As I write this, it is late May, the newsletter is about 20% done, and you may not see this issue before July 1.† I have excuses. . .
I was laid off from my job at the end of last year. That job was perfect for running the EAG, because I worked out of my home, and while I only worked 20-30 hours per week had to be available to leave at a moment's notice to respond to customer calls.
My job hunting was not going
extremely well, so I signed up for a fairly full slate of computer classes at
the local community college.† This left
me plenty of time to handle the EAG even as I acquired the role of Apple II
Then I got a job in late
February. Suddenly I was working or commuting 50+ hours per week, taking a full
set of courses in school, and performing sysop chores on
The school quarter has ended, and I will not be taking more than one or two courses at a time in the future, so things should return to normal from here on out.† (Late note: between work and school I have few hours per week free so this is a little later than planned. If I'm not fully back on schedule by the December issue, I may have to look at some alternative plans.)
I'm afraid that I have all kinds of bad news.† As I noted on the envelope of your March EAG issue, Caloke Industries is out of business.† The owner, Carl Kenepaske, died suddenly.† He was a friend and a valuable asset to the Apple II community, and he will be sorely missed.
Next, Kula isn't exactly out of business, but selling Apple II software is far down Mike's list of priorities these days, because he gets so little business.† If Kula carries stuff you think you might want, it would be in your interest to give him some of your money, to keep him interested in offering Apple II wares.
I should also mention that Genie is not doing as well as could be hoped, and there is widespread concern that it may not survive a great deal longer. Many Genie members, scared to death that Genie might close down without notice and rook them out of a week or two of membership, have fled already.† This is a bizarre thing to do in the face of the fact that there is not another Apple II resource in the world that is even one-quarter as good as Genie.
Last but far from least, Softdisk GS has ceased publication.† However, Softdisk is still very much in business for other computers, and all back issues of the Apple II-based Softdisk and Softdisk GS are still available.
With the loss of Caloke, it's probably well past time for us to organize a system among ourselves for trading Eamon adventures.† The EAG is not going to go into the business of selling Eamons.† I simply do not have the time to spend on making disks.† However, I am reinstating the 3.5-inch disk deal, and it will be offered on a permanent basis.
I should perhaps mention that the purchase of the 3.5-inch disk set will get you automatic updates from me once or twice per year.† This was not part of the original deal, but I realized that it is to our benefit to have up-to-date sets widely placed in many hands.
So let's get organized!† If you are interested in being on a list of people who want to trade Eamon adventures or other Apple II software, let me know and I'll start running a list in every issue.† If anyone out there wants to start selling Eamons, that would be a fine thing to have as well.
I am not opposed to making a limited set of Eamons available on 5.25 disks to complement the 3.5" set.† However, this set would have to be limited in scope and would have to be compressed for me to do it.† Compression requires two 5.25 disk drives, because ShrinkIt does not support disk swapping.† Would anyone be interested in, say, a collection of the top 30 or 40 Eamons in this form?
Having spread all this doom and
gloom, I have to close by mentioning that the startup of the A2 Forum† on
Steve Bernbaum has supplied me with his own special copy of the Eamon Master.† This Master has the CHARACTERS file bug fixes plus several other enhancements.† Anyone who would like a copy of this disk can get one by sending me a buck.
For this effort, Steve is our Eamonaut of the Month and is awarded eight 5.25 Eamon disk sides of his choice. Good work, Steve!
Membership/subscription fee for 4 issues:
US-Canada: $7.00; foreign:
This newsletter is published 4 times per year, in March, June, September, and December
We are always looking for new material!† If you would like to publish your own letter or article in this newsletter, feel free to send one in.† We make quarterly Eamon adventure giveaways to the best contributions.
If you would like to add your own Eamon adventure to the EAG list, send it on a disk to the above address.† It will be assigned an Adventure number, and tested for bugs and other problems before release.† An informal critique and disk with bug corrections will be returned.† Once released, you will be given any Eamon Adventure of your choice in exchange, and may be awarded several Eamon Adventures if your Eamon is of superior quality.
