Sunday, February 9, 2020

"Touring Mammoth Cave with Kentucky Route Zero's Jake Elliott"

From a long article about KRZ by Dan Solberg:
Perhaps the biggest influence on Kentucky Route Zero’s choice of setting was William Crowther’s Colossal Cave Adventure, originally released in 1976.

Jake Elliott had been to Mammoth only once before our venture together but had spent considerable time with Colossal Cave Adventure. “I’ve been playing it since I was like five years old,” he recounted as we kept an eye out for low ceilings and other subterranean hazards. “My dad was a grad student at Carnegie Mellon in the ’80s, and we had a home terminal that could dial into the university computer and play some games. We had Colossal Cave Adventure and another one called Hunt the Wumpus—another text adventure game about being in a cave and hunting a monster.”


That sense of unreality was a regular occurrence as we navigated the actual Mammoth Cave. For me, it was never greater than when we reached Mammoth Dome and the human-made stairwell tower built within. There’s something alien about most of the cave landscape, where nothing is squared and space is warped by the echoing darkness. The Mammoth Dome emphasizes this with dramatic lighting that makes it appear as some titanic Martian tomb. But there is also a massive block of steel steps that ascends up and out of sight. The juxtaposition of natural wonder and human engineering paints a more surreal scene than either would on their own.
Mammoth Cave official site.