Though only a brief part of mainstream gaming, Infocom's text adventures remain among the most clever and evocative gaming experiences for those that played them. Allen Varney looks at these classics, and the people that continue to create them.


Always glad to read a piece on interactive fiction. Certainly a lot of academic work has been done about it -- it interested me that the first thesis on IF was being written right in my hometown when I was about five. I hadn't heard about Montfort's book but would like to get ahold of it. I have another rather ponderous book on IF that was someone's PhD thesis on interactive storytelling. Julian Dibbell has a pretty amazing article about Adventure syndicated on his website.

I suspect that the surface has only yet been scratched in terms of IF's potential. It's one reason why Inform is such an exciting piece of software, potentially bringing the medium to the accessibility level where people whose primary practice and training is in writing will be able to create this stuff. Though I also think that those who work and 'live' in games generate a different kind of fiction that is itself a new subculture of art.

I've assigned this Escapist article to help introduce my students to the genre. It offers a good overview. Recent interactive fiction publications of scholarly interest include:

* Nick Montfort's book, Twisty Little Passages, and his dissertation, "Generating Narrative Variation in Interactive Fiction"
* Jimmy Maher's "Let's Tell a Story Together"
* Jeremy Douglass's "Command Lines: Aesthetics and Technique in Interactive Fiction and New Media"
* Jeffrey Lamar Howard's "Heretical Reading: Freedom as Question and Process in Postmodern American Novel and Technological Pedagogy"
* Eric Eve's "All Hope Abandon: Biblical Text and Interactive Fiction"
* My own "Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther's Original 'Adventure' in Code and in Kentucky"

Dennis G. Jerz


Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here