NEUC 'Adventurer's Log':
† Mar'84, May'84, Aug'84, Oct'84, Jan'85, Mar'85
† May'85, Aug'85, Oct'85, Jun'86, Jan'87, Oct'87
EAG back issues:†††††† 1988:††† -††† Jun, Sep, Dec
† 1989,90,91,92,93,94,95,96: Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec
†† †††† ††††††††††††††††††††††1997: Mar
Price: $1.00 each† (NEW PRICE!)
240 Heart of Gold††††††††††††††† by Frank Kunze
This Eamon pays homage to "The Hitchikerís Guide to the Galaxy".† Reviewed in this issue.
Here is my list of Eamons that give a blind person trouble. #225 Adventure in Interzone.† Problem, overwrites Textalker-gs's "main memory driver."† Solution, use inverse tracking mode and screen review.† #233 Domain of Zenoqq. Problem, completely crashes Textalker-GS.† Solution, run it on some kind of Apple II emulator.† In other words, it's unusable for the average blind person (unless he/she doesn't mind the bother of getting an emulator running.)† #126 Pyramid of Anharos.† Problem, may need sighted assistance to understand map.† Also, knowing the colors will prove necessary.† Last but not least, #239 Idol of the Incas. Problem, Mine cart ride needs sighted assistance.† Other than that, the game is fully playable.† The map isn't really needed.
This is just something I thought I'd put down for the record. Speaking of Idol of the Incas, other than the mine cart, it's a darn good game to get one used to paying attention to details.† Also, well done descriptions.† The only flaw in the descriptions was that many started with incomplete sentences such as "A BOLO KNIFE IN A LEATHER SHEATH."† This isn't really annoying.† If you want to add another rating for this game, I give it a 7.5.††††††††††††† - Adam Myrow
We are down to just one mail-order Eamon vendor:
Eamons are available online at various sites.† Some sites I can recommend are Genie, ftp.gmd.de, and ground.isca.uiowa.edu.
EAG EAMON DISK OFFER
EAG members can obtain the complete Eamon set from the EAG. This contains both the DOS 3.3 and 80-col. ProDOS Eamon collections archived to 3.5 disks.† These are ShrinkIt archives.† To access the ProDOS titles, you must have a minimum of one 3.5 drive.† The DOS 3.3 titles require both 3.5 and 5.25 drives.
The EAG members' price for the entire set is $25.00.† To take advantage of this offer, you must take these steps:
1) This offer requires that you supply the disks.† You must include 18 DD 3.5 floppies with your payment. NOTE that these MUST be DD disks.† My drives cannot read nor write to HD disks, so don't send them.
2) You must use a shipping container that I can re-use to return the filled disks to you.
3) The $25.00 price includes formatting the floppies with ProDOS† If you format the disks for me, the price is $20.00. This reflects the time savings I get from not having to do the formatting. It doesn't matter what ProDOS volume name you use since they will be rewritten.
4) If any of the above requirements are not met, the disks will be returned unfilled, and the shipping cost will be deducted from your refund.
5) Both versions of 8-bit ShrinkIt are included with the set.
Purchase of the set puts you on a mailing list that automatically gets free updates once or twice per year.
A Walk-Through of Eamon #161
I debated for a while about doing a walk-through for this Eamon, because, like all of Sam's best Eamons, it includes a SOLUTIONS program that gives hints about how to proceed. But in the end I decided that this Adventure is a special case. Everyone agrees that it is one of the very few that get better each time you play it, and that knowing what is coming does not detract from the sheer joy of playing such an excellent creation! Not to mention that this is a pretty difficult Eamon even with the SOLUTIONS to help you.
For those who want to play it themselves, here are a few pointers. SAVE OFTEN.† Every ten moves is about right for me.† This Eamon is very unforgiving.† The clues are there, but you will overlook a lot of them the first time through.
Your men have their own medikits, but they won't use them unless they are at death's door. You will do well to keep them at least moderately healthy. But your kit only has 15 uses, so use it sparingly.† With nice judgment and just a little luck, it's not too hard to get out with all team members alive.
