Games from the Spring Thing festival
Spring Thing is a yearly festival for interactive fiction, with two sections: the Main Festival, where the games are in competition and anyone may vote for a favorite; and the Back Garden, for unranked games that the authors wanted to share but not receive a ranking. This somewhat unusual structure means that the Back Garden has become an attractor for games that might not be well suited to a traditional competition: experiments, academic projects, multimedia-heavy efforts, and samplers of unfinished work. The games are freshly available this year, and here’s a sampling: Read the rest of this entry »
Exploring a decade's work
“Hello,” he adds, a moment later. “I think I’ve found the way in. A small metal door with a fiendish puzzle lock.”
There are a large number of small moving parts.
“Yes, quite fiendish indeed,” Peyton says. “And very intricate.”
He draws back a foot and then kicks the door hard. The puzzle lock comes apart with a twang. “Too intricate for its intended purpose, really. Let’s head down when you’re ready.” — Love, Hate, and the Mysterious Ocean Tower
CEJ Pacian is a versatile and prolific IF author, writing with many different tools, mechanics, story lengths and genres. Playing through Pacian’s catalog, I get the sense of an author impatient with intricate puzzle locks that get in the way of story; an author constantly looking for new ways to design around the conventional limits and boundaries of text adventures. Read the rest of this entry »
Trends and recommendations
We have, at last, reached the end of 2016. I’m not going to do a top-ten list — both because a lot of the games I might put on this list are things I’ve already covered elsewhere in previous columns, and because I think some of the most interesting things to happen in 2016 were about trends rather than single hits. But here are a few highlights of the year past. Read the rest of this entry »
Biggest festival of the IF year
My friends: IF Comp 2016 is now open.
If you’re new to interactive fiction, you may not be familiar with the IF community calendar, so let me quickly explain why you’ve arrived at the best time of year.
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Emily Short is one of the world’s leading gurus on Interactive Fiction. We’re delighted to tell you that IF Only will be a regular column about the myriad world of IF gaming.
Back in the late 90s, the name “interactive fiction” was applied mostly to parser-based text adventures descended from Zork, where all output was in text and the player had to type commands to proceed. The genre has opened up enormously in recent years, with Twine and other choice-based fiction now often included in IF competitions and databases, and with some players and journalists applying the term “interactive fiction” even to graphical games with 3D environments if they have enough of a focus on story. Contrary to common report, though, this doesn’t mean that text adventures have either gone away or stopped innovating.
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