The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

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lurkio
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The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby lurkio » Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:52 pm

----------
EDIT: The Magic Telephone game (Part 1) has now been found!

Play it online here.
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Okay, I thought it was time to put out another call for possibly one of the most mysteriously lost games in Beeb history. There are now quite a few mentions of The Magic Telephone Box online, but no sign of the actual program.

Here I've collected all the significant info on the game that I can find.

If you have a copy of the still-missing Part 2, please get in touch!

poink wrote:I have semi-fond memories of The Magic Telephone Part 1 (except for the scary crocodile!) It's a fairly traditional MODE 7(?) graphical adventure with comparatively reasonable puzzles.

In 2007, Waldo Jeffers wrote:Keen for a bit of nostalgia recently, I started Googling for a game I recall playing in primary school when I was 8 or 9 or so (about ten years ago) and have been desperate to play ever since. For some reason I'd not previously bothered to have a look around the 'Net - convinced that I was of its obscurity that nobody other than myself will have remembered it - but got some confirmation tonight about certain other details about it that I'd forgotten. For a start, its name: The Magic Telephone Box (I knew there was something red, and possibly magic, that your character travelled about in - seems so obvious now), characters called Mr. Red, Mr. Blue, Mr. Invisible and so on that lived in houses that corresponded to their colours, tying a dragon's tail to a tree to get at some treasure, a snake in a tree you feed an apple to make go away, and the fact that it was on the BBC Microcomputer (I wouldn't have had any idea at the time). Oh, and this annoying sobbing idiot who'd block your way from all sides if you didn't give her a hanky, effectively forcing you to start all over again.

LordTyranus wrote:I have a vivid memory of playing an educational type game in primary school, and I'm fairly certain it was on a BBC Micro B. From what I remember, it was an adventure/puzzle type of game, and the only scene I can remember is something to do with defeating a dragon, and rescuing the prince or someone important. The dragon was red, and lived in a large cave, and in the scene I can remember the "screen" on show had only the dragon's tail showing, out of the side of the cave, and you had to solve a puzzle before proceeding onto the next screen... Really sorry to dredge up this old post, but I know now what the game is called - "The Magic Telephone Box". Not only that but I may have tracked down a physical copy... (this game is not available anywhere on the internet, and I have spent considerable time searching for it) :) I'll keep you posted

Between 2005 and 2012, various people wrote:Anyone remember a cool little game called the magic telephone box? At least I think it was called that... It's probably around 12 - 16 years old, mind and I think it was on the old school BBC's or an Acorn. It was one of those east west north south pick up blaa di blaa games and there was a dragon in a cave guarding a treasure chest and you had to go round the cave and tie his tail to a tree so you could go in. // I think we played this at school back in the 80s. Did it also feature characters like Mr Red, Mr Blue, Mr Invisible etc who lived in houses that corresponded to their colours? I remember something about an apple tree and a crossroads too. I've been trying to get hold of it for the emulator but so far have had no success. // I remember this game. We did play it at school (late 80's early 90's) and I seem to remember it starting with the phone ringing and you had the option to answer it. There was a cat involved somewhere along the way and also maybe a well.

In 2013, Conk1 wrote:Does anyone here remember this game? It was a graphical text adventure with characters such as Mr. Red, Mr. Blue, Mr Invisible etc. I played it in school when I was very young and would love to give it a shot again.

And in 2012, thecresta wrote:All I want is for someone to find a working copy of "The Magic Telephone Box". Only when I get past that dragon will I be able to carry on with my life without the constant pain of defeat.

[-o<

---
[EDIT: The Magic Telephone game (Part 1) has now been found! Play it online here.]
---
Last edited by lurkio on Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:38 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby poink » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:45 pm

lurkio wrote:If you have a copy, please get in touch!

Well, that's somewhat easy. I've got an 'unofficial' copy of 'Part 1' from BITD (it was with a load of discs when I got my Beeb). I have no idea whether there's actually a Part 2; but no one seems to be describing anything that's not in Part 1.

I guess this is where I actually have to go and finish building the computer with a 5.25" floppy drive :lol: because I'd no idea that it was 'missing'.

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby lurkio » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:43 pm

poink wrote:
lurkio wrote:If you have a copy, please get in touch!
Well, that's somewhat easy. I've got an 'unofficial' copy of 'Part 1' from BITD (it was with a load of discs when I got my Beeb). I have no idea whether there's actually a Part 2; but no one seems to be describing anything that's not in Part 1. I guess this is where I actually have to go and finish building the computer with a 5.25" floppy drive :lol: because I'd no idea that it was 'missing'.

Wow, great news! If the disc works, the Internet will thank you!

But are you saying you currently have no way of reading the 5¼” floppy disc that contains your copy of The Magic Telephone Box? If so, I'm sure I or others could help out if necessary — although sending an ageing floppy through the post should probably be a last resort!

:?:

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby leenew » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:05 pm

Great news!
Also, if you get time, check the MIA list please poink.
Although this does not cover educational software.
If you could give a rough idea of what is on the big pile of discs, flaxcottage will recognise anything that is missing from the educational archive...
[-o<

Lee.

