Stiffy Makane: The Undiscovered Country, is much more entertaining, and at
times, less offensive.
http://viceteam.bei.t-online.de/ (VICE... an excellent emulator still
being maintained for all Commodore systems)
I'm not so certain about apple games, never having owned an Apple myself I
felt uninclined to download one now.
Most games can be founds at www.c64.com for the Commodore 64, however most
of the old infocom classics are conveniantly located together at
www.commodorezone.com And of course there are those on the IFarchive.
1) That's a terrible insult to Keanu Reeves. He might be bad, but he's
not /that/ bad.
2) It would be a more accurate analogy to say that Kallisti does for IF
what Keanu Reeves does to the films he stars in. Or possibly that I did
to IF what Keanu Reeves did to acting. But I'm just being pedantic.
3) I wish I'd gotten paid as well as Keanu Reeves does. Or, indeed, at
all. Of course, many people would say that I got just what I deserved for
writing that game.
4) Writing Kallisti was, in fact, as terribly painful as playing it was.
I got the idea for it two weeks before the deadline. It was written in
two weeks. These two weeks consisted entirely of programming Kallisti and
working. There was very little sleep involved.
> Stiffy Makane: The Undiscovered Country, is much more entertaining, and at
> times, less offensive.
However, SM:TUC came in only one place higher than Kallisi in the IFComp.
And, much to my enjoyment, I pissed off the people I was intending to.
So even the author thought it was horrid, I appear to be very much in a
minority possition when I say that assides from appearing quite incomplete
and a little too liner it was a moderatly interesting concept. I thought it
was fun to talk to a woman about more then just 'sex' before having got to
sleep with her... then the second and third scenes were terribly
disapointing... and the first could've done with a lot more conversation
Okay, I thought it had potential all right! Quit looking at me like that!
PS If you look at it like that, anyone else notice a surprising resemblence
to Chicks Dig Jerks?
That's my fault. I posted the link as it appears on the heading of the site,
not the actual link. This should work:
Sorry about that!
Actually, when I rated it, I gave it a higher score than the one that
actually won the competition.
"TheCycoONE" <cyc...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> > Stiffy Makane: The Undiscovered Country, is much more entertaining, and at
> > times, less offensive.
> However, SM:TUC came in only one place higher than Kallisi in the IFComp.
> And, much to my enjoyment, I pissed off the people I was intending to.
s/pissed off/tortured until they typed QUIT/.
Out of curiosity, was there any particular reason behind this? Or was it
just a general shitting-in-the-drinking-fountain kind of urge?
Well, the game wasn't meant to be quite as unplayable as it turned out to
be. This was due to implementing and beta-testing the whole thing in two
weeks. I had to get my beta-testers (and believe me, none of the blame
for the games bugginess falls on them, they were all extremely helpful)
to test as I made the game. This wasn't ideal. If I'd had a few more
weeks, the first scene wouldn't have been such a nightmare to get
through. Not that I'm making excuses, of course.
> Out of curiosity, was there any particular reason behind this? Or was it
> just a general shitting-in-the-drinking-fountain kind of urge?
As I recall, you utterly hated the game. Strangely, you weren't one of
the specific targets of the game. And annoyance wasn't the /whole/
purpose of the game. I am, however, extremely proud of the review you
gave it. "It made me actively angry" is my second favourite quote about
the game after Adam's "In sum, KALLISTI fails on every level, including a
number of levels that hadn't previously been invented. It is almost
miraculously bad." I'll just mention that I think Galatea is one of the
few true pieces of art that IF has produced and my mark of respect to you
was not mentioning it as a source of inspiration in the credits.
So, confession time: Why I made the game.
It was a joke. I made Kallisti because I thought it would hilariously
funny. I mean, come on! Look at the concept: A hyper-serious, ambitious,
pretentious and, above all, pornographic game entered into the IFComp. It
was supposed to parody and combine all that is good and all that is
(conceived as) tawdry and bad about interactive fiction. High-minded
literature combined with porn.
OK, so this might not seem so funny, but I do have a twisted sense of
humour. The kicker was that the game would be entered seriously, as if
the author (me) intended it to be taken seriously. I wanted it to provoke
the maximum of discussion (in this sense, Kallisti was an utter success),
so I put in certain features that were intended to inspire discussion.
Firstly, I attempted to copy the conversation style of Galatea (I even
went so far as disassembling it, finding out about the debug verb that
opens up the debug window). As we all know, I failed miserably at that.
If I were to re-do the game (which I might, for posterity) I think I'd
scrap the ask/tell style of conversation and replace it with conversation
menus. But I digress. I also put it into third person past tense,
seperated error-messages from game and, in the AIF arena, tried to push
sex simulation forward (which I probably failed at, too).
Now, although I was making it serious, I wanted to put in some clues. So
I made the writing as awful as possible. You have no idea of the mad,
sleep-deprived grin on my face when I wrote that line about "pondering
socio-sexuality". The sleep-deprivation definitely helped in honing my
prose to its worse. Believe me, I don't really write like that. In fact,
I find it hard to believe that people could believe that /anyone/ could
write like that. I took Anais Nin as my model, twisting and deforming her
style until it was the hideousness that you see in the game.
Then there's the Discordian stuff. The name of the game is "Kallisti",
which should be a huge clue. Kallisti means "to the prettiest one" in
Greek, and was written on the golden apple (one turns up in act 3).
There's a whole story about Eris and the golden apple, which led to the
Trojan war. You're probably aware of it. Now, there's a semi-serious
religion called Discordianism, which I enjoy. It's popularised by the
Illuminatus! books by Robert Anton Wilson and has a kind of underground
fame on the internet (fnord). There's other references to this within the
Kallisti was intended to shock the IF establishment, which always seemed
to regard AIF with disgust and also seemed to have a very high-minded
concept of itself (at least, the IF as art camp did). It was these
sensibilities that Kallisti was supposed to tweak. And it did. I picked a
bad year, though - it wasn't a great idea to enter it into the same
competition as SM:TUC. An aspect of the joke was also on the AIF
establishment: Finally a serious, literary AIF game gets entered into a
mainstream IF forum... and it's awful.
In fact, there's only one specific person I was trying to annoy. And the
identity of that person and the reasons for it that aren't going to be
I count Kallisti as a partial success. And what surprises me most is that
some people really, really liked it. Without getting the joke. During the
voting period, I got an email from one guy (a mainstream IF author) who
had given it a 10. And various people have confessed to giving it decent
scores in the competition.
I'd apologise if I didn't still find the whole thing so funny.
And I really love being able to call myself "the author of the
most hated game in IF" (although Amissville might have taken that title
by now... I didn't follow the IF newsgroups whilst I was at university
since I couldn't get Usenet access). However, I'm now over my "shitting-
in-the-drinking-fountain kind of urge" and I'll be entering a game into
this years IFComp (under an assumed name) if I get it finished on time.
Who knows, if it does good, my reputation might be salvaged.
James A Mitchelhill
> Well, the game wasn't meant to be quite as unplayable as it turned out to
> be. This was due to implementing and beta-testing the whole thing in two
> weeks. I had to get my beta-testers (and believe me, none of the blame
> for the games bugginess falls on them, they were all extremely helpful)
> to test as I made the game. This wasn't ideal. If I'd had a few more
> weeks, the first scene wouldn't have been such a nightmare to get
> through. Not that I'm making excuses, of course.
Eh, well, I know how that goes. My entry wasn't exactly what I desired of
it either, and some of that was as a result of doing it too fast as well.
> > Out of curiosity, was there any particular reason behind this? Or was it
> > just a general shitting-in-the-drinking-fountain kind of urge?
> As I recall, you utterly hated the game.
I did. The explanation makes me feel a bit better -- I really wanted it
to be a joke, but the game was so unflinching that I feared you meant all
that stuff. Yargh. (FWIW, I found your review on the if review site
perfectly sane, and it did occur to me to wonder why someone who was
capable of writing it would have turned out something like Kallisti.)
> Firstly, I attempted to copy the conversation style of Galatea (I even
> went so far as disassembling it, finding out about the debug verb that
> opens up the debug window). As we all know, I failed miserably at that.
You succeeded well enough to make me additionally uncomfortable playing
it. Whether this is good or bad is up to you to determine.
> Then there's the Discordian stuff.
Yeah, I did gather that, in conversation with various other people.
> Kallisti was intended to shock the IF establishment, which always seemed
> to regard AIF with disgust and also seemed to have a very high-minded
> concept of itself (at least, the IF as art camp did).
This is why I answered your post -- because I'm curious about the
apparently increasing desire to piss off, insult, and berate IF authors
collectively and individually. Various people seem to have decided that
the IF establishment (whoever the hell they might be) needs to be
shocked. And I don't get it.
First, there *is* no establishment; there are just some people who happen
to have been more vocal than others.
Second, I don't see that there's that high-minded a "concept of ourselves"
going around out there. On the one hand, yes, there are people who talk
seriously about the genre and its possibilities. But taking your work
seriously is not the same as taking your*self* seriously; many IF authors
I know have published a certain amount of joking and even self-mocking
material, and very few have struck me as especially egotistical.
And what's so terrible about caring about your hobby? There are people
who sink great amounts of time, talent, money, and effort into model
trains, or quilting, or cooking; they subscribe to magazines, belong to
groups, go to classes, admire mentors, not because they think what they're
doing is the most important thing on the face of the earth, but because it
gives them pleasure and suits the skills they happen to possess. If they
are fortunate, it also gives pleasure to those around them -- the friends
who receive the quilts or play with the trains or eat the food. Doing as
well as they can at these things is not a matter of egotism, but a matter
of respect for themselves and for the other people who will benefit from
what they do.
As for the other -- I admit that AIF doesn't tend to get a lot of
attention on r*if, but I don't think it is universally regarded with
disgust. Some people consider it not their thing, but that's not always a
moral or even an aesthetic judgement: people find different things
entertaining or arousing. Some of us (for instance) would prefer to curl
up with a romantic novel. I don't think that confers superiority one way
or the other. But it's not (mostly) that AIF gets bashed on r*if; more
that it just doesn't get discussed much, and the reason for that, I think,
is that AIF is trying to do something different from what most other IF is
trying to do. Discussing its success or failure on the same terms may not
always be possible.
...anyway. I'm a little relieved to know that I wasn't personally a
target, or whatever; and I'm a little bewildered still by the larger
issue. But you may not be able to explain that.
Anyways, thanks for writing such quality IF, Emily. Not that much romance
happening in AIF, at the moment.
Hmm, I'd like to comment on this.
I'm not one of the "movers and shakers" of the IF community, but I
don't think there's any _real_ antipathy towards AIF. Speaking for
myself only, I see _problems_ in AIF, but don't see it as an
illegitimate form of expression. In many ways, the task you all are
working on is harder than traditional IF, because AIF is, by its very
nature, character-driven, and writing good characters ranges from
difficult to impossible.
Just for reference, the problems I see with the medium:
1) Erotica != pornography. There seems to be a lack of authentic
eroticism in IF -- the mainstream IF sees it as an AIF thing, while
AIF material tends more towards the pornographic. The distinction
may not be clear here, but I see eroticism as something which does
not depend on, and is often hampered by, explicitness. The most
erotic movies I've seen are awfully light on nude shots, and the
most erotic literature I've read has no reference to female
reproductive organs. I've read and seen porn as well -- honestly,
pornographic videos I find mechanical, and closer to 'insructional
videos' than 'arousing', and as for pornographic text -- well, when
you describe action explicitly, you get clinically detached, which
is more repelling than anything else, and the end result is not so
much "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (some passages of which are
quite erotic) as "Naked Lunch" (which is about as repulsive as a
This I see as a problem of the medium really. It's _hard_ to avoid
explicitness in IF, because the parser insists on precise
action. This is really fairly detaching at the best of times and
fatal in erotic material. I somewhat doubt eroticism would work in
IF except in a cutscene.
2) The whole damn motivation thing. Porn doesn't do it well either,
but IF is especially weak because making a rich, well-defined
character in IF takes about 500 times as much effort as doing the
same in static fiction. What motivates your character, and is there
more to them than sex? Wandering through a world of nymphomaniacs
works for porn, but it doesn't work if you're trying to make a
sophisticated work, unless you're Stanley Kubrick.
These sound like querelous bitchiness, but I think they're at the core
of why AIF is easy to trivialize. It's regarded as closer to
pornography, which isn't really much of an art form, than eroticism.
Admittedly, as written above, erotica is hard to do. I'd like to see
it actually happen in IF, and if you all can do it, I admire that.
+------Archbishop, First Church of Mystical Agnosticism------+
| A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems. -Alfred Renyi |
| Jake Wildstrom |
> First, there *is* no establishment; there are just some people who happen
> to have been more vocal than others.
Hmm. I'm not entirely sure those are different things.
> Second, I don't see that there's that high-minded a "concept of ourselves"
> going around out there. On the one hand, yes, there are people who talk
> seriously about the genre and its possibilities. But taking your work
> seriously is not the same as taking your*self* seriously; many IF authors
> I know have published a certain amount of joking and even self-mocking
> material, and very few have struck me as especially egotistical.
I'm not saying the people had high minded concepts of themselves, only
that the discourse around IF seemed to be going in that direction.
> As for the other -- I admit that AIF doesn't tend to get a lot of
> attention on r*if, but I don't think it is universally regarded with
Around the time I wrote Kallisti, there had been a couple of threads of
RAIF from AIF authors requesting help, which had resulted in quite snarky
attitudes from various people. I think it's quite interesting that there
are so very few sex-scenes in mainstream IF as compared to mainstream
> ...anyway. I'm a little relieved to know that I wasn't personally a
> target, or whatever; and I'm a little bewildered still by the larger
> issue. But you may not be able to explain that.
Possibly not. Above all, Kallisti was the result of my sense of humour,
which can be a little esoteric at times.
> My guess is that James was hoping to pull off something like
> that: Dazzle those Ecco-reading would-be erudites IF-players and authors
> into believing that his game was really 'beyond' somehow, and do really well
> in the competition. He would have felt so marvelously superior after that.
Not exactly. It would have been damn funny though. Plus, a higher
standing in the comp would have resulted in more discussion, which was
what I was aiming for.
More than a high placing, I was hoping to get the golden banana of
discord (appropriate, no?). In the end, Kallisti ended up having
something like the 5th highest standard deviation.