Talk:Interactive fiction/Archive 1

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Image placement

I preferred the original placement and size of this image -- on my screen, the image is now right next to the TOC, and the effect is rather ugly. Why do you prefer it where it is now? Adam Conover 19:54, Apr 11, 2004 (UTC)

To Paul Panks

Paul, are you aware that you are breaking Wikipedia policy by repeatedly linking to Westfront PC? See Wikipedia:Don't create articles about yourself. Self-promotion is not acceptable on Wikipedia. This also applies to HLA Adventure and Westfront PC, which are now listed on Wikipedia:Votes for deletion. Please stop spamming Wikipedia immediately. Adam Conover 02:33, Jun 14, 2004 (UTC)

Dear Adam,

I was not aware of the self-promotion policy of Wikipedia. I apologize for posting Westfront PC links to the Interactive Fiction page. I do believe, however, that Westfront PC is noteable enough to be included on the list of "Noteable Works of Interactive Fiction". Therefore, my question is: is there a voting process for content on Wikipedia? If I truly believe something is worthy to be included (even if I wrote it), how do I vote for it to be included?

I didn't mean to cause any problems, I just wanted to suggest that I believe at least one of my games belongs on the list of "Noteable works of Interactive Fiction". I understand that Wikipedia is indepedent, so obviously if people vote and see that Westfront PC doesn't belong on such a list of Interactive Fiction, then obviously I must agree with them.



Paul -- All decisions on Wikipedia are made by consensus. One can call a vote at any time that one wishes on the discussion page of an article, but the process is most often carried on informally. I personally do not consider any of your games to be notable enough to warrant inclusion on the list, but I will back down if enough wikipedians express support for your games here. However, it is still not appropriate to add content about your own works or yourself (speaking of which, it took me half an hour today to list all your vanity pages on Votes for Deletion), so if you want your own work to be mentioned in any articles you will have to wait for someone else to add it. On another note, thank you for admitting to your mistake and being civil about it. Adam Conover 03:50, Jun 14, 2004 (UTC)
Possibly it may be better to have a list of IFComp winners, instead, thus sidestepping any blurred lines about the concept of 'notable'? For example, I wouldn't really consider Varicella to be particularly notable. It's good with what it does, but what it does is not particularly extraordinary, and it does not get frequently mentioned as an important example. I'd consider notable to mean either a work which opened up a certain sort of game, or a work which is the best example of a certain type of game, and frequently mentioned to represent it. I'd nominate Shade to be on the list, with Worlds Apart, Arrival, Anchorhead and LASH. I might even propose that we create a separate Text Adventure listing, to refer to old-school (puzzle based) IF.--Fangz 18:48, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)
We already have a list of IFComp winners in the Interactive Fiction Competition article, so we don't want to repeat it here. (Also, most of them aren't really that notable.) --Zundark 20:12, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)
In that case, it would make more sense to use the XYZZY Best Game winners.Victor Gijsbers 08:41, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
These are also available at XYZZY Award for Best Game.  Grue  08:46, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
Fangz -- I think that if we start arguing too much about notable games, we're going to get seriously POV around here. Personally, I consider Varicella to be eminently notable -- it's considered to be a high point of the form, and has even had scholarly articles written about it. Also, I believe that Interactive fiction and Text adventures really are synonyms -- remember, we're writing about the medium of interactive fiction, not the genre -- the distinction between old school and new school is one of genre, but they share the same medium. Adam Conover 23:32, Jun 14, 2004 (UTC)


Does anybody know how is called this kind of text based/if games?;

You are in the building.

1. goto west 2. take a key ...

Well, in general they are still called IF/text adventures. If you are asking about the more restrictive catagory[sic] of text games which only alow input from a menu, these are sometimes refered to as "Choose Your Own Adventure" or "CYOA" games, due to the similarity of the interface to that of a series of "adventure books" of the same name published in the 1980s. Iain 17:57, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I've also heard "Pick a Path (to) Adventure" and "Multiple Choice Adventure". Alan De Smet 18:22, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Thanks! And btw sorry about my bad English...

Those who don't righten bad English should say sorry. "Does anybody know how this kind of text-based/IF game is called?" lysdexia 10:21, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps even "Does anybody know what this kind of text-based/IF game is called?" :) Victor Gijsbers 09:17, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Victor Gijsbers' version above is correct English. BTW, it's great to hear your question, and you shouldn;t worry about speaking English perfectly. Wiki is about sharing and refining information, not about having to speak a language perfectly to participate.

Removing some "Notable works"

To keep the "Notable works of interactive fiction" section from growing without end and ceasing to be useful, I've added brief notes about what makes each game notable. This should also make the section more useful by providing context. Noting games that are "firsts" with particular ideas, gameplay, or technical details is important.

That said, I'm considering removing some. I fail to see anything noteworthy about the "Gateway" games. "So Far" is famous, but I'm at a loss to note why it's noteworthy. Similarlly for "Varicella"; it's famous but doesn't appear to do anything specifically noteworthy. I'm planning on removing them soon. Before I charge ahead, I'd be interested in hearing opposing views; or just document in the article why the game is noteworthy.

