Day 01 – Very first video game

Here it is, as promised. Day 01 of “30 days of video games”.

Shall we play a game?

From the movie, Wargames, starring Mathew Broderick.

 

My very first video game was on my father’s “portable computer”. Which, in this case, was a 50 lb Intel 8088 compaq suitcase-nuke of a PC. I don’t know how many of you have seen these, or remember them, but I found one not long ago, installed a HDD Card in it, and played some old DOS games on it. It was brutal, but hilarious.

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That all being said, my very first game was a Text Adventure. It wasn’t even the grand daddy of Interactive Fiction, Zork. It was a game literally called Adventure.It’s almost as old as I am! I played this game any chance I had. It taught me how to use critical thinking (I was 6) and to combine ideas to solve problems. Yes, sometimes it was “Use Wrench on Spigot” or something less obvious like “Search behind mossy rock” or even as crazy as “take wheelbarrow”. I put my new language skills to use and with a little help from my father, managed to defeat this monster of a game. I ought to play it again and see how I do as an adult. My guess, “I can’t believe I played this game so much!”, so I prolly wont. I’ll leave that bit of nostalgia alive.

But this was not my only TA/IF game. Oh no, as I said before, the Great Daddy of them all is Zork. It made interactive fiction cool. It was smart, funny, challenging and best of all, it mostly made sense. Zork was influenced by Lord of the Rings, you even got a sword that glowed blue when things were going to get dangerous.

At the wise old age of 7, I even wrote my own text adventure in BASIC. It was a fairly short game, and you played as a kid, trying to get from home to the arcade and back. It was a passifictic game, I didn’t really have any problems that early in life, so no antagonists appeared in my game. Just puzzles to solve, and to be honest, they were fairly simple puzzles. Finding your bike in the back yard so you can leave the property, finding your way to the mall, figuring out where the arcade is, making sure to eat some pizza and drink some soda so you don’t get tired while playing. Oh yeah, and did you remember to get your change so you’d have money to play games? I bet you had to go all the way back home to get it, didn’t you?

Ahh, the simple things you don’t consider you have to do in a video game written by a child. I made both my parents play it, and if I recall correctly, neither of them thought to “grab the pile of change” from the desk, even though it was clearly in the room description. I think they were just surprised that I had written a game from scratch.

I have always had a special place in my heart for text adventures, and probably always will. Maybe I’ll write another one someday, to see how much more sophisticated my mind has become since I was a child.

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