This online game goes back to 1986 from one of the first BBSes we had in our state: The Roundtable. It was more of a social networking space for geeks rather than the pirated & public domain software files that were springing up. It was run on an Apple ][ by Sir Richard in Coventry, RI on a 2400 baud modem. He was generous to keep it free all of the time.
Sir Richard provided me with an opportunity to debug some of its code: I was a perturbed Bard player; in the dungeon when I stumbled across a random scroll spell I already possessed, it mistakenly ADD-ed to the bit field instead of a logical OR making bad mathematical havoc to what was in my bag of tricks!
After my patch, I uncovered other nifty, hidden surprises (such as the Hero class) to the sysop's delight. My reward was taking a hard-copy listing of the Apple BASIC source code as my starting point to port it to other machines. The journey began with this MS-DOS version on an IBM XT with 512k RAM and two 5-1/4″ floppies. Two of my brothers also enjoyed playing on this BBS for a while, but to say my father was fanatical over it is a bit understated.
Over the next three decades, I was invested to listening to my father's game play improvement ideas, aka, crackpot, along with his paranoia rants on how much it was rigged against his approach to playing, aka, my entertainment. He wasn't wrong. I spent a lot of late night hours "lurking" over his tactics, because he had relentlessly went about looking for any logical bug to exploit with the added reward of smug satisfaction, aka, his entertainment. The game between us was on.
There are specific features and fixes that organically grew from each bout, such as the broken hands condition, his asks for the starting Novice status, an armor-spoiling bat, and favorite naval action: go fishing. He earned his nickname, long-shot Ronny, in the gambling casino with the reward of naming the dogs in Greyhound Racing.
I made subsequent ports of the BASIC code over to C: the Amiga ports (both a standalone BBS and as a door) in the 1990s were a lot fancier over the original teletype interface. Then the Linux port (1999 - 2014) which allowed for Internet play. That 25-year development and playing span had run its course when my father dropped his cable modem subscription. So I took it down and later archived all the code.
In February 2016, my father was diagnosed with a terminal (not a pun) condition. During that time, I was learning Google's Node.js. After he had passed later that year in September, I decided to accelerate my personal Node.js journey by porting something I knew so well, and at the same time, resurrect this app in memory of that golden time of "home computing", the dial-up era, and that simpler time for entertainment. My "Happy hunting!" mantra is congruent with my father's love of his partial native American heritage: he dwells forever in the happy hunting grounds and his parting words he wrote to me were, "Color me gone fishin'."
I believe my father would have enjoyed this re-imagined version running on a tablet's browser over wifi. I will have to learn how to write a bot next, and spawn two of them to roam about here as Imagination and Nobody.