Q:History of Interactive Fiction

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Phil Goetz

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Sep 12, 1993, 9:16:25 PM9/12/93
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Does anyone know the history of interactive fiction prior to
the Colossal Cave adventure? E.g. books published with multiple paths,
or at least different endings; movies like the one at Universal?
(_Murder She Wrote_) where the audience can influence the outcome;
interactive drama.

My advisor wants an overview of IF.
The major events in computer IF that I can think of are:
(I'll check spelling & dates on these at home; hopefully I've got the info.)

1970? Colossal Cave Woods & Crowther?
1976? Zork Marc Blanc & ...?
1981? Mystery House Sierra On-Line: Ken and Roberta Williams
(first graphic adventure)
???? ??? First animated adventure
(I have "Dark Castle" or "Castle of Doom" or something from The Logical Choice
around 1984)
1992? Dactyl Nightmare First immersive VR game (any earlier?)
1993 Hell Cab First CD-ROM adventure (any earlier? is Hell Cab really
an adventure, or more like a video game/Dragon's Lair?)

I honestly can't think of anything else that's been significant. Help?
(Yes, I've got refs to Talespin.)

Phil go...@cs.buffalo.edu

David Rees

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Sep 13, 1993, 5:10:51 PM9/13/93
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Hi. This is some information that I have from various sources.

In article <CD9q7...@acsu.buffalo.edu> go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:
>Does anyone know the history of interactive fiction prior to
>the Colossal Cave adventure? E.g. books published with multiple paths,
>

>1970? Colossal Cave Woods & Crowther?

I have 1975 for the Fortran version written for the DEC PDP-10 by
Crowther. This was later given major enhancements by Don Woods to produce
the "standard" Adventure.

>1976? Zork Marc Blanc & ...?

I have 1977 by Dave Lebling, Marc Blank, Tim Anderson, and Bruce
Daniels.

>1981? Mystery House Sierra On-Line: Ken and Roberta Williams
> (first graphic adventure)

1980 for this one.

>???? ??? First animated adventure
>(I have "Dark Castle" or "Castle of Doom" or something from The Logical Choice
> around 1984)

Hmmm, maybe Temple of Apshai, or Ultima if you want to call either of
them animated adventures. They both came out before 1984.

>1992? Dactyl Nightmare First immersive VR game (any earlier?)

Don't know about this, but I played it for the first time 2 weeks ago at
the World Trade Center in Boston. Pretty Fun.

>1993 Hell Cab First CD-ROM adventure (any earlier? is Hell Cab really
> an adventure, or more like a video game/Dragon's Lair?)
>
>I honestly can't think of anything else that's been significant. Help?
>(Yes, I've got refs to Talespin.)
>
>Phil go...@cs.buffalo.edu

You might want to mention the Scott Adams games. While not particularly
huge advances in IF, they did bring the games to the little people.
For earlier than 1975 references, you might want to discuss Weizenbaum's
Eliza program from around 1966 and also Winograd's SHRDLU which created a sort
of interactive environment.
Anyway, hope this helps. E-mail me if you have any other questions.

Sources:
Levy, Steven "HACKERS", 1984.

McNath, Gary "Compute's Guide to Adventure Games", 1984.

Byte Magazine Article on Scott Adam's from December 1980 issue.

----Dave (re...@cs.bu.edu)

Andreas Meyer

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Sep 13, 1993, 1:57:39 PM9/13/93
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In rec.arts.int-fiction, go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:

> My advisor wants an overview of IF.
> The major events in computer IF that I can think of are:

> 1970? Colossal Cave Woods & Crowther?

Probably more like 1975 or so.
I first ran ADVENT on the DecSystem-10 at Syracuse University
around 1976.

> 1976? Zork Marc Blanc & ...?

...Dave Lebling. Before it was scaled-down and became Zork, it ran
on mainframes as DUNGEON. (There was a great full-color Dungeon map
published in an issue of _DEC Professional_ a few years back).
Anyway, I seem to remember an issue of BYTE in 1980 that was devoted
to adventure-style games, and had a history of Zork in there.


I understand you're looking for milestones here, but I think that
the Scott Adams Adventure International games did alot to bring
to bring interactive fiction into the home. I had my memory of them
refreshed this weekend when I found my CP/M set of "Adventureland"
games. (Can you believe we used to think this was fun? :-)

Cheers,
Andy
--
==--
-====--- Andreas Meyer, N2FYE a...@hogpa.att.com
--==---- AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel NJ ..!att!hogpa!ahm
----

Kjetil Torgrim Homme

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Sep 14, 1993, 9:28:08 AM9/14/93
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A reasonable milestone to add is:

1984? The Quill First widespread adventure creation toolkit

(don't make this too American-centric, Level 9 is at least as worthy
of mention as Scott Adams. Just drop such "milestones" altogether, I
say)


Kjetil T.

