March 31, 2004

My Experience with Interactive Fiction

For a Change, 9:05, and Galatea all were interactive. They all operated with restrictions as well, but while the first two games allowed movement, Galatea only offered a one-room setting and disabled a lot of the verbs on our handout. To compare the first two games to the latter, then, would be like comparing apples and oranges. However, I can honestly say that even though I played For a Change longer, Galatea was the most enjoyable. 9:05 was all right for a quick read, like a short story. I found it slightly annoying however that I was forced into an end, of which there were only two I believe. For a Change, on the other hand, is set up, according to the creator's notes, to be played in roughly two hours. After playing it for more than two hours though and feeling like I had just read a complicated novel, I was still not finished with it, and just wished that my brain would stop hurting.

Galatea was different in that it wasn't an adventure game at all. It was more like the author was having fun with words (although I doubt anyone could have more fun than the creator from For a Change) and more than forty endings, according to Dr. Jerz, can occur depending on the reader's questions and statements. I experienced several different endings in Galatea and only a little bit of overlap when I wanted to get a twist. I was fascinated how the program could respond to what I had said. It would often say, "You'd rather know what she thinks on the subject" when I tried to tell her something. This let me know that I could ask her about that subject. Also the building effect was great. For instance, when I read the placard and told Galatea that Pygmalion had committed suicide she grieved, but when I told her of the suicide before I read the placard (and so wouldn't have known about it) the program said, "You don't have anything to say on that matter." When I asked her about death after telling her about her artistís death, the game ended with her saying that she didnít know what purpose she had to live any longer and when I restarted and asked about death, she shrugged the question off. I found this if then playing fascinating.

When I turned her too many times she broke my wrist (I went back to see if I could somehow get away with it but she just kept hurting me). Then I restarted and tried to talk to her but left in disgust when I couldn't communicate what I wanted. However, I restarted and tried another avenue because the ending mentioned that I hadn't even touched her and I wanted to see the response after I touched her and left. I also told her that Pygmalion had committed suicide and she thanked me for telling her that when I said goodbye. An interesting ending was talking to her all night, sitting beside her on the pedestal, and thinking that "educating her is going to be a long but highly amusing project." A cool ending was her turning into stone fully, but the best ending so far was when she morphed into a sand sculpture, then wood, and then finally disappeared into a shadow.

Posted by JohnHaddad at March 31, 2004 02:34 PM

I never got the morphing ending... Emily Short has also written "Metamorphoses," which is a game that features a machine that can turn objects into wood, stone, organic, glass, and metal. One puzzle involves turning a rock into a sponge, then poking a hole in it, and then turning it back into stone so you can hang the rock on a hook.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 31, 2004 05:10 PM
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