Extreme Retrogaming With Atari’s Adventure

Ah, the good old days of Atari’s Adventure: A game that , especially when looking back through our 21st century eyeballs, has such an incredibly simplistic title and an equally simplistic presentation. But that’s the thing that was so brilliantly endearing about a game that did not have any fancy graphics whatsoever. In fact, Atari’s Adventure barely had any graphics, as you, playing as the main character, were represented by a simple square. You see, in 1980, when a game like Adventure came along, marketed and packaged in a box with a cool dragon and medieval design,  you kind of expected uh…adventure but you still didn’t expect much.

Adventure Keeps it Simple. Real Simple

In fact, back in 1980 with the absence of rich graphical content (i.e. not yet invented), much of a game’s gameplay could exist in your imagination. Adventure in fact was conceived and inspired by text based games, namely Colossal Cave Adventure where you  essentially propelled your character through the story by making text-based choices by way of inputting commands such as ‘go east’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, etc.  Adventure‘s appeal also gave rise to the development of other text based games, with one of its successor’s being games like Zork. Text based adventure games in fact was an early way of evolving traditional Dungeons and Dragons games and bringing them to the computer and indeed, these helped sow the seeds of the modern day RPG.  You can say that Atari’s Adventure acted as kind of a graphical skin for Colossal Cave Adventure.

And so, here’s Atari’s Adventure. A game of dragons and castles, endless mazes and an Enchanted Chalice. The goal is just that: Find your sword (represented by a simple arrow), find the keys, defeat the dragons and find the chalice. And if you’re really good, there’s an Easter Egg, possibly the earliest of its kind, hidden in the game.  It’s extreme gaming at it’s best, but keep in mind that a game like Adventure, as sparse as it appears, was a technical achievement back in the day due to the limited amount of memory available on an Atari 2600 cartridge, which was 4k. Yes. 4k.

Check out a playthrough of Atari’s Adventure: Level 1

Year: 1980
Developer: Atari, Inc
Publisher: Atari, Inc
Designer: Warren Robinett
Platform: Atari 2600
Genre: Action, Adventure

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.