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Magic Words - Interactive Fiction in the 21st Century

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the zorkmid-exchange-rate-on-the-rise dept.

Games 288

An anonymous reader writes "1UP has just published a nine-part article on Interactive Fiction, the politically correct name for what used to be called text adventure games (e.g. Zork, Stationfall, etc.). The feature includes an overview of the genre and its history, lengthy interviews with the genre's leading current creators, and resources for aspiring IF writers. Anyone who has fond memories of typing their way through dank caverns or outsmarting leather goddesses and ravenous bugblatter beasts with nothing but a keyboard should read this -- not just for the nostalgia, but to see what's become of the format."

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288 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404758)

wikka wikka wikka, wiggin out
*chucks spear*

www.linuxporn.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404771)

Second post you overweight, lanky haired poofters!

troll, troll, troll (-1, Troll)

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I BET... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404786)

... I know who the "anonymous reader" was, you self-aggrandizing attention grabber, you.

At least _pay_ somebody for your advertising. Sheesh.

XYZZY (5, Interesting)

So Called Expert (670571) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404789)

Graphics are great, but the resolution on my imagination is awesome, and the refresh rate is much better than what you can get today.

I miss Infocom... not only did they have the best games (at the time, and I daresay the games still are more fun than a lot of the flashy color thingys those kids play nowadays), Infocom had the best packaging, bar none.

They knew that people would copy the disks, but they also knew if you threw in some 3d glasses, a small piece of pocket fuzz, and a plastic mask, people would gladly pay them anyway.

Re:XYZZY (5, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404925)

I miss Infocom... not only did they have the best games (at the time, and I daresay the games still are more fun than a lot of the flashy color thingys those kids play nowadays), Infocom had the best packaging, bar none.

I'm not sure whether its still in the shops, but a few years ago I bought the Lost Treasures of Infocom, which brings together many of their best games. Unfortunately, you don't get the actual memorabilia -- just a large book with pictures of all the items which accompany each game.

Infocom were indeed great -- their games had such a wonderful depth. However, many of the modern post-Infocom IF games, such as Curses, Jigsaw, Christminster, A Change in the Weather, really are fantastic -- even bigger and more sophisticated than the original Infocom stuff. All of these games are free (as in beer), and can easily be found on the internet.

Remember: it's dark and you are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re:XYZZY (1)

eostrom (14923) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405109)

And a while after that, there was Masterpieces of Infocom, which didn't even come with a book, just a CD with I think all but one of the text games, and a whole lot of PDF.

Re:XYZZY (4, Informative)

irhtfp (581712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405135)

There's a huge collection that was put out by Activision (Infocom) called Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces of Infocom . They don't publish it any more AFAIK but you can pick it up on ebay for $60 to $80 bucks. It includes:

Arthur: the Quest for Excalibur
Ballyhoo
Beyond Zork
Border Zone
Bureaucracy
Cutthroats
Deadline
Enchanter
Hollywood Hijinx
Infidel
Journey
Leather Goddesses of Phobos
The Lurking Horror
A Mind Forever Voyaging
MoonMist
Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It
Planetfall
Plundered Hearts
Seastalker
Sherlock in the Riddle of the Crown Jewels
Sorcerer
Spellbreaker
Starcross
Stationfall
Suspect
Suspended
Trinity
Wishbringer
The Witness
Zork I
Zork II
Zork III
Zork Zero

Zork I, II and III are available for free here:

http://www.infocom-if.org/download s/downloads.html

Re:XYZZY (1)

dilby (725275) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405301)

Plus, I seem to remember* owning a book that gave you complete(?) instructions on how to programm your own in BASIC on a C64.

Of course my brains mostlt mush now due to beer.

Re:XYZZY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405344)

Note: it does not include Shogun [csd.uwo.ca] due to licensing problems. (No big loss, in my opinion. It is about my least favorite of their games.)

Re:XYZZY (3, Insightful)

Dukael_Mikakis (686324) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404997)

Yeah, unfortunately, gamers these days are from an entirely different generation than those of 10 - 20 years ago.

