This may be of general interest to some folks and 8-bit fans, and there will be about 5 or 6 parser text adventures in there, plus CYOAs. Today I added a page for the first text adventure I wrote, “Demon-Killer”. I was 9-12 at the time. The page also has an ActiveGS emulator on it, so if you download the plug-in (the window itself tells you what to do) you can play the game in the window.
Can you beat a game written by a 9-12 year old? In this case, very very probably.
I’m up to 3 games on my site now. Today I added a graphic adventure game from 1988 - Sam Snake: Jobseeker. Why is a Snake looking for work or surfing or doing most other things I drew him doing? I didn’t think about that when I was 12 or 13. That’s what cartoon animals do.
I wish I still had some of my old code… things I wrote when I was fairly young (8-10) has been lost because I never actually saved programs very long, and code I wrote when I was slightly older was lost in a hard drive crash. And time did not treat the backups on floppy disks well; almost all of them had irreparable errors. The worst was definitely that hard drive crash, though; 15 years of writing, programming, and saved games, gone.
Still, it’s nice wandering through someone else’s memories
Thanks ArmanX. That sucks about your hard drive. But regarding floppies, I found them to be a lot more resillient than I imagined. I’m not sure I’ve actually encountered one yet where the information itself had faded (magnetically) or been scratched off. The most common problem, and it’s supercommon, is the growth of mould or gunk on the surface. If you put such a disk in your 5.25 drive, it can come off on the heads and stop the drive working, at least until you clean the heads, if you’re lucky and that works.
At first (like 10 years ago) I thought such disks were write offs, and I threw some away unnecessarily. But then I read some stuff on comp.sys apple 2 about cleaning the disk itself. These were quite cautious instructions involving snipping the disk jacket open at the top, taking out the whole disc, cleaning it with isopropyl, putting it back into a clean jacket, recording the data off it, then maybe not even using the original disc again. I followed these instructions, and I was thrilled when they worked and I found all the disks with splotches growing on them could be resurrected.
What I gradually discovered was that the floppies aren’t anyway near as fragile as I’d always been led to believe they were. They don’t fail if you touch them with your finger. You can even just clean splotches off with spit (ew!) while rotating the disk within its jacket - making sure no liquid rotates out of view before evaporating, of course. This can resurrect the disk just as well. (Disclaimer for the kids: Resurrect your precious data using isopropyl and a microfibre cloth, NOT spit and your finger.)
So since I got into disk cleaning, I can only recall one disk I resurrected where the data appeared to be a bit scrambled. That said, even that disk would run again, for the most part, and all the others I cleaned have run perfectly.
The disks were cheap 3.5 inch disks; I did try to clean a few, but it didn’t help. 3.5in disks seemed to fail a lot sooner than 5.25… I have one disk that reports its size as just over 6 gigs; pretty impressive for a 1.44 meg disk!
Probably most of my old programs were lost when my parents got rid of their old computer, ages ago - a 386dx, circa 1991.
That’s cool to hear. Those little 3.5s were so sturdy that it’s surprising to hear that 5.25s were more hardy. I remember all the frightening warnings they told us “NEVAH TOUCH THY DISK THROUGH THE SLOT LEST THE WORLD SHALL END!” “CARRY THY DISK BY THE CORNERS SO THOU DON’TEST CRUSH THINE PRECIOUS DATA INSIDE BETWIXT THY THUMB AND FORE-FINGERS!”
I suspect that to this day you could freak me out by putting your smudgy fingers on the inner ring of a 5.25. Absolutely horrifying.
As for 3.5s, I got in trouble with the computer lab overseer in junior high for – I forget how this worked exactly, but it was something like, someone left the security program turned off on one of the Macs, and I took the opportunity to copy it to floppy, which meant I could override the security on any one of the lab computers. I used this power to A) change the display settings so they were prettier, then change them back, and B) save to a floppy disk that was copy-protected for some reason when I bought it from the school store. We are talking some major, major black hat haxx0rz here. Mostly, I thought an override disk was a cool thing to have and I felt smart for having it.
Well, I got caught, and yelled at, and accused of being the one who was stealing the balls out of the mice (because that is a similar crime, at all?) and the whole time this woman was lecturing me, she was sitting there with a 3.5 floppy in her hands flicking the little metal thing back and forth, and I was staring at her thinking “That is so bad, that is so bad for the disk, why do you get to be the computer teacher and not me.”
And then I started doing it myself, after she’d set her terrible example. It’s way fun!
(I am still a little ticked that she didn’t say “Hey, thanks for having this power and not doing anything actually malicious with it, you are clearly into computers, here is a computer class you could take instead of wood shop, because honey, I have seen your jam-jar gumball dispenser, and a carpenter you isn’t.” Mouse balls indeed.)
In my school’s lab, they had Windows XP installed on each computer with only Internet Explorer as a browser which had been password protected or something and the computers required administrator password to install new software. We were supposed to be learning MS Word, which tells you something about intellectual level of my teacher. So I manage to sneak in a live CD of Crunchbag Linux (CDs and such weren’t allowed, btw), fiddle a bit with BIOS and am happily browsing over Firefox (um, Iceweasel actually) when my teacher creeps up behind me and suddenly, I am being accused of being “the student who removed Tilde keys from all keyboards and threw them in dustbin”. Supposedly, there’s some international fued going on between Linux userbase and Tilde keys that I managed to miss, because Ms. Bhele was confident as shit that “the student” had been me. How much I miss my school days!
When I was eight or nine I noticed that the public library’s catalog computers were locked down: the only available application was Internet Explorer, and it was restricted to the library’s web site. I decided to test the bounds of the filter, and it blocked everything…until I tried [file://C](file://C):, which opened a Windows Explorer window showing the root of the C drive. I reported this vulnerability to the librarians, who immediately got angry at me for “vandalizing” the computers, etc, etc.
EDIT: We’re getting rather off-topic here, someone should start a new thread.