Strident wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:19 pm
It'll probably be worth flagging it up to one of the local Australian/New Zealand academics working in this area, such as Professor Melanie Swalwell at Swinburne.
Tell me more. What are they doing?

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#62 Post by Strident » Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:51 pm

Garry wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:45 pm
Tell me more. What are they doing?
I've seen Melanie mention the SC-3000 a fair bit in the past. She was involved in researching the Play It Again digital archive ( http://www.ourdigitalheritage.org/archive/playitagain/ ) iirc, has written a fair few papers on Aus/NZ gaming (such as https://www.academia.edu/349123/_Hobbyi ... ocomputers_ ) and has just published a book on homebrew gaming ( https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/homebrew ... digitality )

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#63 Post by Garry » Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:20 pm

I've downloaded a couple of Melanie's papers. It looks like they may be interesting reading. She's really into the history of retro computer games, home brew games and the hacker ethic.

In the meantime, I've just finished Zivorx Adventure, so I think my restoration is clean. I'll just do a few more checks to make sure.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#64 Post by Garry » Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:35 pm

We're gradually getting there. I was able to rescue 'The Orb of Power' using the Meka emulator, the Multicart II cartridge, a raw RAM dump using the Meka debug tools, a hex editor and SegaWAVWriter. It gets an out-of-memory error if you try to run it from a disk image, but it runs fine from a wav file in eSC-3000. Should also work in Meka and MAME, although I haven't tried it yet.

Orb of Power, The (unknown) screen 04.png
Orb of Power, The (unknown) screen 04.png (4.22 KiB) Viewed 428 times

That only leaves 'The Pyramid' by Danny Van Kan and we'll have a complete set.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#65 Post by Garry » Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:51 pm

OMG, 'The Orb of Power' is absolutely awful. It's buggy, badly written, contains sudden death and guess-the-verb. I'm not surprised that the author chose to stay anonymous.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#66 Post by Strident » Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:26 pm

Shame that the games aren't, on the whole, quite as impressive as the amount of work that's going in to resurrecting them. :(

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#67 Post by Garry » Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:27 am

I think most of them will be okay. I just happened to start with the worst. And, on that note...

I have just finished 'The Orb of Power' by having the BASIC listing open beside me. This was a really valuable exercise, as I think I have now discovered the WORST ADVENTURE OF ALL TIME. It's one of those games where each room is like a mini-adventure and the vocabulary is unique to that room. If a verb works in one room, it won't necessarily work in another room. Nearly every verb is a guess-the-verb nightmare, but there's also a lot of guess-the-noun. There are virtually no in-game hints. You just have to read the author's mind, or cheat, like I did.

You can get killed in nearly every room. In some situations, you get transported to a lake shore from which you can return to near the beginning of the game, providing you can guess the right phrase to use. In other situations, you have to start again. There is no save game, so the emulator's save state feature is very handy.

There are no compass commands, like N, S, E and W, so there is no map to speak of. You can sometimes move using GO, ENTER or CLIMB. Otherwise, you are automatically moved when you solve a "puzzle". All exits are one way.

There are only about a dozen rooms, yet it's too large to run from disk because of really inefficient programming. The spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalisation and spacing are atrocious. There is one bug that crashes the game with a subscript out of range error when you get killed, probably because none of the arrays are dimensioned. (I had to comment out the GOSUB that called that bit, as it wasn't important.) I can't believe that this was released as a commercial game, as it clearly hadn't been tested.

This is the sort of game that really needs a solution, so I'll post one shortly. Isn't retro gaming fun?

Orb of Power, The (unknown) screen 05.png
Orb of Power, The (unknown) screen 05.png (2.05 KiB) Viewed 410 times

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#68 Post by auraes » Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:02 am

Garry wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:27 am
t's one of those games where each room is like a mini-adventure and the vocabulary is unique to that room. If a verb works in one room, it won't necessarily work in another room.
Is the game coded like Skeleton for Dracula?: https://archive.org/details/micro-adven ... 9/mode/2up. Each location is self-contained with its own complete code. It is also the case for the game La Caverne des Morlocks, by François Coulon.
I assume that the game does not allow you to drop off inventory objects.
Garry wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:27 am
I can't believe that this was released as a commercial game, as it clearly hadn't been tested.
I would be curious to read a review of the game at the time, if it exists.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#69 Post by Garry » Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:15 am

auraes wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:02 am
Is the game coded like Skeleton for Dracula?: https://archive.org/details/micro-adven ... 9/mode/2up. Each location is self-contained with its own complete code. It is also the case for the game La Caverne des Morlocks, by François Coulon.
I assume that the game does not allow you to drop off inventory objects.
Yes, exactly like that. You can't drop anything and if you discover any new objects, they aren't shown in the description. You just have to remember that they're there. I've seen a few games coded like this. It's probably just ignorance on the part of an inexperienced programmer.
auraes wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:02 am
I would be curious to read a review of the game at the time, if it exists.
Me too.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#70 Post by Garry » Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:29 pm