With MTV and flashy graphics and an emphasis on getting a quick hit, it seems like entertainment requiring "investment" is falling from our culture. Sports games are designed to have mere 5 minute quarters, there are FPS that allow you to jump in get 10 kills and bail, and many good television shows containing a consistent storyline (rather than the flavor-of-the-week variety) don't end up being so successful (running jokes/themes aside).

It's likewise no surprise that the old computer game staples (adventure games, text games, those ASCII RPGs) are becoming increasingly less popular.

But perhaps there is hope. Books (something I deem to be a yardstick for people's interest in imaginative entertainment and attention-span -- as true or not as it may be) have been selling increasingly more [fonerbooks.com] .

People say that books are a dying medium, but perhaps some life remains with the success of Harry Potter and perhaps the frequent coupling of Hollywood blockbusters with current novels.

But I guess we'll have to see if games start taking a new route, themselves.

Re:XYZZY (2, Flamebait)

spirality (188417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405313)

Everquest, IMHO, beats the hell out of any text adventure I ever played, ever!

It also is extremely popular and requires a good deal time, i.e. investment, to play and play well.

Of course, no game is a substitute for reading or writing something. I do not ever begin to believe the written word is dying. Even if 90% of what is published is garbage, there is a ton of very good stuff that is decades, nay even centuries old. Pick up some of those...

-Craig.

Archive of IF games (5, Informative)

smr2x (266420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404792)

http://www.ifarchive.org/ [ifarchive.org] seems like the right place for all you nostalgic types... or the curious ;-)

Re:Archive of IF games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404860)

Obvious exits are [N]orth, [S]outh, [E]ast, and [D]ennis.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405095)

parent is a troll. check his posting history

Re:Archive of IF games (4, Interesting)

irhtfp (581712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405163)

Try ashes.exe (archive) at:

http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXstarte r s.html

It's got two of the most popular interpreters and about 50 games. It's a great place to start if you want to get back into the IF scene.

I recommend "Curses" as a first start. It's big, has good puzzles and a great dry wit.

MOD THIS SHIT DOWN -1 TROLL - GOATSEX LINK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405217)

the link in the parent leads to http://goat.cx/ so mod that shit down

how the fuck did this get +5 informative?

excessive gaming vs excessive reading (4, Funny)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404795)

last year somebody died of excessing gaming (maybe one of those Interactive Fiction games), trying to go through this NINE-part article made me wanna kill myself. ;)

Re:excessive gaming vs excessive reading (2, Funny)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405234)

yeah. reading is hard and it makes my eyes go twitchy. is there anything good on tv?

Interactive Books (3, Interesting)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404798)

Anyone remember interactive books? Yeah, remember those? Like, you were given a decision, turn to 461 for hit him, 421 for run away, 124 for invite him to dinner. They were good... Much better than text games, for a start I don't have to stare at a screen...

Re:Interactive Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404922)

Anyone remember interactive books?

I think I've heard of those. You start on page 1 and progress through them sequentially to the end, right? Pretty cool technology...I can't wait to see where they go with it.

Re:Interactive Books (2, Informative)

boobox (673856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404926)

Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch [complete-review.com] is a good example of what I guess you'd call an interactive book (pre-internet hypertext? Written in 1966). There were, if memory serves, a couple of ways to read the book; one was to "hop" to certain chapters in a prescribed order.

Re:Interactive Books (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405022)

Correction: written in 1963, translated to English in 1966.

Re:Interactive Books (1, Interesting)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405215)

As outstanding as the book is, I wouldn't call it "interactive fiction". The plot is static, if open to interpretation (like any good fiction).

It was an excercise in literary techniques. The "out-of-sequence" process you mention was just another postmodernist toy, and not the most radical in its school by any means (although more readable, therefore successful).

It could be seen as a natural progression from previous experiments in sequence, back to Borges (whom I think Cortazar admired specially).

