Level 9 adverts

discuss classic text/graphic adventures for the bbc micro & electron
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fuzzel
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Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:42 pm

Because I'm such a huge fan of Level 9 I thought I'd try to find the oldest advert they did for computer magazines. The oldest one I can find so far is from the September 1982 Acorn User featuring Colossal Adventure and Adventure Quest. Is there an older one out there?
Level 9 Advert Acorn User Sep82.pdf
(415.81 KiB) Downloaded 52 times

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Pernod
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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by Pernod » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:23 pm

Interesting to see they offered both 16K and 32K versions at different prices, instead of distributing both versions on the same tape. Are the 16K versions archived?

Are you looking specifically for BBC adverts or for other machines too? I'm sure there are earlier adverts for the likes of Nascom.
- Nigel

BBC Model B: ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, BeebZIF, etc.

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leenew
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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by leenew » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:25 pm

I have seen this, and similar adverts.
Notice it says 16K.
I have never, ever seen a 16K version of these games.
Printing error? Or did they really make Model A versions?

Lee.

*EDIT* to say SNAP to Pernod.....

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:30 pm

Well spotted, I hadn't actually noticed mention of the 16k versions in the advert. I'd certainly love to play these versions if they can be found - I'll have to check later Micro User adverts to see if any of their other games were advertised as 16k. Perhaps we should add these to the missing games thread?
Are there 16k versions out there for other micros?

In answer to your question about whether I'm interested in BBC adverts only, I'm interested of course in the first BBC advert but also any earlier adverts for other micros too.

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leenew
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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by leenew » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:49 pm

Added Colossal adventure and Adventure quest 16K versions to the missing games thread.
Can you spot an advert for a 16K Dungeon adventure?

Lee.

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8bitAG
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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:56 am

There are similar BBC/Spectrum/ZX81/Nascom adverts in the multiformat magazines from around the same time...
https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/mag.php ... 54&page=92
(Your Computer, September 1982)

I hadn't expected to see an advert so early, given that many sites list their publication dates as 1983... this would bring things to at least August 1982, if not earlier (with the lead in dates), making most of the dates on the archive sites incorrect.

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:08 am

The requirement seems to be for 32K by the time Dungeon Adventure was released...
https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/mag.php ... 99&page=40
https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/mag.php ... 8&page=125

The latter advert is from a January 1983 issue... sort of hinting that Dungeon Adventure was pretty much complete at the end of 1982, too.

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:07 am

The Your Computer September '82 advert is identical to the Acorn User September '82 advert except that the Acorn User one is specifically for the BBC Micro whilst the Your Computer one is for Spectrum, ZX81 (16k enhanced I guess!), BBC and Nascom. Which begs the question, did they create the Your Computer ad and put in 16k to cover the ZX81, and when they copied and pasted to produce the BBC ad they forgot to take out the 16k bit OR did they use the ZX81 version as a basis for creating the BBC 16k version. This could go either way. Can anyone recommend a decent ZX81 emulator so I can try out its Colossal Adventure version?

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:09 am

Further note: By the time of the March 1983 advert the ZX81 has been dropped and so has the reference to the 16k version.

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:53 am

I've found possibly the first advert for Colossal Cave from Computing Today, August 1982. This one's for the Nascom only and is a 16k version.
PersonalComputingToday-v1-01_Aug1982_0096.jpg

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by Pernod » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:24 pm

fuzzel wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:07 am
Can anyone recommend a decent ZX81 emulator so I can try out its Colossal Adventure version?
MAME should run it, or EightyOne https://sourceforge.net/projects/eighty ... -emulator/

I don't think any of the Level 9 adventures for the ZX81 have been archived though.
- Nigel

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:00 pm

Mike Austin said, in Classic Adventurer: "We targeted computers down to about 8K. I have a feeling we may have done a 4K version [of Colossal Adventure] at some point. The text usually compressed to about 25% of its original size."

