The World was Without Form

Jason Dyer explores Will Crowther’s Adventure — the truly original proto-game, that is, before Don Woods got his hands on its source code and turned it into the work that defined computer-based gameplay for many years. I was under the impression that this ur-version was lost to time, but it looks like Dennis Jerz dug it up a few years ago.

Jason’s description of the rough-hewn game is oddly haunting, the map of a dim dream-world that doesn’t quite exist yet.

However, one gets the strong sense this was an abandoned work in progress. The bottom level (with Bedquilt and the Swiss Cheese Room) has exits that don’t work, and one that crashes the game. The area even has a sign that says: ‘CAVE UNDER CONSTRUCTION BEYOND THIS POINT. PROCEED AT OWN RISK.’ I first took this sign as an signal of danger in the in-game universe, but instead it appears to be Crowther’s marker that the code is unfinished past that point.

There’s a long featureless hall to the west leading to nothing.

You too can learn the shocking truth of what the very first GETtable LAMP might actually have been shaped like!

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2 Responses to The World was Without Form

  1. Jason Dyer says:

    I suppose I should slip this in the original post somewhere, but there's also an Inform 7 port looking for testers ( which mentions the Dwarf does not just pop up randomly, but has a patrol route: "the original dwarf patrol route is Dirty Passage, Low N/S Passage, Hall of Mountain King, West Side Chamber, Crossover, East End of Long Hall, West End of Mists, West of Fissure, East of Fissure, Hall of Mists, Hall of Mountain King, Low N/S Passage, Dirty Passage, nowhere, nowhere, nowhere."

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