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Inform 7 and Text Adventures

inform7-logoI’m actually a little to young to have experienced the full wonder that was the Text Adventure era; being born in 1976, I could kind of understand what was happening in any given text adventure, but I didn’t really have the patience required to really interact with them. As Don Woods says in Jason Scott’s brilliant documentary, “Get Lamp”:

“You didn’t go into “Zork” to play; you went into “Zork” to do battle.”

Those early games were very unforgiving: they tended to kill the player a lot, and size limitations meant that a typical Infocom title would equal about a 30 page novella. We were standing at the beginning of the question of narrative in video games: what kind of stories can you tell with this medium? What were the advantages and limitations? If you’re interested in history, check out “Get Lamp“; it’s worth your time.

Last month, I went to the Berlin Mini Game Jam where people interested in making any kind of game–video games, board games, card games, they are all represented–meet up and try to make a game prototype in 8 hours. I knew that there were developer platforms out there to make text adventure authorship easy. I didn’t know which one to use; so, I went to Andrew Plotkin’s website to try and find out what he was using. If it’s good enough for Plotkin, it’s good enough for me. Due to some technical issues, I wasn’t able to complete the single room I was trying to do; but I got enough exposure to know that I want to work with this more.

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