Friday, July 5, 2019

Anyone know how to play Moria (PLATO)?

The next game on the whaling log is Wizardry, and if my page viewcounts are any indication, there's a very good chance that it's what you're really here for. I'll be playing the Apple II version - every copy I can find is marked "version 2.1" and is copyrighted 1982, suggesting there may be an earlier version since the release date is known to be 1981.

But before I get to Wizardry, there's going to be a PLATO overdose. One of the games is Moria, a CRPG believed to have been an influence on Oubliette and Wizardry, for its 3D perspective and dungeon layout system, controls, party-based combat system, and possibly more.

Or at least it will be if I can find a way to play it. I've done a bit of preliminary playing in preparation for the real blogging effort, and can't even start Moria. In PLATO, you play a game by typing in the name of its "lesson" file, and I don't know if there's a way to list all lessons on the system. I had assumed that the lesson file would be named "moria." When I launch it, I am prompted to press DATA to begin the lesson, and as soon as I do, I am kicked back to PLATO's main menu.

Anyone know if I'm doing something wrong? Is Moria corrupted? Comments are open and do not require any registration.

11 comments:

  1. The CRPG Addict was able to play this on Cyber1, might want to check with him!

    Now if we could only find out the truth about the m199h program that was supposedly the first PLATO RPG... did it exist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About 2.5 years ago, I exchanged e-mails with Donald Gillies, who wrote Swords & Sorcery on PLATO. On 28 December 2016, he wrote to me: "Last weekend, I started dumping out boxes of junk . . . Among these pages, I found a FULL PRINTOUT (screen captures) of all the spells in m199h and several of the graphics characters used in m199h." He asked if I was interested if he scanned the materials, and I responded that OF COURSE I was, that it would be a huge scoop for my blog. I poked him a few times after that, but I guess he never got around to scanning the documents.

      Anyway, Don also commented on my blog as "SystemBuilder" and mentioned that he thinks m199h actually POST-dated The Dungeon (pedit5), which would make it less of a landmark game than most of the histories have it.

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    2. Whoah! I had asked you about this on your blog and you said you might have a scoop! I'm not sure why I find this so interesting, probably the mystery aspect. I may have posted as "anonymous" however, as it took me a while to actually start posting with my username.

      The most compelling article I read on this subject suggested that Pellet and the dnd writers were working on their program for some time to get it running, so pedit5 was written by Rutherford as a shorter project to more or less demonstrate the concept. It would make sense that m199h built on these two programs and came about later, but with a short life prior to being deleted. It also seems many of the articles get the dates all mangled on this subject as well, and that pedit5 was most certainly playable in late 1975 and not 1974 as some have reported. You covered this in a post in any case.

      Anyhows... still hoping Mr. Gillies will eventually send that over... would be a great scoop indeed if you could finally hammer down the early history of the original CRPGs! I'll have to go over and search for his posts.

      Delete
  2. I played Moria on my blog, and it's definitely available on cyber1. I vaguely recall having the same problem you're having. Try "moria1" or "moria0", I think it's one of those.

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    Replies
    1. Got it! It was "0moria." Thanks, I couldn't have figured it out without that push in the right direction.

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    2. Thanks so much for this info. I am still naive and new to "retro computer gaming" etc., but I am loving my journey so far. Time to figure out cyber1

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  3. If you run into the problem in the future, I think this is a list of most accessible files:

    http://www.controlfreaks.org/twiki/pub/Main/CybisRelease/full_master_file_list.txt

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  4. Only four days, and this is already the second-most viewed post of my 1981 phase (after Early Konami).

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  5. I see in the comments here that you already figured out that it's 0moria. If you (or anyone else) are ever in doubt again, you can launch "bigjump" which lists applications by category with numerical ids that can be used to launch them.

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  6. 0moria - all programs that CDC created or vetted started with a zero. 0empire, 0casino were others. I downloaded the PLATO emulator about a year ago mainly looking for that game, bored to death. Any other PLATO peeps out there, my groups were /houdec, /p, /gnosys, /s, /sweco

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