Colossal Cave Adventure

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This article is about the text adventure also known as Adventure. For the Atari 2600 game, see Adventure. For the TI-99/4A cartridge titled Adventure, see Pirate Adventure.

Colossal Cave Adventure.png
Colossal Cave Adventure
DeveloperWill Crowther, Don Woods
PublisherWill Crowther, Don Woods
SystemsPDP-10
Released1976 (Crowther)
1977 (Crowther/Woods)
Added to
museum
Crowther
Z-code: August 24, 2019
Crowther/Woods
Z-code: September 4, 2009
Wander: August 25, 2019
Glulx (regular+GUI): August 26, 2019
Amiga/DOS/Source: August 28, 2019
ADRIFT/GINAS/Hugo/TADS: August 28, 2019
Hugo source: August 28, 2019
BDS C Adventure
DOS/OS2/Source/UNIX: August 28, 2019
The Original Adventure
Osborne 1 CP/M: September 8, 2019
Adventure II
Z-code: August 24, 2019
Adventure 2.5
Amiga/DOS/Source: August 27, 2019
Adventure 3
DOS/Source/Z-code: August 24, 2019
Amiga/Mac/Windows: August 28, 2019
TADS: September 8, 2019
Adventure 4
Amiga/DOS/Source: August 27, 2019
Adventure 5
Source: August 26, 2019
Adventure 6
Z-code: August 24, 2019
Amiga/DOS/Source: August 28, 2019
TADS: September 8, 2019
FunAdv
OpenVMS: September 8, 2019
370 point Adventure
DOS/Source: August 27, 2019
580 Point Adventure
TADS: September 8, 2019
701 Point Adventure
TADS: September 8, 2019
701+ Point Adventure
TADS: September 8, 2019
770 Point Adventure
DOS/HTML/Linux/macOS/Source/Windows: September 8, 2019
Adventure in Humongous Cave
DOS: September 8, 2019

Colossal Cave Adventure was the adventure game that gave the genre its name. It was also known as Colossal Cave, Adventure in Humongous Cave, Adventure, or ADVENT. The latter is due to the 6 character limit of computers at the time. It was a complete text adventure with no graphics, since the computer it was originally written for had no graphic output.

Gameplay

The game had the elements that would become a staple of the adventure genre, such as story-based gameplay, puzzles, and inventory. It had a point-based system, where you're awarded a number of points out of a possible total, based on whether you accomplished certain tasks in the game.

Development

Will Crowther developed Colossal Cave Adventure from 1975 to 1976 using the PDP-10 owned by his employer, Bolt Beranek and Newman, in FORTRAN IV. This was shared over the ARPANET, the precursor to the internet, of which Crowther was part of the development team.

In 1977, Don Woods found it, converted it to FORTRAN-10, and expanded it with Will Crowther's permission, completing his version later that year. Also in 1977, it was ported to C for UNIX by Jim Gillogly. The Crowther and Woods version became quite popular, inspiring many others to create their own games in a similar style.

Inspiration

There were text-based games were released before it, such as Hunt the Wumpus, which was created in 1973. Hunt the Wumpus was known for its bats which would transport the player to another room, which also appear in Colossal Cave Adventure. However, Colossal Cave Adventure is the adventure game that popularized the genre, and included an inventory and puzzles, which remain a staple in most western adventure games to this day.

The cave in Colossal Cave Adventure is based on Bedquilt Cave, a cave within the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky, that connects to Colossal Cave. In 1972, Will Crowther's then-wife Patricia was part of the team that found the link that connected Flint Ridge caves to the Mammoth Cave. The Bedquilt cave was Will's favorite part of the Mammoth cave system, so after his divorce to Patricia, he decided to make a game based around it from a map he had made, in the hopes that it would be a game that his daughters would enjoy. As he was a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, he decided to combine elements of fantasy role-playing into the game as well. In the game, you search for treasure while navigating the maze-like caverns and avoiding or fighting the creatures.

Versions

Will Crowther's original version

The original FORTRAN IV version of Colossal Cave Adventure by Will Crowther, before it was continued by Don Woods, was discovered in a tape backup of Don Woods' student account at Stanford in 2005. The date of this version, March 11, 1977, reflects the point when Don Woods first discovered the game and saved it to his student account.

