ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

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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Strident
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ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#1 Post by Strident » Fri Oct 01, 2021 5:14 pm

I'm adding this to my ongoing projects...

I was recently looking at the games on the ADAMagic text adventure disks for the Coleco ADAM, that we have bare-bones entries for on the site...
http://solutionarchive.com/list/company%2C1269/
adamagic-disks.jpg
adamagic-disks.jpg (238.59 KiB) Viewed 295 times
The games themselves are a complete mish-mash of different styles and techniques, which suggest that they've been cobbled together unofficial from BASIC type-ins for other machines.

So now it's a case of working out where they've come from.

These are the initial two I spotted, that I instantly knew I'd seen somewhere before, both based on very early Creative Computing games...

** Adventure Pack 2 **
STRANDED
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C3743/Stranded.html
Survival
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C1805/Survival.html
adamagic2-survival.jpg
adamagic2-survival.jpg (147.83 KiB) Viewed 295 times
** Adventure Pack 3 ***
GHOST BUSTER
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C37 ... uster.html
Stoneville Manor
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C52 ... Manor.html
adamagic.jpg
adamagic.jpg (156.7 KiB) Viewed 295 times
But I'm pretty sure there will be more. So I'm posting this here for when I'm randomly browsing the database and suddenly spot something else familiar.
http://8bitag.com/temp/adamagic.pdf

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Garry
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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#2 Post by Garry » Mon Oct 04, 2021 1:13 pm

This is another fine rabbit hole that you've got me into. (I love these rabbit holes!)

Adventure Pack 1 contains 5 games as follows:
The Sorcerer's Dungeon
This was originally written for the CoCo by Don McCray Jr and Jerry Sundee of D&J Adventures and Software. (The D&J in the company name is obviously the initials of the authors, Don and Jerry.) It was ported to the Adam by N J Lowe in 1985 and released on a number of public domain game compilation disks. It was then enhanced by an unknown author and released by ADAMagic without any credits to the original authors.

Castle of Doom
This is a RPG, so of no interest to us. However, there is another 'Castle of Doom' written by Tony Petrecca and published by Challenge Ware in 1985. This appears to be different to all the other games of the same name.

Enchanted Forest
This is a RPG, so of no interest to us.

Royal Rescue
I haven't found a source for this.

Land of the Lost
I haven't found a source for this. It's a very simple game, apparently with movement only.

Adventure Pack 2 contains 5 games as follows:
Dungeon of Daggonbow
This is a RPG, so of no interest to us.

Time's a Wasting
This was originally written by Mike Hyams as 'Streets of London' and published in ZX Computing, issue 14, August 1984, pp. 46–51. It was ported to the Adam by N J Lowe and released on a number of public domain game compilation disks. It was then enhanced by an unknown author and released by ADAMagic without any credits to the original authors.

Vampire!
This was originally written by Mike Bassman as 'Vampire Castle' and published by Aardvark for the TRS-80 in 1980. It was ported to the Adam as 'Vampire's Castle Adventure' by an unknown author and released on a number of public domain game compilation disks. It was then enhanced by another unknown author and released by ADAMagic as 'Vampire!' without any credits to the original authors.

Stranded
This was originally written by Stewart F Rush for the S-100 as 'Survival' and published in Creative Computing, vol. 8, no. 1, January 1982, pp. 142–153. It was ported to the Adam by Mike Elsila and released on a number of public domain game compilation disks. It was then enhanced by an unknown author and released by ADAMagic as 'Stranded' without any credits to the original authors.

Adventure in Tiny Town
I haven't found a source for this.

Adventure Pack 3 contains 5 games as follows:
Star Trek
This is the classic simulation, so of no interest to us.

A Montauk Mystery
This was originally written by Chris Wilkinson for the CoCo and published as 'Lighthouse Adventure' by Falsoft in The Rainbow book of adventures, pp. 22–28. It was then enhanced by an unknown author and released by ADAMagic as 'A Montauk Mystery' without any credits to the original authors.

Funny Money
I haven't found a source for this.

Death Mansion
I haven't found a source for this.

Ghost Buster
This was originally written by Randy Jensen for the Apple II and published as 'Stoneville Manor' in Creative Computing, vol. 7, no. 8, August 1981, pp. 156–165; corrections, vol. 7, no. 10, October 1981, p. 6. It was then enhanced by an unknown author and released by ADAMagic as 'Ghost Buster' without any credits to the original author.

Note that all all these games appear to be written in BASIC, but stored on disk in a tokenised format with a binary loader. SmartBASIC games were normally stored on disk in an ASCII format and tokenised when they were read from the disk. (This is probably why they are so slow to load.)