-- Alan De Smet 01:28, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I believe Varicella is notable for its complex and detailed game world, and for requiring the player to restart and try again countless times to finish it.

-- Kwi | Talk 09:51, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

Well, having to restart a lot of times to finish the game is not really an innovative feature. Grue 10:59, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I yoinked the entries in question. For the convience of anyone who wants to add them back, they follow.
To the specific case of Varicella, indeed, it's well respected for being a complex and detailed game world with lots of interactions. That might be good enough. I've still got nothing for So Far or the Gateway games. Also, I'm at a bit of a loss to note why Photopia is noteworthy, especially in light of A Mind Forever Voyaging. I've seen both cited as the first puzzle-less game. Clearly AMFV is earlier. I took a guess, I gathered that Photopia is a bit more pure in this regard an AMFV.
Oh, I'm planning to add Hitchhiker's Guide on the grounds that it was the first game (overtly) built on pre-existing intellectual property. Is Wishbringer the first game to have a book based on it?
-- Alan De Smet 13:45, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)
Photopia is noteworthy because it is more or less the most talked about IF-work, ever. (I'm not sure I agree that it is technically significant, though...) It is also probably one of the most influential works in modern IF.--Fangz 02:31, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

So Far is generally agreed to have set a high-water mark for modern IF. It would be a huge mistake to leave it unmentioned. It is listed on Stephen Granade's Timeline of IF [1], and is listed on Emily Short's IF Literacy List [2]. Its (contemporary) SPAG review [3] lists numerous ways in which it was innovative.
Seriously, though, I can't believe I'm even citing these sources -- everyone with a broad experience of IF knows that So Far is notable, just as everyone in the literature world knows Moby Dick is notable. And yeah, I can back that up:
So Far is one of those games that everyone is supposed to play. It's the source of numerous jokes and references in other games; it is the longest (and some would say the most serious and most angst-ridden) of Zarf's games, which earns it attention in and of itself. And, written in 1996, it is old enough to stand in the position of a classic in this brief community. -- Emily Short's review. [4]
Proof enough that it IS notable. If you ask why it's notable:
To say that it relies on symbolic vocabulary is to understate the issue. Jigsaw, for instance, relies on symbolic vocabulary as well, especially in the endgame. But Nelson's symbols are isolated and recognizable, and stand out from the landscape in their symbolic significance like a girl in a red dress. 'Note this!' they say. And they are organized with a tidy symmetry, perfect and mathematical, so that the meaning of anything unexplained may be worked out by its relations to other symbols and the oppositions between them. Plotkin's symbolism is merged wholly with the landscape; it *is* the landscape. The pieces are polyvalent and connotative, any given thing suggesting an array of connections and meanings, not denoting a single concept in its purity.
I am not sure whether any subsequent work has approached it in this regard. I am not sure that anyone has tried. - (ibid)
Proof enough for you? ;) Adam Conover 03:10, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm being overly sensative, but I fear I may have offended. My apologies if this is the case. I meant no disrespect to So Far, I was just unable to come up with a clear reason for why it was notable. I am but a hobbiest in the medium and my experience not yet as broad as it could be, I may have mis-stepped, my apologies. The reasons you give are pretty compelling. Re-adding So Far would seem logical, ideally with a brief summary stating points you quoted. I'm not sure how I would summarize those points, so I'm not prepared to attempt it myself. Alan De Smet 01:28, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)
Don't worry Alan, you didn't offend. My response was overly sarcastic given the subject. I am a hobbyist too (as all enthusiasts of interactive fiction are -- there are no professionals!), but I have spent a number of years following the community, and to me it seems practically self-evident that So Far is "notable", if not an outright classic. And as I'm sure we all know, it's frustrating to be asked to defend a point which one considers to be obvious. However, that doesn't mean that such points need not be defended! You were absolutely right to request citations showing that So Far is notable, and you responded graciously when I provided them. So no, you did not offend -- you acted entirely appropriately, to which I responded somewhat rudely. My apologies.
(I might suggest, though, that when you make such edits in the future -- removing items from lists and asking for evidence -- you inquire about the evidence before removing the items, as often their presence is the result of a prior consensus which other editors may resent being shaken up. Of course, you should also Edit Boldly -- it's really a judgement call in either case!) Adam Conover 18:58, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)
I took a stab at summarizing why So Far is notable in the article. I'm not real pleased with my summary, but I think it's important to have something to provide context. I'm hoping that context will discourage drive-by-adding of everyone's pet game. Hopefully someone else can improve my summary. Alan De Smet | Talk 01:28, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

Sample transcript

The current sample transcript is pretty lame, I think. It's hokey, and is more about Wikipedia than interactive fiction. I think the article would also benefit more from a transcript from an actual interactive fiction game. How does everyone feel about replacing it with a transcript of "Dungeon" (the public-domain version of Zork)? Adventure is another possibility, but Dungeon more accurately reflects the syntax used by modern IF. Adam Conover 19:03, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)

