18 January 2010
Adventure - Atari 2600
Adventure is probably best known for being the first video game with an Easter Egg. Adventure’s Easter Egg is a secret room where the programmer wrote “Created by Warren Robinett.” Atari did not credit its programmers at the time.
Adventure’s Easter Egg was Mr. Robinett’s revenge.
The game was released when my friends and I were deep in the grip of Dungeons & Dragons paper and pencil games. To be able to play a similar – but primitive – version on our Atari was cool.
As the story goes, once upon a time an evil magician stole an enchanted goblet and hid it somewhere in the kingdom. You have to find it. Along the way you will fight and outsmart three deadly dragons and a pesky black bat. You’ll use a bridge, a magnet, keys and a sword to complete your quest. You’ll also need to master some maddening mazes.
Most Atari 2600 games required the gamer to suspend disbelief and employ their imagination to fill in the details that the modest technology could not display. Adventure is among the best examples. The gameplay is solid and challenging, but it was up to the gamer to imagine that the quest was more than the sum of its parts. Adventure displayed rudimentary graphics and characters, but every kid who played it imagined they were more than just a block zipping around in the simple levels. You were an adventurer on a quest. Just look at the box art that accompanies this essay. While you played through the game’s blocky graphics, you imagined you were actually battling that cool dragon in the forbidden castles. This is another great example of the imaginative Atari box art that filled the gap between the player’s imagination and the graphics the console could actually produce.
Just like playing D&D, the game didn’t work if it didn’t spark your imagination. It did, and it will forever be the console game that inspired all the adventure and RPG games that followed.
By Victor Paul Alvarez