Imagine you are skiing down an infinite slope, facing such hazards as trees, ice, bare ground, and the Yeti, — a horrible monster! Each turn moves you one screen row downhill. Unfortunately, you have to put your jet-powered skis on backwards, so you can't see ahead where you are going; only behind where you have been.
However, you can turn to either side, jump or hop through the air, teleport through hyperspace, launch nuclear ICBMs, and cast spells to call the Fire Demon. And since the hazards occur in patches, you can skillfully out-maneuver them.
You ski until something bad happens to you. Your final score is based on how far you have skied, how many jumps you made, how many Yetis have melted during your run, and how healthy you are when are finished.
These characters represent the things that you see on the slope behind you:
This is where you are.
This is normal snow — always completely safe to ski on.
These are trees. If you try to ski through trees, you might hit one and get hurt!
A space represents bare ground with no snow on it. If you try to ski on dirt, you could fall down....
This is ice. When you are on ice, you can't turn, and you might slip and fall down.
This is the Yeti! As soon as he crawls out of a snowbank, he will lumber directly towards you at one space per turn, and if he gets within one space of you, he will grab you and beat you up! However, he has trouble moving through trees. Steer clear from the Yeti, and he will melt after a while, since it is a sunny day. If you jump over him, your jet-powered skis will help melt him. You can also melt him with nuclear ICBMs, or call the Fire Demon who will cook him, but once a Yeti melts, another one always shows up after a while. The Yeti doesn't understand about the edges of the slope either, so you can just cross them to get away from him! And since he is slower than you, you can try to ski right past him before he can grab you!
This represents a nuclear ICBM that you launched. You launch them from your backpack, and they zoom right at the Yeti.
This is the Fire Demon, who is always your friend unless you call him a bad name and he gets mad at you.
These are your commands. You can type any one of these letters when you have the "?" prompt on the end of the slope line, or just hit a return to do nothing this turn. Preceding any command with a number does that command repeatedly; thus, for example, “4l” is “turn left 4 times”.
Turn to the right. If you were going straight down, this will make you go one space to the right every turn. If you type "R" again, then you will go two spaces to the right every turn. If you type "L" the next turn, you will again be going one space to the right every turn. Remember that you can't turn when you are on ice, and if you go off the edge of the slope you come back into the other edge. You travel farther while you are going sideways, so you get a better score if you slalom to the side a lot, but you can never go sideways more than five spaces per turn.
Turn left. Exactly the same as turning right, but totally opposite.
Jump. When jumping, you don't have the "?" on the right for each line you jump over, so you can't enter a command for it. You can't fall, hit trees, or get grabbed by the Yeti while jumping, but you might land badly and get hurt. Since the Yeti moves one space toward you each turn, you have to be going at least two spaces per turn sideways to jump over him without getting grabbed when you land, but your jet-powered skis may melt the Yeti while you're jumping over him.
Hop. A hop is half a jump.
Teleport through hyperspace. This transports you to somewhere else on the slope, but you might materialize way up in the air and fall down.
Launch ICBM with nuclear warhead. If your backpack is working well, an ICBM will be launched from it towards the Yeti, travelling at three spaces per turn. Launching ICBMs is dangerous, but once one is going, it can't hurt you. If it is launched and loses its negative-infrared lock on the Yeti, it self-destructs.
Cast spell to summon the Fire Demon to this material plane. If the alternate universes are in a synchronous phase, the Fire Demon will appear somewhere on the slope, and move to attack the Yeti at one space per turn, but if something goes wrong while casting this spell, the Fire Demon might get mad and decide to go for you instead of the Yeti! If there is no Yeti around, the Fire Demon will soon get bored and go home. If you don't like where the Fire Demon showed up, you can try to recast this spell, so that he will appear somewhere else.
Spawn an invisible monster called a Unix shell. You may type to the shell; it will do strange things with your input, opening a space warp in the middle of the ski-slope to display them at you. The shell monster is polite; when it is done, you will be deposited back on your slope exactly where you were before.
Display command help.
Good luck, and happy skiing!
Mark Stevans, for Roy's Games, Inc. Python implementation,
color support and the invisible shell monster by Eric S. Raymond