Re:Interactive Books (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404930)

You mean these [slashdot.org] ? Yep, I currently have to walk around three piles of them to sit at my PC at home.

Re:Interactive Books (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404944)

d'oh! [atari.org] (Actually, that mistake will probably drop the traffic to my little site to something it can cope with.)

Re:Interactive Books (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404934)

Anyone remember interactive games? Yeah, remember those? Like, you were given a decision, click the weapon for hit him, click back for run away, click the turkey for invite him to dinner. They were good... Much better than book games, for a start I don't have to stare at the pages...

Re:Interactive Books (5, Interesting)

OECD (639690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404948)

Anyone remember interactive books?

Remember them? I still have them...

Interactive books might be the ultimate geek test.

If you were willing to try and figure out the world-view of the game designer by hit-and-miss selection, congratulations: you're a geek. If you read it once or twice, and chucked it because too much of it was the same as the last time you read it... well, I guess you'd be a 'trusted user' or somesuch.

Same goes with text adventures (or whatever the kids call them thesedays. BTW, how do you get by the bulldozer?)

Re:Interactive Books (5, Interesting)

Fwonkas (11539) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405225)

Dear god. I remember how I used to read them. I'd go through them once or twice, but while flipping pages I'd see some situation or ending that I liked. So I'd try to find out how to get to that point by finding what pages led to it. And what pages led to them, etc. That's right, I reverse-engineered Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books.

Re:Interactive Books (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405294)

Lay(lie?) down in front of it... haven't you ever read the books? (I assume you were referring to HitchHiker's Guide?)

Re:Interactive Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405101)

They were funny, until I graduated elementary school.

PC? (5, Insightful)

Rexz (724700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404802)

"...Interactive Fiction, the politically correct name for what used to be called text adventure games

What a silly thing to say. Did the makers of the games feel insulted by the label? Were the games themselves offended? Is "text" to "fiction" what "coloured" is to "black? Of course not.

Just because someone comes up with a brand-new, improved-formula, pro-active name doesn't mean that it's more politically correct, or even better, than the old one.

Re:PC? (2, Insightful)

Butterwaffle Biff (32117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404840)

What a silly thing to say. Did the makers of the games feel insulted by the label?

Well, people that wouldn't be caught dead playing adventure games wouldn't buy a "text adventure", but a lot of them read fiction. So the companies making text adventures tried to expand their demographic by neutering their language. Of course I don't think it really did them much good in the end, did it?

Re:PC? (5, Funny)

dilby (725275) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405274)

I would have thought they'd call them graphically challenged adventure games.

Oh, the memories! (5, Funny)

perimorph (635149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404805)

My favourite part was the endless game of seeing how many different ways you could type a sentence before the computer realized what you were talking about. Ah, nostalgia!

Re:Oh, the memories! (5, Funny)

Hitmouse (753461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405187)

Eliza: Why is the endless game of seeing how many different ways you could type a sentence before the computer realized what you were talking about, your favorite part? Does your mother feel the same way?

Would really like to remember... (1)

GAVollink (720403) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404817)

On an ancient UNIX terminal in my Mom's cubicle (some 20 years back).. there was a text adventure game where you walked around a space ship - and nobody else was aboard. I remeber walking into a new room, and the program would unexpectedly exit. Different from the terse, "your dead" after opening the air-lock.

Yeah, I know my memory is foggy, and not very helpfull but does anybody know what that game could have been? Anybody know if there's a playable version of the same game somewhere?

Re:Would really like to remember... (1, Informative)

Eharley (214725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404828)

Planetfall by Infocom?

Re:Would really like to remember... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405134)

in 1975, i think, i was betting babysat by something called a "cyber" (i think). i could see it though a window in the hallway.

my mom was working on her doctorate and didn't know what to do with me, what with the recent divorce and all, so she left in the computer lab at the university while she was in class. it was empty most of the day.

the desk my mom sat me in front of had a paper tape reader, a keyboard, and some type of printer.

i would go sign out the tape named "star trek" and run the commands to load the paper tape, then i would start traveling around the universe, trying to get to a starbase with fuel, trying not to run into things as i jumped quadrants, and trying to blow away klingon ships before they gave me too much damage.

every move, the printer would spit out a page showing the details of the quadrant i had moved into, and some status info.

anyway, that was my first computer game.