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:33 pm

leenew wrote:... flaxcottage will recognise anything that is missing from the educational archive...
[-o<

Lee.


Sure will. :D
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby lurkio » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:22 pm

poink wrote:I've got an 'unofficial' copy of 'Part 1' from BITD (it was with a load of discs when I got my Beeb.

Any progress on archiving this, poink?

:?:

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby poink » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:55 am

lurkio wrote:Any progress on archiving this, poink?

More frustration than progress, I'm afraid.

The PC I'd hoped to use doesn't do floppies very competently; it'll read FM discs, but it doesn't seem to entirely behave...and not at all when faced with a 40 track one. I think the core problem is that it's old enough to have a floppy connector, but new enough that it wasn't designed to do much else than handle a single 1.44MB DOS floppy (I had to override the BIOS to configure a 5.25" disc, and even then, it only supports one drive).

I guess the next step is probably to drag the K6-2 out of the loft.

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby poink » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:55 pm

So, having acquired a P4/NetBurst-era Celeron whose sole purpose in life will be to read old media, and spending far too long poking fdutils under Linux, and finally resorting to scripting raw floppy controller commands to read it sector by sector, I bring you MAPE TAPE IV, which includes the fabled 'The Magic Telephone' (note, the name does not include 'Box').

It also includes 3 other educational programs that might have been missing: News Bulletin, Pond Dipping and Topol. It does occur to me that if as we were missing The Magic Telephone, and this is titled 'MAPE TAPE IV' that there might be others; especially considering the message at the end of the disc:
mapetape wrote:MAPE is a national organisation which aims to promote and develop awareness and effective use of microelectronics as an integral part of the philosopy and practice of primary education. Further details and membership forms are available from Mrs G Jones, 76, Sudbrooke Holme Drive, Sudbrooke, Lincs LN2 2SF


Screenshots:

Menu:
mape-iv-menu.png


News Bulletin (some sort of MODE 7/Teletext creator)
mape-iv-newsbulletin.png


Pond Dipping (Biology simulation)
mape-iv-ponddipping-1.png
mape-iv-ponddipping-2.png


The Magic Telephone (Adventure):
mape-iv-themagictelephone-1.png
mape-iv-themagictelephone-2.png
mape-iv-themagictelephone-3.png
mape-iv-themagictelephone-4.png


Topol (Sort of cerebral Snake for Maths lessons)
mape-iv-topol.png
Attachments
mape-iv.zip
(43.38 KiB) Downloaded 86 times

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leenew
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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby leenew » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:43 pm

He he. This makes me smile :D
Definitely worth the effort =D>
Lee.

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby lurkio » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:13 pm

=D>
=D> =D>
=D> =D> =D>

Well done, poink!

Thanks for the heroic effort!

Your copy of The Magic Telephone is playable online here: http://bbc.godbolt.org/?autoboot&disc=h ... MAGICT.ssd

=D> =D> =D>
=D> =D>
=D>

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Re: The Magic Telephone Box

Postby poink » Wed May 25, 2016 2:03 am

lurkio wrote:Your copy of The Magic Telephone is playable online here: http://bbc.godbolt.org/?autoboot&disc=h ... MAGICT.ssd

Well, that's a bit more convenient than actually getting it off the disc was. A bit of a shame that it's been edited to hide the other programs on the disc though.

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby Montenvers » Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:52 am

Wow! I just wanted to pass on my thanks to the contributors in this thread, and particularly to Poink for getting the game back out there.

I thoroughly enjoyed replaying it, funny how the memories were so strong on this one, though I must admit, at my young age in the late 80's it did seem a lot longer! I had forgotten, however, how unhelpful the invisible man was. :lol:

Thank you so much for the work you did in recovering this. :D

Well, that's somewhat easy. I've got an 'unofficial' copy of 'Part 1' from BITD (it was with a load of discs when I got my Beeb). I have no idea whether there's actually a Part 2; but no one seems to be describing anything that's not in Part 1.


I can confirm that Part 2 does exist, though I have only my memory and no hard evidence to show. I distinctly remember mapping the games on an old drawing pad, and I definitely had most of 2 mapped, but I didn't play it much because I found it harder. I am also fairly sure there is a Part 3, although, I have no memory of playing it, and my map was only a few sections before I gave up and moved on to something else.

The fact that the games are so elusive, definitely make the appeal even greater. I have been googling for years. I hope the other games can be found somewhere one day.

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby lurkio » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:55 pm

Montenvers wrote:
poink wrote:I've got an 'unofficial' copy of 'Part 1' from BITD (it was with a load of discs when I got my Beeb). I have no idea whether there's actually a Part 2
I can confirm that Part 2 does exist, though I have only my memory and no hard evidence to show. I distinctly remember mapping the games on an old drawing pad, and I definitely had most of 2 mapped, but I didn't play it much because I found it harder. I am also fairly sure there is a Part 3, although, I have no memory of playing it, and my map was only a few sections before I gave up and moved on to something else.

