Interactive Fiction

I’ve been a bit quiet recentely – that’s because I’ve (re)discovered Interactive Fiction, what we used to call text adventure games in them (G)olden days.

For those of us who were already running around on the world in the eighties, with zits or not, this brings back fond memories of a prompt where you typed in lots of commands in a text window, few of which were accepted, to get another sparse room description. But you could do things to a story, you could decide what you wanted to do. Instead of just reading a book, you made the book.

Granted, some adventures were crap (especially those I played early on with my ZX Spectrum – I still remember beating my head against my wall trying to find the right command to move a log to a lake). Still loved ’em though, and once you’ve tasted the Infocom games, you’re lost.

Leather Goddesses of Phobos, hmmmm.

You can still play those games (if you can find them) using a modern day interpreter like WinFrotz for windows or Spatterlight for Mac that reads the z-code, which is the code that Infocom wrote it’s game in. One common platform to write to, with an interpreter on each OS – Avant-la-lettre future design !

Even though text adventures are officially dead, Interactive Fiction is not. A small community of readers and writers keeps experimenting and writing new compilers, new adventures, new ways of experiencing things…

Inform7 is now available, and let me tell you it’s a huge change. It lets you write your own text adventures in human-readable text which Inform7 translates to code. I’ve been plowing (actually, gliding) trough the manual and muttering to myself… I’m understanding this, that is not too hard, that makes sense…

I’m getting another creativity attack.

I’ll update this post later with more links and info.

For beginners, check out the Brass Lantern – a great site to start reading up on adventures. You can read more reviews and download adventures on the Baf site.