Game Play

Goal: Collect the three white “rods”, then go to the exit.


  • ///: Movement


This was game number one.

I was a pretty avid gamer when I was young. Dad bought home his IBM compatible laptop from work, loaded with games like Keen, Crystal Caves, and a bunch of others, and I spent most of my free time playing them. And for a while that was all I did on the computer until I was around 10.

At that time, Dad started teaching me about Basic and programming. I had this book called QBasic By Example which had a bunch of basics1 programs that I could enter and type. I can’t remember if they actually had any games though. There were another series of books that were a bit older which did, but most were text-based games that involved prompting the user for input for something. So it was a long while before it occurred to me that I could actually make the games “similar”2 to the ones I was playing.

A couple of years into my QBasic odyssey, my Dad suggested that I try a project, where you’re were on an island and you have to move around and do things. He didn’t elaborate any further than this, but he did suggest a few elements to add, like water and rocks. It seemed to me at the time that he was describing some form of survival game: you’ve washed up on some desert island and you had to survive until you were rescued. He did give one hint though: that these elements should be laid out on a grid.

So I started working on the grid system and pretty soon I realised that all those platformers I was playing; all the elements were laid out on a grid as well (well, except for the sprites but I didn’t appreciate that at the time). So while I started heading towards a game revolving around survival — adding messages such as “the rocks are too high” when you try to run into the grey squares (yes, they’re meant to be rocks) — I leaned further into the platformer elements of the games I love. Which, given my limited skills, mainly involved collecting keys and avoiding traps. Oh, and no enemies. They seemed difficult to code at the time.

The result was “Adventure”: a top-down, text-based… game (?) where you ramble through a series of island-style levels running around collecting keys and rods to exit the level. Not the most exciting game you’ll see out there. Still, I guess you could say it was a good start.

  1. Ok, let’s get this out of the way. You’re going to see me use “basic” and “Basic” a lot here. I hope it’s obvious that when I capitalise it, I’m referring to the language. And I’m not a good enough writer to think of synonyms for “basic” (simple, elementary, etc.) every time I use it. So just let it be known that the puns are not intentional. ↩︎

  2. The quotes are doing a lot of work here. ↩︎