My Haunted Mansion text adventure from 2002.

Apologies for digressing away from digital photo essays for a moment, but I thought I’d share something else from my archives.

Growing up in the 1970s with a dad who liked gadgets, I was exposed to lots of early digital tech. I recall playing PONG at a Shakees pizza parlor with my father, and him bringing home the first home PONG game (and various others afterwards, including the very first Atari VCS game console). In the early 1980s, instead of getting me a new game machine, he suggested a home computer. In 1982, I became a computer nerd. (For more on this, you can visit my Sub-Etha Software site and see screen shots of some of the early “video games” I wrote.) It was through that early home computer that I first learned of text adventures which, at some point, became “interactive fiction.” (I think this is the same type of thing as comic books becoming graphic novels.)

But I digress. From my digression. I think.

After being laid off from my tech job after 9/11, I was looking for work and trying to learn “new” skills. (This layoff is why there is a one-year gap in my Disney photos around that time.)

I thought this “Java” thing sounded interesting*, so I got a book and started learning it. Since many roads lead to Disney with me, I decided to write something Disney related. I decided to write a text adventure based on the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom.

*Side Note: I actually had been working at the first company to license SUN’s Java for embedded use, and one of my coworkers was on the Embedded Java committee at the time. It sounded funner for me to treat it as something new and quaint, considering how old and almost obsolete it is these days.

The start of my Haunted Mansion text adventure written in Java back in 2002.

When coming up with an adventure game, one of the first things you create is a map showing all he locations. Since the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom versions both were a bit different (load area, Library room only at Magic Kingdom, different locations of Little Leota, etc.), I decided I would create a map that could represent either Mansion, depending on which route you took as you moved through the game.

Here’s the map, representing a two story building with an attic. (The graveyard was not yet mapped out.)

You would start in the foyer (lower left block of the first floor), then depending on your route, you would go through the rooms of Disneyland or Magic Kingdom.

For example, in either Mansion, you would go from the Foyer north into the portrait Gallery. Then, if you were following the Magic Kingdom version (that does not have the storm hallway and changing portraits), you would head east to the load hallway (where you’d get on the Doom Buggies), and then immediately be at some stairs.

For the Disneyland version, you’d start in the Foyer and go norther to the portrait Gallery, then continue north through the storm and changing portrait corridor, then past the “follow you” busts and then to where the stairs are (at the end of the loading area).

It may seem a bit confusing, but if you follow the route on the map correctly you will go through all the scenes in the proper order for each version of the ride. There were also some new rooms included, which were just part of the game. For example, a Magic Kingdom in the load hallway, there is a chicken exit door. I had a secret room behind that door in the game, and did that with some of the hallway of doors as well. I even allowed you to go down the “endless hallway” (where the candle is floating) and explore some of the doors there, AND get into the ballroom where the dining table, dancers and organ are. I even included a kitchen. I mean, there had to be one, right?

My game would also play sound loops for different sections of the games. Most folks were still using dial-up Internet back then, so sound files had to be small and short, but I had loops that would play in the storm hallway, the ballroom, load area, etc. that were taken from the actual ride.

It was a fun project. The full game was never completed, but I did have it so you could walk through all the rooms, see descriptions, pick up and drop various objects, etc. I was even working on a GUI for the game which would show a photo of the room, and let you click buttons on the screen to choose a direction (and maybe even simple commands like GET, DROP, etc.).

In the unlikely even that you have Java enabled in your web browser (which I don’t think anyone should, at this point, due to all the security issues over the year), an early prototype of this game is still on my website:

I suppose I should rewrite in in JavaScript sometime and finish it.

And then, there’s also the Disneyland Main Street adventure that I was working on with Refurb Mike…

Map for my Disneyland Main Street adventure game in 2002.

Until next time…