Dunno, I kinda like it :) Grue 19:26, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree it is fun, but it is a self reference, which theoretically we should be avoiding...Most usefull as a transcript, I suppose, would be something showing how a "typical" puzzle is solved. Iain 11:46, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've never liked the transcipt, so I would be glad to see it go. If Dungeon really is public domain then that's probably a good choice. --Zundark 21:06, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The transcript is a bit goofy but shows several concepts (natural language parsing, a simple puzzle, inventory, "winning") effectively. I doubt a real transcript could do so well, but I'm not against the idea. Alan De Smet | Talk 01:31, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)
I laughed when I read it; it's good. But an excerpt from a real game would be good too. Matt 04:48, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Is (recently added) Bedlam really a notable work? I'm an IF fan, and I've never heard of it... I certainly wouldn't think it's more notable than others not mentioned, like Adventureland or Jigsaw. (Now, Slouching Towards Bedlam, on the other hand...) -GregoryWeir 8 July 2005 17:59 (UTC)

In that era, most commercial IF games were ported to multiple systems, so a TRS-80 only game would seem to be of limited significance. Also, the other games on the list include an explanation of why they are significant. ManoaChild 03:28, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Removed. If someone has a good reason why it's notable, they can put it back in. -GregoryWeir 18:03, 9 August 2005 (UTC)


This was just added as a development system. It seems to be very new. Is anybody actually using this? ManoaChild 00:27, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

No. It was just announced on, and no one heard of it before.  Grue  05:37, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Inform or TADS?

Can we have more information on how to choose a game authoring tool that is right for you? It mentions for example Inform and TADS. Is one of those two easier to use or more effective? Or is one more popular or does one have a bigger or more active community of users?--Sonjaaa 07:06, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Neither is especially easy to use or effective. They're both extremely old, dating to the early '90s if not the '80s. I would suggest you look at some of the more modern tools. Deco 07:08, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
thanks, can you recommend one or two?--Sonjaaa 07:11, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Umm, that's completely wrong - both are actively developed and easy to use. I prefer Inform because it has excellent documentation and for some reason Inform games are more successful than TADS ones :) TADS 3 is said to be extremely powerful, but unfortunately it's not very well documented.  Grue  07:49, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I stand corrected. I hadn't heard anything from TADS since 1995, but it seems there in a TADS 3 in the works and a peek at the quick start guide shows a vast improvement since then. I was also going to suggest the ColdC or LambdaMOO engines, which incorporate sophisticated runtime-extensible prototype-based object-oriented languages. They're intended for multiplayer online text-based games, so they don't have TADS or Inform's infrastructure for traditional TAG gameplay, but with the proper infrastructure they can be applied just as well to single-player traditional TAGs. Deco 07:55, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I wouldn't know about such systems. But current IF development is focused almost solely on Inform, TADS 2 or 3, Adrift, and occasionally Glulxe, Alan, or Hugo. By using such systems, you guarantee that you will be able to do anything that you want to do (in 99.999% of cases) and have access to wide community support, and the assumption that most users would already to familiar with the system.--Fangz 14:35, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Glulxe is not separate from Inform. Glulx refers to a virtual machine; glulxe is the name of the standard interpreter for that machine; and Inform is the language used to compile games targeted at that virtual machine. The next release of Inform uses glulx as the default target, rather than the Z-machine. --Rpresser 22:09, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Risorgimento Represso

As impressed as I was by Risorgimento Represso, I'm not sure it is notable enough to be on the very short list of notable games. Any opinions? -GregoryWeir 21:46, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I didn't play it, but most likely it's not more notable that Slouching Towards Bedlam, which finished 1st in IFComp 2003. Slouching is notable for being the game with the highest Comp score ever, but I didn't play it as well, so I don't know if it's worth including.  Grue  07:24, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Removing QuantumLink Serial from list.

I've removed QuantumLink Serial from the list of notable works on the grounds that it isn't IF at all. IF is (by the current definition), " containing simulated environments in which players use text commands to control characters." Most notably, QLS wasn't software (it was written on the fly by Tracy Reed). Based on the description from QuantumLink Serial's page, it's more of a collaborative online fiction writing in which people beyond the author offered suggestions and guidance. Alan De Smet | Talk 20:54, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Remove Façade from Notable Works list?

Façade (Interactive Story) - The curent definition of IF is " containing simulated environments in which players use text commands to control characters." By and large that matches, but the only "control" you engage in using text commands is what dialogue your character will speak. Other actions (moving around the room, looking at things, hugging people) are all mouse controlled. While not strictly in the definition, I suspect most people would be surprised at IF that lacked text output. Facade lacks text output; all output is graphics and audio (primarily dialogue). Facade shared many goals with many works of IF, it's clearly trying to create a simulated environment. It's a fascinating experiment with ramifications for IF (and other types of gameplay). But I'm not sure it's IF. If Facade is IF, why isn't King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown and other early graphic adventure games that used text input? Alan De Smet | Talk 21:11, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Façade seems to be a ground breaking modern classic, from the reviews I've read. It seems such an important work that maybe we need to bend the rules a bit to accomodate it. --Salix alba (talk) 21:47, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
I removed it. Façade is an important step in computer game development. I suspect it will influence games of many different types for years to come. But it's not IF. If we weaken the definition of IF to let Façade in, we no longer have a useful definition. Alan De Smet | Talk 05:55, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
I support Alan De Smet on this point. — Adam Conover 14:16, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Overhauled formatting on sample transcript

