Get Lamp

General chit-chat, ramblings, odds and ends.

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Samwise
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Re: Get Lamp

#31 Post by Samwise » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:53 am

Yes, that's the one spoiler short I did watch ... :)

I thought at first he just had them make that stuff up (I haven't played a lot of the classic adventure titles) but I twigged in the end that they were all talking about different releases.

It was a bit disappointing that Willie Crowther declined to be interviewed for the film. I would have really liked to have heard from the man himself.

Overall, the DVD did remind me that I do have an inherent distaste for the term "interactive fiction". Which is possibly one of the reasons why I'm beginning to prefer this place over some of the other more well-known IF resources.

Sam.

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Re: Get Lamp

#32 Post by Mr Creosote » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:07 am

Well, I don't want to get ahead too much on the discussion Jacob and I had which he's planning to publish, but I'd be interested in this:
Overall, the DVD did remind me that I do have an inherent distaste for the term "interactive fiction".
Could you elaborate? I've got a few feelings about this myself in relation to the documentary, and I'm curious if it's the same parts which gave you that impression.

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Re: Get Lamp

#33 Post by Samwise » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:11 pm

This is probably going to be a controversial post. It's my own gut feeling and is probably based more off my own vague impressions rather than any tangible evidence. I fully expect there are plenty of ppl who would disagree. But, as you asked me to expand ...

Well, there isn't really any one particular part of the documentary that I'd point to for that, for me it's more just my general weariness with the rise of the academic, and I'd probably even go so far as to the pretentious, side of text adventure development.

I understand why the devs who were working on commercial titles back in the 80s use the term - they obviously thought that "interactive fiction", a term coined from the culture at Infocom I believe, was potentially a revolutionary new medium and that they were breaking real new ground for something which might potentially become mainstream and possibly even challenge the dominance of books and/or magazines. I think the AI required to reach that level of adoption will elude us for a lot, lot longer - but that probably wasn't as clear in 1983!

However, reaching towards the modern day, I'm just very tired of seeing and reading people discuss in intricate detail the artform, the medium, what makes a good game, and what doesn't, how characters should be developed, when you need pacing, when you don't. It's all so tediously academic. I don't enjoy reading technical papers in my spare time. Of course, I won't dispute there's a need at all for such discussions - I just think that they have long since come to dominate the main scene to the exclusion of what I actually enjoy - playing the games. I think an extension of my thoughts on this is probably the main reason why I prefer I6 than the natural language approach begun with I7. I don't think you can bring in a traditional author to write such games, without teaching them to become a programmer and, in which case, I'd far prefer the style of I6 than the faux, unnatural English as represented by I7.

In all, "interactive fiction" has come to me to represent everything that isn't fun - which is why I think I intend to try to fall back to "text adventures" as being in my preferred vernacular, as it evokes something which actually reminds me of the games I've enjoyed playing as opposed to IF which makes me think of reading academic papers and seemingly endless r.a.i-f threads. This documentary did tend in places to slip into that IF world - mainly because tha's how the most active people on the scene think: it's considered a very serious subject.

But, as The Mad Hatter used to say, each to their own; you pays yer money and you takes yer choice - I certainly wouldn't want anyone to take this post as me disparaging anyone or anything - the Inform language itself is a work of art, and if that's the direction Graham et al want to take it, then fair play to them. Though I'm glad they open-sourced I6 before they started off in that direction. :)

Sam.

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Re: Get Lamp

#34 Post by Gunness » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:53 pm

I believe it's a very polished and entertaining film, but yes, some of it may be a bit too familiar to anyone with more than a passing knowledge of the genre. Still, Scott Adams' anecdote about Adventureland (in the spoiler section) was completely new to me and put a huge smile on my face :)
Samwise wrote:It was a bit disappointing that Willie Crowther declined to be interviewed for the film. I would have really liked to have heard from the man himself.
It would have been nice, but personally I think that the inclusion of the spelunkers - and Don Woods - largely makes up for this drawback.
Samwise wrote:Overall, the DVD did remind me that I do have an inherent distaste for the term "interactive fiction". Which is possibly one of the reasons why I'm beginning to prefer this place over some of the other more well-known IF resources.
As Hannes (Mr. Creosote) has stated elsewhere, he and I did a chat session the other day covering the various aspects of the discs. I still have to complete the editing process, as the piece is fairly long at the moment, but I can say with some certainly that the word "pretentious" has a fair chance of cropping up along the way :)

It's been years since I stopped reading r.g.i-f and r.a.i-f on a regular basis, but from what I gather from various sites around the net, a lot of the time modern gaming isn't intended to be fun and games aren't played as a recreational activity. So, at least for me, your last post pushed a lot of the right buttons ;)

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Re: Get Lamp

#35 Post by Mr Creosote » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:19 pm

Samwise: That's not very controversial with me. I agree with most of what you've written. On the whole, I was actually rather (positively) surprised how balanced the documentary was in this respect. There were people saying 'IF' is just a marketing term, there were people not just defending, but praising puzzle-fests without any coherent plot, the early developments of the genre weren't left out in shame... The only segment which went off-balance, in my opinion, was the 'modern scene' part, but that was to be expected.