Matt Ackeret

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Sep 14, 1993, 7:43:41 PM9/14/93
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In article <272nkr$l...@news.bu.edu>, David Rees <re...@csa.bu.edu> wrote:
>In article <CD9q7...@acsu.buffalo.edu> go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:
>>1981? Mystery House Sierra On-Line: Ken and Roberta Williams
>> (first graphic adventure)
> 1980 for this one.

Are you positive? They released Mystery House into the public domain
on their 10th Anniversary, and I could swear that was in '87 or '88.
--
unk...@apple.com Apple II Forever
unk...@ucscb.ucsc.edu These opinions are mine, not Apple's.

David Rees

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Sep 14, 1993, 8:06:12 PM9/14/93
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Hmmm, I got it from the book "HACKERS: Heroes of the Computer Revolution"
by Steven Levy. He has quite a bit about Sierra in it. According to Levy,
the game was first advertised in a magazine called MICRO in May of 1980.
He sites Ken and Roberta Williams in the back as "giving me extraordinary
amounts of attention", so I assume that he got all of his info from the
horse's mouth. The pertinent information is on pages 283-302. Incidently,
its a pretty cool book, I would recommend it to anyone interested in the early
days of computers. Hope this helps.
---Dave (re...@cs.bu.edu)

The Shadow is behind you

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Sep 14, 1993, 8:19:02 PM9/14/93
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>
> Hmmm, I got it from the book "HACKERS: Heroes of the Computer Revolution"
>by Steven Levy. He has quite a bit about Sierra in it. According to Levy,
>the game was first advertised in a magazine called MICRO in May of 1980.
>He sites Ken and Roberta Williams in the back as "giving me extraordinary
>amounts of attention", so I assume that he got all of his info from the
>horse's mouth. The pertinent information is on pages 283-302. Incidently,
>its a pretty cool book, I would recommend it to anyone interested in the early
>days of computers. Hope this helps.
>---Dave (re...@cs.bu.edu)
>

I read the same book....its been awhile,but I believe it was 1980.
I also agree that this book is when of the better ones written about
this topic(I've always been somewhat of a computer freak-------------)


I especially loved the first part of the book and the early computer
hacking that went on........

Signed The Shadow(I OWE I OWE,SO OFF TO WORK I GO......)


Jorn Barger

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Sep 14, 1993, 9:09:41 PM9/14/93
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[re Mystery House]

>I read the same book....its been awhile,but I believe it was 1980.

My 1st (and only) graphic adventure purchase was The wizard and the princess,
in late '80. It had just been released and was a huge hit, and I seem to
recall them saying that MH had come just before but was *much* smaller
and more primitive. (Like the PICTs weren't compressed, I think!)

These questions should be crossposted to rec.games.int-fiction if they
haven't already, coz those readers probably remember more/different...

Phil Goetz

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Sep 15, 1993, 12:04:11 PM9/15/93
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In article <272nkr$l...@news.bu.edu> re...@csa.bu.edu (David Rees) writes:
> Byte Magazine Article on Scott Adam's from December 1980 issue.
>
>----Dave (re...@cs.bu.edu)

I remember every article from that BYTE! It was the first BYTE I
ever bought, and it hooked me hopelessly on writing adventures
(and on Robert Tinney paintings - I love the cover).

I studied the code to Lost Dutchman's Gold and Pirate Adventure, and
went in one day from a clueless BASIC newbie who was afraid of arrays
to being able to write parsers, interpreters, etc. THAT was a
religious experience.

Phil

P.S.- I've got this so far:

1941 The Garden of Forking Paths, Jorge Luis Borges.
Describes a hypertext novel. (Jorge was the best.)

1963 Hopscotch. Julio Cortazar. A novel with 2 different orders
to read the chapters in. Hypertext, but not interactive.

1977 Adventure. Willie Crowther & Don Woods.

1977 Zork. Anderson, Blanc, Daniels, & Lebling.

1978 Scott Adams adventures
(which are more important than Level 9, in my opinion,
since they came first)

1980 Mystery House, Ken Williams.

1979 Zork I, Infocom.

1983 Deadline, Infocom.

I'd esp. appreciate pointers to written hypertext before 1980,
the first animated adventure, a date and company for Dactyl Nightmare,
and any CD-ROM adventure (meaning not that it was released on CD-ROM,
but that it included photographs and/or film clips and sound clips
in profusion).

Matt Ackeret

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Sep 15, 1993, 8:47:58 PM9/15/93
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In article <275q0l$7...@genesis.mcs.com>,

Jorn Barger <jo...@genesis.MCS.COM> wrote:
>recall them saying that MH had come just before but was *much* smaller
>and more primitive. (Like the PICTs weren't compressed, I think!)

I don't remember about Mystery House, but many games basically
drew themselves onto the screen.. Oh so maybe that's why you say "PICT"
[referring to a collection of Quickdraw commands on the GS or Mac?].. at first
I thought you just meant "pictures".. I'd never made that connection before...
that is, that what the old graphic games did was similar to what PICTs do.

