Today’s tip for lonely nerds: Forget the present, it is over by the time you think about it. Instead, relive the past and play a text-based adventure game. Like this:
Welcome to Zork. This version created 11-MAR-91 (PHP mod 25-OCT-2001)
There are 2 users playing Zork.
You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
> open mailbox
Opening the mailbox reveals:
> read leaflet
Welcome to Zork!
Dungeon is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortal man. Hardened adventurers have run screaming from the terrors contained within.
In Dungeon, the intrepid explorer delves into the forgotten secrets of a lost labyrinth deep in the bowels of the earth, searching for vast treasures long hidden from prying eyes, treasures guarded by fearsome monsters and diabolical traps!
No DECsystem should be without one!
I get very sentimental playing these games. The simulated command lines and monochromatic display of modern online versions effectively invoke that special 80’s hacker nostalgia. I fondly remember going to basic programming workshops in the summer and coding my mom a scrolling ASCII birthday cake for her next birthday (“just type R-U-N, mom!”). My parents were pretty cool that way, come to think of it – maybe the reason I never really got into the dark side like some of the other kids was that I was raised in a home where computing was openly encouraged from an early age.
Disclaimer: I did get busted once by my parents at about age 13 for calling phone sex and dial-a-joke numbers. I had failed at my attempts to make the calls for free and charges showed up on the monthly bill for 1-900-SEX-TALK or whatever. That ended my brief career as a phreak, and quite possibly affected the timing of the “birds and the bees” talk from my dad a short time later.