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atari adventure
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Hoping to reconnect with his estranged daughters following the collapse of his marriage, in 1976 programmer and spelunker Will Crowther rigged a text parser to interact with a narrated simulation of the Bedquilt region of Kentucky's real-life Mammoth Cave system he and his wife Pat had explored and mapped together.

Starting with a faithful reproduction of geological formations he upped the gameplay potential (oh boy... rocks!) with an injection of period "Frodo Lives!" pseudofantasy tropes (including angry dwarfs and that first great video game magic word "xyzzy") and stocked the cavern complex with a series of treasures to be collected and deposited back topside.

The formula was later built and improved upon by a host of others over some 30 (!) years now, most notably by Don Woods, but an August 2007 rediscovery of March 1977 backups of Crowther's original source code reveals how many important elements of the game's design were already present in the earliest versions.


Adventure Windows Game start, instructions
Adventure Windows Strange objects, vivid caver descriptions, and a curious sign...
Adventure Windows Magic words, the lamp in action... and a treasure!
Adventure Windows What a saucy little dwarf!

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "The Original Adventure" -- Software Toolworks release title
  • "Colossal Cave Adventure" -- Full name
  • "Colossal Cave" -- Alternate name
  • "ADVENT" -- TOPS-10 filename restriction

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Great piece of gaming history Windows Sam Vulcan (18)

Critic Reviews

Just Adventure Windows Oct 14, 2011 A 100


Topic # Posts Last Post
Unix port? 4 Pseudo_Intellectual (64452)
Dec 10, 2017


Mammoth Caves

The Mammoth Caves complex in Kentucky constituting the setting for this game are also the setting for the early H. P. Lovecraft short story "The Beast In The Cave."

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by Kabushi (257697) and Pseudo_Intellectual (64452)
atari adventure