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Text Adventure Games Live!

By Denor in Technology
Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:26:09 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

Kuro5hin.org Homepage

Ahh, the K5 Homepage. There's not too much on that you haven't seen already, but that's mainly because you've been on all day. The Everything section is to the north, and your diary is to the east.
  There is a new submission here.


It seems to be an article about those old text adventure games that vanished a while back. Apparently, they still exist, and they've still got a following.


Text adventure games were one of the first kinds of computer games ever created. Doubtless some of you recall typing away on your AppleIIe or C64, trying to get that darn Babel Fish puzzle to work. SAVE, UNDO, and RESTORE were the tools of the day, followed closely by such favorites as LOOK, GO NORTH, and KILL TROLL WITH SWORD. The text games of old hold quite a bit of nostalgia value, true, but there's more than just nostalgia to them. Many had in-depth stories, mind-twisting puzzles, and excellent characters; all characteristics which some would say are missing from many of today's games.

But what happened to text adventure games? With the fall of Infocom and the rise of more graphical games, they faded into the background. In fact, they seemed almost dead.

Not so, however. Infocom, in creating their games, had not re-created a parser and associated tools every time. Instead, they had created a virtual machine called the Z-machine, to which they ported their parser code. The Z-machine was reverse-engineered, and compilers for it were created. Suddenly, anyone could create their own text adventure games.

In fact, many do. Last year hosted the Sixth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. Initially having only twelve entries in its first year, Comp00 had 53 games, and untold amounts of reviews. Other, smaller competitions spring up around the year as well. Such 'minicomps' are often based around a theme, and are an excellent way to enter into the world of interactive fiction.

Anyone wanting to create a game of their own can easily do so: The Inform game authoring system is based on the very same Z-machine that Infocom used years back. TADS is based on its own virtual machine, but is just as portable as Inform. Other languages include Hugo, ADRIFT, and even old standby AGT. Help with the individual languages are available through their websites, as well as rec.arts.int-fiction, the primary discussion area for the creation of text adventure games.

The people of rec.arts.int-fiction look upon text adventures as not just a romp through a dungeon, but as a means of artistic expression, much like writing itself. Discussions abound about "how realistic" interactions should be, whether certain actions would "break mimesis", and the eternal discussion about what language is the best.

Text Adventure games are far from dead. Instead, they've found their niche; many people are delighted to find that they can go back to the days of Interactive Fiction, and more delighted still to discover that they can create their own. It seems unlikely that IF will conquer other, more popular forms of gaming, but the people who create it aren't looking for world domination, they're just looking to make a good game.

Links of interest include:

(First taking the submission)

[This post's score has gone up by 1 point!]


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


"Comp00" is pronounced:
o "Comp 2000" 6%
o "Comp 2K" 2%
o "Comp double-ought" 11%
o "Comp-oo" 45%
o "The Sixth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition" 15%
o "Shirobara" 18%

Votes: 92
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Sixth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition
o Inform
o ftp.gmd.de
o US mirror
o rec.arts.i nt-fiction FAQ
o About.com
o Also by Denor

Display: Sort:
Text Adventure Games Live! | 43 comments (36 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Some Text Adventure Links (4.40 / 15) (#7)
by Pac on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:25:20 PM EST

GMD ifarchive of new and old interactive games

Frotz, infocom game player for all machines (including Windows and Linux)

Nitfol, an even better infocom game player
About.com guide to IF

unofficial Infocom page with some freebie Zork downloads

Most of the Infocom games (Amiga games site, but the data files work on all platforms with Frotz)

The story of Infocom (pdf of the paper)

The story of Infocom (pdf of the presentation)

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

Note: Infocom games are still being sold (3.50 / 6) (#8)
by WWWWolf on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:45:00 PM EST

Most Infocom games are still being sold, by current Infocom owner, Activision. However, this shouldn't be a problem for most of people, because Activision is dumping the old games - they have distributed Zork games for free, for example, and I have seen "Masterpieces of Infocom" collection (almost all of the Infocom games) as a budget series game...

So, there's no need to get 'em from AbAnD0nWaReZ sites. (Also note that some of those files available from abandonware sites are demonstrably broken...)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

[ Parent ]
IF and BTTR are NOT warez sites (4.33 / 6) (#10)
by Pac on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:23:11 PM EST

Those are not exactly abandonware sites and much less, as you seem to imply not so subtly, warez sites.

