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July 6, 2017 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Before Zork, before Oregon Trail, there was a little-known Basic game called Imhotep. Build the Pyramid without killing too many slaves, and you too can win. Unless you're me at age 12, in which case you can't.
posted by Mchelly (28 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
The link seems a little broken - I had to return to the "list of TRS-80 programs" and run it from there to get the program to start up.
posted by JoeBlubaugh at 2:31 PM on July 6


Here is the autorun link.
posted by Fizz at 2:37 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I think this was once featured on AskMe. Lost far too much time for a game written in Basic.
posted by lmfsilva at 2:53 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


In the 9th grade I learned how to code using Basic. I think my final project was a screensaver. This takes me back. Good find.
posted by Fizz at 3:04 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I've completely forgotten how to code in Basic.

:(
posted by Fizz at 3:04 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


My population is negative 90K people. So that's working out well.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:06 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


My population is negative 90K people

Ah yes, the "Osiris" strategy.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:21 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


From what I have picked up over the years, the pyramids weren't built by slaves. They were built by farmers in the off season and it appears that they got paid.

It's stupid little nit picks like this that keep me from playing these games. (This is a complaint about me, not the games.)
posted by charlesminus at 3:50 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


I made bad assumptions and only have enough grain to plant -1 tels of land.

This is closer to my own BASIC efforts than expected, maybe.
posted by brennen at 3:52 PM on July 6


I got 9 tiers built before the Jubilee, and then famine struck and I ran out of food.
posted by SansPoint at 4:01 PM on July 6


Strange things happen when you repeatedly plant -1 tels of land.
posted by booooooze at 4:08 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Pretty difficult game when you go in totally clueless like I did.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 4:17 PM on July 6


From what I have picked up over the years, the pyramids weren't built by slaves. They were built by farmers in the off season and it appears that they got paid.

charlesminus, Thank you for that information. I'm going to try to find a proper academic source because that interests me and I want to know more. Also, google has other ideas about who built the pyramids.
posted by Fizz at 4:24 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Apparently, there was at least one time when pyramid-builders went on strike because of a critical shortage in eye make up.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:33 PM on July 6


I'm not sure they got paid, but it appears that it was a labor levy of the general population (possibly a religious obligation). Basically get all the young men who would otherwise be bored and making trouble during the flood season and have them build monuments while being fed very well (a lot of meat and fish and beer.) They apparently formed named work crews and those competed with each other to be the best.
posted by tavella at 4:36 PM on July 6


If I recall correctly, there were also slaves involved, but they were mostly skilled specialists. The bulk labor was done by these levies.
posted by tavella at 4:37 PM on July 6


Here's a National Geographic piece which covers some of it, including my very favorite work crew name: "Drunkards of Menkaure"
posted by tavella at 4:40 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Are you all telling me that Metallica aren't a reliable source about the builders of the pyramids?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:15 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


in a single year my population increased by 425,471

not to 425,471

by

two years ago there were only 300,000 people total what the fuck do i do guys i can't cut any more candles out of my budget
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 5:21 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Winner! (spoiler)

More reliable Egyptologists than Metallica have taught us that even great pharaohs like Zoser were themselves slaves to the power of death.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:32 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I don't get it. How can Pharoah already have storehouses of grain if we're still building the pyramids? /BenCarson
posted by Naberius at 6:02 PM on July 6


Ah, BASIC. First programming language I learned, back in 6th grade.
What were those big books of games and their codes? I typed in a few.
posted by doctornemo at 7:29 AM on July 7


What were those big books of games and their codes? I typed in a few.

I had a book where you were an adventurous secret agent with BASIC programming skills, and at the end of each chapter you were meant to type in the code for that chapter's program and then modify it to, for example, allow you to trigger the code to animate a door opening. Fun stuff.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:32 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Gotta take issue with "Before Zork", though. This was published in Softside magazine in 1980. Zork's development started in 1977, and was complete (aside from bug fixes) in 1979. It only ran on mainframes at the time, but it still predated Imhotep.
posted by hanov3r at 1:40 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Does it count as cheating if I used the code to figure out how to optimize? Also replaying a million times until the RNDs worked out in my favor.
posted by that girl at 1:52 PM on July 7


I stand corrected by a grue.
posted by Mchelly at 4:13 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


The trick is to subcontract the work out to ten others. You don't pay them; instead you convince them to also subcontract to people under the same terms. This way, somebody gets screwed over, but it's not you.

Uh, so I've heard.
posted by suetanvil at 6:15 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I DID IT. I BEAT THE GAME.

And the reward is (ROT13) GB OR OHEVRQ JVGU MBFRE? NER LBH SBE ERNY? Ng yrnfg vg'f nppheng.
posted by SansPoint at 10:58 PM on July 8


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