Scott Adams

Posted by Francesco Cordella.
First posted on 02 November 1999. Last updated on 31 December 2013.
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Scott Adams
Scott Adams (photographed here with his family) is the author of Adventureland.

This article is courtesy of L'avventura è L'avventura © 1998.

This Scott Adams is not the one of Dilbert comics, but the one of Scott Adams Graphic Adventures. Happy adventuring has been his slogan in the 1980s during the golden age of text adventure games. His games are enjoyed by fans all over the world. His most famous work to date is Adventureland, an interactive fiction title released in 1978. He is the founder of Adventure International. Born on 10 July 1952 in Miami, Florida, Adams now lives in Platteville, Wisconsin with his second wife who is half Puerto Rican and half Mexican but born in Los Angeles.

When and how did you get involved with computers?

When I was in 11th grade in 1968 my highschool as an experiment put a timeshare terminal to an IBM 360 in the math department. The only language amiable was APL. When I discovered this I spent many many long hours teaching myself to program.

Did you ever write adventures or, before, you had another job?

I was working as a programmer for a company when I discovered the original Colossal Caves on the mainframe. After finishing this I then decided to try and write an adventure game for my TRS-80 computer.

Your dream when you were a child?

Be a writer.

What are you doing now? Would you like to write some other adventure?

Busy playing games and being with family. I have 5 kids. I love first person games such as Descent 3, Half-life and Unreal. Strategy games like C&C and building games like Caesar 3 and Roller Coaster Tycoon. I am though working on a full sentence version of Return to Pirates Island for old times sake.

Which other kind of story would you like to write for an adventure game?

Not sure. If I ever finish Return to Pirate Island then I will probably start a fresh game.

How much money did you gain writing and selling adventures?

At its peak in the 80's Adventure International made 3 million in one year in revenues.

Have you nostalgia for the past time of adventures?


Do you think that adventure of today are as good as adventures in the past? Maybe the atmosphere of games is different.

Actually they are pretty good. I have played Myst and Riven and also many of the Lucas arts games. I like LucasArts as the comedy element is well done.

Which person would you like to thank for your success in writing adventures?

My Mom for bringing me up with the attitude I could succeed if I wanted to.

Tell us your best and your worst game written from you.

Worst game was TRS-80 basic game that simulated a horse race. My favorite game never was published and was called Sapphire. It was an arcade that you played a firefighter in a burning building.

Tell us the best and the worst game written from others in the past or in the present.

I'll pass on this question. I think the worst games are those that are never even brought to market so we never see them. The best are those that provide hours of fun and enjoyment.

What about the computers you used in your life?

I have used mainframes. IBM 360, 370, 1130. PDP-11, Vax, DDP24. Micros TRS-80 models 1,2,3 and 4. Apple, Exidy Sorcerer, Atari 400/800, Northstar CPM, IBM PCs, TI 99/4a.

Adventures are good educational games: isn't?

They can be. Depends on what the author does with it of course. I liked to my games test the player but not unfairly. I always would have embedded hints to a puzzle in the game if the player was clever enough to find them or pay attention.

What are your doing in outdoors? What about your hobbies? What do you like to read?

Horse back riding and horse driving. We have 7 horses. Hiking and swimming. I read Science Fiction and also Religious items.

With your games you became famous in all the world: what did you feel?

Utterly amazed!

What about your family: also your wife, Alexis, wrote adventures?

No actually she tried and I had to finish her efforts. I left her name on the games though. I have since divorced Alexis and remarried over 10 years ago.

What about Infocom adventures? Which Infocom games did you play? Your favourite?

I played the original Zork and greatly enjoyed it.

Did you ever think to write an adventure with Infocom parser?

Nope. Competition at the time was fierce.

I'll not abuse of your time, thanks, Mr Adams.

My pleasure. Many thanks for asking interview!

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