Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Simons Get a Gaming Console!

Check it out, I'm a gamer!

OK, it's not exactly a gaming console per se. It's more a Raspberry Pi running a single old school Unix game. But it's fun none the less!

Shira bought me a Raspberry Pi for my last birthday and I've been struggling to find time to build a wicked cool project with it. It was therefore time for Plan B: do something, anything, to get the Pi out of the box and into use. So I plugged it into our TV downstairs and followed the onscreen setup. Eventually it finished and I was presented with a normal Linux boot up screen. Ahhh, those boot messages fill me with excitement and hope every time I see them. I then followed the instructions to enable WiFi. Within 15 minutes I had a fully functional Linux box that was on the network. Now what?

I've always had a respect for text adventures games (aka Interactive Fiction) and so I thought I'd start there. Installing the grand-daddy of all text adventures games on the Pi was easy. I just ran:

  sudo apt-get install bsdgames

Typing adventure at the command prompt gets you started:

  $ adventure

  Welcome to Adventure!!  Would you like instructions?

  Somewhere nearby is Colossal Cave, where others have found fortunes in
  treasure and gold, though it is rumored that some who enter are never
  seen again.  Magic is said to work in the cave. 

Notice I said had respect for these games, not that I was good at them or even had logged significant play time. That's because every attempt to play a text adventure game has been a dud. When I've fired up adventure in the past I've managed to just wander around the forest being utterly confused. I wanted to like text adventures games, but my experiences playing them were awful.

But not this time! This time I stuck with it! Oh, and I also cheated. See, there are walk-throughs of the game that will help get you started (heck, they'll help you 'win' if you can call it that). So yes, I got a push from various resources on the web. But I've been puzzling my way through the game and have managed to figure out a couple of obstacles all by myself. I dare say, it's actually fun! I'll probably have more to say on this topic as I make more progress in text adventure land.

As for the Pi, it really is an impressive little device. For now, I'm using it as a little more than a Linux box, something that my phone can easily accomplish. But as a learning tool, I see huge possibilities. Much of my daily computing savvy comes from basic Unix and programming skills; skills that an aspiring student could learn using nothing a Pi, their TV and a keyboard.

Update: Here's a handy list of hints that solve specific parts of the game. That's probably preferred to looking at the walk-through which is jam packed with spoilers.

1 comment:

  1. Kinda sorta related, I'm leaning Bash (shell, and scripting) for the first time. Have you? Wish I had done it years ago.