It can be very harrowing to do interviews with one of the people responsible
for the very thing your documentary is about, but in this case, it was a joy
and a delight.
Don Woods took the original ADVENT program by Will Crowther, added a bunch
of features, puzzles, descriptions and other work, and then released it to
the world, helping to spawn its continued 30 year success as a game and
recreation for generations of computer users. While Will Crowther also had
gaming elements in the program, Woods added enough of what we consider
canonical aspects of adventure games to warrant resting a lot of the success
of the work on his shoulders.
I was scheduled to interview him in July of 2006, but illness caused me to
cancel my trip; I asked for a rescheduling in August and he quickly agreed.
The interview went very well (2+ hours!) and we covered many different
parts of the program, including his happening upon the program, some of
how he worked on it, changes he made, his thoughts on puzzles and design,
and what he's been up to in the intervening years, including the INTERCAL
language and playing on Everquest.
One of the most personally fulfilling moments came for me at the end of the
interview, when Mr. Woods mentioned that he had a map/poster that he'd gotten
his hands on many years ago, which he still had framed. When he brought it
out, I was floored; this was a poster I'd been looking for for 20 years.
In 1985, I saw an advertisement for this poster in an issue of Compuserve's
catalog/magazine which went to subscribers and people who'd signed up for
"more information" about the service. Being young and without ready cash,
I'd never bought it and regretted it immediately... and here it was, in
the flesh! I took the shots above, having finally spent time in the presence
of something I'd always wanted. Another chapter closed happily in my life.