Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Warren Robinett is a designer of interactive computer graphics software, notable as the developer of Adventure, the first graphical adventure video game, and as the founder of The Learning Company, where he designed Rocky's Boots. More recently he has worked on virtual reality projects.
After graduating from Rice University, he was a programmer working for Western Geophysical in Houston, Texas. He received an M.S. from University of California, Berkeley in 1976, and went to work at Atari in November 1977.
His first effort at Atari was Slot Racers for the Atari 2600. While he was working on it, he had discovered and played Crowther and Woods' Colossal Cave Adventure at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and decided that a graphical video game version "would be cool". However, with 128 bytes of RAM and 4096 bytes of ROM, Atari's Adventure was a much simpler program, and with only a joystick for input, the set of commands was necessarily brief. Even so, Adventure was a hit upon its 1978 release, and eventually sold a million copies.
Atari designers at the time were not given credit for their games, in fear of headhunters. In response to this, Robinett placed in a hidden object in the game that would allow the player to reach a hidden screen which displayed the words "Created by Warren Robinett," hence creating the first known Easter egg used in a video game.
He quit Atari and founded The Learning Company in 1980.
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