Adventure International

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This article is about the American company. For the British company who distributed AI's software and other unrelated games under the same brand, see Adventure Soft.
Adventure International
Industry computer game publishing
Fate bankrupt
Founded 1978
Defunct 1985
Headquarters Longwood, Florida, United States [1]
Key people Scott and Alexis Adams
Products Adventureland
Subsidiaries Adventure Soft UK

Adventure International was a video game publishing company that existed from 1978 until 1985. It was started by Scott and Alexis Adams. Their games were notable for being the first implementation of the adventure genre to run on a microcomputer system. The adventure game concept originally came from Colossal Cave Adventure which ran strictly on large mainframe systems at the time.

History[edit]

After the success of their first game Adventureland, other games followed rapidly, with Adventure International (or "AI") releasing about two games a year. Initially the games were drawn from the founders' imaginations, with themes ranging from fantasy to horror and sometimes science fiction. Some of the later games were written by Scott Adams with other collaborators (such as Philip Case). Adventure International marked the start of many development careers, including Russ Wetmore (author of Preppie! and Homepak), and Jonathan Taylor (founder of Voxeo). Adventure International's games became known for quality, with a reputation only exceeded in the field at the time by Infocom.[citation needed]

In 1980, five of the company's games were ported to the Commodore Vic-20. Vic-20 developer Neil Harris recalled: "[O]ur sales guys could not figure out what they were gonna do with them. 'What are these games? It's all words on the screen! There's no graphics! What kind of a video game doesn't have video?' [laughs] And they became the best-selling cartridges for the VIC 20, period."[1]

Fourteen games later, Adventure International began to release games drawn from film and fiction. The extremely rare Buckaroo Banzai game, developed with Phillip Case, was based on the film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984). Other games came from a more well known source: Marvel Comics. Adventure International released three Questprobe games based on the Marvel characters: The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and Torch and the Thing.

By the end of 1982, game tastes were changing. The traditional text-based adventure game market had moved to graphic adventure games. Games like The Hobbit had increased expectations of such games, and although Adventure International games included graphics of a sort, they were significantly inferior to contemporary offerings at the time and the company was rapidly losing market share. At its peak in late 1983 to early 1984, Adventure International employed approximately 50 individuals and published titles from over 300 independent programmer/authors.

Adventure International was located in the Sabal Point subdivision of Longwood - at 155 Sabal Palm Drive, Longwood, Florida near the east side of Sabal Point Elementary School. Adventure International also had a retail store front located in Sweetwater Oaks at 966 Fox Valley Dr, Longwood, near the west side of Sabal Point Elementary School. Both were in zip code 32750 (now 32779). Scott and Alexis Adams also lived in Sabal Point at 454 Timber Ridge Drive in Longwood. The house still retains some of its tower and castle look.

Adventure International went bankrupt in 1985. The copyrights for its games reverted to the bank and eventually back to Scott Adams who released them as shareware.

In Europe the "Adventure International" name was a trading name of Adventure Soft and other games were released under the name that were not from Adventure International in the US.

Games[edit]

Scott Adams's original twelve adventure games were:

The games were written using an in-house adventure creator with text compression and a sophisticated command interpreter running on a BBC Micro and a graphics tool running on an Apricot F1. The two parts were then merged, using a cross-compiler when necessary.

Saigon: The Final Days[edit]

A later Adventure International title, Saigon: The Final Days, had as its very dark scenario the escape of a soldier from Vietnam at the end of the war.

A quirk in this game's input parser provided an unintentional surprise bit of morbid gameplay. At one point in the game, the player must figure out how to cross a predator-infested river. Entering the command "confess to war crimes" here would not be rejected as gibberish as one might expect, but would actually kill the player. This turned out to not be a planned feature; the parser was finding the command "swim" embedded in the phrase ("confess to war crimes"), and swimming across the river was invariably a fatal move.

The actual solution to the game was no less macabre, involving zipping oneself into a body bag to be carried out of the country by an evacuation helicopter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herzog, Marty (January 1988). "Neil Harris". Comics Interview (54) (Fictioneer Books). p. 47. 

External links[edit]