Arcade Cabinets: Venture (Exidy, 1981)

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Venture is probably the first arcade game directly influenced by Dungeons & Dragons. From the original arcade flyer:

VENTURE is played in a dark dungeon of multi-levels. The player forges through one level of rooms at a time, displayed on the screen as a floor plan. Armed with bow and arrow, the player learns to avoid confrontation with the wandering green Hall Monsters…

Each room is a new and completely different challenge. For example, one room has a pot of gold of high point value, guarded by goblins. Another has a magic bow giving the players special powers when shooting at creatures. Other rooms have hazardous conditions such as shrinking walls… or deadly ooze…

After strategically and skillfully collecting all the treasures on one level, the player ventures further into the depths of the dank and threatening dungeon…

Sound familiar? As the Golden Age Arcade Historian notes, Midway’s Wizard of Wor, released the same year as Venture, also employs a fantasy theme (with a sci-fi element), but the gameplay itself is standard clear-the-maze fare. The flyers and ads for Wizard do seem to emulate the TSR vibe of the time. Here’s some of the language:

Worriors descend into various dungeon mazes, battling visible and invisible monster Worlings, and maybe the Wizard himself.

Dungeon maze patterns appear at random and have escape doors at either end. These are used for strategic exit and entry.

Also, compare the cover of Venture‘s Technical Manual to TSR’s “Gateway to Adventure” catalog cover circa 1980.

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Gateway 1980

UPDATE (7/25/14): Post has been revised for accuracy. Thanks, Alex.

7 Responses to “Arcade Cabinets: <em>Venture</em> (Exidy, 1981)”


  1. 1 christian July 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    VENTURE was also ported over to Atari for one of my favorite of their home games…

  2. 5 Alec Semicognito July 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I own an Atari 7800 (backwards compatible with the 2600) and have my Venture cartridge plugged into it right now. Fun!

    Wizard of Wor isn’t a Pac-Man copy by any means — you’re a trooper with a laser rifle and are there to shoot up the Wizard’s dungeon. There’s no treasure element as there is with Venture.


  1. 1 Arcade Zen (1982 – 1984): Frenzy, Omega Race, and Crossbow | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on January 26, 2015 at 7:35 pm

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