Jacob Butcher

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Sep 16, 1993, 5:47:20 PM9/16/93
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go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:
>1963 Hopscotch. Julio Cortazar. A novel with 2 different orders
>to read the chapters in. Hypertext, but not interactive.

Actually, it's not even hypertext. If you examine the book more closely, I
believe the last third of the book is meant to be read interspersed with the
first part of the book as specifically ordered optional chapters. A cute
gimmick, but only distantly related to interactive fiction or hypertext.

~jacob

Al Petrofsky

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Sep 16, 1993, 5:24:23 PM9/16/93
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In article <CDB0K...@cbnews.cb.att.com> a...@hogpe.att.com (Andreas Meyer) writes:

...Dave Lebling. Before it was scaled-down and became Zork, it ran
on mainframes as DUNGEON. (There was a great full-color Dungeon map
published in an issue of _DEC Professional_ a few years back).
Anyway, I seem to remember an issue of BYTE in 1980 that was devoted
to adventure-style games, and had a history of Zork in there.

It was originally called zork, which was just a nonsense word that
could be typed quickly. At some point the name was changed to the
more descriptive "dungeon", a horrible decision that was rectified
when the game hit microcomputers. I remember this from a Status Line
"History of Zork" series.

In 1985, I played dungeon on a BSD system, BSD 4.1 I guess. I think
this was the fortran version, presumably compiled with f77. But the
only source for dungeon that I can find in ftp-space is for vms. I
tried compiling this with f2c, but to no avail. Before I put in a lot
of effort, does anyone know where the f77 port can be found?

-al

The Gern

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Sep 20, 1993, 4:09:19 PM9/20/93
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> ...Dave Lebling. Before it was scaled-down and became Zork, it ran
> on mainframes as DUNGEON. (There was a great full-color Dungeon map
>
>It was originally called zork, which was just a nonsense word that
>could be typed quickly. At some point the name was changed to the
>more descriptive "dungeon", a horrible decision that was rectified
>when the game hit microcomputers. I remember this from a Status Line
>"History of Zork" series.
>
>In 1985, I played dungeon on a BSD system, BSD 4.1 I guess. I think
>this was the fortran version, presumably compiled with f77. But the

The MDL original on the MIT ITS PDP-10s was called ZORK. Only after a
DEC field engineer 'lifted' it and it was converted to FORTRAN (a wimpy
parser resulted from this hack) was it renamed DUNGEON and was made
available in run-time object only from DECUS. About 1979, a MULTICIAN at
Rome Air Development Center reverse compiled the TOPS20 DUNGEON binary
into MULTICS FORTRAN, this code was later altered to run on DEC VMS
FORTRAN, MS-DOS, and others.

The DUNGEON that was available under BSD UNIX was a shell that ran the
PDP-11 run-time on the DEC VAX in PDP-11 CPU mode. It was much later
that some thread of the FORTRAN code was converted into C.


Cheers,
Gern

The world DOES revolve around Engineers - We chose the coordinate system!

Magnus Olsson

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Sep 22, 1993, 8:25:52 AM9/22/93
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In article <AL.93Sep...@imdvlf.acuson.com>,

Al Petrofsky <a...@imdvlf.acuson.com> wrote:
>In 1985, I played dungeon on a BSD system, BSD 4.1 I guess. I think
>this was the fortran version, presumably compiled with f77. But the
>only source for dungeon that I can find in ftp-space is for vms. I
>tried compiling this with f2c, but to no avail. Before I put in a lot
>of effort, does anyone know where the f77 port can be found?

It's already been converted to C (with the help of f2c), and the
C sources have been posted on Usenet (comp.sources.games, I think).

The C sources are available from many FTP sites. I believe they are
on ftp.gmd.de (and its mirror on wuarchive.wustl.edu); if you
can't find it there, try leif.thep.lu.se where it's available
as pub/Misc/dungsrc.lzh.

Magnus Olsson | \e+ /_
Department of Theoretical Physics | \ Z / q
University of Lund, Sweden | >----<
mag...@thep.lu.se, the...@selund.bitnet | / \===== g
PGP key available via finger or on request | /e- \q

Al Petrofsky

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Sep 23, 1993, 5:25:33 PM9/23/93
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In article <gern.43....@AI.RL.AF.MIL> ge...@AI.RL.AF.MIL (The Gern) writes:

From: ge...@AI.RL.AF.MIL (The Gern)
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1993 20:09:19 GMT

The DUNGEON that was available under BSD UNIX was a shell that ran the
PDP-11 run-time on the DEC VAX in PDP-11 CPU mode. It was much later
that some thread of the FORTRAN code was converted into C.

Well, that explains the lack of f77-acceptable fortran. Is the C code
available anywhere? Have you seen it?

-al

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