Straight to the point titles have never been as fuzzy as they are here with Adventure, an open world text adventure with no text in sight. Supposedly home to the first video game Easter egg (which sees developer Warren Robinett credit himself for making the game - shocking, I know...), Adventure doesn't look like much, but then it doesn't have to look much in order to take you on an adventure. Assuming you stick with it and try to work out what it wants from you, of course.
For those of us who haven't got a game manual at hand, our task is to seek out the Enchanted Chalice, stolen by an evil magician, and return it to the Golden Castle. It's capture the flag. Well, more in keeping with it's RPG tone, it's a fetch quest.
But you've not got the manual, have you, and so you had to work that out by exploring your environment.
I don't know what I'm doing here, but I know that's a dragon, possibly dead, it's not moving, and that arrow is what I assume to be my sword. At least I hope it is, that's what I've been using it as. Why it's over there, I have no idea.
That's the thing with Adventure. Not quite being sure upon your first playthroughs just what it is you're doing or where you're going.
But that's kind of the point. You're on a quest to find a chalice. You've no idea where it is, nor what perils are in store. Why should you be guided by a map, or have a HUD, or be able to carry more than one item at a time?
This maze exists to make you think about where you're going, not because it needs to slow you down to lengthen gameplay. You're trying to get from... somewhere... to that other place.
I've no idea, even on the simple mode, so imagine what it's like on the randomized modes that introduce new elements of play and changes up locations to keep you on your toes.
I dropped that magnet (because who the hell needs to to drag a chalice around with a magnet?) and just grabbed the chalice and ran, eventually back to the Golden Castle where I was rewarded with flashing colours and little else. Adventure complete. Do play again on a harder mode when you've got your bearings.
Adventure is stark, but a little charming, in some sense. It's not going for flashy, it's not going for complexity, it's still confusing in places but if you're persistent you can fill some time. Would you want to do so often? Probably not. You might give yourself the challenge of finding the Easter egg, that might extend your play time. I didn't, so my loss there.
Don't let the graphics put you off. Remember, this was the alternative to looking at lots of text and typing "Go North". They'd have a more descriptive a story and be easier to hide from co-workers than Adventure, but they're just not the same.
The famous Easter egg takes up 5% of the storage space on the cartridge. The game itself is crammed into 4096 bytes, or 4 KB. For some sense of perspective, if you were to download an unlock code to tell a PS3 disc that you can use the DLC that it has stored away on its insides, you'd be downloading a file 25 times bigger than Adventure. And you don't even get to see that unlock code.
Adventure, developed by Atari, Inc., first released in 1979.
Version played: Atari 2600, 1979, via emulation.