Interactive Non-Fiction

Posted: January 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Interactive Fiction, production | 3 Comments »

This had been in planning for some time, but I wanted to wait until I was nearly done with editing before announcing it.

GET LAMP will be partially interactive.

Basically, the main GET LAMP stops and then splits into multiple directions, when you choose. This is how I can have it have about 3 hours of movie (which is roughly what it is looking like) but not murder the audience. It will also allow you to address the Interactive Fiction story from multiple angles, which otherwise would be competing for your attention.

It will, of course, be possible to skip the interactive portion and just see the different mixes, and it will also be possible to say “just go ahead and show me that 3 hour movie”. But this potential for having some amount of say on the film’s progress is, to me, part of the nature of interactive fiction, and the movie will reflect it.

I’m calling this feature Interactive Non-Fiction and it’s meant a lot of work in some aspects, but I am secure the result will be unique indeed.

I won’t claim this hasn’t been done before, because I simply have no easy way to research it, but I think we can assume this doesn’t happen all that often.

Prepare to Choose!

Game Submissions Complete: Dozens will be Included

Posted: January 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Interactive Fiction, production | 4 Comments »

I issued a general call for interactive fiction to be included in the GET LAMP package. Many people responded! While I haven’t finished making the final list, and a bunch of testing has to happen now, it looks like roughly 40 works will be included on the DVD-ROM section, as well as a downloadable archive of a few hundred works under a system called EAMON.

With one exception, all of these works are already available online and for free – the GET LAMP website will link to them all when I put the listing up. The point was mostly to provide a place for these works to reach locations and people who otherwise might not have thought to look them up. Interpreters will be included on the DVD-ROM, so a machine without an internet connection will be able to play these fine. Interpreters will be on the DVD-ROM for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

I thank everyone who took the time to put together packaging or provide permission for their work to be distributed on DVD-ROM. It is very appreciated.

Some Possible Origins of Zork

Posted: January 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Interactive Fiction, Text Adventure History | 1 Comment »

Dr. Nick Montfort, who figures prominently in GET LAMP and who I’ve mentioned several times in this weblog, has put out an unusually detailed travelogue in trying to find the origins of Zork. Not the game, mind you – he wrote extensively about that in his book Twisty Little Passages. No, in this case he’s trying to track back the specific word Zork, which was bouncing around MIT at the time the game was being written and which hopped in as the title when it was used as a placeholder by the programmers. The name stuck, and the marketing and growth of Infocom forever enshrined the word with the game.

The entry, “A Note on the Word Zork“, utilizes a number of predecessors to the word (such as zorch) that were in MIT slang  from the 1950s, and paws around for a few pieces of literature, writing and citation that might have caught the eye of either the Zork creators, or people who then influenced the Zork creators.

What’s interesting about this sort of speculative work is that it is, by its nature, transient – over time a more firm connection might be found, or no connection ever found. It’s the kind of work that can be thankless, or tossed aside by a few choice words of the still-living creators. But it’s a great exercise, and I’m glad Nick has done it.

Pre-Orders Open

Posted: January 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: production | No Comments »

The regular pre-orders for GET LAMP are now open.

As indicated, they’re at the regular price and now have more detail of what you’re getting. So far, the specs are:

  • 2-DVD Set in high-quality packaging
  • From Jason Scott, creator of the BBS Documentary
  • All features fully captioned
  • No region encoding or copy protection
  • Includes the GET LAMP documentary, as well as additional featurettes on Infocom, Mammoth Cave, and other subjects
  • Edited from dozens of interviews with creators, players and academics related to interactive fiction and text adventures
  • The GET LAMP film is Spoiler Free – watch with no worries (Bonus features with spoilers will be clearly marked)
  • DVD-ROM section with photographs, recordings, images and games
  • Production is licensed Creative Commons-Attribution-Sharealike-NonCommercial
  • Introductory essay by Scorpia
  • The GET LAMP UPGRADE GUARANTEE is director Jason Scott’s guarantee that should new editions of GET LAMP become available, purchasers of GET LAMP through this website will be offered the product at cost or very close to cost.

Hey, Interviewees!

Posted: January 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: production | 1 Comment »

Hey, people I interviewed for GET LAMP. I’ve reached a lot of you but not all. Since I was shooting up to 3 years ago, it totally makes sense that we might not have communicated recently, but there’s a chance you didn’t contact me after re-finding the site recently.

I just wanted to mention that everyone interviewed gets a free copy.  I can’t imagine it being any other way. I’m trying to imagine documentaries in which that doesn’t happen. I think that’s just rude.

So you’re getting a free copy. If you went ahead and ordered a copy, you’re getting two in the mail. Three of you are getting three, because you invested in the movie. Man, you got a bargain!

Just wanted to drop that note. And thanks for being interviewed, by the way.

The Upgrade Guarantee

Posted: January 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: production | 4 Comments »

2010, a new year, and the year of release of GE T LAMP! Better late than never, better great than rushed.

Now that the promotional pre-order is done, it’s time to set up the “regular” sales and begin filling the order page with details. That’s happening shortly.

But I wanted to talk about something beforehand.

