Adventure Game

In early 1977, Adventure swept the ARPAnet. Willie Crowther was the original author, but Don Woods greatly expanded the game and unleashed it on an unsuspecting network. When Adventure arrived at MIT, the reaction was typical: after everybody spent a lot of time doing nothing but solving the game (it's estimated that Adventure set the entire computer industry back two weeks), the true lunatics began to think about how they could do it better [proceeding to write ZorkGame] (Tim Anderson, "The History of Zork -- First in a Series" New Zork Times; Winter 1985)

The DonWoods? version ran only on DEC 10s, of which CalBerkeley had approximately zero (there was eventually one, which was kept under lock and key by a fascist prof), so I used to drive down to Stanford, which had the friendly policy of not only giving away accounts for free, but also of doing so automatically from the GUEST login, and wasted far too much time on it.

The game nailed inattentiveness and carelessness similarly as does chess -- I'll never forget when I realized that (A) when it said "a maze of twisty little passages all alike", it really meant it, and I would have to start keeping a paper map instead of doing it all in my head, and (B) it had been saying elsewhere "a maze of twisty little passages, all different", and I hadn't noticed, and thought it was still the first maze...argh.

Then I figured out how to hack Arpanet from Berkeley via a backroom (closet, actually) which theoretically was under lock and key and for authorized personnel only (but which didn't say "this means you", so...), which saved the long drive, and I finally won...but not long after discovered Zork at MIT (which also gave out free accounts automatically from the GUEST login, yay!), and I was well and truly doomed....but I won at Zork, too! Without being able to save games!!!!!!!

But after sinking that much of my life into it, I couldn't bear to try it again when they came out with the PC versions in the 1980s...I hear saving games just before each time the game is about to kill you is a vast time saver.

I did, however, get inspired to write a multi-player adventure-game language with a friend in 1979; that was awesome.

I'll never gotten more than half way through the game myself. Mostly that's because I saved the game to play with visitors. I had a terminal and modem in the spare bedroom. We'd fire it up after dinner, look at about five minutes of my work, then get into adventure. Soon I'd just be watching. A little later I'd drift off to bed. My guests were always sleepy in the morning.

This was at a time when people had a lot of fear and misunderstanding about computers. Adventure offered more computer literacy than any class I've seen by that name. Yes, my work was like adventure: lots of small victories and sometimes twisty little passages.

My brother tells me of a friend whose grade school received a batch of retired PCs that were too old to do anything useful. My brother suggested they load them up with adventure. They did and it's been a hit. -- WardCunningham

WarrenRobinett made a very famous game of the same name for the Atari 2600 (AtariAdventure). Read his page to see how he invented the EasterEgg.

Usually in these games, text or graphical, you have a limited set of actions to perform playing a character, thus a role in a story, changing the environment where your character plays by collecting a set of items and interacting these items with the environment. The actions of your character always change the environment of the game, and its length is determined by the story. Usually you would need to talk to other characters, change the disposition of some items or actually create new ones. It is called Adventure because you would not normally be restricted to a room during the entire story; your character would need to move from different places and complete a quest. The main difference between the adventure genre and RolePlayingGames is that while adventures are focused on the flow of the story, Role Playing Games also focus on the improvement of characters.


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