It's not every day that I receive a Fuzzy Memory dating back to the early days of personal computing. Come to think of it, it's no every day that I receive a Fuzzy Memory. But I digress — in this case, the computer in question isn't even personal, but a mainframe PDP 11/34. The year? 1979.
Like always, I'm not an oracle of infinite knowledge and resources, so I need you (my adept readers) to help solve the mystery. And besides, I like making you do most of the work.
Advent, Trek, and Tripe
Robert wrote me a few days ago regarding a neolithic computer game from the disco era:
I have a new "fuzzy memory" search for you. When I first became addicted to computers in 1979, it was on a PDP 11/34 at my local college. That computer had 3 text-based games that endeared me to computers forever: Advent, Trek, and Tripe.
I have been able to find both Advent (which was the precursor to Zork) and Trek (a text-based Star Trek battle/strategy game). I have never tracked down a version of Tripe.
Tripe was a text-based parody of Star Trek. Key things that I recall about the game include:
- Away teams would raid a planet and "kill the women and rape the bad guys!"
- The ultimate weapon was the "dusn't matter probe". When fire, it would start playing one of Kirk's famous speeches, at which point the enemy would commit suicide.
I don't know if this game ever left the confines of the PDP, but it sure would be cool to track down a version of it.
The Search Begins
In this case, we're fortunate: Robert knows the name of the game he's looking for, and he knows the platform. But one key absence still prevents him from reliving his fondest gaming memories: the game itself. If anyone out there knows more about Tripe or how to obtain a copy of it, please let us know in the comments section. Perhaps there's a more recent port of the game for another platform, or maybe someone has a disk image of the game that Robert could run on a PDP/11 emulator.
While you're at it, feel free to leave your own mainframe memories in the comments below. Good luck!
Have a memory of a computer, video game, computer software, or electronic toy you need help identifying? Send me an email describing your memories in detail. Hopefully, the collective genius of the VC&G readership can help solve your mystery.