There are multiple early 16K/32K adverts for Level 9, so I don't think that advert was printed in error. The early TDK versions I've seen often are clearly labelled "32K Colossal Adventure" etc. so presumably there were also ones labelled "16K Colossal Adventure". I'll make some enquiries with some of the Level 9 fanatics.

(Link to Mocagh "32K" TDK tape... https://www.mocagh.org/loadpage.php?get ... saladv-alt )

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:28 pm

Just adding a note here to say that Mark Hardisty, of the Classic Adventurer, contacted Mike & Pete on our behalf to ask about the Level 9 games...

Mike answered...
Yes, there were quite a few 16K versions in the early days. The main difference was usually that the text was precised down to a very small size. I don't have a comprehensive list unfortunately.
So, yes, 16K versions existed, so I guess we can assume that they existed for the formats mentioned in those adverts; namely BBC, Nascom (which is confirmed anyway), Spectrum, and... ZX81!

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:54 am

Thanks 8bitAG, it looks like it's game on then regarding 16k versions of Colossal Adventure and Adventure Quest for the BBC. We'll have to set off the hounds to hunt for these lost versions. I'll see if I can find a 16k version for one of the other 8 bit machines to see how far reduced the text descriptions are. A rough idea could probably be done by looking at the 32k version of the BBC's Colossal Adventure, seeing how much of the program is code and then calculating the percentage decrease in compressed text would be required to fit it into 16k. Of course it probably isn't that simple, Level 9 could have compressed their text more with further iterations of their compression (there would be a trade-off in terms of decompression speed of course). It's also very handy to have a hotline to the Austins if required (we don't want to bother them too much of course!)

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8bitAG
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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:07 am

fuzzel wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:54 am
Thanks 8bitAG, it looks like it's game on then regarding 16k versions of Colossal Adventure and Adventure Quest for the BBC. We'll have to set off the hounds to hunt for these lost versions. I'll see if I can find a 16k version for one of the other 8 bit machines to see how far reduced the text descriptions are. A rough idea could probably be done by looking at the 32k version of the BBC's Colossal Adventure, seeing how much of the program is code and then calculating the percentage decrease in compressed text would be required to fit it into 16k. Of course it probably isn't that simple, Level 9 could have compressed their text more with further iterations of their compression (there would be a trade-off in terms of decompression speed of course). It's also very handy to have a hotline to the Austins if required (we don't want to bother them too much of course!)
Well, I'm guessing that the 16K versions were very "text-light" and might not even have had the whole new extra 70 location end-sequence of the 32K versions.

It should be relatively easy to see from the Nascom version, which is archived in both its 16K and 32K forms.

See...
http://www.nascomhomepage.com/

With a direct link, here...
http://www.nascomhomepage.com/games/cave.zip

I was hoping for a slightly clearer response from Mike, but we did send him the relevant adverts, which he looked at and said brought back memories.

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by fuzzel » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:13 pm

I'm probably clutching at straws here but does anyone have a very early copy of Colossal Adventure ? I'm thinking it may possibly have had the 16k and 32k versions on one tape..

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by leenew » Wed Mar 04, 2020 9:30 am

^^
Ooh I never thought of that...
As you say, it's probably a long shot as Level 9 were charging different prices for the 16K version and the 32K version :-k

Lee

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:13 pm

Just to add some more firm evidence for the 16K BBC version of Colossal Adventure [even though we have the Austin's confirmation that 16K versions existed], here's the review of both the 16K and 32K BBC versions from Acorn User magazine (issue 5, December 1982)...
https://archive.org/details/AcornUser00 ... 1/mode/1up

Also, as posted in another thread, here's the current earliest advert for Level 9... November 1981...
level-9-november-1981.PNG

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leenew
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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by leenew » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:03 pm

Good spot!
It's always re-assuring to know the thing you are searching for actually existed...

Lee

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Re: Level 9 adverts

Post by 8bitAG » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:44 pm

Here's the Laserbug (issue 9) review of the 32K and 16K versions of 'Adventure'...
level-9-laserbug-9-review.PNG
https://archive.org/details/laserbug-ma ... /mode/2up/

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