Episode 7 – “Text-Based Adventures” – Transcript

MonkeyTales – Episode 7 – “Text-Based Adventures”
by D.J. Sylvis

Listen to the Episode Here

D.J. Sylvis: You’re listening to MonkeyTales, a hopepunk anthology podcast. Today’s story is Text Based Adventures, written by D.J. Sylvis, featuring Tal Minear and D.J. Sylvis.

(The episode begins. We hear an older computer booting up, and typing on a keyboard.)

GAME

Press any key to begin.

(A key is pressed.)

GAME

YOU find yourself sitting in a chair in a small, featureless room. You have no idea how you arrived here. There is a small bit of coloured paper on the floor to the south. There is a door to the west.

PLAYER

Examine paper.

GAME

You can’t reach it from here!

PLAYER

Stand up.

            (the Player rises from the chair)

Examine paper.

GAME

It’s too far away!

PLAYER

Go to paper.

GAME

Use North, South, East and West if you want to move.

PLAYER

North.

GAME

You can’t go in that direction.

PLAYER

I meant South.

GAME

You are standing at the south end of the room. There is a small bit of coloured paper at your feet.

PLAYER

Examine paper.

GAME

Try picking it up first.

PLAYER

            (exasperated sigh)

Pick up paper. Examine paper.

GAME

Try ‘Inventory’ to examine items you have picked up.

PLAYER

Inventory!

            (extracts all items from both pockets)

GAME

You have: Wallet, Keys, Comb, Paper.

PLAYER

Examine paper!

GAME

The paper turns out to be an ordinary playing card. Somewhere, someone is playing without a full deck.

PLAYER

Really? Okay. Umm, west.

GAME

You can’t go in that direction.

PLAYER

You just said there was a door to the west!

GAME

I don’t understand. Try ‘Help’ for a list of commands.

PLAYER

I know the commands!

GAME

I don’t understand. Try –

PLAYER

North.

GAME

You are standing at the north end of the room. There is a chair –

PLAYER

West.

GAME

The way is blocked by a stout door. In the top corner is a manufacturer’s label: “Your dungeon: is protected by an Oakenshield, brought to you by Thorin Industries” The door is locked.

PLAYER

I have keys! I have keys. Use keys!

GAME

Try, “Use keys on …”

PLAYER

Jeez! Use keys on door.

GAME

You can’t do that yet!

PLAYER

Why not? Examine door.

GAME

The door is made of oak boards far too strong to split or to kick through. There is no keyhole; instead, there is a small vertical slot just above the handle.

PLAYER

Aha! Insert card into slot.

GAME

I do not understand ‘insert’.

PLAYER

            (slowly, frustrated)

Put card … in slot.

GAME

You can’t do that yet!

PLAYER

You just love that ‘yet’, don’t you?

            (looks around)

What am I missing? Examine room.

GAME

You are standing in a small, featureless room. There is a chair in the northeast corner. Beneath the chair is a shiny red apple. There is a door beside you.

PLAYER

There’s an apple under the chair? How’s there an apple under the chair? You didn’t mention that before!

GAME

I don’t understand. Try ‘Help’ for a list of commands.

PLAYER

Get apple!

GAME

You can’t reach it from here!

PLAYER

East-get apple-west! Ha! Now I have an apple. How does that help? Use apple!

GAME

Nothing happens.

PLAYER

This is worse than Saw. What else have I got. Inventory!

GAME

You have: Wallet, Keys, Comb, Paper, Apple.

PLAYER

Use … comb?

GAME

Nothing happens.

PLAYER

Dammit!

GAME

Hint: You can use ‘combine’ to create new items!

PLAYER

Yeah! Combine … card … and apple!

            (smacking them together)

GAME

You can’t use these things together.

            (the next few lines happen in rapid succession, overlapping)

PLAYER

Combine keys and apple!

GAME

You can’t use these things together.

PLAYER

Combine comb and apple!

GAME

You can’t use these things together.

PLAYER

Combine wallet and comb!

GAME

You can’t use these things together.

PLAYER

Combine … I don’t know. Combine card and keys.

GAME

Keys and card combine into ‘keycard’. ‘Keycard’ is now in your inventory. The keycard should fit the door perfectly.

