Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Adventure (Atari 2600)
Adventure was published in 1978 by Atari. It was inspired by a computer text game, Colossal Cave Adventure, created by Will Crowther and later modified by Don Woods. Despite discouragement from his boss at Atari who said it could not be done, Robinett created a graphic game loosely based on the text game. Atari's Adventure went on to sell a million copies and is considered by many to be one of the company's finest games.
At the time of its creation, Atari didn't credit any of its authors for their work, so Robinett included a hidden message in the game identifying himself as the creator, thus creating the first known Easter Egg. A young player from Utah first discovered the hidden message.
The object of the game is simply to find the chalice and return it to the gold castle. The character, represented by a square dot, explores a multi-screen landscape containing castles, mazes, and rooms. Hidden throughout the world are a sword, a key to unlock each of the three castles (yellow, black, and white), a magic bridge which allows the player to travel through a wall, and a magnet which will pull any of these objects towards it.
Also roaming the world are three dragons:
- Yorgle, the yellow dragon. He is afraid of the Yellow Key and will run away from it. He guards the chalice when he can find it; otherwise he wanders around or helps the other dragons guard their possessions.
- Grundle, the green dragon. He guards the Magnet, the Bridge, and the Black Key.
- Rhindle, the red dragon. He guards the White Key.
A dragon can be "killed" by touching it with the sword. If the console's right difficulty switch is in the "A" position, the dragons will run away when they see the sword.
When a dragon touches the player, it will "strike" (remaining motionless for a moment with its mouth open, waiting for a shorter time if the console's left difficulty switch is in the "A" position) and then "swallow" the player, who becomes trapped in the dragon's belly. Pressing the Reset switch on the console will "resurrect" the player and put him in front of the yellow castle, without moving any other objects in the world; however, this will also resurrect any dragons the player has killed.
A bat flies around randomly, occasionally picking up or dropping objects (including live or dead dragons). The bat can steal the player's sword and give him a live dragon in return, or vice-versa. The player can catch the bat and carry it around.
Not only was Adventure the first action-adventure game and the first to include an Easter Egg, it was also the first ever to allow a character to carry and use moveable objects. Until then, other games of its type allowed a character to have a stash of items, but required the player to select which one to use at any given moment, usually through keyboard or joystick input. Adventure allowed the player to drop one item and pick up another without having to type in any commands.
In addition, there are several clones available. Indenture , programmed by Craig Pell, adds games 4 and 5 as well as a secret area with over 300 more rooms. The name Indenture refers to the fact that programmers at Atari were not allowed to claim credit for their games.
A simplified Flash version of the game, programmed by Scott Pehnke, can be played online and a DirectX clone of the game, programmed by David Copeland, is also available. As with Indenture, this version has additional rooms and a few new objects.
One of the menu screens of Homestar Runner features the character Strong Bad carrying the chalice and running from the gold dragon while exclaiming, "Somebody get this freakin' duck away from me!" (roll over the email button).
- MobyGames' entry on Adventure
- A map of the Adventure world
- Flash version of Adventure
- David Copeland's DirectX version of the game
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