RPS friend and ally Leigh Alexander writes a short series about Interactive Fiction. This is part two.
Oh my god, the sound of a modem dialing.
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By Adam Smith on October 2nd, 2012.
None of the games in this post are about shooting people, even though it contains links to many games that you can play right now. One of them is about making the final payment on your mortgage, an event that becomes a tragicomic fiasco. Another is the exploration of a life through study of a last will and testament. How about picking through a claustrophobic dystopia that might feel disturbingly close to your own midnight thoughts? Getting lost in a world made of puns? No? None of that appeals? Have a zombie then. Be a zombie, a hungry zombie in a world that has a severe brain shortage. Aren’t games imaginative and great? These are all entries in the 2012 Interactive Fiction competition. More details below.
By John Walker on September 3rd, 2012.
The text adventure, as we’ve known it for years, is finally beginning to evolve. It’s adding graphics, using new techno… hang on, it’s not 1984. And yet, it’s fair to say that the thriving world of Interactive Fiction primarily focuses on the purest form of the genre – just the text, ma’am. Now, I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough about the scene to know if the claims made by CabreraBrothers are definitely the case, but they’re arguing CYPHER is the first text adventure made using Unity3D, and they’re calling it “the comeback of commercial text adventures”.
By Adam Smith on July 19th, 2012.
From the same stable as Choice of the Dragon, which gobbled up a swathe of Alec’s free time back in 2010, comes Heroes Rise: The Prodigy. It’s a textual choose your own adventure game with character stats, customisation and combat, taking place in a world of advanced technology and celebrity superheroes. You can play a great deal for free but the full version will set you back the half pint price of £1.99. But did it distract me from listening to imaginary Bane and Batman voices having a gruff-off?
By John Walker on July 18th, 2012.
I’m so glad I don’t review books for a living. When discussing a game, you have to be careful to avoid both narrative and mechanical spoilers as best you can, but generally there’s a great deal to talk about around these. But I’m not sure the editors of the Times Literary Supplement would take kindly to my describing how easy it is to turn a book’s pages, as I desperately find ways to avoid ruining the story for anyone who might want to read it. I often feel in a similar situation when reviewing adventure games, and never more so than when talking about interactive fiction. Yes, there are mechanics to discuss, of course. But really, with text on a screen, it’s tougher. And when that game has a crucial twist in the opening hour, er, you’re screwed. So it’s with this in mind that I suggest you go play Adam Cadre‘s Endless, Nameless before you read beyond the point I’ll clearly mark below. I’ll not ruin the entire game, of course. But, well, play it first.
By Cara Ellison on July 16th, 2012.
I had a sweet time making the last Choose Your Own Interview, so this time I collaborated with long time Interactive Fiction heroes Adam Cadre, Emily Short and Andrew Plotkin to make you something special. The following is a heady mix of RPS fanfic, Interactive Fiction love letter, and slight autobiographical tendencies. Your secret content this time comes courtesy of a guest appearance by someone we all know and love. Enjoy, and keep me updated on your own adventures in text. Now let’s get really drunk. There must be a bar around here somewhere?
By Adam Smith on April 2nd, 2012.
How many people like They Might Be Giants’ 1992 album Apollo 18? I think I count six raised hands. This next question is just for those six then: do you also like interactive fiction? OK then. That one handsome fellow jumping up and down, waving his arms, this is the post written specifically for you and me! In fact, it’s possible I’m jumping up and down in front of a mirror. No matter. A gathering of wordsmiths have created a textual adventure for each track of Apollo 18, celebrating its 20th anniversary. They’re all short, mostly clever, often funny and you can play them online or download them.
By Alec Meer on November 28th, 2011.
Edit – this isn’t the IF awards, but rather a specific one for short IF. Sorry for the confusion.
Interactive fiction – or text adventures to the 80s-raised layman – quietly continues to thrive in its own brainy corner of the internet. But where to start? Well, the annual Interactive Fiction Competition conveniently rounds up the best of the best for lazy people like me. The 2011 results are now in.
Taking the main gong this year is Taco Fiction by Ryan Veeder, which is an agreeably wry and downbeat tale of a feckless gunman attempting to rob a dirty fast food joint.
By Adam Smith on October 10th, 2011.
Maybe Make Some Change has certainly caused a change here, in my brain and my general emotional wellbeing. Despite the fact that it’s a Monday and a thin and sickly rain is scratching against the windows trying to chill my soul, I was actually feeling pretty good about half an hour ago. Not so much now. This is a game that may make you think or may simply make you angry or sad, but it certainly won’t make you say “By golly, that was a fun old time”. It’s a piece of interactive fiction (sort of) about this event, which took place in Afghanistan last year. You can experience it now or read my scrambled thoughts below.
By Adam Smith on October 5th, 2011.
I’ve been taking a look at some of the games in the 17th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition and though I’m not going to refer to these as “the cream of the crop”, having not harvested the entire crop yet, they should fulfill a variety of your text-based needs. With storytelling in games high on the agenda today, it’s a particularly interesting moment to look at the different ways narrative can be explored through interactive prose. Far from fetch quests and attempts to second-guess a limited vocabulary, interactive fiction at its best can allow a reader-player to discover stories in all kinds of interesting ways. This way to words about words.
By Adam Smith on September 21st, 2011.
You find some odd things, poking around the dusty corners of the internet. Take Cryptozookeeper, a darkly comic splatterpunk interactive fiction adventure with grisly Pokemon type elements. It sounds like an unholy abomination of game types but for the most part it’s a narrative interspersed with fairly conventional puzzles. The story isn’t conventional at all though. It starts with a courier collecting some alien DNA from a rundown shack containing a large one-eyed man and his pet bear-dog, Puzzle, and swiftly becomes increasingly deranged. Later on you’ll be merging DNA to make battle-beasts even more uncanny than a duckbilled platypus but first you just need to deal with that bear-dog. The game is free to download although there is a deluxe copy for sale, which comes on discs in a box like olden times.
By Quintin Smith on November 5th, 2010.
If I had to compare RPS’s relationship with interactive fiction to something, it would be an ex-girlfriend upstairs that we drop in on when the weight of the world has got us down. IF is always there for us, waiting, pouting, fascinating, erudite, a bit sexy (but not very sexy).
Earlier this week we heard about IF author Andrew Plotkin’s plan to quit his job and write IF full time. He created a Kickstarter page with the aim of raising $8,000. That was five days ago. To date he’s received a total of $18,862, with two people pledging more than $1,000. I got in touch with him to ask about the project, his new game, and why he’s so hooked on IF. In return, he made me look up Higgs boson. I am no smart. If you’re at all curious about IF, this is a must-read.
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By Quintin Smith on November 2nd, 2010.
Next, another tale of glitz and glamour from the PC’s drug-soaked, rock-n-roll interactive fiction community. And by “another” I mean “possibly the first, ever”.
Highly respected IF author Andrew Plotkin (Spider and Web, Shade and much more) wants to make the switch to writing IF full-time. He created a Kickstarter page, saying that if he raised $8,000 in a month he’d proceed across the rocky tundra of self-employment and start making IF games for iOS devices (a pledge of $25 or more WILL get you a PC version on CD, though). What happened next? Well…
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