Dear Tom, One of my favorite games is a short game (only 20 rooms) called "Search for the Key" (#80) by Donald Brown. For the casual player this game probably doesn't do much for them. You cannot enter this game with a powerful character but as a beginner. I note that it is rated as a 2. My rating for it since it is such a challenge would be about 7. I have played it at least 200 times and have lost only about 5 times in the last 150 times. I would say that I know more about this little game than the author. Usually I lost because of broken weapons so that I had no way to eliminate the black panther. I usually finish up with $80,000 to $100,000 and four of the best weapons that money can buy. I don't know anyone who ever was able to get more than two weapons. At one time I was running it as the Eamon Challenge on our BBS offering anyone who could come out of the game with $40,000 a $25 prize. No one solved the mystery so I have not revealed it. I doubt if the author even realized the quirk in the game which allowed me to win this way. I wonder if you or any of the other adventurers can figure out how I do it. - Wm. Trent Wow. How do you do it, Bill?
Well, I've looked at the program myself and couldn't find out what he was talking about either. So, back in 2003, I wrote him a letter to ask for the solution. He responded in December 2003 as follows:
In 1983 I had an Apple computer which had very few capabilities but it did have Eamon games which I played a lot. After a couple of years the Apple changed to Macintosh and upgraded to a format which was not compatible to the Apple. As a result I became disgusted with them and switched to an IBM computer and did not play Eamon games any longer.
At that time you had to write almost any program yourself as there were very few except Appleworks typing programs. I wrote one Eamon game myself "A Trip to Fort Scott" which was my home town in Kansas before I joined the navy. (I'm a Pearl Harbor Survivor)
That has been too long ago for me to remember anything about my early computer years. I am sorry but at age 84 I can't remember anything about the Eamon games. In fact one of the things that happens to you when you get old is your memory goes.
I can go to a movie and a year later my wife will say, "We saw that movie".
I will say, "I never saw that movie."
I am on the computer quite a bit but have to keep reviewing to be able to remember the programs I use most of the time. I "bookmark" anything which I wish to find on line with the computer and keep most of the program icons on my desktop so they are easy to find.
I keep a very descriptive index of all the files I have on the hard disk.
I am very sorry but I do not remember anything about any of the Eamon Games.
Dr. William H. Trent, DDS (retired for 18 years)
This is sort of intriguing, but a bit weird. Anyway, I just tested the game. I'd been trying to anticipate in advance how what Mr Trent was talking about could be possible. My best guess was that maybe there would be a monster that took on your stats, and perhaps also had a weapon that would take the stats of your weapon, and maybe on top of all that, you could meet this monster a few times by FLEEing, and the game would buggily end up creating multiple versions of your super weapon. But I saw no sign of such shenanigans. There was at least a MIMIC, in fact basically the same one from Beginner's Cave, but that's as close as it got to my visions. And when I won the game, it told me to put in the disk for RESCUE MISSION (adventure 81), which I've just done. I got 3000 gold in the meantime for my troubles, which is a far cry from 20,000+. So at a glance (only), I've no idea what he was talking about.
Ah, you've probably already seen this, but maybe the following part of this review of the game explains it:
"...This was also originally something called a "Tournament Eamon". I have never seen the Tournament version and don't know what was involved. I assume that it incorporated some kind of scoring system for competitive play. John Nelson converted it to a normal Eamon back in 1984." (from http://www.eamonag.org/columns/Reviews51-100.htm)
True, but Dr. Trent supposes that even the original author of the game wasn't aware of this particular flaw. Unless your suggesting that John Nelson took it out when he converted it?
My thinking is more that there's this tournament version of the game that we don't have access to at the moment. And that the behaviours he's talking about are in there? So I suppose I am suggesting that John Nelson removed the relevant parts in 'de-tournament'ing it. All supposition, of course :)
Interesting. So that's the goal? Who has the old "tournament" editions of these games?
I put the asimov archive index into Excel and did a lot of searches to make sure some interesting version of adventure 80 wasn't hanging around there in some obvious form. It wasn't :) I've now downloaded all versions of adventure 80 I can find (which is at least 2 off asimov, 4 if I'm lucky, plus one off http://www.eamonag.org/, which may or may not be exactly the same again, but I'm being deliberately anal.) I might also try includes looking at the disk images to see if any lost info is hanging around from deleted files from previous versions, just in case John Nelson made the regular version right on top of the old one.
I'll report back if I find anything. Also, if I don't!
That didn't take long. The disk maps looked pretty unfragmented (the remake was likely put on a fresh disk, or converting it didn't change it much) and combing through a whole disk image in a sector editor didn't reveal anything exciting.
John's still around. Perhaps we can ask what he remembers about the conversion?
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