Interactive Fiction (Week 9)

This week’s subject matter is interactive fiction or what is sometimes known as “adventure games.” (We’ll chat in class about whether these are really collapsible terms.) I’ve selected three for you all to review and then posted a forum for you to click around (and participate in if you like).

Since this is likely to be a new genre for many of you (to some extent), please read this short blog post on the question of “What is it?”

URL: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/if/intro.htm

For those of you who have no experience with such texts, please then review the suggestions about how to play here (note the really useful “Play IF Card” that lists conventional commands):

URL: http://eblong.com/zarf/if.html

Now onto the texts. I’d like you to start with Colossal Cave Adventure, which is often discussed as the first IF or adventure game and which certainly represents THE classic of the genre. This will help to familiarize you with the conventions of the genre:

URL: http://www.amctv.com/shows/halt-and-catch-fire/colossal-cave-adventure

(There has been a lot written about this text. A study on cultural impact, for example, is found here: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/001/2/000009/000009.html)

Next, I’d like you to pull up Shade:

URL: http://eblong.com/zarf/zweb/shade/

A useful critique of the piece has been published on the EBR: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/glassdark

I’ve also selected this short text, Aisle:

URL: http://iplayif.com/?story=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ifarchive.org%2Fif-archive%2Fgames%2Fzcode%2FAisle.z5

There are countless other such games that you might play. I’d like to talk in class about the culture surrounding and promoting these games. To this end, try typing “interactive fiction” (you might also something like “best” to that phrase) into a search engine and click around to the results.

To encourage this discussion, I’d like you to review the Interactive Fiction Competition, one of several such awards given annually:

URL: http://www.ifcomp.org/ballot/

Play a few of these games for as long as they interest you. In class, we’ll compare notes on your experiences. As a word of warning, I’ll be posting a prompt that asks you to discuss your experience of an IF that was NOT among the three assigned above.

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