A Twisty Maze

Completing the Maze

Anyone who’s been around computer technology for a long enough will immediately recognize the phrase “A Twisty Maze” as being from the early computer game called Adventure or Colossal Cave.  This was a text game where the user wandered through a great cave by typing simple instructions like “go north” and the computer program would describe what you see in the vast underground labyrinth.  At a certain place you could wander into “a twisty maze of passages all alike” and it would be very difficult to find your way out from there.  The usual trick was dropping some things you were carrying so that they would be added to the description of the room if  you managed to go in a circle and come back to the same place (which wasn’t hard to do).  You can read more about Adventure in this Wikipedia article.

When I was an undergraduate at MIT, I clearly remember spending hours and hours playing Adventure on the MIT timesharing system using a line-printer terminal in the back hallway at my fraternity (Chi Phi).  This could have been considered research into the current state of the art of computer intelligence, but was actually just a way to avoid doing the reading and problem sets I was always supposed to be doing.

When I started this blog, the “Twisty Maze of Passages” was the obvious theme.  I have a variety of interests: computer technology, astronomy, photography, poetry, faith.  I will probably end up blogging on all of these eventually, and the only thing that really connects them is my own twisted brain.

I hope something here might be interesting to you.  If so, drop me a line or post a comment.  Perhaps we can find our way by what we leave for each other, just like an Adventure in the Colossal Cave.

One thought on “A Twisty Maze

  1. It still lives on in all emacs instances … type ‘dunnet’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunnet_(game)) . Though I recall the phrase ‘Twisty Maze of Passages’ changed slightly for each room, there were 9 variations, something like : ‘Twisting maze of passages’ , ‘Maze of Twisty little passages’ …

    Come to think of it there were two mazes…

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