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SFTW: Adventure

Each week Iain Simon selects a game so you can while away a few hours. This week it's <em>Adventure<

This week, I’ve been talking a lot about software emulation versus the contextual, critical importance of sourcing original hardware to run software upon. The discussion centered around the practicality of sourcing and preserving the original in order to provide an accurate facsimile of the experience. This is the kind of thing I do with friends from the heritage sector in order to relax. I will ensure you all receive an invitation to any Christmas party we throw.

To that end, this week I thought I’d develop the trend begun with Beneath a Steel Sky in offering up another glorious slice of the past. You’ll be pleased to hear that this one requires no software download, with the emulation running neatly in the browser.

‘Adventure’, originally designed in 1978 makes the bold claim of being responsible for two key innovations. It’s sole designer, Warren Robinett, claims responsibility for making the first graphical adventure game AND creating the first Easter Egg* in a
videogame (a screen that displayed his name as the creator).

Inspired by the dungeons and dragons-type text adventures of the time, it’s a lesson in how to get the most possible atmosphere from very basic hardware resources. The object of the game is simple - get the golden chalice back to the castle. Simple. You play the part of the yellow dot.

The online version I’m going to direct you to is a nice flash-based implementation by Scott Pehnke that frames the experience neatly inside a recreation of the original Atari 2600 hardware. Once you’ve selected the difficulty levels you want to attempt, flick the ‘game reset’ button to start your adventure and wallow in your memories of when gaming first invaded your television set.

Play Adventure.

Maurice Molyneux’s Map of the game, should you require a little help…

*For the uninitiated, ‘Easter Eggs’ are hidden pieces of code playfully hidden in software to be discovered by more persistent fans. Often these might be hidden credits or photographs of the programmers. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the primitive flight-simulator hidden inside Microsoft Excel ‘95.

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.