November 11, 2003


I found an online version of one of the First Video Games Ever (as Chris mentioned in his presentation), Adventure. The game, originally written in some archaic code of 1977, is playable through your web-browser in this version. Also, there are directions on the left side.

Anyone have any comments about the game? Is playing it just boring, compared to what video games are capable of now? Is the experience of playing this text-based game different than or similar to reading the hypertext fiction we've been looking at in class? Does it mean anything to you that the first interactive fiction (or even, more generally, electronic fiction) was, specifically, a game?

Is it interesting at all, in any way shape or form? Why? Why not? Question mark?

Posted by aazuolas at November 11, 2003 10:03 PM

After spending a couple hours playing Adventure (when, of course, I should've been doing something else), I think it's safe to say that it isn't exactly boring-- in my case, I would label it addictive.

But to think about one of the questions you posed: in certain ways I feel that this archaic game is more complex and makes better use of the electronic medium than much of the more literary (and more recent) hypertext/e-fiction we've read in class. While there are limitations in terms of the specific words to which the program responds (it took me ten minutes to figure out that I had to type "drop" to get rid of an object), at least there is a true sense of interaction. There is a response

I suppose this is a pretty simplistic reaction- everything is pre-programmed...I'm just deluding myself when I believe the program is responding to me rather than code, etc. Still, I can't get over the sense of play (which is good considering it's a game). This sense of play and interaction seems really important to me. I wonder if hypertext really engages this quality of the electronic medium- if not, can this quality ever be effectively incorporated into literary hypertext?

More coherent thoughts, anyone?

Posted by: Emily at November 17, 2003 03:51 PM | Permalink to Comment

Glad you enjoyed the game. Emily, I couldn't agree more -- while there are plenty of text-adventure games that don't do interactivity very well, it's probably easier for a lone programmer/author to create the illusion of interactivity in a text environment than it would be for the same programmer to create the same sense of immersion in a visual and audio environment. I should note that Adventure isn't the first videogame -- there were other kinds of games, such as the two-player battle game SpaceWar, and another cave exploration game called Hunt the Wumpus.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at November 21, 2003 10:57 AM | Permalink to Comment

This game was totally boring to me. I really don't get the point and how in the world I'm really supposed to image I'm going through this cave or whatever it was. The program basically has to tell you what you see and your reaction to it. This program would make me want to pull all of my hair out if it did not have the directions for how to cheat at the bottom.

PS: Pics are GREAT!!

Posted by: Veronica at November 27, 2003 06:29 PM | Permalink to Comment

Different strokes for different folks. Pictures for this game simply weren't an option in 1975. Thanks to TV, today's youth are an increasingly visual bunch, used to flashy entertainment that doesn't ask you to reflect, to creatively imagine, and to flesh out the sparse textual world. Of course Adventure doesn't compare with Quake or Sonic the Hedgehog. It was a completely different thing, and was groundbreaking because the interface expected you to type English commands instead of cryptic letters and numerals. These kinds of games were created by and for programmers, since they were really the only ones with access to computers. So they reflected the values of hacker culture, which includes elegant complexity for the sake of elegance and complexity, and complex spatial visualization. Even figuring out how to get the game to work is part of the puzzle. (I'm guessing that Veronica is not a computer programmer.)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at December 11, 2003 12:47 PM | Permalink to Comment