Colossal Cave Adventure

Adventure (also known as ADVENT or Colossal Cave) was the first computer game to appear in the genre of interactive fiction (before it was even called that). Will Crowther, a programmer at the legendary Bolt, Beranek & Newman (developers of ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet), was a caver, who applied his experience in Mammoth Cave (in Kentucky) to create a game that he could enjoy with his young daughters. [1] Crowther was exploring the real Mammoth Cave in 1972, and did create a map of the real cave, but the game seems to be a completely separate entity, created around 1975. [1] The version that is known today was created in 1976 by Don Woods, who added additional rooms and puzzles to Crowther's unfinished game. It was written in FORTRAN, originally for the PDP-10. Many versions of Adventure may be found, for nearly any computer imaginable.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

Table of contents
1 Maze of twisty little passages
2 Plugh
3 xyzzy
4 Other lines
5 External links

Maze of twisty little passages

"You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all different." is a memorable line from the game. Among hackers it is sometimes modified to refer to something other than passages that one can be lost in.

What is really interesting about the maze is that the phrase maze of twisty little passages is varied systematically into 12 slightly different formulations:

  • Maze of twisty little passages
  • Twisty maze of little passages
  • Little twisty maze of passages
  • Maze of little twisty passages
  • Little maze of twisting passages
  • Little maze of twisty passages
  • Twisting maze of little passages
  • Twisty little maze of passages
  • Twisting little maze of passages
  • Maze of little twisting passages
  • Maze of twisting little passages
  • Little twisting maze of passages


When you first arrive at an area known as "Y2", you receive the message A hollow voice says "plugh". The magic word takes you between the rooms "inside building" and "Y2".

Michael Goetz' 581 point CP/M version of Colossal Cave included a long extension on the other side of the Volcano View. Eventually, you descended into a maze of catacombs and a "fake Y2." If you said "Plugh" here you found yourself transported to a Precarious Chair suspended in midair above the molten lava. (The game was on SIGM011 from the CP/M Users Group, 1984.)


xyzzy was a magic word found in the game. It has later been used as a metasyntactic variable by hackers and as a marker in program sources for known-incorrect or incomplete code.

Many other interactive fiction games contain responses to the command XYZZY as a tribute to Adventure. Zork, for example, replies with:

A hollow voice says, "Fool."
while more recent games have shown a trend of increasingly more elaborate and in-jokeyy responses.

xyzzy was a Microsoft Minesweeper cheat and is the default password for Apple Computer's Network Assistant.

Other lines

Other memorable lines from the game are:

External links

copyright 2004