Spelunking Through Video Game History With Colossal Cave

The original video games didn’t even have video. They were just computer games. They were composed of text, the way books are. Even today, text adventure games, also known as interactive fiction, offer a unique form of narrative that combines the written word with player choice and agency.

The concept of interactive fiction dates back to the 1970s with the release of games like Colossal Cave Adventure, also known as Adventure, which was a text-based adventure game and one of the first examples of natural language conversational interfaces.

The appeal of text adventure games lies in their ability to immerse players in a story through the use of descriptive language and allowing players to make choices that affect the outcome of the story, or the narrative path through it. This form of narrative allows for a level of personalization and player agency that traditional forms, like books or movies, do not offer.

Despite that potential the genre has not seen widespread popularity in recent years. This could be because of the rise of graphical adventure games and the fact that many text adventure games were created for older computer systems and are not easily accessible.

The recent release of a new version of Colossal Cave Adventure , reimagined for the 21st century and even playable in virtual reality, offers a glimpse into the potential of text adventure games in the modern age.

The new version of the game maintains the detailed and personable narration of the original. The use of virtual reality technology allows for a new level of immersion and player agency, in a game that previously had no graphics at all.

However, the transition to a graphical interface and virtual reality also has its drawbacks. The feeling of conversation and natural language conversational interface that was present in the original text-based version is lost in the transition to a graphical interface. Additionally, the graphics in the new version, while retaining a retro style, may not meet the expectations of modern gamers.

Overall the remake of Colossal Cave is faithful to the original, and it should make for hours of fun, whether you play it in VR or on any of the other platforms where it’s available now.