Remember interactive fiction? Text adventure games? Infocom? Zork? No? A little?
I blathered on about it a month or so ago on That Which is Known. Go ahead and give that a listen if you’re so inclined. If not, Interactive Fiction are games where the input and output are both text, telling a story. Do you remember Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books? Sort of like that.
What’s up with Interactive Fiction?
Those who donate to my Patreon have been hearing me go on about this for a while now, but basically I used to play around with making interactive fiction games in the 90s. It was more of a hobby than a commercial prospect back then, too – IF games died out as soon as computers gained enough processing power to reliably present graphical applications.
As a writer who liked games but had no talent for the visual arts, though, they were perfect for single-person projects. I never finished anything, but for me it was more about coding-as-puzzle. Can I make the game do what I want it to? Can I figure out how to make this happen? I remember coming up with my own text parsers and OCEAN personality-trait focused NPCs, just to see how efficient I could make it.
Back into Interactive Fiction
Now I’m working on games again, exploring the new tools available, and regaining familiarity with old ones. It’s a hobby, a side-project at best, maybe a way to make something fun that ties-in to my books. I don’t know yet.
What I do know is that “finishing projects” is a skill I’ve picked up in the last twenty years. To that end, I’ve submitted my first game, Deprivation, to the IntroComp.
The requirements of IntroComp are deceptively simple: All entrants must submit the beginning of a new, never before seen work of interactive fiction that is not yet complete and for which the ending is somewhat uncertain. The introduction can be as short or as long as the author likes, so long as it is 1) a working, playable game and 2) interactive fiction. Only introductions to games which are slated for non-commercial release may be entered in the competition.
So I started a project, submitted it, and now I get to see what people think of it. If you want to give it a go and play the other 5 entries as well, you can get them over at the IntroComp site. Register while you’re there! Vote!