Watch your ammo situation! It's easy to miss the message. If you have your gun readied, you will attack multiple times.† If you start attacking just once, you've run out of ammo.
This is not a normal Eamon where you can explore anything and everything. Stay focused on the mission and don't explore randomly.
Read the intro very carefully. You might want to take notes. Read everything carefully. Take nothing for granted.† In this game, you are the commander of the best Special Forces team in the world, embarking on what is for all intents and purposes a suicide mission. There is zero margin for error, but, again, the clues are there.
Let's get started!
I don't promise that this is absolutely the† best possible set of moves, but it will get you to the end alive and with mission accomplished.
OK, you're on a suicide mission that will make the difference between winning and losing the war. You've got a really good team; with these guys it might be possible to carry out the mission and make it out alive.† Your men are the best! Start off by reviewing their gear. EXAMINE each of your companions, and INVENTORY yourself. EXAMINE your own equipment as well.
There's a tower in the distance. EXAMINE TOWER. No good, it's too far.† GIVE ORDERS to Tech to use his binoculars to examine it. The sentry has gotta go.† GIVE ORDERS to Mean to use his SVD sniper rifle.
Go south.† A fence.† Hmm, it's made up of thin, parallel wires that wouldn't stop much unless it was lethally powered.† Let's give the fence a pass and go in the front door.† We won't want to make a ruckus until we find what we've walked into, so ready your knives with the ARM command.
Go east, then south into the outpost. Check upstairs. Nothing. Check downstairs. Go south. Breakers! Kill them, then CLEAR the area to remove evidence of your presence. (This is a secret infiltration. You will quickly learn that leaving dead bodies in your wake is a no-good way to sneak through an enemy compound!) Read the paper on the wall. Good news!† No relief until tomorrow; that gives you time to complete your mission before these soldiers are missed.
Go back upstairs and through the south door, and kill the Breaker. CLEAR the area. Go down and kill the Breakers. CLEAR the area. This might be a good spot to do a SAVE.
Take a LOOK around to get a broad layout of the base from here.† Give orders to Tech to check out the airfield, road, and river with his binoculars. There's an awful lot of light right here.† We don't want to get pinned down by a searchlight while on the side of a cliff, so let's look around some. Go west. Nope, this is lit too. Go back east twice.
It's dark here. That's more like it. EXAMINE the cliff. It's high and sheer, so USE your climbing gear. Go down and note that overland escape will be impossible this way.
The river would be a good way to move, but it is fast moving and those rocks don't look so good. Let's move west and look for something better. The river still looks dangerous, so go west again, then move south into the shallows.
Climb up into the bridge supports. You can climb across the river through the supports without being seen. Move south.
What did Tech say?† What did he mean?†† Let's think about this a moment.† Many possible escape scenarios might involve hot pursuit as you high-tail it out of the fort.† The only way out you have seen is across this bridge.† The arch is very thin here... GIVE ORDERS for Tech to set a demolition charge here (USE EXPLOSIVES).† Note the button number!
Go south, then east into the shallows.† OK, lots of cover here among the anti-invasion obstacles. Go south. So far so good.
Not so fast. Anti-invasion techniques commonly include land mines. GIVE ORDERS to Tech to sweep the ground with his mine detector. Then go south and sweep again. Aha. Thought so. Go south into the trench. This looks like another good spot for a SAVE.
It won't do to attack the pillboxes.† Even if you take them, we can't have that kind of ruckus just yet. Let's WAIT a while and see if any opportunities turn up.
That truck looks promising.† You'd be seen hanging onto the sides, so Check out the underside. Yeah, lots of room there. ENTER UNDERSIDE.
(Note: from here on in, the enemies you encounter may vary from what I may mention.† Just take them out and clear the area as you progress.)
Any false move or excess noise now will almost certainly put the base on alert and scrub your mission. It makes no sense to check out an open, guarded storage area or to walk down the main road in these circumstances, so duck west into the alley. It wouldn't be terribly bright to enter a barracks full of soldiers, so keep looking. Go west again, then south twice, then east once.
