“You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.....”
That's the beginning. The beginning of Adventure, also known as Colossal Cave, but also the beginning of adventure games as we know them today.
This title, being a historic game, also has an interesting history. In 1973 its creator, Bill Crowther, was a developer involved in the creation of ARPAnet. He and his wife used to be enthusiast spelunkers, as well as regular Dungeons and Dragons players.
In their spare time, the Crowthers explored and mapped portions of the Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems in Kentucky for the Cave Research Foundation.
During this period, the couple split up. To be nearer to his two daughters, Crowther decided to write a program for their amusement. A simulation of this cave he explored, mixed with elements from his fantasy roleplaying. They enjoyed it a lot, and the game was passed from friend to friend during the early days of the internet.
Eventually, in 1976, programmer Don Woods found a copy, enjoyed it as well, and contacted Crowther to ask whether he could expand it. Crowther gave his permission. So Woods, who loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy, added some typical Tolkien elements such as Elves, Trolls and even a volcano (inspired by Mount Doom). The game was then completed as we know it today.
So what’s the plot?
You are an adventurer, and your goal is to explore a colossal cave, find and collect as much treasure as you can carry and return home safe and sound - and possibly richer.
But beware: Most wanderers who got inside were never seen again, as many monsters and dangers are lurking in the darkness...
I know this may sound quite simple for a plot and perhaps give a feeling of déjà-vu, but being the first game of its kind, it was very original at the time.
You can move in ten directions, North-South-East-West-NE-NW-SE-SW and even Up and Down, by typing commands like GO NORTH or simply N.
Every time you move, you’ll be given a small description of the place you are in, items that may be lying around, and in which directions you can proceed.
Remember, you must act in the game as you would in reality. Thus, if there’s a door to the north, you’ll have to open it or you’ll crush your nose against it. On top of that, a monster standing in the same room won’t go easy on you if you hang around too long.
You can find useful advice by typing HELP at any moment. A small menu will appear featuring some extra info, instructions and so on.
What else can I say? Put some atmospheric music on, sit down and begin your exploration of the Colossal Cave!
This game requires the WinFrotz interpreter. Easy, eh?
Good luck, adventurers!