Possibly the greatest game ever written for the Atari 2600 platform, Adventure recast the text-only cave-crawling adventure games of the 1970s into graphical form. The spareness of the design (which had to be crammed into a lean 4K of memory) refined the experience down to its visual essentials: you’re a square, your sword is an arrow, your foes are strangely ducklike dragons.
It also included some wonderfully imaginative elements that led to surprisingly sophisticated gameplay, like a magnet that slowly attracts objects from elsewhere on the screen, and a puckish bat that picked up objects and flew them to other parts of the kingdom. (Those objects included dragons, which meant that a player who’d been eaten by a dragon could eventually expect to be picked up by the bat too, and given a whirlwind tour of Adventure‘s tiny universe). Of course, the game also featured one of the first Easter Eggs: sufficiently obsessive players could find their way into a secret room containing the programmer’s name, Warren Robinett, spelled out in gloriously pulsing letters.