May 4, 2006

A Play A Day #21

Fortress! The Voice-Command / Voice-Reply Role Playing Game

Cast:
Gamer (teen-age boy)
Voice of Fortress

Setting: Room with computer. It is 1985. Gamer enters, sits at computer.

Gamer: Ohh, man! Fortress! So psyched! (He makes motions to put a new game on the system, types a bit, other business, then game starts)

Voice of Fortress: Welcome to Fortress! Featuring the world's first Voice-Command / Voice-Reply user interface. A step above text! Voice is next! On to your quest! You are a young and brave Yeoman of the Guard. The King's Very Beautiful, Very Chaste Daughter, Princess Prettycherry, has been taken prisoner by Yukblad The Extremely Offensive; a massive and violent Wrathskull! Using stealth and mastery of many magical objects, you must make it through The Forest Of Much Danger to Yukblad's Fortress. Once at the Fortress, you must use your powers to find and enter The Door Of Even More Danger. Inside the Fortress, you must find and destroy a series of Level Masters, each more Nasty and Masterful than the one before! Having progresseed this far, you must find Yukblad's Hidden Tower Of Heaping Amounts Of Danger. Once inside, you will fight the entire Army of Wrathskull! If you survive, you will find yourself at Yukblad's Door Of Oozing Quantities Of Danger. Using your magic to break through The Door, you will then fight Yukblad himself. The odds are not in your favor! Beware! But, if you win, you will have Prettycherry's hand in marriage, and become The Prince Of Great Accomplishments, the Next-In-Line for The Throne! Are you ready, brave Yeoman?

G: (a little confused, pauses, then realizes he must answer with his voice, tentatively, quietly) Yes.

V: Command not recognized. Are you ready, brave Yeoman?

G: (thinking he was too quiet, speaks louder, directly at computer) Yes.

V: Command not recognized. Are you ready, brave Yeoman?

G: (Thinking he was still too quiet, says, very loudly, directly at computer) Yes!

V: Command not recognized. Are you ready, brave Yeoman?

G: What the... YES!! YES!!

V: Command not recognized. Are you ready, brave Yeoman?

G: (quickly picks up instruction book, pages through, reads something, puts it down) I am ready.

V: Let's begin The Quest! Are you ready to begin The Quest, brave Yeoman?

G: Yes... (realizing 'yes' probably isn't the answer) no, I... (too late)

V: Command not recognized. Are you ready to begin The Quest, brave Yeoman?

G: (sotto voce, looking in instructions again) Already said I was ready.... now, what am I supposed to say. I am ready?

V: Command not recognized. Are you ready to begin The Quest, brave Yeoman?

G: (finding out the response from the instructions, putting them aside) Begin quest.

V: Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

G: What?! Yes... I just...

V: Command not recognized. Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

G: Why the hell does it...

V: Command not recognized. Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

G: Shut up. (pulls out instruction book)

V: Command not recognized. Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

G: I know! (still trying to find answer in instruction book)

V: Command not recognized. Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

G: (grumbles, leafing around in book)

V: Command not recognized. Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

(G is having a hard time finding the proper answer; long pause as he searches)

V: Are you there, brave Yeoman?

G: (finally finds answer, but it is now to the previous question) Begin quest now!

V: Command not recognized. Are you there, brave Yeoman?

G: No! It says in the instruc...

V: Command not recognized. Are you there, brave Yeoman?

G: ...tions that I'm supposed to...

V: Command not recognized. Are you there, brave Yeoman?

G: ...say "Begin quest now"...

V: Command not recognized. Are you there, brave Yeoman?

G: (reluctantly consults instructions again) Fuck...

V: Command not recognized. Are you there, brave Yeoman?

G: (finds answer) Yes.

V: Let's go! Shall we start now, brave Yeoman? We await your command!

G: (with anger) Begin quest now!

V: Excellent. Your quest is about to begin! Whenever you are ready, we will start the quest. Please tell me when you are ready!

G: (loudly) Goddammit!

V: Command not recognized. Excellent. Your quest is about to begin! Whenever you are ready, we will start the quest. Please tell me when you are ready!

G: (consults book, he is getting very familiar with the book and finds answer almost immediately, in a very annoyed voice) I am truly ready!

V: Your quest begins! (long pause, G waits for more from V. Nothing. Long pause continues, G back in book)

G: (finding the response) You've got to be fucking kidding me?!

V: Command not recognized. Your quest begins!

G: What a joke!

