13 Jan 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

IF games

Now that you have read a lot of background on interactive fiction games, and watched some playthroughs, I'm asking you to sample different IF games, so that you can see how the form has developed.  You are welcome to choose an IF focus for upcoming assignments, but this marks the formal end of our IF unit, so this would be a good time to demonstrate your ability to apply what you have learned so far in the course.

1) From this list, choose 3 text games to play for 10 minutes each, and write a single blog entry with your initial reactions.

  • Pytho's Mask (conversation and character interaction)
  • Lost Pig (exploration, puzzles, and humor)
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams adapted his comic SF novel to this form in the 80s... Very difficult and unfair, just like the world is to Arthur Dent) (The original game had no pictures, but the BBC had a competition for who could create an illustrated version.)
  • Zork (better-known successor to Adventure, with a more powerful parser; puzzles, exploration, and combat, forming part of the DNA of current gaming)
  • ELIZA (from 1966; not really a game, but a simulation of a therapist who listens patiently, asks guiding questions, and echoes back parts of what you type).
  • Dreamhold ("a tutorial adventure" designed for IF novices)
  • Fine Tuned (got some attention for its humor, its setting, and its main character (you're a goggle-wearing turn-of-the century daredevil motorist -- or you will be, once you get the hang of using the parking brake) (written by an author you may know)
  • Everybody Dies (play through a scenario form multiple points of view, trying to prevent tragedies. Includes images to illustrate key moments, but you have to download a separate program to run this game... clear instructions are on the site.)

2) Spend another 20 minutes, either choosing one or two of the games you just sampled, or exploring the Interactive Fiction Database and finding any game that suits your taste.

3) Write a deeper reaction to the game you chose to spend more time with. As part of the blog entry you write for #2, locate and post a link to a review of your chosen game, and compare that reviewer's reactions with your own.



A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Lost Pig, and Pytho's Mask, followed by a closer look at Lost Pig...

I've enjoyed reading these.

I'll leave you with clips to 2 more media clips devoted to interactive fiction.

The classic game "Zork" killed the player if you went anywhere in the dark... it warned you not "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue." These two songs riff off of this famous line from Zork.

One is focused on Zork:

The other refers to the genre in general.

These aren't homework -- just something you might enjoy.

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Recent Comments

Shellie Polly on IF games: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/Mic
Jessie Krehlik on IF games: First blog: http://blogs.seto
Matt Takacs on IF games: I chat with Eliza. http://blog
Matt Takacs on IF games: I sample Zork, Eliza, and Fine
Dennis G. Jerz on IF games: I've enjoyed reading these.
Beth Anne Swartzweld on IF games: A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Ga
Jeremy Barrick on IF games: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/Jer
Jeremy Barrick on IF games: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/Jer
Keith Campbell on IF games: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/Kei
Susan Carmichael on IF games: An in-depth look at Rover's Da
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