Barry was a fellow student and friend of mine,
And although our lives have diverged greatly over the decades, I would still consider him as such.
I played all the classic mainframe (text) games back in the day,
Colossal Cave (Adventure) and Zork - both on the Vax (VMS) System were the first.
I also found, and played Empire a lot, and a little bit of Rogue.
Then I found “The New Castle”, as it was known, and spent many hours over many months, and years actually, playing it and mapping it out.
Many other students were playing as well, it was different from those other adventure games, and different from Infocom.
If you look at the PDF (Manual called the castle user guide) I did for the game there’s a hint just by looking at it - I had some fun and the watermark is an image of the “Castle” which the game is based on. I thought that was a nice addition.
So a very long time and lots of fun playing and mapping it out, and discovering little secrets and mysteries, and I solved it dozens of times so that I could be absolutely complete in my documentation.
By this time Barry had moved on to greener pastures and had lost his punch cards, so I had to be certain I was covering everything.
Having an eidetic memory doesn’t hurt
Those still were the best times of my life, being in University, day to day with students.
There’s something special about Castle in comparison to everything else, and even all the infocom games like Leather Goddesses of Phoebos, HitchHikers Guide, Bureaucracy and the like.
Douglas Adams was probably a bit of influence, having humor in scifi takes quite a bit of skill.
This also may explain my fixation on “trek7” which to me has always been the best Star Trek game ever made, even if it is text-only. A multi-player star trek game with some really nifty additions.
You won’t find Moonbase Alpha (Space 1999) in any other Trek game, that I can assure you.
It was a simpler time, but maybe a bit why books are sometimes better than movies, the images are created by your imagination, and no movie can stand up to that.
Interactive text adventure where you can explore, learn, it’s a fine art which I’m glad places like IFDB haven’t lost. But a game like Castle couldn’t be created with inform (z-engine) or any other adventure creator, it’s got too many specialty things in it.
Eg: the original Trek7 had a “time of day” and “day” lock on it, so that students couldn’t play during study hours without a secret code (which eventually got passed around) but that section of code was commented out (still there, just commented) before I first looked at it. Such a thing doesn’t make sense in today’s world.
In the Castle documentation, you’ll see I mention the maze is just a new creation I made up,
well as it turns out I found the section of my original printouts of the game which covered the maze,
so as of v21 the game has the original maze path included as an alternate solution.
So there are two ways out of the maze - the original path or the new path which I coded.
It was, and is, one of my favorite games, but as I mentioned, I’ve solved it too many times, and with an eidetic memory it means I have a hard time finding possible bugs. I can’t think of things other people would try.
Save/restore options were never part of the original game, I added them as a whim but have since disabled them in order to focus on bugs in actual game play.
Once the bugs are eradicated, and if there’s enough interest, I’ll re-enable the feature.
V21 is about as close to pristine original as is physically possible, and that’s the way I want it.
Yes, it means a great deal to me, and I’d like to get it done while I’m still capable.
After almost 40 years, it’s about time to retire. lol