Advent101, a (not so) new Colossal Cave version by Jeffrey Henning and JJFlash

I’ve spotted this at Mastodon, and I want to share the joy with you.

The blurb speaks for itself:

" Have you ever heard of Colossal Cave, or Adventure, the (generally considered) first text adventure game in the history of videogames?
Have you tried playing it, only to find it too hard for you?
Well… try this version!

  • Random maps ! And you contribute to the randomness!
  • Ultra-simplified parser: you press one key, a whole word comes out (à la ZX Spectrum)
  • Less than 26 verbs and less than 26 objects. You can easily list all the recognized verbs
  • An auto-map feature! A magical live map which you’ll have to find!
  • Usually the game can be solved in one hour!

This game is the result of a long tour-de-force porting exercise from Colossal Cave Adventure 101, a simplified version of Crowther & Woods’ classic game made by J. Alan Henning, written in the BASIC dialect of Lowres Coder, a fantasy console that doesn’t exist anymore (squashed years ago by a certain fruit-shaped company).

The original Mastodon post is a back-and-forth between both authors commenting on the design decisions, and simply I found everything about it fascinating:

More quotes galore!

You don’t need to draw a map on paper to find the Live Map, not even the game knows where it is. I use a separate deck of cards for the objects, the Map card will always be between the 4th and the 7th position in the deck (inclusive), so you just need to keep moving around in new rooms, and you’ll find it soon :grin:

That is, the first “port/version” by Jeffrey used a deck of cards to randomize the locations, they are 24 or 26 of those. JJFlash used the same idea to randomize the objects!!! This is a great idea. One can create a text adventure-based deck, and thanks to this know that it is going to work. Even better, more games could be created with this philosophy design.

my take on this started as a card game first, I love that you used a card deck as a data structure!

You see? Awesome.

It is done in a cross-compiled c64 Basic, but it runs very smoothly and agile in the online emulator at the Itcho’s game page. The automap is beautiful and nifty.

The game is open source, so maybe retro-programmers would like to take a peek at it.

Finally, the interface is a super simplified parser a-la Spectrum 48k Basic. That is, you press a key, a whole command is produced, then press space, then another key and an item is added to the command. Free of parsing errors. It is a little weird to be accustomed to it, but it is quite curious and fun to use.


This Original-Adventure, Bumper-Bowling-Edition is way more fun than I thought it would be from the premise. At first play I thought I was undone fairly quickly by the randomization, but then playing around with the actions revealed that that possibility had been provided for…


Very nice! Thank you.

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