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Colossal Cave adventure is a text-based game. It has no special controls, all actions in the game are performed by typing in the command and any options, followed by the enter key.

To make the entry of commands easier to understand, they will be shown in upper case, prefixed by the greater than symbol ">". The portion of the line after this symbol is the part typed in by the user.

Some commands are available in short or long versions, for example all of the following perform the same action:

> W

Certain commands require a parameter, for example, "TAKE" requires that you specify the item to take. Some items, such as the ROD, can be taken simply by typing its name, if it is in the current room.