From ifarchive.org README:
"This archive is a home for public domain and shareware interactive fiction (aka IF) games, development tools, game solutions, and programming examples, and for the Usenet newsgroups rec.arts.int-fiction and rec.games.int-fiction. We want this site to be a place where all things related to the art (and science) of interactive fiction can be consolidated."

From Back to the Roots Mission statement:
"For this, BTTR was brought to life and this site is dedicated to the Amiga - the greatest computer ever. Nobody should forget this masterpiece of computer technology, because it has brought us so many years of real fun and we hope, that this site will give you a little bit of this wonderful nostalgic feeling and bring some old memories back. Also new users should notice, that they have missed a powerful machine full of magic."

I concede that BTTR may be called an "abandonware" site, but for a whole abandoned platform... :)

Note that Infocom DO NOT sell most early text adventure games. And please do not equate this sites with "warez" sites, it is unfair and inexact.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
(whimper) sorry... (3.00 / 6) (#12)
by WWWWolf on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:50:46 PM EST

I'm fully aware of these, sorry if I made a hasty post. (I really need more sleep and even more coffee...)

And I'm not generally against abandonware either.


I should learn to keep my mouth shut... =(

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

[ Parent ]
don't be so hard on yourself (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by G Neric on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:36:10 AM EST

I'm not familiar with either site so defenders of those sties need not take this "personally", but fer chrissakes, just because the FAQ on a warez site says that it's not a warez doesn't mean it's not a warez site. That's like the "reply to remove" instruction in spam. Hell, on the internet, nobody knows I'm a dog.

Also, I don't believe in intellectual property so I could hardly be called a defender, but if you do believe in it, "abandonment" should not necessarily change its status. Consider "collectibles": part of their marketing is based on the limitedness. In the back of your mind when you buy a piece of software is the knowledge that it will not be available forever. When it comes to abandonment, it's not just the value of the intellectual property to the original author, but also to the customers who bought their own copy.

[ Parent ]

Infocom game servers (4.14 / 7) (#11)
by jacobito on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:43:40 PM EST

You may even find servers where you can play Infocom games online... They may not be strictly legal, but they're not actually distributing the games, either. I think it's a great way to keep these games alive.

Have a look at infocom.elsewhere.org, and then telnet to eldorado.elsewhere.org and login as "zork."


[ Parent ]

another... (3.80 / 5) (#13)
by jacobito on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 03:38:16 PM EST

this also works:

http://www.cpl593h.net/if/ :)

...inspired by the server at elsewhere.org...

[ Parent ]

Linux Infocom (3.80 / 5) (#14)
by filsa on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:05:26 PM EST

I found good links from

the open directory project: Z-Machine (infocom virtual game machine)

which lead me to this linux resource:

Lou's Infocom/Linux page - Information for playing Infocom games on the Linux platform. -- which had info on game interpreters and also some advice on getting the games.

[ Parent ]

mud (2.55 / 9) (#15)
by tacklebeth on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:30:38 PM EST

Don't forget about mud's every should go to batmud. telnet://batmud.bat.org The best lp mud around

mud :) (none / 0) (#30)
by Harakh on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:46:51 PM EST

If you like medieval muds maybe, but personally I like playing this Star Wars MUD - more Science fiction than Tolkien based magic. Text-based adventuring is far from dead. there are tons of people that play MUD's but they just arent out in the media in the same way as Quake or Diablo or whatever game is popular atm. Try it out if you like Star Wars btw :). swmud.org port 6666 if that link of mine didnt work :)

[ Parent ]
Take it with you (4.11 / 9) (#16)
by AgentGray on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:51:41 PM EST

The great thing is that I can take games like Zork I with me on my PalmOS PDA.

What a great way to kill time on the road or in the plane! It's not as hard as it sounds. You can create simple drop down menus for commonly used words and you can select a word with your stylus and perfom an action on that word.


Is that theoretical or real? (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by Karmakaze on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:09:59 PM EST

Are you saying you have the adapted software for Palm OS or only that you could see how someone could make one?

I followed another poster's link, but he has a different kind of PDA than I do.