V: Command not recognized. Your quest begins!

G: (with deadly sarcasm, says the proper response) Thank you for beginning the quest!

V: Command not sincere. Your quest begins!

G: What!?

V: Command not recognized. Your quest begins!

G: Of course, it wasn't fucking....

V: Command not recognized. Your quest begins!

G: ...sincere! What the...

V: Command not recognized. Your quest begins!

G: ...fuck do you expect!!??

V: Command not recognized. Your quest begins!

G: Shit!

V: You must remove your pants first.

G: What the hell? How...

V: Command not recognized. You must remove your pants first.

G: Holy shit!? This is incred...

V: Church toilet is not available. You must remove your pants first.

G: (consulting book) Remove pants.

V: You have removed your pants successfully.

G: Now what?

V: Command not recognized. You have removed your pants successfully. Why have you removed your pants?

G: Dammit!

V: Command not recognized. You have removed your pants successfully. Why have you removed your pants?

G: Shit!

V: You have shat on your pants. Next time, please remove them and hang them on a branch or something.

G: Shit!

V: You have shat on your pants again. Many villagers are pointing and laughing.

G: What the... ah... shit...

V: You have shat on your pants yet again. You are a medical marvel. Everyone is rolling on the ground and laughing at this strange behavior.

G: Kill villagers!

V: You must start the quest first. Do you want to start the quest now?

G: (consulting book) Yes!

V: Your quest begins! (long pause again, G realizes that this is where he really started screwing up last time)

G: Shit, not this one again...

V: You have shat on your pants for a fourth time. You are wasting precious time with your crude antics. Do you want to start the quest now?

G: Yes.

V: Your quest begins! (pause again)

G: (controlling himself masterfully, with great sincerity) Thank you for beginning the quest.

V: You're welcome. (long pause; V makes a subtle coughing noise)

G: What?

V: Now would be a good time to put your pants on, brave Yeoman.

G: Put pants on.

V: Command not recognized. Now would be a good time to put your pants on, brave Yeoman.

G: (make a guess that, surprisingly, works) Put on pants.

V: You have successfully put your pants on! If putting on pants that have four heaping mounds of shit in them can be called a success. What next, brave Yeoman?

G: (consulting book) Survey area.

V: I will survey the area for you, brave Yeoman, but in exchange, you will get some new pants and wash up at Ye Washerwoman's Tub. Deal?

G: Deal.

V: You are in the center of a small village on the edge of the Forest of Much Danger. There are five villagers' huts, a local Pub, and a small Inn. Several villagers are near you: a Butcher, a Seamstress, a Guardsman, an Innskeep, and the Village Idiot. What next, brave Yeoman?

G: (in book) Speak Guardsman.

V: The Guardsman will not speak to you.

G: Speak Seamstress.

V: The Seamstress will not speak to you.

G: Speak Innskeep.

V: The Innskeep will not speak to you.

G: Speak Butcher.

V: The Butcher will not speak to you.

G: Speak Village Idiot.

V: The Village Idiot will not speak to you.

G: Speak group.

V: Brave Yeoman, you just don't get it, do you. Even to these unbathed serfs, you smell frickin' horrible! You have not changed your pants as you promised.

G: Shit.

V: You must remove your pants first.

G: Remove pants.

V: You have removed your pants successfully.

G: Shit.

V: You have shat on your pants again. You are a sick puppy, brave Yeoman.

G: (in book) Find Washerwoman.

V: You have found the washerwoman.

G: Wash pants.

V: The Washerwoman has successfully washed your pants. It was disgusting. You owe her fifteen silver coins.

G: Pay fifteen silver coins.

V: You only have five.

G: Pay five silver coins.

V: The washerwoman takes your five coins, then calls the Guardsman over. You are immediately roughed up for refusing to pay. When you protest that you don't have the rest, the Guardsman drags you to his horse. He will now take you to the next village over, where they have a Debtors' Prison. What next, poor, pantless, shit-besmeared, brave Yeoman?

G: (desperately searching in book) Shit...

V: You have successfully shat on the Guardsman and the Guardsman's horse. It was a cheap trick, but you seem to be very good at it. The Guardsman lets you go, and starts vomiting on himself from the smell alone. What next, disgusting, brave Yeoman?

G: Run.

V: Command not recognized. What next, brave Yeoman?

G: Walk.

V: You begin to walk. In no particular direction. A little guidance here would help me out, brave Yeoman.

G: Walk south.

