VGT – Text Adventures Part 1

I love to read, and in retrospect there are two main reasons why.

First, I had a mother who loved to read and she somehow imparted that love into me.  She would often go to the library and return with a stack of books that she thought I would like.  I would start at the top of the stack and work my way down.  I would be captivated by the stories and hours would pass by quickly as I turned page after page.  Especially during the summers, I stayed up late reading in my bedroom because I simply could not put the book down.

Heaven may be a stack of books

Heaven may be a stack of books

The second reason why I love to read is because of the early text adventures on computers.  I was probably 11 or 12 (the early 80’s) when I first played Adventure on my Dad’s original IBM 5150 PC.  The game was created by Will Crowther and Don Woods but it was so much more than a game.  I found myself in a valley, surrounded by forest.  I followed a stream and discovered that it flowed underground into a two inch slit.  Then I explored further downstream and came across a locked grate – it’s a good thing I picked up those keys when I explored the small building earlier.  I unlocked the grate and started to explore the Colossal Caves.  No longer was the computer a machine for word processing or calculating, it was an imagination device.

A world of imagination

A world of imagination

I found Adventure just this morning on the internet at a website called http://www.web-adventures.org/ and started to play it again.  It was java based and free.  It seemed primitive yet it still captured my mind.  Rather than intense graphics on the screen, I was utilizing the advanced processor of my brain.  I could see the dew on the grass and the rust on the grate.  I could even hear the sound of the stream flowing into the crack – the echo of the splash as the water landed somewhere below the ground.  I could even smell the leaves from the trees and the rich dark soil of the valley.  That’s the power of text, through a few simple words the power of the mind takes over.

Isaiah from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Isaiah from the Dead Sea Scrolls

The love and the power of text is also a part of my world view.  Traditional orthodox Christianity views the Bible as the final authority.  The text does more than just capture the imagination, it has authority over the lives of Christians throughout history and throughout the world.  It is  honored and treasured.  That is the definitive example of the true power of text.

For the next post in this Text Adventures Series, I will write about some of my experiences of playing text adventures designed by Scott Adams.  So fire up your TRS-80, get out the tape recorder, and let’s load some adventure games!

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