A well meaning robot-assisted edit trashed the formatting of the sample transcript. The transcript used "blank" lines that actually had a single space to keep the paragraphs of the transcript in a single block (which is correct). This isn't the first time that this has happened. Relatedly, relatively few IF players these days are looking at monospaced fonts on their screens. Most modern interpreters support the nicities of modern displays, with proportional fonts, anti-aliasing, and the like. Indeed, for many people IF looks a heck of a lot like a page of text, say, a web page. So I formatted the sample transcript as just nicely formatted text, not code. I think it looks more like what you average user sees, it's resistant to accidents like the above. Seems like a win all around. On the down side, the blockquotes I've used for indenting aren't quite accurate. The text is indented a fixed number of spaces. The blockquotes also add errant whitespace above and below. I can't figure out how to get what I want out of Wikipedia's syntax and would appreciate any one else who can fix it. Alan De Smet | Talk 04:03, 9 May 2006 (UTC)


The description here says that "Photopia" was highly controversial, but the game's article does not descibe the controvery. Can someone add the nature of the controvery here and at the game's article? BarkingDoc 19:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Notable Works

It looks like there is decent grounds to include the superlatives in the "Notable Works," and I agree that the games should have a description of why they are noteworthy, but it would be very helpful if those citations could be included in the article. Otherwise it looks like POV to the casual reader: the supporting link should appear direct after each statement. BarkingDoc 19:42, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Adventure Game

This article covers almost exactly the same territory as Adventure game. ----Isaac R 05:24, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

  • Interactive fiction is a subset of adventure games, but there are many adventure games which are not interactive fiction (these days most commercial adventures aren't). Grue 06:06, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
    • I don't agree with your definitions, but I wont argue with them, because they're beside the point. Articles should be arranged for the convenience of readers, not to satisfy your personal definition of "correct" terminology. If the subject matter of two articles is almost exactly the same -- as it is in this case -- it makes no sense to have two articles. ----Isaac R 17:37, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
      • Huh? The definitions for "interactive fiction" and "adventure game" are clear and are distinct topics. If you want an example, Myst is an adventure game which is not interactive fiction. The interactive fiction uses text to narrate a story, while most adventure games use graphics and video. I don't know why you want to merge the articles, certainly IF community won't approve that. Grue 19:23, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
      • On the other hand, Text based adventure game should probably redirect there, because it's the same thing. Grue 19:29, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
        • I might be wrong but isn't the difference between other genres and adventuregames that adventuregames focuse on the story as the main element, unlike forinctanse puzzlegames or some of the hybrides. My definition of a pure adventuregame don't include myst as I think of it as a hybrid. Then again I'm not a expert in the area and my skills in english isn't nearly good enough for me to edit this article. Luredreier 16:36, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
          • Reading the article and then this discussion page it appears to me that "interactive fiction" has been used (by different people) to mean both a kind of text adventure and hypertext fiction, and that until recently each group was largely unaware of the others' usuage. That has to be changing though, because video and computer games are increasingly being viewed as a form of artistic expression, and as text adventure games become increasingly antiquated they're shifting from the realm of popular culture into the realm of historical and literary study. What both usages have in common, however, is that they emphasize the narrative aspects of the interactive story. This emphasis I think will become the distinguishing feature of interactive fiction (if it isn't already), and will include any pre-written verbal narrative presented electronicly that shifts form according to the choices of the reader. I won't be viewed, IMHO, as a genre of game as all single player text-based narratives will be grouped under the tern text adventure.

--Logomachist 07:48, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Purge non-English external links?

The External Links could use some pruning. The non-English links leap out to me as being of questionable value. The current non-English sites listed don't appear to be generally important; they fill the same niche as English-language sites already linked. As this is the English-language part of Wikipedia, these seem to be of questionable value. They seem better fitting to the Spanish and French versions (as appropriate. I'm not against foreign language links, but they should provide value beyond "Just like the link above, but in Spanish." For reference, I'm currently referring to "*SPAC, a free online newsletter in Spanish." "*Club de Aventuras AD (CAAD), the portal of the Spanish interactive fiction community." and "*Sur Terre, interactive fiction in German and French." (I think the list needs even more pruning than this, but one step at a time.) Alan De Smet | Talk 04:57, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

I redeleted the links to SPAC and CAAD for above reasons. I deleted the link to InformATE. Any reference to InformATE probably should go to the InformATE article, not an external web site. The InformATE article can link to the web site. InformATE is also awfully specialized; I'm not sure it should be mentioned here; it is better placed on the Inform page where it is already mentioned. Alan De Smet | Talk 22:30, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd like you to reconsider reinstating the spanisf IF sites links. It's true that this article is linked to its spanish wikipedia samesake, but the fact remains that this english article (unless I'm quite mistaken) is referenced by a more wide international comunity than the spanish one; hence the need for the spanish sites links. --Sarmas 22:20, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm not convinced. Following the logic that is the most widely linked Wikipedia, we would need to include links in every major language, something that would cause the list to balloon out of control. Even limited to English language links the External Links section is a bit out of control. For those interested in Spanish language information, there is a Español link to Aventura conversacional directly to the left of the article (for people using the default theme). It's reasonable for someone looking for Spanish language resources to go to the Spanish language Wikipedia to find them. Alan De Smet | Talk 02:48, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