If you do know of actual Palm OS text-based games, I'd really appreciate a link. It's been long enough since I played Zork, I'd need to relearn all the puzzles.

*sigh* I remember playing ADVENT on my Dad's work connection when I was a child...

[ Parent ]
Interpreters exist for palm (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by Denor on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 03:19:06 PM EST

I think he was mentioning features of whatever interpreter he was using under Palm (I don't know, I don't have a palm :)

I don't know if any palm-specific IF exists (though I imagine it does) but I do know that interpreters for Z-code files exist for the Palm; so anything made for that (as many games are) would work. I also think there's a TADS interpreter, though I'm less sure about that one.


[ Parent ]
Palm IF (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by Aquarius on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 06:13:43 PM EST

There are indeed Z-machines for the Palm , which allow you to play Z-code games. The two best are probably Frobnitz and PalmFrotz.

There is, however, no TADS interpreter for the Palm; this is because TADS uses a large stack, and you can't get a large stack onto the Palm. Changing this would require a ground-up rewrite. However, Mike Roberts, the author of TADS, is currently doing a ground-up rewrite for version 3, so it's possible it will be portable to the Palm.


"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
[ Parent ]
What's a good solvable text adventure game? (2.83 / 6) (#17)
by SIGFPE on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:56:10 PM EST

Games like Zork have many purely arbitrary puzzles that can only be solved by trying every operation with every object until you score (or looking at the hint/cheat sheet). I'm after an adventure game where the puzzles really are puzzles that can be solved by thinking. Are there any that fit this description?
Theatre. (4.25 / 4) (#18)
by msphil on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 06:10:16 PM EST

Play Theatre (theatre.z5). It has a good hints system, a decent story, and is relatively easy. That is to say, the puzzles follow well and have logical solutions, as opposed to seeming utterly random ;-)

I also really liked Christminster (minster.z5), from the same era, and So Far (SoFar.z8)

Wow. I just looked in ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode/ and realized how far behind the current scene I've fallen...

Time to pop out frotz and get crankin'.

[ Parent ]

Thanks! (none / 0) (#36)
by SIGFPE on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:38:33 PM EST

Theatre looks good. Thanks!
[ Parent ]
Waxing nostalgic.. (2.00 / 5) (#19)
by Knile87 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 08:17:40 PM EST

Swiss Family Robinson on the Commodore128, anyone? =)
Use knife.
Throw axe.
ad infinitum... Oh man...

"We're all on a big ship! We're on a big cruise, across the world!" -- Iowa Bob, in Hotel New Hampshire

If only... (4.23 / 13) (#20)
by fink on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:20:42 PM EST

... KILL TROLL WITH SWORD was a valid command in k5 or the other site. :)

Ahhh, I can see it now:

You see a troll sitting on the site in front of you, beckoning unsuspecting weenies and newbies toward it.
Aaaargh! The blood! You freeze as you hear the troll's bloodcurdling scream.
I would actually enjoy seeing YHBT for once. :)


We need new styles of interactive fiction (4.33 / 9) (#21)
by ToastyKen on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:57:12 AM EST

I found this a while back and tried out a couple of the top picks.. and I was interested for a while, but quickly got bored by the same old "find item, use item" way in which these games work.

I think that text-based games (or perhaps games with simple graphics) are an ideal form to experiment with new interative fiction storytelling methods.. but no one realy seems to be doing that.

I've found that interaction fiction, text-based or not, roughly falls under three categories, often a mixture of both:

(1) Scripted. Pros: You can have a pretty good story this way, written by the author the same way books or movies are, and with just as much narrative potential. Cons: It's really nothing new, and not very interactive or non-linear. There may be branching, but that's still basically linear.. just with many lines.. a finite number of lines.. such that the player always has this urge to "see all possible endings", which is good for comparing, but not so good for being dynamic. Note, btw, that these text adventures are mostly very linear..

(2) Adjustable Miniscripts. This is where you have things like lots of "escort ship Foo from point A to point B for some money" missions. Pros: more dynamic in a way.. lots of variation. Cons: While you TECHNICALY have a huge number of potential paths.. they're all pretty much the same.

(3) Simulation/plotless. (i.e. Simcity) Pros: Truly dynamic world with practically infinite possibilities. Cons The "story" is what you make of it in the same way that you can tell stories about your basketball game with your friends. Thing here is, the author has very little input into the outcome.

