That’s a dragon, not a chicken

Okay, so this brings back memories.

It's Atari's little "Adventure" game, recreated as a Flash file you can play in your browser. I think it probably even has the Easter Eggs, though the only time I tried to find one my browser quit. (Firefox 2.0 is not impressing me these days.)

What I do remember about it is that it was the one Atari game I just couldn't get enough of. Everybody else had their Space Invaders, their Pac-Man, their Asteroids. (And we didn't even have that; no Atari in my household. We went from Pong right to Intellivision. The only reason we didn't get a Betamax is that they had already died out by the time we did get a video recorder — in 1984.) By the time we moved to a Commodore 64 and its adjoining tape-recorder storage system, we were in as big leagues as we were going to get until we went to college. Hoo-ya!

No, Atari was the thing other households had. I think we knew it looked like crap, innately, but since we hadn't yet seen the three-dimensional computer graphic future, it looked as cool as we figured any computer game was gonna get. I mean, there was no way a computer could make a circle! Right? Right?

Nobody I knew had Adventure except Brian Hancock, who lived down the block. He was a classic computer nerd type person, and was also just adorable — all towheaded hair and freckles. We were too young to be considering boyfriend-girlfriend type stuff, but we were also just on that edge where if you hung out with someone of the opposite sex, you could get razzed about it. Anyhow, I would go over to his house and watch him play Adventure. Considering it takes about 10 minutes tops to do the whole thing and get the chalice, I can't imagine why this held my interest. But I really dug this game. And the idea that you could make it do things it wasn't programmed to do if you knew the secrets — well, that was pretty advanced stuff. (Today, some 20-odd years later I still run into people who don't know what an Easter Egg is, other than something you paint in April.) Brian would put on his Tangerine Dream albums, he'd play the game, and endlessly try and convince me I could do it, too. That was pretty much the sum total of our friendship.

There was an attempt to teach me Dungeons and Dragons, but my geekery only went so far.

Anyway, now there's Adventure on the Web and I can almost hear the soundtrack to "Risky Business" as I'm typing this….