Re:Would really like to remember... (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405261)

On an ancient UNIX terminal in my Mom's cubicle (some 20 years back).. there was a text adventure game where you walked around a space ship...

These kids today... When I was a whelp, we'd crash our lunar landers into the moon to see how big a crater we could make!

AND WE WERE GLAD TO DO IT!

Interactive Fiction--Old School (4, Funny)

BoldAC (735721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404824)

I know that I am getting old when I think of interactive fiction as those old "choose your own adventure" books.

If you would like the stab the dragon, turn to page 23.

If you would like to tickle the dragons underbelly, turn to page 56.


Plus, I had such a short attention span, I could never remember the "death pages" until I had already turned to them 3 or 4 times.

What great literature that was! The skill it took to write a death page that covered all the potential ways you could have gotten there. And we thinking coding is hard...

AC

text adventure (3, Interesting)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404825)

what used to be called text adventure games

What ever happened to "choose your own adventure" books?? That's what I think of when I hear the phrase. Am I THAT old??? Anyhow, anyone else here remember TradeWars 2002? ;-)

Re:text adventure (1)

tobes (302057) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404873)

TradeWars was the best.

I used to skip straight to the decision pages in the Choose Your Own Adventure books. You could finish a whole book in like 2 minutes.

trade wars info (4, Informative)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404929)

Anyhow, anyone else here remember TradeWars 2002? ;-)

You can sometimes still play it online, often via telnet:

The Home Sector [thestardock.com] : Lots of Tradewars news.

Tradewars: Dark Millenium [tradewars.com] : Large-scale multiplayer game in development. Seems to be based on Tradewars 2002 under an agreement with EIS Online.

tradewars.org [tradewars.org] : Tradewars news, links, and more.

EIS Online [eisonline.com] : The current owners of Tradewars 2002, the best known Tradewars clone. They also market Tradewars Gold and and the Tradewars Game Server for online play. TradeWars 2002 is up to version 3

Hekate's TW Links [twlinks.com] : News, links, and everything else.

TWAR Homepage [idirect.com] : Home of the TWAR helper.

Hitchhiker's Guide! (5, Informative)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404839)

The feature includes an overview of the genre and its history,

Man, and only one brief mention of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Seriously, that game takes the prize for descriptive prose. Forget "eerie dungeons" and "lush fields" and whatnot--the opening takes the cake:

"You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head. Or at least it would be if you could see it which you can't."

Z Machine (5, Interesting)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404850)

Almost all of the classic Infocom games, except some of the later Zork series, were written in a bytecode-like language which ran on a virtual machine known as a Z machine. This is why the old Infocom games can be played on any platform which has had a Z machine ported to it.

Inform, which is mentioned in the article, is actually a compiler which converts a high-level language into Z-machine bytecode. It was devised and written by Graham Nelson, the author of the breathtakingly-fantastic Curses and Jigsaw . Both of these games, plus the Inform compiler, plus a Z machine for just about every type of machine, can be downloaded from the Inform homepage [inform-fiction.org]

Re:Z Machine (3, Interesting)

zjbs14 (549864) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404959)

A couple of years ago on a lark, I wrote a Z machine emulator for Java (Yes, I know there are already ones out there). It was a lot of fun and I got some great insight on what they had to do to pack such cool stuff onto 160 KB floppies.

Besides, it was just too cool to have Zork come up in an application I wrote.

Re:Z Machine (4, Interesting)

marnanel (98063) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405191)

Re-implementing the Z-machine is nothing to be ashamed of. Someone's done it in Perl [paunix.org] , and someone else did it as an Emacs major mode [ifarchive.org] ... and heck, I'm working on a pure Javascript Z-machine for Mozilla [gnusto.org] </plug>. There's so much good new Z-machine material [ifcomp.org] coming out each year now that building new Z-machines for modern environments isn't just some sort of digital archaeology to relive the Infocom glory days, though of course there's that side to it as well. It's a living tradition, not a reconstructed dead culture.