I wanted to ask if Leather Goddesses of Phobos should be added to the list, and thought it might be a good idea to create, at the same time, a "general" section for such questions. Ever wonder 12:44, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Here's as good a place as any. :-) Anyway, ignoring that damn near everything Infocom published was noteworthy in some way, I don't think LGoP makes te cut. I'm pretty sure it's not the first racy IF. If you play the game, even in the "lewd" mode, at worst it's PG-13. The core game itself is Yet Another Scavenger Hunt (albet, that's part of the joke). It's not really discussed as an important point in the history of IF. In counterpoint, what do you think is noteworthy about LGoP that you think it might deserve listing? Indeed when we do add games, the initial "Why I think it's noteworthy" can provide the initial summary we need in that list. Alan De Smet | Talk 23:37, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Smell props...? No, seriously, I'm not sure I can or wish to argue strongly for the inclusion of LGoP, though I would have expected to see it on the list. I don't really know enough about IF in general (and much of what I do know is centered around Infocom) or about LGoP, which isn't on the rather short list of games I've actually tried. Still: If not the first racy IF (which does seem quite improbable), I understand it to be the most talked about and possibly the first attempt by such an "important" producer (and maybe by any large-scale commercial manufacturer of IF) to enter that market. Some aspects of it are certainly discussed today except from the raciness as such and it being part of the "Infocom canon" - the different modes and the possibility and method of choosing your sex (and the "smell things", whatever they were called)are the things that I think of first, but there may be more. Also, I think the fact that it is not exactly "pornographic" (though perhaps partly marketed as such) but rather part of mainstream IF may be part of what makes it noteworthy. It was probably part of what made it stand out at the time (though, admittedly, people would probably have been more surprised if Infocom had released hardcore porn, even in written form). Lastly, I guess it has some interest as part of the battle against graphic adventures (being, if I recall correctly, at least partly a response to Leasure Suit Larry).Ever wonder 13:06, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
By the way I have no idea why Leasure Suit Larry is a red-link (as it appears to me), there is an article.Ever wonder 13:14, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Oops... now I get it. Leisure Suit Larry. Still odd that I managed to spell it right several times when looking up the article but got it wrong twice here.Ever wonder 13:17, 2 July 2006 (UTC)


Any anonymous user drive-by added a link to Malinche without explanation. (I hate that.) I added some context. On one hand it's arguably an advertising link. On the other hand, to my knowledge, Malinche is the only existing business doing for-profit IF development as an active business venture. There is some debate over the quality of Sherman's work, but I believe he's publically claimed the business is profitable. He's pretty minor league, but these days so is all of IF. So I propose instead of just deleting as advertising, we add a short section on the current state of commercial IF. There isn't much, but there is some (Malinche, obviously, as well as 1893, and Emily Short's contracted project). Alan De Smet | Talk 22:23, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Malinche is the only distributor of IF for iPods and Cell Phones, though one may wonder if their porting results in a true IF experience. azazoth | 20:43, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it probably should be mentioned, but in PC Gamer magazine one of his games was rated 19% out of 100% by a fan of IF. So all it would do is make IF look bad...—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

City of Secrets

Jake Wildstrom did a good edit, removing some sketchy stuff and adding the useful information on Future Boy to the "modern" section. In the process he deleted the bit about Emily Short's "City of Secrets". I've readded it. I believe it to be relevant: it's the only modern documented case I'm found of a company (a band in this case) trying to invest in IF (for promotional reasons in this case). That it fell through is also interesting and may reinforce how difficult it is to mark real money on it. Maybe it's not useful enough, but I think it deserves a second chance and perhaps some discussion before getting deleted. Alan De Smet | Talk 21:27, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Sandbox thingie

I hope it isn't terribly wrong of me to just mention Wikipedia:Sandbox/Storytelling#Text adventure game - At War with a Crossword Puzzle which I recently started. Might be fun!Ever wonder 12:50, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Anybody Ever Hear of This?

Any room for mentioning this interesting but bizare work by Victor Thorn called Return to Eternity, it sounds interesting. Here is the Amazon article.

It's certainly interesting, but I'm not sure that it fits with the main focus of this article. Perhaps a more appropriate place for it is at visual novel. -Thibbs (talk) 14:50, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Infocom userbox

For anyone who's interested, I created an Infocom userbox. It looks like this:

>get all This user sorely misses Infocom and its works of interactive fiction.

The code to include it on a userpage is: {{User:DynSkeet/Userbox/Infocom}}
Feel free to use it if it strikes your fancy. -DynSkeet (Talk) 20:32, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"

While I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (computer game) is a great game, and it's an adventure game, it's not interactive fiction. I may be misremembering, but I believe the game relies heavily on graphics and (from memory) audio. Most of the interaction with the game is with the mouse, not text. If I've made the wrong call, please add it back and explain my mistake here. Alan De Smet | Talk 22:37, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Listing interpreters

--- There should be the interpreter GARGOYLES mentionned! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 08:45, October 22, 2006 (UTC)

I assume you mean the Gargoyle interpreter? It's a fine interpreter and the one I use, but it's not really relevant. No other interpreters are listed on this page. Oh, and a suggestion: you can use ~~~~ to sign your posts. Alan De Smet | Talk 02:29, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Weasel words

After looking at the article carefully, it occurred to me that (even though I am an IF fan myself) it fails to cite sources at some places and uses weasel words instead.

