(none) Quintin Stone - Interactive Fiction
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[ Interactive Fiction ]

What is interactive fiction? It's sometimes shocks me to think that there may be an entire generation growing up on computer games without even the slightest exposure to classic interactive fiction. I suppose the case could be made that EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online, and other online massively multiplayer role playing games are a type of interactive fiction, but I tend to dissent from that opinion. Because classic interactive fiction is based upon the idea that the "fiction" in the name refers to the written word. (As such, you could say that online text games such as MUDs and MUSHes are interactive fiction writ large.)

Interactive fiction is more or less synonymous with "text adventure game". Though saying so dates me, these types of games were extremely popular back in my early days of gaming. Any true veteran gamer will immediately recognize the name "Zork" (one of the earliest and most famous of these games) and "Infocom" (the company best known for creating them). The genre is perhaps best known for its "find all the treasures to win" style of game, though this was by no means all inclusive. As interactive fiction matured, a wide variety of games were developed. Science fiction, fantasy, suspense, mystery, comedy, horror, romance. Probably the only thing they all had in common was problem solving (though there may even be a few exceptions to that). Some puzzles were easy, some puzzles were hard, some puzzles were excrutiatingly impossible to solve because they defied all semblence of logic. Nearly all of them tested the limits of your reasoning and imagination (and very often your patience).

I can't remember exactly how many of my own text adventure games I made. There was one I developed in the 8th grade as a computer class project (written in BASIC on an IBM 8088). There were a number I created on my own time on our home Atari 8-bit computer, writing my own crude parser to handle user input. Eventually my involvement with IF faded and was replaced by purely graphical games.

In 2001 on Slashdot, they had an article on the annual Interactive Fiction competition, which first brought to my attention that this form of storytelling/gameplaying was still alive and kicking. And so when I was sitting in front my computer with absolutely zero desire to play any of the games I had installed, I remembered that I'd meant to try some of these new generation of IF games out and see how they played. And so I did. That's what's led me to create this page and start development on a new IF game of my own. It's too late to submit it for the 2002 IF competition, but it placed third in the 2003 competition. See the links below.

Eventually I may be putting together my own review & "best of" pages. I've just included a link to my reviews of the 2002 and 2003 competition entries.

For more information on IF, please visit any of the following links.

Interactive Fiction links:

IF Games
The IF Ratings Site
Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive
The IF Competition
Brass Lantern, a site devoted to IF
The interactive fiction archive
Nick Montfort' ten recommended games for IF newcomers
Tril's list of the best of (freeware/shareware) IF
Emily's Short's suggested playing list (which includes Scavenger, by yours truly)
Sam Kabo Ashwell's suggested playing list
The Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games and their newsletter
The XYZZY response page
The PLUGH response page

Scavenger (my first game)

IF Authorship

The interactive fiction competition home page
A HOWTO on writing interactive fiction games
The rec.arts.int-fiction FAQ
Cloak of Darkness - getting started in IF
Crimes Against Mimesis - an IF authorship guide
Tips for first time comp entrants
First-Timer Foibles
Craft of Adventure - articles on IF authorship
How to Write a Great Comp Game

My Reviews:

The 2004 Interactive Fiction Competition
The 2003 Interactive Fiction Competition
The 2002 Interactive Fiction Competition
My review of Theatre, by Brendon Wyber
My review of Babel, by Ian Finley
My new scoring system, WTF

These pages Copyright © 2004-2008 — Contact me at stone@rps.net