That seems to confirm what LordTyranus told me that a contact had said about the sequels to Part 1 of The Magic Telephone:

LordTyranus's contact wrote:The other games were part of the Magic Telephone series. There was a part 2 given, as so many people had enjoyed the first one, and then a harder part 2 (2b) as the first (2a) was felt to be too easy.

Montenvers, can you remember any more details about the sequels?

Montenvers wrote:The fact that the games are so elusive, definitely make the appeal even greater. I have been googling for years. I hope the other games can be found somewhere one day.

LordTyranus's contact apparently has physical discs that have possibly got some or all parts of The Magic Telephone on them. I'm PMing LordTyranus to see if the archiving of those discs can be progressed, but LordTyranus has been trying to get the contact to take action for over a year now, without success, so I'm not too hopeful, unfortunately...

:-|
Last edited by lurkio on Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby Montenvers » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:57 pm

Montenvers, can you remember any more details about the sequels?


I wish I could, I'm sorry I can't be any more helpful. I was born in 1985 so I was very young when I used the BBC, by 1992 I had a Mega Drive and the BBC had fallen out of use. All memories of the games of that time are hazy, I had the feeling that number 2 was more complex and darker in tone but again I can't remember anything that will significantly help a search for it. I have conflicting memories of others games like grannies garden, little red riding hood, some sort of teddy bears picnic thing, and a program where you could give commands to a tomato with legs, called Pob or Pod or something, and make him explode. I also have a memory of a platformer with a kangeroo, possibly called Wallaby or something, that had quite a lot of yellow colouring, this didn't seem to run from a floppy but straight from the hard drive, with the right command, and I have no idea at that age how I found the command! Excuse the digression.... nostalgia.

I liked the magic telephone for the exploration element combined with the graphics. I was too young to have the patience for text adventures like castle of riddles, but I enjoyed making the maps for magic telephone so I could play it quicker the next time.

All the disks were loose 5.25 floppies, with the exception of a collection of acornsoft stuff we had on cassette, and those boxes were very memorable in their art style.

I wish I knew more about this sort of thing, I didn't get back into computers until Pentium 2 and Windows 98 in the later 90's. I have a soft spot for the BBC though in a big way.

Our BBC Master along with the disk drive, the disks and everything else, was donated to my school, and I'm sure it probably ended up in the skip shortly thereafter, as BBC's seemed to disappear from schools almost overnight in my early years of secondary.

I am looking forward to have a dig around the forums and learning more. :)

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby poink » Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:16 am

Montenvers wrote:The fact that the games are so elusive, definitely make the appeal even greater. I have been googling for years. I hope the other games can be found somewhere one day.

I think the reason that The Magic Telephone is elusive is because it was distributed by a charity (MAPE) to primary schools. So whilst it was widespread, few individuals ever got their own copy (most MAPE programs seem intended to be a learning aid in a broader topic). Unless a teacher made a copy for you (essentially how I got mine), the only place it existed was in a cupboard at school (and has, therefore, in most cases, presumably, long gone to a skip).

Later MAPE tapes may have distributed the later part and the media is more likely to be labelled as MAPE than to have a listing of the programs on it. (Acorn User suggests that LEAs had copies, although, I've seen flaxcottage say that LEAs have typically long ago binned everything.)

Regarding tracking down MAPE media, Centre for Computing History apparently have a disc copy of the MAPE 3 tape, which probably has some interesting educational software on it; but for TMT we'd almost certainly need MAPE V onwards (given The Magic Telephone was on MAPE IV).

MAPE was around since at least 1982, became a charity between in Nov 1985, was removed from the register in Dec 2004 when it 'ceased to exist'. However, I wonder if http://www.mape.org.uk/ is related (or, more precisely, whether they have archives we could pillage?).

(Looks like there was also a MUSE - Micro Users in Secondary Education.)

Montenvers wrote:and a program where you could give commands to a tomato with legs, called Pob or Pod or something, and make him explode.

Podd can explode, but cannot do any of the naughty words that primary school children know. (I remember that we checked...extensively :twisted:).

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby RoryMakarov » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:15 pm

Thanks for this, have literally been looking for this game since primary school!

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby lurkio » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:20 pm

RoryMakarov wrote:Thanks for this, have literally been looking for this game since primary school!

Haha! I'm glad that we (and especially poink) were able to help!

By the way, do you remember if you ever played the mysterious Part 2 of this game?!

:?:

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Re: The Magic Telephone (aka "The Magic Telephone Box")

Postby RoryMakarov » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:05 pm

lurkio wrote:
RoryMakarov wrote:Thanks for this, have literally been looking for this game since primary school!

Haha! I'm glad that we (and especially poink) were able to help!

By the way, do you remember if you ever played the mysterious Part 2 of this game?!

:?:


I'm pretty sure we never had Part 2. Part 1 was on some random floppy we had kicking about, and my memories of Part 1 were hazy enough!


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