>> SCOTT: Okay. How many people here actuallyworked or make text adventure games or do stuff with it? One, two, three…>> No, idea. >> SCOTT: Don’s not going to put his handup but–yes, exactly. Well it’s–as the movie we’ll go into, obviously, right there’s differenteras and that’s just the way it works. So anyway, I’ll start the–I’ll start the thingsoon but before I do it, was there anything pre–I guess, a pre question somebody hadlike, “What is this?” I just sit down and anything that comes in this room, so…>> Where’s the lamp? >> SCOTT: Where’s the–well, you’ll find–you’llhave a lot of fun finding the lamp in this movie. The–you’re saying where’s the actual,physical lamp? I just could not do–I was here for two weeks. I could not get that lampand everything else into my suitcase. I have a bunch of lamps that I keep around. You canget them very cheap from a place in Vermont now, but I couldn’t get them cheap when Igot them, but anyway, the–I make historical documentaries and so this is my latest historicaldocumentary. I hope to do more and I’m a little bit more about the people than I am aboutthe technical stuff. The technical stuff is in there and they’re definitely a geeky moviebut I believe that the hardest part to get is the stories from the people who were aliveand what they thought about it and everything else. So you’ll see there’s a very humanistview but I’m not allowed to go delve into a little bit about code, so definitely geeky.So, let’s see, I guess–I mean is everything working? Am I–are people seeing me from theworld of Google elsewhere and everything else? Sure.>> I don’t suppose the movie has closed captions? >> SCOTT: Does the movie have closed captions?I can turn on closed captions. >> [INDISTINCT]>> SCOTT: Okay. All right. We’re going to do the movie with closed captions. In pointof fact, every single feature on the movie is closed captioned. I’m very big about that.I myself have unbalanced hearing. And so, put me in a party room and I’d sound reallydumb because I can’t hear you. So, I was very big on closed captioning everywhere and Iwant to work with some people to do a video description version of this because blindplayers play a pretty big deal in text adventures. >> So, Ken has–over here did a lot of thework on the closed captioning that happens automatically with some YouTubes and he’sdone good work on that. All right, this will be recorded for YouTube and on YouTube, ifyou are a blogger; you give five quick facts about yourselves. So, I’m going to give youfive quick facts about Jason and then I’m going to let him go. You probably know thefirst few. Textfiles.com, he’s the curator of an awesome archive of bulletin board cultureand if you haven’t gone there, look at the top 100 list, they’re a lot of fun. Numbertwo, the BBS: The Documentary, he’s the director of that documentary which was, I don’t know,5 years ago or something like that, long ago? >> SCOTT: Long ago.>> He’s on teams of various archiving projects; things like grabbing copies of major siteslike Geocities before they go offline. His cat has more than one and a half million followerson Twitter. The cat is named Sockington, you might have heard and five, he was recentlytold by a major American weekly magazine that his title of computer historian is not anactual profession and he had to change his profession, so go do it.>> SCOTT: Yes, that was People magazine. I don’t–I’m not afraid to say that. Not likeI’m going to get into that again for anything that I want to be. They wanted my cat in it.So, my cat is in People magazine and… >> [INDISTINCT]>> SCOTT: And then he made the yearbook because I guess he was one of the top important eventsof 2010. That is one well-fed cat. Anyway so–but yes, the reporter came back and said,”The editor really can’t take computer historian. Do you have anything else?” And I was like,”Historian?” And they went, “Okay.” So even though a lot of us want to think that a lotof things are finished, actually there’s quite a bit ways to go. So, as said, my name isJason Scott. I do a bunch of computer history. I’m really big into archiving old materialand data preservation, digital heritage. I’m a big loud-mouth; I’ve said things both proand con Google over the years but pro and con everyone else because I have my things.All I want is that somebody in 50 years can choose to see something that we can see now,when possible. So that’s the easy way to put it. But one of the things I’ve discoveredwas, in doing my archiving, was that when I was really good at getting old things likenotes and pieces of paper and lots of photos and stuff, that doesn’t really help you muchif the person who wrote this stuff is–has gotten a way to tell you their story. So Istarted to do a documentary called the BBS: The Documentary. That was 205 interviews,it took four years and it came out as a three DVD set. So it was just–I went from therebeing no BBS movie to the last BBS movie,
DVD set. So it was just–I went from therebeing no BBS movie to the last BBS movie, the final one. And so after that, I said,”What else affected my life?” and I thought, “Let’s do text adventures. What could possiblygo wrong?” So here we are a few years later and I have now done a high definition movieabout text adventures. And this is a–this has 75 interviews, so it’s a mere pittancecompared to the previous one and it goes into a whole variety of things. Now, to explainwhat you’re seeing here because in some place it’s going to seem a little weird. The movieis optionally interactive, where it goes and plays you an introduction and then let’s youchoose which directions you go but then there’s the non-interactive version and that justgoes up and steps through the three main parts. And I think that’s a much better idea forthis crowd, because you guys are really technically astute and there’s all sorts of interestingthings about it–about all the process. So, again, it’s a–it’s got historical sides toit, it’s got the capitalist side which is so important to some people and then it’sgot the other side of like, who are the people who would play these and who are the peoplewho would make these? And some of them are in the audience, you know, I guess I’ll introducethem at the end or just mention. So, there’s old school in the house is all I’m saying,am I right? Old school is in the house and just–whatever, I do have copies here if somebodyfeels like buying them just because I brought a stack of them. They each come with a coin,a golden silver coin because that’s the best way to be an Indie filmmaker is to make goldcoins that come with your DVD. Anyway–so, again we’re going to play this one and we’regoing to play it with the subtitles on and I hope you enjoy it. It’s called “Get Lamp.”Let’s put this here. You need up the mic like this? Let’s do that. Okay. Did I do it right?Okay. [INDISTINCT]. And that’s the–let’s [INDISTINCT] right here.>> There is a machine that you must operate. But you have to figure out what machine itis, what its function is, what it does, why you need to operate it. You have to figureout what that thing is.>> What is an adventure game and what makes it so interesting for people? It’s a–in aworld right now where we’re going to graphics a lot, it seems to be basic–based on words.>> You interact with the computer in words and the computer spits words back out at you.And, so there are no pictures at all, except for the ones in your head which are the best.>> Now, these are the kinds of games that, well mostly, I guess kids play with and thenthey go through different branching schemes and every point you get a chance to go north,south, east and west and so forth. So these–are these games getting more sophisticated now?Who’s writing them? Are they being written by authors?>> They’re definitely getting more sophisticated and I wouldn’t even say that they’re mostlyplayed by children any more. You can talk to other characters, you can ask fairly complicatedquestions like, “Where were you on the night of the murder?”>> ADAMS: The thing that really interests me about text adventures is that they explorethe power of words in an interactive context. >> GRANADE: You’re looking at a story toldthrough text on a computer. >> MONTFORT: It’s virtual reality that existsin words. >> DOUGLASS: Interactive, digital rhetoricthat describes an experience. >> FORMAN: It really was more like playinga book than playing a game. >> DESILETS: I say to them, “Here’s a formof literature you may or may not have seen before.”>> GRANADE: Typically what I end up having to do is, I fumble around and talk about itfor a little while and then I say, “Here. Sit down for a second. Let me show you something.”And then demonstrate it to them. >> WEST: For me, this adventure has gone onfor a lifetime. It’s working on a problem that’s bigger than you are. It’s one you can’tsolve in five minutes or ten minutes. I started caving in the late ’60s and then got involvedin organized caving in the late ’70s. I definitely had been caving and surveying caves beforeI latched onto the idea that there was this game out there that was so closely relatedto the caves and described them in a manner that would appeal to a caver.>> ROGER BRUCKER: Well, I knew Will before the game existed and I do know that my son,Tom Brucker spent several weeks down here with Will Crowther and his wife at the time.They were intensely looking at a cave called Bedquilt Cave, a very confusing part of thecave. They have something like 10 lineal miles of cave within one square mile of land. Bedquiltis one of the highest-density of cave passages that you find anywhere in the whole cave system.>> TOM BRUCKER: We’re fascinated with how tightly twisted and three dimensional BedquiltCave turned out to be. And it was, you know, even more tightly twisted than, you know,it appears to the casual person just passing
even more tightly twisted than, you know,it appears to the casual person just passing through it. It’s just really fun to discoverin Bedquilt Cave these places where you can squeeze up through something and end up somewhereelse. It’s just filled with places like that. >> ROGER BRUCKER: That I know is the originof the game Adventure that Will subsequently invented.>> JERZ: The walls really started tumbling down for me, and I really started learninga lot more when I started shifting, going into the Cave Research Foundation. Learningwhat I learned about it, reading, you know, Brucker and Watson’s: The Longest Cave. Theywould use their compass readings and their bearings, they would start from a known positionand they would–they would take the distance and bearing and measure from one place toanother. Along the whole process, they would be taking notes about the shape of the tunnels,the shape and the size, features in the tunnel. They’d be mapping while they were going. Sothere was this sort of–I don’t call it decorative, but the artistic, atmospheric recording alongwith the scientific coding of exactly where something is in relation to something elseand what you need to do to get from one place to the other.>> WEST: I think if they were able to compare our maps and the game, on one level it wouldbe completely dissimilar, but on another, there’s a certain similarity. The generaldirections: east, west, north, south, up, down all hold generally true as you got throughthe part that Crowther wrote. >> ROGER BRUCKER: I know others have addedlittle touches to it now and then, but the genius was his, in working out a diagram ofthe passageways in the Bedquilt. >> TOM BRUCKER: I don’t think it was reallypromoted as a caver’s game. Although, I was really proud that Will–he could have madeAdventure go any direction it wanted to, but to sit there and knowing what better way totake a real cave and have real north, south, east, west, up, down, directions that wereactually based on reality. >> JERZ: But one of his daughters said tome that, to her, Will Crowther is just her dad and it’s surprising to her that he’s theJ.D. Salinger of Interactive Fiction. But he’s chosen to make it speak for himself.And he hasn’t tried to leverage it or anything. So, I just–you’ve got to respect somebodylike that. >> WOODS: So I was at Standford, my firstyear as a grad student there. One of the other first-year grad students had a job at theStandford Medical Center. It was John Gilbert. And he came across this program that had somehowmigrated onto the computer there. I managed to get a copy of it from that system ontothe Stanford AI lab machine where I had an account. I began having lots of ideas forways to modify it, and make it a–made it a little more cohesive or have just more stuffto do in it. But in terms of the layout of the cave, the items you could find, the goalsyou had, I kept all of that. I didn’t realize at the time that this was going to be startinga new genre. And I sort of realized it was unlike anything I had encountered up to thatpoint. And so, you know, maybe subconsciously, I–if anybody had asked I would have realized,you know, this is something new. But still I wouldn’t have guessed it was going to catchon so much. >> ROMERO: I was–it was 1979 and a friendof mine had just come back from Sierra College, going nuts, saying, “Oh my God, there’s gamesup at the college and they’re free.” >> ROBINETT: Everybody was talking about itfor a period there in 1978. It came out of nowhere and it got copied all over the place.>> SHAW: In our dorm, there was a computer room which had two old DEC line printer terminals.And they said, “There’s this game you’ve got to try out, it’s called Adventure. It’s reallygreat.” >> GRIFFITHS: They had all these incrediblycool LISP machines with big, gorgeous displays and a bunch of people are huddled around thatmachine that’s got text. >> SHAW: Yes. You’d sit there with a little300 baud telephone modem and type in a line, you know, “Get lamp.” And wait a minute, twominutes and then ZSHZSHZSH, you know, they would type the thing out, so.>> LEBLING: Adventure took us over–took the whole lab over, consumed everyone for a while.>> ROBINETT: The game by Crowther and Woods was a sensation.>> WELBOURN: I had to sign in as J.Q. Public and the password was jqpublic and everybodywas playing it. >> ROBINETT: And then nobody got any workdone for a week. >> LEBLING: As the legend goes and it’s absolutelytrue, all productivity ceased for about a week as people attempted to solve it.>> JERZ: You know, that’s something that in the ’70s to be able to type commands to acomputer in something that looked like English and to have it respond to you with lines oftext, telling you what happens next, that captivated people.>> LEBLING: We got down to the point finally
