Re: [stella] Swordquest EW hacking

Subject: Re: [stella] Swordquest EW hacking
From: Joseph Thompson <jrt1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 22:00:26 -0500
Paul Slocum wrote:

I've always had the theory that the guy that solved EW hacked the ROM to find the solution. So yesterday I dug around in the ROM a little and it looks like they anticipated this and put in a fake clue and messed with the order. A copy of my post to Atariage about this is below...

Has it actually been proven that someone really solved it without prior knowledge? i. e. Is/was there a video and confirmation that this person didn't have an inside source for the info?

So you would have to hack a bit deeper to actually find the solution. Probably figure out how it stores which items must be in which rooms. It's feasible that somebody could have done it, but probably would have been pretty difficult, especially with bankswitching and not having the 2600 so well documented as it is today.

Let's see, you are a highly skilled VCS programmer who has made the system do things that would make Tod Frye drool . . . And have the benefits of emulation, full documentation, and many other things that nobody outside Atari really had in 1983. . . And you can't find it via hacking . . .

Which leads me to believe that it was impossible for a normal gamer without this heavy knowledge of the system to do it that way . . . And probably even by a skilled programmer outside of the company (such as, say, your core Activision people or Bronstein at CommaVid) with '83 resources.

However, I don't really see how anyone could have figured out the solution by trial and error either. There are way too many combinations of objects and rooms. Maybe there's some way to figure it out from the comic, but nobody seems to have ever documented this.

My theory is that whoever solved it initially was a student of the occult, and perhaps had been reading some of the same things the programmers had been when they devised the game . . . IMO, the last two would definitely be impossible w/o that background, and I don't see EW being that much easier . . .

I can identify some correspondences from my own reading when I look at that solution . . . And I do own it on cart (loose), but have never made a serious attempt at it . . . Now, I'm wondering how close I could come to figuring out FW and WW on hunches.

Just my .02,
Joseph Thompson


Posted to Atariage:
I took a quick look at the ROM and I quickly found the clues, however they are in the wrong order and the last clue is replaced with a different one. It appears they anticipated people trying to hack the ROM! Also, this data is in the upper bank which would be tricky to access.

Here's what I found in the ROM:

01 0a 02 01 0b 01 03 01 0a 02 02
06 08 05 03 0a 07 07 05 05 07 01
04 04 06 03 0c 03 05 04 03 02 01

These correspond to the clues, but two are out of order and the last one 21-1 is not a real clue according to the solution. The real last clue is 47-5 which isn't present here. The fake 21-1 points to this page in the comic, where I guess the prominent word is "revenge"?


Here's the solution page:


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