What I'd be interested in is if we can somehow use computer-generation or whatnot to merge the advantages of the above categories while shunning the disadvantages. I have in mind a simulation-like game where the characters involved have dynamic motivates which are sufficiently complex so as not to be merely repetitive variations on a theme... Where the characters you meet exhibit emergent behaviors which are guided by the author for narrative reasons.. but which can also surprise even the author to create truly dynamic situations.

I dunno.. I'm rambling.. My point is.. we're playing a lot with graphics these days when it comes to games.. There are text-game people, but they tend to go too oldschool.. using text-games more for nostalgia purposes than as a focused tool for experimenting with the essence of gaming and interaction fiction.

I think I'm going to play around with this stuff as a hobby and see what I can come up with, but here's hoping other people can also see that we've barely scratched the surface of interaction fiction when you look at the essence of it.. and that they'll do something about it!

New IF styles (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by Aquarius on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 06:20:21 AM EST

If only it were easy. :-)

The discussion about how to move IF away from the "get key. open door" style of game is reiterated time and time again on rec.arts.int-fiction. There are works original in style, however. One of the main debates is over "puzzleless IF", in which there are no puzzles (unsurprisingly) and the flow of the story is all. A sterling example of this is perhaps the first in the genre, Tapestry.
Tapestry moves away from the issue of puzzles being uninteresting by simply not having any. A wise man once said that every single puzzle in any piece of interactive fiction boils down to "get key. unlock door with key", whether the key is a key and the door a door or the key a banana and the door a monkey blocking egress. This is perhaps not entirely true, but there's a lot of truth in it. Some games are puzzlefests, true, but they're inventively written and can be enjoyed for what they are: Christminster has already been mentioned, and it stands head and shoulders above most of the other IF games, to the point where I believe that it rivals Infocom's work. The Magic Toyshop, by the same author, is an unabashed collection of puzzles with the thinnest of plots to bring it together. At the other end of the spectrum, Adam Cadre's Photopia has virtually no puzzles and, indeed, not a great deal of interactivity either; it's perilously close to being static fiction, since you are unashamedly railroaded into choices. However, it received rave reviews, and is still considered one of the best games.
Zarf's Spider and Web is puzzlecentric, but with many, many subtleties; it plays with the implicit nature of the IF game in an interesting way, and moves the genre a step above the standard efforts -- while a plot can be multi-layered and still boring, Spider and Web might be considered in part a "meta-game", as it overturns conventions in places vital to the plot.
Another of Zarf's efforts, The Space Under The Window, is unlike any other IF at all. Perhaps this is the sort of thing that you meant by an experiment with the essence of interactive fiction.

I think that the problem here is that lots of people recognise that there is the potential for much more in the form; text IF is, as you say, a very good way to experiment with the essence of ideas, because you don't have to bother creating all the surrounding graphics and sounds to make your game playable, and thus you can get right down to the gameplay a lot more quickly. However, no-one really seems to have any good ideas about radical new directions in which the field could go. There are small incremental improvements and direction changes, such as some of those games mentioned above, which move the genre beyond that which Infocom and Scott Adams were doing two decades ago, but not a lot has changed. The tools available (mainly Inform and TADS, as mentioned in the original post) have reached a stage of stability and usefulness where they can be used to aid in the creation of new ideas, rather than them being the new ideas.

I'd like to see the coming time herald a renaissance for IF -- creators of more graphically loaded games could take tips from the meticulous care and attention that authors such as Zarf or Adam Cadre show in their works. Perhaps IF will strike out in a new direction. Whichever, I expect that the IF competition and rec.arts.int-fiction will be in on the ground floor.