brain teaser puzzles captivated people.>> LEBLING: We got down to the point finally
captivated people.>> LEBLING: We got down to the point finally where Bruce went in with a binary debuggerto get the last couple of points. >> ADAMS: I was working at the Stromberg-Carlson,just outside of Orlando and they had a DEC mainframe there. And one of the guys in theIT department said, “Hey, we got a really neat game on the mainframe that we’ve beenplaying and you might want to take a look at it.” And it’s–it was Colossal Caves. SoI got permission–or to have–to get onto the game. I would come in every morning beforework for an hour or two and then I would stay for an hour after work so I could play thegame. And I played it for about a week and I was just blown away by it. It was a lotfun. [PAUSE] This was about the same time that I had gotten my first appliance computer.To me, appliance computer was one I didn’t have to build from a kit, which was kind ofunique. It was a TRS-80 Model 1. This Adventure game was really fun. I’ve been trying to thinkof a good game to write. Adventure seemed, wow, this is perfect. The fellows in the ITdepartment said, “Well, you want to take a look at the source code to this game?” I said,”No, I’m not really interested in that. I just like the concept.” They said, “Well,this thing runs on the mainframe. There’s no way you’re going to get it into a 16K TRS-80Model 1.” And it was Adventureland. This was back in 1978 and that’s where it all started.Adventure International made adventure games. Literally, we were the first–as far as Iknow in the world, the first computer gaming company that was selling computer games primarily.That was it. That was what we were doing. We were selling computer games and we’re doingit to a mass market. >> BLANK: It just came up last night. I waswatching a movie from the early ’80s because we thought maybe the kids would enjoy that.And my wife was telling the girls, you know, what time this was, “It was a long time ago.It was before we were married. It was when daddy was doing Zork and those things.” Andmy seven-year old said, “What’s Zork?” >> BERLYN: I think there were two productsthat sold more computers than anything else. VisiCalc and Zork.>> KALUZNIACKI: We would go after school to this store and play whatever games were available,type games in and I remember Zork coming out and playing it on an Apple 2 and we were justcompletely blown away. >> BERLYN: People would see Zork and they’dgo, “I got to have me one of them. That’s all. Who do I make the check out to?”>> WOODS: We have somebody who helped on Adventure played a little bit of Zork and his commentwas that, “You don’t go into Zork to play, you go into Zork to do battle.”>> CAMPBELL: I actually completed Zork and that was probably in itself like the biggestaccomplishment I made, you know. >> BLANK: And the company was literally foundedand named before we had any idea what kind of products we were doing. So by definition,you want a name that can pretty much go anywhere. So Infocom sounded like it could be a billion-dollarcompany. We had no idea what it did, but it sounds substantial.>> BERLYN: The people who formed Infocom, these were very talented folks from the ComputerScience department at MIT. If you know what the word schlump means, I don’t think therewere any at the company. There were no average people there.>> KALUZNIACKI: If you had some technical knowledge and some understanding of what thedisk capacity was and you cared to count characters, you wondered, how is it possible that theygot so much text on a disk? >> GRANADE: They were sort of things to wastemy time, fun little diversions and then I hit Infocom and like, “Wow. This is really,really, good.” >> ROMERO: Very professionally done, so Iknew that every time an Infocom game came out, it was going to be extremely high quality.>> FORMAN: You know it’s—it was really kind of the Renaissance for as far as game packagingdesign, because they put out some really gorgeous-looking packages that, really, we have not seen anythinglike since then. Keep in mind, these were not Collector’s Editions, these were the standardversions of the packaging. >> MORIARTY: And, you know, all of the othergames were kind of crappy packaging and everything, but there on the shelf was this one game whichwas like in a dossier with this detective thing going on. It was Deadline. And I sawthat and I found out it was like a text–not only a text adventure, it was a really advancedtext adventure. So I said like–I said, “Oh, this is it. I got to do this.”>> MERETZKY: I think I felt lucky at the time. I definitely, you know, looking back now,20 years later, you know, I feel really, really lucky.>> BLANK: When you’re a programmer, you wrote payroll packages. I mean, you–you know, youwrote software for scientific instruments. >> HORN: I was working on a fertilizer-mixingsystem in BASIC. >> BLANK: You know something like that oryou did some kind of research. But this idea
>> BLANK: You know something like that oryou did some kind of research. But this idea that you could somehow make a living doingwhat we were doing, well, you know, the fun we were having making games and everythingis ridiculous. >> GALLEY: It’s a job that didn’t exist whenI first started my working life. And in a sense it doesn’t exist anymore now.>> BRIGGS: …talking about how wonderful it was. And it really was. I mean, I can say,for me it was a sad truth, that it was the best job I’ve ever had and a job I don’t thinkI could ever get again. >> GALLEY: I remember telling friends thatif I could have any job at all, I think it would be this one.>> MARTINEZ: It was a fun factory. You know, and they put in the Play-Doh and they–wepress the button and out come all these interesting things, but they didn’t know how that processworked at all. >> BRIGGS: Not a job, it was an amazing creativeexperience with an amazing, creative group. And I do think it was something very specialand unusual. >> BATES: You would hear conversations thereat Infocom, and other game companies that you never hear–would hear anywhere else inyour life. >> ANDERSON: In one day we were talking aboutthe properties of bat guano and in the middle of it, we stopped and said, “No one’s goingto believe we actually discussed this at work.” >> BATES: You know, so you’re walking downthe hall and out of somebody’s office is going, “Well, you know, the elf is drunk but I’vegiven him the Wand of Disappearing…” >> MARTINEZ: And we called it InteractiveFiction, not text adventures and, you know, part of that was being a little bit grandabout the medium and its possibilities, but part of it was I think it was a more accurateterm. >> DORNBROOK: I think there was a time period,probably ’80 to ’84 sort of range where for a lot of the machines compared to anythingelse out there, there was just nothing that compared.>> MARTINEZ: We have three or four games in the Top 20 of Softsel all the time in ’83,’84, ’85. We were definitely one of the more important publishers and possibly one of themost respected. >> ROMERO: All the other games companies backthen, they have adventure games; those came from the text adventure era. So, you know,a lot of people owe everything to text adventures. >> BERLYN: When I started, the goal was topush the envelope. The goal was to create something different and new and exciting,something nobody had ever seen or experienced before.>> DORNBROOK: We were able to compress things in ways that delivered so much more than anythingelse. >> MORIATRY: You felt like you’re joininglike a special, brainy club by buying these products. And, you know, I put my Starcrossposter up on the wall and sat there with all my accessories around me and I was happy asa clam. >> DORNBROOK: People were wowed by it whenthey saw those games. When they found how much they got, how much–how many hours ofentertainment they got out of those games. >> MORIATRY: The whole feel of it, the marketingand everything has just had this very friendly “Smart People Feel” about it. And I don’tknow how to put it without sounding snobby. But it just–it was for–it was from literatepeople. Those were people who liked to read. >> NEWSMAN: Cathy, I guess you know as wellas I do that most people at one time or another have played those Space Invader-type gameson their computers. >> Uh-hmm.>> NEWSMAN: But I’ve ever thought of a game in which you sort of match wits with a computer?Kind of a “Whodunit?” situation in which what you do dictates the outcome of a game?>> Sounds interesting. >> NEWSMAN: Yes.>> And what you’re doing is allowing the person to essentially be Raymond Chandler and programtheir way through to the end one or the beginning. >> That’s exactly right. In some ways it’slike a book, in some ways it’s like a game. >> We wrap ourselves in the game and becomethe participant. >> A new type of story in which your decisionsand your active participation affects the outcome.>> What will they think of next? >> This is the kind of thing that we’re goingto be playing with into the 21st century. >> MERETZKY: Certainly, I think I speak for,you know, all of us when, you know, when I say that we definitely didn’t spend enoughtime kind of thinking about how lucky we were at that time. You know, we kind of assumed,”Well, this is what it’s always going to be like. This is going to go on forever.” Youknow, much like youth itself. You know, there wasn’t much reflection on, “This is, you know,this is just a, you know, a shooting star and in a year or in three years, it will allbe gone.” >> ORCUTT: The thing that I was so taken by was this idea you were literally stepping into a world.>> BATES: It’s as if the player and I are in a room together. It’s me and him and it’s,”What are you going to try and how am I going to respond?”>> ORCUTT: You can make a choice and your choices have ramifications. And you thinkabout that. >> SHIGA: I think as a kid, you don’t getto make a lot of choices about your life. You know, you don’t get to choose where youlive, you don’t get to choose where you go to school, you don’t get to choose your classeseven. >> WELBOURN: Exploring, discovery, seeingwhat’s around the next corner. >> SHIGA: For a kid, it’s really appealingto be able to, you know, in this fantasy world essentially make your own choices in life.>> HORN: That level of dynamic interaction and that number of tree branches was unheardof. >> CADRE: The idea of coming up with thesehuge worlds where there’s so much that you can see and do.>> O’BRIAN: When I played Zork, I felt like I was in that world and the computer screendisappeared and it was–it was like reading a book only even cooler than reading a bookin certain ways because I could do things in that world.>> WELBOURN: It lets you see other people’s points of view, I think. You get to see theworlds that other people live in. >> SERAPHIN: They had such a craft to them.They’ve really sat down and do this. >> GRIFFITHS: The way the game worked is itdrew your mind into the game completely. But the flipside of that is it took an investmentof time on your part to get into the game, because it wasn’t just simple. I mean, youknow, there were things that took twenty steps to solve a problem and you had to figure outevery one of those twenty steps. >> ROBERTS: It was all you thought about fora month, you know, while you’re working on this thing. Or, you know, in some cases, itwould take you like a year to finish one of these.>> GRIFFITHS: It was really–it was this communal sense of “Let’s see if we can tackle thisthing.” And the puzzles were just so numerous and so massive, it almost felt like you neededto have someone helping. >> SHAW: And when someone would have a bigbreakthrough, we’d go rushing down and say, “I think we have to do this.” And, you know,it would work or not work. And the maps would come out and notes would get made and….>> ROBERTS: Because there, you know, there wasn’t the Internet for the instant hintsand all that. And so, you actually had to sit down and bash your head against it yourself.