Adventure, developed by Warren Robinett for the Atari Video Computer System (later renamed Atari 2600) and released in 1980, is notable for containing the first well-known Easter egg in a video game, which revealed the designer’s name.
The Easter egg can be found by performing a specific sequence of actions within the game. When the player locates and grabs a “Gray Dot” object, they must bring it to a specific room where a wall will become partially invisible, revealing a secret room. Inside the secret room, the message “Created by Warren Robinett” is displayed.
This Easter egg was a response to Atari’s policy at the time of not crediting game designers. The hidden message was a way for Robinett to assert his authorship of the game, and it went unnoticed by Atari until after the game’s release. Once discovered, the Easter egg received media attention, and other developers began to include similar hidden messages and features in their own games. The concept of Easter eggs in video games quickly became a popular and enduring tradition in the gaming industry.
In Adventure, the player navigates through a kingdom consisting of thirty rooms filled with obstacles, enemies, and mazes. The goal is to recover the Enchanted Chalice stolen by an evil magician and return it to the Golden Castle. The kingdom is guarded by three dragons—Yorgle, Grundle, and Rhindle—that either protect or flee from various items and attack the player’s avatar. An enemy bat roams the kingdom, carrying items or dragons and swapping them between rooms.
The player’s avatar is a simple square shape that moves within and between rooms. Helpful objects include keys to open castles, a magnet to attract items, a magic bridge to cross obstacles, and a sword to defeat dragons. Players can carry only one object at a time. If a dragon eats the avatar, the player can resurrect it without restarting the game.
Adventure offers three skill levels. Level 1 is the easiest and excludes several elements, while Level 2 includes all game elements in set positions. Level 3 randomizes object locations for a greater challenge. Difficulty switches on the Atari 2600 control the dragons’ bite speed and whether they flee when the player carries the sword.