Friday, February 16, 2007

Milestones : Adventure

I thought videogaming was going along great. Lots of things to shoot at. Galaxian, Asteroids, Missile Command, Astro Fighter, Centipede, Gorf, and so on. I didn't know any better and assumed that shooting at things in various manners was what it was all about. I was content to just shoot.

Then came Adventure for the Atari VCS 2600. I didn't have it, but my good friend Andy Kiss had a father who was into gaming, and he got it. And my mind was opened forever to what gaming could be.

Here was a game with an end. You could beat it. Those shooters went on forever, with no point other than a high score. Adventure, however, had a goal - get the chalice back to the gold castle. It had what seemed like, at the time, a large inventory of items. A sword, a bridge, a magnet, three keys. It had the most annoying bat of all time. And it had three ducks - er dragons. It generated the items randomly each time you played so each game presented new challenges. Sometimes you started the game and were almost immediately set upon and devoured by a dragon.

I played the thing again and again. And when my friends and I read in a very early issue of Electronic Games magazine that there was something special hidden in Adventure, we tore it apart (and tore our hair out, in a sense) trying to find it. Adventure had the first "Easter Egg" in it, which I won't spoil here.

Adventure set me on a path of seeking more adventures and that genre became my favorite among all of gaming. After Adventure, my friends and I tried Superman (again, for the Atari VCS), but that title fell flat. Next up was Haunted House, which was a great adventure game, although a bit dark. No, it wasn't until the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark that I felt that a true progression had been made. Raiders was a tough game to beat, and very very complex.

The action-adventure genre progressed over the years - Sword of Kadash for the Commodore 64, The Legend of Zelda for the NES, and so on. But it all began, for me, with Adventure. There is no other game on my list of "milestones" that truly embody the term quite like this one.

No comments: