Scott Adams wrote the first commercial text adventure game
for the personal computer. He wrote Adventureland for the TRS-80 in
BASIC. Adams based it on ColossalCaves, which was written
by Will Crowther and Don Woods on a DEC PDP-10.
Adams formed a company called
Adventure International in 1978. Between '78 and '84 Adams
wrote 14 text adventure games for the Atari, Apple II, C64, Sorcerer, TI, and
CP/M (you can download all of Adams' games in one big
zip at http://www.msadams.com/Downloads.htm). The games all featured a two
word parser (e.g., GO EAST).
Adams started selling his Adventureland
game by placing a small ad in a computer magazine and sending copies on tape.
His first big sale was 50 copies to a Radio Shack in Chicago.
In December 1980, Byte magazine wrote an article about Adams'
adventure game. At its peak, Adventure International grossed $3 million. It
signed a deal with Marvel Comics to release games based on its super heros
under the Questprobe label.
When the bottom fell out of the video game market in the
mid '80s, Adams' Adventure International went out of
business. Today Adams is 48 years old, lives in Wisconsin,
and works as a senior programmer for Avista, Inc.