The mysterious Bill sends this to us this, though worries it may prompt “Old” comments from the thread. We fear not people who say Old, because we have the delete function. It’s Champion of Guitars. It’s Guitar Hero… but Interactive Fiction. It may be satire. Go play!
Posts Tagged ‘interactive fiction’
Yeah, screenshots totally don’t work with Interactive Fiction, do they?
The IF Comp 2008 awards‘ results were announced a couple of days back. It’s… well, I don’t pretend to be anything other than a casual observer of gaming’s one true art-subculture, but seeing their yearly competitions is something which always makes me happy, even if I barely touch any of the actual games. That said, I was following Emily Short’s takes on the entrants, and given her rep, I wasn’t surprised that her three stand out games ended up comprising the top three (Albeit not in her chosen order). Namely: Violet, Nightfall and Everybody Dies. I’ll try and give the two runners up a proper play in the next few days, but here’s my take on the victor. It’s really rather neat.
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There’s more Interactive Fiction in the world than there are mad hobos, but Aisle stands out as both an approachable entry point to the form and as a fascinating, deeply affecting experiment in its own right. It’s from way back in 1999, so I can’t hope to defend against snotty cries of “OLD!”, but I’m guessing few of you will have played it. More of you should.
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As it happens, I’ve recently been playing some Infocom text adventures. Guess what: Infocom were really rather good. Guess what else: there was one rather significant game they never released. And you can play some of it.
In a remarkable find by waxy.org (linked via the magics of QT3), amongst a complete archive of Infocom’s work is the game Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the unreleased sequel to one of the most famous and adored IF games of all time, Adams’ own Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. This was discovered on the somehow aquired “complete backup of Infocom’s shared network drive from 1989.”
Writing about interactive fiction is always dangerous, because the hardcore IF crowd immediately appear to abuse you for liking something that’s merely a derivative of Galtaria VI or something that you’re supposed to have played if you want to be in their gang. Well guys, I’m not in your gang, and if I appreciate playing a game, then you can all live with that. There – I told them.
With that established, I strongly recommend you put aside forty-five minutes to play Photopia. Adam Cadre’s game won first place in the 1998 Interactive Fiction Competition, and comes to my attention now thanks to the ever excellent Play This Thing. It may well have come to your attention when it was mentioned in Kieron’s IF feature. Also, it features space, and this is SPACE WEEK!
You may notice that today has had a certain Obscurity-heavy vibe. And, if that pun-heavy title hasn’t informed you, that’s not going to change with this post. I suspect we’re trying to pick up the slack as Simon Carless of Game Set Watch goes to guest edit Kotaku for a week, leaving Karsden Mörderhäschen from Schadenfreude Interactive to guest edit Game Set Watch. We expect this trend to sweep across the blogosphere, and predict that Bill Dubious Quality will take a sabatical week to be with Rock Band, allowing Leigh SexyVideogameLand to cheerily disturb his readers with things she’s thought about a lot involving SpaceOrifices or something. Oh – and she’ll leave her net home in the hands of the sorely-missed Only Serious Student of Videogaming, Francesco Poli, returning from wherever he is to tell people about his favourite mildly right-wing sex fantasies.
Where was I? Oh yeah:
This year’s IF prize has been announced.. While voting was tight away from the top spot, the run-away winner was Lost Pig by Admiral Jota. We hope he’s sitting down and singing about Gold Medals tonight. All the entries are still available to download, obv.
Ironically over-convoluted headline out of the way, this follows neatly on from the Text In Games feature. Especially because Mike Rubins dropped me a line about Vespers 3D because of it. It even ties into my note in the comments thread that it’d be interested if more developers looked for Interactive Fiction for more inspiration of story and structure. Because that’s exactly what Vespers 3D is.
IF aficionado will recall Vespers as winner of the 2005 IFComp as well as receiving multiple awards at the XYZZY ceremonies. What Mike and his team is doing is adapting the game for the most serious attempt at a text-adventure/First-person shooter hybrid since the immortal Typing Of The Dead.
[A version of this feature was originally printed in UK videogames bible Edge. It’s about the use of Text in videogames, both in the mainstream and over in the world of Interactive fiction. It features material from Chris Avellone (Planescape Torment), Sheldon Pacotti (Deus Ex), Adam Cadre (Photopia, Shrapnel) and Emily Short (Galatea, Floatpoint). I’ve expanded it to fit in in some of the quotes I couldn’t fit in Edge’s word-count. Which were many. If you’ve read my Planescape Retrospective, you’ll recognise some key riffs. This feature very much grew from that one. And enough waffle. Let’s do this thing.]
In the beginning was the word. And the word begat a phrase. And the phrase was “Avoid Missing Ball For High Score”. Gaming’s public relationship with words started here, and continues to this day. It’s these first furtive fumblings which produced the most lasting signifiers which define games in the public eye, and will continue to do so as long as the form continues to exist in its current state. Icons like “Extra Life” and “High Score” are as much a signifier of gaming as any of the corporate mascots.
But this isn’t about that.
It’s time to get judgmental. The 13th Annual IF Competition is underway, and awaiting your vote.
The internet is so much older than you’d think. For 13 years the newsgroup rec.arts.int-fiction has been voting on Interactive Fiction games, to decide upon the best that year. And yes, sure, games may now have something called “graphics”, but it’s a passing fad. Get over it.
There’s a lot of responsibility here. There’s a huge 29 entrants, and to make any sensible vote, you’ll surely have to play all of them. And no, you’re not allowed to vote based on their names, because otherwise Slap That Fish and Lord Bellwater’s Secret would walk it.
Everything’s neatly packaged, with two easy zip files to download or torrent, which will install all the interpreters in one go, and give you all the games. And then quit your job, play them all through before the 15th November, and vote.
Actually, the rules are far more complicated. You’ve got to play at least five games to vote, play each game for two hours AND NO MORE before voting, and goodness knows what else. Follow this to see them in full. If you can still muster the energy to take part, you are a winner yourself.