Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Glimpse into "The Palace of Mirrors," a Lost Eamon

In trying to find disk images for the French version of Eamon (detailed in the last post to the blog), I ran across this alluring line from the site
For the record, I was the author of DUNGEON #222 THE PALACE OF MIRRORS written for THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF EAMON in the early 80's. Although donated to the local Apple ][ user group, it never made it into the Eamon archives that exist today and is probably lost. Luckily, my Turbo Pascal port source code is still extant, so there is a remote possibility that it may be resurrected.
Now, while it may not be as compelling a task as, say, recovering the lost works of Empedocles, I've made it a bit of a mission in the past year to recover lost Eamons. Irrespective of the quality of writing or programming, each Eamon is a little fragment of its author's psyche, encoded in ones and zeroes. I have a difficult time thinking such things ought to be allowed to "go gentle into that good night."

So what's to do? Email the Mensanator, of course.

Unfortunately, the Mensanator was unable to locate the files. But he was kind enough to share the following glimpse into the work:
I always tried to put a unique twist in each of my games. In The Palace of Mirrors, the twist is how would a barbarian interpret the modern world (the Palace of Mirrors is simply a glass skyscraper with mirrored windows). Can he figure out how to use an elevator or a pay-phone? Can you imagine what would happen if he invokes the POWER command when standing next to a 3-prong outlet? Will he recognize that the "box of scrolls" is simply toilet paper, and thus worthless whereas he should take the piles of greenbacks?
This very novel approach certainly had the potential to have been a great Eamon and makes its loss all the more unfortunate.

The Mensanator also described a couple of Eamon-related adventures written specifically for PASCAL, The Land of the Midnight Sun and The Haunted Castle:
In the former, the adventurer starts aboard a ship frozen in ice in the arctic. In that game, I added a COLD function that would accumulate points each turn based on the weather (it was much colder climbing the glacier than walking through the forest. The adventurer had to accumulate burnable objects like twigs and pine cones to keep warm, otherwise, he would freeze to death. Assuming he found the flint and tinder before leaving the ship, he [this didn't come through in the email]... Your quest was to find a magic firestone to free the ship from the ice. If you found it, you could magically burn any object such as weapons or treasure (which you might have to do when lost in a field of snow while snowblind).
I also wanted to develop projectile weapons skills, so not only did I place a crossbow in the ship for him to find, but a novel way to use it. He encounters a monster in a cage. If you swipe at it with a sword or club, the blow simply bounces off the cage bars. The monster also has a crossbow and you quickly learn that a crossbow can shoot between the bars (of course, the BLAST spell would work in a pinch).
In The Haunted Castle, the adventurer is knocked unconscious and wakes up with his gold, armor, and weapons taken from him. His quest is to wander the castle and find them (and any treasure he finds along the way). Instead of COLD, there is an apparition that appears and casts a BLAST spell. If the adventurer makes it to the basement of the castle, he will find a head on a stake that will provide immunity.
Perhaps one of these will turn up eventually. The internet is a huge and tangled place, after all, in which nothing really disappears. Until then, at least we have some record of these lost adventures.

The reader is invited to check out as well. (There is a bit of salty language to be found, if you worry about such things.)

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