Atari devs dissect Yars’ Revenge, Adventure, Atari’s woes
How two of the 2600’s biggest original hits endured bad hardware, worse marketing.
Like other Game Developers Conferences in the past, this year’s made sure to include a few meaty “post-mortem” panels hosted by legendary game designers. And with Atari—er, what remains of it—celebrating a huge 40th anniversary this year in the form of Pong’s first home edition, the company’s home console developers took center stage in the post-mortem pool.
“I’m going to tell you about the design of Adventure for the 2600, a game I designed in 1979,” Warren Robinett said simply and plainly to introduce his own session. “Thank you. It was the first action-adventure game.”
That’s no understatement. Adventure may seem painfully simple by today’s standards, but it wasn’t just the first “search a dungeon for treasure and fight monsters” game for home consoles; it actually friggin’ worked.
“All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925