Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apple II Eamon "Le HLM Maudit" ("The Tenement of the Damned")

So in my first post for this blog, I described what I knew about the French conversion of Eamon for the Apple II and immediately began seeking disk images. While I was hoping that they'd be out there, I suspected that what would turn up was a run-of-the-mill Main Hall with a Beginner's Cave merely translated into French. (Did you know that "pirate" is French for pirate?)

But what we got was something entirely different: "Le HLM Maudit," or (with some license in translation), "The Tenement of the Damned," written by J.M. Menassanch. ("HLM" denotes a particular type of subsidized housing and "Maudit" as an adjective means "cursed" or "damned.") It appears to be a short, twenty room romp through the banlieues, with a handful of monsters and written for beginners.

In full disclosure, two points ought to be mentioned. For one, well, it's in French. Moreover, there is a bit of corruption in the disk image that must be sorted out. While the data is all intact, the Main Program has taken a beating. With only one effect, though, I imagine that this obstacle can be overcome relatively easily with some backwards engineering. Stay tuned as I hope to have a translated, working .DSK available soon.

I'm very grateful to Jean-Marc Boutillon of and Arnaud Brossard of, both of whom put up with my much-atrophied French and provided much help in securing the disk images.

An additional expression of gratitude is in order. If the reader looks over to the side bar, the reader will notice that this is the thirty fifth post this year. Applying a bit of arithmetic, the reader will also note that were precisely thirty five posts from the site's conception in 2004 through 2011. There's now been as much activity this year as the previous seven years combined. To everyone who has contributed and made this such a good year for Eamon, you all have my gratitude as well.

Updated to reflect the name of the adventure's author.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Glimpse into "Bird's Paradise," a Lost Eamon...

The internet-trawling I've done in search of lost Eamons this past year has been rather fruitful, with quite a few disk images recovered. Sadly, sometimes "lost" really means "lost." But I find that in focusing on the recovery of disk images, it's easy to miss the important feature of Eamon: the stories that are told. Truth be told, I think being told about the content of a lost adventure is just as good as finding it.

Paul Balyoz has been kind enough to share his recollections of such an Eamon, an adventure he wrote titled "Bird's Paradise," and has graciously allowed me to share it here:
As I recall, playing Bird's Paradise went sort of like this: You started in your apartment up high in an apartment building, and in one room there was a bird cage with a bird, like a Parrot. He was... [a] "friend", so he would follow you around throughout the game and not attack you (unless you attacked him first). Exploring your house you realize there is an open window, so you go out the window and onto the ledge. Walking along the ledge you can go in the open window of the apartment next to you, and there's a different bird in there - I think it was a Toucan. The Toucan is your friend too, and follows you around. Now you have two friends.
At the end of the level you confronted the enemy - an Evil Bird King and four ravens, I think, who immediately start attacking! It's a giant epic melee, you and your four friends attacking the evil birds alongside you... [S]ince you have friends who are attacking the enemy, the enemies would not just focus on you - everyone gets one "swing" per turn, and so you'd be swung-at about 1/5th of the time (because you have 4 other pals). The odds were in your favor, but you could still die, just due to random occurrence of being attacked more than normal; or being too novice of a character. 
Paul was also generous enough to provide a related anecdote which will be humorous to any veteran Eamonaut:
I was all proud of my Eamon adventure and played it a few times before unleashing it on the world. A day or two later I invited a friend over to play it. He had a pretty advanced character that I felt would probably survive the end-battle that I didn't tell him about. He had fun playing it - then, when he got to the epic battle he did something I never thought of - the room happened to be a four-way intersection, so he typed "flee" and fled to another room! He did that over and over again, until only one enemy was in the room with him - then he'd attack that monster until it was dead, go back and do it again! "Hey," I said, "that's cheating!" Later I realized, no, it's just an advanced strategy when playing Eamon adventures. 
Paul's blog can be found at and is filled with interesting reflections on myriad topics. In particular, the original post that led me to contact him is a charming and sincere meditation on memory and is well worth a read.