>> SHERMAN: And Zork in the Radio Shack, you couldn’t play alone because you had threeguys in your shoulder. “No, dude, you know, you lift up the folded piece of plastic. Yougot to,” you know. So, solitary and it was a team sport, too. Though, most people wouldnot imagine that it could be. >> ROMERO: Saturdays at seven in the morningwas when everybody came up to the college to watch this guy play Adventure. So, thatwas where I basically got my exposure, was watching somebody else play it. I wasn’t ableto actually play it myself. >> GRIFFITH: So, I–it was a long process.It wasn’t kind of like a week’s worth of gaming where we said, “That was kind of cool. I wonderwhat’s next?” >> MERETZKY: I think most people who are workingon the games thought that the most special thing about them was the obsessive natureof puzzle solving. And how you could be, you know, playing the game and trying things andnothing’s working and you’re tearing your hair out and finally you like give up andyou turn the computer off and you go stomping away and the next day you’re at work and noteven thinking about it and suddenly, “Oh, my God.” And then you can’t like wait to gethome to like try what you just thought of. You know, and you go like running in and youturn on the computer and you try it and it worked.>> WELBOURN: It’s very rarely that I find myself playing a game of IF without takingnotes. You couldn’t hold the map in your head. You had to map it out. There’s lots and lotsof objects. You had to make notes of where everything was and what it was used for andwhat you hadn’t figured out yet. Personally, I like taking notes. I like having my ownlittle, you know, notch on the bed post as it were that I figured this out. It’s sortof like my own little personal progress bar, as to what I’ve been able to accomplish inthese games. >> HEWISON: And I think getting an adventuregame has probably appealed to people who are very methodical and very logical in the waythey do things because mapping’s a huge part of playing any adventure–text adventure.>> GRIFFITHS: Like Colossal Cave was relatively straight forward in that, if you left a roomfrom the north, you would then exit that room again to the south and you’d wind up whereyou started. But Zork had these passages that apparently went out of the room to the northand then you twisted and turned and spun and such that it–going south again might getyou into an entirely different room. Mapping was quite time-consuming and we were workingon like a huge line printer paper from the original fourteen inches wide, fifteen incheswide? That comes off those high-speed line printers. And even that, we had several sheetstaped together by the time we were done. I mean, it was–it was a big, complex environmentthat they put together. >> MONTFORT: I can draw a map that not onlytells me how things are connected in space but also where objects were that I have pickedup. You can note on the map were you got them. You can note where it seems like there’s a–someobstacle and you can start thinking about puzzles as well.>> BRUCKER SR: This parallels exactly the mapping of a large cave system. And it’s onlywhen you do that is you begin to comprehend what the pattern is. In caving, you try tofind the pattern. Once you know the pattern, you know the process that created the caveand you can see the missing parts of the pattern. >> SHIOVITZ: And mazes are sort of a specialcase in IF. Like people have a pathological aversion to mazes. Which is, you know, likeyou–I don’t know. You like to ring a bell and then like you kick a dog a bunch of timesand like it starts, like, crying after you ring the bell a couple of times. So that’show people in the IF community feel about mazes.>> THORTON: Oh, my God, a maze? Kill me now. >> SHIOVITZ: And there’s nothing–there’snothing intrinsically wrong about mazes, but people have like a built-in aversion to themby now. So, that’s–that’s kind of a special case.>> LEBLING: I thought mazes were old-school from the beginning, myself.>> Mazes were a staple of early Interactive Fiction. It seems as though virtually everystory had at least one or two mazes that you had to somehow map your way around in andfigure your way out of. >> LEBLING: The ultimate adventure game clichéis a maze. And so, there was always, “Oh, my, you know, another maze. Oh, please.” Or,you know, “This one is too ridiculous.” >> When you’re encountering something forthe first time, it seems really cool. When I played Zork, I was like, “Oh, this maze.What a brilliant idea.” And then 50,000 iterations later, it just does not seem so brilliant.>> DOUGLASS: IF is actually pretty crummy at literal, spatial mazes. 3D graphics dothat much better. You can create enormous, immersive, expansive environments that arehighly confusing that you wander around in and you do all your wandering visually andphysically. Typing, “GO NORTH, GO EAST, GO SOUTH, GO EAST, GO NORTH, GO EAST” at a certainpoint, you start to long for a joystick. >> RADOFF: The worst thing you can ask a playerto do is sit down with a pad of paper, dropping items in each room so they can keep of trackwhat these different rooms are and then be able to put all the little lines together.Essentially, it just becomes tedium and it takes you out of that immersion into the world.>> LEBLING: My goal whenever I wrote a game that had a maze in it was to produce a mazethat if you got the trick became trivial. >> MONTFORT: There maybe limits to what mazescan do. I don’t think they can impress on us, you know, powerful new ideas about theworld. >> DOUGLASS: Old-style mazes in 3D games andconsole games and in IF always will work to burn more hours and create a more kind ofconsumable playtime, but if you’re not understanding the way the author is thinking and havinginsights, what’s the point? >> PLOTKIN: If you sit down in front of atext adventure for the first time, the first thing that is going to happen is you’re goingto type something and the computer is not going to understand it. That’s a real experience.The misconception is that, that’s the intended interaction of the game and that’s what theauthor has spent all of his time thinking about. The truth is, of course, that the authorhas this huge set of assumptions about what you know. The author thinks that you’re–you’vegot a good grounding in how most of these games work and he spent all of his time thinkingabout how he can make this well-known text adventure interface unique and interestingfor his situation. Which is great for our community because we’re all familiar withit, it’s a total failure for newcomers. I wish I had a fantastic story to tell you abouthow I’ve solved this problem. I do not. >> CRAWFORD: People I think misunderstandthe nature of interactivity, thinking that it requires giving the player absolute freedom.>> SHIOVITZ: Like if you’re an inexperienced player, you might think that you can be ableto write just, “TAKE OVER KINGDOM” and have it work.>> WOODS: Something is mentioned, just because it adds a distinctive flavor to the room butthe player’s response is, “Oh, you mentioned rocks here. Let me try and pick up a rock.”>> JERZ: Someone’s going to type, “EXAMINE SUN” and if you haven’t implemented the sunas a separate object, they’re going to, you know, say, “Ha-ha, that’s a mistake, thissucks.” >> ADAMS: Because the more freedom you giveto the player, the more the player has the power to do things you did not anticipateand to do things you did not want. >> MARTINEZ: I mean, it’s like a–you know,like a funhouse ride or, you know, at the amusement park. You’re on rails. You reallyare on rails and, you know, to a large part. And you can sort of travel off to these tributariesbut you’re still, ultimately, on rails. >> JERZ: The player and the author have anillusion of interact. But it is just an illusion. But, you know, when we go to the movies andwe watch a movie, we don’t think we’re really in the place where the movie is representing.There’s all kinds of illusions, the willing suspension of disbelief happens everywhere.>> BLANK: It’s like ELIZA, it’s like ELIZA–you get an answer but it has nothing to do withwhat you’re doing and at some point, you realize it’s a fake.>> BERLYN: You know, frankly, we couldn’t–as implementers, we couldn’t anticipate–well,not only could we not anticipate everything, we couldn’t anticipate half of what was expected.>> BLANK: So what happens is, the worlds get bigger and as you open up the vocabularies,they get sparser because there’s less real information and it’s mostly noise. It’s justthere to convince you that the world is there. >> BATES: And that was mostly not becausethe implementers weren’t smart about it, it was because of the severe limitations on thenumber of just the sheer vocabulary you could have in the game.>> MERETZKY: The total text in a typical Infocom game maybe would equal like a 30 page novella.>> MORIARTY: I mean, Zork, the size of a Zork game is I think around like 88KB, or somethinglike that, total. It’s very tiny. It only–didn’t even use all of the virtual machine. And Wishbringerbanged right up against that 128KB limit of the original system had. It was very hardto do any kind of deep exploration of the subject, because you just don’t have roomfor the text. >> MERETZKY: You can’t handle everything thatsomebody might try. What you want to do is you want to handle the most common thingsthat people will try and the most interesting things that people will try.>> REED: As a player of Interactive Fiction, it’s very easy to not appreciate the workthat went into it. You just come across one error message or one response that the designerdidn’t think of and you think, “Oh, forget this game.” After you’ve actually gone throughit and had to think of all these things and code them and write them yourself, your perspectivereally changes. >> MERETZKY: And how much of the very limitedresources that you have, do you want to expend on letting the player go down on that direction?So, in a lot of cases what we just did in that case is just kill the player.>> FEIR: Yes. It’s almost what is–what is left unsaid, unrevealed in a lot of cases.You don’t know exactly what that dragon would look like. And I never would anyway. But to,you know, to have that gap where you fill in your conception of a dragon, it will beyour ultimate dragon. >> You take a stock of your possessions. You’rewearing a pack. You have one zorkmid of which appears on your keyboard. By the way, youcan check the amount of key you’re holding at anytime with the cash demand or just [INDISTINCT]by return. [INDISTINCT] >> NORLING: It’s like you would pretend youwould have magic, right? But you don’t know what’s it’s really like. I mean, you don’treally know what it’s like to have magic. I mean, you can read a lot about what’s–youcan read science fiction and sort of put yourself in the place of a telepathic or magical character,but you really don’t know what it’s like. And I think that’s sort of the same. It’slike playing to be–I’m playing at being sighted. >> SERAPHIN: It’s weird–it’s funny playinggames, like I actually–that actually does trip me out, sometimes. I have to, you know,in games where you have like a lantern or a flashlight or something to provide a sourceof light. I don’t think about that. It’s like you go into a room, “Its like–it’s pitchblack, you can’t see anything.” And I’m like, “I don’t care.”>> FEIR: Yes. If you play something like Zork, everything is described. And sighted peopledon’t always do that. So, you not only hear–get a sense of placeand how places work and how you move through them but you also get a sense of objects.You can examine, you know, every–it’s pretty much everything you can pick up in that gameand it’ll have a description. So, it’s very helpful.>> NORLING: The thing about text adventures is they really help you build your mentalmaps, especially if you don’t cheat and write anything down. And I know that the more Iplayed text adventures, the more effective I was at navigating a strange place.>> SERAPHIN: That’s it. There aren’t limits. You can explore a world with all your senses.I think for the blind, it’s actually really liberating, because you can explore a worldwith sight. >> FIER: My friends in Haunted Theater–I,you know, I played that in the university and I never would have realized that so much,you know, location was involved. So many different areas were involved in an old-style movietheater. >> ADAMS: My last game, I deliberately putin a section of the game that allows a blind player to play it. It’s screen scraper friendly.So that it would read out loud the game to them and allow them to play. And that wasdone because I was approached by blind players asking me to do that. That was kind of aneye-opener for me to make me think about the necessity of doing that.>> Get lantern. You take the rusty lantern off the sign.>> GALLEY: The first time that we went to the Consumer Electronic Show in Chicago, Iwas finishing work on Seastalker and working in our booth on the floor. I got a chanceto give a short demo for a group of schoolteachers who were there. And after just the shortestdemo I’ve ever given, they said, “Oh, this is wonderful. This is just what our studentsneed. It’s on their level. They’ll be interested, they’ll learn from it.” And I felt reallygood about that. >> DESILETS: I started teaching in 1968. Thislast year is my 38th year. Teaching with Interactive Fiction poses some real–really significantchallenges for teachers. It’s not an easy technique. It’s a wonderfully powerful technique.It’s great for helping kids to solve problems, outstanding for improving kids’ reading comprehension,unique in its power to help kids read with greater fluency.