The GET LAMP Coin

Posted: February 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Interactive Fiction, production | 9 Comments »

You’re probably wondering why so many postings are coming in at this time, after periods where no posts came for months. Mostly, it’s because as I near the end of production, all the little loose ends I’ve had are being wrapped up as fast as I can, and the machine is mostly being used to render out final versions of various extras. There’s still some editing and other work to do, but I can breathe now. More critically, I am able to work on the other stuff required of the DVD set: the packaging, the artwork, and the coin.

The coin?

If you ever played the old Infocom games at the time, and by “played” I mean “bought the package”, they always included all sorts of tie-ins.  Marketing at Infocom called them “feelies”, that is, an additional layer of interaction with the game letting you feel that you’d not just bought a game but an experience. Infocom had tons of feelies over the years, be they peril-sensitive sunglasses, a glowing rock, a swizzle stick, or a business card. In interviews with people, among the best memories they have are of the feelies, some keeping the items long after everyone else was lost. I found people who, for 20 years have kept the little glowing rock from Wishbringer. It wakes something up in the player, something special.

So naturally I knew that GET LAMP needed something like this. This was planned years ago.

The original plan was to include Invisiclues, the invisible-ink printed text that a stroke of a special pen would reveal. The idea was to put spoilers related to the movie in this booklet and have a fun little way of revealing them. After research (and some very kind people found places I could contact to even have this done), the numbers were just staggering: I needed to buy 10,000 sheets of paper, they’d be a significant amount apiece (something like $.50) and the little discussed fact is, after a while, the revealed clues will fade away. The marker will get old and you can’t just buy replacements, and we’re talking a single folded sheet, not a booklet. And so on. Just not enough value for the money, basically.

So then I decided, how about something styling, something that will be memorable, something that will last. And so I decided on having a coin done.

I’m working on the artwork and am submitting it to the vendor tomorrow. This will set a few things in motion, and we can all hope it won’t be too difficult to pull off. I’ve worked with DVD duplication before, but never coin creation. It should be exciting, and I’ll talk about it, whether it goes well, or goes off the rails.

There is a notable precedent for coins in packages related to interactive fiction, by the way. The Zorkmid.

Some people sigh in happiness when they hear the word Zorkmid. Some have no idea of what I’m talking about.

Here is what a Zorkmid looked like:

(This zorkmid and photograph of same is from http://lostlevel.wordpress.com/)

THIS IS NOT WHAT IS COMING WITH THE PACKAGE. Just in case someone skims this and misreads. THE GET LAMP COIN WILL BE TWO-TONE METAL, AND A DIFFERENT DESIGN.

The Zorkmid came with a specific repackaging of Zork, called The Zork Trilogy. It was one of the most popular “feelies” of all, and it is highly sought after. It’s so sought after, there’s a project that’s been around for 10 years called The Zorkmid Project.

Reading the Zorkmid project page always drives me nuts, because it’s classic Big Company Driving Minor Projects Into The Ground. The conditions put on the project leader are, in a word, stupid. I’m sure the person approving it and providing the conditions is not stupid, it’s just him having to follow what someone on the legal staff says, and people on the legal staff are required to come up with work that completely protects the company. Sounds almost… reasonable. Except there is no way Activision is ever going to make Zorkmids. Come on, they’re never, ever, ever going to, and if they do, it’s 2010, and they’re going to be big stupid dumb Zorkmids, completely unlike the original Zorkmids. That someone would even be so touched and entranced by a wrap-in from nearly 15 years previously (at the time; now it’s 23 and counting) should be a place for joy, not a place to suddenly halt the Zorkmid market in its tracks. At most, probably 500 people were going to want Zorkmids, maybe a few apiece, but good ol’ Activision, Keepers Of The Flame, couldn’t be bothered to let this person put the project together without making it sound like one wrong step would blacken the sky with lawyers.

Where was I? Oh yes, Coin.

So I’m working on this coin, and if you ordered a copy of GET LAMP you are getting a coin, and if you order one now, you get a coin, and I am ordering enough coins to cover the entire run of 4,000 copies of GET LAMP. It is not likely there will be a second run of the coins. The coins will also be individually numbered – collect them all!

So congratulations, people who already pre-ordered… your package is going to have a little more than you expected.

I’m very happy to include something a little extra into this. It eats into profit, of course, but it’s not about profit – it’s about giving people something special when they order using the old school way of physical media, and something which I hope to see in photos and on people’s shelves for some time to come.


9 Comments on “The GET LAMP Coin”

  1. 1 Gnome said at 9:32 am on February 19th, 2010:

    Thank you. No, really, thank you!

  2. 2 Ryan van Barneveld said at 12:07 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    Wow. Can’t wait. I was a member of the Adventurer’s Club, but my address has changed. I sent you the new one 3 months ago, but never got a response. Any chance you can confirm you’ve got it on file? I would really appreciate it!

    I’ll have to re-watch BBS in preparation for this one.

  3. 3 Drew Wallner said at 3:16 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    This post gave me a warm fuzzy and made me think back to the old days of cloth maps in Ultima boxes.

    Jason, have you by any chance ever seen one of the (first generation) Playstation games made by a small company called Working Designs? They were amazing, and included such pack-ins as a cloth map, a hard-bound instruction book with bookmark ribbon, a soundtrack CD and a making-of documentary (obviously, a by-fanboys for-fanboys experience).

  4. 4 Joline Desrosiers said at 11:56 pm on February 19th, 2010:

    That is so cool. I love my Zorkmid and all the rest of the feelies. They were the primary reason behind my collecting all the games in their original packaging.

    The coin just makes the whole thing even more special. I really can’t wait to see this!

  5. 5 Brad Jewell said at 10:05 am on February 20th, 2010:

    ;o)
    Totally unexpected and amazingly looked foward to.
    This project gets better all the time.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  6. 6 The Red King said at 2:24 pm on February 22nd, 2010:

    I carried the Wishbringer stone around for years. Since it was fairly flat and could float, I used it as a recoverable skipping stone. Until I lost it. I hope whoever found it was awed and amazed by it.

    Thanks, Jason! I can’t wait to find this in the mail.

  7. 7 therealeasterbunny said at 5:21 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    *COOL!*

    We get a coin as well! Now thats what I call a real DVD bonus feature :)

    IT IS DARK!
    YOU MAY UNKNOWINGLY BE GIVEN A SPECIAL COIN!

  8. 8 Sean Huxter said at 5:20 pm on March 3rd, 2010:

    You nailed it, Jason. Those feelies invested a person in the game in a physical way that would have been much more difficult without them.

    I still have a couple of Wishbringer stones. The amazing thing is how it is made of the typical yellowish glowy plastic but the thing glows BLUE!

    When I submitted Piracy 2.0 into the IF Comp 2008, I created a number of physical “purple datacubes” which I make available at mailing cost, and a blueprint people could print out.

    These things add a physical connection to a game that can’t be underestimated.

    I still sometimes wear my “Don’t Panic” button.

  9. 9 edjusted said at 8:59 pm on March 4th, 2010:

    That’s great. I wish I got a Zorkmid coin when I bought the original Zork for my Apple II. :(

    Ah, the memories…


Leave a Reply