ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

A Lamp, Gotten —

After roughly 4 years of work (2006-2010), GET LAMP, a documentary about text adventures, is complete.

While I’ve been working on the documentary and its aftermath, this weblog has been dormant.  While some use their weblogs as day to day updates and some use them to write small “let’s talk about this” paragraphs, usually with advertisements hovering nearby, I have always primarily used this weblog to write longish essays about a subject, thoughts on said subject, and so on.  I got a great mandate last year from a Kickstarter campaign to do computer history, and as part of that, I focused on finishing this film.

And man, is it finished.

Two DVDs, with a main “GET LAMP” movie, featurettes on Infocom, Mammoth Cave, the Z-Machine, and dozens of other subjects. Over 4 hours, in total. There’s that MC Frontalot music video I did a few years ago, as well as commentary tracks, full subtitles, and a pile of easter eggs scattered around. There’s also a DVD-ROM section with many games and a few extra audio and video files.

Oh, and a coin.

Well, I guess not just a coin, as such things go. It’s a coin that’s individually numbered, gold and silver plated, and included with every copy. Text adventures did this, and it’s one of the most positive memories people had of the whole thing, so I decided to do it too.

So yes, I finished my second film. I now have a filmography, a set of films. There’s stylistic themes that run through both my films. Maybe I’ll make more.

I’ll spend the next few entries on a postmortem about various bits of my production.  Then we’ll see about the weblog entries I’ve always loved writing, when there wasn’t a movie to finish.

More soon.

Categorised as: computer history | jason his own self

Comments are disabled on this post


  1. Tim says:

    Not that I have any authority at all on this topic, but it feels to me like it makes lots of sense for film making to be a big part of how you do Computer History. I’ll admit that I still haven’t seen any of your work, so I’m just going to assume you aren’t completely terrible at film making. Films are a great way for people to learn, second only to free, easy to browse websites (aka Wikipedia – No matter what problems you may think it has, it is super easy to read about anything forever there) these days I think. And if they’re well made films (see my earlier assumption), maybe people will actually learn. I mean, if they want to, but I think the sort of stuff you cover is important for have covered and may grow more and more interesting as the years pass. At least, I hope so.

  2. nimbus says:

    Congrats on finishing! This is a real achievement.

  3. Anthony says:

    That’s nice, now when is the Arcade documentary coming out? 😉

  4. Matt says:

    Mine arrived the day before yesterday (in England)!! Thanks. Haven’t watched it yet but looking forward to it ( when my wife is out)

  5. Bill Traynor says:

    Awesome and congrats! I’ll now be sprinting to the mailbox daily to see if my copy has arrived.

  6. Michael says:

    My pre-order just arrived here in Australia. I love the coin! Now just to find enough hours without the kids hassling me to sit down and watch this baby!

  7. Chris K says:

    Just ordered, super excited! Literally bouncing in my seat, hope that doesn’t last too long though…

  8. Roland Dobbins says:

    Congrats! Now, where’s the downloadable version, so that I can have instant gratification and not wait for physical objects to be shuffled across great distances?


  9. lokum says:

    Speaking of documentaries, your website is actually part of another documentary. It’s called RIP: A Remix Manifesto. If you watch the version here:, your site appears at 5:07 minutes in. It’s an open source documentary about copyright, so if you watch another version, it might be at a different time or it might not be there at all.