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During the early 1970s he worked at defense contractor and Internet pioneer Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), where he was part of the original small ARPAnet development team. His implementation of a distributed distance vector routing system for the ARPAnet was an important step in the evolution of the Internet. Crowther wrote: (Edited to conserve space) "I had been involved in a non-computer role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons and I had been actively exploring caves - Mammoth Cave in Kentucky in particular. I wrote a program that was a re-creation in fantasy of my caving, and also would be a game for the kids, and perhaps some aspects of the Dungeons and Dragons that I had been playing. My idea was that it would be a computer game that would not be intimidating to non-computer people, and that was one of the reasons why I made it so that the player directs the game with natural language input, instead of more standardized commands. My kids thought it was a lot of fun." He developed this game in Fortran on BBN's PDP-10. In Colossal Cave, or more simply called Adventure, the player moves around an imaginary cave system by entering simple, two-word commands and reading text describing the result. He used his extensive knowledge of cave exploration as a basis for the game play, and there are many similarities between the locations in the game and those in Mammoth Cave, particularly its Bedquilt section. In 1975 he released the game on the early ARPAnet system, of which BBN was a prime contractor. In the spring of 1976, he was contacted by Stanford researcher Don Woods, seeking his permission to enhance the game. He agreed, and Woods developed several enhanced versions on a PDP-10 housed in the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) where he worked. (Montfort, 2003, p.89) Over the following decade the game gained in popularity, being ported to many operating systems, including personal-computer platform CP/M. The basic game structure he invented (and based in part on the example of the ELIZA text parser) was carried forward by the designers of later adventure games. Marc Blank and the team that created the Zork adventures cite Adventure as the title that inspired them to create their game. They later founded Infocom and published a series of popular text adventures.
Noted For:Best known as the co-creator of Colossal Cave Adventure, a seminal computer game that influenced the first decade of game design and created a new game genre, text adventures; also, his implementation of a distributed distance vector routing system for the ARPAnet was an important step in the evolution of the Internet
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