Trek Adventure

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Fanwork
Title: Trek Adventure
Creator: Bob Retelle
Date(s): 1982
Medium: computer game
Fandom: Star Trek
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Trek Adventure is an early Star Trek computer game.

From an ad: "This one takes place aboard a familiar starship. The crew has left for good reasons, but they forgot to take you, and now you are in deep trouble." [1]

From the Creator (2013)

Without going tooo much into the politics and "palace intrigues" of those early days, suffice it to say things were pretty "fast and loose" as far as the business model at Aardvark, including the way software authors were treated (and paid).

Credits often resulted from "Hey why don't you write an adventure based on xxxx" and it became "By Rodger Olsen and (whoever)". At least I got paid (sometimes).

As far as the games being released on different platforms, sometimes the original authors did the conversions, sometimes it was high school kids hired to come into Aardvark after school who did it. "Little things" like copyrights and who the game actually belonged to were among those "fast and loose" types of stufff. I remember logging into a BBS in Western Michigan (those were the good ol' 1200 baud days) looking for TRS-80 programs and leaving a message on the BBS message board. Next time I went back there I had a private message (the term "e-mail" hadn't been invented yet) from the BBS Sysop who owned a computer store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, all excited that the programmer of some of the games in his store had visited his BBS. He said my "Quest II" game was the best-selling game in his store for the Texas Instruments TI-99A computer. Which was interesting because I wasn't aware of any TI-99A version being sold, nor did I ever get paid for it. Turns out a high school kid had done the conversion, which in Aardvark speak meant it belonged to them, not me.

The problem of course in those days was that it was very expensive for any one programmer to own all the different systems, and you had to have the native system in order to test the software. In the earliest days Aardvark wanted the OSI games all written so they'd run on either the OSI C1P or the C2P from the same cassette tape. Problem with that was I only had the C1P and had to pretty much guess at how it would look on the C2P's different display. That process was so frustrating I stopped doing that pretty quickly. Not to mention there were very few C2Ps in the world and there was little demand for games for them. The TRS-80 version of "Nuclear Sub Adventure" was written on the TRS-80 computer at Aardvark (which of course meant it belonged to them), and I "financed" the purchase of a TRS-80 Color Computer through Aardvark so I could write those versions on my own machine. Eventually I bought both a Commodore-VIC20 and C-64, but by then I'd pretty much stopped submitting anything to Aardvark. When the Atari Home Computer series came out I became fascinated with their more advanced technology, but Rodger Olsen refused to enter that marketplace (for reasons he never really explained), so I spun off and started my own software company. [2]

Reactions and Reviews (1982)

The ad in CREATIVE COMPUTING READ: "TREK ADVENTURE (by Bob Retelle) This one takes place aboard a familiar star-ship. The crew has left for good reasons — but they forgot to take you, and now you are in deep trouble." Now you know what I got for my birthday. Those of you who are familiar with programming or who have a home computer will instantly recognize this as an ad for an "Adventure" game for a home computer. Adventure games have been very popular with the home computer set for several years, and this is the first one I've seen with a Star Trek premise. (Non-Adventure Star Trek games abound, but most are of the arcade type.) For the uninitiated, Adventure games are interactive fantasies played out on a computer. The program sets up an imaginative scenario with a goal and clever obstacles to the goal. It is somewhat like reading a book, only the play is the main character. Equipment required consists of a home computer with keyboard entry, a cassette recorder, and a TV set or other video display terminal. Displayed on the video is text describing the scene and a request for a command input. Typically, two-word commands such as 'go east' or 'take phaser' are entered via the computer keyboard. Once the command is entered, any change to the scene is described in text added at the bottom of the video screen. As you play, the text scrolls (goes up like the credits on your soap operas). Obviously only a finite set of commands, directions, and objects are recognized by the computer. Error messages such as 'Can't do that' will help you on your way. Usually an Adventure sets up a pretty challenging puzzle. It may take up to 50 hours to solve. Many of them are linear — i.e, without object A you can't get to location B, or without object C you can't use object D. This can be quite frustrating, especially if you play alone against the computer, since a solution that seems obvious to one player may not occur to another. In addition, some games are played against time,with each novo using up a time increment. Thus you may have to play the game many times before you can do it within the time limit. And mistakes may be fatal! When TREK ADVENTURE begins, you, the player, are on the wrecked bridge of the Enterprise. You are alone, and for good reason. The engines are dead, the ship is in a decaying orbit around a planet, and contact with the planetary atmosphere is in two hours. (Each turn uses up one minute.) It's up to you to save your own skin. Since the crew has abandoned the vessel, you have the run of the ship. You can go anywhere and use any crewperson's duty station — and I suggest you do. I have no intention of giving away the solution, but I can tell you that a player unfamiliar with the Enterprise and the tools and technology of the Star Trek series is in deep trouble. And when the seller estimates a 30 hour solution time, he ain't just whistling "Dixie." Mv husband and I wasted an entire evening crawling through the ship's ventilators trying to map them only to find out that, unlike the ship's corridors, they don't map. We had a lot of fun with this one. The game is programmed in BASIC, but the response time is fast enough so that it does not detract from the game. A listing of the BASIC program is provided with the tape cassette. This came in handy when we found the correct solution, but died anyway. The program provided did not match the listing. If you get the program for the TRS-80 color computer, check statement 55 against the listing before playing. Also, the primary recording did not load, but the backup (which is on the other side of the tape) did. HOW TO GET: The game TREK ADVENTURE is available on cassette for the 8K OSI computer or 16K Radio Shack TRS-80 or TRS-80 color computer for $14.95 plus $2 postage in USA and Canada. Michigan residents add 4% sales tax. A catalog is available for $1. Make checks payable to Aardvark Technical Services. [3]

References

  1. [1]
  2. Gaming After 40, posted January 13, 2013, accessed May 2, 2013
  3. from TREKisM #23