Editorial on Emily Short's Galatea (inter alia)

Jimmy Maher offers a provocative editorial in the latest issue of the Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games newsletter.

Galatea excites
admiration, interest, even a certain amount of awe, and all of it
richly deserved.  However, it seems to excite very little love.
 Nor does it seem to inspire its player to grapple with
anything
more universal than the design of good IF conversation systems.

Is this a problem?  Not really, I think, when taken in
isolation.  I think that Emily Short, whom I have immense
respect for as a writer, creator, and tireless agent for positive
change in IF, intended her work as an experiment and even possibly a
bit of a provocation, an illustration of what might be possible.
 But where is the game that takes Galatea‘s formal
and technical innovations and uses them in the service of crackerjack
story with a fascinating setting and compelling, believable characters?
 Eric Eve’s recent works
come close, but how many others do?  Galatea sits out
there in splendid isolation.  People play it, they tell
themselves and each other how interesting
it was, what potential
for IF it demonstrates, and then they move on.  It’s
not
up to Emily to build on Galatea‘s
foundation; if she retires from IF tomorrow, she’s done more for the
form than I or 99% of you will ever manage.  It’s up to us.
 Where are we?

Some of us who are very, very good are writing games like
the generally acknowledged best game of 2007: Lost Pig.
 On the one hand, Lost
Pig
is nothing to disparage.  It’s hilarious;
it’s great fun; it’s honed and polished to the most beautiful shine.
 Admiral Jota deserves tons of praise and respect for his
creation.

Also of note, A Blind Man’s Take on Interactive Fiction:

Most
gaming opens worlds
for people. Interacting with characters and role-playing a career or
life that
they do not have in the real world allows people to imagine themselves
in
certain situations, or challenges the person to make certain decisions.
 It
is that aspect of gaming, along with the writing, 
descriptions of scenes
and the possibility of interacting with characters that make
interactive fiction so special. As a
blind person, most mainstream role-playing games are unplayable.
Interactive
fiction is then the bridge that allows me as a blind person, who also
would
like to participate in the joys of relaxing with a role-playing
computer game,
to step into an imaginary world.