Electronic Book Review just published an article I wrote with Dave Thomas, on cave space in video game ecology.
Parts of this article are a companion to my 2007 Digital Humanities Quarterly article on the 1970s text computer game Colossal Cave Adventure.
Crowther’s translation of real world caving experience into the digital medium provides a precise bridge between the cave as environment and the cave as game design metaphor. The decision to represent the player’s caving experiences in a text-based format was practical, owing to the limited graphics capabilities of early computers, the difficulty for potential players to gain access to such computers, and the comparative ease of programming a textual interface rather than visually representing the game’s topography. When considering the impact that Adventure has had on game design since, the connecting of cave space to videogame space remains a moment of importance that, perhaps, mirrors the significance of Pat Crowther’s discovery of a narrow passage linking two vast, sprawling networks, previously perceived as unconnected.