Anyone remember... (1)

smr2x (266420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404859)

Maniac Mansion, I think it was. A little off topic I know, but I just thought about the little code book they give you and the little red plate decoder thing...

Anyways! ;-)

PARENT IS A TROLL - MOD DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405177)

check his posting history and mod him down -1 troll

The irony... (5, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404864)

... is that, today, it's much easier to write a simple piece of interactive fiction than ever before, yet it's far less popular nowadays. I personally like TADS, but I'm sure there are other excellent systems.

A point I'd like to make, though:

As someone who's done a LOT of serious area writing on diverse MUDs (both RP-enforced and hack and slash) and has dabbled in IF, I must stress that writing IF and writing on a MUD are two completely different things. I know someone's going to compare the two and claim IF's still alive and well in the form of MUDs, but it's not even close to the same thing. Your skill set in creating a MUD area doesn't automatically map to IF, and vica versa.

Good IF requires FAR more attention to detail than the average MUD. On a typical MUD, you can get away with only one or two levels of details because the players are busy interacting with other people. In IF, you've got to really hammer in those details to bring out a convincing world (usually - that Arabian Nights-esque game that was in the IF Comp a year or two ago was basically choose your own adventure, yet was extremely good), because the world is all there is.

IF != MUDs. That is all I want to point out, before someone claims it's so.

-Erwos

Dunnet (5, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404869)

Ah, the joy of typing M-x dunnet into emacs:

Dead end
You are at a dead end of a dirt road. The road goes to the east.
In the distance you can see that it will eventually fork off. The
trees here are very tall royal palms, and they are spaced equidistant
from each other.
There is a shovel here.
>

The only text editor to have a built-in advdenture game?

Re:Dunnet (4, Interesting)

Erwos (553607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404901)

And the best part: you can cheat by reading the straight Lisp code. I must confess I had to do it once, just for some syntax.

Dunnet is actually quite fun, and I'd recommend people who like IF to give it a shot.

-Erwos

Nine parts = nine pages? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404871)

I guess I'm just a jerk, but when did "nine page article" become synonymous with "nine part article"? I mean, sure, it looks like they tried to do a decent job putting the article together and I'm not trying to demean the content, but it sounds a lot more grand to call it a "nine part article", no? And we can add "cynical" in front of "jerk", I suppose, since I'm left wondering if "anonymous reader" is someone closely associated with 1UP who'd like to see the site get a few more hits for its "nine part article".

i remeber something about.. (3, Funny)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404877)

a length of rubber tubing, some lubricant, and a Yak...

Leather Goddesses of Phobos by InfoCom

p.s. It seemed funny at the time

Favorite Line from Leather Goddesses of Phobos (3, Interesting)

LouisvilleDebugger (414168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405208)

I often say this to my wife when we're working on our
house (struggling with plumbing as Trent/Tiffany struggled with the tubing and the photo of Jean Harlow: "We'll lick those Leather Goddesses of Phobos!"

I also love how in the end game, when Trent/Tiffany needs a part for the machine which you don't have, he/she says "Well, I'll try and work around the X..." but of course the incomplete machine ends in failure (with a different description depending on what part is missing.)

No thread on IF would be complete without mentioning Willie Crowther's Adventure game. I can vouch personally that the Colossal Cave section parts of Mammoth Cave (yes, there is a Bedquilt entrance to Mammoth) resemble the game.

Occasionally a caver familiar with the game will be introduced to the actual area of the cave, and it is traditional to allow him or her the chance to ramble around and have fun trying to figure out what's where. (Will Crowther was a Mammoth Caver as well as an MIT student...along with wife Patricia Crowther (later Wilcox) was among the first people to reduce cave survey data to line plots using a computer (an early step in the cave cartography cycle.)

