‘Adventure’, Atari and the developer who wanted to be recognized

Today we are more than used to Easter Eggs (or Easter eggs) in video games. For example, in ‘The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings’ we can find an assassin from’ Assassin’s Creed ‘stamped on the ground, in’ The Division ‘we can find all the weapons of the Ninja Turtles hidden around the map and in’ PUBG ‘there is the’ we have been deceived ‘meme. It’s custom, a nice custom, and the truth is that its origin is the most peculiar (and ancient).

How old? Well, we have to go back to nothing more and nothing less than 1979. At that time Warren Robinett was working at Atari, specifically in the development of ‘Adventure’. If you have seen ‘Ready Player One’ the game will surely sound familiar to you, since it is the last test that the protagonist must overcome to take over the property of James Halliday. The history of this Easter Egg is the most peculiar, so let’s get to know it.

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In the 70-80s, Nolan Bushnell’s Atari was a video game giant thanks, in part, to the creativity of its programmers. Without programmers there are no games and without games there is no money. Atari “protected” its developers tooth and nail, if by “protected” we can understand that kept creators anonymousHe did not pay them royalties and, according to Robinnet himself, he treated them a little-quite regularly.

Robinnet knew that getting Atari to pay her royalties was difficult, but what was not so difficult was signing the game. Nowadays, when you finish or start a game, the most normal thing is that the names of the people involved appear, but that in the Atari of those then was totally out of the conversation. However, Robinnet was cunning enough to hide your name in the game, and also well hidden.

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For those who do not know ‘Adventure’, it is a game in which we take our character through a series of rooms in which we must collect objects and go from here to there. Robinnet hid a very, very small one pixel object, which today we know as “The Dot”, in a hidden room, a room that is almost impossible to get to if you don’t know how to do it beforehand. On Steam it has a guide so you can see how absurd it is.

Once the pixel (and a series of other objects) had been obtained, the player had to take everything to a room and then cross a side wall. In doing so, the player accessed a screen that mostraba el texto “Created by Warren Robinnet”. The process is crazy, but if it had been easier someone from Atari would have found it in the review process.

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Robinnet himself explains in this column that some children, By trial and error, they found itAnd that there was even a boy who, after finding The Dot (and knowing that he had something on his hands) did not let his parents turn off the TV for three weeks until he discovered what it was for.

And that is the first Easter Egg of video games, a nice secret that, according to the creator in the prologue of the book ‘Video Game Theory Reader’, by Bernard Perron and Mark JP Wolf, is the true way to pass the game and the proof that Atari had the power not to put the creator’s name on the box, but also that he had the power to put it on the screen.

This article is part of a weekly section by Jose García dedicated to approaching technology from a more relaxed, personal and informal point of view that we publish in Xataka every Saturday.

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