Artwork: Cygnus Entertainment

If you’re familiar with obsolete computing technology and old software, you may be aware of a game called Colossal Cave Adventure.

Colossal Cave Adventure is a text-based game that plays like a choose-your-own-adventure book with more choices and freedom of movement.

Will Crowther wrote the game’s original program in 1976 on a PDP-10 mainframe computer.

Don Woods developed an expanded version of Colossal Cave in 1977.

The game eventually came to other computers, including CP/M and MS-DOS-based systems.

Based on Crowther’s experiences in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Colossal Cave kicked off a computer game genre known as text adventures.

The genre allowed people to play games on computers without graphics capabilities and use their imagination to create the imagery.

Computers without graphics capabilities would receive text-based video games like Ladder, Catchum, and Aliens in the following years.

Those three games were text-based clones of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders.

Colossal Cave takes the player on an adventurous quest for treasure, but the path is full of puzzles and danger.

When you’re not navigating twisty little mazes of passages all alike, you’re fending off sticky-fingered pirates and dwarves.

Colossal Cave Returns, in Color This Time

After existing in text adventure form for decades, Colossal Cave has returned to the gaming world in full color in 2023.

This time, gaming industry veterans and Sierra Entertainment founders Ken and Roberta Williams are guiding the cave tour.

Through Sierra, Ken and Roberta have given gamers popular titles like King’s Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Space Quest.

Today, the Williamses released Colossal Cave on multiple platforms through their Cygnus Entertainment company.

The game is available on Steam, Epic, Amazon, Meta Quest 2, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 5 for $39.99.

Supported languages include English, Arabic, Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Russian.

According to a Cygnus Entertainment press release, the Xbox Series X|S version will be available later.

Cygnus Entertainment plans to release the game for PCVR and PlayStation VR2 in 2023.

Ken Williams says there is still work to do before the PCVR version is ready.

“Even though our PC version and VR version are based on the same code and graphics, they are a completely different experience and have a quite different feel.” noted Ken on a Steam discussion thread. “I like each of them for very different reasons, The VR version is an incredibly cool and immersive feeling, but I have trouble wearing the headset for the dozens of hours it would take me to play the game.”

Ken and Roberta’s interpretation of the original game takes players through miles of caverns, solving puzzles and collecting treasures.

Players will likely need to remember some quirky magic words during their adventure as well.

Those magic words will come in handy.

According to Ken, Colossal Cave’s long history and Sierra’s heritage make for a powerful combination.

And he’s anxious for longtime fans and new players to experience the game.

Ken says they received overwhelming support for the game and enjoyed watching kids and adults play during development.

“The original Colossal Cave Adventure was truly unlike anything anyone had seen before, and we hope to make a similar mark on the next generation,” says Roberta. “Ken and I would have never thought this game could be the experience we’ve created today, but we’ve made that dream a reality thanks to a lof of love and hard work from us, our team, and our gracious partners.”

By Benjie Cooper

Raised on geek culture, Benjie has been in cannabis news since 2014, and a consumer since long before that. Before starting CannaGeek, he wrote for the Candid Chronicle and co-hosted the Nug Life Radio Show.