I loved and miss the old Infocom games... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404883)

...but the text adventure genre is dead.

Kids today are only interested in cool graphics. Ever since DOOM, they've been basically buying the same game, but with nicer graphics than the previous version. Seen one FPS, seen 'em all. They're too lazy to use their imaginations.

Graphics are nice, but I haven't seen (not counting networked multiplayer) a modern PC game yet that can truly match the replayability of some of the Atari, Colecovision, NES and Genesis games.

Re:I loved and miss the old Infocom games... (1)

Hitmouse (753461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405171)

I'm waiting for Pong or Lemonade Stand on X-Box. I want a force-feedback jolt every time someone puts money in my hand for a lemonade

Re:I loved and miss the old Infocom games... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405257)

..but the text adventure genre is dead.

Kids today are only interested in cool graphics. Ever since DOOM, they've been basically buying the same game, but with nicer graphics than the previous version. Seen one FPS, seen 'em all. They're too lazy to use their imaginations.

Yeah, but kids aren't the only ones playing games. There's a small but thriving community creating dozens of new games each year, several of which are comparable to the original Infocom games. If interactive fiction was alive when Infocom was releasing 3 or 4 good games a year, how much more alive is it now when the online IF community is releasing four or five times that number?

Beyond that, I don't need a mediocre game that millions of other people play; I need a good game that I can play.

Re:I loved and miss the old Infocom games... (2, Interesting)

moexu (555075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405288)

Not only that, but all of the answers to the puzzles are available online for free.

I grew up playing Sierra's adventure games. It usually took me at least a couple of weeks to get through one of them. I'd get stuck and try everything I could think of, and then come back the next day and try again. Kids today don't have that kind of attention span for games; they'd rather just find a walkthrough, and text adventure games aren't very interesting without the puzzles.

The IF community is still alive (5, Informative)

Rope_a_Dope (522981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404911)

There's the newsgroups:

rec.arts.int-fiction
rec.games.int-fiction

And there is also the yearly interactive fiction competition. [ifcomp.org] The competition is a fairly big deal in the Interactive Fiction community, as fans submit games, play them, and rate them. 30 games were submitted this year. There are also a number of games, and interpreters that run on everything from Windows, Mac, Linux, Palm, and almost anything else you can think of.

"Politically correct?" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8404915)

There's a difference between "politically correct" and "high-falutin'." Learn it.

To this day, I never turn out the lights... (4, Funny)

jbarr (2233) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404920)

...for fear of being eaten by a Gru!

Interactive Fiction??? (4, Interesting)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404967)

How is Interactive Fiction more politically correct than Text Adventure? What's politically incorrect about Text Adventure? Once apon a time the Adventure genre dominated the gaming industry (Sierra). So Text Adventure games are just adventure games done only with text. What's wrong with that?

Interactive Fiction describes any type of game on the market. Every game is interactive, and every game is make-believe (fiction). How does it describe text adventure games?

Can someone explain to me why this name change was adopted?? It seems to me that the developers were just embarassed that their games didn't involve any new technologies so they renamed their genre to sound more interesting.

Re:Interactive Fiction??? (2, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405043)

Interactive Fiction describes any type of game on the market. Every game is interactive, and every game is make-believe (fiction). How does it describe text adventure games?

Because interactive fiction is closer to the high-quality fiction one might buy in a bookstore, than it is to the video games one might buy in a gaming store. Consider this: on the one hand we have Curses, a masterpiece of language and storytelling; and on the other we have 'All your base are belong to us'. Quite different. The term 'interactive fiction' is meant to highlight the literary nature of the genre -- while at the same time indicating that it is interactive.

Re:Interactive Fiction??? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405190)

Please don't get the idea that "interactive fiction" is the mandatory
new name, used by all in the community. It's not.

Sure, I say "IF" sometimes. Mostly because it's two keystrokes and
two syllables... I say "text adventures" and "text games" just as
often.

I think most of us are relatively non-uptight about the terminology.
Some of us are aiming towards works with fewer game-like elements, and
some more so -- but even that's a question of the work itself. Not
what people call it.

