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Adventure (Atari VCS, 1980)


Mezrabad

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Adventure (Atari VCS, 1980)

 

Okay, I"ve started this entry about six times! I'm trying to keep myself from babbling but what I keep writing is a long and pretty uninteresting description of the different elements of Adventure. I'm failing to capture the essence of the whole which is so much greater than just a listing of the separate parts.

 

Rather than make another attempt at objectively describing Adventure, let's just activate Fanboy Mode.

 

I think that it's safe to say that this is my favorite console game of all time.

 

People look at it now and very often say the same thing they said in 1980: "those Dragons look like ducks".

 

They see ducks, I see a whole freakin' eco-system.

 

There are countless moments created by this simple little universe that are exciting and funny and interesting in unexpected ways. Dragons will suddenly find you defenseless, only to themselves be carried away by the Bat. Lucky Happy Accidental Dragon killings. Entering a room and *gulp*! Fighting all three dragons at once and surviving! Flying over the Kingdom in a Dragon stomach being carried by the bat... it's just awesome. If you allow yourself to be immersed in this game, you can still enjoy it 28 years after you first played it. I'm speaking from experience.

 

I regard this game with reverent awe. I cannot begin to get into how many hours I've played it, over and over and over again. When I play, I am that square, running through the landscape, wary of what could come swooping in to swallow me up. When I was 13 and playing for the first time, I remember how my heart raced and my hands shook as I held the joystick and crept through the Blue Maze, (back when I didn't know my way around the Blue Maze!). I remember the jolt I would get when a Dragon would find me, and how desperately I would try to get away. The terrifying sounds of its "chomp" would cause me to visibly startle. The pathetic sound of its death (if I was lucky enough to have the sword with me) would fill me with relief rather than triumph. I would breath a quiet "I survived!" and would continue on knowing that there were still two out there...

 

Adventure represents my first real videogame "high". To follow the drug metaphor, Odyssey 300 was my "gateway" game system. It wasn't enough to get me addicted, but enough to get me interested. From the moment I first saw Adventure being demonstrated in a Sears, I wanted an Atari. No games prior to that filled me with such a drive to play them. Adventure was my first "hard" addiction. It is the game that led me to embrace videogames as what other people consider to be merely my "hobby". The truth is, it isn't a hobby, it's my way of life. To this day I still seek to reclaim from new games that thrill I used to get when playing Adventure. Sometimes, I get close.

 

Next entry, for no reason other than the cart is next to the Atari at this very moment, we'll do Stellar Track.

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I've been looking forward to this entry precisely because I never played Adventure. I've read about it being so many people's favorite game, but never really "why" it was. So this finally gave me some insight into it.

 

I got into the 2600 to play arcade games at home, basically. So Adventure was never really on my radar. Plus I just couldn't see past the fact that you were a square. (That, and the ducks. :ponder: ) I suppose it's one of those things where if I'd tried it, I'd have gotten into it, but there were so many other shiny things available for the 2600 at the time (Missile Command, Asteroids, those new "Activision" games, etc.), that I had to be selective about where I spent my money, and I didn't have anyone around to borrow from.

 

Anyway... I look forward to your take on Stellar Track, since that was one of the games I played back-in-the-day. (I played Star Trek on early personal computers, and had to have it for the 2600.)

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I've been looking forward to this entry precisely because I never played Adventure. I've read about it being so many people's favorite game, but never really "why" it was. So this finally gave me some insight into it.

 

I got into the 2600 to play arcade games at home, basically. So Adventure was never really on my radar. Plus I just couldn't see past the fact that you were a square. (That, and the ducks. :ponder: ) I suppose it's one of those things where if I'd tried it, I'd have gotten into it, but there were so many other shiny things available for the 2600 at the time (Missile Command, Asteroids, those new "Activision" games, etc.), that I had to be selective about where I spent my money, and I didn't have anyone around to borrow from.

 

Anyway... I look forward to your take on Stellar Track, since that was one of the games I played back-in-the-day. (I played Star Trek on early personal computers, and had to have it for the 2600.)

 

Never!? Wow, dang, see, that's why I was trying to go with the objective description, so that if there were people who'd never played it could get an academic take on it -- I just couldn't pull it off! I resorted to just gushing about it. I hope you try it, Nathan, it can be a real treat. My son and I pull Adventure out every now and then and invariably something unexpected happens and we laugh our butts off over it.

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Not being old enough for jobs, my brother, sister and I spent a summer collecting aluminum cans along the roadside in order to buy Adventure (it was the first game we purchased ourselves).

 

Being represented as a square didn't bother us as we had few games at that point and those fancy arcade ports were yet to come (well, we did get Space Invaders with our six-switch Atari). We were also one of the first in our neighborhood to get an Atari, so we couldn't share games with friends. That did occur later and bringing your set of paddles over to a sleep over became a given for 4 player Warlords matches.

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I too am one of those who never played Adventure back in the day, basically due to happenstance. I think we got our VCS in 1981 or so, when I was five years old, and most of our games came as part of a gift from my cousin, who allegedly found a couple dozen carts that'd been thrown away (I'm still not sure whether that story was true or not). Many early Atari titles were in there, but not Adventure.

 

As I recall, most of the VCS games we got afterward were bought used from the local video store. If they'd had Adventure I'm sure I would've asked my folks to grab it -- after all, I loved Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even tried hard to like Swordquest: Earthworld -- but, again, happenstance. (Maybe it wasn't showing up used because people liked it too much!)

 

So Raiders and Swordquest -- and to a lesser extent, Superman and Pitfall -- those are the games that, for better or worse, retain that kind of childlike resonance for me. (I recently beat Swordquest for the first time, on real hardware, and even though I was using a walkthrough, it was eerily like being six again.) Your post makes me want to play more Adventure, and see if I can invest it with that same resonance, since it's certainly a more deserving game than Swordquest...

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wow, good "back in the day" comments!

 

SpiceWare, I remember turning in aluminum cans to the Reynolds trucks! 17 or 18 cents a pound if I remember correctly. :ponder:

 

thegoldenband, It's funny I feel the same way about Swordquest, I really wanted to like it, I just didn't get what I wanted. Heheh. When that hits in the chronology, I'm looking forward to closure on that title. ;)

 

to everyone who didn't play Adventure back in the day, here's a confession: I never really got a chance to play Raiders! No lie. One of my friends had it, so I saw it and got to try it. I, by no means, knew what the hell was going on and I never got a chance to sit down and really play it for any length of time. I'm really looking forward to it!

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You know, I had never played Adventure before, so I read squire instead of square in your description. Being a squire seemed normal, given this is a fantasy medieval-themed game. It was only after I read the comments that I realized we were talking about a square here. Hah!

 

I just finished playing the game. Level 1 (difficulty B) was quite easy and I wasn't getting why you had such a rush playing this in the old days. But then I tried level 2 and boy, oh boy! I FELT IT! lol

 

God damn bat, I hate it! I think the real difficulty in the game came from that bloody thing stealing the items I needed, hence getting me killed or stuck, forcing a reset. And then I had to kill all those dragons again except... where in God's name was that freaking sword now!?

 

I was so happy to win the game in that level that I clapped in excitement! LOL

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