As a consumer of documentaries and DVDs and all sorts of media, I have certain things I encounter that drive me nuts. When I was working on the BBS Documentary, I made sure my production and DVD didn’t have these annoyances. One of them was lack of subtitles. It actually turns out to be pretty easy to do and a lot of people both without hearing and with families/environments where they have to keep the sound down have thanked me. Another biggie was menus or sequences you can’t skip. This where you plug in a DVD and you end up with a logo for a company you end up seeing it six billion times because you have to watch it to the end – the DVD won’t let you skip. (Using something like the VLC player will allow you to, but a lot of people are using “regular” DVD players.) I made sure my DVDs have no unskippable sequences, extras, or menus. The same goes for no copy protection on the disks, no region encoding, and so on.

All that holds true for the GET LAMP DVD as well.

This time around, I’m adding something else.

What drives me absolutely nuts is buying the same film multiple times.

What I’m talking about is you buy a DVD of something, and you enjoy it. Then they come out with a special edition of the same thing and you buy it again. Then there’s a downloadable version, and you buy that. And so on. And so on. It makes some people very rich, but it’s just a completely disrespectful thing to do to the people who brought you success in the first place. It sucks.

So here’s what I am doing.


Let me explain what I mean here. If you buy the DVD (or if you’ve already bought the DVD), keep your transaction information. In the future, if I release a high-definition version of this movie (it was shot in hi-def) either online or on physical media, or if I make available purchasable editions of the film in any way that are upgrades from the DVD, then you can contact me with your transaction information from buying the DVD on this site, and I will make sure you get a heavily discounted or at-cost version to you.

You will not be buying GET LAMP over and over again. I think that’s wrong and I think that’s a punishment to people who bought early and supported me when I really needed it.

There’s all sorts of logistical issues with this, and I am probably buying a bunch of headaches I don’t want, but there’s taking the easy way out and doing what’s right.

I am sure I will need to fill this out with details, but I wanted you to have the facts. I don’t know anyone else who has done this or is doing this.

They should.

Happy New Year!

Last Day for the Pre-Order Promotional Rate

Posted: December 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: production | No Comments »

Today (December 31st) is the last day I’m selling pre-orders at $30. They’ll go up to $40 and will stay that way for a long time to come. If you thought you’d do it and then forgot to do the process at a later date, this is your time to do it. Otherwise, feel free to wait until I’ve put up more details about the production.

The pre-ordering was an amazing success – over 400 copies have pre-sold, which is an amazing amount of interest and trust in the final product. I’m working most of my waking hours now to pay back that interest and trust with a good project. Thanks again!

General Call for Interactive Fiction for DVD

Posted: December 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: production | 1 Comment »

I made plans of this sort about a year ago, but then production got delayed – and since now production is on a locked-on-iron-rails track heading towards intense reality, I wanted to throw out a general offer/call.

Basically, if you created some interactive fiction or text adventure, and are comfortable with it being on the DVD-ROM section of GET LAMP, then I’ll happily discuss putting it there with you.

A number of people agreed to this and were interested in it, but I intend to re-connect with them over the next few weeks to get approval again. So, if you want to join these folks and bring your creation to a somewhat different audience, I’m all for helping that happen for you.

Contact me at jason at textfiles dot com. I suggest an informative subject line. Thanks!

PAX East Selling Quickly: Cheaper Tickets End Soon

Posted: December 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: production | No Comments »

With the caveat that I really have no inside knowledge of the ticketing procedure or numbers, I note that on the Penny Arcade site there’s this entry where it is stated that PAX East is looking to be huge and may have to cap numbers. As far as I know from conversations, this would put attendance in the 30,000 mark or greater. If you were considering whether to go because of my film, or if my film was a factor in your decision, I figured you should be aware of this. I know it’s crazy to buy tickets to an event 3 months out, but there’s a bonus in this case: they have an “early bird” special where you can buy a two or three day pass at reduced rates. That promotion ends on December 31st, just like mine does.

I intend to have the DVD going out just before PAX, so you will still get the film if you buy it – you do not have to go to PAX. But I also didn’t want to mention this event and talk about preparations for it, and not warn people it might sell out. PAX events are truly crazy, and they are very popular.

Pre-Orders Going Well;Production Continues

Posted: December 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Interactive Fiction, production | 3 Comments »

Just wanted to stop in and say that the pre-ordering promotion has been going very well, with hundreds of pre-orders from folks. I am grateful and appreciative. Right now, the duplication costs are basically paid for, although I intend to make the package more deluxe and this will increase costs a tad – it’s about putting out the best package possible, to reward people for still buying a package in the digital age.

I’ve been working basically non-stop on editing the movie, on getting additional “assets” into the mix, and generally putting stuff together. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really worth it, and I really do love this subject – combing through hours of people discussing interactive fiction and text adventures has been a real treat.

More meaty updates will come after the first of the year – right now it’s literally 12-20 hours a day of editing. There’s not much to say about that for the moment, other than the aforementioned fact that I find it really fun.

Keep spreading the word on pre-orders! Like I said, the price goes to the expected $40 on January 1st.