ReAction: Why Roberta ❤s Colossal Cave Part II

Our focus with the game has shifted, from building the game, to promoting it.

That said, there is still A LOT of work going on in development, particularly with respect to virtual reality (VR). We released the game on the Quest 2
with two different means of moving around in the world. One of the
methods, which we called “comfort mode” was created by Roberta and was
an attempt to reduce the motion sickness that can be felt in VR. Her
method was a step forward, but didn’t quite get us where we want to be.
We’re working hard behind the scenes on a third movement method that
will be in the upcoming release of our SteamVR (PC VR) and Playstation
VR 2 (PSVR2) game. We hope it will completely remove the motion sickness
feeling that is inherent in VR for most people. We also completely
re-engineered our inventory system, and are using our enhanced graphics.
Best of all Steam PC owners will be receiving the VR version of the game free! We made the decision to consolidate under one purchase the PC, Mac, Steam Deck and Steam VR versions. Buy one, get them all!

We haven’t forgotten the non-VR versions. In addition to the inevitable
bug fixes, we’ve been refining some of the play where players were
getting stuck and needed a little extra guidance.

And, we’ve been hard at  work on a documentary about the history of Colossal Cave.
Most people think of the names Crowther & Woods in connection with
the game, however there is an adventurous and famous young lady behind
the scenes who played a key role in the evolution of the game. There’s
also a connection not just to the birth of gaming, but to the birth of
the internet! When we say Colossal Cave is a historic game, we
mean it, and are producing a documentary that helps tell the story.
We’re simultaneously working on a video with tips and strategy for
playing the game. With a little luck, you’ll see both in the next week or two.

Finally, something special to report!

Roberta and I were fortunate enough to visit with Danny and Arin from GameGrumps,
a 5.4 million subscriber YouTube channel. Roberta and Danny chit
chatted while Arin played the game. They had a hilarious time, and their
YouTube video has already been viewed nearly 200,000 times in just the
first 12 hours after it was released, attracting over 1,200 comments! I
linked it below and it is worth not only watching, but scanning the
comments. A fun time was had by all.

In this edition

  • Part II of Roberta’s story “Why Colossal Cave?”
  • Roberta plays Colossal Cave and offers commentary live on video!
  • Roberta appears on GameGrumps.
  • 20% off – Steam’s Spring Sale!
  • How your reviews help us.

Thank you for reading.


In our last ReAction,
Roberta talked about how she came to find Colossal Cave, and how it
affected her and ultimately changed the course of her life.

Why Colossal Cave?
Part II

by Roberta Williams

I found myself thinking and planning a game of my own in bed at night and
became so excited by the idea that I drove to a local art store and
bought oversize pieces of thick white paper. I brought them home and sat
down at the proverbial ‘kitchen table’ to start sketching and doodling
out a game map of my idea. In my mind, I was calling it Mystery House because I based it on the board game ‘Clue’ and a story much like an Agatha Christie novel. It
was an impulsive thing to do, but I found myself compelled, and just knew that I was on to something! I convinced Ken to work with me on it, and together we created the first computer game with graphics – for the Apple II computer. So, how did Colossal Cave Adventure manage to change my world in such a profound way? It did it by reaching deep into my soul, my very brain. Though I was ‘spelunking’ in the Colossal Cave game, Colossal Cave itself had entered into the tunnels and crevices of my own grey matter and dug out my forgotten urges of fun, adventure, creating, and
storytelling. In actuality, I had never really lost those, but had
locked them deep inside and tossed aside the key. Colossal Cave found that key for me!

This recounting explains, “Why Colossal Cave.” I owe it so
much; it gave me this life I now lead. Without it, I honestly don’t know
what I would have been doing all of these years! (And our company,
Sierra On-Line, would never have existed.) So that’s my motive, the
reason to bring it back to today’s gameplayers. In my grateful mind, I
want to share it, and to hope that it can inspire others as it did for
me. It gave me my life’s career and weirdly taught me ‘how’ to design
adventure games. But that’s really not a huge leap as I’ve always loved
to tell stories – as a child to my friends, to my younger brother, to my
parents, to my cousins. I used to put together little plays or skits as
well — and, of course, I would play the main character while my
brother, friends, or cousins would be the other characters. We would
perform them for my parents, or for my aunts and uncles. I feel honor
and passion about bringing Colossal Cave back to modern players
because, in my mind, it worked absolute ‘magic’ for me, and I can’t
understand why it wouldn’t for others.

But maybe, that’s just me; it’s how I think!

a computer game designer, I love being able to create immersive
‘worlds’ for people, not just simply to devise a linear story. I want to
create a fantasy world where the players truly are the protagonists and
can decide within it where they wish to go, get totally immersed in
that world, and feel like they’re ‘in charge.’ I want them to sense
danger, or experience exhilaration upon finding something important —
and leave it to them to figure out how to get past an obstacle, solve a
puzzle, and successfully reach a goal. Discovery is important! And I
experienced all of those emotions when first playing the text-based Colossal Cave.
Those game attributes are still there, and I honestly can’t believe
that people have changed so much that they are not able to feel the same
sense of wonder, exploration, and discovery that a game like this can
impart. So, here’s my motive: to re-introduce Colossal Cave to
modern gameplayers, partially to validate for myself that people truly
haven’t changed that much. But nagging questions do remain: Can modern
players spawn the patience for a slower, more methodical exploration
through a fantasy cave – a serene, cerebral enjoyment? Or are they only
capable of experiencing high-tension, and on-the-edge excitement? I am
curious about that, and time will tell who the modern gameplayers really
are. I hope that they can enjoy both! But, I admit, I do have some
worries; I fear that many of today’s gameplayers have become addicted –
and I do use that term advisedly – to the high-action and
constant-adrenaline tension of today’s third-person, action-oriented
games. Though today’s action-adventures do tell a story — as did the
prior adventure games of the 80’s and 90’s – they tend to move players
quickly toward precise spots because of pre-determined game plots, the
game focus usually being combat. But traditional adventure games not
only had a story to tell, but players were – and still are — enjoying
those games at their own speed and whims. All in all, I’m optimistic
that there is still a sizable group of tried-and-true adventure players,
as well as those who would permit themselves to explore a quieter, more
personal world of traditional adventure gaming.

And along these lines, I would like to take a moment to kindly request that if you have played our newly revived Colossal Cave and
enjoyed it, I would be so appreciative if you could review it. That
would help us pass along the word – but more specifically to aid the
preservation of Colossal Cave as the historical computer game icon it truly is!

Thank you!

Roberta Williams

A Very Special Episode

Roberta meets Dan & Arin from Game Grumps, and takes them on a guided tour of Colossal Cave!

Watch the video right here!

Colossal Cave is currently ON SALE

STEAM Spring Sale
March 16-23

20% Off.  Grab it, now!

Watch Roberta play Colossal Cave right here, with her commentary as she moves about the cave, and tells you about her favorite puzzle in the game!

Your reviews help us greatly.

They not only let other players know about your experience with the
game, but they help promote the games visibility in the stores where
it’s available.  Our goal is to preserve this loved and special game for
a further 50 years. The best recommendation is your recommendation. We greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time out to support the game.

Consider giving a review of Colossal Cave on Steam, GOG or at Meta Quest

Giving a user review at Metacritic contributes as well!

in summary

Why Colossal Cave? Roberta Explains it All

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