Episode 5: Leonard Richardson discussion thread

  • robotfindskitten OpenGL screenshot with Intellivision text overlaid
    Episode 5 show notes are here!

    In the interview, Leonard was a little uncertain about the exact chronology of the contest that led to the robotfindskitten game; after we spoke, he was kind enough to pass on an email from Pete Peterson II, definitively nailing down the story:

    Jake Berendes had a "contest" with his friends -- I think while in
    high school -- called "robotfindskitten". In his words (as I recall
    them), both submissions involved a kitten suffering at the hands of a
    robot. There is a picture I saved from his website, but I can't
    remember the source of it (e.g., I don't know if he drew it, or if a
    friend drew it for him). I've attached the image I have.
    I loved the idea of the super broad and intriguingly named "contest"
    "robotfindskitten", so I thought I would use Nerth Pork as a venue to
    have the robotfindskitten contest. As you know, you're the only person
    who submitted something. I was expecting poems, or pictures, or
    stories, so I was absolutely delighted when the submission was a video

    I didn't realize Leonard had written a fan song for a Klik & Play game until after the interview was recorded, or I would have pestered him about that. So I pestered him via email instead! He sent me his copy of the game that he had archived from his BBS, along with the description that he'd written at the time:

    CHOP.ZIP Size: 414,647 | A very dumb Windoze game called Choppy the
    Date: 01/11/96 DL's: 0 | Pork Chop.

    Extended description:
    You're a pork chop (surprise) and you shoot various weapons at non
    sequiter baddies like hamburgers and mops. The final boss guy is a big
    head who throws his eyeballs at you. It's bizarre, but that's good. It's
    one of the best attempts at an action game for Windoze that I've ever
    seen. I even went so far as to write a song called "Choppy The Pork
    Chop" which is officially endorsed by the game's creator even. Here it
    Presumably I had the lyrics in the extended description but they didn't get picked up when I dumped the file. I had never heard of Klik & Play, didn't know it was a tool, and remember being pretty impressed that someone had put in all this effort to program a pointless game.
    Jeremy: I'm sure the story of how the creator gave your song an official endorsement amounts to "I emailed him and he responded positively" but I am absolutely delighted by that detail.
    Leonard: I did email the author and he responded positively, that's the story, but the secret part of the story is that this was probably the first Internet email I ever sent. Certainly the first one I sent that got a response.

    Choppy the Pork Chop, hooray!

  • That Minecraft archive project is really neat! It's so easy to take archives for granted.

  • Gosh, yeah, the Minecraft project is SO huge. Like, it's not just terabytes of random zip files, he took the time to build tools to analyze and make it digestable. So if you want to explore a representative sampling of random Minecraft maps from the archive, there's The Reef maps. If you want a bunch of data to build Mastodon bots with, there's The Minecraft Geologic Survey. It must have been an enormous amount of effort to put all that stuff together. And pretty much once a year he takes another huge sample.

    He also has the Ephemeral Software Collection which, among other things, scrapes jam games from Github. Important work!

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