Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Night At The Movies - Stars Wars On Linux Or Unix Via Telnet

Hey there and a good Friday to you all,

Special Note: Since this Telnet version of Star Wars was released a long time ago (less than a decade) in a galaxy far far away (not in my back yard), a lot of the links that claim the story is incomplete are incorrect. As of the writing of this post, I've watched the entire thing. Cool, yet sad. The best part is that, since there's no sound, you don't have to actually "hear" Luke whining ;)

Usually, I'll wait until the weekend to post links to "other stuff on the web" that I find interesting, but I try to stick to humor on the weekends and, today, I just happened to stumble over (not upon ;) something that's not necessarily funny, but definitely cool. ...especially if you're like me and your first video game console featured two very well drawn blocky sticks, with shorter blocky sticks sticking out of them and little squares (which we pretended where the circles they claimed to be) bouncing up and down. I still get a kick out of my kids complaining about things that aren't perfect in the games they play today. Here's a small list of the usual criticisms I hear, coupled up with the comments that inevitably get triggered in my head ;)

1. The character models are terrible. They look blocky and don't move naturally: When I was a kid, we didn't have that problem. The character "was" a block. And, as for how natural blocks move, you can do your own experimenting, but I think they did an admirable job of replicating the realism of the moving-block experience;)

2. This game is nothing but button mashing: Yes, but at least you have more than one button to mash and you don't have to increase the tensile strength of your wrist by curling dumbbells to push them repeatedly without causing severe damage. Many of my generation can be counted among those who's thumbs are permanently paralyzed.

3. I can't believe the lame quality of the voice-overs: I can't believe how much like an actual movie games have now become. You've got A-list actors delivering scripted dialogue. Even the people you've never heard of do a pretty decent job of sounding like the human beings they are. We had the option of "reading" text (which, I realize, can be a burden, what with all the "eye strain" involved ;) or listening to approximated electronic noises that, while they attempted to make recognizable sounds, mostly just made our ears ring and, eventually, bleed ;)

I could go on, but I fear that I've complained enough.

Go check out the full version of the little clipping below at's Telnet Star Wars Page. This reminds me of what it was like to be a kid, playing text adventures and complaining about how I had to "walk" so far before I got to turn N or NE. My father's generation actually had to walk great distances to engage in actual physical activities ;) ...I digress.

BTW, if the Telnet version doesn't work for you, try this asciimation version to get your fix :)

Hope you enjoy this and have a great weekend. See you tomorrow!


Watch Star Wars in Text via Telnet

While it's not technically an Easter egg, one of the most eye-popping tips in last Sunday's Top 10 Easter eggs post comments was a pointer to a telnet server that broadcasts Star Wars Episode IV to your command line as animated text. You didn't read that wrong. Give it a try: from any command line, type telnet and sit back to watch the show. This is the least productive thing you'll do all day, but you know what they say about all work and no play. After the jump, see a handful of screenshots—just 4 of the 13,935 frames that make up the entire movie.

Hit the link for the story on Blinkenlights' ASCII Star Wars animation which has been around since the Dark Ages (well, 2000). Thanks to all the commenters who told us about this one!

Ever wanted to see Star Wars in Telnet?

, Mike

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