The Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT)

By , May 24, 1997

May 24, 1997 — In 1985, Mark J. Welch designed the Generic Adventure Game System (GAGS), a computer programming tool for creating “text adventure” games for MS-DOS computers. GAGS was released as “shareware” in 1985 and enhanced several times in 1986 and 1987.

In 1987, David Malmberg made substantial enhancements to the Generic Adventure Game System, which was renamed the Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT). Over the next few years, many additional features were added to AGT, and versions were released for MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, the Apple Macintosh, the Commodore Amiga, and the Atari ST. From 1987 through 1992, AGT was distributed by Softworks of Mission San Jose, California. The final version of AGT, known as the “Adventure Game Toolkit Master’s Edition,” includes some graphics and sound capabilities. The final version of AGT is version 1.7. You can download AGT and many games from The Interactive Fiction Archive.

More than 100 different text adventure games have been designed by game authors around the world using GAGS and AGT. Rather than just downloading dozens of games in hopes of finding some good ones, I suggest that you check out Baf’s Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive, which includes reviews of many dozens of text adventure games, including many AGT games.

Select here to view the Generic Adventure Game System programming tools (version 1.07) available at the “Interactive Fiction Archive” (MS-DOS only).

Select here to view the Adventure Game Toolkit programning tools available at the Interactive Fiction Archive.

Since 1993, the Generic Adventure Game System and the Adventure Game Toolkit have been released as “freeware” (e.g. they are still copyrighted, but may be freely copied and distributed in unaltered form); no registration fee is requested. Freeware is not public domain: you may not distributed altered versions or source code, or use the “Adventure Game Toolkit” product name, without written permission from Mark Welch or David Malmberg! No technical support is available from the authors. David Malmberg is a management consultant. Mark J. Welch is an internet marketing consultant.

Work on AGT-based or derived programs continues:

  • Robert Masenten developed AGiliTy, a “Universal” or “Portable” adventure game run-time system, written in the C programming language, which he says should be able to run any AGT games. Additional AGiliTy versions were adapted by Simon Baldwin, David Kinder, and Julian Arnold.
  • Kevin Soucy wrote a “converter” program to allow Agate programs to be compiled with the AGT or Magx compilers.

Those interested in text adventure games should explore XYZZY News.

There are two active “newsgroups” for text-adventure-game designers; both are now available through Google Groups): and

Don’t ask me for technical support! Instead, post your query in the newsgroup (after first searching to see if your question has already recently been answered). If you must send me email, write to Mark Welch at Mark Welch dot com.

Update January 2, 2015: There is a web site which claims to provide the actual Turbo Pascal source code for the Adventure Game Toolkit (1.7), at — I do NOT know if this is our code, or might be altered in some way (malware, trojan, whatever).


8 Responses to “The Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT)”

  1. Melody Grandy Keller says:

    When you have the time, could you possibly email me a computer file of the hardcopy version of the AGT instructions? The regular AGT program, not the Master’s or Big one. (I bought the hardcopy, but don’t have it now.) The instructions posted on the Net don’t include how to put sound into the game. I’d like to make some minor corrections on my ‘Zim Greenleaf’s Laboratory.’ Thank you very much! 🙂

  2. Mark Welch says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t even know where to look for those files any more. My vague recollection is that sound was added in the Master’s edition, but I’m not sure.

  3. Mark Welch says:

    For some perspective on AGT, see this undated post-1995 interview with David Malmberg:

  4. Mark says:

    I see that there’s an online bulletin board/forum dedicated to interactive fiction, at

  5. Rod Lockwood says:

    @Melody Only the Master’s Edition games had sound. So the Master’s Edition is what you would have created the game with and that is the manual you need.

  6. Kevin Soucy says:

    Actually, my converter took the AGT game source and reformatted it to a new engine I was writing in C called AGATE, but I never finished it. I’m actually working with Unreal Engine 4 now, but I’ll always fondly remember AGT for being my introduction to the world of designing games for the PC.

  7. Maury Markowitz says:

    Hi Mark. I’m trying to pull together enough info about Dog Star Adventure to do a Wiki article. I know that David Malmberg did the PET port, and I’d love to get in touch with him. Do you recall *anything* that might help – general location, where he went to school, etc? There’s a couple of DM’s on FB, but they are not active and none of them have got back to me yet.

  8. DC says: has a bunch of AGT games up now in its MS-DOS game collection — mostly the same collection as the IF archive’s, but they can be emulated in the browser (I think Firefox is the recommended browser to try with this if you have problems):

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