All of Your Co-Workers are Gone: Story, Substance, and the Empathic Puzzler

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 5.11.43 PMHowever, running parallel to the evolution of these [graphic] games was a family of explicitly, un- ashamedly narrative titles. Colossal Cave Adventure (Crowther & Woods, 1977), Zork I (1980), and Adventureland (Andventure International, 1978) have equal importance in the evolution of video games, but rarely receive the same kind of general, mainstream popular cultural appreciation as their graphical rivals. These games focused almost entirely on the story and the characters within the game world, although this was usually bound up in a ludic context where puzzles, mazes and syntactic difficulties served to artificially elongate the experience (Metzler, 2008; Scott, 2010). Many of these titles were text-based—the limitation of com- puter systems at the time was such that it was difficult to tell a truly compelling story using the graphical representations available. Those titles that focused on exploration and puzzles were typically known as “text adventures.” Those looking to focus more on the story and characters tended to self-identify as “interactive fiction” (Plotkin, 2011). — Michael James Heron & Pauline Helen Belford, Journal of Games Criticism (PDF)