Game history

Video Game History Collides: Sierra Founders Bring Flagship Text-Adventure Game to Virtual Reality

Ken and Roberta Williams, two of the most influential figures in video game history, bring the original 1976 text-based adventure Adventure in a colossal cave to virtual reality, as well as Mac and Windows PC.

Sounds simple enough when I say it like that, right? And then I remind you that the game in question looked like this:

Colossal Cave Adventure running on a PDP-11/34 with a monitor.
Photo by Autopilot (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

And then I remind you that Roberta and Ken have been retired for 25 years.

And then I remind you that — while Roberta and Ken were doing King’s Quest and Phantasmagoria ET are credited with the first graphic adventure game never in mystery quest ET founded the famous game company Sierra, which has published everything since The Incredible Machine for Larry Leisure Suit for half life – they weren’t really involved in Adventure in a colossal cavea.k.a Adventurea.k.a Advent. It was simply the game that inspired them.

Ken and Roberta Williams at the start of Sierra.
Photo via Cygnus Entertainment

So it’s a remarkable turn of events, to say the least, spanning nearly 50 years of video game history, from the games you originally played on mainframes to the Oculus Quest 2, a story in which Roberta and Ken played important roles. But why? “Ken was bored and I suggested he write a book about Sierra. The process of writing the book brought back long forgotten memories, which led Ken to decide to learn Unity and make a game” , explained Roberta Williams to Gamer on PC.

I’d say I don’t know what to expect – if their new company Cygnus Entertainment hadn’t already released a graphically stripped down trailer which you can watch here:

Cygnus currently has 12 full-time employees working on the game. “It has not yet been determined if future games will be developed by Cygnus Entertainment LLC or if Colossal Cave 3D was a one-time effort. Time will tell,” reads -on on the new company’s website.

If you’re not familiar with the seminal work of Ken and Roberta Williams, one of their former employees who goes by Metal Jesus on YouTube just sat down with them for an extensive retrospective last week. I strongly advise you to offer him a watch:

And if you want to try the original Adventure in a colossal cave (which might not technically be the first text adventure game), you can play it on the web right here.

Thanks for all the games, Roberta and Ken. I grew up with King’s Quest and Dr Brain and quest for glory and many more, and I probably wouldn’t be here without them.