Will Crowther's and Don Woods' version

The 1977 350-point version by Crowther and Woods is also available on many different systems.

In addition, the 1977 350-point version by Crowther and Woods has also been ported to many different scripting languages:

  • A partial Wander version was developed by Peter Langston in 1981.
  • A TADS version was developed by Dave Baggett in 1993, based on Don Ekman's Microsoft Fortran 5 version.
  • Three Z-code versions were developed:
    • Two by Graham Nelson: An Inform 5 version was released in 1994 and an Inform 6 was released in version 1996, both based on Dave Baggett's TADS version.
    • An Inform 7 version was released in 2016, based on Donald E. Knuth's CWEB version.
  • A GINAS version was developed by Jeff Standish in 1995, based on Graham Nelson's Inform 5 version.
  • A Hugo version was developed by Kent Tessman in 1995, based on Graham Nelson's Inform 5 version.
  • Two Glulx versions were developed, both based on Dave Baggett's TADS version:
    • The first Glulx version was developed by Andrew Plotkin in 2000.
    • The second Glulx version was developed by Simon Baldwin in 2002, with a graphical user interface, using his gtoolbar extension.
  • An ADRIFT version was developed by Nick Rogers in 2006, based on Graham Nelson's Inform 6 version.

Extended versions

Colossal Cave Adventure has also been extended multiple times:

  • The Original Adventure, a 370 point version, was developed by Jim Gillogly and Walt Bilofsky.
  • Adventure II, a 440 point version, was developed by Peter Luckett and Jack Pike, of Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough, from 1978 to 1981.
    • This version was converted to Z-code in Inform 7 format by Arthur O'Dwyer in 2016.
  • Adventure 2.5, a 430 point version, was developed by Don Woods for DOS and Amiga in 1995.
    • This version was converted to Z-code in Inform 7 format by Arthur O'Dwyer in 2016.
  • Adventure 3, also known as Adventure 550, a 550 point version, was developed by David Platt in FORTRAN for DOS in 1978.
    • This version was converted to C by Ken C. Wellsch in August 1985, and is available for Amiga, DOS, Mac OS, and Windows.
    • This version was converted to Z-code in Inform 7 format by Arthur O'Dwyer in 2016, based on Ken C. Wellsch's C version.
    • This version was converted to TADS by Bennett Standeven in 1999.
  • Adventure 4, a 660 point version, was developed by Mike Arnautov for DOS and Amiga in 1995, combining Adventure II and Adventure 3 into a single game.
  • Adventure 5, a 501 point version, was developed by David Long at the University of Chicago in 1978. It is only available as source code for FORTRAN IV.
  • Adventure 6, a 551 point version, was developed by David Long and an anonymous coder in Fortran for Amiga and DOS in 1984.
    • This version was converted to Z-code in Inform 7 format by Arthur O'Dwyer in 2017.
    • This version was converted to TADS by David Picton in 1999.
  • FunAdv, a 370 point version, was developed by Neale White III for OpenVMS in 1992.
  • 370 Point Adventure, a 370 point version, was developed by Paul Munoz-Colman for DOS in 1993.
  • 580 Point Adventure, a 580 point version, was developed by Mike Goetz in 1993.
    • This version was converted to TADS by Bennett Standeven in 1999.
  • 701 Point Adventure, a 701 point version, was developed in TADS by David Picton in 2000, combining Adventure 3 and Adventure 6 into a single game.
  • 701+ Point Adventure, an 805 point version, was developed in TADS by David Picton in 2004 based on Adventure 701, with extensions.
  • 770 Point Adventure, a 770 point version, was developed by Mike Arnautov in 2003, based on Adventure 4, in 2003 and released for DOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux, and iOS.
  • Adventure in Humongous Cave, a 1000 point version, was developed in AGT by David R. Malmberg in 1993.

Legacy

The version by Will Crowther and Don Woods spread all over the ARPANET, inspiring many others, such as Sierra, Infocom, and Adventure International.

The point system would be used in the games by the companies that were formed in which the founders were inspired by the game. Sierra, in particular, continued the point system well into the graphical point-and-click era of adventure gaming.

External links