Welcome adventurers to another instalment in the Retrodon Alphabetical Gamebase64 Adventure Quest!
Adventure of a Lifetime is written by Richard Bayliss of The New Dimension (TND). Richard, as of 2003, had written over 177 games for the Commodore 64 according to his own calculations! He, and TND, probably needs no introduction to anybody reading this but he is still very active in the C64 scene, posts regularly on Lemon64 and his itch.io page is current and active.
His C64 Wiki page lists Richard as firstly a C64 musician, and secondly a coder, and mentions that most of his games were created with the famous SEUCK. Interestingly Adventure of a Lifetime does not feature on the list of his games on that wiki page.
Also on the wiki are links to an interview Richard gave in issue 2 of SCACOM, the downloadable C64 disk magazine. Worth looking at for some good background info on Richard Bayliss but again, nothing referencing this 2002 adventure game.
So, after that build up, let’s take a look at the game itself.
This is (just about) a graphic adventure, and we start off in Tripod Park with apple trees and playful children. It is not apparent what our exciting lifetime’s adventure involves at the start, but basically we need to get home. There is nothing to do on the first screen other than go east. One of my pet peeves in adventure games is to have items or people prominent in the description and no way to interact with them. Even if it’s a simple ‘The Children are too busy playing right now’. Instead we get an ‘impossible task at the moment’ message for almost every command.
You are forced to follow the path the author wants you to follow simply by having no other choice (or by getting killed – more on that later). Any other attempt at interaction is met with the same response.
Even when you find items highlighted in yellow text, don’t get too excited. You either don’t want or need the items you find and so simply leave them there. Apart from the floppy disk which appears to be infinite and so another one takes its place. It seems to me like this is very much a work in progress and the code doesn’t yet handle the moving or picking up of objects. It doesn’t even look like there is a working inventory, which I guess is ok if you can’t pick anything up. There are no puzzles, no logic, no paths to get lost down. There are, however, really annoying deaths if you choose the wrong direction on particular screens. Go east – arrrggghhh you fall down a hole. Go south – arrrggghhh a hedgehog runs you over. So this is nothing more than a trial and error game, map it out, die, start again, until eventually you reach home and find your trusty C64.
Even after you finish the game and get the screen below, you’re told you lose!
I know Richard has written better games, and like I said, I really think this one was more of an experiment in how to write an adventure game. It has very crude graphics, but does at least move along at a decent pace and is pleasing enough on the eye. It’s just the parser and logic are pretty much non existent compared to the quality of adventure games C64 owners are used to.
I’ll leave this one with a quote from UrbanGhost over on solutionsarchive.com from 2020.
probably the most pointless game i have ever played
If you do want to play this and want to see a map, there is one on solutionsarchive.com, but honestly if you have the map then there is little point in playing it at all.
Adventure of A Lifetime: A fairly pointless work in progress of a game. Probably not worth your time. – jon