The future of literature will rely on Interactive Fiction

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To use another metaphor, they are keyholes, fitted by the text for very specific keys. However, even if the key fits, the strategic progression of the game may not be affected at all. The openings, or keyholes, of the adventure game are therefore of two different functional kinds: those that advance the strategic position of the player and those that don't.

Cybertext 111

Finally some stuff I can wrap my head around. I guess it helps that a lot of the information Aarseth refers to in this chapter is a bit of a review from both Writing for the Internet and Video Game Culture and Theory, where I studied Interactive Fiction. However, I really like the passage above, because Aarseth perfectly explains how coding works without even referring to the action as parts of code. When I read this chapter, I immediately thought of MIT's new programming game called Scratch, where the users place together puzzle pieces in order to create code. It's still the whole "if...then" idea, but the puzzle pieces help kids (and adults) better understand why the "if...then" occurs. Dr. Jerz's video of Peter's test-drive through 9:05 exemplifies Aarseth's example as well. If you take a look at my old blog on Peter's adventure, I quoted Peter in saying "Drive car without crashing due to lack of Knowing what to say." Even though "drive car" is a logical response and fits with the code, it does not advance the gameplay, because of the rest of Peter's statement.

In my last blog, I argued that hypertext is just as linear as a book. But, if you consider interactive fiction to be a part of hypertext, I'd have to rethink my argument. In a text adventure, or even in just a regular old video game, you have a lot more freedom with how you advance your story. Sure there's usually a bit of a linear route with the main story line, but a lot of recent RPGs allow players to explore the world around them without focusing all or sometimes any of their energy on the main storyline. Even if Interactive fiction isn't as linear as regular fiction, I'd gladly argue that it's more valuable to society, because it's interactive. In fact, this is why Scratch is already such a widely successful programming tool--because it's interactive in it's teachings. And it's fun too.

If you ask me, the future of literature will rely on interactive fiction.



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