Orphaned Computers & Game Systems

Vol. II, Issue 1    December 1997

Warren Robbinett's house

By Chris Federico

Warren, as some of you might know, created Adventure, the first multi-screen, fast-action adventure game. It came out in 1979 for the Atari VCS (2600). If you haven't played it, you might not want to read this interview. It might not make sense.

As you can see from the brief transcription below, my interview, which began a few minutes after I arrived at Warren's house, was short-lived before he got up and announced that he was going to talk to his "special friends in the closet." I will make no comment on Mr. Robbinett's psychological state, but I will print the total interview for your discretion:

Chris: After the coding was finished and you decided that Adventure was completed, what did you think of it as a finished product, as compared to your original vision of the game?

Warren: Neat.

Chris: Um..where did you get the ideas for the places in the game?

Warren: Can't remember. Excuse me a moment.

After completing the above interview and watching my subject get up and leave the room, I decided to make a little exploration of his house.

I opened a strange black door next to the sofa -- a shrewd decision on my part, since it led in the opposite direction from where Warren had gone -- and I entered a room that was pitch black. I flicked on my lighter, and although I could now only see a few feet ahead of me and to either side, I realized that I was in the middle of some sort of maze. I don't know how the guy fit it into his house, which had looked rather small from the front. For some reason, the walls of the maze were orange.

I wandered around in there for god only knows how long, and finally came upon a weird purple bridge. I walked across it, noticing nervously that it had two side rails but no visible floor, and I wound up in a tiny room within the maze. Jutting from the wall was a weird, fist-sized dot. I wrested it from the plaster and made my way back to the living room, wanting to find Warren and ask him if he'd been looking for it. I can't quite explain what it was made of. It was difficult to physically assess for some reason.

But when I got back to the living room, I noticed that one of the walls was gone! The dot was evidently doing something strange; had I triggered a mechanism that hid Warren's valuables or something? Feeling guilty, but wanting the scoop, I dropped the dot on the loveseat and snuck into the new room revealed through the missing wall.

In the center of the room was one sentence, scribbled on the floor in blocky letters and flashing wildly for no immediately discernible reason:


I might have known. -- CF