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Interactive Fiction Pre-Game Response

Today I played two interactive fiction games that were very familiar to me. I had previously been exposed to both of these games when I took EL 236 : Writing for the Internet. The first game that I played was called Pick up the Phone Booth and Die. As Chris noted in his blog entry about the game, it is rather easy to beat within 3 turns if you remember how to play it. You would think that the title would be enough of a warning to people, but from what I understand people that play this game always want to pick up the phone booth. It is simple enough that all you have to do is type MOVE BOOTH and you win the game. Ok so after reliving freshman year and EL 236 I went on the play 9:05, another blast from the past.

9:05 is actually one of the better games that I have played and I think it is a good one for beginning players. The key to this game is looking under the bed before getting started with the game and you will understand how interactive fiction works. Rule number one: you have to examine everything, no matter how trivial it may seem at the time. I always play these games with the mindset that everything has a purpose, whether it be to help advance me in the game, or to act as a McGuffin/diversion. If you choose to look under the bed, the ending is not a surprise, but for those who don't look are in for a great shock. Another reason I like this game is that the creator wrote it in such a way that he practically directs the player where he/she needs to go. 9:05 is a game that you play for the story rather than for intricate puzzles.

Zork I and Deadline were the other two games which I chose to play. The first thing that I noticed in Zork I was that you can't simply type X to examine something like in most IF games today. No matter how many times I play Zork I, I can never beat it, and believe me I have played it in three different Jerz classes. I do recall once making a map of the game to help me remember where I was going because the interface of the game is so complex. I could sit staring at my computer screen for hours and still not figure out how to unlock the grating. The hardest part for me to figure out is where to go once I have climbed down the canyon and have reached the end of the rainbow. It def. is a game for hardcored IF gamers.

I often like to think of IF games as being in the same category as those choose your own ending Goosebumps novels that were popular in the 90s. Apparently this genre has yet to subside because IF is still popular, and most recently the film Final Destination 3 came out with a choose your own ending DVD.

Below are a few links that may help those in the class get aquainted with the genre.
Helpful Hints for Playing Interactive Fiction

Getting Started With IF

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 7, 2006 1:59 PM.

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