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Sep. 23rd, 2009 @ 03:39 am color wheel round and round
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An unintentional secret: I'm a big fan of interactive fiction. Always have been, since the days pure text adventure started to fade and point-and-click adventures weren't quite point-and-click. The genre has never truly died; it's merely gotten more niche and more literary. It's been thirty years but you still see phrases like "You see a maze of twisty little passages, all alike" on T-shirts and bumper stickers, and a small army of writers are still cranking out this stuff. Regrettable that the general public lost interest in the genre before it really came into its own because some of the stuff that's been written since puts even the early '80s classics to shame. Modern IF...not so much a game genre, anymore, as much as a hybrid of gaming and fiction in its own right.

Take Photopia, for example. (Play it in your browser! It's longer than most IF games but still short.) The praise for this game has been hyperbolic, sometimes distastefully so, and the essays on its influence absurdly pretentious--if I hear the world "ludonarrative" one more time I'm going to have to throttle someone--but no one can doubt that it has had a huge impact on games as a medium for storytelling, as opposed to just "games" in the pre-computing sense of the word, and has created many of the interactive storytelling tropes we now take for granted (like menu-based dialogue, and NPCs telling their stories by playing the game). The story wouldn't edge out something like House of Leaves for brilliant experimental fiction, but it is unquestioningly very good, and if you are a fan of IF or don't generally enjoy video games, you will find it to be an unusual and amazing treat.

Why haven't I written any IF yet? Given that it's the most direct intersection between computer games and traditional fiction, it seems like something I was born to do.

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Date:September 25th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
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Hey, sometime later, maybe if i see you again in person at some point, tell me about interactive fiction. is it like hypertext, like Michael Joyce? i'm interested in writing about it for my senior project, in some way or sense, and besides the obvious (books titled "Hypertext") i'm curious, etc.
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Date:September 25th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
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Not really. It's more like a conversation between two people, where one person is an eloquent speaker but an infuriatingly dense listener. (Like trying to talk to an Ayn Rand Objectivist about morality.)

The simplest way to understand it is to try it. Click the game I linked in this entry--you should be able to play it right in your browser.

Edited at 2009-09-25 05:56 am (UTC)