By the way, Jacob, do you plan to publish any of the intended 'role background' along with the discussion?
a lot of the time modern gaming isn't intended to be fun and games aren't played as a recreational activity
No, no, you got it completely wrong! Modern gaming and playing them is intended to be a fun, recreational activity. However, who plays games? That is just for kids! What do games and playing have to do with holy IF? That is reading! ;)

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Re: Get Lamp

#36 Post by Alastair » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:44 pm

I know Infocom coined the term "interactive fiction" but I have always preferred the term "text adventure" (or "text adventure with graphics") since I regard them as puzzle games. To me interactive fiction is something like Portal (the program from 1986 not the more recent game with the same title) or the Infocom interactive comics, i.e., a story which you read and where any interaction with the program does not alter the outcome of the story.

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Re: Get Lamp

#37 Post by Gunness » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:21 am

Mr Creosote wrote:By the way, Jacob, do you plan to publish any of the intended 'role background' along with the discussion?
Certainly - I think it essential to understand the polarity of the debate :)
What do games and playing have to do with holy IF? That is reading! ;)
:lol:

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Re: Get Lamp

#38 Post by Samwise » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:51 pm

The one other thing I forgot to add - I was disappointed there wasn't more footage on the DVD from inside Bedquilt / Colossal Cave. I guess I was hoping for a short walkthrough DVD extra with shots of some of the more famous locations from the game.

Sam.

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Re: Get Lamp

#39 Post by Eriorg » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:38 am

Well, was the CASA review of Get Lamp published?

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Re: Get Lamp

#40 Post by Mr Creosote » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:53 pm

Not to my knowledge.

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Re: Get Lamp

#41 Post by Mr Creosote » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:35 am

While we're all still patiently waiting for Jacob to finish the article editing job (the first anniversary is approaching fast ;)), Jason Scott is now releasing the full interviews. My favourite part of what I've watched so far: Scott Adams likens his founding of Adventure International to Isaac Newton inventing calculus ;)

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Re: Get Lamp

#42 Post by Mr Creosote » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:22 pm

Seems like we missed the first anniversary of the discussion article by a few days. Nevertheless, happy birthday!

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Re: Get Lamp

#43 Post by Mr Creosote » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:59 pm

In case anyone was still holding their breaths, a slightly edited version of the discussion between Jacob and me can now be found here: http://www.goodolddays.net/article/id%2C8/Get+Lamp.html.

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Re: Get Lamp

#44 Post by Gunness » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:58 pm

For what it's worth, I'm eternally grateful for your efforts in this matter.

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Re: Get Lamp

#45 Post by terri » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:47 am

I followed the "goodoldtimes" link and found your discussion quote interesting. Some names are familiar to me, some not. I came to gaming later than you both having had one of the Infocom Treasury series recommended to me at a computer store. Back in the TRS-80 days. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy hooked me (having seen the TV series - I loved the wacky, off-beat humour), and led me to read Douglas Adam's books, most of which were incredibly funny. But them I suppose one needs to appreciate the absurd (which came across in both genres). Nice "translation" from one medium to another.

I really cannot and should not participate in this discussion. Thanks to both of you for this very interesting (and quite respectful approach to each other and to the topic) discussion. While it does not make me want to see Get Lamp since much of it I did not experience, I hope Samwise likes your colmmentary and does not consider it too "academic". I agree with him, it is the "playing" of the games that is the fun part, not the minute dissection of its technical and otherwise properties. One should be able to tell a good, logically-in-a-way story with a goal in sight (with plots and twists and dead-ends and other contrivances that make for entertainment without making you want to give up in frustration) that make for a good game. It's like a good book - beyond "mass-market" but not "academic lit". Sometimes you have to read a lot to find the gems, discovered and those still remaining to be. The Gormenghast Triology comes to mind. Not as popular as Lord of the Rings, but incredibly better in so many respects. Now THAT would make a game. Graphics are not needed - it's all in the words, the pictures that are created in your mind, the sinister-ness of the plot, and wonderful "asides", etc. Not a complex task technical, but rather an artistic challenge.

Thanks again.

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