Adventure (1980 video game)

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Adventure - 2600 - USA.jpg

Atari 2600 - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Atari
Publisher Atari
Published 1980-??-??
Platforms Atari 2600
Genres Exploration, Metroidvania
Themes Cartoon, Fantasy
Distribution Commercial

Adventure is an action adventure game developed by Warren Robinett at Atari and published by Atari for the Atari 2600 in 1980. Robinett wanted to create a game similar to the 1976 game, Adventure designed on the PDP-10, but, since the Atari didn't have the memory to handle a text adventure, he had to make it a more abstract graphical game, which pioneered the graphical action adventure genre.

In the game's story, an evil magician has stolen the enchanted chalice and hidden it somewhere in the kingdom. Your job is to find the chalice and return it to the golden castle where it belongs, but the magician has also spawned three deadly dragons and a frustrating black bat to hinder your progress. Throughout the kingdom you can find weapons to defeat the dragons, keys to unlock castle gates, and tools to help you navigate the mazes.


Own?Yes, cartridge and manual.
Won?Yes, all three difficulties, and I found the Easter egg.

This is one of the first video games I ever played (around 1985-86), and part of not knowing what was possible in the game created a sense of awe, which, when combined with the quirkiness of the box art and game's manual, made it an instant favorite. Being able to find new rooms by using the bridge near walls made me think the game was much bigger than it really was. Now that I know more about how the game functions, I'm less enamored with it.

I stumbled upon a way to kill the red dragon who is immune to the sword while you're wielding it. If you drop the sword and trick the dragon into running into it, it will kill itself!


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5 5 3 2 2

Best Version: Atari 2600

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • At the time, this was the only adventure game for the console market, so it was quite the pioneer.
  • I like how the game world uses a non-Euclidean map system where you don't simply move from room-to-room, but rather warp around. This keeps the map unpredictable.
  • The pack bat is a clever and creative nemesis.
  • The use of the bridge and magnet is especially creative.
  • I like the fact that when the dragons eat you, you can be seen inside their bellies.
  • The game's Easter egg is a nice addition.
  • The game's box art is great.


  • The pack bat, while clever, is really obnoxious to the point of throwing a joystick!
  • The dragons look like ducks. While this is funny, it takes away from the thrill of the game.
  • Level 3, rather than being harder than level 2, is just the same map with the starting position of the items randomized. Kind of a let-down.
  • The magnet and bridge, though creative, are entirely unnecessary to beat the game.


  • The game is unfortunately very short. Even without any prior knowledge, you can memorize the entire map, and beat all three difficulty levels in less than an hour. I understand that this is a constraint of the system, but it really hurts the game.


Box Art

Susan Jaekel's box art gives a good impression of what the game will be like: people are sent from the castle only to become hopelessly lost in the hedge maze while a mischievous dragon holds a key hostage. I like the out-of-view character stealing the crown. Too bad the painting is about a billion times better than the game's artwork.


The game has a nice manual which describes the quirks of the program as good and bad magic. Interestingly, on page 3, the writers try to explain the idea of moving from one screen to another to a generation that isn't used to multi-screen adventure games telling players to move "off" the screen.


Fan Art



Review, Metroidvania Works.
Easter egg.

Play Online

Atari 2600


This is a download of the reverse-engineered source code.


Strong female character?FailNobody is clearly female.
Bechdel test?FailNobody ever talks.
Strong person of color character?FailNobody has a race.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


Role Staff
Designer Warren Robinett
Programmer Warren Robinett
Box Art Susan Jaekel (as S. Jaekel)


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