Text Adventures

The History Of Text Adventures

(According To Other Websites)

In 1972, William Crowther and his wife Pat were working for Bolt, Beranek and Newman in Boston, otherwise known as BBN. Will was developing the assembly language program for the original routers used in creating the ARPAnet. In their spare time the Crowthers, both avid cavers, explored and mapped portions of the Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems in Kentucky for the Cave Research Foundation.
Still thinking of the many beautiful sights they had seen, including caverns with colorful names like The Hall of the Mountain King and Twopit Room, Will Crowther produced plotter line-drawing maps of the cave from survey data of their explorations.

Other activities Crowther enjoyed were rock climbing and a regular game of Dungeons and Dragons, a roleplaying game in which Crowther took on the persona of Willie the Thief among a circle of close friends.

Unfortunately, Crowther's marriage ended in 1975. Sometime thereafter, feeling estranged from his two daughters and wanting to be closer to them, he decided to write a program that they might enjoy: a simulation of his cave explorations that also contained elements of his fantasy roleplaying. He was intrigued by the idea of trying a computer-mediated version of the game.

He wrote a computer simulation based on the maps, for a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-10 computer, in FORTRAN. His first version included caver jargon such as Y2 (a typical notation on cave maps denoting a survey point), and many of the names of rooms in this version came from actual features in the caves Will had been exploring.

Crowther's daughters enjoyed the game, and it was passed from friend to friend during the early days of the Internet, appearing on countless computers on and off the fledgling network. Often someone would install Adventure in the wee hours of the night — without mentioning it to the computer staff — and move on, resulting in a mysterious yet impressive game program seeming to appear as if by magic.

** Click here to see my text adventures on my Games Site. **