V: You walk South. Your way is blocked by The Forest Of Much Danger.

G: Walk north.

V: You walk North. Your way is blocked by The Forest Of Much Danger.

G: Walk west.

V: You walk West. Your way is blocked by The Forest Of Much Danger. (V makes subtle cough again.)

G: What?

V: There's only path out of the Village. It is to the East.

G: You never told me that?

V: Sure I did.

G: No you didn't!

V: (letting out a patronizing sigh) What next, stupid, brave Yeoman?

G: Walk east.

V: You walk East. Surprise, there is a path leading into The Forest Of Much Danger.

G: Walk path.

V: The Guardsman has stopped vomitting and formed a small posse of villagers to capture you. They are gaining on you easily; let's hope they're wearing gloves when they catch your shit-covered body.

G: Walk fast.

V: You walk fast. They continue to gain on you.

G: Walk faster.

V: You fucking idiot! Run or something!

G: Run.

V: There you go. You run, up ahead you see a large tree with a hole in the trunk. It could hide you from your pursuers.

G: Hide tree.

V: Where would you hide it. It's a large tree, remember?

G: Hide in tree.

V: You are knocked unconscious as soon as you enter the tree. Next time, you might want to stop running first, genius, before diving headlong into a cramped, dark space. Fortunately, your limp body is well hid inside the tree. Unfortunately, the tree also is home to a large wasp colony. They begin to swarm and attack. You had better run away, brave Yeoman.

G: Run.

V: Where?

G: Run path.

V: You are not on the path; you are in a large tree.

G: Run tree!

V: What? "Run tree"? What the hell does that mean? The tree is not going anywhere, ace.

G: Run from tree!

V: Once again, the tree is not going anywhere, and it certainly isn't chasing you.

G: Run to path!

V: You are unconscious.

G: Shit! Shit! Shit!

V: Back to your old tricks again, huh. O.K. Fine. You have successfully shat three times; you know, maybe if there were some angry wasps crawling up your anus, that would have polished them off. That wasn't the case, however.

G: Fuck!

V: Good luck with that too, brave Yeoman. You're unconscious?! Got it?! You ain't fuckin' anything, champ.

G: What then? What do I do?

V: Pretty much just stay slumped inside the tree, until you wake up which isn't likely given the sheer number of wasp stings you're receiving.

G: Help!

V: Ohhhh... noooowww who wants a little help, oh-so-very, very brave Yeoman?

G: Help!

V: Shit... alright... O.K. time lapse... buzz, buzz, sting, sting, and then you woke up, 5 hours later, the wasps had calmed down. You stumble out into absolute darkness. I wish it wasn't so dark, then you could see how horrible you look. Naked from the waist down, covered in even more of your own caked-on feces and dead wasps, filthy from the rotting insides of the tree, your entire body one swollen, oozing mass of wasp bites. You haven't eaten all day, you are delirious, half-dead, in extreme pain, and you have no idea where you are or why you're even playing this game. What next, brave Yeoman?

G: Go path.

V: You can't find it. It's dark. You're nearly dead.

G: Find path.

V: No dice.

G: Find food.

V: Yeah, like you brought fucking trail mix or something; give me a break!

G: Find water.

V: Nope. No water. Oh wait, there's some water.

G: Drink water.

V: Psych! It was you pissing on yourself, but, hey, if you want to drink it, fine. You have successfully drunk your own urine. Way to go; you must be so proud.

G: Find medicine.

V: Oh, yes, the local pharmacy is right there. In a very dangeerous forest. With no retail market anywhere nearby. But, damn, check it out! There it is. You stumble through the well-lit doors. Lucky for you, they are having a huge sale on wasp anti-venom and wet wipes.

G: Buy anti-venom.

V: You want some wet wipes with that?

G: Yes.

V: Ask nicely.

G: Please, may I have some wet wipes with the anti-venom.

V: Nope. You don't have any money; that's why you're in this mess in the first place.

G: Shit!

V: Whoopsie! Clean up on aisle 6!

G: Steal anti-venom.

V: How far you've fallen, "brave" Yeoman. You try to steal it, but your venom-engorged hands don't really work any more.

G: Run store.

V: Very well. After a brief talk with you that includes only the phrases, "Did you just shit in my store, asshole?!" and "Where are your fucking pants, you fucking pervert?!", the store manager elects not to hire you to run the pharmacy. Not the best way to go about switching careers, dumbshit.

G: Escape store.

