for the Atari 2600 Video Game Console
    by Warren Robinett

Adventure, a video game cartridge for the Atari 2600 video game console, was the first action-adventure video game.  It was published by Atari Inc. in 1979, and sold 1 million copies.

The E-book The Annotated Adventure (a detailed analysis of the source code for the video game Adventure for the Atari 2600 console) will be posted on this page sometime in 2016. If you would like to be notified when it is ready, please send me an email at with the word "annotated" in the subject line.

Adventure introduced the idea of movable objects (represented by visible icons) that could be picked up by the player (using a joystick) and moved from place to place in the game world.  It was also one of the first video games to allow the player to explore a large multi-screen game world.  As the first action-adventure game, it founded the genre of action-adventure video games, including Legend of Zelda, and many others.  Adventure also contained the first Easter Egg (hidden surprise) in a video game, which in this case was the author's signature hidden in a secret room.

        Map of the Adventure game world (30 KB).

Technically, Adventure was constrained by very limited resources.  The total memory used by the game program was 4096 bytes (4K) for the game code (in ROM) and 128 bytes for program variables (in RAM).  The processor used was a 1.2 MegaHertz, 8-bit processor (6502).

 Lecture (for Computer Science students) on the hardware architecture of the Atari 2600 video game console, and the design of the software for the Atari 2600 game cartridge Adventure.  (PowerPoint, 1.1 MB)

Play Adventure.
Adventure can be run nowadays on a PC using an Atari 2600 emulator (such as PCAE or Stella) and a ROM image file ( here or here) of the Adventure cartridge. 

To have the right to play the game, you should own an Adventure cartridge.  You can buy an Adventure game cartridge (and an Atari 2600 console, if you want) at a web auction site, such as eBay (Top > Computers > Games > Atari).   Atari game carts go for a few dollars each, and for $20, you can get an Atari 2600 console and a dozen game carts.

You can also play Adventure here on an online emulator:    Launch Adventure.