A fine example is the phrase "today, the games created by enthusiasts of the genre regularly surpass the quality of the original Infocom games".

Another example: "Infocom's games are now considered the classics of the genre, and the period in which it was active is thought of as the first golden age of interactive fiction."

Also, the "notable works" section is also affected. A "citation needed" is not enough to cover for phrases like "the game has earned notable praise for the vivid depiction ..."

As an IF fan, I know the above is very well true. But that does not mean that the article is immune to standard Wikipedia guidelines.

Therefore, I felt that marking the sections in questions with the weasel-tag is necessary. — Nikos 09:04, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

I've taken a stab at it, still quite a few unsourced claims left. I've cited a webpage by Alan De Smet, which I guess is pretty border-line, but I couldn't find any Wikipedia policy towards citing editors... Hrm. — Kwi | Talk 21:10, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia's guideline: "find a specific person or group who holds that opinion and give a citation to a reputable publication in which they express that opinion." The #1 source that jumps to mind here is the DM4, which I think fulfills the requirements. Also, the IF community is small enough so we don't need to cite BBC, in my opinion ;) — Nikos 04:31, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Other definitions of "interactive fiction"

As regards this:

Secondary Definition Sometimes Interactive Fiction is used to describe a method of writing whereby multiple authors contibute sections of varying sizes to a story begun by a single author, often times in an Internet forum or by submission forms on a website.

I've never heard of this definition before. Can anyone back it up, or provide a few sources? How widespread is this use of the term? Adam Conover 02:01, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

I haven't heard that definition used widely, but there is a LiveJournal community that seems to use the term in that way [5].

However, in literary academia, "Interactive Fiction" is commonly used to refer to hypertext fiction and sometimes Choose Your Own Adventure stories. Less commonly, it is used to refer to collaborative writing exercises in which the line between writers and readers is unclear.

Oddly, Interactive Fiction in the sense addressed in this wikipedia entry is largely unknown or dismissed in literary academia. Montfort's book Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction [6] is a at least partially an attempt to introduce the academic community to IF in the sense of "text adventures" and set up a framework for discussing it in terms of literary analysis. It's also a very decent history of the craft.

For the hypertext fiction-centric meaning of the term, Montfort lists the following references (among many others):

Bolter, Jay (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and The Remediation of Print (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

Howell, Gordon & Douglas, Jane Yellowlees (1990). The Evolution of Interactive Fiction. Computer Assisted Language Learning, pp. 93–109.

Moulthrop, Stuart & Kaplan, Nancy (1991). Something to Imagine: Literature, Composition, and Interactive Fiction. Computers and Composition 9(1), pp. 7–23. [7]

Naltrexone 08:22, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hmm. Perhaps we should change the "alternate definition" to something along the lines of "Interactive fiction is also occasionally used to refer to hypertext fiction"?

And yes, it is odd that interactive fiction is relatively unknown in literary academia, but I think you'd agree that this medium is still the one primarily associated with the term.

Adam Conover 17:19, Feb 20, 2004 (UTC)

On the net, without doubt, yes. But, yes, it's probably worth updating the "alternative definition" link. Would you like to or should I? Naltrexone 20:11, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I got it. Thanks for your help -- hope you stick around! A few of us are trying to build up the IF resources on the Wikipedia... check out User talk:Marnanel for our discussion. Adam Conover 01:26, Feb 22, 2004 (UTC)

Putting "alternate definitions" at the bottom of the article is bad practice, by the way (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Bottom links). I've moved it to the opening. –Unint 22:20, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

This article is all wrong: interactive fiction should not be limited to textbased formats but cover all media formats. Most importantly it is not a single tool nor linking method. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Leisku (talkcontribs) 02:56, December 20, 2006 (UTC)

You should use four tildes to sign your comments. The term "interactive fiction" was invented by Infocom to refer to the text-based games they produced. More than 25 years later, there is a great deal of tradition behind the use of this term. This is what people mean when they say "interactive fiction". You may want it to mean something broader, but it doesn't. Ntsimp 16:40, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
The article isn't all wrong; this is in fact one existing usage. There are multiple published books and articles using the term in exactly this way. This article summarizes what IF (by this one definition) is, how it came about, and where it is today. It's a good article and the name is accurate. There are other established meanings, but instead of expanding this article it would be appropriate to give them their own articles. For example, some people use "interactive fiction" as a rough synonym for hypertext fiction, which indeed has an existing article. In the event that two different fields need the same name, we'll rename the article to "Interactive fiction (video game medium)", put the new one somewhere similar ("Interactive fiction (hypertext)"), and turn this article into a disambiguation page. A general article discussing any interactive creative work doesn't seem particularly useful. It would need to stand on its own as an article, meaning it needs citations showing that the phrase is used in such a way, along with other facts like the history and development. — Alan De Smet | Talk 00:56, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

