Key & Compass presents:
I Must Play
by Geoff Fortytwo

I Must Play is a TADS 3 interactive fiction game and is © 2004 by Geoff Fortytwo. It was an entry in IF Comp 2004 where it took 14th place.

In this homage to classic arcade games, you play as a kid in a video arcade, but after hours since the older boys wouldn't let you use the machines during the day. Another young boy, Eric, is here too. Can you win at every game in the building and take over Eric's top spot on the highscore board?

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 42.00.009 of the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.


Map 1: The Arcade

QuadBlocks SpaceIntruders Senate Space-ship Toader GooseHunt Ping to parkinglot d play aqua play green play orange u play blue play puce play onyx play silver Arcadestairwelltop Arcadestairwellbottom Arcadefront Arcade Ball room Basement

Note: You return to the real world from an arcade game when you win it, lose it, or use the special command stop playing.

Map 2: Quad Blocks

Arcade u d play puce Buildingtop west Buildingtop east Gapbesidebuilding Structuresouthwest Structuresoutheast Junkyardgate Cranearea

Map 3: Senate

play onyx Arcade Senatefloor Mezzaninesouthwest Mezzaninesouth Mezzaninesoutheast

Map 4: Goose Hunt

Field play silver Arcade

Map 5: Space Intruders

Trench Insidecementbunker Trench Insidecementbunker Trench Arcade play aqua

Map 6: Spaceship

Crazycontrolroom north Crazycontrolroom play green Arcade

Map 7: Ping

play orange Arcade Blankroom Highwaynorth 2 Highwaynorth 1 Highwaymiddle Highwaysouth 1 Highwaysouth 2

Map 8: Toader

z z z z jump onbank jump onbank jump onbank z z z z jump onturtle jump onturtle jump onturtle jump onlog jump onlog jump onlog play blue RiversideAcrossRiver East RiversideAcrossRiver West River east(turtle) River west(turtle) River east(log) River west(log) Riversideeast Riversidewest Roadwayeast Roadwaywest Roadsideeast Roadsidewest Basement RiversideAcrossRiver West RiversideAcrossRiver RiversideAcrossRiver East River west(turtle) River(turtle) River east(turtle) River west(log) River(log) River east(log) Riversidewest Riverside Riversideeast Roadwaywest Roadway Roadwayeast Roadsidewest Roadside Roadsideeast

Note: For readability's sake, I've left off how to return south across the river which you can, of course, do by jumping onto the turtle, log, and south bank when appropriate. And unless you missed picking up the injured bullfrog, there's no reason to go back south across the river.


Ball room

> x me. i. x bill. x balls. take ball. swim.

> w.


> x board. x Eric. x keyring. x gold key. x brass key.

> x money changer. x sign. x floor.

Let's get some power in here:

> move changer. x panel. open panel. x red switch.

> ask Eric about switch.

> turn on switch. (+1)

Examining the machines doesn't tell you much:

> x puce. x onyx. x silver.

> x aqua. x green machine. x orange.

Ask Eric about the place:

> ask Eric about arcade. ask Eric about keyring.

> ask Eric about ball room. ask Eric about basement.

> ask Eric about board. ask Eric about storm.

Ask Eric about the machines, for all the good it does you:

> ask Eric about puce. ask Eric about onyx.

> ask Eric about silver. ask Eric about aqua.

> ask Eric about green machine. ask Eric about orange.

Ask Eric about the names on the board:

> ask Eric about Fortytwo. ask Eric about RedDragon.

> ask Eric about Nerfherder. ask Eric about Zarf.

> ask Eric about Cobalt. ask Eric about HighTower.

> ask Eric about RAM. ask Eric about MasterBlaster.

> ask Eric about L337. ask Eric about Pacmaster.

Visit the front room, briefly:

> w.

Arcade front

> x sign. x windows. g. (Repeat until after lightning has flashed.)

> e.


Ignore the basement for now. Let's play the games in the order listed, so puce first:

> play puce.

Junkyard gate

> x gate. x junk. x fence.

> n.

Structure southeast

> x building. x megaphone. take it.

> w. n.

Gap beside building

There's nothing here, but knowing there's a gap west of the building is important.

> s. e. u.

Building top east

> x beam. x disc. x crane.

> w.

Building top west

Nothing to see on the west side. Head to the crane itself:

> e. d. s. s.

Crane area

> in. x control panel.

Obviously, we should use the magnetic crane to pick up the I-beam and drop it into the gap.

> push plus. g. g. (Now see I-beam at far right.)

> turn on switch. (Something in way of camera.)

> push minus. g. g. g. g. g. g. g. g. (Now at far left.)

> turn off switch. (+5)

You hear workers yell as the I-beam falls into the gap. As the bottom of the building collapses, you get a ticket.



