Pundits have been predicting the arrival of “interactive fiction” for decades — dating back at least to the clunky, campy Choose-Your-Own-Adventures of the 1980s. Video games ploughed some of this terrain: Some of the first, like Zork, were text-based adventures, which themselves were born out of the storytelling vibe of Dungeons and Dragons. But Hotel Dusk is one of the first games to pitch itself more as book than a form of play, which made me wonder: Is it really possible to make reading into a game? —Clive Thompson —Hotel Dusk: Novel or Game? (Wired)
I don’t have a Nintendo DS, so I won’t be able to play this. The structure of the essay is a little bit like a freshman comp essay — “Some people say A, others say B, but in conclusion, the truth is somewhere between A and B.” I’d rather he start with a thesis that posits the truth being somewhere between, and spend the essay developing that idea, rather than save it for the conclusion. And, of course I would have preferred interactive fiction to get more than a cursory mention.
Nevertheless I still welcome a thoughtful review that treats the general subject of reading-as-games.