Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Get Lamp
January 2, 2008 4:42 PM   Subscribe

"GET LAMP is a documentary about Text Adventures (later Interactive Fiction), the storytellers who created them, and their unique place in the history of computer games." Although not completed yet (it will be soon, as filming was completed in October), this documentary will contain 76 interviews with people involved in the industry at the time, including Scott Adams (not the cartoonist), Marc Blanc and Tim Anderson (who both worked on Zork, one of the best known examples of the medium) . Here's a teaser trailer. And here are some fun representatives of the genre to play online.
posted by SpacemanStix (55 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Adam Cadre does some neat IF things.
posted by juv3nal at 4:45 PM on January 2, 2008


I see that they interviewed him for this documentary as well.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:49 PM on January 2, 2008


By MetaFilter's own Jason Scott!
posted by danb at 4:49 PM on January 2, 2008


Danb beat me to it. Previously, on MetaFilter.
posted by mumkin at 4:53 PM on January 2, 2008


A long time ago, among the geeks of an earlier generation, that would have been, "Scott Adams (not the game designer)."
posted by ardgedee at 4:53 PM on January 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Great memories.

Something about a gnome. Having to go out and find something and give it to him to proceed. On an Apple 2 in the school library cica 1980. Or Apple ][ as the cool kiddies were wont to spell it.

But then along came the game Autobahn and all its HOT ACTION...
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:04 PM on January 2, 2008


Actually, it was Dave Anderson, not Tim who was interviewed. And I don't know if Dave worked on Zork, although he did work at Infocom as a product tester and game writer. Sorry for the error.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:05 PM on January 2, 2008


Metafilter: I don't know the word 'Metafilter:'
posted by pompomtom at 5:31 PM on January 2, 2008 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: you can't do that here.
posted by rokusan at 5:46 PM on January 2, 2008 [14 favorites]


I love lamp.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:46 PM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Auto-cannibalism is not the answer.
posted by not_on_display at 5:54 PM on January 2, 2008


Metafilter: It is pitch snark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
posted by ersatz at 6:05 PM on January 2, 2008 [14 favorites]


BBS documentary was a monument to a generation, it went beyond computers. There were so many sub-cultures he could have made multiple films. Fantastic.

I'd buy Get Lamp on DVD - please re-post when it's out!
posted by stbalbach at 6:13 PM on January 2, 2008


Damn that's good!

*I don't think the MetaFilter would agree with you*
posted by Mister_A at 6:15 PM on January 2, 2008


xyzzy
posted by sammyo at 6:21 PM on January 2, 2008


That reminds me, I think I'll have a nice big cup of no tea.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:22 PM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


> get ye flask
You can't get ye flask!
posted by infinitewindow at 6:30 PM on January 2, 2008


Interactive fiction is rad and the documentary looks cool but it's a little soft focusy and light piano for a documentary about computer games. Totally the wrong feel unless it all ends in tragedy. Does it all end in tragedy?

x tragedy.
posted by sneakin at 6:34 PM on January 2, 2008


I'd call the current monomaniacal focus on consoles, FPS, and RTS to be ending in tragedy, yes.
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on January 2, 2008


Great subject for a documentary. I've been wondering what those guys looked like for about 20 years, now I'll get to find out.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:21 PM on January 2, 2008


sammyo A hollow voice says, "Cretin."
posted by SansPoint at 7:23 PM on January 2, 2008


I wonder if there's anything included about MUDs and MUCKs and MOOs. A documentary version of My Tiny Life or The CyberGypsies would be pretty cool.
posted by jeffkramer at 7:38 PM on January 2, 2008


This thread just doesn't do justice to IF if it doesn't mention Emily Short. Her work is frikken amazing, particularly (in my opinion) Bronze, although all of her interactive games definitely push the boundaries of normal text game interaction.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:54 PM on January 2, 2008


/Artw sits down and sings a song about gold.
posted by Artw at 8:12 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can I just jump in here and say that, even after all these years, the game Suspended still kicks my ass? I got continually thrashed by it as a kid, and I get thrashed by it now. And this was after I solved Planetfall by myself even.
posted by the dief at 8:17 PM on January 2, 2008


I notice that Robert Pinsky (the former poet laureate) is on the list of people interviewed. I thought perhaps it was a different Robert Pinsky, but the picture sure looks like the poet laureate Pinsky.

Did he write a text-based game? Cause that would be so cool.
posted by molybdenum at 8:31 PM on January 2, 2008


Mind Forever Voyaging was my favorite. I still remember the emotion I felt when projected into the future simulated world... and seeing what had happened
posted by jcruelty at 9:40 PM on January 2, 2008


You are staring at a blue screen with words on it.
>
posted by not_on_display at 9:56 PM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Please tell me this documentary mentions Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die. Even if it doesn't, please tell me it does.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:57 PM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow.

Well, a few people mentioned that my documentary got on Metafilter. Strange time for it to be out there, since I'm still editing it and there's still a lot of work left to be done.

SpacemanStix already corrected the misunderstanding about "Hollywood Dave Anderson" versus "Tim Anderson". Dave has been interviewed, it is still very up in the air whether Tim will agree to do so. Not everyone approached has said yes. But a lot have.

Filming is actually continuing through January. But editing is also happening. My stuff always takes longer than I plan to, because I'm into this whole "make it not suck by rushing it" thing.

