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September 6, 2006

EL405 I have no patience for IF

This might get rant-y. Sorry in advance...
So far, I have absolutely no regard for interactive fiction. I'm so angry right now that I can't get any of these games to work. I tried the Phone booth one and won, but that didn't take long because I just got so ticked off that I typed "kill" and it took that as "kill phone booth," and I won. Here's proof:


These other games, though... I have no patience with them. I try to remain open-minded and calm, approaching each one with a fresh view... (I just came from yoga, for crying out loud; and I have a lovely minuet playing.) I get about four commands in and I can't DO ANYTHING. I say to go a direction, it says I can't. I say to open something, it says I can't. I say to use something and it says it doesn't know the word "use" (do we not know transitive verbs?) Etc. By the time I get it to DO SOMETHING, the screen has scrolled up so far that I can't remember what I was trying to get it to DO in the first place because in the meantime I was frustrated and just mashing keys.

All of this reminds me of when you're just trying to find a human being to speak to, but you have to go through the automated telephone system first... After hanging up on a recording about grant and loan options, I usually just start pressing buttons until some secret thing opens up and a real live person picks up. When they do, I usually feel like crying just because I'm so happy that an actual person is there. Success.

Are there codes I need to know? Special commands? I don't know what the hell I'm doing to begin with, and I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere in starting the game over. And over. And over. And over. At one point in the Leather Goddess game I typed "kill self" just to see what would happen and I died, sure enough. Nice to know there's always that option, I guess. Haha.

I've got them all open in tabs right now on my browser, but I'm not really interested in going back to play any of them because I'm purely exhausted with the idea that I need to type the exact words that the game is looking for before I get anywhere. I'm far more gestural with my language. Is this a vocabulary complement in disguise? (Yeah, right.)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at September 6, 2006 8:09 PM


I will agree that there is a steep learning curve for most IF games, Karissa. Usually, your best bet is to carefully examine the description of the "room" and try interacting with anything suspicious.

Some IF games do a terrible job of recognizing commands that seem like common sense in the given situation. If you really get stuck and just can't figure it out at all, try peeking at the game code to find out what commands will work.

Posted by: ChrisU at September 6, 2006 10:42 PM

I've learned that verbs of being are a no-no, and so is assuming that conjunctions will be understood. Oh, and I haven't had much luck with indirect objects either.

Posted by: Karissa at September 7, 2006 10:03 AM

It is strange that in order to complete this part of this "New Media English Course" you have to use next to no real English. Not even simple sentences... just commands.

Maybe you should make a game that requires you to use complete sentences with proper English.

Posted by: Mike Rubino at September 7, 2006 11:14 AM

It has been my experience that when playing IF games it is sometimes best to leave them and then come back later when you have cleared all of your thoughts. It can be frustrating when you sit forever and can come to no resolve about the game. Just remember to keep your commands as simple as possible. Overthinking is sometimes your greatest enemy.

Posted by: Leslie Rodriguez at September 7, 2006 12:59 PM

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