>> EILERS: Writing for Interactive Environments is a class looking at traditional story structureand then discussing also how it takes place in games, drawing analogies to film and otherpopular media. >> BOGOST: I give them two weeks. At the startof the two weeks, they’ve never before seen a piece of Interactive Fiction. They’ve maybehave never played a text adventure and they’ve certainly never programmed in Inform. Andat the end, they have to turn something in. So that’s the experience.>> EILERS: So our first things we do in that class is we work on “What are good characters?And then what are good settings for stories and how does one interact with one another.Then we talk about things like puzzle structures. What’s a good puzzle? What’s a good riddle?>> BOGOST: In my case, when I’m using IF in teaching, it’s not really for the IF. It’snot for the Interactive Fiction at all. It’s maybe–it’s for the idea of simulating space.And also just to give my students some weird environment that they’ve never worked in.>> DESILETS: Usually they become very interested very quickly and will ask to try some moreof that story the next day or very soon thereafter. >> EILERS: Write a character but write himfour different ways. Show me him from the perspective of his father. Show me him fromthe perspective of his friend who hates him now because they had an altercation in thepast. >> DESILETS: I mean, this is the only formof literature that has built into it aesthetically designed pauses in the process of readingthat are perfect from the teacher’s point of view.>> JERTZ: You know, among my students who like Interactive Fiction the least, a certainnumber complain that it made them think too hard and I really don’t mind if people complainthat I make them think. >> DESILETS: You actually learn a new formof literature. And it–along with many of the other challenges that go with teachingin the current era, it–you know, it makes it difficult for teachers to work even ifthey have one another to support. >> EILERS: For them the real challenge isgetting them to actually sit down and read a serial, linear, closed narrative. For them,reading is a chore. It’s–and that–I find that–it’s funny, I find myself both ways.I’m like, that’s heart-breaking that they think that reading is a dead thing, but atthe same time, they’re writing for a world where they’re going to have to craft thisbroken up, chopped up, sliced and diced narratives for different mediums and they’re going tohave to learn to adapt broken up, chopped up, sliced and diced narratives–chopped up,broken up and they’re going to have to learn to adapt.>> DOUGLASS: My doctorate is officially in English Literature. My field is New Media.No discipline has been extremely excited about owning text adventure games. They’ve foundacademic safe harbor in whatever individual was most passionate about them. But I mean,of course, Mary Ann Buckles’ doctorate in German Literature, right?>> BUCKELS: I think that topic, unfortunately, chose me. They were just so happy and lookedlike they were having a great time. That’s what I remember of the first–my first contactwith Adventure that, “Oh, these people love this. They’re totally involved in it.” Ifyou stood at the beginning of films, if you stood at the beginning of radio, if you stoodat that moment and you knew this is important. This is not just something to toss aside.This is really, really important. Could you go back and write about Georg Trakl and hispoetry about purple beasts? I mean, it’s beautiful poetry and I loved–I love that poetry, butthat’s unimportant. And this topic was important. Someday there is going to be a genius, anabsolute genius who writes something so brilliant, so involving, so magnificent that you’ll justweep for joy doing these games because they make you involved in the story. That’s justso different than anything else that we’ve ever had.>> DOUGLASS: I don’t know if my fate will be to be left in some sort of academic dustbin of history or if this will be a brilliant coup that will become the cornerstone of a–ofa luminous career, but I do know that it was time well spent and that when I look at whatI’ve done, I think, “Even if not me, I hope somebody comes along and builds on this.”>> BUCKLES: They were having so much–it was a moment when people were having so much fun.It was a ball. That was really fun. That was really–and I thought “Oh, if everybody weredoing this, all of society would be better because we’d all be happier. We’d all playwith each other a little bit more. It’d be, you know, like being kids again. It didn’tturn out quite that way. >> Now, did you actually solve adventure?>> BUCKLES: No, I never did. I never did. I never did.>> BARTLE: Let’s have a little thought experiment here. All right, you’re playing in a virtualworld. And it’s got these pictures, they’re looking pretty good. And you think, “Oh, that’spretty good.” And you think, “I like these pictures and that’s pretty good.” And it’sa–and it’s a 3D world, but I’m only seeing it in 2D on a screen so maybe if I got likea little headset on and put it on, now I can see it in 3D. But if I move my head a bittoo much–oh well, maybe if we put little sensors on, so I can move my head. Yes, now,I can see it properly, yes. It’s all here. But I’m still only seeing things and maybeI could have maybe some feeling as well. So I put a little data glove on and, “Oh, yes.Oh, it feels warm. Oh, that’s good.” But I’m still–I’m not hearing things. I’ll put somegoggles on. And I haven’t got this sense of being in a place. I maybe–I want to be ableto move. So I say, “Well, let’s get these big like-coffin things and fill them fullof these gels. And I’ll take off all my clothes and put on all of these different devicesand I’ll lie down on it and it pull it–these electric currents through and make it feelhard or soft. So, it gives me the impression that I’m actually walking through grass becauseit’s generating. And now, I’m beginning to feel I’m really in one of these places. Butof course, really what’s all that’s happening here is that my senses are being fooled intothis. What would happen if I was maybe cut out the whole business with the fingers andthey stick a little jack in the back of your head and it goes right into the spinal cordand then you’re talking straight to the brain there? All the senses that come into yourbrain, they’re all filtered and they’re used to create a world model inside your head andyour imagination. But if you could talk straight to that imagination and cut out all the senses,then you would–it would be impossible to ignore it. You couldn’t say, “Oh, that’s justan image of a dragon.” That would be a dragon. And if there was some kind of technology whichcould enable you to talk straight to the imagination, well, there is. It’s called text. And it’sbeen around several thousand years. And I have seen people leap out of their chairswhen a line is said in front of them, “There is an immense fire-breathing dragon here.”And when you’re typing, the output that you’re typing is in words, the same as the input.There’s no shift. It’s not that you’re looking at a picture and then typing in words, lookingat a picture then moving a mouse around. It’s the same environment, it’s all words, it’sall thoughts, it’s all the imagination. So, when you’re dealing with text, it’s reallyfor people who have got strong imaginations. And the tragedy is that many people have strongimaginations, it’s just they never get to play the text because they went for the graphicsfirst. Will we always have text? We will always have text. Will we always be inferior to graphics?Well, in terms of player numbers, yes. In terms of player experience, no, because nomatter how far you take graphics, eventually the farthest you can get is text. So, rantfor you. >> Excellent.>> FRIDD: I’m not one for click and much name games. I can’t go on with them. I think itsbest up here. It’s the best computer you can get. It’s your brain.>> GRIFFITHS: You know, I think people’s mind have changed over 27 years and we may notbe satisfied anymore with text and “>GET KNIFE and >KILL TROLL.” But when you play it, tome, anyway, it’s still as mentally engrossing as it ever was.>> MORIARTY: When you’re reading the prose, it’s like you hear it in your head and thatyou’re forming your own picture of it, a picture which is a personal thing to you. And notsome art director’s idea of what Gollum looks like or what he sounds like.>> LEBLING: People would much rather look at pictures than read, as a rule. There’s,you know, sort of a–there’s a sub-culture of people who love to read and are passionateabout reading and passionate about books. But it’s not a majority of the public.>> BARTLE: Text is lost because people just expect computer games to have graphics. Andif you want them to play a game that doesn’t have graphics, then you have to give thema very good reason not to. >> ADAMS: Throughout the greatest of literature,the greatest of art does is it resonates back to yourself. And, you know, a side-scrollingshooter where you’re just endlessly blowing up identical spacecraft is not going to dothat. But text adventures gave us the possibility that a story could have meaningful consequencesof both internally and for the reader, for the player in a way that had never been seenbefore. >> SERAPHIN: There’s something that needsto be re-found. We’ve lost something and we need to find it again.>> NEPSTAD: The prevailing opinion is, no one will go to their computer and sit thereand read to play something. They want to see the visuals. They want to play with the Xboxor something like that. But in fact, what’s happened since then? Now, we all have theInternet. And what do people do with computers most of the time that they’re sitting on thecomputer? They’re on the Internet and they’re reading. And they read a page and then theytype something in. Maybe they type a new address and they go to that next address. They clickon the next thing to go the next page. And we read for hours and hours on our computersnow. And they didn’t believe that we would do that anymore. And now we’re back to it.We’re all reading on our computers. I don’t think that there–if we just put it out thereand say, “Here’s a text game,” and we’ll put it in book shops and put it in computer stores,I think it’s an easy sell. >> SCOTT: In case you’re wondering what’shappening is… >> GRIFFTIHS: I mean if you like solving puzzles,Interactive Fiction, I mean it’s–there are puzzles and some of them are doozies.>> MARTINEZ: Interactive Fiction required you to look at a set of objects, a set ofcharacters and situations. >> MONTFORT: You have to explore an environmentand you have to try to see what’s going on and then you have to figure out what the rightcourse of action is; what to do. >> MARTINEZ: And then somehow pop outsideof your frame of reference, so that you can see it in a different way and get the solutionand figure out how to get through that door. >> WELBOURNE: It’s up to you to solve it afterI’ve done all my moves. >> MONTFORT: So Graham Nelson said that InteractiveFiction was like a story at war with a crossword puzzle. There’s this aspect of narrative readingand the type of enjoyment we get from literatureand then just puzzle-solving. >> WELBOURNE: It’s like building an obstaclecourse in real life and having people run through it.>> MARTINEZ: You would introduce bugs into your story. You know, places where, you know,you can’t get there from here and you have to or there’s some linkage that’s missing.>> ASPNES: You have to pick up this object to go to this room so you can get throughthat door except you can’t carry this large thing through there.>> MONTFORT: There’s a strange system. There’s this environment with its own strange physicallaws and you have to figure out what they are, “What does this mean?”>> THORTON: It’s really kind of weird, right? You’ve got a story and either to get moreof the story or to see stuff. I mean whether or not its puzzle, you have to keep pokingat it. That’s–that doesn’t seem like it should be very entertaining, does it? But it worksfor me. >> O’BRIAN: There is a real, real pleasureto working on a puzzle for a while, not looking at the hints and then having it come to youin a flash of insight. That is just a great feeling.>> WELBOURNE: Puzzles in IF are sort of an outgrowth of previous challenges between people.>> WOODS: Certainly, even before computers and adventure games, there have been peoplewhose job it was to come up with puzzles where eventually you figure out and have the “A-ha!”moment, which is so satisfying and, you know, you solve it and you’re done.>> MONTFORT: I think the riddle provides a special power in understanding what’s happeningthere, because in a riddle you have language that you use to describe often very ordinarythings. So you have to read and you have to figure things out. Systems of thinking thatare slightly off from the everyday. Solving or resolving the things that you read, theworld that you’re in. Riddles give that to us and also Interactive Fiction. And it providessomething that the text of a riddle doesn’t: a way that you can test your answer.