I've been looking forward to watching Get Lamp since I bought Jason Scott's first film, the aptly named BBS: The Documentary. After finally watching the PAX East edit of this second outing, I can confirm it shares all the qualities that made his first film so good.
Like its predecessor, Get Lamp documents one of the bygone eras of hacker culture. This time, it's the story of text adventure games, from the original Colossal Cave Adventure, through to the golden era of Infocom's heyday, to the present state of homebrew, self–published interactive fiction on the Internet. Like before, passionate people talk about the thing they're passionate about. Get Lamp also includes interviews with many former Infocom employees, and a surprising cameo by John Romero of Id Software, who reminisces about how he had to cycle to college uphill both ways just to watch someone else play Colossal Cave Adventure.
After seeing Get Lamp, I come away feeling nostalgic, reminiscing about a time when very clever people did amazing things with a limited new technology. Mostly, though, I feel sad that such an interesting tradition is now only being carried on by a handful of dedicated fanatics, who still continue the flame long after all the companies have folded.
This is essential viewing for anyone interested in the history of computer games, hacker culture, or the (still largely unfulfilled) possibilities of the gaming medium. It's highly recommended viewing for any computer geek. And this isn't even the full version of the film. Scott is nothing if not comprehensive, his documentaries often seeming more like a TV series than a single film. The hacker community is lucky to have someone like him singlehandedly recording its exploits so thoroughly.
As a disclaimer, I should point out my conflict of interest with this review: I wrote most of the music in this documentary. However, these truly are my thoughts regarding this film. Its awesome soundtrack is just the icing on the cake.