This assignment asks you to spend a couple hours, playing a handful of text adventure games, and then discussing your experience.
About the Assignment
- Students tend to divide pretty evenly between “This is kind of cool!” and “How can people STAND this kind of game!?” I’m expecting that kind of strong reaction, which is why I chose to focus on this kind of game.
- As I mentioned in the opening lecture, none of us has the same definition of fun; as Koster tells us in A Theory of Fun, if we only play the kind of games we’re already good at, we lose an important the opportunity to learn. So, approach this assignment with an open mind. (Feel free to ask someone to play the game with you, or look for hints online.)
If you have an iPad, install the Frotz app, which comes with a collection of interactive fiction games.
If you don’t have an iPad, or if you just don’t want to type on the iPad’s virtual keyboard, these games are also available to play through a web browser.
Here’s another gentle introduction to the interactive fiction genre:
- Sample each of three IF games (the list is below) for at least 15 minutes; after each game, blog briefly about your experiences. (You may want to save your blog entry in between games!)
- Choose one game to play for at about another 30 minutes. (If you happen to finish the game in that span, you can either play it again and try for a different outcome, or you can pick a different game.) Add to your existing blog entry, explaining why you chose this game, and describing your further progress.
- Deepen your experience by adding (to your existing blog entry) a reflective evaluation that demonstrates your ability to analyze a game. (Remember, I’m not asking for a review, and while you are welcome to say what you did and didn’t like about the game, whether you personally found the game “fun” is only looking at a text at the “mirror” level, so aim to spend a lot more time at the window and lens level.)
- Demonstrate your willingness to engage with your classmates, by posting comments responding to and/or linking to the reactions posted by your peers.
- Double-check that you have successfully created the two-way link.
When you write, feel free to try a “New Games Journalism” approach. Rather than simply describing the interface and the gameplay, try to capture, for the benefit of your reader, what was going on in your head as you experienced the game, as you tried to connect it to your existing experience, as you tried to connect it to Koster, as your opinions formed and changed and deepened. Did you get stuck, did you find a walkthrough online, did you ask a friend for help?
If you’d like a list of commands to try, and general pointers, this resource is indespensible:
Let the Games Begin
These titles are available in the iPad Frotz app, but you can also click the links below and follow the instructions for playing each game in just about any environment.