This article falsely limits interactive fiction only to text based fiction which is not right at all. Interactive fiction can happen in audiovisual media too using video, audio, images etc. it can be produced on various platforms: eg in radio, television, on the internet etc. Hence, this article is in dire need of rewriting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Leisku (talkcontribs) 14:18, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

My December 2006 comment above applies to your comment as well. Does it adequately address your concerns? — Alan De Smet | Talk 05:23, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Recent "fact" notation

Someone added a "fact" notation regarding alternate uses of the term "interactive fiction." A 2004 article in The New York Times began, "In 2001, an Internet game designed to publicize the movie A.I. inspired a new genre called Alternate Reality Gaming, or ARG, puzzle-centric interactive fiction that blurs the line between fantasy and reality." Charles Herold, "NEWS WATCH: GAMES; Blur Fantasy With Reality, And Wrap It in a Puzzle." 05 Aug 2004. A footnote in my DHQ article, "Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave" reads

The term interactive fiction has also been applied to hypertext literature (Howell and Douglas 1990), AI-based character simulations (Anderson and Holmqvist 1990), and, sporadically, as a synonym for “alternate reality” or “viral marketing” games (McGonigal 2007, 6 and

So that phrasing does need a bit of work. Dennis G. Jerz (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 20:40, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


What about adventure games with text parsers? Do those count as interactive fiction? Anything from Eric the Unready the King's Quest... Esn 22:07, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Per the definition given the in first paragraph, the answer is an unhelpful "maybe". As the article is written it focuses on games that use text as the primary input and output. By that definition King's Quest is an intermediate step between IF and graphic adventures with the text de-emphasized. But definitions exist that include graphic adventures in general, so by those definitions King's Quest would be definately included, but would wholly text parser free games like the games in the KQ series.. — Alan De Smet | Talk 01:29, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
The King's Quest games, up until the fifth, did have a parser. A parser described to me as "pretty damn lame", but still a parser. Civil Again 08:02, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

To me, anything with a story where the user interacts with the game is interactive fiction. Text-based interactive fiction should have its own article- they're text adventures. Text adventures is a subcategory of interactive fiction. This article seems to assume that interactive fiction = text adventures. While that is a common use of interactive fiction (well, among the people who still use the phrase!), that's not really what it means. Alinnisawest (talk) 22:28, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Alinnisawest that while most people think of "text adventures" when they speak of "interactive fiction" the term has a linguistically broader definition. I also believe that when most people speak of the sorts of games this article covers they use the term "text adventures." Although WP:GOOGLE applies, I find 1.49m hits for "text adventure" and only 753k hits for "interactive fiction," and I think this is strong evidence (look at the usage by country and city) as well. I feel as though "Interactive fiction" should be made into a disambiguation page with "text adventure" prominently featured at the top of the ambiguous list and others like graphic adventure game lower down. Then this article would have to be renamed "text adventure." I don't think that text adventures should be limited to text-only adventures, though. Visual games with parsers are still text-based and I would include in this article a substantial section on vector graphic games and even the early point-and-click games which still retained parsers.
Here I have made two points which should stand independent of each other. (1)I suggest this article be renamed "text adventure" and "interactive fiction" should be made a disambiguation page, and (2)Visual games with a parser should be added to this article as a subsection either way since they are distinctly text-based games.
Thoughts on either point? -Thibbs (talk) 15:27, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
The usage dates back to at least 1983 [8]. Infocom called it interactive fiction. The community currently producing new works is calling it interactive fiction.[9][10][11] Text adventures have 25 years of claim to the phrase. What's the harm in calling it IF? Someone looking for text adventure will get to the right place. Are there other things that want to be listed as interactive fiction? Apparently not, as there isn't a disambiguation link to them at the top of the article, let alone the several that would suggest the need for a dedicated disambiguation page. I think you're trying to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. As for adding more coverage of games with both text parsers and output, but also graphics, yes, perhaps the article should have more coverage of that. There already is some (see the Legend Entertainment section), and although not mentioned here, several of the later Infocom games did have graphics. — Alan De Smet | Talk 04:01, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
For future reference, when trying to use Google to establish the frequency of a phrase, put quotes around it. Searching for, say, text adventure will turn up pages that include "text" and "adventure", but not anywhere near each other. A more accurate study would be "text adventure" (247,000 hits) versus "interactive fiction" (525,000 hits). Ultimately it doesn't matter, as Google is an amazingly crude tool for establishing anything. All the results establish is that both phrases are in widespread use. We don't know what people are using them for. We don't know if one form is far more common in reliable sources. We don't know if the results are overly biased by modern usage, where 10 years ago te number might have been very different. — Alan De Smet | Talk 04:40, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
I am not concerned that someone trying to find information on what they call "text adventures" will be unable to find this article but rather that the article's name is unnecessarily vague. I am well aware that the community uses both terms in discussing the subject, but I seek to eliminate the distinctly existing problem of Gorgian rhetors surfacing (see example 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc.) to voice their very valid complaints of vagueness of the term. Without changing the name of the article to be more precise, it is entirely accurate to suggest that non-text-based adventure games (like Myst or Riven), interactive movies (like Gadget), interactive cinema (like Fahrenheit), or FMV-based games (like The 7th Guest) are also interactive fiction. I would like to limit the scope of this article to text-based games ranging from traditional text adventures to parsed-text video games, but to do this in a non-arbitrary manner I think the article's title should reflect the content more precisely. After all, by a literal definition, games like Doom would fit the category insofar as they are both interactive and fictional.
My use of the term "text adventure" should not be unfamiliar to anyone who uses the term "interactive fiction" and as Alan De Smet has suggested, there is a 25 year history behind the term. To those few who might be stymied by this change of term, I believe the disambiguation page would prove invaluable especially if the text-adventure definition of interactive fiction were prominently listed as at the top of the dab page.
Perhaps I am being too cautious. I realize that nobody would seriously expect to see Doom listed here despite the fact that it fits the literal definition, but I am concerned that as Logomachist has pointed out above,