I've been doing screen grabs and seeking out other details and will update the Adam entries as soon as time permits. I also found a few new games to add to the database.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#3 Post by Strident » Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:00 pm

I wondered if you'd fall down this one too, given you'd played the couple I instantly spotted. :) Apologies, again... in my defence, these are miles away from my usual patch, but I've obviously spent so long staring at BASIC type-in adventure entries that I'm starting to see patterns and duplications everywhere I look! Even when I'm not trying.

I will probably combine and mention the "adapted" ADAM versions on the original source game pages, in line with site policy. Many thanks for doing all the legwork and write-ups of the references.
Time's a Wasting
This was originally written by Mike Hyams as 'Streets of London' and published in ZX Computing, issue 14, August 1984, pp. 46–51. It was ported to the Adam by N J Lowe and released on a number of public domain game compilation disks. It was then enhanced by an unknown author and released by ADAMagic without any credits to the original authors.
Good spot on that one, given that we don't have the Hyams 'Streets of London' in the database.

I guess the non-adventure entries should probably be removed from the database. I won't do that straight away in case there are any objects from the rest of the community, but I will start work on the amalgamation of the other entries soon.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#4 Post by Strident » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:30 am

I've merged and added new entries to include all this additional information now. Thanks again for that research.

Although it seems highly likely that these are all unofficial ports I have included ADAMagic as an alternate publisher and the Coleco Adam as a platform, simply to ensure that the Adam versions of the games are findable in the database. With so few adventures published for the system, I feel that ensuring that the ones that were published are easily identifiable overrides our usual concerns about "unofficial" ports. Other admins may disagree.

In any case, the "notes" section clearly explains the origins and original publishers of the games so there shouldn't be any confusion.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#5 Post by Strident » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:46 am

I notice that there are a couple of other ADAMagic games, not included on those compilations in the database...

Castle Vampira
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C37 ... mpira.html

Blind Date [x-rated]
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C37 ... +Date.html

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#6 Post by Garry » Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:13 pm

I found some more info on the ADAMagic games.

There is a public domain version of 'Lighthouse Adventure' by Chris Wilkinson. This was ported by N J Lowe, then enhanced by Bob Zimmerman. One of these is most likely the version that was subsequently enhanced again by an unknown author and published by ADAMagic as 'A Montauck Mystery'.

There is a public domain version of a small game simply called 'Adventure' published on N.I.A.D. GOLD - Text Adventures I. This is the same game published by ADAMagic as 'Land of the Lost'. The author is not credited.

I haven't been able to get 'Castle Vampira' to run. The documentation says something about needing an expansion memory pack, but my emulator (ColEm 5.6) doesn't appear to have that, so it just crashes. The BASIC source code looks like it is a RPG, so probably not of much interest to us.

I haven't found another source of 'Blind Date', so this may be original.

I've been trying to restore all the Coleco Adam adventures that I can find. The Victory Software Adventure Packs were quite tricky to remove the copy protection so that I could put them on separate self-booting disks. There are a few that aren't in the CASA database. I'll add these and upload screen grabs shortly.

21 of the early Infocom adventures are also available for the Adam. These run under CP/M.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#7 Post by Paul Ingerson » Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:02 am

The RPG elements and the opening screen suggest that Castle Vampira might be a re-working of Chateau Gaillard, in which case, it could turn out to be of interest to us after all.
https://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C2 ... llard.html

And Blind Date's opening screen suggests it's probably a re-working of Drive-In.
https://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C823/Drive-In.html

OTOH I've not played either of them, so I could be wrong.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#8 Post by Strident » Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:34 pm

Thanks for all the Coleco Adam submissions. I've started to process some of them.

Regarding the Bruce Robinson games. They will have all originally been published for Vic-20/C64 by Victory Software, as that was Bruce's own company...
https://web.archive.org/web/20161012045 ... tware.html

There's a 1983 Victory Software catalogue on archive.org, https://archive.org/details/Victory_Sof ... June_1983/ which is the justification for some of the "alternate" titles that you queried. Although Bomb Scare is listed elsewhere on the Internet as an alternate title for Bomb Threat, that is one that I've not yet spotted any official documentation reference for.

Mogul Communications were just a UK licensee (for the C64 games, I think).

It gets a little more confusing as the UK-based Rabbit Software also seemed to have published a lot of the titles. I'm pretty sure I've read in the past about how some of their "imported" games were a little dodgy... and we do have mention of an issue between Victory/Rabbit on the site... but I can't remember where I came across this, aside from a brief allusion to the issues on a Commodore forum. Rabbit seemed to be a company plagued by issues, in general, and also a lot of sadness as one of their co-founders committed suicide.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#9 Post by Garry » Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:23 pm

I wasn't sure about the Mogul Software side of things. I'm not really familiar with C64 stuff and it felt odd that some of the C64 games would be released by Mogul and others by Victory Software. Your explanation makes a lot more sense. Feel free to correct anything that I've got wrong.

