Emily Short in 2010.
Emily Short is an interactive fiction (IF) writer, perhaps best known for her debut game Galatea and her use of psychologically complex NPCs, or non-player game characters. She has been called "a visionary in the world of text-based games for years", and is the author of over thirty-five works of IF in addition to being chief editor of the IF Theory Book. She wrote a regular column on IF for Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
A number of Short's works have won acclaim at the XYZZY Awards, an annual popular-choice award for interactive fiction. Her work has been described by reviewers in terms that range from "mesmerizing" to "frustrating". Her 2003 work City of Secrets was originally commissioned by a San Francisco synth-pop band, but after they left the project, she completed it on her own.
While many of Short's early games were written in Inform, she later experimented with a variety of formats. One such format was Versu, an engine for plot-heavy and story-rich interactive fiction that Short helped develop, and which was later scrapped by Linden Labs, the company owning the engine. Other formats include Varytale, for which she developed the game Bee, and a custom engine by Liza Daly (with help from the company inkle) for the game First Draft of the Revolution. Both formats use an interactive fiction engine based on hyperlinks.
Short has played a major role in the development of Graham Nelson's radical new interactive fiction development system, Inform 7. Her more conspicuous contributions include writing most of the 300+ programming examples in the documentation, and creating two full-length demo games for release with the Inform 7 beta.
Selected IF works
- Galatea (2000; winner of the 2000 XYZZY Award for Best Individual NPC and Best of Show in the 2000 IF Art Show)
- Metamorphoses (2000; 2nd place at the 2000 Interactive Fiction Competition, Best Writing in the 2000 XYZZY Awards)
- Savoir-Faire (2002; winner of XYZZY Awards for Best Game, Best Puzzles, Best Story, Best Individual PC)
- City of Secrets (2003; winner of the XYZZY Award for Best NPCs; Runner-up for Games' Best RPG/Adventure 2004)
- Floatpoint (2006, winner of the 2006 Interactive Fiction Competition, winner of 2006 XYZZY Awards for Best Settings and Best NPCs)
- Counterfeit Monkey (2012, winner of XYZZY Award for Best Game, Best Setting, Best Puzzles, Best Individual PC and Best Implementation)
- Ryan, Marie-Laure. (2006). Avatars of story. U of Minnesota Press.
- Stuart, Keith (5 Jun 2015). "Lonely planet: the solitude of open-world games when the story is over". The Guardian.
- Alderman, Naomi (22 Sep 2014). "The magic of words opens a whole new world of fun". The Guardian.
- "Emily Short Member Profile". Interactive Fiction Database.
- Short, Emily (15 June 2016). "Text Adventures For People Who Hate Guessing The Verb". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
- "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2002". XYZZY news. XYZZY news. 2002. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2006". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
- "City of Secrets".
- Nutt, Christian (14 Mar 2014). "The end of Versu:Emily Short Looks Back". Gamasutra.
- "Bee". Dan Q.
- Hamilton, Kirk (24 Sep 2012). "Write (And Re-Write) Letters Of Intrigue In This Fantastic Free Game". Kotaku.
- Smith, Graham (9 May 2014). "Informing You: Text Adventure Tool Inform 7 Has Updated". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
- Mullin, Eileen (2000). "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2000". XYZZY news. Eileen Mullin. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- "Emily Short: Galatea". Electronic Literature Collection Volume One. Electronic Literature Organization. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- Parker, Marnie. "2000 IF Art Show". IF Art Show. Marnie Parker. Archived from the original on 6 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- Musante, Mark J. (2000). "6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition Voting Results". Interactive Fiction Competition. Interactive Fiction Competition. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2003". XYZZY news. XYZZY news. 2003. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- McDonald, Thomas L. and Bennett, Dan. The Electronic Games 100. Games. Issue 196 (Vol. 27, No. 10). Pg.58. December 2003.
- "12th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition". 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- "XYZZY Awards Historical Results". 2013. Retrieved 2016-01-05.