Key & Compass presents:
Sunset Over Savannah
by Ivan Cockrum

Sunset Over Savannah is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 1997 by Ivan Cockrum. It was an entry in IF Comp 1997 where it took 6th place. At the 1997 XYZZY Awards, this game won the Best Writing award; it was also a finalist in two other categories (Best Individual Puzzle and Best Use of Medium). It also took 22nd place on the Interactive Fiction Top 50 of All Time (2011 edition).

In this game, you play as an office worker on vacation on a beach in Savannah. This is your last day of a very blissful vacation, and you realize you really really hate your job. You could quit, but should you? You're conflicted. Is there more to life than constant, mind-numbing labor?

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1.0.3 (the post-comp release) 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 pavilion and pier

Dry Sand,North of Pier On theCanopy Among theBenches BeachPath Pavilion Middle ofPier End ofPier On theEnclosure By theSnack Bar Deep Water,BeneathPier Dry Sand,South of Pier Underwater(at bell) climb railing d climb railing u climb railing jump off u d climb railing

Map 2: The beach

Insidebell Dry Sand,North of Pier Damp Sand,Northof Pier Shallow,Northof Pier Deep Water,Northof Pier Under-water BeachPath Pavilion StorageArea UnderPavilion Damp Sand,BeneathPier Shallow,BeneathPier Deep Water,BeneathPier Under-water Dry Sand,South of Pier Damp Sand,Southof Pier Shallow,Southof Pier Deep Water,Southof Pier Under-water Grotto (lockedmarinecenter) (to hotel) (pirate scene ends) d out d d u in u dig with shingle u

Map 3: Underwater

End ofPier Deep Water,Northof Pier Deep Water,BeneathPier Deep Water,Southof Pier snailshell conchshell,fissure lobstertrap, rope spinyshell divingbell Inside the'Octopus' jump off pier(while wearing maskand carrying brick) s s u u u in n n d d d d u d u d u u out


Beach Area

NOTE: This game is always winnable, no matter what you do or try to do. You are never seriously injured, but injuries are remembered, which you may review with X ME or DIAGNOSE. If you ever lose something that you will need later, either you will find it again elsewhere or the game will provide a new one somewhere.

> x me. i. x shorts. x suit.

> x money. x passcard.

> x sign. x bell. x building. x pavilion.

> x shell. take it.

> e.


> x beams. x canopy. (Note the hatch up there.)

> x floor. x pier. x railing.

> x enclosure. x plaque. x bar.

> s.

By the Snack Bar

When you buy peanuts, you see a small steel key fall out of his shirt pocket into the boiler's hot water.

> x sign. buy peanuts. (Note a key fell into the boiler.)

> eat peanuts. (plenty left)

> x vendor.

Two turns after buying the peanuts, if you're still here, the vendor asks if you could give him a hand.

>> yes

With your help, the vendor tips the boiling water onto the sand below. He clamps down the lid before leaving.

> look. x boiler. x lid. x clamp.

> x base. x valve handle. x knob.

> x peanuts. x counter. x sieve. take it.

Note that you stumble on the bricks on the path.

> n. w. se.

Dry Sand, South of Pier

> x message. x gulls. x heap. x mussel. take it.

The key fell into the trash heap here, but you can't search the trash while the gulls are here. Feed them peanuts to temporarily distract them.

> give peanuts to gulls. g. g.

> search heap. (This doesn't work.)

> search heap with sieve. (You obtain the key!)

Soon after you obtain the key, the gulls will once again block access to the trash heap, but that's okay because the key was all that you needed from there.

> x key. e.

Damp Sand, South of Pier

> x castle. touch it. x insects.

The insects, also called mites, are somehow scavenging bits of broken glass and fusing them together into their castle.

> n.

Damp Sand, Beneath Pier

> x crab shell. take it.

> x pipes. x lens. x pylons.

> climb pylon. (no: too wide)

> w.

Under Pavilion

> climb pipes. (no: rust is too abrasive)

> x gate. look through gate.

> unlock gate with key.

I'll be using this location and the pavilion above as our dumping grounds for objects we're not currently using.

> drop key. drop all shells.

> w.

Storage Area

> x glass canister. take glass. x it.

> x aluminum canister. take can. x it.