>> THORTON: The sorts of puzzles you could come up with was open-ended. You know, thegame designer got to think of what it was you were trying to do instead of it beingwell, “Come up with a set of rules and then there’s just random elements that make thepuzzle different each time.” >> MONTFORT: If you’re right, you find out,yes. You were right. You understand something about this unusual system.>> THORTON: There was no limit on what you could include in the game. It’s just a smallmatter of programming, as they say. >> SMITH: So there should always be somethingfor the player to do. Whether it’s–and traditionally that’s solving puzzles.>> GENTRY: With a game where you’re trying to create a narrative, there’s a push. You’retrying to push the player into a–in a certain direction.>> THORTON: The trick is to put puzzles in there in such a way that they seem like theirpart of the natural flow of the story rather than being what they really are which is thelocked gate you have to get through to get the next chunk of prose.>> MICKLUS: You had to appeal to their sense of overcoming the odds and figuring thingsout. >> SHERWIN: As an author, you have to havethe faith of the player. You have to have your player think, especially when you’regoing through puzzles that the problem is with them.>> BARTLE: These are the rules that I’m going to follow. And I’m always going to stick bythese rules. Now, you don’t know what’s going to happen in this game. You don’t know allthe rules in this game. Uncovering the rule is part of the fun.>> WOODS: From my point of view, I could have all the fun of coming up with more puzzles.Whereas, other people, once they solved all the puzzles, they were done. I was never done.I could always come up with more puzzles. >> PLOTKIN: Here is something–some actionthat the player can do which is not obvious and not insane. It’s surprisingly clever andI mean that in a very specific criterion. When the player thinks of it, he’ll be surprisedat how clever he is. >> MERETZKY: Puzzles work best when they’reintegrated with all the other elements of the game and not just something that’s laidon. The same way that story works best when it’s, you know, kind of integrated with theother components of the game and not something that you just lay on at the end.>> SHIOVITZ: For me, like the ideal IF game would be one which is winnable on the firstturn, but you don’t know what the command is to win it until you’ve gone all the waythrough the game and solved it. >> PLOTKIN: You’re simultaneously designingeverything leading up to that puzzle. All the interactions with that object up untilthen, all the uses of that verb–that slightly obscure verb up until then…>> SHIOVITZ: The process of the game then would be the process of teaching the playerhow to win. And then once you’ve taught them how to win, the actual act of winning is trivial.[PAUSE] >> PINKSY: The vision that Ihor had that madehim look up some high-brow poet who was teaching at Berkeley was an impulse to put more art,more intellectual content, something more like literature into the interactive computerelectronic theater. I was interested in the kind of hybrid way art moves along. I wasinterested in something new. And it was clear to me from my small experience of Adventure,the description of Zork, the stuff I saw on these monochrome monitors that this was largelyabout the quest plot which is one of the basic plots of great works. The Gilgamesh epic isa quest for the nature of immortality, the nature of death, the nature of mortality.And “KILL DWARF,” “GET SWORD,” et cetera was completely in that line. Indeed, the imagerywas very traditional. The closest I came to any conflict or anxiety was their constantpressure to put puzzles in the thing. I just wanted to keep imagining. And they said, “Youknow, the guys who pay money for this will be very disappointed if they can get fromA to Z in an hour, let alone ten minutes. They want a week or two of agony.” Of course,they were right. A lot of our–I wouldn’t call them arguments. A lot of our discussions,the dialectic was between I wanted to think of some new goofy thing and they wanted tobe sure that it would be hard to figure out, that there would be a strong puzzle aspectto it. >> CRAWFORD: I have never been very enthusiasticabout puzzles. >> O’BRIAN: I suck at puzzles. I suck at solvingpuzzles and I suck at creating puzzles. >> CRAWFORD: Puzzles don’t really permit muchrich interaction. Basically, either you get it wrong, in which case you’re frustratedand confused and angry or you get it right, in which case you’re bored.>> SHERWIN: Once a player realizes that, “Oh, I was doing everything right, it’s just thatthe parser didn’t understand the synonym I was trying to use,” it’s really tough to getthe player back. >> CRAWFORD: There’s a right and a wrong.And the right is the author’s version of right and you have to find his right way of doingit. >> SHIOVITZ: But from the player’s perspective,it’s not any more valid than any of the other hundreds of possible solutions they see beforehand.>> O’BRIAN: Hunger puzzles, light source puzzles. There were all these hallmarks of old-schoolIF that actually created, at least in my experience, mostly aggravation.>> SHIOVITZ: You ate the bread here, so now you don’t have it later on so now you starveto death. Or you starve to death here or you didn’t do this in time and so now too late.The game has been made unwinnable and Krill the Sorcerer takes over the world.>> O’BRIAN: They were more in there to make things take a long time than to really bringyou into the world or help you have fun. >> THORNTON: It’s easy to write puzzles thatare just impossible to solve. >> SHERMAN: Well, if I stand in the 15th roomin the eastern corner holding a purple saucer and I say, “Shazam!”>> EILERS: You have things which make no sense at all. You have a monster you kill in thewoods and it drops a golden bracelet. What was it doing with the golden bracelet? Wereally don’t know. It’s never explained. >> SHIOVITZ: So when somebody complains aboutan old trope in a dungeon or something like that, what they’re really I think saying is,”Oh my God, this means that we’re going to see the puzzle with like a five cup measureand a three cup measure and you need to get four cups of water.” Like no one wants tosee the old puzzles again, because we’ve already solved the old puzzles. Like when you solvea puzzle, you’ve drained all the juice out of it.>> BERLYN: I don’t know anybody who erases crossword puzzles to fill them in again. Ireally don’t. I–you know. Do you? >> THORNTON: Overall, puzzle space, I thinkwas largely played out in the mid ’80s in terms of what is done in text adventures.Every so often, someone comes up with neat variations on it or neat ways of subvertingthings so that what you thought was one sort of a puzzle turns into another sort.>> CRAWFORD: This black and white approach doesn’t work very well. And again, that waswhat held back–has always held back Interactive Fiction.>> EILERS: Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I make all the students play that game. Andif they can’t beat the Babel Fish puzzle, which everybody who’s played that one knowswhat I’m talking about. If they can’t beat that one, they get a C in that assignment.To them, it’s silly and childish and primitive. And it still kicks their ass. They can’t getpast it. >> O’BRIAN: There’s no shame in looking atthe hints, I’ve decided because you get to see the end of the story. And for me, thestory is the thing that I’m the most interested in, anyway.>> BARTLE: But if you’re a game designer and you’re looking at somebody else’s game andyou see these things, you think, “Wow, you know, it’s pretty good there. I quite likethat.” But the players wouldn’t think that. But because you, as a designer have seen it,you think, you know, “It’s pretty good.” You’re not playing the game anymore. You’re playing”I am a designer looking at something which is good.”>> SCHULZ: Adventure games are not like real life. There are solutions. And so wheneveryou feel like, “Well, I’m stuck, there is no–this puzzle is impossible.” They’re alwayspossible. It’s not like, again, there always is an object to be found somewhere. It’s notlike a key you might lose and that it’s gone. The key is in the dump somewhere at some landfillnine miles away, you’re never going to find it. In the adventure game, the key will befound. Okay? And if it’s not a key for that door then there is another solution. And whenyou bear that in mind that there is a solution, the games become easier to play and more fun.>> The last time I need to do this. >> DORNBROOK: You know when we were makingthem, initially, we often talked about the fact that this is a genre that could lastfor centuries. You know, we looked at, you know, we would compare it to the book andsay, “Well, I know. Yes, technology has changed. And they’re, you know, phonographs came alongand the radios and televisions and all these other technologies. But you know, the bookis still the book and it still sells. Just because other kinds of games are possibleor fancy graphics are possible or whatever doesn’t mean that there’s no room for a textadventure.” So we were fairly convinced that that is–that was a genre that could continue,you know. Like I honestly–I think we might have been kidding ourselves in terms of itbeing, you know, big enough to sustain, you know, a company but obviously it’s continuedin terms of hobbyists doing it. >> GRANADE: It started on a group of Usenetnewsgroups, rec.arts.int-fiction and rec.games.int-fiction that were originally talking about hypertextand things like that, but slowly discussion of Infocom games came to dominate it in theearly ’90s. >> DOUGLASS: I rediscovered Interactive Fictionthrough the online communities that had been around for quite a while. And so, there wasthis nucleus of people who were interested in Interactive Fiction and talking about itand doing reverse-engineering of Infocom’s story format and all that kind of thing. Everythingwas tied in and as soon as you find the outer edge of the web, everything funnels in towardsthe center and you find this interconnected group of people.>> GRANADE: You had some more artistic types who were interested in the medium. And theacademics who later were studying it as an art form and so all of these people sort ofaccumulated around this newsgroup. >> O’BRIAN: It kind of blows my mind thatwe have this group of people that is willing to put in all of this work for free, knowingthat they’ll never be compensated in any way besides people’s attention and praise andthey’re creating these amazing pieces of work. >> GRANADE: We’re talking about a communitythat has been around, you know, we’re coming up really on 20 years worth of community ifyou go back to the early Internet days. >> MORIARTY: I’ve been following the amateurscene fairly closely over the decades and, you know, they’ve got all the basics down.There’s some really, really talented people. Anyone of them could have succeeded at Infocom,you know, as well as any of us, I think. There’s some really bright people out there doingthese things. >> MERETZKY: I guess my reaction was that,you know, that I thought this was very nice, that the–that the genre, even though it haddied as a commercial medium, you know, was continuing to live on as an artistic mediumand feeling, you know, almost a sense of relief that, you know, that it would continue tolive on in this new form. >> ROBERTS: In terms of the real enthusiasts,it seems like everybody who’s interested in playing them is interested in writing them.>> LEBLING: They’re not expecting to sell or hoping to sell 100,000 copies at $30 or$40 a piece. >> DOUGLASS: People are writing IF when theyget off work. Or they’re writing IF while they’re at work, if they have a job that enablesthem to do that. >> LEBLING: They’re hoping to make a literaryor intellectual statement of some kind or even just to explore something that they thinkis funny and they maybe the only ones who think it’s funny, but they’re having a goodtime anyway. >> WOODS: It’s sort of like art films. Youknow, there are people who live for those films but they’re not going to be a commercialsuccess, you won’t show them in the main theaters to the masses because the masses don’t wantto see that sort of thing. They don’t want to think that way. They don’t, you know, they’rethere to be entertained. They’re not there go, you know, marvel at, “Oh, yeah. Well,that’s a different way of looking at it.” >> DOUGLASS: We know what this model lookslike. It doesn’t look like the films industry. It doesn’t look like the games industry. Itlooks like Faulkner at his security job with his typewriter in a little hut.