-- Andrew Plotkin

because (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405076)

because "text adventure" was double plus ungood as a name, the ministry of propaganda changed it. However, I have just been informed by the ministery of truth that i am a liar. "text adventure" has never been the name of anything....

Actually approprate for all stories (4, Funny)

sigma (53086) | more than 10 years ago | (#8404995)

You are in a maze of twisty little comments, all alike...

Remember 'The Lost Sword' on the VZ300 (2, Interesting)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405006)

I wrote that program in 84 - it was a cool Text adventure.
The VZ300 sold by Dick Smith was the first micro under $200 (and that's the reason I got one)

But ... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405014)

.. do all of the old bonus majick words work still?

plugh

Re:But ... (1)

Helen O'Boyle (324127) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405099)

Blockquoth the poster:
do all of the bonus majick words work still?

plugh

A hollow voice says "fool".

Or at least it does if you said that in zork. That word (plugh) (and xyzzy, and plover, etc.) is from original Adventure (a version of which was produced by Microsoft in 1982/1983 for the original IBM PC .... I still have the disk somewhere....).

You are greeted with the above comment ("A hollow voice...") if you try the Advent words in zork. ;-)

Blast from the past (2, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405028)

You are in a comfortable tunnel like hall to the east the the round green door you see: the wooden chest. Gandalf. Gandalf is carrying the curious map. Thorin. Gandalf gives the curious map to you. > HIT GANDALF You attack Gandalf. But the effort is wasted. His defense is too strong. Gandalf attacks you. With one well place blow Gandalf cleaves your skull. You are dead. You have mastered 0.0% of this adventure.

Nethack (1, Informative)

TheOtherKiwi (743507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405069)

Anyone here complete nethack or have used the latest version? I remember playing a variant on a VAX11/780 at the same time as on a PC/XT (circa '83) - whoa flashback!

Plenty of links out there: http://hakosoftware.com/nethack/

Nethack 3.4.3 here: http://www.nethack.org/common/index.html

Easily my favourite game of all time.

Blatant plug and other info (2, Interesting)

RouterSlayer (229806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405108)

well obviously no one plays new games any more, try this one - http://nexus.vrx.net/mp3/castle.zip

its a pc (dos/windows) text adventure. yes yes I do want to port it to linux, but the code is soooo freaking messy (turbo pascal v7 - dos) with custom calls it might be fun trying.

and then there's trek7 over at sourceforge, check that out. oh god, please help. hehehe

and does anyone remember Beaurocracy ? I think this was douglas adams game for Infocom. I love this game!

"I'm sorry, but there's a radio connected to my brain". Now how many people remember the response to that query?!

I still love these kinds of games, which is why I spend endless years trying to port them to this day...

We've moved on to a new Interactive Fiction... (2, Funny)

Sam Nitzberg (242911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405117)

Microsoft representatives release statements that their software is only penetrated after patches are released, and we respond on slashdot....

Bring them back!!! (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405206)

I thought this article was informative, though a bit heavy on the interviews... One or two people would have been sufficient, but I think they interviewed about five.

Other than that, this was a bit of nostalgia from the good ol' days. I really think the companies that produced adventure games back in the day should re-release them on an archive CD of sorts. I'd pay fifty bucks for that! (Of course, I say the same about the original Mission Impossible series, the original Star Trek series, and a lot of other things...)

Re:Bring them back!!! (2, Informative)

Futaba-chan (541818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405282)

I really think the companies that produced adventure games back in the day should re-release them on an archive CD of sorts. I'd pay fifty bucks for that! Activision did precisely that, for $20, with its Lost Treasures of Infocom, back in the Nineties.

Why so many puzzles. (2, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405219)

I've always been puzzled at how games in the so called "adventure" genre were all about puzzles. Why not just call them Puzzle Games then. An "Adventure" game should be about exploring some kind of interesting game world, not about twisting levers in a certain way. I always hated the puzzles in Zork. Those stupid dam controls. Give me a break. I think CRPGs were what adventure games were intended to be.

