Somewhere Nearby is a Colossal Cave Paper

Okay, I admit it, being known as the academic expert on a singe indie computer game from the 1970s is something like saying “I’m the handsomest one-eyed pirate on this particular ship, today,” which might well be true, but doesn’t exactly mean very much.

Still, I’m thrilled that I could be part of Jason Scott’s forthcoming text adventure documentary.  I had a fever of 101 when he interviewed me a few years ago, and then a few months later he offered to fly me back to Mammoth Cave for a follow-up interview, but that semester I had missed three weeks of classes due to pneumonia, and I was barely on my feet again, and my systems were operating at about 40% capacity at that time, so I had to turn him down.

Anyway, it’s great to see evidence that he’s making progress on his movie.

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

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

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

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