51
Chapter 6
Adventures
A
    kind of videogame in which the gameplay is
largely based on the solution of puzzles. Such games are rarely played
in real time. Instead, the progress of events in the game-world will typi-
cally be suspended until the player acts, allowing them time to consider
their current problem. It is also important that the number of potential
solutions for each puzzle be limited so that players are not overwhelmed
by the exploration of endless possibilities. As a result, the worlds in which
these games are set typically lack the global consistency and physical
operability seen in many computer role playing game milieux, instead
oering a wide variety of opportunities for interaction, which are specic
to a given time and place. Adventures generally emphasize story and char-
acter development; arguably, the form is most eective when the puzzles
are based on interaction with the characters within the game, integrating
the two aspects of the design. e adventure is perhaps the videogame
form that is closest to written ction; the stories oen have a strongly
linear structure, and the discursive nature of the gameplay is reminiscent
of the act of reading. Most attempts to make videogames based on written
sf stories, whether by adaptation or by the creation of sequels, have been
adventures, though the results have oen been unimpressive.
e rst game of this kind was Adventure (19751976; also known
as ADVENT, Colossal Cave or Colossal Cave Adventure) designed by
WilliamCrowther and Don Woods. is program simulates part of the
Mammoth Cave system in the US state of Kentucky, with added fantasy
elements such as hidden treasures and an axe-throwing dwarf. e origi-
nal version was written by Crowther alone, inuenced by his experiences
52 Science Fiction Video Games
of exploring the actual Mammoth Caves and playing an obscure variant
of the fantasy role playing game Dungeons and Dragons (1974 Tactical
Studies Rules) designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson known as
Mirkwood Tales (circa 1975) designed by Eric Roberts; Woods later
expanded the program, adding more puzzles and fantasy elements. Players
can enter a number of dierent areas, each of which is described in text,
and issue instructions using a parser, a piece of soware that attempts to
translate natural language (in this case, English) into inputs, which the
program can process. (A similar approach to game input and output can
be seen in such earlier works as Hunt e Wumpus [1972] designed by
GregoryYob, in which the player must deduce the location of the epony-
mous creature in a 3D dodecahedral maze and kill it before it kills them.)
is variant of the form is generally known as a text adventure, though
this description can also be applied to games in which all or most of
the program’s output is textual, but players choose which action to take
from a menu, as in the much later Japanese game Radical Dreamers (1996
Square) designed by Masato Kato. Many of the characteristic features of
text adventures are already visible in this rst example. Notably, the player
relates to their incarnation within the world of the game as a partially
separate individual who can be given orders, and certain actions will trig-
ger special responses delivered for comic eect, as if the parser itself has
an identity and a role to play. In Adventure, however, there is no concept of
the main character having a history and personality of their own, which
is separate to that of the player, a device that was to become important in
most of its descendants.
Adventure proved to be extremely inuential, inspiring its players to
create many similar games, which were referred to collectively as adven-
tures in honor of that rst work. Of these, the most signicant are perhaps
the comic fantasy Zork (1977–1979; also known as Dungeon) designedby
Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, and Bruce Daniels and
the sword and sorcery Adventureland (1978 Adventure International)
designed by Scott Adams, the rst (albeit somewhat primitive) adventure
released for personal computers. Dog Star Adventure (1979; also known as
Death Planet: e Dog Star Adventure) designed by Lance Micklus, a sim-
ple game much inuenced by the lm Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
(1977) and originally published in Soside magazine, may have been the
rst science-ctional adventure made available for these new machines;
it was followed by rather more accomplished works such as Cyborg (1981
Sentient Soware), designed by the sf writer Michael Berlyn.

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