Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quendor

OK, I'll admit that coming up with a "Q" involved actually checking the Wiki for potential candidates. And there is probably some Q that qualifies that I could use. But its a Saturday, you know, and they can't all be Oerths. So let me re-acquaint you with Quendor.

And actually Quendor does have a part in our gaming heritage. Here's the line you may remember:
 “You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.”
Yep, Quendor is the setting for Zork, originally called Dungeon before TSR put in a call in. One of the original text-parsing adventure games, it existed to that early generation of computer gameplayers as a puzzle to be solved, putting various things together until attains success, or one is eaten by a grue, which is the most likely outcome.

Zork, written between 1977 and 1979, presented in the ancient Fortran code, influenced by early D&D, built upon the bones of the earlier Advent (or Adventure or the Colossal Cave Adventure). Its parser was a little more advanced (to the point of complete sentences), but still it was a "guess the correct phrase" game of those early, pre-graphics days. For you pups spoiled on MMOs, this is but a novelty, but the computer gaming experience in those days was very much a protracted discussion with the HAL 9000 ("I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that.")

However, it had the advantage of being one of the few games in town, and once it made the jump from the college ARPAnet to personal machines, it entrenched itself well and established its publisher, Infocom, as a leader in that particular space. And if anything, it improved the typing and spelling skills of most of its users.

I don't remember the name Quendor from the original, and it may be a later addition to the lore as the game continued in popularity. Further, I don't know if there was any intentional connection between Quendor, and the Amulet of Yendor (Rodney spelled backwards) that appeared in the later Rogue game, which took the stride forward of actually showing the area your character was in through ASCII characters. And I fear that this lack of knowledge on my part will soon get me lost, my torch will go out, and I will be eaten by a grue.

More later,