Posts Tagged ‘ Marco Innocenti ’

Interactive Fiction Competition: Andromeda Awakening and Blind

Like a lot of people, I still have fond memories of old text adventures. You know, the games like Zork, that describe your surroundings to you with text. You enter commands like “go west”, “examine the vase”, or “hide wig under troll”, and the game responds with more text explaining the results. Though text adventures stopped being commercially viable decades ago, they are still being made today by a dedicated community of enthusiasts. Now usually called “interactive fiction”, a name that reflects an interest in the literary possibilities of text that responds to the reader, these free games are often better than the ones people used to pay for. The biggest event of the year in this community is the annual “IFComp“, which accepts any interactive fiction games with the caveat that they should be completable within two hours.

I’ve drifted away from the interactive fiction world in the past decade or so, but every couple years I try to use the IFComp as an opportunity to get involved again. This time, it looks like I really will succeed: 15 days into the 45-day voting period, I’ve played 5 of the 38 entries. I’ll get to slightly less than half of them at this rate, but I’m pretty happy with that. And, of course, I’ll be reviewing them here.

If you are new to text adventures and interested in getting started, they can be a little confusing at first. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources out there to explain them. And while some games are specifically aimed at beginners, probably the best thing you can do is check out the IFComp games. Since they’re intended to be shorter works, and they all contain walkthroughs to help you out when you’re stuck (either in standalone text files, or with the “HELP” or “HINT” commands), you can learn a lot by exploring as much as possible and then turning to the help when needed. The IFComp games range from unplayable messes to masterworks, so start out by trying out the winners from past years.

Also, of course, I’m not the only person reviewing this year’s games. A lot of other discussion can be found from the relevant IFWiki page. I recommend Emily Short’s reviews, which are very well-written and often focus on interactive fiction as a narrative tool.

Below the fold, (slightly spoilery) reviews for Andromeda Awakening and Blind.

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