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About EarthQuake

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  • Birthday 04/15/1985

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    Digging up graves.
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About Me

Hi there, I'm Josh.


I want to get this out of the way now: I absolutely LOVE Adventure. It is perhaps my favorite console game and one that floods me with the most nostalgia. I spent countless hours as a kid playing this game, getting jump-scared by dragons, exploring all the random puzzle variations, and getting swallowed in the silent atmosphere of the game.


I once encountered a console glitch that changed the world layout of the game. I stayed up until 4 AM exploring this familiar, yet eerily-not-so, world. That was the moment that solidified my love for the game. I played it so many times, yet something new and creepy happened!


I originally joined AtariAge back in 2004 because I became interested in creating a hack of Adventure for the 2600. Not sure why my interest for Adventure suddenly returned, but I downloaded the ROM and a tool called BitHacker, and I changed some sprites around. Not terribly impressive in and of itself, but I guess that tends to be the first thing people try to do when it comes to hacking ROMs.


After studying the binary for a while, and with loads of trial and error, I started deciphering some of the patterns in the file. From this, I was able to manipulate some of the room data and even found a way to move through walls! Suddenly, what I had was not only a graphical hack, but one that actually changed how the game was played. I had always dreamed of being able to explore different worlds in Adventure, and this was the first step of realizing that dream.


Excitedly, I shared my hack, which I called Odyssey, with those on the forum. It's reception was okay, and although I had some plans for what I might try to accomplish in the next version, it soon became apparent that my ambitions far exceeded my superpowers that BitHacker bestowed me. I asked for advice, and this is what followed:


"Machine-language coding...the only way."


Those words were scary, and they never faded from my memory, even 16 years after. I had no idea how to begin. I was a novice programmer with high-level languages. Never even really completed a single project. To dive right into assembly sounded maddening.


But I was compelled by the person who uttered those words.


From that point I started asking questions, delving deeper into the inner workings of a game I thought I was so familiar with. Once again this game had something to offer me, but this time it was up to me to do something with it. I was excited, just like when I was a kid. Other people had seen my hack, and from what I could tell, the forums were becoming more and more active with people hacking away with Adventure. It was a happy point in my life, sharing our hacks, and discussing what next we could do with them. The very forum user who challenged me in the first place was there guiding me along, answering all my stupid questions, and even sharing code of his own.


It was a hell of a good time.


I toiled away with my hack, adding more features and objects, and designing a completely new world. I was so invested, I even programmed tools to help me along. Growing closer to completion each day, Odyssey was becoming something I could be proud of (and I don't have pride for much in my life, sadly). I posted pictures of my progress, trying to tease others into sharing my excitement. But things ended on a sour note.


My hard drive died and I lost everything. And so my will to finish Odyssey.


I disappeared.


Well, almost. It might have been 12 years ago, but I'm tired of living in regret.

I'm going to fucking finish Odyssey, even if I have to do it from scratch.

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