When I set out to do the text adventure documentary, I knew I wouldn't be
strictly adhering to computer game authors and players as interview subjects;
I also knew I wanted people who wrote in the same sort of fashion. One of
the big figures in the literary world as regards interactive fiction is
Edward Packard, who wrote Sugarcane Island, a multi-pathed storybook, in
1969. It was published in 1976 by Vermont Crossroads press, and later by
Bantam Books. It was at Bantam that this and the other books in the series
were branded the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, which is the most popular
and well-known name for them.
After some effort, I was able to contact Ed Packard's family who got him in
contact with me. After that, it was a matter of arranging time for an
interview, and that finally happened for the beginning of June, 2006.
Mr. Packard was on Long Island during this time, and so we arranged to meet
there with me taking a ferry from New London, Connecticut to Orient Point,
New York. I can't remember the last time I was on a Ferry but I don't know
if I was out of college when it happened. It was a very, very enjoyable and
refreshing ride, hanging out on this fast passenger ferry on the way out
that had a full snack bar and TV, and the ability to ignore the TV and
stand out on deck on top. I took some photos of the interior and took some
shots of the lamp and the water with my camera.
Mr. Packard was able to arrange a room at the Greenport Library, and we
conducted the interview down there. The staff was very gracious about us,
and let me have free reign in setting up things.
We covered his history, his process, and his thoughts about the whole genre
of interactive fiction and wiriting for children. He actually hasn't really
played any computer text adventures, so it was doubly-gracious to my
perspective to agree to be interviewed for this documentary.
I had a nice meal with Mr. Packard at a Greek restaurant and then caught
the next ferry out, getting home around evening, and having had a whole
day as an adventure of my own.