(all game links to Baf's Guide to the IF Archive, which has a selection of capsule reviews of games from the archive itself)

"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
[ Parent ]
forget books (none / 0) (#37)
by Rainy on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 10:49:05 AM EST

Books are inherently linear, obviously. Problem is, we've been basing these games on books! What needs to be done, imho, is to have fairly decent AIs for characters - not rule based (if this condition, do this, if this, do that), but instead something much less quantized. For instance, each character should be guided by a formula that looks at environment this character is in (i.e. how much money he has, what weather it is, what rumors circulate around) and his actions and speech is based on that.. First of all, something like this would be way too complex.. perhaps more complex than anything done so far, maybe thousands of times more complex. Second, it'd need mad amount of cpu cycles. It may simply not be feasible now. But I might try something like this.. in python. I'm learning it, anyway and looking for a good project to embark on. Even if it's too ambitious for me to do right :-).
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you want (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by Bisun on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:33:43 PM EST

It seems like what you want is a sort of bunch of mini-scripts that occur in the context of a simulation. You need some way to recognize the mini-scripts that is consistent, and you shouldn't need to control the simulation (ala SimCity or Civilization) to such an extent that you can't let it run itself while you are following out a script. The scripts should facilitate improving the "stats" of your "character".

The problem here is that a good simulation is itself so complex, so when a good simulation is built, there is a great temptation to make that the game. Sometimes it works well (SimCity and Civilation, again). But it doesn't produce what you are asking for.

Possibly the best solution would be to take some existing simulation engine, and then allow it to run itself, while the player acts as one of the characters. But most of the simulations have rather simple capabilities for the characters.

I really liked the original Wizardry (6 character party, etc.) and OrbQuest was good. (Probably a Rogue clone, but I never tried Rogue, so I don't know.) But I don't think that Wizardry gained anything when it added graphics. The Bard's Tale had it's points, but there were bugs in the versions that I got that always ended up frustrating me ("Is the reason that I can't get out of here a bug, or am I just being stupid?") But would I like them today? The simulation layer was quite simple, the characters where ridigly fixed into the D&D model, etc.

Now the D&D model of character development does allow for a lot of character growth. But ...
Of course the Simulation model (of SimCity and Civilization) is a coercion of the game elements into the same track each time.

Both of these have rigidities. To combine them is challenging. But one could imagine, oh, a character campaigning to become mayor of SimCity. How do you win votes, what do you do once you get elected, etc. If you get voted out of office, can you stage a comeback? Just a few ideas. But it looks like a lot of stuff needs to be built on top of what already exists.

[ Parent ]

More complex mini-scripts (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by ToastyKen on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 04:20:19 PM EST

yeah.. that's kind of what I have in mind.. I'm leaning toward basically making more flexible miniscripts.. that is, have more parameters than "escort from where to where for how much money'. to have lots of very flexible and mutually-interacting miniscriptish things... such that the behavior will contain some authorship, but will be largely emergent.

[ Parent ]
Adventure, Colossal Caves (2.33 / 3) (#22)
by xiox on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 04:38:49 AM EST

One of my favourites is the original Adventure, Colossal Caves. It was the first adventure game ever written.

Does anyone else remember such greats as Jinxter by Magnetic Scrolls. Is there a version for the PC?

Magnetic scrolls (3.75 / 4) (#23)
by gds on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 05:02:23 AM EST

The Magnetic Scrolls Memorial site is where you want to be for Jinxter. The front page has javascript that seems to do odd things to Mozilla (try the old version), but the link you want is to the interpreter page, where you will also find the story files. The interpreter works on lots of platforms (including a new Java port).

[ Parent ]

Further Nostalgia (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by stuartf on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 07:34:21 AM EST

The Hobbit (with pictures) on the ZX Spectrum anyone. I remember my joy at finally beating it, after being nailed by the spiders hundreds of times...

I learned to code on a MUD (2.40 / 5) (#26)
by Pantheon on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:05:14 AM EST

> ls
Total: 24
ACCESS WORLD.INFO data.o proom.c*
BALANCE.INFO board.c* help.txt qc/
> u
In a silent hall (d)
A board filled with notes.
> exa board
| ------------- |
| 'add' - Adds you to the list. 'delete' - Removes you from the list. |
| [19] Martel *Rogue*75+club*Tank/Bash* |
| [19] Siaynoq [In party] tank/bash |
| [17] Irenics [In party] shame |
| [15] Chrome Shifter.ThinkTwice.IfStillWannaParty, send tell |
| Use this list if you are searching for party members. ('help list' for more)|
> tail board.c

for( i = 0; i < sizeof( members ); i++ ) {

player = find_player( members[i] );

if(player->query_level() >= APPRENTICE) {

if( !player->query_party_name() ) {
name = members[i];
else {
name = members[i] +" [In party]";
levstring = sprintf("[%2d]", player->query_level() );
tmp += ({ sprintf("| %:-4s %:-18s %:-51s |",
levstring, capitalize(name), data[ members[i],DESC ] )});

tmp += ({
"| Use this list if you are searching for party members. ('help list' for more)|",


