Stories

Adventure Game Adventure

It’s dark all around me, but I can still hear the rumble of the thunder and the ongoing patter of rain striking the window. The last thing I remember was a bright flash of light; I hope I’m not blind.

“Becky?” It’s Sonya’s voice. “Where are you?”

“Right here! I can’t see!”

“It sounds like you’re coming through the computer speakers.”

“Maybe I am. What’s on the screen?”

“Press any key to continue.”

“Do it.”

“Okay. Did anything change?”

“You’re in a clearing at the foot of a hill. Atop the hill sits a small but imposing keep. You hear wild animals howling in the distance. Lightning crackles overhead. There is a note pinned to your chest.”

“What?”

“That’s what’s written here. I still can’t see anything except words.”

“What does the note say?”

“I don’t know, I can’t see it!”

“Try reading it.”

“READ the NOTE? What the… some of the words are in capital letters… wait, more words are showing up. It says ‘Beat me and I’ll send you home.’ What the heck is this?”

“It’s a text adventure, Becky. You do stuff with simple verb-noun commands and get your answers in writing. My brother wrote it for his Advanced Algorithms class at college. I don’t know how you got in there, maybe it was the lightning.”

“Okay, what do I do?”

“Try saying ‘inventory.’”

“INVENTORY …Okay, I have a backpack and a sword. What now?”

“Start exploring.”

“EXPLORE …it doesn’t understand that. LOOK AROUND …it doesn’t see any AROUND here. GO up the HILL …that did it.”

“You still there, Sonya? I finally got something. I’m at the top of the hill by a small keep. There is a graveyard to the south with shambling figures in it. To the north is the small-but-imposing keep. There is a holly simbol here.”

“You mean holy symbol?”

“No, it’s spelled ‘h-o-l-l-y s-i-m-b-o-l.’”

“Oh-kay, pick it up. Um, say ‘take,’ not pick up.”

“TAKE HOLLY …Okay, I have it. What now?”

“Try going north or south. You should be able to just tell it the direction. But watch out for those shambling figures; I don’t know how combat works. I’m going to call Tom and see if he can walk me through beating the game.”

“Thanks. NORTH …yeah, that worked. I’m standing in front of a small-but-imposing keep. There is a moat and a cat and a apple tree here.”

Twenty minutes later…

“Sonya, I just fell through a hole into the floor; I’m in a dank pit with several rat skeletons and a dead Frenchman. I’ve tried all the directions: NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST, UP, DOWN. Is there something I’m missing?”

“It’s another puzzle. Tom said you’d always get a clue, but it’s usually a bad pun. It’s probably the dead guy.”

“Hmmm. Why is he French? What do the French call a pit? An oubliette! That means ‘forget.’ Bad puns, eh? REMEMBER …That did it! I’m out! Remind me to beat your brother with something when I get out of here.”

Two hours later…

“CROSS BRIDGE …Okay, I’m… yikes! The Wizzard’s here! How do I beat him? STAB WIZARD … there’s no WIZARD here. STAB WIZZARD …he turns my sword into a thorny rose. PRICK WIZZARD …he opens his robe and …I’m not reading that part out loud! How do I beat him?”

“Remember that zombie? You have to beat the wizzard, right? Try the simplest possible command.”

“BEAT WIZZARD …Yuck, that’s gross! What kind of dirty-minded creep wrote this?”

“My brother Tom. Did it… oof! You’re out! Yaaay!”

“What an ordeal! Solving the puzzles was kind of fun, though. I think I’d like to try this when I’m not stuck inside it.”

“Yeah, I guess it was kind of fun. Uh, Becky, where’s your shirt?”

“I left it in there. There’s no way I was keeping it after what that Wizzard did on it.”

“Beck, why does this keep happening to us?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we should form a club to investigate it.”

“What’ll we call it?”

“I don’t know; something gutsy I think.”