I'm currently playing 'The Young'ns'. It reminds me of the style of Scott Adams games, except that the spelling, grammar and punctuation is terrible, the programming is terrible and there are never any helpful responses, apart from "Sorry, I don't no [sic] what that means".

There are times when the terrible programming is actually an advantage. This one tickled my fancy. See the screen grab below where a missing closing double quote saved me from getting killed:

Young'ns, The (Andrew Flexman) screen 02.png
Young'ns, The (Andrew Flexman) screen 02.png (3.49 KiB) Viewed 386 times

I must say that I'm really enjoying the amateurishness of these old games. Even though they are commercial games, they are worse than some of the home brew games of the era.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#71 Post by iamaran » Thu Sep 23, 2021 7:11 pm

Is Death Satellite similar to the Acorn Atom game by A&F?

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#72 Post by Garry » Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:15 pm

iamaran wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 7:11 pm
Is Death Satellite similar to the Acorn Atom game by A&F?
I sincerely doubt it. I've just started playing it and it bears no resemblance to the solution for the A&F game.

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#73 Post by Garry » Sat Sep 25, 2021 12:26 pm

I just finished 'Death Satellite'. My god, that was a tough game. Even with the BASIC listing, I had a hard time getting through it. I can now see some similarities to the A&F 'Death Satellite', but it's a completely different game. The similarities are in the plot and a number of objects, but the map and solution are very different.

Note the spelling of 'CONGRAGULATIONS' in the final message. There are several spelling errors like this throughout the game (and plenty of bugs). Don't these commercial games ever get tested?

Death Satellite (Danny Van Kan) screen 03.png
Death Satellite (Danny Van Kan) screen 03.png (3.11 KiB) Viewed 339 times

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#74 Post by Strident » Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:15 pm

It seems fairly unlikely that Danny, in New Zealand, would've had access to (a fairly obscure) Atom/Oric game. He could've been influenced by the adverts for the game, though, as it was well promoted in British magazines back then.

Yeah, there seems to be a shocking number of bugs and mistakes in some of these commercial games. You sort of expect them in homegrown adventures... although we always used to get our games playtested first, and at Zenobi your game used to be put through its paces by two playtesters.

There was always the chance of new bugs appearing once the playtest reports came back and you addressed changes they'd suggested. Spelling mistakes (and typos) are slightly more understandable, without access to modern-tools that help highlight mistakes that your brain can skip over.

I'm looking forward to have a nose through some of the listings for these games. I was tempted to port the Young'uns... as it would be appropriate to have that game on a British machine... I've probably got too many projects on the go already (I still need to get this three-part game I've had in the works for ages done and I have a stack of other designs to implement)... plus I never really watched the Young Ones back in the day. I was probably just a little too young.

(Disappearing down all these rabbit holes doesn't help... I feel guilty for dragging Garry down this one, but he seems to be relishing the experience... I still need to go back and really sort out all the Dog Star/Star Wars/Death Star games. That's going to take a lot of work, especially if I try and work out some sort of family tree for all the various ports and off-shoots)

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Re: SC-3000 Rabbit Hole... Unlisted Adventures

#75 Post by Garry » Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:43 pm

If you need anything from me, just yell out and I'll make it available to you. (That applies to anyone else, too.) I'll make sure it's available in a public place in due course. If I don't, feel free to hound me.

Regarding The Young Ones.I did watch it and loved it. It was politically incorrect and vulgar, but jeez it was funny. Unfortunately, the adventure does not live up to the TV series. And that's a shame. The first half is set on a space ship and could be any science fiction game. Your objective is merely to escape from the ship. The second half is a mini treasure hunt. Again, it could be from any game. You play the character of Neil (the long-haired hippy), but his somewhat dim-witted character doesn't come through. The other three characters (Rik, Vivian and Mike) aren't mentioned until the end, except that Vivian offers you a lift to town on his bicycle. It's a pity, really, as the TV series had so much potential for an adventure, or even a series of adventures.

And, yes, I hate you for dragging me into this rabbit hole, but it's been a lot of fun.

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