A maintenance building.† That look promising!† Go south, then down after clearing the area.
Yuck. It sure stinks like a sewer down here. Just what the doctor ordered! Examine that pipe. Remove the grate by attacking it. If you haven't been doing regular SAVE's, this might be a good time for one.
Enter the pipe, and move south four times. Those light rays must mean there's something up above. Attack the ceiling and go up. Go south twice. Read the diagram. OK, now we've got ourselves a road map! Be sure to note the turns you need to take (R,L,R,R,L).
Go east out the door. Go south (R), then east (L) three times. The alert sounds! Somebody must have stumbled over some of your past handiwork. The boys have it right, it's time to lock and load, so ARM to ready your M16.
Go south (R) twice. The tempo is definitely picking up now! Go west (R) twice. Go south (L). USE the control box to open the security door, and go south. USE the control box to close the door, and then destroy the box to disable the mechanism. Now it's a race to finish the mission before the door is opened!
Go up onto the walkway. USE the
lever to open the blast doors. Go south twice. Have Tech set two explosives
charges. Go back north twice. Close the blast doors. Give orders to Tech to use
his detonator to blow the two charges set on the missile.
What's that smell?† Gas!† Did you note the vent at the top of the stairs?† Go find it, and USE HANDLE to close it.
The door opens!† You face overwhelming odds, and have no escape route.† Unless you want the game to end right here, you'll have to surrender.† But it ain't over yetó
Interrogation.† Note where your gear is.† After they leave, examine your chains.† Maybe you can break them. ATTACK CHAINS.† It worked! Go north, then east. EXAMINE the door to find out where you are. Go east again and examine the doors. C-148! Go north.
Take out the Breakers with hand-to-hand combat.† Go east and get your gear. ARM yourself with your M16. Take a moment to use your medikit on anyone who is injured worse than "lightly wounded". This is a good spot for a SAVE.
Now it gets confusing. You have lost your compass and are turned around in an underground complex. The direction you believe to be North may or may not be it in reality. The important thing now is to run down corridors and look for an exit.† The complex is small, so that will do for an improvised plan of action.† You will be engaging in a lot of combat, so watch your ammo!
Go west, then south back into the corridor. Go
east three times, then south. Go west twice.
Blocked by the security door!† Set an explosive charge against it (USE EXPLOSIVE).† Go back east twice and north once to get some protection, and USE the detonator to blow the door.
Go south, then east three times. Go south, then west. OK, now you've got your bearings! Go east.
Not good. Wait a minute. The Breakers are using that overturned truck for cover, and its underside is facing
you.† A truck's gas tank is often on the undersideó ATTACK TRUCK.
Go north three times. There's that vehicle storage area you saw on the way in!† Go east, then north to try to find a vehicle. ENTER TANK and escape.
Go north. USE the detonator to blow the bridge.† The airstrip looks like your best opportunity for escape; maybe you can steal something. Go north, then west, then south, then west.† A helicopter! ENTER CHOPPER.
Remember the base layout? To rise would be suicide.† Go east twice.† You made it!
Problem: If you give a potion to a non-friend monster, the number of swallows is not decremented when he drinks from it.
Fix: In Line 9300, move this statement:
††††††††††† A%(A,6) = A%(A,6) - 1
from the very end of the line† to the spot between GOSUB 51 and†† †IF M%(M,11)...
Problem: SYNTAX ERROR on IIe, crash on GS
Fix: In EAMON.073.INTRO lines 505, 560, 660:
†††††† change†† CHR$ (12)†† to†† PRINT CHR$ (12)
#76 The Search for Yourself†† (80-COL. PRODOS)
Problem: UNDEF'D STATEMENT ERROR IN
Fix: In Line 18100, change†† GOTO 29060
to†† GOTO 19060
Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0
Extra Commands: EAT
Deleted Commands: None
Special Features: 10-Directions
Playing Time: 2-3 hours
Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Adventurers Guild has a very large mission for you.† You must travel to
"Once there you must stop a mad scientist from activating a large volcano.† If he succeeds not only will many lives be lost, but we will lose one of our only supplies of citrus fruit.