"What both usages have in common, however, is that they emphasize the narrative aspects of the interactive story. This emphasis I think will become the distinguishing feature of interactive fiction (if it isn't already), and will include any pre-written verbal narrative presented electronicly [sic] that shifts form according to the choices of the reader."

I can easily imagine future problems involving games like Myst that are very divorced from text yet retain all other aspects of the text adventure genre. Ultimately I fear that an article on the topic of text-based games will become diluted by non-text games simply as a result of its imprecise name. I think this doubly likely if we add a subsection on the history of the term "interactive fiction" to the article as you suggest below. I actually rather like your idea and would be very interested to know the history of the term, but it will inevitably broaden the scope of the article to include all of the genres I had discussed earlier as well as non-text ARGs (see above). Perhaps a workable solution is not to make "interactive fiction" a disambiguation page but rather to use it more as a summary page (like this example) containing all of the genres I have discussed (possibly even briefly including first person shooters, &c.). Thoughts?
Thibbs (talk) 20:29, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
One more quick note: A good example of the threat which this article's title poses to the maintenance of its subject matter content as text-based games can be found at Category:Interactive fiction. Please note the large Visual Novels section as well as such non-text-based titles as Façade, Dark Seed, Dark Seed II, Portal, Zork Grand Inquisitor, Zork: Nemesis, etc. I feel that all of these titles would be inappropriate in this article (except perhaps for a brief mention of the non-text-adventure Zork titles) -Thibbs (talk) 16:04, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Well thanks to the slow rate of response I'm getting here I've had time to reconsider my position. While I still stand by everything I've said here, I have thought of a much simpler solution. The only real problem which exists (and it does exist) is that people unfamiliar with the genre jump in WP:BOLDly and create problems. While BOLDness is encouraged, I think it causes unnecessary hassle here. My alternative solution is to change the first paragraph such that dab links are included at the top to siphon off those who are looking for graphical adventures and secondly that the definition for IF be made as exact as possible, highlighted further, possibly by making it its own paragraph, and then placing it at the very top. Following this, I think Category:Interactive fiction should be given a definition at the top as well (as with Category:Cave geology for random example, but in greater detail). Perhaps the talk page should be edited also to include the definition clearly at the top and it could be maintained at this position by including it on a {{consensus}} flag. The only thing left, then, would be to come up with a consensus definition. I like the one currently given in the first sentence of the article, but I feel it is slightly too vague (I don't mean to gripe honestly, I'm just trying to fix future problems). The vagueness comes from the fact that by this definition, any keyboard-exclusive game could possibly be considered to issue text commands wasd-games and letter-input games like Bard's Tale could be considered IF too. I propose that the definition be updated to mention the parser. I think we can all agree that IF is defined by a parser, right? Any comments would be welcomed. -Thibbs (talk) 22:36, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Tweaking the definition seems like a good idea; as you say, one could include the Bard's Tale under some readings of the current definition. Perhaps we should mention that both the input and output strive toward (but may not achieve) non-constructed languages (that is natural and constructed languages)? The current introduction does include what I think are good DAB links to other meanings; I'm hesitant to cram them all into the first paragraph, let alone the first sentence. I suspect it will weaken the article. The article should start with the key definition, not other things. But I'm open to the possibility that it can be well done and I simply lack the imagination to craft it. — Alan De Smet | Talk 01:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
OK. This sounds reasonable. I guess we are agreed then to forget about my prior renaming suggestion, yes? I still think that the term "IF" is unfortunately vague but I suppose that as it seems to be a (somewhat) more common usage within today's community the term should remain. Logical argument to the contrary, it would seem, doesn't enter into cultural decisions. Darn you, meme theory! Perhaps mention could be made in your suggested "History of the term 'Interactive fiction'" of the prior history of the term "text adventure"? Anyway, I will apply what little imagination I have to the crafting of a tighter and more precise definition in the next few days hopefully. I'll post my suggestion here, of course, before altering the article so that we can gain a consensus before it is finalized. If this works the way I'm hoping it will, it should cut down on inappropriate suggestions of non-IF titles and at the very least it will provide an easy point of reference for editors to direct the voicers of such suggestion. Thanks for all the input, Alan De Smet. -Thibbs (talk) 18:41, 6 May 2008 (UTC)