2004-01-27 09:31:23 UTC
I've recently become interested in a game called "The Code" by Kevin
Plunkett/Soft Concern (1984, runs on 48K Spectrum). I'm looking for
more information on it.
WOS cites two magazine references in ZX Computing:
ZX Computing 8.84 page 36 (News/Note)
ZX Computing 12.84 page 63 (Review)
If anyone has either of these issues, could they scan in those
sections and send copies to me and WOS, as I'm curious to know what
was said (There's already a posting on this under a different heading,
for people who have copies of ZX Computing but know nowt about The
Code and so would ignore this thread.). Plus, if anyone knows of an
article from it in another magazine, please could they scan/send as
above, and inform WOS of it?
Now for a quick introduction to get people interested before I ask any
more questions. The game offered a prize of £2500 to the first person
who could solve the cipher within the game. There were (IIRC) 13 parts
to this cipher, though whether they formed one cryptogram or were all
separate I don't know. The player had to explore a military base (it
was a text-adventure/maze game) looking for the fragments of the
cipher, the keys to different levels, passwords, useful items like
guns/security passes, while dodging enemy agents and bombs (As these
two occur arbitrarily and handling them is purely a matter of luck,
they do diminish one's enjoyment of the game). I'm working on a map,
which I intend to finish and send to WOS before I have a shot at the
code - I suspect that there may be a lot of you interested in an
unsolved cryptogram contest, although Soft Concern are probably no
longer around to offer a prize(They never made any other games.). I
can't find a solution to The Code, (or very much info at all) which is
what has whetted my appetite. I can't rule out the possibility that
the cipher is easy to crack and the safety of the £2500 relied on the
difficulty of the game keeping people away from the fragments for a
while - if you want a shot straight away open WOS's Z80 file in a text
editor, the fragments are in there, just as they appear onscreen when
found, not further encrypted to keep crackers at bay. (Almost a pity -
that might have added a nice second layer of codecracking).
Actually I can't TOTALLY swear to it that Soft Concern didn't try to
protect the cipher fragments, as the .TAP for the game is not avalable
on WOS. If anyone with the original tape, eg the person who
contributed the .TZX file is reading this, could they please get the
.TAP file made and send it to WOS?
The clues in the game included some Russian text on the front cover. I
can't decipher it, and if anyone can (WOS has the inlay pic for
download), could they do so, and tell me what it says?
Does anyone know if the contest actually was solved, and if so what
the solution was? Did you recieve any sort of official solution sheet?
Heck, did any of you lot actually crack it yourselves?
I'm still working on the game - I'll need to get my information sorted
into a text file dossier for anyone interested as I don't remember the
exact words of any of the clues - but there is one that sticks out. It
reads something like (I don't know where in the game it is, I found it
in the Z80 file:)
FOUND BY MONOLITH
ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH (a time, and a date in 1984 - possibly the game's
BY WHITESTONE POND
I've looked into it - in the grounds of Kenwood House on Hampstead
Heath there is a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth called
Monolith(Empyrean) (On which, for some reason, a vandal has scratched
the mystifying grafitti AAAMINOS), and Whitestone Pond is on Hampstead
Heath, but the pond and sculpture are as far apart as it's possible
for two things on Hampstead Heath to be.
PS Cheers for all the disassembly-related pre-Christmas help!