Note that game-objects, like the megaphone, can return with you into the real world and taken into other games.

> i. use megaphone. (read something with it.)

> x puce ticket. put it in board.

You are prompted to enter your name for display on the board.

YOUR NAME: YOURNAME (You have achieved rank 43.)

> x board. (Sorry, your name's not on there yet.)

> play onyx.

Mezzanine south

> x desk. x podium. x people. x chair.

> x senator. x paper. (on how ugly people should be hung)

> e.

Mezzanine southeast

> x senator. x thin paper. (on keeping gun control)

> x rough paper. (on how theft is wrong, except for adventurers)

> w. w.

Mezzanine southwest

> x shiny paper. (on how gun control is wrong)

> take shiny.

> ne.

Senate floor

Some players may really dislike this part.

> x podium.

> read shiny. (with megaphone; now guns are legal)

> stop playing.


> play silver.


If you didn't make guns legal earlier, this bird watcher won't have a rifle. But you did, so he does.

> x watcher. x rifle. x water. x reeds.

> talk to watcher. ask watcher about ducks.

> ask watcher about rifle. ask watcher about reeds.

> take pebble. skip pebble. (+5)



> x silver ticket. put it in board. (Now at rank 7.)

> x board. (Yay, you're there now.)

> play aqua.

Inside cement bunker (western)

> x bench. e.


> x sky. x craters. e.

Inside cement bunker (eastern)

> x soldier. x disc. take disc.

> stop playing.


> play green machine.

Crazy control room

> x lights. n.

Crazy control room north

> x alien. x chair. x rectangle. x button.

> push button. (A disc drawer opens.)

> put disc in drawer. push button. (+5)



> x aqua ticket. put it in board. (You are now rank 5.)

> x board.

> play orange.

Highway middle

You don't want that ball to hit you directly. If it does, it's Game Over, and you're back in the Arcade.

> s.

Highway south 1

> x limo. enter limo. n.

Highway middle

Wait until for the ball to hit your limo. The ball will bounce off it, which is good, but your limo will be quite damaged, which is bad.

> z. (Repeat until impact.)

Now drive north:

> n. n.

Highway north 2

> x sign. ("The Pit")

> n.

Blank room

A mechanic is here.

> out. (+1; the limo is fixed!)

> in. (Something is sprayed onto the car?)

> s. s. s.

Highway middle

Now just wait here for the ball to bounce off your opponent's car and later hit your restored limo:

> z. (Repeat until ball hits your limo again. +5)



> i. x orange ticket. put it in board.

Eric tells you to follow him. He unlocks the basement door.

> x board. n. d. s.


> x poster. x bow. ask Eric about poster.

> x blue machine. ask Eric about blue machine.

> play blue machine.


> x chicken. x road. x river.

> take chicken. (It evades you)

> e.

Roadside east

CAUTION: While it's okay to drive the car west or east, it's fatal if you try to travel in any northernly direction into traffic.

> x car. x cylinder.

> enter car. open glove compartment.

> take diary. x it. read it.

> out. push car north. (+1; traffic has stopped)

> w.


The chicken goes north.

> n.


The happy chicken continues north. But go east.

> e.

Roadway east

> x bullfrog. take it. nw.


CAUTION: Swimming is fatal.

> take chicken. (+1; olive crocodile eats chicken)

> z. (Repeat waiting until you see a log floating eastwards.)

> jump on log.

River (standing on the log)

If necessary, wait for a turtle to appear, then:

> jump on turtle.

River (standing on the turtle)

> jump on riverbank.

Riverside Across River (west, middle, or east)

> put frog in hole. (+5)



Eric congratulates you and suggests putting your ticket in the board upstairs.

> n. u. s.


> put blue ticket in board.


Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious:





The response to CREDITS is:

author: Geoff Fortytwo

Many thanks go to the people on and specifically Eric Eve for providing so much TADS3 language help. And of course he is also the author of the very helpful “Getting Started in TADS” guide as well as the very helpful TADS Tour Guide.

My thanks go out to my beta testers! Their testing helped me really tighten up this game.

I'd like to especially thank Stephan Schonberg. He was extremely thorough in his testing and had plenty of very helpful constructive comments that allowed me to tighten up a few spots and flesh out others.

Edward L. Stauff also provided the TADS 3 Library Proto-Documentation tool which was of inestimable value.

Of course I must mention Michael Roberts, the creator of TADS. TADS 3 is a wonderfully consistent and powerful language that has made the development of this game very pleasant and enjoyable.




The response to FULL SCORE is:

In several moves, you have scored your-score of a possible 30 points. This makes you ranking. Your score consists of:

The possible rankings are:

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

This walkthrough was funded via Patreon with