> x bin. x paper. take paper. (nothing useful)

> x board. x crowbar. take it.

> push alumimum canister east. g.

Damp Sand, Beneath Pier

You watch the canister float away in the ocean.

> w. w.

Storage Area

> push glass canister east. g.

Damp Sand, Beneath Pier

The canister and its bottles smash into a pile.

> x pile. s.

Damp Sand, South of Pier

> take mite. (It bites you and you drop it.)

> put mite in can. (no: the opening is too narrow)

> put mite in glass. (no: it melts through the bottom)

> e.

Shallow Water, South of Pier

> fill bottle. (with water)

> w.

Damp Sand, South of Pier

> put mite in glass. (It starts swimming down the bottle.)

Move quickly:

> n.

Damp Sand, Beneath Pier

> put bottle in pile. (+1)

> x castle. climb it. x mask. wear it.

> look. x antique bottle. take it. open it.

> x cork. x map. read map.

> w.

Under Pavilion

> read map. (You should dig here.)

> drop all but crowbar.

> dig. (You need something to shovel with.)

> take all shells.

> e. n.

Damp Sand, North of Pier

> x reptile. (It's missing a shell in its beak.)

> x beak. x cavity. x wings. x spine.

> x claws. x dragon's eyes.

> x dragon's arms. x dragon's teeth.

> x dragon's belly.

> put clam in cavity. (wrong one)

> put mussel in cavity. (wrong one)

> put crab in cavity. (wrong one)

> s. w.

Under Pavilion

> drop shells.

> e. n. w.

Dry Sand, North of Pier

Note that if you didn't acquire a bottle from the recycling canister, you find one here in the trash and you must search the trash again to find the goggles.

> x barrel. search trash. (You take some goggles.)

> x goggles. x white strap. detach it.

> x hoops. pry topmost hoop with crowbar.

> take stave. x it. take all.

Ugh, can't quite manage everything. You'll return to fetch the crowbar soon enough.

> w. in.

In the Diving Bell

> x pipe. x valve. x porthole. look through it.

> out. e.


> drop all. n.

Among the Benches

> x benches. push benches south.


> stack benches. u.

On the Enclosure

> x canopy. open hatch. (You need a pole or similar.)

> d. e. e.

End of Pier

> x roof. x fountain. x old man. x ocean.

> x rod. x reel. x line. x tackle box.

> x bucket. x fish. x sack. x shrimp.

> drink from fountain. (isn't working)

> say "hello sailor". ask man about waving girl.

> ask man about Florence. g. g.

> ask man about fishing rod. ask man about Relda.

> ask man about kids. ask man about shrimp.

> ask man about fish. ask man about bucket.

> ask man about ocean. ask man about box.

> xyzzy.

Assuming you're wearing the scuba mask and carrying nothing in your hands:

> jump off.

Deep Water, Beneath Pier

> d. d. d.


> x construction. (It's a lobster trap with a rope tied to it.)

> untie rope. (You take it.)

After five turns underwater, you're forced to surface.

Deep Water, Beneath Pier

> nw. w. w.

Dry Sand, North of Pier

> take crowbar.

> w. e.


Note that you can't use the white strap for this next bit because when you tie the strap to your wrist and to the bulky stave, it makes you too clumsy to climb the benches. You must instead use the rope. That works.

Oh, and you need the stave instead of the crowbar because the crowbar isn't long enough to reach the hatch. Just in case you were wondering.

> drop crowbar. take stave.

> tie rope to me. tie rope to stave.

> u.

On the Enclosure

> push hatch with stave. u.

On the Canopy

> x sunset. (+1)

> x hotel. x beach.

> x loose shingle. take it. (It's not that loose!)

Go fetch the crowbar.

> d. d.


> untie stave. drop it.

> take crowbar. tie rope to it.

> u. u.

On the Canopy

> pry loose shingle with crowbar.

> take loose shingle. x it. (spade-shaped, eh?)

You can't climb with anything in your hands, so:

> put shingle in hatch.

> d. d.


> untie crowbar. untie me. drop all.

> take shingle.

> w. se. e. n. w.

Under Pavilion

> dig with shingle. g. g. g.


You're tied up in a grotto?

> x rope. x shore. listen. smell.

> x boat. x men.

