Blast from the Past: Adventure video game for Atari 2600

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“Adventure” for the Atari 2600. It looks simple, and was, but it still provided plenty of fun.
The original box for the “Adventure” video game. The Atari 2600 cartridge came inside.

There was a time when video games were pretty much just sports games, shooting games or some variant of sports or shooting games. Action games weren’t around yet and most RPGs were years away.
When was such a barbaric time? The late 1970s.

But into that age came a little game known as Adventure. It came out in 1979 and was made for the Atari 2600 home video game system.

By today’s standards, Adventure would be a pretty dull game. Simplistic, blocky graphics. Next to no sound. Gameplay so easy it could be considered laughable.

But that’s today. In 1979, Adventure was … in a word … awesome!

Atari 2600
The cartridge for playing “Adventure.”

How do you play? You control a little blip on the screen that goes around castles and through mazes to find various objects that are needed in a quest to garner a golden chalice and return it to the main castle. Such objects included a sword to fight off three dragons, keys to enter castles, a magic bridge and a magnet. The basic version of the game could be played in just a few minutes, a long, long way from today’s video RPGs that sometimes take weeks upon weeks to finish.

Adventure also goes down in history. For one thing, it is the very first video game to include an easter egg. What is this easter egg? In a secret room there are the words “Created by Warren Robinett,” who was the maker of Adventure for Atari. How do you get to this secret room? I’m not going to tell! What fun would that be?

Another innovation with Adventure is that it is the very first action-adventure video game!

Being a simple game, once you’ve played Adventure a handful of times, you’ve done just about everything the game has to offer. But it’s still plenty of fun. Or maybe that’s just the nostalgia talking. Either way, it was a blast to plug in the old Atari 2600 and warm up Adventure one more time.

Atari 2600
Yes, that’s a dragon in the middle of this screen shot from “Adventure.”
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A former newspaper editor for two decades in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, Ty now earns his lunch money as a fiction writer, mostly in the fantasy and horror genres. He is vice president of Rogue Blades Foundation, a non-profit focused upon publishing heroic literature. In his free time he enjoys tabletop and video gaming, long swording, target shooting, reading, and bourbon. Find City of Rogues and other books and e-books by Ty Johnston at Amazon.

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