Tag Archives: Interactive Fiction

Text adventure fun

This reading spent an enormous amount of time defining as well as distincting one thing from another, and I have managed to walk out of this being thoroughly confused as to what this reading was trying to express. I think a diagram showing how all the terms (Interactive fiction, hyperlink fiction, text adventure) were related and different would have been much more easily understood.
Montfort did express a desire for works of Interactive fiction to be studied more critically, however in the effort to define the form, he did little to motivate the reader the IF’s are worthy of being examined. I have gained a better understanding of what interactive fiction is, but have not been moved to think it warrants academic study.
When defining hypertext fiction he writes, “A hypertext fiction is a system of fictional interconnect texts traversed using links. Hypertext fiction also does not maintain an intermediate, programmatic representation of the narrated world, as interactive fiction does.” Maybe I’m not understanding fully what he means by intermediate programmatic representation. Does he mean something visual portraying the world of the work of fiction? If not, I don’t see how a body of descriptive text can’t present a vision of a world.
Throughout this reading I kept on thinking of the Legend of Zelda games. Some of them have intricate storylines, many of the riddles and puzzles Montfort mentioned, as well as the idea of “gaurd fields” in our previous reading? So does that game count as interactive fiction, or does the absence of the player inputting text disqualify it?
Lastly I was intrigued when he quoted Nelson and the idea of multiple voices being present. I tend to equate my own voice with that of the character in the game, and never bothered to really pay attention to the narrative voice being different from one that gives an error message.

Control and Interactive Fiction

One thing that always bothered me about “choose your own adventure” books was that I could always imagine solutions I was not allowed to try.   And in my mind, those solutions were perfectly valid, as after all, the book said nothing to suggest they would not work.   Interactive fiction in an electronic format takes this a step farther; you can try anything, but not everything will yield a reasonable result.   The ability to try things not listed for you is quite a leap in terms of changing the imaginative boundaries of the game.   Suddenly, it goes from being a story with selectable outcomes to a piece where the reader can truly exercise some control.   Still, only preprogrammed options will yield viable results.   You cannot “eat the cave,” and if you try to “eat the serpent” uncooked, you will be politely informed that “the serpent would probably not appreciate that.”   Modern graphics-based video games are yet another step in the direction of user control, but even in the most open of “sandbox” games, the user requires the permission of the creator’s rules to take actions.   If the game does not allow you to break the glass window of a building to avoid an obstacle, then you are simply going to have to abandon hopes to sneak past via the windows.   Interactivity clearly occurs, and on a more nuanced level than in past media, but it is limited by the rules.

Of course, the irony is that we’re limited by rules (physical laws, etc) in real life, and we can clearly imagine far more than we can actually do.   Our actions are further restricted by what we are willing to do, as described by social and moral conventions.   So maybe having limitations is necessary for a realistic experience anyway.