Scoring implementation

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Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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I've been thinking. There's been a lot of discussion lately about the
(lack of) scoring in some games:

> score
Life doesn't work like that.

I'm toying with the following:

> score
Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.

Now, it may look like it, but there are not simply four tasks to
completing the adventure, but maybe something is triggered when you
enter a certain area for the first time. Okay, let's say:

--- Begin Example ---

Seedy Dive
The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
stumble in the near darkness. There is a bar along the west wall. A
door the office is set in the north wall, and the exit is south.

There seems to be an empty spot at the bar.

> sit at bar

You sit down, but the bartender ignores you. A man in a black overcoat
and large brimmed hat walks up to you, drops a note in your lap, and
leaves quickly.

> read note

"Outsider,

We know that you are on the island alone. If you wish to make a
beneficial acquaintance, come to the East Docks tonight at
midnight. You will not regret the meeting.

- A potential ally"

--- End Example ---

And at that point, the new task would be marked in the score. Maybe
storing the score in an array, with each item one of two strings
associated with a particular task - an uncompleted string and a
completed string.

Does this sound at all plausible? I think it's much more literary. Any
thoughts?
--
Zachery J. Bir - zb...@indiana.edu
http://seven.ucs.indiana.edu/~zbir/index.html

Jason Compton

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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Zachery "Tigger" Bir (zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:
: I've been thinking. There's been a lot of discussion lately about the

: (lack of) scoring in some games:
:
: > score
: Life doesn't work like that.
:
: I'm toying with the following:
:
: > score
: Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
: thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.

: Does this sound at all plausible? I think it's much more literary. Any
: thoughts?

Yes--I think you've worked out a good compromise. It avoids the
now-grating "Life doesn't work like that" but avoids assigning a dreaded
numerical value to the quality of life. And I like the idea that the
score is relative to what you've accomplished. It helps you take stock of
just what has happened that's important and what might need to be
accomplished. Yes, it could be misused and make a game very linear and
prodding, but I think it could be implemented well.

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (847) 741-0689 FAX
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha WWW - http://www.cucug.org/ar/
'I said, "You wouldn't understand." Take what's yours, be damned.'


Jason B Dyer

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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Zachery "Tigger" Bir (zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:
: Does this sound at all plausible? I think it's much more literary. Any
: thoughts?

It worked for Moonmist.

Jason Dyer
jd...@u.arizona.edu

Paul O'Brian

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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On 11 Dec 1996, Zachery Tigger Bir wrote:

> I'm toying with the following:
>
> > score
> Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
> thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.

I think "Moonmist" used a variant of this. If you have the "Masterpieces"
CD, or LTOI 1, you might check this out and see if it's what you're
shooting for.

Paul O'Brian obr...@ucsu.colorado.edu
"It makes no difference which one of us you vote for! Your planet is
doomed! DOOMED!"
-- Kodos

Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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ama...@scws3.fas.harvard.edu (Aaron Mandel) writes:

>
> So, Jason Compton (jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com) is like:
> : Yes, it could be misused and make a game very linear and


> : prodding, but I think it could be implemented well.
>

> The obvious pitfall to avoid would be the "well, you're playing IF so you
> should already know something interesting is going to happen to you"
> assumption... for instance, at the beginning of The Wizard Of Oz, you
> don't want
>
> > SCORE
> You have not yet met any friendly companions, and have not defeated the
> evil witch.

Exactly, which is what I saw as wrong with Moonmist. It told you all
the goals you'd be after. Here's what I see:

----- Begin Example -----

[beginning stuff snipped, but no commands entered]

> score
Let's see: You've been mugged.

> i
You have no possessions.

> score
Let's see: You've been mugged, and your wallet is missing.

> search garbage
You poke tenderly through the garbage and find your wallet, sans
money. [You just fulfilled a goal]

> score
Let's see: You've been mugged and you found your wallet.

----- End Example -----

and so on...

>
> Aaron
>
> "I find Aaron's posts not very amusing; maybe they're a bit too weird
> for my taste."
> - Dipanjan Banerjee, punctuation error corrected O-

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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Jason Compton (jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com) wrote:
> : > score

> : Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
> : thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.

> : Does this sound at all plausible? I think it's much more literary. Any
> : thoughts?

> Yes--I think you've worked out a good compromise.

And it should be quite easy to code. (In Inform, I'd make a bunch of
score objects, and move them into a "current_tasks" or a
"completed_tasks" object as appropriate.)

> It avoids the
> now-grating "Life doesn't work like that" but avoids assigning a dreaded
> numerical value to the quality of life.

