Planetfill (1989): It’s not the having, it’s the getting…
April 12, 2007
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1989 was a dark year for interactive fiction: that’s when Activision put Infocom out of its misery. It’s also the year that Antic released Kevin Sherratt’s Escape from Dispozon as a unique two part “Super Disk Bonus” for the Atari 8-bit computer.
Planetfill, as the author originally called it, was a thinly veiled rip off of Infocom’s well known sci-fi comedy, Planetfall. The Antic program featured a cynical and argumentative robot pal that insulted you as you entered your moves. If the parser failed to understand your commands, the robot would insult you all the more….
Back in the day I completely failed to get past even the first puzzle, and I never really picked it up again. For a long time I couldn’t find a copy, though. The links to the disks on the Classic Computer Magazine Archive were dead and the Page 6 library only included side A of the program. Hacking around, I realized that I could move the necessary files from the “zipped” section of the Antic archive to an ATR disk file by using DOS 2.0 to copy from a virtual hard drive– but the files were invisible to the Atari virtual hard disk unless I renamed them from windows. It only took about 50 Windows commands and 50 Dos 2.0S commands to make the new story disk for the game. Yee-haw. (Figuring this out was probably more fun than trying to solve a text adventure….)
Anyway, with this file that I made and the Page 6 file, you can boot up Planetfill yourself on an 8-bit Atari emulator. Just point your virtual disk drive at my file when the Page 6 program requests the story disk. (And don’t let the .txt extender throw you– it’s really an ATR file with the extender changed to get past this site’s security restrictions.) Enjoy!
(Just trying to do my part to preserve computing history….)
I’m still stuck on the first puzzle, by the way….