Key & Compass presents:
Another Terminal Beach
by Mike Bonsall

Another Terminal Beach is a Z-machine work of interactive fiction written with Inform 7 and is © 2011 by Mike Bonsall.

In this adaptation of JG Ballard's short story The Terminal Beach, you play as Traven, an emaciated man haunted by the deaths of his wife and son. Traven has made his way to Eniwetok, the island where the H-bomb was tested and which he will now slowly explore. Note that despite the bugs, instadeaths, and textdumps, this story is finishable.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the work.


(die) (die) enter door s Furtheralongthe shore SouthLandingField Shore TheTargetBasin Furtheralongthe shore CameraTower ControlTower OuterBlocks CameraBunker FusedSand B29Graveyard Crevise TiltingBlock Shacks TargetLake SubmarinePens


This is a very buggy game/story. It is also, like most adaptations, very linear. To control your path through the story, the author uses two techniques: revealing new exits only when you need them and killing the player-character whenever you fail to do the next thing that the plot requires you to do.

Oh, and some items are just red herrings of death that you can't take or even look at. It's a bit like navigating a mine field.


You're exhausted. Get away from the sea.

CAUTION: Going too far north or south along the shore is fatal.

> x me. i. e.

The Target Basin

It's now the next day, every time you enter here.

CAUTION: Going southeast from here without drinking first is fatal.

> x water. drink water. se.

Camera Tower

CAUTION: Climbing the ladder is fatal.

> x door. x ladder.

> open door. (Can't.)

> in. (Nope.)

> enter door. (Yes, that works.)

Camera Bunker

There will be more exits here later, but for now, you're restricted to northeast and "enter door".

> ne.

Control Tower

CAUTION: Examining or taking the bicycle wheel is fatal.

CAUTION: Leaving without the magazines is fatal.

> take magazines. sw.

Camera Bunker

Time has passed. You no longer carry the magazines, but the room description has changed to include a photograph and a new eastern exit.

> look.

Actually, the room description is completely gone. You only get that description when you first bring the magazines here.

> x photograph.

> e.

Fused Sand

CAUTION: Examining or taking the broken Coke bottle is fatal.

CAUTION: Leaving without the key is fatal.

> take key. x it. e.

B29 Graveyard

This is confusing. The Superfortresses aren't supposed to be portable and they're also not as empty as they claim.

CAUTION: Going north or west from here at this time is fatal.

BUG: The game fails to check if ration packs were found or on the pallet.

> x superfortresses. x pallet.

> enter superfortresses. (Traven finds the packs.)

> take packs. out. put packs on pallet.

> push pallet west. push pallet west.

Camera Bunker

Huge text dump. More time has passed. New exit to the southeast.

CAUTION: Don't return to the graveyard unless you're pushing the pallet; there's no way out from there otherwise.

> se.


CAUTION: Entering the Shower Stalls is fatal.

CAUTION: Leaving without the playlist is fatal.

> enter cafeteria. enter room.

> take playlist. (A glint is seen to the east.)

> e.

Target Lake

You're not supposed to be able to take the mannequins.

> look. x mannequins. w. nw.

Camera Bunker

You'll automatically drop the playlist here. There's a new exit west.

> w.

Outer Blocks

> e. (Still at Outer Blocks.)

> e. (More at Outer Blocks and then you're at...)

Tilting Block

> ne.

Camera Bunker

You're moving your home base from here to the tilting block.

CAUTION: Going to the Tilting Block without the photograph and playlist in your immediate inventory is fatal.

> take photograph. take playlist.

> sw.

Tilting Block

The game doesn't care if the pallet or magazines moved to your new home here.

Time passes. New exit to the southeast.

> se.

Submarine Pens

CAUTION: Examining or taking the pistol in the shack is fatal.

CAUTION: Leaving the metal shack without the rations is fatal.

> enter shack. take rations. out.

CAUTION: Examining or taking the telephone in the office is fatal.

CAUTION: Leaving the office without the charts is fatal.

> enter office. take charts. out.

> nw.

Tilting Block

Bringing both the rations and the charts here triggers the next bit of plot.

> norneorse.

Regardless which way you go, you end up in...

Outer Blocks

You see an airplane head to the south landing field. The northeast exit is new.

CAUTION: Going east or south at this time is fatal.

> ne.

South Landing Field

I don't know how to answer the doctor's questions. You have three chances to explain something significant. Would this make more sense if you had the original story to refer to?

Traven said> ANYTEXT

Traven said> ANYTEXT

Traven said> ANYTEXT

He tells you to return to your hovel. The craft leaves.

CAUTION: Going south from the field at this time is fatal.

> sw. s.

Tilting Block

Now the woman asks "What are you doing here?"

Traven said> ANYTEXT

Traven said> ANYTEXT

Traven said> ANYTEXT

Traven said> ANYTEXT

Traven said> ANYTEXT

The woman advises you to hide from the Navy. You have only a few turns to find a spot.

CAUTION: Being found by the search party is fatal.

You need to go to Target Lake:

> ne. se. e.

Target Lake

> z. z.

> w. (You return to...)

Outer Blocks

Say goodbye to the major target zones. Uh, what? I don't think it matters what you type here.

Goodbye> ANYTEXT (Keep trying for nine turns. Eventually, you'll stop trying to say goodbye.)

