Adventure's Easter Egg

I had a lot of Atari 2600 games as a kid, and most of them, even the bad ones, got plenty of play time from me. But one of my all-time favorite games to play on Atari was always Adventure, a game that I still enjoy playing some 25 years later. For those that aren't familiar, Adventure was creator Warren Robinett's attempt at bringing PC text adventure-style games over to the Atari console. The game is largely based on the text adventure Colossal Cave, but in a very simplified form. Only one thing can be carried at a time, such as a key to a castle, a bridge, or a sword. You guide your little avatar, which is just represented with a square, around several mazelike screens in an attempt to get inside the black castle, get the Chalice, and return it to the Yellow Castle. There are three levels of difficulty, and since the third level randomizes where the items show up (not to mention a bat that always shows up at annoying times to steal your item and replace it with another), you can keep on playing the game and never have the same experience. 

The game was groundbreaking for its time in its complexity and scope, but also because it introduced the gaming world to the "Easter Egg", a hidden secret or surprise. As the story goes, back in the Atari days, games were made by a single person. Art, programming, sound, everything. Yet they were not permitted to have their names show up anywhere, not the box, not the manual, nothing. This was partially because Atari didn't want other companies to know who designed what and have them stolen away. It was also because by this time, Nolan Bushnell had sold Atari to Warner, and their new owners thought of them as no more than assembly line men, making a product. They thought of them as no different than someone who put together a chair to be shipped out, and didn't believe they deserved to be recognized. 

Warren Robinett decided to sneak his name into his Adventure game, by hiding a secret item, a dot, one pixel large, that was the same color as the background and required the bridge to get to. If you acquired the dot, then brought it to the room below and to the right of the yellow castle, and placed one more item in there, your character could walk through the right hand wall, revealing a new room with the flashing words "Created by Warren Robinett". Atari didn't find out about it until kids started calling in months later asking about the room. Adventure's Easter Egg is legendary, and although I love this game, I'd never tried to get to the room. Until the other day, when I decided that it was my duty as a retro game lover to make the pilgrimage to Adventure's hidden room! It took a little bit of time to find the dot, but I finally walked through the wall and found the message! I was so excited that I took a video capture of me in the room! So I used the video footage and made a short animated gif to commemorate the occasion!

Anyone interested in seeing one of the best games the Atari has to offer should give this game a try, and maybe look up how to get to the secret room!