An Argument

Scott Adams' Adventureland (S.A.G.A #1)

for the

Commodore 64

Published by Adventure International, 1981.

Read the Walkstory!


  Game Title: Derivative!
  Puzzles: I solved them when I
                was twelve, so they
                can't be too hard.
  Graphics: Not very good.
  Gameplay: Aged.
  Concept: Double Derivative!
  Fun Time: Less than an hour
                    but then I
                    remembered how
                    to solve the game
                    from when I was
  Death Tally: Lots because
                        I was really



Holy crap! This game looks exciting! I should have played it!

The game was first released in 1978 without graphics. Since my current session with it was with a graphic version, I've listed the date as 1981. I probably should list the publishing dates as a range since I'm not entirely sure which Commodore 64 version I played. Unless there was only the one. Then everything should be accurate in the sidebar!

Scott Adams Adventure was the first text adventure game I ever played. I heard about Crowther's Adventure from a friend in elementary school who had played it on his father's computer at work. It caused me to daydream about this great game with a serpent and a bird in a cage and a magic black rod! That sounds like the plot to a pornographic B-movie.

The version with which I was familiar.

My first encounter with Adventure was on the Vic-20 because there was almost nothing else to do on the Vic-20. I tried to write my own programs of the types of games I wanted to play but the gosub routines always confused me. Inevitably, the Vic-20 wound up being a computer I mostly used to play the first five Scott Adams text adventures. I eventually sold the computer to my Uncle Jack who gave it to my cousins on Christmas. They had no interest in the text adventures and simply played River Raid for hours. The heathens!

This cover represents over half the game locations!

The game is incredibly simple with really just one puzzle that kept me guessing for months (which I'll get to later). These games came on cartridges for the Vic-20 but I don't remember how much they cost. I loved reading and I loved role playing games and I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books, so text adventures were right up my alley. Unfortunately, Scott Adams' first five games could be solved in one day. I was ultimately dissatisfied with the meager amount of entertainment each one delivered and went back to playing with my action figures in the backyard.

I like that "with Superb Graphics" is in quotes. Honesty!

The history of the game is far more interesting than the game itself. But since this blog isn't about history, might I recommend a thoroughly entertaining blog that is:

This isn't a must play text adventure because of the quality of the game and the puzzles. But I think it's a must play simply because it was many people's introduction to a genre that would take over the home computer gaming world for at least a decade. Plus it's short and it's easy and there's a bear that's just begging for it.


When I first finished the game, I did so with only twelve of the thirteen treasures because the only way I knew how to get past the bear was to feed it the *ROYAL HONEY*. I probably spent weeks going back to that bear's ledge trying to figure out a way past him without sacrificing one of my treasures. One night when my friend Sal was spending the night, I was showing him the game hoping that he might have some insights into getting past the bear. After trying multiple inputs that got me nothing but an inane response from the stupid parser, I, in a fit of showing off to my friend, probably, typed, "SCREW BEAR." When the game responded with "The bear is so startled, it falls off the ledge," my friend Sal and I erupted into laughter. I couldn't imagine why bestiality was the answer to the problem, but I didn't really question it much either. I had won! I beat the game! And I had a good story to tell when I found out, years later, that the parser only accepted the first three or four letters of any word and the answer was really just to "SCREAM."

Fittingly enough, Scott Adams tells nearly the identical story on an extra feature on Jason Scott's documentary Get Lamp. It was such a treat to hear Scott Adams recount the story of a fan that was the same exact experience I had gone through. And, I imagine, a legion of other frustrated gamers. When in doubt, screw it!

Copyright 2006 NA!P