I need to hire someone to write a TA

Im john h doolittle 83 and id like to get one of my my old basic tas written in if7. If you google john h doolittle most recent article, you will go to Sacramento state and see an article I wrote for the journal teaching of psychology. About riddles and tas as tools to raise intelligence. My course hasn’t been taught since I Retired and id like to revive it in some fashion. Thank you


How big is the adventure, and how much are you offering for it?

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Thanks. About the size of Scott Adam’s pirate: 20 rooms 16k to run on apple 2. Low tech. I wrote a scenario with DrDooriddles (Amazon), unusual uses of common objects, and modifications of common objects to foster flexible thinking. The programmer could use that.
This job is difficult for me but might be easy to a veteran of if.
Haven’t thought about money.

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What format do you have it in right now? (Notes, source code in some other language, etc?)

Something that size seems eminently doable, but I’d want to see the current materials before talking about payment, and talk about payment before committing.


From a community & text adventure history point of view, it would be great if you’d consider submitting your games like Cursed Castle and Hangtown to the IF archive for preservation. There are people in the community who enjoy translating old BASIC text adventures to other formats such as Inform just for fun if you’re not in a rush… but I guess a paid arrangement may potentially result in a speedier process.

This references some of your games?


Aha, here they are… :slight_smile:


I found the article, should anyone fancy a read:



Hi strident,
Thank you so much! Just the mention of CURSED CASTLE takes me back over 40 years. Lord I’m old. I have the turbo basic source code for all 30 games I tortured college students with, including the TAs you mentioned and would be happy to share them.
I used Scott Adam’s Pirate back in the day, but he went out of business before my college turned to IBMs. So I wrote my own in 64k for dos machines. I’m making my course materials available on the web (the course is no longer offered) and was planning on advising students to play Scott’s pirate online. Because his game can be very difficult, for mine, I monitored turn number and provided judicious hints. So, bottom line, I’d be thrilled to wait to get one of mine available to play.
Thank you


You’ll notice that the Internet Archive link above actually allows you to play those games through a browser-based emulator so I guess if you have the original source code for all your other games then at the very least it would be possible to recreate them to be explored and enjoyed in the same manner, and linked to alongside your original course materials. Because of the nature of the games… being very much in the Scott Adam’s style… there are probably other systems that may be appropriate for any adaptation, not just Inform, for example Adventuron; although an Inform version may ultimately have more longevity.


This is right down my alley. I downloaded the archived Apple IIe disks that @8bitAG found on the Internet Archive. This is the trilogy of three games: Hangtown, Farmtown and Pirate Island. I wasn’t able to get the disk to run in an emulator, but I was probably just doing something wrong. However, I was able to extract the files for each game: instructions, data file and binary file. I’m guessing the latter is compiled BASIC. Do you still have the BASIC source code? Otherwise I would have to play the game to reverse engineer it. In view of some of the background processing mentioned in the article, this might be a bit hard to do without missing stuff, such as the timing of hints.

On the surface, it looks like a port to a modern language would be fairly easy. If it was me, I would use Inform 6 with the PunyInform library so that you could compile it to the original Apple II platform, as well as other 8- and 16-bit retro platforms, modern interpreters for Linux, Mac & Windows and even build a web-playable version. Alternatively, you could use Adventuron, but that’s only playable on the web.

If no one else is interested, I could give it a go and probably do it for free. Timing is the only issue.

Incidentally, I couldn’t find Cursed Castle or any of the other games. Do you still have the source code for these?

EDIT: Got it working. It required enhanced Apple IIe.


This is terrific. I do have the source codes. Although I was somewhat tech savvy in the 70s, that ship has sunk. I spent much of this last year trying to put a modified pirate into inform7 or python. Dismal failure. I could attach codes to emails or paste ina document like this. For more, my kids and grandkids could help. Thank you.


I’m playing Hangtown now, but will need to head off to bed shortly.

The easiest thing to do would probably be to put the BASIC source code in a text file (assuming you can do that) and include it as an attachment in a personal message. As you’re new to the forum, you may not be able to include an attachment. If that’s the case, I can send you my email address in a private message and you can send it by email.




Do send it my way too, if you have a moment. Even if someone else has taken up your offer I’d be interested in looking at it.


I finished playing Hangtown. It’s really old school, classic treasure hunt, two-word parser, limited inventory, a few bugs or unexpected responses, some difficult puzzles, but fun to play overall. I think every object has a use and some had to be used twice.

The map is fairly straight forward apart from a couple of loopbacks, one of which looks like it might be a bug, but not sure.

I think I could implement this fairly quickly without the BASIC source code, but I’d prefer to make it more ‘modern’ with multi-word input, richer room descriptions, better object descriptions (e.g. distinguishing between empty bucket, bucket of water, bucket of milk and rope tied to bucket, rather than needing a crystal ball), better responses to EXAMINE and all the standard keyboard shortcuts.

Oh, damn. I just read in the instructions that Hangtown is the most difficult of the trilogy. I should have started with Pirate Island or Farmtown. Too late now.


Wow! Lots to process. Many alternatives come to mind. All of them good. Hangtown was the first one i wrote. I knew I wanted to include more unusual uses of objects, like frightening dog with dead snake. I’m old and brain dead and don’t remember if I included modifying objects to use in new ways. Also, I could add a sign with a DrDooriddle as clue. For example, if I wanted them to take the screen off the screen door and sift sand for a key, the sign would say: I keep out all the flies, but let in all the air; Movies play on me, while you just sit and stare. In later games I added a defective android, Andrea who says that she’s thinking of a five letter word that has something to do with plants. More on that later. Also code breaking: pirate has a simple number letter substitution code to tell the name of the shy parrot. What did you mean by too late now?
Bottom line: I would be delighted for your help in making available a TA that fosters flexible thinking.


I meant that I hadn’t read the instructions and played Hangtown first, whereas the instructions suggested that it was the harder game, so I should have tried the others first. No matter. I’ll play them all anyway.

I’ll write up maps and solutions for the original Apple II games and submit them to CASA in due course.

I’m working on a game for ParserComp, but I might send you a personal message in a day or so and include @Draconis so that we can toss around any ideas. If you want to expand the game in any way, such as extra riddles, that’s fine by me.


STOP THE PRESSES! I was just looking at your TAS and they look way better for my purposes than pirate or Hangtown. IGOR’S QUEST looks great, for example.


Igor’s Quest is a fun game that relies on word play. It is strictly two-word parser, because that was a requirement of the game jam.


Knowing the kinds of things i’m looking for, which of your games should i try first?