Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cover to Cover: Adventure International Spring 1981 Catalog (pp. 5-6)

We're continuing another trip back in time, as we page through the Spring 1981 catalog from Scott Adams' pioneering computer game publisher, Adventure International.

Page 5 continues the classic Scott Adams Adventure series, with the then-newest entry, the savagely difficult Adventure #10: Savage Island - Part 1.  This page also features the famous original Adventure Hint Book, covering the canonical Adventures #1-#9, with a keyword-decoding scheme that helped prevent unwanted peeks at things to come.  Individual hint sheets were also available for the Scott Adams games and the largely-Jyym Pearson-created Other Ventures series.

The packaging and marketing of the Adventure series across a wide variety of platforms was fairly complicated given the technology of the day, with a lot of variations and options.  The business-oriented TRS-80 Model II was given a full-series package on a single 8" floppy disk, while the Commodore PET only received the first two Adventures in their original BASIC language format.  I owned a tape-based TRS-80 Model I back in the day myself, and had forgotten that the only disk-format releases were the three-packs for most platforms.  Floppy disk drives were still newfangled, expensive and unreliable -- not that tape was much better in that regard.

Page 6 brings the launch of a new, complementary text adventure series, though the Other Ventures were not ultimately best remembered for this first entry, an Apple II-only port of the classic Will Crowther/Don Woods Colossal Cave Adventure:

There have been so many variations of Adventure published and ported over the years that it's hard to keep track of the genealogy; the original game was never copyrighted, as there seemed to be no reason to do so, and various modified, expanded and "accurate" versions still show up on a regular basis today.  I actually briefly played this version on a friend's computer, and was surprised to realize that Radio Shack's Pyramid 2000, which I had already played, was in fact a modified subset of the classic Adventure.  What was impressive about this version is that it managed to squeeze a full version of the game into RAM on the 48K Apple II, no mean feat before compression and disk-based text retrieval were obvious and commonly-used solutions.

Tomorrow, no surprise -- pages 7 and 8!

No comments:

Post a Comment