Commodore Power/Play #6 (1983): ‘Are You An Adventurer?’

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The Scott Adams mentioned in the article wrote the first adventure game for the PC, Adventureland (1978), and went on to found Adventure International. Here’s how Diane LeBold, who started Power/Play in 1982, describes the game genre.

If you’ve never played an adventure game, you may be a little mystified by all this. So let me backtrack a bit. First, adventures, unlike most of the games you are probably used to playing, are not… graphic wonders. In fact, all you see on your screen are words… True, Scott Adams and others have developed graphic adventures, which provide pictures as well as words. They’re great fun. To be frank, however, I prefer creating the pictures in my head… the pictures I create in my mind are uniquely personal, mysteriously intimate. Someone else’s interpretation is almost always something of a disappointment to me.

As you respond to the words on your screen you are led, piece by piece, into a small, self contained three-dimensional world.

Some day some genius programmer could create a game that’s so believable you may have a hard time separating it from the real world…

It’s interesting that she talks about graphics getting in the way of the gaming experience as early as 1983. In a 2012 post I compared old school box art to old school games and talked about how “There’s no longer a need to use the imagination to fill in the gaps left by all those 8-bit games.” Greg at Lefty Limbo expanded on the idea in a post called Filling in the Blanks (a much neater phrase). The same point was made in a Verge article published over a year after my original post, and the author used almost exactly the same language: “Because of her [Atari cover artist Susan Jaeckel] painting on the cover of the box, you knew that you were actually venturing through a hedge maze with three huge dragons lurking inside. It filled in the gaps left by the game’s rudimentary graphics…”)

I have some early press photos of Scott Adams I’ll post a little later. If you want to read more about adventure games, Gaming After 40 has hundreds of smart, comprehensive reviews and walkthroughs, along with other cool stuff related to golden age gaming.

You can read full issues of Commodore Power/Play magazine at the Internet Archive.

4 Responses to “<em>Commodore Power/Play</em> #6 (1983): ‘Are You An Adventurer?’”

  1. 1 narvo August 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Ah. I actually read this post after the newest Scott Adams one, so now the whole Adventure thing makes sense.

    Which reminds me—did you watch the first season of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire? Puts you smack dab in the middle of the early ’80s PC industry. I liked it a lot. There’s an Adventure-type text-based game called “Colossal Cave Adventure” discussed in the series, and when I did a quick Google, it turns out that the AMC’s show page has an emulation of the game you can play!

    • 2 2W2N August 29, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      That’s the game that inspired Adams. I haven’t seen the AMC show yet but sounds cool.

    • 3 2W2N August 29, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      Wow. The game really reminds me how much time I had when I was young, and how little time I have now.

      • 4 narvo August 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm

        Very well put. I felt the exact same way.

        I wonder what would happen if someone installed this game/emulator in computer labs in schools and/or colleges. How many people would latch onto it? I think that’d be an interesting project.

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