IBM PCjr Easter Egg - Keyboard Adventure Puzzle

When the PCjr hit the market, many purchasers had never seen a computer before. Many USERS were expected to be children who had never seen any kind of keyboard before. To get these folks on board, the PCjr provided the Keyboard Adventure, a program that teaches a new user the functions of a computer keyboard. This program is stored in the ROM of every PCjr. 37 pages of step-by-step instructions (starting on page 2-6 of the Guide to Operations) introduce the user to the keyboard functions.

To get to the Keyboard Adventure, you need a PCjr. Remove any cartridges and diskettes. If you've added a hard drive, you'll need to disable it somehow. Turn on the machine. Do not touch the keyboard. In a short time a BASIC screen will appear. Press the Esc key (If you press any other key first, you'll have to power off and try again). Welcome to the Keyboard Adventure!

Here's a summary of the 37 pages of instructions, in case you've lost the book:

Use the cursor keys to move the little man. Move him first to the L-shaped Enter key in the upper left corner. This opens a door into the box, so that you can Enter it. Once the excitement stops, press various keys on the keyboard to see what they do. Two things happen:

1. If the key has never been pressed before, the little man places it on the keyboard.
2. The character that the key represents is added to the top line of the screen.

When you get tired of this, press the 7 key. Now press the Fn key. Now type: Fn 7, and the rest of the keyboard will be filled in. Now you can try "special" functions, such as the various function keys. One that you will absolutely need to know is Fn 8. This toggles between what I'll call "normal" mode, in which keys perform their usual functions, and "animate" mode, in which the cursor keys once again move the little man around on the screen. Later it will become apparent why it is important to know which mode you are in.

Before going on, we need to have a notation for "held-down" keys. When you type an uppercase "s" for example, you press down the Shift key AND HOLD IT DOWN while you press "s", then release it. In my notation this will look like:

Shift (s)

The left parenthesis tells you to keep the Shift key down.
After you type the "s", the right parenthesis tells you to release the Shift key. Here's a more complicated example:

Press the Alt key at the (. Release the Alt key at the ).
Alt (Fn n 0 1 Fn n)

Now, to go back to an empty keyboard box, type: Shift (Fn 0) OR to start the whole Adventure over, type: Shift (Fn 9).

All of that is in the book. You're encouraged to try other key sequences by the statement, "The next time you join us, you may discover some secret adventures."

If you took that advice, you may have discovered the following undocumented functions:

Shift (Fn 4) - Change background color to grey
Ctrl (Fn 1) - Play Beethoven's fifth symphony (Also documented as available via Fn 2). To stop the music, you can type: Fn b, which stands for Break.
Alt (Fn 1) - Change background color to blue

It's less likely that you found these two:

Alt (Fn 9) - Play symphony
Shift (Fn 3) - Change background color to red
BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE IN ANIMATE MODE AND THERE IS MUSIC PLAYING (as a result of some prior keystrokes).

These last two combinations may give you some idea of what you are in for.

So where's the puzzle? OK, type: Shift (Fn 9) to start over. Move the man to the Enter key so the door opens. DON'T GO IN THE DOOR. Go under the box to a spot just below the door, then move UP. The man goes right through the wall! Keep going up until the action starts.

Well, here we are again, ready to fill the keyboard. There's just one difference. Now there are 8 spaces above the keyboard, just like in Hangman. And that's the puzzle. All you have to do is put the right characters into those spaces and you've solved the puzzle. They have to be done in order, no jumping ahead. When you get done, you get a small graphic reward and a sense of accomplishment. I suggest you give it a try for a while. Here's a hint: the first letter (oops, that's already a hint) is upper case. If you get the second one, start thinking about what kind of mind would come up with the exotic key sequences shown earlier. Good luck.

User Rating:
  9.4/10 with 5 votes
Contributed By: Chris Beall on 04-12-2004
Reviewed By: Jabberwocky
Special Requirements: IBM PCjr computer
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Chris Beall writes:
SOLUTION - First character position How far did you get? If you got one character, you're pretty patient. If you got two, you're a creative thinker. If you got three, you're qualified to do brain surgery. If you got more than that, you probably reverse-engineered the code, the way I did. First you need to know WHAT characters solve the puzzle. I'll tell you, though you may have guessed already: IBM PCjr Now that you know that, maybe you'd like to try it again. See you in a day or so. : As you may realize by now, knowing WHAT to enter isn't worth much. The key to the puzzle is HOW to enter things. Here we go. By the way, you never need to type the letter O, so if you see something that looks like one in these instructions, it's really the digit zero (0). Start by pressing Fn and 7, in either order, then Enter to clear the top line. Type: Fn 7 to fill in the keyboard, since you can't get into animate mode otherwise. Press Enter to clean up the top line. To enter the "I", type: Shift (i) Enter. They get harder.
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Chris Beall writes:
HINT - Second character position YOU can't type the second letter, but your little friend can.
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