> say "hello sailor".

Under Pavilion

+1. After seven turns in the grotto, you wake up. An elderly couple explains that the sand fell in on you and they pulled you out.

> take mask.

> e. n. w. w.

Beach Path

Put the mask on now. You need both hands free to carry the heavy loose brick.

> wear mask. x path.

> x loose brick. take it.

> e. e. e.

End of Pier

> jump off.

Underwater (ocean floor)

> x octopus. in.

Inside the 'Octopus'

There's air in here! When exploring the ocean floor, return in here so you can stay down here longer.

> x valve. x porthole. look through it. (+1)

> x mud. out.

Underwater (ocean floor)

> clean mud. g. in. out.

> clean mud. x diagram. u.

Deep Water, Beneath Pier

> nw. w. w. w. e.


> dance. (+1)

> take strap. e. e.

End of Pier

> take shrimp.

> w. w. w. se. e. n. w.

Under Pavilion

> drop all.

> e. e. se.

Deep Water, South of Pier

> d.

Underwater (by fissure)

> x conch. take it. (no: the crab living inside the conch carries it into the fissure)

> take conch. (The crab pinches you.)

You need to build a trap for the crab.

> u. nw. w. w.

Under Pavilion

I'm skipping a lot of experimenting that is usually done to figure this one out, like giving the shrimp directly to the crab, trying to use the rope instead of the strap, or tying the other end of the strap to your wrist, the cork, or the stave.

Eventually you discover that this is the combo you need.

> take shrimp, white strap, shingle.

> tie white strap to shrimp.

> tie white strap to shingle.

> e. e. se. d.

Underwater (by fissure)

> put shrimp in fissure. u.

Deep Water, South of Pier

> take shell. (Note that the old man is preparing to leave.)

> nw. nw.

Damp Sand, North of Pier

> put conch in cavity. (almost!)

> take conch.

> s. w.

Under Pavilion

> take sieve.

> e. n. w. w. e.


> take crowbar.

> s.

By the Snack Bar

> put conch and sieve on counter.

> pry lid with crowbar. drop crowbar.

> n. e. e.

End of Pier

The old man finishes packing up, leaves, abandoning the pail.

> take pail.

It's tempting to jump over the railing yet again, but you'll lose the pail when you hit the water, and you'll have to search the beach to see where it got washed to. It's best to avoid that, I think.

Shame the fountain is broken, else you could fill the pail from right here.

> w. w. w.

Beach Path

The old man was a ghost?!

> se. e. e.

Shallow Water, South of Pier

> fill pail with water.

> w. w. w. e. s.

By the Snack Bar

> pour pail into boiler. turn on boiler.

> drop pail. take conch. take sieve.

> z. z. (The water reaches full boil.)

> put conch in boiler. turn off boiler.

> take conch with sieve. take crab with sieve.

> drop sieve. eat crab. empty boiler.

> n. w. ne. e.

Damp Sand, North of Pier

> put conch in cavity. (+1)

> w. w. w.

You have completed Sunset Over Savannah

> fun

> pain



This is the response to FUN after you've won the game:

Have you tried...

1) Burying yourself in the sand?
2) Building (and destroying) a sand castle?
3) Removing your bathing suit in various places?
4) Typing "XYZZY"?
5) Saying "Hello, sailor" to the old man and asking him about
the waving girl?
6) Saying "Hello, sailor" to the pirates, or cursing, greeting, or hitting
7) Jumping off the pavilion's canopy?
8) Eating the peanuts?
9) Eating the shrimp?
10) Eating the boiled crab?
11) Hitting the dragon?
12) Hitting or punching the sand castle?
13) Dropping the brick on various small items?
14) Pushing the aluminum canister out of the storage area?

And this is the response to PAIN after you've won the game:

Things that can get you hurt...

1) Drowning yourself.
2) Jumping in the diving bell.
3) Jumping from the roof of the enclosure.
4) Jumping off the pier into the sand.
5) Jumping off the pier into the sand with the brick.
6) Jumping off the pavilion canopy.
7) Trying to dig with bare hands in the cement.
8) Kicking the glass castle.
9) Punching the glass castle.
10) Putting your hand in the boiler while it's full of boiling
11) Swimming without eyegear.
12) Reaching into the fissure.
13) Climbing the benches while they're stacked in the north face.
14) Picking up a glass mite.
15) Dropping the brick on your feet.






