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Colossal Cave Adventure

Adventure (also known as ADVENT or Colossal Cave) was the first computer game to appear in the genre of interactive fiction (before it was even called that). Will Crowther[?], a programmer at the legendary Bolt, Beranek & Newman[?] (developers of ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet), was an amateur caver, who applied his experience in Mammoth Cave (in Kentucky) to create a game that he could enjoy with his young daughters. [1] (http://www.rickadams.org/adventure/a_history) Crowther was exploring the real Mammoth Cave in 1972, and did create a map of the real cave, but the game seems to be a completely separate entity, created around 1975. [2] (http://www.uwec.edu/jerzdg/orr/articles/IF/canon/Adventure.htm) The version that is known today was created in 1976 by Don Woods, who added additional rooms and puzzles to Crowther's unfinished game. It was written in FORTRAN, originally for the PDP-10. Many versions of Adventure may be found, for nearly any computer imaginable.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

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Maze of twisty little passages

"You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all different." is a memorable line from the game. Among hackers it is sometimes modified to refer to something other than passages that one can be lost in (you are lost in a maze of twisty little encyclopedia entries, all different (/wiki/Special:Randompage)).

What is really interesting about the maze is that the phrase maze of twisty little passages is varied systematically into 12 slightly different formulations:

  • Maze of twisty little passages
  • Twisty maze of little passages
  • Little twisty maze of passages
  • Maze of little twisty passages
  • Little maze of twisting passages
  • Little maze of twisty passages
  • Twisting maze of little passages
  • Twisty little maze of passages
  • Twisting little maze of passages
  • Maze of little twisting passages
  • Maze of twisting little passages
  • Little twisting maze of passages


When you first arrive at Y2, you receive the message A hollow voice says "plugh". The magic word takes you between the rooms "inside building" and "Y2".


xyzzy was a magic word found in the game. It has later been used as a metasyntactic variable by hackers.

Many other interactive fiction games contain responses to the command XYZZY as a tribute to Adventure. Zork, for example, replies with:

A hollow voice says, "Fool."
while more recent games have shown a trend of increasingly more elaborate and in-jokey responses.

Other lines

Other memorable lines from the game are:

  • A huge green fierce snake bars the way!
  • With what? Your bare hands? (refers to killing a dragon, etc. )
  • ....

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