The Night of the Vampire Bunnies

by Jason Dyer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A Late Classic, February 12, 2020
by jgerrie (Cape Breton Island, Canada)

There is a text adventure program that I have been wanting to complete for a long time. It's by Jason Dyer. The name of the game, "The Night of the Vampire Bunnies" is what intrigued me.

The game has the feel of being a creation of someone deeply inspired by the the classic early 80's BASIC games but who was creating games in the later part of the 80s. Bunnies is interesting because it plays like an early Greg Hassett, Scott Adams or Tim Hartnell adventure.

That being said, the original GWBASIC version has a parser that aims to go beyond simple two-word input. It is clear that Jason did not simply use a standard existing two-word parser example program like "Tower of Mystery" from Compute's Guide to Text Adventures (1984). He created his own unique system for parsing command input. He had a complex system for removing extra article words like THE and ON and TO. He has ways of breaking the sentences input not just into VERB NOUN, but also supplemental words. I commend the author for the ambition to have his players type in more complete English sentences and then to try to parse the input into coherent instructions that could be handled by the program.

This ambition appears to have bitten in the buttocks when it came to the reception of his program in more recent years. The reviews found here and other places on the Net tend to complain about its departure from the standards of two word VERB-NOUN parsing. Some of the puzzles involved having to figure out 4 word command sequences. (Spoiler - click to show)For example JUMP OVER THE RIVER rather than JUMP RIVER. To be fair, in the context of 80s hobby BASIC programming, this convention was not sacrosanct.

It was with a little regret that I had to strip this unique parsing engine and put in its place an extremely simple 2-word parser in order to port the program to my little 8-bit home computer system.

I now have a working version of "The Night of the Vampire Bunnies." I spiffed up the title page a little by adding an ASCII text graphic of a Vampire Bunny. I also added some screen flickering using to evoke lightning flashes on the title screen, which I think is in keeping with the B-horror movie feel Jason was attempting to evoke (along with Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail).

I have played it through to the end. It is whimsical and atmospheric. I enjoyed playing it.