Over the Memorial Day weekend, I came across the news that “Colossal Cave Adventure” was open-sourced.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click on the link below and come back when you’re done.  If you do, continue reading on…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_Cave_Adventure

According to Raymond (aka “esr”), he was encouraged by Crowther and Woods (the original authors of Adventure) to polish up the code and ship it under an open source license.  Esr gladly took on the task and, thus, Open Adventure was born.  I intend to download the source code and build it to test out.  As esr mentions, this isn’t the same version of Adventure that is provided in the bsdgames package available in basically all Unix-like operating system repositories.  This is the actual code from the very last version of Adventure that Crowther and Woods released in 1995, so it’s quite updated from the bsdgames version.

Nevertheless, I went ahead and installed bsdgames on my Fedora laptop this weekend with the intention of exposing my middle son to text adventure computer games.  Before I go into this, a little bit of history on my personal experience with text adventure games.

I grew up during the burgeoning home computer industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  My introduction to computer-based text adventure games was at a friend’s house on her Commodore VIC-20.  If I recall correctly, I believe it was called “Adventure 2: Pirate Cove”.  Below is a YouTube video of its gameplay.

Having been an Atari 2600 and Coleco-Vision kid (even though I did learn BASIC on a Commodore PET after school), I was quite intrigued by the gameplay.  No graphics whatsoever…the graphics were all in your mind.  Now, I was never one for reading, but this engaged me more than any book could.  I was a big fan of interactive books, but this took the concept to a more dynamic level.  I saw myself imagining what was being described in plain text and felt myself going through a range of emotions as my friend and I entered commands with unexpected results!  Since then, I delved into similar games from Infocom and the like.  I would be awake until the wee hours of the night engrossed in text adventure gameplay from when I had my Mattel Aquarius to when I upgraded to an Apple IIc.  No typical video game could come close to the experience of a really good text adventure computer game.

Time-hop forward to May 29, 2017:  I’ve just installed bsdgames on my Fedora laptop and invited my middle son to have a sit-down and play Adventure with me.  I even hit Alt-F2 to drop down to a console for the full text adventure experience!  At first, he was a bit hesitant.  However, as time passed and as I showed him how to navigate within the game, I could see him slip into the world of the Colossal Cave and text adventures in general just as I did when I was his age!  We both would go on this “adventure” and discover new ways of surpassing obstacles or die trying (a lot)….all the while having a great time together.  After some time, he even took the laptop away from me to input commands and wouldn’t give it back!  There was no doubt about it.  He was hooked!

That night, I had him install bsdgames on his laptop with a temporary Fedora installation and I’ve also installed it on the Fedora desktop at home.  As of this morning when I spoke with him on the way to work, he told me that he couldn’t go to sleep thinking of how to get past some of the obstacles in Adventure and he’s already installed the Android port on his phone.  I told him that I’d see about finding some other text adventure games like the Zork series from Infocom and others from that venerable company.  Frotz is already installed on the laptop, so it’s time to find me some story files and test them out before we embark on our next (text) adventure!

Oh, and I finally killed the Wumpus! 😀