I went to see Julie & Julia over the weekend -- I'm not normally a big fan of writer/director Nora Ephron's movies, but I really liked this one, perhaps because it's based on a couple of intertwined works of non-fiction. It's also not a "chick flick" in the pejorative sense -- it manages to be positive and appealing without being sappy, and it's not about the pursuit of stereotypical Hollywood female happiness; it is about smaller, yet bigger things. It was interesting to learn more about Julia Childs than I had known -- Meryl Streep is great in the role -- but the real appeal was the geeky fellowship I felt with blogger Julie Powell as played by Amy Adams. Her interest in, nay, obsession with Ms. Childs' work and personality felt very familiar to me, and it was easy to relate to her story, translating from the foodie world to my own. And her mission to cook every recipe in Childs' classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year's time is inspirational.
By inspirational, of course, I mean that I intend to steal Ms. Powell's idea (the Julie/Julia Project) and start my own Great Scott Project, in which I plan to revisit the oeuvre of Scott Adams, the text adventure pioneer who was a role model of sorts in my adolescent years. Adams was the first to release commercially credible text adventure games for microcomputers, cramming puzzles and stories into the tape-based 16K TRS-80 Model I and its peers at a time when the classic mainframe Adventure was too big to fit. His games are technically simple by modern standards, and space constrained the games' descriptive text and vocabulary, but the puzzles still hold up well and no one game takes too long to play through. And there's a certain "radio" quality to these early games -- the player's imagination tends to to fill in the gaps, making the experience richer than one might expect at first glance.
My goal is to play through and write about the twelve games in the classic core series published by Adams' Adventure International in the late 70's and early 80's. I'm actually going to start with Adventure #0, the "Special Sampler" version of #1, Adventureland, just because it's a good warmup, and starting the count at 0 seems nice and computerish to me. And I'm not setting a specific deadline -- I will write about each game as I finish it, and may take some detours into the Scott Adams Graphic Adventures or the British Mysterious Adventures series written by Brian Howarth using Scott's interpreters and data format. I may even touch on the Kid-Ventures and other interactive fiction titles also published by Adams. Part of my goal here is to venture into some new territory, as I only bought and played through the first 7 adventures back in the day on my paper route budget. But the classics are the classics, and I will at a minimum cover the 12-game canon.
I'm checking in with Mr. Adams first, to make sure he has no objections to the project. And for those who would like to join me, the classic Scott Adams adventures are available from his website, as shareware, here.
A voice BOOOOMS out...
Updates as we go:
Adventure #0 - Special Sampler
Adventure #1 - Adventureland
Adventure #2 - Pirate Adventure
Adventure #3 - Mission Impossible
Adventure #4 - Voodoo Castle
Adventure #5 - The Count
Adventure #6 - Strange Odyssey
Adventure #7 - Mystery Fun House
Adventure #8 - Pyramid of Doom
Adventure #9 - Ghost Town
Adventure #10 - Savage Island (Part I)
Adventure #11 - Savage Island (Part II)
Adventure #12 - Golden Voyage
Adventure #13 - The Sorcerer of Claymorgue Castle
Adventure #14A - Return to Pirate's Isle
QuestProbe #1 Featuring The Hulk
QuestProbe #2 Featuring Spider-Man
QuestProbe #3 Featuring The Human Torch and The Thing
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
Return to Pirate's Island 2
Also, this project has led me to start a regular Adventure of the Week series, covering a variety of games in the genre.