Description official descriptions
The earliest commercial home computer port of the first mainframe adventure game, Colossal Cave. Players explore said cave, searching for treasure, solving puzzles, using magic, avoiding threatening little dwarves, and navigating mazes of twisty passages, all alike.
Credits (TRS-80 version)
|Instruction Booklet by|
Being such an early game, it's no surprise that even its capability to save/load was advertised as a selling point!
Since advanced players can survive in Colossal Cave for hours, Adventure allows you to stop the action in the cave. You can use your IBM Personal Computer for other things, and yet return days or weeks later and continue your Adventure journey.
This was actually worth advertising as saving and loading games wasn't a common feature back then.
Microsoft Adventure was completely written by Gordon Letwin in 1979, two years prior to the IBM release.
PBS's TV documentary Triumph of the Nerds features a video recording of a staff meeting of Software Arts, on the day the IBM PC was announced, August 12, 1981.
Software Arts were the development team of VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program for the IBM PC.
On that meeting is discussed the release of the IBM PC and it's software, including VisiCalc and Microsoft Adventure.
A hint sheet, solution sheet, complete game map, and score breakdown were all available, but you had to special-order them.
Microsoft Adventure is a port of the famous Colossal Cave Adventure, the very first Interactive Fiction game, produced in the '70s.
The programs offered initially to run on the I.B.M. machines will be versions of programs that have been popular on other computers. They include VisiCalc, a popular business forecasting program; three business and accounting packages by Peachtree Software; Easywriter, a word-processing package, and even Microsoft Adventure, a fantasy game. The software, however, will sell in some cases for about twice the price of the equivalent programs sold for use on other competing machines.
Copyright ©1980 The New York Times
Microsoft Adventure was the only game included with the initial set of programs announced and published for the IBM PC, making it the first commercial game on this platform.
It's an interesting fact that Microsoft made Microsoft Adventure as a PC Booter game instead of making it run on top of the IBM PC's operating system, Microsoft's DOS.
Tim Anderson about Adventure
In early 1977, Adventure swept the ARPAnet. Willie Crowther was the original author, but Don Woods greatly expanded the game and unleashed it on an unsuspecting network. When Adventure arrived at MIT, the reaction was typical: after everybody spent a lot of time doing nothing but solving the game (it's estimated that Adventure set the entire computer industry back two weeks), the true lunatics began to think about how they could do it better [proceeding to write Zork].
Tim Anderson, "The History of Zork -- First in a Series" New Zork Times; Winter 1985)
William Crowther about Adventure
I had been involved in a non-computer role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons at the time, and also I had been actively exploring in caves — Mammoth Cave in Kentucky in particular.
Suddenly, I got involved in a divorce, and that left me a bit pulled apart in various ways. In particular I was missing my kids.
Also the caving had stopped, because that had become awkward, so I decided I would fool around and write a program that was a re-creation in fantasy of my caving, and also would be a game for the kids, and perhaps some aspects of the Dungeons and Dragons that I had been playing.
My idea was that it would be a computer game that would not be intimidating to non-computer people, and that was one of the reasons why I made it so that the player directs the game with natural language input, instead of more standardized commands. My kids thought it was a lot of fun.
— William Crowther (creator of the very first version of Adventure).
Related Sites +
A short history of interactive fiction.
On <a href="http://www.inform-fiction.org/">Inform</a>'s website there is an online <a href="http://www.inform-fiction.org/manual/html/index.html">Inform Designer's Manual</a> with a section dedicated to the history of Interactive Fiction. Microsoft Adventure is part of that history.
A document about the implementation of Adventure and its various ports and remakes.
Adventure/Colossal Cave's info and walkthrough
A very detailed walkthrough of the game can be found here, along with the description of all the game's objects and places.
Colossal Cave Adventure online.
Play the Colossal Cave Adventure on your browser.
Interactive Fiction as Literature
An article from the May 1987 issue of Byte Magazine reworking Mary Anne Buckles' 1985 doctoral dissertation on Adventure.
Microsoft Adventure disk (Apple II)
You can download the Apple II version of <i>Microsoft Adventure</i> on <a href="http://www.virtualapple.com/">Virtual Apple</a>'s website.
Microsoft Adventure disk (PC Booter)
You can download the PC Booter version of <i>Microsoft Adventure</i> on <a href="http://retrograde.trustno1.org/">Retrograde Station</a>'s website. This boot disk works perfectly with the <a href="http://www.mess.org/">MESS</a> emulator.
Microsoft Adventure online.
Play the Apple II version of <i>Microsoft Adventure</i> on your browser.
The Colossal Cave Adventure page
All you ever wanted to know about Adventure.
- MobyGames ID: 4074
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe.
TRS-80, Apple II added by Nélio. Heath/Zenith H8/H89 added by vedder.
Additional contributors: wanax, Pseudo_Intellectual, Nélio, vedder, Patrick Bregger.
Game added May 13th, 2001. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.