>> ROBERTS: You know, if your audience is mostly people who write these games, it’sreally the perfect thing. >> DOUGLASS: It looks like writing novels.That’s really exciting to me. >> MOULTHROP: IF writers are awfully purein my limited experience, but, you know, that’s the impression I have of them, is that theydo this thing because they deeply love it. And it’s impossible at least for me not toadmire that. >> DOUGLASS: And so, then the question, “Atwhat age should people write IF?” might be a lot like the question, “What age shouldpeople write?” Let them–let them write badly as early as possible and let them write moreand better later. >> Interactive Fiction is something that youcan do you yourself. You know, you don’t need a group of 40 people and you don’t need apanel of advisers. It’s a real personal way to write a game and when I’m doing that, I’mnot really thinking about the audience. The audience is me. Then when I’m finished, Iwant to share that. >> ORCUTT: I think it was a control thing.I think ultimately, maybe not for everybody who creates these games but I think there’sa profound sense of power and control. >> NEPSTAD: And this is something that I loveand I’m creating this game because this is the sort of game that I would love to play.>> ORCUTT: It’s the realization of being a god, a creator, creating a world that theselesser mortals–I don’t think people consciously think of it that way, but the idea that theseother people are going to have to buy into your world. That this world can be–it canbe the vision that you have in mind. >> GRANADE: Kevin Wilson created the competitionand ran it for a couple of years and Kevin asked David Dyte to take over. And after thatfirst year, I think because of a number of things going on, David was like, “Yes, thisis not really something I want to do that much.” And so, he turned to me and said, youknow, “I think you’d do a pretty decent job of running it. Are you willing to take it?”And so I thought about it for a little while, I was like, “Yes, sure. You know, I’ll dothis for a couple of years and then I can hand it off.”>> PLOTKIN: This was Kevin’s intent in the first place. Lots of people said, “Oh, I’dlove to write a game but man, Infocom games were huge, Curses is huge. I can’t do anythingthat big.” And Kevin said, “Well, how about you just do a tiny, little game? That’d befine. It could be one room. It could be one puzzle. We’ll accept it.” And a lot of peoplesaid, “Hmm,” including me. A lot of people said, “Yes. I could do something small. Itwouldn’t take that long.” >> GRANADE: My best guess is you’ve got 1,000to 2,000 people who will download it and try at least one or two games. And then out ofthat, about 250 people who play enough, play it within the timeframe and then enter theirvotes. >> ROBERTS: I tend to think that if we didn’thave the competition as something that the community can accrete around, we’d probablybe a lot more scattered and dissipated than we are.>> GRANADE: It’s easier to write a shorter game so that you can get out there faster,you can get feedback faster and if it turns out to crash and burn, you go, “Well, thatwas three or four months of my life,” instead of, “That was my two-year masterpiece.”>> O’BRIAN: Every Interactive Fiction competition has excellent games entered into it and sothe bar is very high that you have to meet. And so, coming in, in 8th place, I just feltlike, “Hey, that’s pretty good, considering the things that were ahead of me.”>> CORNELSON: The bottom 10 games would just be horrible. They, you know, One room, there’sno puzzle, it doesn’t work. You know, it takes you two seconds to recognizewhat it is and they close your, you know, interpreter.>> GRANADE: Some people whose approach to grading the games and reviewing them are sortof like–they take points away from the games like ripping wings off of flies.” You startout at a 10 and then you’ve got a spelling error so now you’re at nine and this commanddoesn’t work, so you’re at an eight. You know, just ripping them off one by one. Thankfully,not everybody is like that. Part of the reason people tend to enter the competition is they’reguaranteed that audience, which is good because it does tend to focus attention, but it’salso bad, because I think in some cases people say, “Well, yes. It’s kind of crappy. Yes,I didn’t finish it or get it beta-tested, but let me enter it anyway and see what peoplethink.” >> PLOTKIN: The IF Comp started as a way toget people writing games. At which it was immensely successful. Now, the IF Comp isin some senses the only way to write a game. That’s not a–that’s not a good outcome butbetter than writing no games at all. >> ROBERTS: They tend to be this black holethat sucks all of the creativity of the community every year into this one–this one time wheneveryone releases their games. >> PLOTKIN: People have tried different thingsto, you know, get some of the spotlight off the IF Comp and they’ve been partially successful.>> CORNELSON: And I think because of those arguments, some other competitions have sprungup. Actually, I created one and so did Adam Cadre. He created the Spring Thing, you know,instead of continually attacking the annual comp; we’ve just gone and created our own.>> ROBERTS: Because I’d–I have to–I have to admit that I do miss the long games. Theshort games tend to have–there, you know, a few really good games come out of the compevery year, but there’s just something different about the long games and the short games.The short games don’t have that way of involving you for a month in kind of an obsessive activity.>> DOUGLASS: I also think that’s actually probably a pretty good description of whya lot of really bad IF writing is really bad. It’s that people imagine it though as beingwhat they later discovered 3D graphics simulations actually were. They imagined it as being justa way of re-creating the world around them in computer form.>> MONTFORT: And what should we write about? Well, we’re either going to write about ourown college. This is, you know, or some thinly-veiled version of it.>> DOUGLAS: Here’s my IF desk and here are my IF papers and my IF cup and I’ll drinkout of it. >> GRANADE: And so, after a while, you know,maybe you had patience for somebody starting you out asleep in your bedroom, like tonsand tons of other games and then after a while, you’re like, “Okay, people.”>> WELBOURN: You get a lot of earnest tries but the coding isn’t quite there. The ideasaren’t fully formed. >> REED: I think there’s a huge problem withInteractive Fiction games right now being written for the authors.>> ROBERTS: Yes, I think if you look at the comps, you see a lot of people trying self-consciouslyto be artistic. >> O’BRIAN: There’s definitely–which I lovea wing of modern IF that is really out there and trying very weird things.>> SMITH: Boundary-pushing games are not necessarily going to be the best games. They lay groundwork for the best games, I would say. >> REED: Advancing the state of accessibilityof IF is not really seen by the current community as being a priority because they think, “Well,the people who are here now, you know, are the ones who like it.”>> THORNTON: Whether or not it’s going to be the right direction, ultimately, who knows?But hell, what’s the right direction when it’s 200 of us writing games and giving themonly to each other? >> PLOTKIN: In ’98–as early as ’98, whenI was working on Spider and Web, I was thinking, “I–it would be awfully nice if I could publisha game and get money for it.” >> CORNELSON: There’s a lot of people thatwould like to see IF go commercial. >> PLOTKIN: The question of a company publishingIF into the greater market, man, I hope that works.>> O’BRIAN: Now a lot of people–some people think that there is some way to crack themarket and sell these games to people who would be instead of reading books they’llplay Interactive Fiction games. >> SHERWIN: It’s fun to go make physical manifestationsof your games. It’s nice to have something up on the mantle you can look at and say,”Yes, you know what? I did that. It’s not just a bunch of code on the computer. Thisis something I can put in my hands.” >> NEPSTAD: Yes. Now, the piece that I didn’treally take into account is that I’m a horrible salesman, right?>> Are sales good? >> SHERWIN: We–haha.>> NEPSTAD: The type of person that spends four years coding a computer games is probably,maybe, usually not the same type of person that can go out and sell that game very effectively,so. >> SHERWIN: Sales are all right. Consideringthat you dumped it on the Internet for free, I was actually really happy with it. I would–I’vemade 50 copies of Necrotic Drift and we were able to sell them all through the website.I think I threw the last few on eBay. >> NEPSTAD: Although, it’s really only beenavailable in maybe a dozen shops, those shops continue to sell it. Even–it’s been threeyears now since I first started selling it. And they still sell.>> SHERMAN: Light bulb, bing. Let’s make brand new games in the Infocom tradition and sellthem to people who want them. And Malinche was born.>> CORNELSON: The way to get Interactive Fiction out to more people beyond our community andother communities is marketing. >> SHERMAN: The perception is from a lot ofpeople’s point of view is, “What is it?” And I think I’ve spent more time and resourcestrying to write marketing, facts, what is it, what is it, how do I–what is it?>> CORNELSON: It’s going to require a serious effort to market the product to audiencesin a way where that audience is going to say, “Yes, I really want to play that.”>> SHERMAN: If I’m going to walk over to a kid who’s playing Halo II on his Xbox 360and say, “Hey kid, want to try a new game?” “Sure, what do you got?” “Pentari: The Apprentice.””What’s it about?” “Well, it’s this young wizard in a wizard’s guild and his, you know,his master is captured during his final exams to become a true sorcerer and you have togo rescue him and then you have to go to this evil, dark city of mages and conquer an evilqueen.” “Sounds great, let me try it.” And he sits down at the keyboard, “Hey, did itcrash?” >> ROBERTS: The game is moderated by a computerand where there’s not as much throwing of dice and statistics and so forth. And thatseems–I don’t know. I don’t know how successful that explanation is.>> DOUGLASS: As currently conceived, it’s just not marketable under a games industryidea of what you’re buying. Because the games industry idea would always say, “You’re goingto have to add more mazes, or you’re going to have to add unlockable cards that you findand they’re going to have to be 50 of them so that we can layer enough extra stuff onthere to keep the interactor busy for an extra 12 hours. Otherwise they’re going to feelcheated when they’re done.” >> ROBERTS: We’d go to–we went to a coupleof computer game conferences, you know, we’d talked to people and we’d tell them a littleabout what we were doing. And everyone we talked to, you know, they’d–we’d get thesekind of stunned, blank stares. They’d say, “Text adventures? What does that have to dowith commercial games anymore? That was years ago.”>> PLOTKIN: I had great hopes for the Michael Berlyn/Cascade Mountain attempt. That was,what, ’99? I wish that had worked. That didn’t work at all.>> BERLYN: I would say that the commercial market for Interactive Fiction is so smallthat it doesn’t warrant an investment of any financial magnitude at all. I think if youwant to do it as a home hobbyist, or you want to do it as an artist, or you want to do itto prove a point, or you want to do it to amuse your friends and relatives, that’s great.But don’t ask me to invest any money in it, because I did that. And it was a total, abjectfailure. >> PLOTKIN: I guess, since the first coupleof horribly failed attempts, my opinion has been, “You know, prove that you have a workingcompany and you’re actually going to make some kind of a profit, and I will write yougames from now until the cows come home. I would love to switch in to doing that full-time.”>> BERLYN: Clearly, if you’re going to make something, you have to make sure that thereare enough people who are going to buy it to justify your investment. And we didn’tdo that well enough or at all. So, I don’t believe there’s a market. But does that stopme? Pretty much. >> MONTFORT: I’m not desperate to find newcommercial opportunities for IF. That’s an–that’s an understatement. I’m not, you know, reallyinterested in what the marketplace can do for IF, myself. But I think there’s advantagesto the form having been through this commercial phase. There’s things that can be learnedfrom what businesses did. >> REED: Ultimately, it’s the same audiencethat literature has, which is everyone who can read, you know, young people, old people,people from everywhere. >> PLOTKIN: And one of these days, someone’sgoing to figure out how to put games in front of those people. And maybe it’ll be for free,and then lots of people will start playing them, that will be great. Maybe it will befor money, in which case, lots of people will start paying them, and I’ll get some money,and that will also be great. >> REED: There’s a huge, untapped audienceof mainly people who are not regular gamers, who could get into IF, if it was made availableto them. Infocom, I know, sold a lot of games to older people who are viewed as being outsideof the current demographic; people in their 50s and 60s. And a lot of those people inthe newsgroups now are playing games, but there’s millions of them who, if they knewthis stuff existed, would love to play it. >> THORNTON: At least for me, it’s much morefun to know that people are playing it and sort of enjoying it than–that I get, youknow, a couple of nice dinners out every year from the proceeds of my games.