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Rediscovering Infocom Games With My Kids

  Call it the Familyhood of the Traveling Interactive Fiction Pants. Even though we all have very different needs, the games fit each of us perfectly. It is not unusual to find all three of us sitting on the sofa, exploring a world and arguing over which direction to go. Every afternoon, it’s like getting to go on a really great family trip except with no laundry to do afterward.…

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Text Adventure Geeks Rejoice: Major Inform7 Update

I have final grades, an annual report, and a video project for a publisher to finish before I unleash my inner nerd and install the latet Inform7 update. (Inform7 is a free programming language and development environment for writing command-line computer games in the spirit of Zork and Colossal Cave Adventure.) This release is a major reform of a now-mature language which is widely used, and it has been over…

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The Great Works of Software

I realized that each one of these technologies set out to help people do something but consequently grew and changed over time. Each ultimately provided a way for large groups of people to talk about and think about very difficult problems: Microsoft Office: How do we communicate about work? Photoshop: How do we create and manipulate images? Pac-Man: How do we play? Unix: How do we connect abstractions together to…

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Blind-accessible audio adventure Grail to the Thief seeks crowdfunding

Grail to the Thief stars a thief from the future named Hank Krang, who “recently had a self-aware time machine called the Time Excursion Digital Interface, or TEDI, fall into his lap after a poker game. He has decided to use this technology to go throughout time, stealing priceless artifacts.” His first destination? Arthurian times, in search of the Holy Grail. While the game follows in the footsteps of interactive…

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Communities of Play: The Social Construction of Identity in Persistent Online Game Worlds

I played the open-source version of Uru with my daughter for a few weeks when she was about six or seven. I enjoyed the opening tutorial game, but after that found little to do and found the learning curve was too steep to keep my daughter interested. She was happy running around and endlessly re-dressing up her avatar, but I soon switched to DDO Online, something that I, my son,…

Indie video gaming creativity a bit like making literature

“It’s not a game I made for other people,” he says. “I made it for myself.” That might be the creative creed for a new generation of independent video games and game makers that has sprung up in the past five years or so. Unlike the makers of mainstream blockbuster games — slick packages produced by creative teams numbering in the hundreds — indie game makers working alone or within…

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MS Paint Adventures

Wonderfully silly take on old-school point-and-click adventures. I’ve only played through the first few turns but found quite a few good laughs. I’ll be back to play more when I’m done chauffeuring the offspring this evening. A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the 13th of April, is this young man’s birthday. Though it was thirteen years ago he was given life, it is…

Raph Koster

Mailbag: breaking in again » Raph’s Website

Good advice from Raph Koster to someone who wants to break into the game design business. The advice goes for writers, performers, and anyone creative. The way to better your chances at landing a creative job is to create. See, the filter here that many employers will use is “motivation.” Games are hot now, and everyone says they want to be in the industry. But given that there’s no huge…

Versu

Versu’s Epilogue: How an Interactive Fiction Pioneer’s 15 Year Project Ended Up in Limbo at Linden Lab

However there’s a particularly sad tale tied up in Versu’s fate (literally) and it’s why you won’t find me applauding this clean up any time soon. Versu was co-developed by acclaimed interactive fiction writer Emily Short, and for over a year most of the stories she’s made have been strictly for Versu. The unfortunate result of this is that Linden Lab now owns these stories as well as the platform…

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – About the game

30th anniversary refit of the cruel, cruel text-adventure game. The game is still the same wonderful piece of interactive fiction that Douglas Adams wrote and Steve Meretzky programmed, but in finding it a new home, a few changes needed to be made. The old Flash game would not work on the new servers, and in porting it to a new HTML5 incarnation, several innovations took place. We were able to…