Somewhere Nearby is a Colossal Cave Paper

Posted: September 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: production, Text Adventure History | 2 Comments »

Finishing off a first version of the Adventure portion of GET LAMP, I am reminded of some of the shortcomings of the documentary form – when there’s a ton of information, an absolute pile of detail or aspects about a subject, you will be given a tantalizing amount of insight into a subject but crave more.

Or maybe you won’t crave more. For some, the subject covered over a few minutes will be sufficient. But for some of us, a certain few, you want to find out every last thing. And not just find it out… find it out definitively, where observation and verification rule the day, and not best-guesses and what-is-saids polluting the landscape.

To that end, as regards the game Adventure and its roots in real caving, as well as exactly what parts the two authors played in the project, you will simply not do any better than Dennis G. Jerz’¬†Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original “Adventure” in Code and in Kentucky. It is, very simply, the last word on the subject – I can’t imagine anyone going further than this into the history and aspects of Adventure any of us might want an answer to.

Jerz was and is critical to GET LAMP – his project proved to me that it was possible, very possible, to gain access to the cave that Adventure was based on. I had been told this was simply not within the realm of something I’d achieve, and here, he had done it. It drove me through a lot of barriers, intended or unintended, as I got there.

Several people photographed and mentioned in this paper appear in the film, including Roger Brucker, Nick Montfort, Noah Wardruip-Fruin, Don Woods, Andrew Plotkin, Warren Robinett,¬†Jerz himself, and Dave West. Again, this is based on Jerz’ efforts and his highlighting the cast of characters I might meet.

For example:


Dennis Jerz, in the cave, pointing to the rusty rod (without the star on the end). (Photo by Lynn Brucker)


Jason Scott, next to the same rusty rod, a year or two later. (Photo by Peter Bosted).

Believe me, these are footsteps I have no misgivings of walking in, shoulders I have no issue whatever standing on.

Seriously, this paper is as good as it gets. If you’ve already known about it, great. If you haven’t… you’re welcome.

2 Comments on “Somewhere Nearby is a Colossal Cave Paper”

  1. 1 Dennis G. Jerz said at 10:43 pm on September 26th, 2009:

    The Cave Research Foundation people were the ones who made the whole excursion happen for me. They organized everything, loaned me the equipment, and advised me every step of the way. Jason, I know you feel the same way about these wonderful people.

    Back at base camp, one of these wonderful people even pulled a tick off my ankle and squashed it for me. I would have been totally lost, and utterly helpless, without their patient guidance.

    As for the article itself, lots of credit goes to the DHQ editors, and the peer-reviewers who pushed me to spend the time necessary to get it just right.

    I hope you’ll also take all the time you need to make GET LAMP into the masterpiece you want it to be. We’ll be here, waiting for you.

  2. 2 John said at 8:25 am on September 28th, 2009:

    Thanks again. Posts like this are a continuing joy of this blog.

    Still more power to your editing arm.

Leave a Reply