>> SHIOVITZ: And I find it hard to believe that text adventures are going to sell tokids but, you know, like, if someone wants to do it, and they succeed, good luck to them.>> WOODS: I’m playing in multiplayer on-line games, which was, again, this is somethingI didn’t do until a few years ago when I said some friends and I were considering startingone up. And I didn’t actually have any experience with multiplayer online games, and so, well,I decided to start playing one just to find out what they were like, because I might betrying to design one, it’d be useful to know what there is.>> Do you have a preference? I mean, is there one you prefer to use?>> WOODS: I mostly play Everquest. >> BLANK: Yes, because I’d been away fromit for, you know, for so many years, I really didn’t know until a few years ago how muchof this was still around. >> MERETZKY: I was just maybe at a trade showor something and someone whipped out an early PDA and that one said, “Look at this.” Andthen it was running Planetfall or Hitchhiker’s Guide or something.>> BLANK: Pretty dumbfounded, actually. >> ADAMS: The biggest confusion I get nowadaysis, “You write Dilbert, don’t you?” No, that’s a different Scott Adams.>> MERETZKY: I think it’s great. I mean, you know, I–I’m certainly not losing any royaltyon it. And I didn’t have a royalty interest in any of the games. I was just, you know,on straight salary for Infocom. So, you know, as far as I’m concerned, the more people whocan play those games, the better. >> WOODS: We’re starting to get into thatstage where there are now people who are in the computer industry and haven’t heard ofAdventure, and let alone had it been the seminal point of their career.>> ADAMS: Scott was putting out a newsletter. And in it he said, “There’s another ScottAdams out there that wrote adventure games way back in the dawn of history. And if anybodyknows him, please let me know because I’m getting a bunch of his mail.” And he was gettingmy fan mail. I still get his fan mail, so. >> SCOTT: Do you have much case where you’replaying Everquest and someone figures out they’re planning against the guy who inventedthe genre? >> WOODS: No. Hasn’t come up. It’ll be interestingwhen we finish up here [INDISTINCT]. My guild has a raid at six o’clock and I intend tojust sort of mention at some point that, you know, what I had spent my afternoon doingand see whether it leads to any conversation. >> O’BRIAN: I don’t know that I even fullyunderstand what keeps me in it. >> THORNTON: The hardest thing is people saying,”Why the hell would you want to do that? It’s a genre that died in the late 80s.”>> SHIOVITZ: It’s a–it’s a hobby for me and not a moral cause.>> WELBOURN: You know, I think some people are, you know, hope, in some corner of theirhearts, that IF will be big again. Although nobody knows how or why.>> SHIOVITZ; I would be sad if people stopped making them but the cost to entry for makingan IF game is very low and so I don’t expect that to be the case.>> SOUSA: With so many people now, getting on-line, you know, and if that number’s goingto continue to increase, you’re just going to have a lot more people to draw from andget into it. So I don’t think it’s ever going to go away.>> SCHULZ: Art forms are never replaced. They’re never replaced. They’re just added to.>> SHERMAN: You know, that’s one of the articles that comes out every day, every–like, everyeight months, you know, “Why did the text games die? Why did–” not just text adventuregames, “Why did the adventure game die?” >> SCHULZ: To say text adventure games aredead is like the same kind of people who say, right, “Books are dead,” right? “Because themovies are so more–so much more popular.” It doesn’t–it makes no sense.>> SHERMAN: You know, the truth is, text adventure games never died.>> MARTINEZ: If you define the interactive fiction medium as text adventures, then youcan say, “Brief, flash-in-the-pan.” If you define the medium as one that like, everyother medium, evolves over time and through the collaboration and recombination of thingsfrom a variety of creators, that medium never died.>> SHERWIN: When I knew that it was possible to make text games, I’ve never looked back.It’s something I want to do for my whole life. It was an itch that I didn’t know that I haduntil I started scratching it. Now it won’t go away. It’s a rash, I guess.>> SCOTT: So that was the long version of Get Lamp. The–like I said, the–there’s aninteractive version where you would have had each of those, that’s why it feels kind oflike a sort of ending. It had to be an ending or not quite an ending. Anyway. [PAUSE] Theseare two people who I’d interview-scheduled with, who I lost before I got the chance to.[PAUSE] All right. Okay. So, yes, it’s a two-DVD set. There’s actually a full episode on nothingbut Infocom which actually I really like. And it’s more of what people think of it asstandard documentary but if you saw it you’d be like “Oh, that’s great. You told the storyof Infocom.” What about the rest of text adventure? So, that’s what that one is. So, and I dohave them for sale here if people want to pick up a copy. With the two-DVD and all therest of the stuff, it’s–I like it and of course, as you saw it, it’s fully subtitled.I got a thing about that. I get angry if it’s not subtitled nowadays. Because it’s likeit’s free, essentially. If anybody has any questions or comments, I do want to mentionthat I’m not going to make them stand up here but Mr. Blank and Mr. Woods are here in theaudience, too. And I really appreciate that, I haven’t’ seen Mr. Blank since I’ve interviewedhim something like, four years ago. So, that’s great. So, if anyone has any questions orcomments or whatever, I’ll answer. Yes. >> In the film they’ve mentioned that [INDISTINCT]encountered–one of the participants on there mentioned that he’s happy to see people stillplaying games. >> Why don’t you talk up there and I’ll tryto take the microphone. If your question’s more than 10 words, people would really appreciate.>> Yes, absolutely. So one of the–in the film, one of the participants mentioned thathe’s happy to see Infocom games still being played. And since Infocom is bankrupt, didsomeone pick up the IP for that? And is… >> SCOTT: They [INDISTINCT] that by accident.No mic? >> No, that’s not on I guess.>> SCOTT: There’s no whatever [INDISTINCT] >> [INDISTINCT] better.>> SCOTT: Okay. >> You have to [INDISTINCT] this one side.>> SCOTT: Okay. Well, oh, that’s terrible. How will I get by? Where’s my latte? The–okay.So, currently Infocom IP is owned by Active-Vision. The–certain Infocom trademarks are ownedby a guy named Pete, who is up–if somebody who wants to write Infocom games and callthem Infocom, he’ll license it to you, but they actually have lapsed some of the trademarks.So, Zork lapsed but Leather Goddesses of Phobos, they renewed. I don’t get it either. I’m sorry.Whatever. But it–Active-Vision owns it, right? Active-Vision licensed it to something called–Ithink it was Legends of Zork which was like a click-through adventure game that you canplay now. So, they still own it. They’ll still defend it. They still get cranky if you sendout copies regardless of what Steve tells you. Steve’s all behind it but Steve’s notgoing to be your final sign off, so. Yes? >> So there’s–nobody seemed to mention ofthe unit reality games, which are very hot today as the successor.>> SCOTT: Nobody mentioned [INDISTINCT] reality game? Okay.>> Did they ever mention it? Or they just–I thought there was often more about it.>> SCOTT: There’s a lot of contemporary space things that are not mentioned in this moviebecause then it would be two hours long. And I figured the hardest part of the movie wastrying to get a–you know, like I said there was no text-adventure movie. Now, I’ve madethe last one. And the thing is, it’s saddled with several major vectors that are a problem.It has to flow reasonably well. It also has to cover subjects that are ethereal and mentaland it has to kind of feel like it gave justice to older subjects. And the problem is, forinstance, it doesn’t really mention MMOs except for hilariously, right? And it doesn’t mentionaugmented reality games, or alternate reality games or any of that stuff because, A, I didn’thave Jane McGonagall’s home number yet. And also, I just thought that it was like–I feltlike–you’ll notice this movie–this movie really gives you a lot of credit as a viewer,right? The more I’ve watched them, I’m like, “Wow”, like, when you watch a lot of likedocumentaries like on Discovery. It’s like, “Dude was attacked by a bear. Here’s the bear.This is the guy. There’s the bear again. The guy is doing this thing. The bear–we’re goingto break to a commercial. We come back. The guy is being attacked by a bear.” And you’relike “Wow,” I can watch it with the sound off and get it, right? This film, blink itand you miss it. You are–you are in the woods–you’re literally in the woods with cavers. And so,there was like–there’s a lot of that. And so one of the things I did that didn’t takeit for granted was you might then go, knowing all these, “I will now move into contemporaryspace and I will understand from these where these all comes from. I’ll have a better gripof it. I didn’t feel like I needed to finally connect the dots.” That’s the only reasonwhy. Because now, there are so many gaming documentaries that are just in contemporaryand I was like, “Nobody’s really, you know, tracked down the Infocom guys and Scott Adamsand put them all together in a movie.” So, at least we can see what their take on thingswas. That was–that was the thinking. Yes in the back. I’ll just repeat the question.>> It’s a bolt to board systems and you’ve done text adventures. Is there anything next?>> SCOTT: Yes. Okay. Sorry. Hey, you’re right. >> You’ve done a bulleting board systems.>> SCOTT: Okay. I’ve done bulletin board systems. I’ve done text adventures. Am I going to doanything next? Yes. I’m actually relatively poor although this movie does pay for my currentexistence which is pretty hilarious in the scheme of independent film that makes me Spielberg.But I would like to do three at once next. Stick with me. The–there’s three technicaldocumentaries, I found making these previous ones. Each one took about four years, andthe biggest thing was travel. So, I’m doing a kick-starter very shortly for $100,000 whichwill already get some attention, I’m sure. And it’s going to be three films. And I’vebeen kind of leaking it to Q&A for a while, so, I’ll just tell you. The first one wouldbe on tape. And in the same scheme as bulletin board systems and text-adventures, the nextquestion is how could that possibly be interesting? And I like that challenge. That means nobodyelse is doing it. So, this would be about audio, video and magnetic tape, and it’s meaningin our history and the loss of memory and the cultures that lived on tape and so on.So, that’s tape. Tape is the big one. The one that I’d–I’m also looking to do is oneon arcades. And that would be a podcast series. Those would be little tiny 10 to 15-minutearcade-esque documentaries because we do stuff about the games. We have all seen Pacman movingslowly on a screen while someone tells you video games were fun. But there’s not a wholelot of things about those places and the fact that, you know, people were like, “Well, whatwould your arcade documentary podcast series thing cover?” I’m like “Well, we’d start at17th century automaton lounges.” At this point, they’re like “What,” up through the MAME.So, I’m like, you know, just this idea that for years, for hundreds of years, we havewillingly moved into small rooms and paid somebody to let us have fun with machines.Why? Why do we do that? So, that would be arcade. My own arcadedocumentary.com. Andthe third one would be on the 6502 chip. Yes, I’m at Google. So, welcome to Google. What?Yes. So, yes, programmers, I want to make a movie that actually makes assembly languagemakes sense. That it’s challenge, and talk to people like, you know, Bill Budge and JohnRomero who do 6502 programming about the unique natures of that and Jeri Ellsworth, who’sa friend, and talk about… >> Bill Budge’s doing that.>> SCOTT: Who does? >> Bill Budge.>> SCOTT: Yes. I know he works here. I was going to go bother him at the game developer’sconference, and I decided it was too creepy. I figured I’d wait.>> Where is Bill Budge? >> SCOTT: Where is he? He–you know it’s agood question. I know where he is but this is why I want to get the funding very soon.I’d go talk to Chuck very soon because I have a little problem with my movies. But anyway,so, those are the three. And I would put them together because it’s easier for me to sometimesinterview somebody about portions of both because I could talk to an arcade game programmerwho can tell me about arcade spaces but who’ll also tell me about programming, perhaps, notas much as about tape but maybe. Anyway, so, there you go. Now, you know. Those are mythree because I feel like I don’t know how many more years I want to do this. And I’drather just do one big, mega film craziness. Once I will not do, people want me do hamradio, no, demo scene, no. There was a few that were kind of weird. A few people wereunhappy because they want me to cover their software company like I covered these softwarecompanies and, no. But that’s the life that you’re going to live when you make a choice.These are all done by one guy, right? This is, one guy made this film. So, that’s it.I’m the sound. I’m the lighting. I’m the questioner. I’m the editor. I’m the package designer.I am the Q&A answerer. You know, I’m everything you can imagine. So, it’s–that’s, you know,people were like, “You should have gone more to Europe.” I’m like, “Maybe you should havegone more to Europe.” I was–I happen to be called in for a speech that I gave in England.And that’s why I could interview Richard Bartle. You know, it was like “Hey, Richard Bartle.Could you come over?” And otherwise, I would have never gotten this Richard Bartle. Andhe willingly came which was nice of him. All right. Are there any other question? Yes?