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Retro Gaming Hacks by Chris Kohler

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Play the Best: Infocom Adventures

Collect and discover the cream of the crop of text games.

In the beginning, there was Adventure.

Widely accepted as the first text adventure game, Adventure (a.k.a. Colossal Cave) was written around 1975 by Will Crowther, programmer and spelunker. The game was very rudimentary, based on a map of a real-world cave system, but with certain elements of puzzle solving and treasure collection. The following year, the game was expanded extensively by Don Woods, and spread like wildfire across ARPAnet.

Among the people who quickly became fans of the game were Dave Lebling, Marc Blank, and Tim Anderson at MIT, who decided to set out to write a better game that drew on the same ideas. Along with Bruce Daniels, a fellow student, they completed the game over the next couple of years, eventually ending up with the first version of what is now known as Zork, the first Infocom title.

The original plan had been to simply call it a day once the game was complete, but a group from the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science decided that they wanted to set up a company together. With no plan for what to sell, they settled on the Zork game as their first product. It was also at this time that one of the greatest ideas of Infocom came into existence; in order to allow Zork to run across the range of home computers that were becoming available, they created the Z-Machine, a virtual machine that could be emulated across a range of hardware platforms, allowing a single version ...

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