Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
17 January 2006
NPR text adventure gamer unmasked
Last week I noted that a variant of "maze of twisty little passages" appeared in an NPR story by David Kestenbaum. It turns out Kestenbaum plays text adventure games, and thought that line fit perfectly into the story of online map services gone awry. Here's the email I received after inquiring through a friend:
Hey there,

[Someone at NPR] pointed out your post about the Colossal Cave line in the story about online driving directions. I wish the story were that some menacing troll on the copy desk had slipped the line it, but it was completely my idea. (We don't actually have a copy desk.) It occurred to me while I was interviewing Jacob Sisk for the first part of the story when he mentioned how tangled the roads were and how everyone got lost. It seemed a perfect line to drop in, since this was about mazes and computers. I don't think I told my editor. It just sailed on through...

[I got] the old Infocom game Deadline last week, which I had played as a kid but never completed. It's pretty great. I love how spare the whole thing is. You end up creating these great mental images in your head. A lot like radio actually...

So there you go: mystery solved.

Kestenbaum tells me there aren't any other sly game references in his older reports. Too bad, although I'll keep my ears open in case he slips one into a future story.
--Matt Matthews at 20:22
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