Ming the Mechanic:
Interactive Fiction

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Interactive Fiction2004-03-04 07:15
15 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Excellent article, Magic Words: Interactive Fiction and the 21st Century, about, well, Interactive Fiction. Which is the kind of text adventure games that were quite popular in the 80s. I first played the classic "Adventure" game in 1975. I still have my map of Colossal Cave lying around here somewhere, and remember a lot of the rooms. Another well-known series of adventures is Zork, which starts like this:
You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
And then you can essentially move in different directions by typing commands in very simple English. "Go West", "Open mailbox", "Pick up sword" and that kind of thing. And you explore various creepy and strange places and solve riddles and meet strange creatures. Or whatever the scenario might be.

Interactive text games might seem really ancient for kids today who are used to full motion 3D virtual reality. But it is an intriguing world of its own, stimulating other faculties of imagination. And it is in no ways dead, even though no games makers are making money on it. The article illustrates that well. There are thousands of titles, often made by enthusiasts just for the joy of it. They're often not really games, but more like stories you can walk around in and explore.

Now, if I actually had too much time on my hands, I wouldn't mind writing some interactive fiction. Or how about the possibilities of combining the Interactive Fiction style with navigating around a blog or a WIKI. Like hinted at on that site.
"You are at the title page of an Interactive Fiction feature. In the left sidebar you see a selection of text links which will lead to other pages within the article. A blinking cursor prompts you to make your selection."
Navigating the web might be more stimulating if you're at risk of being eaten by a grue in the dark.


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15 comments

4 Mar 2004 @ 09:44 by jstarrs : Looking forward to...
Interactive Non-Fiction ;0)  


4 Mar 2004 @ 12:38 by ming : You're in ...
Ming's weblog. There's an empty comment field on the screen, and an idle keyboard in front of you. There's a band of trolls approaching from a corridor to your right. ... or was that fiction, I suddenly don't know.  


4 Mar 2004 @ 15:54 by Ge Zi @24.126.196.158 : move cursor to name field - click ...
type ge.. zi.. - nothing happens
click on URL field, type blog.bbnj.us - nothing happens
click on subject, type move cursor to name field - click ...........

help - I'm in a curved universe without an exit........ hmmmm ....

guess I just learned something, I am really in a curved universe without an exit, at least not with one the periphery. Funny how this little exercise can bring such great cognition.
But yes, Flemming, I remember these games also. the first time I encountered one was with a customer who had a real computer - a DEC PDP 11, not this German stuff that I had worked on before - AEG 80-60 - huh!
One computer in an air conditioned room with serial terminals on the desks of the developers and running, as one of the mostly used applications, one of these text based adventure games. How long ago was that - only 20 years?
What the heck is a WIKI?
Oh yeah, I guess I'm on the verge of finding that exit.
And yes, why did I wait to call you for so long - did max first have to come visit you for that?
gunter  



4 Mar 2004 @ 16:34 by ming : Universes
Well, you were stuck in a curved universe, and you didn't find the trap door in the lower left.

Hey, I played Adventure on a teletype the first time.

And about what is a WIKI: {link:http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWikiWeb|here}  



5 Mar 2004 @ 06:47 by lugon @195.53.174.18 : contribution adventures
You're faced with the description of a real problem.
You find these three solutions.
Which do you prefer?
What don't you like about it?
Answers could be logged.
You could write "see other's answers" or "soa".
You may provide paths for others.
You face a dialog, being presented with smaller portions of the wiki, and what you write goes onto the whole wiki.
Thinking simulation.
Could we have many players at once?
Fascinating.  



5 Mar 2004 @ 15:25 by Ge Zi @24.126.196.158 : Re: Univeres
did not find that trapdoor, but the exit in the middle through the space fold.

Teletype - - - - what is that? ......

Just kidding, in college we had a single user pdp11 and when the terminal was in use we EDITED text on a teletype, actually onto a paper tape. these things were hard to correct, once a hole was punched, there was no way back, so we punched backspace characters and the program reading in the paper tape could interpret them properly - those were the days...  



31 Jan 2005 @ 02:29 by wolis @203.26.206.129 : Its here.. Creative Object World (COW)
A text-based (runs in any browser), free-form, multi-user virtual world for everyone.

Create stuff, paint it, describe it, explore others creations, buy and sell objects, chat with other live, interact with automated objects (COWScript).

I recently made a postman who delivers letter or other notes to users. I am also working on the radar command to graphically plot out your surroundings - unlike the map which spatially maps out all objects in your current location (north object to the top etc..)

Drop in some time and have some fun.

 



31 Jan 2005 @ 16:41 by ming : COW
Hey, that's fun. One could spend quite some time there. I couldn't get anything to do terribly much, but I guess that's because it needs to be developed.  


2 Feb 2005 @ 03:56 by wolis @202.6.138.33 : cowing around
Thanks for dropping in.. slowly but surely the regulars will grow.

One of the best parts is actually creating things - most things created by others are 'locked' so you cant get or paint them.

Try typing these commands into the Cmd: box
build a small wooden box
paint it
go to the box (this will put you inside the box)
create a small pink mouse
create a gigantic grey elephant
put the elephant on the mouse
pose the elephant as sitting

You get the idea :-)

You can write in things and describe things and face them north/south etc..  



2 Feb 2005 @ 12:57 by wolis @210.84.233.223 : We now have a website in cow
I have just made a wished for web site in cow (how recursive):
from the open field 'type start to get there quickly' take the paved street to the south and you will be in an amusement park.
There you will find a web site near the comic book. Go into the web site:

"You are at the front page of a web site..."

Now if you were more interested in marvle comics, go into the comic book instead and watch Hulk and Spiderman beat eachother up!  



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