> tell dimenser ok board is working now
Dimenser tells you: nice

Emacs Dunnet (2.00 / 2) (#27)
by ChazR on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:27:56 AM EST

M-dunnet. I learnt emacs lisp from reverse-engineering the puzzles in dunnet from the source code. Many hours of harmless fun.

Come and get yer lovely MUD here! (2.00 / 5) (#29)
by pallex on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 10:00:01 AM EST


A new life on mobile phones? (3.25 / 4) (#32)
by pauly on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 03:12:20 PM EST

This sort of game seems natural for WAP enabled phones.
That is assuming you are not ashamed of playing even more with your cell phone in public.

Check out redgrendel.com.

Wait, what? (2.00 / 4) (#35)
by CyberQuog on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:27:54 PM EST

Your telling me text adventure games are dead? CRAP! No one bothered to tell me this, I was just about to beat Zork!

Seriously, I love text adventures, and I'm sure they're not too technically hard to code, but you really need to be creative with them.

Some little nothing (1.25 / 4) (#38)
by Cironian on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:00:07 PM EST

> look at self
You are a regular text-adventure game.
> wait
Time passes...
> g
Time passes...
> g
The time of text adventures is now over. You are dead.
> restore

Dead? (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by Phaser777 on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 10:23:21 AM EST

Define 'dead'. There's still a lot of people that play them, even though they make up maybe 0.5% of the Quake/Starcraft/Diablo players. I think something is dead when absolutely no one plays it, not when the players are in a small minority.
My business plan:
Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
Wait until someone else adopts the idea and becomes rich off it.
Sue them.
[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#43)
by Cironian on Tue Mar 20, 2001 at 04:35:36 PM EST

Thats why I used the RESTORE at the end...

It was meant to be a joke on the "text adventures are dead" idea, since they always keep coming back; didnt come out clear enough I guess. Actually I myself carry around several Infocoms and some newer ones on my Palm for long train rides. (Finally a use for those 8 MB :)

(Excuse the late reply, but I was absent from k5 for a while; maybe you'll see this in your comment list though)

[ Parent ]
West of House (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by turtleshadow on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:27:35 AM EST

The biggest importance for me in any game or good story like Zork was, is interaction with people.
The people interaction in real life is what makes a good story thats memorable.
I spent countless hours debating what a grue looks like, reminiscing how I inadvertantly did the wrong thing and killed off my character, bragged and counter bragged on being the first of the group in figuring out how something worked and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Games are never fun when there is no one on earth that you can talk to about your exploits, problems or adventures. All too often discussing a game with someone is so disjoint from their solo experience -- why bother? My thoughts on why the genre is dying; "that which people enjoy is that which they can share and talk about."

For all the developers/writers listening thats why text based is dying. Its lost the "common thing" that is hard to define that sets people to talking because they know what each other is talking about.
  • 10 years ago I got out of text base Adventure games. The challenge to figure out the medium was addictive. I could identify with other gamers. I understood exactly the items, rooms etc they were stuck in. I could share stories and experiences, when that was lost I left.
  • 6 years ago I got out of MUDDing. The allure to participate in games similar to those H.S. D&D sessions was addictive. I could associate with other MUDD players, share info, tell stories, when that was lost I left.
  • 2 years ago I got out of FPS. The grandure of knowing of all the maps was addictive. I could associate with other FPS players, share strategies, tell stories, etc, when that was lost I left.

If you haven't gotten the drift great fiction makes a story teller out of you in the process of telling you the story.
That a truth in gaming, that's a truth in real life.
I really hope open interactive fiction systems develop into a valid medium for story telling and don't ever inhibit the "audience" from picking up the torch for future generation's sake.
P.S. This is an edited copy of a former comment I made for a story that may not see the light of day. But as in Zork when the lights go out and the grue comes you start back at West of House -- deja vu all over again.

Text Adventure Games Live! | 43 comments (36 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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