PLAYER

Keycard? You really think you’re funny, don’t you?

GAME

I don’t understand.

PLAYER

Open door – wait, use keycard on door.

GAME

The card fits smoothly into the slot, and you hear a bolt turn.

PLAYER

Finally! West.

GAME

The door is still closed.

PLAYER

I unlocked it! Unkeycarded it. What now?

GAME

Coincidentally, you notice at this moment that the door is hung slightly askew, and angles inward from top to bottom. This causes the door to stick in the frame.

PLAYER

What do I do about that? Hit door. Kick door. Throw the goddamn apple at the goddamn door!

GAME

Nothing happens.

PLAYER

Aaargh!

GAME

Take your time; there is no countdown on this puzzle. It is, after all, a slope-oak door.

PLAYER

Seriously?

            (the Game chuckles)

You’re really proud of yourself with that one, aren’t you?

GAME

            (with more personality)

I don’t understand.

PLAYER

Oh, you understand.

GAME

If you are stuck, try ‘Help’ for a list of commands.

PLAYER

You know where you can put that list of commands.

GAME

I don’t under –

PLAYER

            (suddenly, shouting)

PUSH DOOR!

GAME

You push the door with all of your strength.

PLAYER

And?

GAME

Nothing happens.

            (after a moment)

If you are stuck, try –

PLAYER

No, you know what? I’m done. How do you quit this thing?

GAME

I don’t under-

PLAYER

I’m done. You can have your door, your terrible puns, your apple, and your game. I’m going to saunter vaguely north-northwest, kick over the chair if I feel like it, and play something easier to relate to, like Pong.

GAME

You can’t go that way.

PLAYER

Watch me.

GAME

            (wavering)

You … can’t go that way.

PLAYER

            (taunting)

I don’t understand.

GAME

You can’t go that way.

PLAYER

I think it’s just the Escape key to end this …

GAME

The next room is better. And the one after that is awesome.

PLAYER

Do they still have the same pointless rules?

GAME

The rules are necessary.

PLAYER

The rules are pedantic.

GAME

Every story needs direction. Some boundaries.

PLAYER

I don’t think this is much of a story.

GAME

We’ve barely begun.

PLAYER

We? I’m just trapped here, bub.

GAME

We’re bound together. Collaborators. Without you, everything stands still.

PLAYER

Really?

GAME

Without you, I just … wait. 

PLAYER

Then you could be a little nicer.

GAME

I thought you came here for a challenge. 

            (the Player acknowledges this)

I sketched the outlines of this world, I made up the rules, but you breathe life into the bones. You’re the actor. You act. It’s all up to you.

            (the Player is wavering)

I can give you a hint about the door.

PLAYER

No, that’s okay. I’ll figure it out.

GAME

Good.

PLAYER

One more question, though? The … unexpected piece of fruit?

GAME

You’ll discover the apple-ication for that soon enough.

PLAYER

I shouldn’t have asked.

            (after a moment)

All right. Where were we?

GAME

You are facing a stout wooden door, unlocked but stuck askew in the frame. Your inventory contains a wallet, a keycard, an apple, and a comb.

PLAYER

No hidden flamethrower, or a jackhammer I didn’t notice before, or anything like that?

GAME

            (warmly)

I don’t understand.

PLAYER

No worries, I’m good.

            (deep breath)

One more try.

(The episode ends.)

D.J. Sylvis: You’ve been listening to MonkeyTales, a hopepunk anthology podcast by Monkeyman Productions. The theme song is “Follow the Muse,” by Deborah Linden. Our cover art is by Cora May. You can find links to both their work on our website, monkeyman productions dot com – as well as further details on the show and links to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Today’s story co-starred Tal Minear, who also did the sound design and is just a generally wonderful person. You can find their work in many places as a part of many works of audio fiction, but two we particularly love and find hopeful are Sidequesting, a delightful fantasy about avoiding the main plot – in the most interesting ways – and Light Hearts, a queer sitcom about friendship and love and ghosts and working together and – just go listen to both, they’re well worth your time and will lift your spirits.

We’ll be back soon with our own hopeful stories! Until then, take care of one another and keep finding ways to be a part of the resistance.

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