CAUTION: Going northeast or east from here at this time is fatal.

> s.


CAUTION: Opening the map wallet is fatal.

> take canteen. open it. (You drink.)

> take tin. open it. (You eat.)

A fly arrives. Dr Yasuda talks to you...

TRAVEN: ANYTEXT. (Repeat 7 times. Yasuda tells you to kill that fly!)

CAUTION: Not killing the fly now is fatal.

> kill fly.

Now take the Doctor back to guard your home.

CAUTION: Leaving without pushing the crate is fatal.

> take dr. put dr on crate.

> push crate e.

An hour later, when Traven reached the awning by his bunker, he untied the wire cord he had fastened around his waist. He took the chair left for him by Dr Osborne and carried it to a point midway between the bunker and the blocks. Then he tied the body of the Japanese to the chair, arranging the hands so that they rested on the wooden arms giving the moribund figure a posture of calm repose.

This done to his satisfaction, Traven returned to the bunker and squatted under the awning.

As the next days passed into weeks, the dignified figure of the Japanese sat in his chair fifty yards from him, guarding Traven from the blocks. He now had sufficient strength to rouse himself at intervals and forage for food. In the hot sunlight the skin of the Japanese became more and more bleached, and Traven would wake at night and find the sepulchral figure sitting there, arms resting at its sides, in the shadows that crossed the concrete floor. At these moments he would often see his wife and son watching him from the dunes. As time passed they came closer, and he would sometimes find them only a few yards behind him.

Patiently Traven waited for them to speak to him, thinking of the great blocks whose entrance was guarded by the seated figure of the dead archangel, as the waves broke on the distant shore and the burning bombers fell through his dreams. ***

> amusing



Well done, you have survived your twenty seven possible deaths! (for now)

Best wishes

Mike Bonsall



Note that AMUSING claims there's 27 ways to die! I couldn't find quite that many, but here are the ones I found:

  1. A loose connection in the wiring of the phone's capacitor gave Traven a massive shock. As he lay on the dusty floor of the field office, he could see his son and wife as sprites of St Elmo's Fire dancing above the smoking apparatus...
  2. Exhausted by his encounter, Traven finally collapsed. As he fell he thought he could hear his son singing...
  3. Fascinated by the endless false coutours of Dr Yasuda's map, Traven forgot his intense hunger and passed into a final fugue, imagining his family travelling in this impossible topography.
  4. Feeling he had left some key to his existance behind, Traven wandered lost in the blocks. With the last of his strength he lifted his head to the rising moon, thinking he saw the contours of his son's head in the lunar seas...
  5. He became lost in the blocks for the last time, the sweat running down his face like the final caress of his wife.
  6. He was half-way up the ladder before the rusty stanchions pulled free of the rotting concrete. Traven could hear the final cries of his dying son as he plunged to the ground.
  7. Looking backwards at the key he had left lying in the sand, Traven lost his footing and fell heavily, the shard of a Coke bottle severed his femoral artery. His blood staining the sand black, Traven remembered the black beach where he had met his wife and her infinite smile...
  8. Over the tang of gun oil in his nostrils, Traven could smell his wife's perfume. Without conscious thought, Traven put the pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger...
  9. The blank white tiles of the shower stalls stunned Traven's senses. He merged into the angle between two walls, feeling the numinous presence of his dead wife and son...
  10. The blast of heat as he emerged from the shack was enough to bring the starving Traven to his knees. Over the sound of the breaking waves he was sure he could hear his wife and son playing in the lagoon...
  11. The dirty shard sliced deep into the wrist crease of Traven's hand, As he lay bleeding on the thin carapace of thermonuclear glass. The tinkling sound of his wife's laughter reached his ears...
  12. The septic toxins released by Traven's leg caused a final epiphany. As he fell to the ground he could hear his dead wife orgasming for the last time...
  13. The shambling derelict figure of Traven inflamed the superstitions of the drunken shore party. As he accepted their blows as his right, he felt them as the last caresses of his dead wife.
  14. Traven vomited weakly onto the fused sand, in a reflection in his phlegm he thought he could see his son standing behind him...
  15. Traven's level of dehydration reached a peak, as his cortex began to shut down, he could feel the touch of his wife's hand on his cheek...
  16. Trying to define the abstract essence of his relationship with this strange mandala, Traven forgot his quest entirely and slowly passed into a coma, only too late hearing the tapping walk of his wife approaching...
  17. Unable to fathom the quantal significance of the list of records in the juke-box, Traven entered his final fugue, shimmering just beyond his vision his son played in the endless afternoon...
  18. Unable to imagine an existence in this damp apocalyptic hovel, Traven rocked in the corner, his final whimpers reminding him of his son's last moments....
  19. Unable to kill the fly, Traven knew he could not carry on, as he blacked out he could hear his son singing in tune to the buzzing of the fly
  20. Unable to withstand the drumming of the waves any longer, Traven walked slowly into the sea, towards the wraiths of his dead wife and son who seemed to beckon from the reef...
  21. Without his wise companion Traven lost his way for the last time. He could feel his wife's embrace as he fell to the sand...
  22. without the photograph of the young girl and the playlist, his final links with humanity, Traven finally lost touch with the quantal world. He could sense somewhere within him his wife's smile

The winning ending:


Also, thanks to some buggy coding, there's several things you can pick up that you shouldn't be able to:

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