The teaser trailer reaction is a source of amusement for me. A recent comment just complained that the "teaser trailer" lacked much concrete information and didn't seem to let on much. Well.... yes.

Yes, that is Poet Laureate Emeritus Robert Pinksy. He wrote a game called "Mindwheel" in the 1980s for Synapse Software.

Anyway, I appreciate the interest in the flick! I hope to live up to it.
posted by jscott at 10:43 PM on January 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Robert Pinsky, later the poet laureate, did write (or at least design) Mindwheel.
posted by hades at 10:45 PM on January 2, 2008


Best wishes for the project, Jason! This doc more than just pretty cool; it will continue to be a very valuable resource for people thinking and writing about IF and computer storytelling in the near and far future.
posted by honest knave at 10:50 PM on January 2, 2008


It is pitch black in the Watergate Hotel. You are likely to be eaten by agnew.
posted by Malor at 10:51 PM on January 2, 2008


plugh
posted by billder at 10:51 PM on January 2, 2008


Worth reading while you wait for Get Lamp to be completed: Nick Montfort's Twisty Little Passages. I'm very much looking forward to this film.
posted by hades at 10:52 PM on January 2, 2008


The clip of Steve Meretzky (pictured) talking about the "shooting star" is right on--this was a fleeting moment in Cambridge, MA when the ambitions of adventure gaming had never been higher.

The new IF being made is kind of cool, in the sense that a literary magazine is kind of cool, but the original was like Catcher in the Rye. The new stuff is easy to admire but doesn't have that fire of catching the spirit of a time in computer history. A Mind Forever Voyaging changed my life.
posted by johngoren at 10:59 PM on January 2, 2008


Oh, and in relation to this project, there was a music video shot about them:

It is Pitch Dark.

Directed by me, featuring MC Frontalot and Steve Meretzky.
posted by jscott at 11:03 PM on January 2, 2008


johngoren: you're right. But the new authors are doing something which guys like Meretzky and Moriarty were only beginning to access-- the spirit of an innovative time in literary history.
posted by honest knave at 3:11 AM on January 3, 2008


In the IF Incredible Hulk for the Commodore 64, how do you get out of that first room? I have been wondering about this for, oh, 20 years now.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:00 AM on January 3, 2008



This thread just doesn't do justice to IF if it doesn't mention Emily Short. Her work is frikken amazing, particularly (in my opinion) Bronze, although all of her interactive games definitely push the boundaries of normal text game interaction.


Agreed, Bronze is the bomb. Floatpoint as well. Also, it seems that in 2007 Emily Short's life still revolves around IF, which is cool in itself.
posted by sneakin at 7:25 AM on January 3, 2008


And by 2007 I mean 2008.
posted by sneakin at 7:25 AM on January 3, 2008


Cool as this documentary may or may not be, I'm not sure I understand how this FPP brings us the best of the web.
posted by knave at 8:06 AM on January 3, 2008


I agree with you; a better time would have been when it comes out later this year. But I guess we'll get one of those too!

Metafilter is now posting so frequently, I can barely keep up with it. Guess everyone wants to help.
posted by jscott at 8:21 AM on January 3, 2008


rub lamp - "Aladdin you are not!"

*rubs lamp anyway*
posted by Standeck at 8:48 AM on January 3, 2008


SpacemanStix has entered the room.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:58 AM on January 3, 2008


I'm not sure I understand how this FPP brings us the best of the web.

I thought just seeing the pictures of all those involved in the industry in one place would be worth the price of admission!

Although, my primary intent for posting was to provide a springboard for discussing an interesting time in history, centered around a really cool project.

Good luck on finishing your film, Jason. I didn't know you were a member here when I posted, so that was a pretty cool coincidence.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:07 AM on January 3, 2008


SpacemanStix has exited the room.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:12 AM on January 3, 2008


GO NORTH
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:06 AM on January 3, 2008


I really enjoyed Jason's BBS documentary (even though my fiancee think's it's just further proof that I'm a total dork), and I can't wait to see this one, too. He's also working on an arcade documentary, which leads me to believe that Jason's taken "documenting Hanov3r's teenage years" as his life's project.
posted by hanov3r at 11:53 AM on January 3, 2008


an arcade documentary

I think the nostalgic part of my brain just exploded.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:57 AM on January 3, 2008


Time passes...
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on January 3, 2008


In the IF Incredible Hulk for the Commodore 64, how do you get out of that first room? I have been wondering about this for, oh, 20 years now.

Where you wake up strapped to a chair? I think you had to chew on your tongue or something, in order to go all Mr Green Machine on your bonds. Then, I donno. Maybe:

>HULK SMASH
posted by damehex at 5:59 PM on January 3, 2008


PS I warn you not to torrent the entire catalog of C64 games and a current build of one of the popular emulators, otherwise you will find yourself answering these kinds of questions for yourself for the next month or two. The first one I approached was "Was Impossible Mission really impossible, or did I just never win?"
posted by damehex at 6:01 PM on January 3, 2008


(You are tied to a chair)
BITE LIP
(you become the Hulk and break your ropes)
posted by jscott at 6:09 PM on January 3, 2008


(You are tied to a chair)
BITE LIP
(you become the Hulk and break your ropes)


Ah yes! But if I recall correctly the room then filled up with gas and made you revert back to Bruce Banner. Breaking the bonds was easy, but getting out of the room I never achieved.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:52 AM on January 4, 2008


« Older A guide to prison slang....   |   The 25 Most Popular Tracks of ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments