In the early 70's there was a little group called
the Castle and Crusade Society who published a set of fantasy rules
for wargamers. This caused a surge of interest in fantasy wargaming
and as a result, the group grew and prospered. Dave Arneson drew
ideas from these rules to create a more complex and exciting game
and in due course, news of this reached Gary Gygax. In 1974, Gygax
and Arneson got together and published a set of fantasy rules which
would take the world by storm. They were called Dungeons and
A short time later, a computerised version of
Dungeons and Dragons was being played out at a computer consulting
firm called Bolt, Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This inspired Willie Crowther to write a computerised fantasy
simulation called 'Adventure'. It was initially written in FORTRAN
for the Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-10, but was later
implemented on the popular PDP-11. It was extensively expanded by
Don Woods and in 1976, it was released to an unsuspecting world
through the Digital Equipment Computer Users' Society.
Adventure soon became the most popular program on
the DECUS library. Wumpus and Star Trek were old hat. Everybody
wanted to play Adventure! It was translated into different languages
(such as BASIC and APL) and converted to other computers (such as
Prime and IBM). Bootleg copies were passed throughout the land and
Adventure rapidly gained a cult following. Computer installation
supervisors estimated that at least two full weeks of work were lost
when Adventure arrived. They tried various means of restricting
access to the game, but nothing really worked. There was no solution
but to let the craze run its course. When the staff had solved the
game, then and only then would they get back to work.
The Adventure program is big. My printout of the
FORTRAN source code is 96 pages long. In the early days, no one
would have dreamed that a program of this size could be made to run
on a number of micros – including the ATARI!
As Original Adventure is one of the very few
computer games that can honestly be called a 'classic', it seems
appropriate to review it in the first Adventure column. The ATARI
version is written in Basic by Robert A. Howell. The story of how he
did it was published in Creative Computing, August 1981 and makes
quite interesting reading. The program has all the flavour and
features of the original – including almost 130 rooms, 2 mazes, 15
treasures and all the same puzzles and obstacles.
When you begin the game, you will find yourself
standing before a small brick well-house. If you enter the
well-house, you will find a number of objects that any Adventurer
will recognise as being potentially useful later in the game. I'd
suggest that you take everything that you can carry, then set out to
search for the entrance to Colossal Cave – a vast underground empire
full of treasures and monsters. You will have to collect all 15
treasures from the cave and return them to the well-house, but in
order to do so, you will have to outsmart the monsters and overcome
various obstacles. The cave's inhabitants include a huge green
snake, a burly troll, a vicious bear, a fierce green dragon, a
bearded pirate and a seemingly endless hoard of pesky dwarves who
are determined to make you into Adventurer shish kebab. Some of the
solutions to problems may seem illogical, but they are all in
keeping with the original version of the game.
You can see how you are doing at any time by typing
SCORE. You are given points for solving certain problems, finding
treasures and returning treasures to the well-house. The maximum
score is 301 points, but the last point is very difficult to
achieve. It is essential to draw a map or you will get hopelessly
lost. And make sure you use a LARGE sheet of paper!
Original Adventure is not easy! If you are new to
Adventures, try something simple like Adventure International's
Pirate Adventure or Voodoo Castle before tackling this one. And do
not expect to finish it in one session! It took me about four
sessions to complete (including a whole weekend) and even then I did
not get the full 301 points. Fortunately, the game can be saved at
any point using SUSPEND and a saved game can be restored using
RESUME. You will probably use these a lot.
The only bad points about the game are some bad
spelling and grammar and the dismally slow response time. Some
people would eagerly blame the slow response on BASIC but that's
really no excuse. I have written a BASIC Adventure with a superb
parser which responds faster than the Scott Adams Adventures, and
his are written in machine language!
Original Adventure used to be marketed by Creative
Computing Software. Unfortunately, they introduced two problems
which weren't in the original version. The first was only cosmetic
and involved a messed up display on the SUSPEND/RESUME screens. The
second was more disastrous as it caused the game to crash with an
ERROR 5 if you typed SCORE after RESUMEing a game. Creative
Computing seems to have pathetic distribution and after sales
support. I remember waiting about four months for my program to
arrive and when it finally did, it had been crushed in the mail due
to poor packaging!
Robert Howell now has the rights to market Original
Adventure himself and if you buy direct from him, you'll find the
service is good and there are no bugs in the program! In addition,
you'll receive an eight page manual with loading and playing
instructions, brief history, details of replacement policy and 86
coded hints! It is available on a 32K cassette or a 40K disk by
sending US$20.00 in the form of an International Money Order or a
Bank Draft in U.S. currency payable at a U.S. bank to: Robert A.
Howell, 20 Richman Road, Hudson, NH 03051, U.S.A. The price includes
return Air Mail postage. Discounts are available for bulk orders or
users' groups and what have you. Write for details.
In summary, Original Adventure is not suitable for
rank beginners, but it is an absolute must for anyone with one or
two Adventures under their belt. You cannot really call yourself an
Adventurer until you have solved the one that started it all!
This issue's hints are (naturally) for Original
Adventure. They are coded in the same format as the hints for the
Scott Adams Adventures. Simply look through the clues until you
recognise the area where you are stuck, then decode the hint by
matching the numbers with the words in the attached list. Once
decoded, you will have anything from a subtle to a cryptic clue. The
cryptic ones may need a little thought, but remember that they are
only meant to be hints and not downright answers! In fact, I hope
you get as much fun from the hints as from the adventure itself.
Can't catch the bird?
64 5 12 49 52 34 15 12 49 52 20 50
Can't cross the fissure?
62 1 63 33 7 43
Can't get past the snake?
13 48 9
Dwarf keep killing you?
23 2 27 75 27 23 2 52 50
Can't get out of Witt's End?
59 69 31 52 20 56 50 50 50
Troll want a toll?
23 52 67 18 53 10 57
Bear acting vicious?
5 6 17 46 5 8 66 72 57
Can't get past the troll on the return trip?
70 28 9
Missing a pearl?
39 5 18 22 21 57
Can't open the clam?
16 74 63 32 43
Stuck in a maze of twisty little passages all alike?
3 12 49 26 51 36 50
Pirate keep pinching your treasure?
55 6 74 68 73 14 8 43
Can't open the rusty door?
8 5 44 4 65 50
Stuck in a maze of twisty little passages all
64 5 11 47 50 51 36 37 70 27 50
Dragon won't budge?
24 29 71 67 63 32 50
Missing a platinum pyramid?
18 36 4 60 19 14 18 10 50
Can't see in the dark room?
18 35 40 19 58 60 30 70 41 50
Still can't see in the dark room?
35 40 5 45 73 10 26 25 36 50
Missing a ruby ring?
64 1 38 43
Can't earn the last point?
3 61 69 54 42 50 50 50