>> Did you try to interview Graham Nelson? >> SCOTT: Yes, I tried to interview GrahamNelson. And Emily Short for anybody who cares about that. This is being streamed. EmilyShort said no. Oh, I’m not afraid to say this, I guess. Emily Short said no. I said okay.”How about if I send you written questions? You submit me written answers. And you appearon a screen answering them.” “No.” Graham Nelson didn’t even bother to respond throughproxy. Even Will Crowther responded through proxies, and said “No.” And before anyonegoes, “Why did Will Crowder not go in this?” And the answer is Will Crowther does not lookback at this. Literally, it’s like saying, “Dude, how’d you like kindergarten?” And,you know, he’s just–he just doesn’t see–you know. He created the freaking ARPAnet, andpeople were like, “Remember that little screensaver you programmed when you were in high school?”I mean, it feels like that to him. And so when his–all of his interviews about it,he’ll talk about it but he doesn’t go crazy talking about that time. So, I said, “Youknow what? I’m not going to show up at this guy’s house.” You know–you know what thismovie did not need, blurry footage of him running to his car. I like to think, thisis my general approach. I like to think I can have dinner with pretty much everyonein the movie and have them feel comfortable eating dinner with me because they feel likeI did right by them. I don’t think that a movie like this, especially this, should notuse people like they’re something. So, yes, so, there’s a few people who declined like,Emily Short, Graham Nelson, one of the–a couple of the Infocom people didn’t have thetime or these things didn’t work out and so on. So, you know, it happens. So, before you,you. >> Did you thank Will Crowther at the end,didn’t you? >> SCOTT: Yes. I thank Will Crowther.>> Did he help in at all? >> SCOTT: Yes, he made Adventure. Yes, thanksman. High five. High two. Yes, I mean that was it. It was like thanks for Will Crowtherfor doing it, basically, and for not getting ticked off that I still stuck a picture inthere. I made sure that picture was as obscure, as old as possible. I mean, I have new picturesof him and I have pictures of him from when he was a caver. But I thought, you know, ifhe’s not comfortable at being in this movie, I’m not going to make really personal, identifiablephotos of the guy. So, you know, I just said, you know, “I’m going to thank him becausehe did this,” like, I thank you for do also doing it. The coins are numbered individually.And I have coin number two because I gave Mr. Woods coin number one. I figured he deservedit more. There was another question. Yes. You.>> In terms of other languages, do you have any idea how popular the interactive gameswere, let’s say, in Chinese, German, Indian, or Spanish, or anything?>> SCOTT: Questions about alternate scenes of other languages of interactive fiction.And I have spoken with a Spanish IF clique, some level of German, some level of–well,here’s the thing–English, right? British-English. There’s a whole scene there that I only somewhatcover because I just didn’t think I can do them justice. I’d rather do this and someonego, “It’s like that but we did this and this.” I’d rather be a difference, a delta. And so,there are these other scenes, and I also have it. There’s also this awesome adult interactivefiction group that’s been around for like 15 years. And the only one who would talkto me at all from it was the really, the beautifully cynical Adam who’s in there, he’s the baldingguy, who every time–it’s just–it’s cut this way–every time you see him, he says somethingcynical and depressing about text adventures. So, he’s the one who’s like mazes, kill menow, or yes, why would I sell it? I could maybe make money for a dinner and everythingelse. And, you know, he’s made all these legitimate, well, you know what I’m saying, legitimate,you know, safe for work text adventures but he’s also the creator of Stiffy Makane andThe Undiscovered Country. But the rest of them were like, “Good work, keep going, keepgoing back up.” So that–there’s a bit–there’s a bit of that going on. So, okay, missed thatscene too. So, it’s like this but a little different. End of the questions? Yes.>> [INDISTINCT] >> SCOTT: This–okay. I’ve been asked a lotof stuff about like, text adventures as a business which is what you’re asking like,is there models and stuff that might work for text adventures? This been, you know,it’s a puzzler. And the thing is–the biggest problem with it is that and then bear in mindagain I’m an outside observer, technically. I was embedded with text adventures for years.But I also want to make clear I’m outsider in many ways. First of all, I want to saythat Andrew Plotkin, who’s that dude with the huge glasses and the furry hair, did akick-starter last year to say, “Let me stop working and I will create a new text adventurefor the iPhone and I will release the tool kit I’ve been developing to make it. And Iwill release it for sale on the iPhone.” And he asked for–I think it was, I want to sayhe asked for $20,000 or $15,000 for this. And he got $31,000. So, he’s doing that fulltime right now. So, he’s doing it, right? He’s living the dream. And his take was iPhonetext adventure, right? That was his approach. But in the whole, on the whole, I mean, bearin mind also, Andrew Plotkin is a freaking master, right? He’s like the best of the bestin terms of contemporary interactive fiction authors, absolutely the best. So, this isa big deal and when he has a huge following both in and out of the community. So, he wasable to do this. The problem with text adventures is that there is a galactically huge-sized,massive, fully playable archive of them, that is, every bit as compelling and well-madeas anything you would get now. It is absolutely the case that you can play these fantasticgames that come out for free every year that are as good as anything. And the amount ofwork to make it a little better or reach a little more is really a huge burden. And thatwhat’s killing that idea to which as you might have hopefully gleamed from that. Some ofthem are perfectly fine with. They’re delighted. They’re like, “Whatever. Whatever. I don’tneed that anymore. I don’t need people lying to sell me text adventures. Go ahead and playthem.” So, like on the iPad, you can download FRAX. And FRAX comes with, like, 30 gamesthat are going to eat your month, that are great in every single way. I mean–and that’stheir problem. Their problem is the old product is as good, it’s like selling oranges andthe oranges from forever, just as great. >> It’s two minutes to the video conferenceand the video taping in the next room. >> SCOTT: Okay. All right. So, we can go eitherway. And so was there any other…? >> Sir, you think we could hire that guy tohelp me write our tech documentation because [INDISTINCT] online stuff to find the rightanswer? >> SCOTT: Inside joke about technical writing.All right. Is there? Yes, sir. >> There’s a subgenre text adventures–graphicaltext adventures that started with [INDISTINCT]? Did you do any interviewing or exploring that?>> SCOTT: Did I just–did I–did I cover graphical text adventures? Or did I do any interviewing?I certainly–you’re right, there’s 120 hours of raw footage, right, which became this movie.Certainly some people would go a little bit into graphical adventures or discuss Sierra.Sierra’s a really a big one. But I really felt I wanted to cover text adventures strongest.I will release all of the raw footage, checking it for somebody saying something really trulyawful, you know, unto archive.org. So I always do that anyway. The movies are Creative Commonslicensed anyway, right? I had a–I had a group rip it and put it on the Pirate Bay, and theydid it wrong, like they–because it’s that interactive thing–it’s multiple chapters.They got the order wrong. So I wrote a big note about, like, “Thanks but you got it wrong.Here’s the actual chapter, order. Could you rip in that way instead?” And they went, “Ohmy god. I’m sorry.” And they ripped it again and released a repack and everything else.And this totally made the torrent community flip out and I sold, like, dozens and dozensin, like, two days because they were like, “Oh my God.” This guy, “Oh my God.” And theNFO was really, really positive. Its’ like, “Jason,” you know, it’s got the greatest phraseever because bear in my mind, right? This is my second big movie, right? Ever. I mean,previously, that was student films. And it says in the thing, “As is typical with JasonScott Productions.” It–good trend management. And yes, you had one.>> Yes. There was a–one of the statements that [INDISTINCT] was that like, “IF gamesnow is pretty much made by the 200 authors and released to the 200 authors.”>> SCOTT: Yes, that’s one cynical person’s response is that there are 200 authors makinggames for 200 authors. That’s not quite true. >> I wonder what it stands like? People actuallyreally believe that or is that just a written exaggeration.>> SCOTT: What I tried to do there is I tried to do–whenever I do these things, right?I mean, there’s always that balance between my narrative voice and my advocations andwhat the group thinks. So, there’s also documenting, “Here’s the various opinions on that.” Andyou could see some people like, “Nobody pays attentions to us.” Another people like, “Theseare incredible. Everyone loves us.” Well, I think what it comes down to is that, maybeonce every year, really hungry areas like read-it and stuff, somebody will link to it.And they’ll gain just enough passers-by as it go, “Whoa. Adventure games.” And they goto it, and they play it and would “Whoa. These are [INDISTINCT] well made. Whoa.” And so,that happens. I think that it’s a tough sell. I think–I always think adventure games area tough sell, right? I mean, but there –some of the modern ones are really, really well-madeand some of them are really unusual. For instance, I feel like, “Well Jason, what’s a good modernone da-da-da?” Right? There’s two that I always recommend to people. The first one is calledFutopia. It came out in 1999. It takes about an hour and a half to play and when you finishit, you are emotionally affected. Yet, you can’t not win. Right? You played an hour anda half, and you’re like “huh.” You have to close your door and your… And then, there’sLost Pig which won, I think, a year and a half, two years ago, you are–you are an Orcand you’ve lost your pig. And the pig has gone down into this cave and now you’re inthe cave. You fell in the cave to get the pig. Now, you have to get the pig. So, ittakes you like a typical adventure game forever to figure out how to rescue yourself and thepig. During which–this is the brilliant part; first of all, it talks to you like an Orc.So, it’s like, “See thing with light. Not sure where that goes, kind of scary. Verystrange. You pull thing, and thing moves other thing. Now, thing goes away. Thing can gonow.” And so, you’ve got to negotiate what this guy is saying. And I think what the bestpart to me is the pig is always there, like, if you try to grab it, it slips out of yourway. But the pig follows you the whole time you’re trying to rest–to get the pig. Infact, not too much, minor spoiler but at one point, the pig helps you. Like the pig’s like–andthat helps you move on to the next thing. So, there’s Lost Pig. And this is like a contemporarygame that came up two years ago that I think is just brilliant. It won the ZZ awards, whichare the–they just had them, the yearly awards to who have made the best games of the pastyear which they give away and they’re really amazing. So anyway, I’m saying it’s stillvibrant but it’s tough. I mean, a lot of people start the game up and they’re like, “Thisis awesome.” And about 15 minutes later, they’re like “Oh. Look at this YouTube video.” Andthe story’s over. And, you know, so that’s the problem. But I think, there’s–I thinkthere’s–I mean I was–I’m–you know, the question is that one might have is “Are youhappy you’ve spent four years of this?” Absolutely. Absolutely. This is like–this is like, Iget to carry Zeus’s water on his way to the podium to like, send off some lightning bolt.So I’m like, “Oh yeah. This is great. I’m a roadie for Zeus.” So, that’s for me. It’slike, “All this wonderful people who affected me.” I mean, I’m only 40 which means that,you know, I mean, I played this thing with my cousin when I was, you know, 11 or 12.I played Adventure with my cousin. And so for me this is “Yehey.” Anyway, I think we’repretty much out of time. So, wonderful. Thank you so much for sticking through it.