Beyond GET LAMP


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If there was ever a year to attend KansasFest, 2010 was it. Besides a fantastic keynote by former Beagle Bros president Mark Simonsen and the triumphant return of Bite the Bag, every attendee received a free copy of Jason Scott's two-DVD text adventure documentary, GET LAMP. How cool is that?

Scott's work has made interactive fiction into a hot topic, with plenty of buzz around the net. Episode #8 of the video podcast Gameshelf (iTunes) looks briefly at modern incarnations of the genre, including where to play it online for free without needing an emulator or interpreter, with recommendations of specific beginner games, such as Dreamhold. In the Gameshelf episode, you can see an Apple II at 1:33, just after watching an awkward gameplay session of Action Castle, the live-action text adventure that was played at KansasFest 2010's Friday night banquet.

A melding of Scott's two interests, text adventures and dial-up BBSs, can be found in the game Digital: A Love Story, available for free on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The game tells a narrative in the form of a dial-up bulletin board, which was largely a lost medium in the life of the game's young creator, Christine Love. Scott interviewed her this summer about her work researching and creating the game.

There's more that can be said about text adventures than can fit in any one blog post or even one documentary, so expect this topic to be revisited time and again here and elsewhere. And if you still haven't seen GET LAMP, it may be coming to a city near you.

(Hat tip to Taking Inventory)