With IMs, friends can be foes

Infocom is long gone, but never mind. The original Infocom games are available for download at www.latz.org, and also for free play through AIM. A Web programmer named Andrew Baio has written an “AIM bot” that makes it possible.

Bots are simple programs that act like a human being who’s subscribed to an instant messaging program. Hundreds of such bots have been written; America Online, for instance has its Safety Bot, which tells Internet users how to protect their privacy. Any AIM user can try it by adding AOLSafetyBot to his buddy list.

You can play some of the old text-based games in the same way. Just install one of Baio’s bots, named InfocomBot, InfocomBot2, or InfocomBot3. Send a greeting to your new “buddy,” then pick from one of several Infocom classics. Not sure what to do next? Visit brasslantern.org, where you’ll find a beginner’s guide to text-based gaming. It’s all free, and you don’t even need a buddy. —Hiawatha Bray
With IMs, friends can be foes (Boston Globe)

Bray did a great job on this piece. Great to see not only the Old Skool games mentioned in the mainsream press, but brasslantern.org — a great resource by Stephen Grenade, a tireless promoter of current events in the IF world.

Via GoogleNews (where I’ve set up a bot to send me an e-mail when a new article shows up with the words “interactive fiction”).