"If you come back empty-handed, you will die."
Comment:† He's not kidding, either.† If you don't kill the mad scientist, you die when you try to return to the Main Hall.
I had mixed feelings about this Eamon.† On one hand it was moderately clever, interesting, and funny.† But on the other hand it was silly and stupid in some ways. It has good overall design, and with better writing it might have gotten a 7-rating, but there you are.
It's a challenging dungeon to explore, with lots of secret passages, a very tough maze, and many strong opponents, particularly a couple of very strong dragons that make your life rather more difficult. Many of the descriptions and events go for laughs, which tends to run a little thin for me unless it's very well done.† I did smile a few times, but this never comes close to the humor of the funniest Eamons.
I am bumping the difficulty up to (8) because of the strong bad guys.† It's tough to stay alive when, for example, facing a trio of giants with Hardiness ratings in the 60's-80's.
#240 The Heart of Gold††††††††††††††† by Frank Kunze
Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski
MAIN PGM Version: 7, HIGHLY modified
Extra Commands: CLOSE, CONNECT, CONSULT,† EAT, ORDER, TALK, PANIC, SMELL,† WAIT, HELP, SHORT, RESUME
Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, POWER,† SPEED, READY, LIGHT, FREE
Special Features: PRODOS ONLY; 40/80 display works with all Apple II's; standalone design does not use Main Hall
Playing Time: 2-3 hours and up
Reviewer Rating: 6.5
Description: "Several years ago a stranger named Ford Prefect appeared at the Main Hall, and you became friends with him.† He seemed like a good chap, if a bit odd.† He was known to stare at the sky for long periods of time, claiming to be looking for "flying saucers".
"Then one day a green shape appeared in the sky.† A voice boomed out of it saying that planet Eamon was in the way of the new hyperspace bypass and was going to promptly be destroyed in two minutes.
"Ford suddenly pulled you aside.† 'Another ship has appeared!' he said. 'I'm trying to hitch a ride.† Don't worry, I'm bringing you with me!'
"'I've succeeded!' he suddenly yells with joy. 'Prepare to be transported...'"† You feel a gut-wrenching sensation and black out.† Somewhere off in the distance, you hear the world of Eamon being completely destroyed!"
Comment: If you don't recognize the above, this Eamon is based on Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books.† Frank set out to purposely write a very difficult Eamon that is very much like an Infocom game.† In other words, it has no combat and a series of small puzzles that must be done precisely in order and on a tight timeline.
Because the puzzles must be done in order and on time, there are many, many ways to get killed out, and you will almost certainly start over at least a dozen times before winning through to the end. In fact, the only thing that makes it solvable with only a dozen or so restarts is the detailed hints available via the HELP command.† Without this command, the adventure would be nearly unsolvable for the vast majority of players. Even when using HELP, the difficulty falls near (8).
This Eamon only has about 15 rooms, making maps unnecessary, but takes a couple of hours to play even if you cheat and use the hints, which should give you a good idea of the number and difficulty of puzzles.
This is a technical masterpiece, which is only what we have come to expect from Frank.† It gets its lukewarm rating for two reasons: because I got tired of starting over, and because I felt somewhat deflated because I had to use the hints at every turn to lower the difficulty to something I could handle.
One hint: don't SAVE too often. It's better to have to repeat a dozen or two actions than to discover that you have saved an unwinnable game.
I should mention that this Eamon stands alone without the Main Hall.† You can launch it from the Main Hall, but the FRESH.MEAT file is not used, and it does not return to the Main Hall at the end.
This Eamon is PRODOS ONLY. Like Frank's previous work, it supports both 40 and 80-column display, works flawlessly on any Apple II in both modes, and has an all-caps option for II+ users.
Highly recommended for serious puzzle junkies, who may wish to try to solve it without use of the hints.