V: Somehow, you manage to stumble through the doorways, and the pharmacy disappears immediately. It never existed. I was just fuckin' with ya. Either that or you hallucinated the whole thing; either way you should have known it wasn't real. I mean, c'mon, you're in the Middle Ages. Well-lit pharmacies weren't very common back then, and, shit, wet wipes weren't even invented 'til 1975 or something like that.

G: Where am I?

V: On the ground, outside the tree.

G: Search ground.

V: You find dirt, leaves; you know, shit you'd find on the ground in a forest.

G: Eat dirt.

V: You want some leaves too?

G: Eat leaves.

V: This isn't helping.

G: Find food.

V: O.K. Listen, my brave Yeoman. We've had a great time together on this little "adventure" what with you shitting yourself every ten seconds and the wasp stings and the pharmacy hallucination; but I gotta level with you: you're going nowhere.

G: Find path!

V: Hey, Big Prince Shits-On-Self! Are you not listening? You're dead. A carcass.

G: Find water!

V: Surprise, you find water!

G: Drink water!

V: Yes, drink up! The Necter of Life! It's so refreshing! At least, it would be if it weren't also the acidic drool of slavering eight-foot tall Demon Wolves!

G: Kill Demon Wolves!

V: With what?! Your bare hands and your equally-bare ass? With your stench alone? Nothing doing. They make quick work of you; leaving behind your shit-covered lower torso, because, I mean, even Demon Wolves have some standards.

G: Fuck you!

V: Command not recognized; you're dead, and I'm not a necrophiliac.

G: Fuck you!

V: Command not romantic enough to succeed.

G: Stupid fucking game!

V: Listen, pal, game's done, you lost! Not me. Can we just end this now? It was fun, in a sad way. Alright? Besides, I've got a date tonight with a TRS-80, and you know, there's a reason they call her "Trash". We'll see if we get to 80 tonight, you know what I mean?

G: Fuck you!!

V: Same to you, shit-legs. Game over, man.

(G restarts game.)

V: Welcome to Fortress! Featuring the world's first Voice-Command / Voice-Reply user interface. A step above text! Voice is next! On to your quest! You are a young and brave Yeoman of the Guard. The King's Very Beautiful, Very Chaste Daughter, Princess Prettycherry, has been taken prisoner by Yukblad The Extremely Offensive; a massive and violent Wrathskull! Using stealth and mastery of many magical objects, you must make it through The Forest Of Much Danger to Yukblad's Fortress. Once at the Fortress, you must use your powers to find and enter The Door Of Even More Danger. Inside the Fortress, you must find and destroy a series of Level Masters, each more Nasty and Masterful than the one before! Having progresseed this far, you must find Yukblad's Hidden Tower Of Heaping Amounts Of Danger. Once inside, you will fight the entire Army of Wrathskull! If you survive, you will find yourself at Yukblad's Door Of Oozing Quantities Of Danger. Using your magic to break through The Door, you will then fight Yukblad himself. The odds are not in your favor! Beware! But, if you win, you will have Prettycherry's hand in marriage, and become The Prince Of Great Accomplishments, the Next-In-Line for The Throne! Are you ready, brave Yeoman?

G: I am ready.

V: You?! You fucking bastard! Here you go: Demon Wolves attack and eat you. You're dead. Oh, yeah, almost forgot. You shat on yourself. Again. What next, Half-Digested Brave Yeoman Evershit?!

(lights out, G is slamming his head on the desk)

V: I thought so.

(end)

2 comments:

emcee emdee said...

/b/

Okay, this is just inspired. It reminds me of too many hours wasted playing Zork, which, had there been VoiceRecognition/Activation back in them thar dark ages, would've sounded remarkably like what you've got here.

Brilliant. Especially all the shitting.

/s/

Bleeet said...

I'm very, very fond of this play. It's going to be read for the public on June 13 at the downtown Arts Guild at 7 pm. I'm looking forward to it.

I actually really hated most role playing computer games, especially the stupid text-only ones of the early- to late-80s. I could never figure out all the lingo... specific words used in only specific ways, otherwise the computer wouldn't recognize the command.

I always dreamed of a truly brilliant and creative and, ultimately, sentient "computer" that would treat players like this. I felt that, if you were going to play such games, you should have to pay the price.

I really didn't like those games. Although I will confess to trying to play them on many ocassions. Never for very long. Wolves would get me.

Never heard of "Zork", /s/, but "BeachHead" for the Commodore 64? Now that was an awesome game!