The response to INFO is:

Sunset Over Savannah
An Existential Vacation by Ivan Cockrum.
Winner of the 1997 XYZZY Award for Best Writing.
Copyright (c) 1997 by Ivan Cockrum. All rights reserved.
Release 1.0.3, 3/5/98.

Type CONTACT for contact information.
Type FEATURES for a list of features particular to this game.
Type INSTRUCTIONS if you've never played a text adventure game before.
Type ADVENTURE for more information about text adventures.
Type PHILOSOPHY for the author's game design philosophy.
Type FREEWARE for information about registration and distribution of this game.
Type CREDITS for a list of people who made the making of this game possible.

And the response to CREDITS is:

Very special thanks must go to the friends and relatives who helped by giving me the freedom to create this game:

Programming credit goes to the following, whose code I either overtly borrowed or blatantly imitated. Either way, I learned a great deal from each of them.

And finally, my beta testers: Paul E. Coad, Stephen Granade, Bernd Schmidt and Lucian P. Smith. Special thanks to tester Andrew Plotkin for his gentle, well considered feedback on the intangibles that make a game good.


Note that you must have two hands free to climb anything, you must have two hands free to carry anything heavy, and you must have at least one hand free to swim underwater.

You have carrying capacity limits, but it seems to be governed by weight and bulk, rather than the number of items. You can carry more things by wearing them (if possible) or using containers or ropes. Or just make more than one trip if you must.

Don't worry about people or critters stealing anything you drop. Things are only consumed forever when they've served their purpose.


The conch shell is the only shell you need. The others are there just to give you something else to try in the sand sculpture's cavity.

Other items


The response to SCORE is:

[if requesting SCORE the first time:] "Hmm," you wryly think to yourself. "Maybe I've been playing too many adventure games lately. If only life worked that way." [:end if]

Not exactly a score as such, but...

[List your exceptional experiences as follows:]

- The castle builders have revitalized your waning belief in a world full of novelty.
- Your sunset vision has reawakened your appreciation for the beauty of the mundane.
- Your strange kidnapping experience has rewarded you with the treasures of life and freedom.
- The coral reef has shown you that beauty may be found in unexpected places.
- The ghostly dancers have reminded you of the ineluctable joy of creative expression.
- The sand dragon's flight has proven the power and the magic of personal vision.

[How many exceptional experiences did you have?]

[if 0:] You feel conflicted. You've been thinking to yourself, "Oh man, maybe I should quit." After the past week, you're of half a mind to do it, so you can pursue your own creative interests. If only someone or something would present you with some convincing arguments to get you off the fence.

[else if 1:] You feel confused. You're now thinking, "I didn't realize how serious I was about quitting." The truth is, you didn't really believe you were going to find the motivation to quit here on the beach. But it's hard to ignore the wonder of what you've seen. Maybe you really could quit. Still, you're going to need a lot more convincing.

[else if 2:] You're wavering. You're now thinking, "Maybe I'm being hasty." Sure, a couple of fancy displays now and then make life more interesting, but is that enough reason to quit your job? And what about your employers? What'll they do without you? You're still going to need a few more convincing arguments.

[else if 3:] You feel hesitant. You're now thinking, "Well now, wait a minute." What's life about if not living? And much as you hate to admit it, your employers can probably replace you easily. You're still not quite decided, but it would only take several more arguments to set your mind.

[else if 4:] You feel skittish. You've begun to ask yourself, "Could I really do this?" You've begun unconsciously to tally your savings. You've even got the beginnings of a resignation letter going in the back of your mind. If only you had a couple more arguments to put your mind at rest.

[else if 5:] You feel excited. "Yes, I could really do this!" you exclaim. You've got plenty of money in the bank. And to heck with your employers! What have they ever really done for you? You're teetering right on the brink of decision. If only you had one more argument to set your resolve.

[else if 6:] You feel resolute. "That's it. I'm quitting." You've made up your mind and thrown caution to the winds. First thing on Monday, you're going to write your letter of resignation. You feel exhilaratingly light, as if some constant pressure had been removed. You're sure that this is the right decision.

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