I've come across some other Coleco Adam games, but they appear to be more choice-based or function key driven, rather than conventional text adventures. I've left them out until I get a chance to take a closer look. The games that are uncertain are:
  • Committed! (Gordon R Meyer)
  • Jewel Hunt (unknown author, ported by Bob Lennes & Bob Tarnowski)
  • Journey to Maraud Mountain (unknown author)
  • Michigana Jones (unknown author, published by Reedy Software)
  • The Vase of Turr (James N Walters, Bruce L Walters)
I haven't been able to find Mansion, released by Martin Consulting. This was also advertised for the Atari ST, but I haven't found that one either.

That pretty much finishes up the Coleco Adam games, unless I stumble across some more public domain entries.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#10 Post by Strident » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:45 pm

Paul Ingerson has left comments on these two, flagging up possible sources to investigate...

Blind Date
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C37 ... +Date.html
could be from
Drive In
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C823/Drive-In.html

Castle Vampira
https://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C3 ... mpira.html
could be from
Chateau Gaillard
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C24 ... llard.html

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#11 Post by Garry » Sat Oct 16, 2021 3:26 pm

Good work by Paul Ingerson! The first screen of Blind Date (once the game starts) certainly looks like the first screen of Drive-In. The only difference is the female character: Linda vs Andrea.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#12 Post by Garry » Sat Oct 16, 2021 3:36 pm

The text in Castle Vampira and Chateau Gaillard is considerably different, but the theme looks the same, so that's another potential candidate. Really need to play both games to be sure.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#13 Post by Garry » Sun Oct 17, 2021 3:36 am

More on 'Drive-in Adventure' taken from the BASIC source code of the CoCo version (which is not currently listed on the CASA database)...

It looks like it was written by Douglas C. Rogers in 1982 under the company name of Program Dynamics. It was distributed on his ADVENTURELAND BBS. Further distribution was encouraged as shareware through bulletin boards and public-domain disks.

The CoCo version that I have is very short and looks to be incomplete.

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#14 Post by Strident » Sun Oct 17, 2021 9:25 am

The Adventure Gamer notes that information about Douglas in his blogpost...
https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2020/04/m ... nture.html

He also details a few additional ports...
In 1987, someone adapted the original Commodore BASIC version of the game to QuickBasic and compiled it for DOS. This version keeps the original copyright date and is listed as a 1982 game on the sites that include it, but the QuickBasic v2 library it was compiled against didn’t exist before 1985 and the timestamps on the file place it in 1987. There are a handful of textual differences between this edition and the Commodore one that I played, but it is unclear when those differences were introduced.

In 1988, Alan Pilon posted the game to QuickBasic v4 and released it as Passion Pit. Despite saying that it is “so totally different … that I have absolutely no qualms about representing this program as mine”, much of the text appears to be the same with added colors, a rotating name for the female companion, and other details. Pilon released the game through Western Reserve Automation, Inc. a company that he incorporated in 1986.

In 1990, “Stark” ported the game to the Adventure Game Toolkit as Crusin. I have been unable to get this version of the software to run. Reviews state that he removed the adventure portions outside of the car in favor of a more streamlined experience, but I do not know that from personal experience.
Following his work on this game, Rogers remained active in the interactive fiction community for many years. Through the 80s, he ran “Adventureland BBS” (also known as “Mister Rogers Neighborhood BBS”), one of the largest repositories of interactive fiction at the time. He operated it until approximately 1994. In 1990, he released “Adventure Author”, a front-end to simplify the process of creating Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT) games. Although he helped others to write and distribute adventures, Rogers does not appear to have written any further works that survive to the present. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to reach Rogers in time for this review. I have a million questions about how this game came to be, what choices he made when designing it, and how it was distributed. I’d also love to learn more about his work to improve AGT authoring and what games, if any, took advantage of his toolkit.
We have Passion Pit listed in the database...
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C67 ... n+Pit.html

From MobyGames:
Though largely they are so thoroughly cloned that one port's walkthrough can be used to solve the others, there are some superficial differences between the three games: In Drive-In, your pal Arnie sets you up on a date at a giant monster movie with Andrea, while in Cruisin it's Joe who sent you to a cowboy movie with Debbie. In Passion Pit, your friend Mark directs you to "one of those crazy Canadian mad-slasher movies, with some looney wearing athletic headgear running around in the rain doing in horny teenagers with household appliances"... with a lady whose name and clothing particulars, weakly spurring replay, are randomized at every play.

Perhaps the most significant difference is Cruisin's abstracting out the extra-vehicular activities to focus on the main attraction

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Re: ADAMagic adventures... Working out the origins

#15 Post by Garry » Sun Oct 17, 2021 3:22 pm

Fascinating. This is all starting to fall into place.

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