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The Birth of an Industry by Ken Williams

You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the Building and down a gully.
You have walked up a hill, still in the forest. The road slopes back down the other side of the hill. There is a building in the distance.
You are inside a building, a well house for a large spring.

This is the beginning of the game that so captured my wife, Roberta, that she could not sleep for days while exploring the caves beneath the well. The year was 1979. I was programming an income tax program on a mainframe computer that was 3,000 miles from my Los Angeles home. To access the computer, I had a teletype machine. It was really just a typewriter with a modem and a printer communicating at 110BPS; but it allowed me to get my work done. All through the teletype was at home solely for work, that didn�t stop me from exploring the mainframe for anything else interesting to do. I will always remember the thrill of discovery when I saw something called Adventure and typed it just to see what would happen. Back typed the computer, "You are standing..." Within minutes I was calling over to Roberta to show her my discovery. No work got done that night. I don�t recall there being any directions to the game. It quickly became obvious that it wanted me to type one or two-word sentences, usually a verb and a noun. When we encountered a bird, FEED BIRD became obvious. Encountering a stream, how could we not ENTER STREAM?"...The End." Uh oh! What now? Three weeks had passed in what seemed like three minutes. I searched every directory on the mainframe computer for another similar game, but with no luck. I did find some background information on the game, though. It had been programmed by a couple of hackers named Crowther and Woods at MIT. Why the game was programmed and whether they would ever program another was and continues to be a mystery. Roberta and I were not alone in our fascination with this new style of game. In Florida, Scott and Alexis Adams, another couple, had not only been consumed by Adventure, but decided to do something about it. They formed the company Adventure International with the goal of creating more adventure games. Personal computers were just getting started. Most people think of the Apple II as the first personal computer, but there were several other computers before the Apple. Radio Shack had major success in 1979 with the TRS-80. At the time, computers didn�t have floppy drives, so when Scott and Alexis set out to program their own games, they had to type the programs into the TRS-80�s memory and then save them on an audio cassette tape.

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