A Conversation with a Rock


(below is a reflection on this piece of work, yeah)

Samuel Leigh
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spiral's picture

Sam the Shovel in: Shocking Superglue Shenanigans!


The year is 1993. You are on Earth, but not the one more famously known. Today in your 12th grade Electronics 102 class, you're finding yourself bored of petty lightbulbs connected to tomatoes projects and have gone off searching the depths of the circuitry closet. Under a heapful of dust, you find a box declaring itself the holder of something known as the "MunsterBox", some kind of home entertainment "computer". What the heck is a computer? Might as well ask the teacher!

"Oh, that old thing, ha ha! MunsterBox, yes, I remember putting in the request for it on the school budget, as I figured it'd be a revolution in educational tools. Unfortunately, it ended up being a real bust, both my request and the whole 'computer' idea itself. It took several years for me to be granted the purchase, but by then the world had well known how useless and clunky this awful thing is."

You ask what is so bad about it. If it was so worthless it would have been recycled by now, right?

"Ah, I suppose I kept it for the same reason I keep all of the experimental relics laying around. You see, the MunsterBox can't do anything by itself. As you've been learning, normal electronic devices allow anybody to modify the entire structure at will, in a hands-on approach. This 'computer' requires you to buy separate, expensive cartridges that you need to shove into it. And what's more, almost every 'program' for it required special hardware extensions to even function!"

Oh, well that sucks. You guess it really is useless. You say you might as well put it back in the circuitry closest, and cover it up with dust again.

"Hm, you could do that, or you could open it up and see if you can get it running yourself. I've noticed your restlessness with the curriculum, so I don't have any qualms with letting you dive into more advanced areas. The manual for the MunsterBox is missing, but I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out. This model came with some kind of 'edutainment' program, it should be in the box somewhere. Good luck!"

You decide to tackle the challenge of the unknown, and start trying to piece together all the plastic screws, wires, and covered circuit boards that will hopefully become the forgotten "computer". After a few hours, having forgotten to move on to a different class because of your focus, you manage to put it together reasonably well, and find an outlet that accepts the battery plug.

Shaking it to remove embedded dust from years of neglect, you eagerly but carefully slide in the cartridge for "Sam the Shovel: Shocking Superglue Shenanigans!". This really must be old, you remember seeing re-runs of that cartoon as a kid! You push the "on" button, and watch the screen light up with a fantastic display of 2^8 colours, along with speakers blasting out 4-bit audio. What an interesting device... Now, how does one begin running the program?


up and down arrow keys - move through menus
spacebar - activate highlighted option

game - mno
text - Unifont, Terminal, OpenSymbol fonts, and TextBlitter by Christopher Lightfoot
shovel clipart -
everything else - Clickteam

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