Dear Mr. Robinette,
While you admitted that Will Crowther’s Adventure (1977) inspired you, what you created was a 90 degree game that took the industry in new directions. The amazing thing about Adventure was it was a simulation that provided a dynamic, emergent narrative. You touched on the following accomplishments in your presentation:
Yes, Adventure was the first action adventure game.
Yes, Adventure pioneered technology to help create the first comic superhero game Superman (1979).
Yes, Adventure won an Arcade award, and Superman, that used your technology also won a Arcade award the same year.
Yes, Adventure contained the first ever Easter Egg and sent a F-U message to corporate cronies who treated developers like faceless factory workers.
These are all things to be in awe of, but what made me so in love with Adventure was that it was primarily a simulation. Not a tedious simulation where making a wrong move would crash your Flight Simulator. It was a fantasy quest simulation with items, dragons, mazes, and an fantastical strong bat.
I think that it was the first actual sandbox game. While GTA gets all the attention, Adventure was small enough to witness crazy stuff happening. It was these hilarious events that got seared into my memory (and in those of others as evidenced by the attendees at the GDC talk). Some of these events had me:
- Get eaten by a Dragon and while sitting in its belly, get swept up by the Bat for a wild ride across the kingdom. How cool is that!
- Enter the Labyrinth and see a key stuck on a wall. I knew that the Bat must have carried the magnet and its attraction pulled the key around for a bit. The world was alive as things happened when I wasn’t around.
- See Dragons run away because they wanted to avoid the sword the Bat carried into the room. I could hug that bat.
- Witness a Dragon get cut down by the Bat when it tried swapped the Dragon for the Sword it was carrying. I could kiss that bat!
- Get a Dragon dropped on me when the Bat swapped the item I was carrying for the Dragon it carried. I could kill that bat!
Adventure held a special place for me when I played it 35 years ago. Now I can look back and appreciate it in new ways that I can now articulate. Adventure optimizes what for me what a Gamelore is, where my curiosity, wonder, and delight where charged providing me the material to share this story. The fact I can recall these events 35 years after playing Adventure proves the point.
So thank you! Thank you for the innovation and delight you brought to us.