Critical Code Studies Working Group — Colossal Cave Adventure Annotation

This week, I’ll be facilitating a week-long collaborative annotation project, as part of the Critical Code Studies Working Group online conference, on the source code to Crowther’s original Colossal Cave Adventure (a classic text-only computer game from the 1970s).

According to Donald Knuth, designer of the “literate programming
paradigm,” Colossal Cave Adventure is the “ur-game for computers”
(Knuth 1998/2002).

Because computer games have, for decades, been a point of
connection between the worlds of technology (from the Greek techne,
“skill”) and art (from the Latin ars artis, also meaning “skill),
it seems fitting to revisit “Adventure” in the context of Critical
Code Studies (CCS).

I’m thrilled at the opportunity to invite the CCS community to
collaborate on an annotated edition of Will Crowther’s original
source code, using a series of public-editable files. The window
below shows Google’s hosted version of the code file (dated March
11, 1977) that presents the oldest known version of Crowther’s
source code.

Also part of our project for this week is the accompanying data
file, which contains text descriptions of rooms, vocabulary
recognized by the game’s parser, and a data model of the
connections between various game locations. —Critical Code Studies Working Group (Week 3)

Context for the event:

CCSWG from Mark Marino on Vimeo.

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