Two years ago, I sourced my examples for my quick-start Inform 7 guide from Colossal Cave Adventure. Most people who want to write parser games are familiar with Adventure, and it’s a source of serious nostalgia for me, since I played through it with my dad when I was five.
But while digging into the source code, I made the startling discovery that I hadn’t played “canon” Adventure. There were features missing (the pirate aviary, the Software Manager’s Office) that had been in my version. I went looking for the copy I’d played, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. When I checked back with my father, he said it had been a version from the Heath User’s Group, but he (quite reasonably) discarded his copy of the FORTRAN source in 2003 for lack of a magnetic tape reader, and the 5¼ floppies with the compiled version had presumably been lost since then.
I went looking for the version I played, with no success. I put up a query at intfiction.org, and jpdyer found some mentions in archived copies of the Heath User’s Group newsletter, but that was it. I figured it was gone forever.
Out of the blue yesterday, I got an email from Jesse AE Wolfe. He found the version of Adventure that I’d played in an archive maintained at EC Neilson’s Antediluvian Designs, a vintage technology website.
I downloaded “my” Adventure (available here) and a copy of DOSBox. It’s up and running on my computer now. I’m not sure the additions in this version make it a better game, but it’s a piece of personal history, and I’m ridiculously happy to have a copy again.
Hooray for archives, hooray for games, and hooray for the kindness of strangers!