IMO, all computer games should contain an element of interactive fiction. At least until virtual reality has reached near holodeck levels, we will need text descriptions. Even a holodeck uses lots of text in terms of character dialogue. It's just spoken instead of written. When you combine good modern game design with interactive fiction you end up with something like Planescape:Torment, a computer game that some believe to be the best ever made. It was the interactive fiction aspect of the game that made it stand out from the competition.

Re:Why so many puzzles. (3, Informative)

Futaba-chan (541818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405299)

I've always been puzzled at how games in the so called "adventure" genre were all about puzzles.

That's not the case, necessarily, any more -- look at Photopia or Galatea, for example. Contrived puzzles were always a pet peeve of mine, too, which is why A Mind Forever Voyaging was my favorite game of the classic Infocom era. But at their best, good IF games can combine a deep sense of immersion with a powerful story in which the author can be somewhat literary, for an experience that depressingly few big-budget modern games match.

Classic Sierra games anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8405228)

I always like the text adventure games with graphics. Kings Quest was the first computer game I ever saw and owned. (Hey, I always typed "look" to get the text description of the area.)

I grew up with the typing Sierra games on the Apple II. I still have the boxes and 5.25" floppys with a a picture of a mountain on the dust sleeve. I was very disappointed by the point and click games and never bothered to buy any of them. Instead I went backwards in time and got the Infocom games. The only point and click I thought was any good was Willy Beamish, which Sierra bought. I could never figure out why Sierra removed the typing interfact to their games...

AI and adventure games (5, Interesting)

thesilverbail (593897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405279)

I'm a PhD student at the University of Illinois. I do research in AI and automated reasoning.

Currently my research involves text adventures. My advisor [uiuc.edu] and I believe that text adventure games could serve as an excellent testbed for research in intelligent agent behaviour cause they model a number of real-world challenges, like partially observable world states, incompletely specified goals, and the need for common-sense reasoning and belief revision. Here [uiuc.edu] is his paper on the subject.

I'm currently working on doing Logical Filtering [uiuc.edu] in an adventure game, which is a way to maintain a sort of belief about the current state of your world depending on your prior knowledge and observations. Somewhat like filtering in a Hidden Markov model [wikipedia.org] .

Some people at Saarland University, Germany, are also doing great work [uni-sb.de] on description logics [unibz.it] in adventure games. A description logic is like a language where you express concepts and the relations between them so that inferring properties is very easy.

It would be great to get some feedback and suggestions from the IF community about what they think about this. Is there any really cool idea you've had about what more could be done with adventure games? I mean many games have some standard stuff like inventories, containers etc. Is there something fundamentally different you've ever thought of doing. Something which involves creative and complex relationships between entities in an adventure games is what we're looking for. Thanks.

Invalid Command (1)

nicks_all_taken (738998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405325)

[i]Anyone who has fond memories of typing their way through dank caverns or outsmarting leather goddesses and ravenous bugblatter beasts with nothing but a keyboard should read this[/i] You cannot type your way through a dankcavern. I see no leathergoddesses here.

"9 part article". Right (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405328)

What they mean by "9 part article" is "9 sets of banner ads, one per page".

Voice Interactive Fiction (5, Interesting)

Fermata (644706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405349)

I always thought an interesting application for "modern" interactive fiction would be to apply the technologies of voice recognition and speech synthesis to IF. The structure of the IF game itself would remain the same - only all of the interaction is through listening/speaking rather than reading/typing.

So on your next long drive to nowhere in particular, you could play an IF game on your car's computer instead of listening to a non-interactive audio book or some tunes on the CD player/radio.

Obviously, this kind of thing might also be fun for the visually-impaired gamer.

Any idea if anyone has ever done this?

that hot elf chick (-1, Offtopic)

bensagenius (649613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8405350)

...gave me chiggers! I knew she wasn't a virgin, but it was hard to tell based on her text-only description...
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