Ed Driscoll

Gary Larson Meets Kevin Spacey in Seven

Allow me to head deep into the geek rabbit hole — but only because you’re about to go much, much further down there yourself in a moment.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the first computer I owned was a Radio Shack TRS-80, on which I played plenty of Scott Adams’ early text-based “Adventure” games. They were fun — and increasingly challenging; but limited in scope by the pitiful amount of the TRS-80’s memory. Then I bought my first modem and started exploring Compuserve, circa 1981 or ’82. Compuserve had its own version of “Adventure,” and it seeemed huuuuuuge in comparison to the Adams games — still text-based, but the amount of rooms, castles, caves and forests that could be explored seemed endless.

In a post on his blog today, Moe Lane of Red State links to cartoonist Randall Munroe, who has created what feels like that Compuserve Adventure experience — a cartoon that just goes on endlessly — and I mean endlessly — with loads of geeked out gags and in-jokes (including a shot at Boston’s own Fauxcahontas, Elizabeth Warren, incidentally) to stumble over. Fortunately, one of Monroe’s fans created a zoomable map of (hopefully) the whole terrain, but to get a sense of the scope of the whole thing as the artist intended, I urge you to start here and as Monroe suggests in his cartoon’s title, click and drag first, before hitting the Cliff’s Notes version. As I said to my wife, the whole thing feels like what a cross between the Compuserve Adventure game, and Gary Larson’s “Far Side” cartoon meets those run-on scribbled diaries with microscope text written by Kevin Spacey’s “John Doe” character in the film Seven.

With perhaps more than a hint of a double rainbow, maaaaaan along the way — it’s been a very long time since I’ve used that trite late-’60s/early-’70s phrase “mind blowing” to describe anything, but this certainly comes close.