IFs and Me

When Interactive Fiction (IF) was introduced with Adventure in 1977, the community that received it was awestruck. According to many programmers at the time, work stalled for about two weeks. The ability of the computer allow communication back and forth in such a way was astounding. However, I am experiencing IFs at a time where such interactions are common place. My first interaction of obtaining a narrative through a game was from Runescape. Originally named DeviousMUD, this multiplayer game was inspired by on text adventure games. It was supposed to be a textual IF MUD. However, the creator of Runescape decided to scrap this idea and turn to a graphical interface. Why? Because he thought the textual MUD market was flooded and that his game would not make an impact. This gives context to the world I entered. IFs are no longer met with awe.

With this context, I am interested to see how my experience and reaction to IFs compares to how IFs are perceived by the public. While playing Colossal Cave Adventure, I did not know what I was going into. I was able to understand most of the commands easily enough and most of the game seemed intuitive. However, I ran into some roadblocks. The first thing I struggled with was getting to the cave. I had not read many of the hints or instructions and had assumed you moved to places my calling their names. This was not always the case. I had to go back and read instructions to figure out that I needed to call South to continue the game. From there on, my difficulties came from trying to figure out how to get past each obstacle. I was definitely annoyed that some simple tasks did not yield any meaningful response. Despite all this trouble, I was interested in the puzzles presented to me. The challenge  of the game makes me want to work to complete it despite its seemingly primitive nature. In comparison to the world at large, my evaluation seems to coincide quite well. According to Dark Crow’s blog from Gamasutra, IFs are criticized for not having natural and meaningful responses to seemingly intuitive answers. However, the form is not planning on dying yet. There is still a dedicated group making IFs on Twine. With this in mind, I might decide to enter into this niche community to experience some more Interactive Fiction.

Problems of modern interactive fiction and text adventures games development. (2016). Gamasutra.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016, from http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DarkCrow/20160901/280026/Problems_of_modern_interactive_fiction_and_text_adventures_games_development.php

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One thought on “IFs and Me

  1. To clarify, Twine is not considered an IF authoring tool, but a hypertext fiction authoring tool. For the distinction, think of the difference between “My Body” and “Colossal Cave Adventure.” In the former, all that is required of the reader to advance the narrative is to click on a link. In the latter, you must intuit the various commands required to move the story forward, as well as solve various problems.

    If you have an interest in pursing IF, check out Inform 7 http://inform7.com/.

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