Interactive Fiction -- Foundational Works

Star Trek's holodeck seems at first to have been intended mainly to provide simulated settings (a lush wooded park, a Parisian cafĂ©) where "Next Generation" characters could wander around and enjoy themselves.  Gradually, the writers of the TV series introduced complex, sustained interaction with sophisticated characters and even whole communities that seem to have lives of their own.

In the real world, interactive fiction has developed in much the same way -- from being a simulation of some other experience (namely, the exploration of an underground cave), to being a new way to present an experience that cannot be narrated in any other manner.

Foundational Classics

  • Eliza (Joseph Wiezenbaum, 1966)
  • Hunt the Wumpus (Gregory Yob, 1972)
  • Adventure (Will Crowther, c1975; Will Crowther and Don Woods, 1976)
  • Zork Series (Marc Blank and David P. Lebling, 1977)
  • AdventureLand (Scott Adams, 1978)

See also the interactive fiction games I host online, and Roger Firth's Ifaq page.