So for us reprobates who don't want *any* scoring system, how would you
like the game to respond to a "score" command? Just "I don't know the
verb 'score'?"

How about "You tell me."? (I bet *that* would get awfully irritating
awfully quick. :-) I may have to start using it...)

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Jason Compton

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
: Jason Compton (jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com) wrote:
: So for us reprobates who don't want *any* scoring system, how would you
: like the game to respond to a "score" command? Just "I don't know the
: verb 'score'?"
:
: How about "You tell me."? (I bet *that* would get awfully irritating
: awfully quick. :-) I may have to start using it...)

That's the price to pay for being a trend setter, I guess. :)

How does Witness react to it? How about Deadline? I believe it just says
it doesn't know what a 'score' is. Now, you could look at those games
and say "Well, you only have one goal, to catch the killer." But you
could say that a number of scored games have specific goals, and that a
number of events in Deadline and Witness are progressive acts that should
earn you some points.

If there's no score, there's no score. It's not necessary to berate the
player for it.

Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> writes:

>
> On 11 Dec 1996, Zachery Tigger Bir wrote:
>
> > I'm toying with the following:
> >

> > > score
> > Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
> > thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.
>

> I think "Moonmist" used a variant of this. If you have the "Masterpieces"
> CD, or LTOI 1, you might check this out and see if it's what you're
> shooting for.

I _knew_ I had seen it before. Thanks! Yes, that's basically what I
plan to do, only it would change and expand as the game progresses,
rather than give you all the goals at once.

>
> Paul O'Brian obr...@ucsu.colorado.edu
> "It makes no difference which one of us you vote for! Your planet is
> doomed! DOOMED!"
> -- Kodos
>
>

--

Eli The Bearded

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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Jason Compton <jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com> wrote:
>Zachery "Tigger" Bir (zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:
>: I've been thinking. There's been a lot of discussion lately about the
>: (lack of) scoring in some games:
>: > score

>: Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
>: thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.
>Yes--I think you've worked out a good compromise. It avoids the

>now-grating "Life doesn't work like that" but avoids assigning a dreaded
>numerical value to the quality of life.

Yeah, it is nice. I'd probably just do something like:

> SCORE
Really, do you think the auther would be so pedestrian as to
give you a score?

> YES
Well if you really think life is incomplete without one, what score
do you want?

>> 4000000000
Very well. Your score is now four billion. Hope you're satisfied.

> SCORE
You have scored 4000000000 points out of a possible of 4000000001.

> G
You have scored 4000000000 points out of a possible of 4000000002.

> G
You have scored 4000000000 points out of a possible of 4000000003.

Elijah
------
actually I am using score to measure style instead of tasks achieved

Aaron Mandel

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
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So, Jason Compton (jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com) is like:
: Yes, it could be misused and make a game very linear and
: prodding, but I think it could be implemented well.

The obvious pitfall to avoid would be the "well, you're playing IF so you
should already know something interesting is going to happen to you"
assumption... for instance, at the beginning of The Wizard Of Oz, you
don't want

> SCORE
You have not yet met any friendly companions, and have not defeated the
evil witch.

Aaron

Julian Arnold

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Dec 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/11/96
to

In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, Zachery Tigger Bir

<URL:mailto:zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>
> > score
> Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found the
> thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the island.
>
> Now, it may look like it, but there are not simply four tasks to
> completing the adventure, but maybe something is triggered when you
> enter a certain area for the first time. Okay, let's say:
>
> [...Snipperoony, neighboureeny...]

>
> And at that point, the new task would be marked in the score. Maybe
> storing the score in an array, with each item one of two strings
> associated with a particular task - an uncompleted string and a
> completed string.
>
> Does this sound at all plausible? I think it's much more literary. Any
> thoughts?

I like this a lot. It would be quite amusing if, for example, the
meeting was a set-up by the baddies, and afterwards:
>SCORE


Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found
the thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the

island. In fact, your one "meeting" proved to be a trap
courtesy of Mr Bigg-- you barely escaped with your life that
time.

Maybe the command should be changed from SCORE to DIARY or HISTORY
though. :) Actually, this reminds me of the Epilogue of "Tapestry."

Jools
--
"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand
ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me
from ever completing anything." -- Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"


Bob Adams

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Dec 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/12/96
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In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, "Zachery \"Tigger\"
Bir" <zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> writes

>
>--- Begin Example ---
>
>Seedy Dive
>The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you

Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
acceptable in a text adventure these days?


--
Bob Adams
http://www.amster.demon.co.uk


Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/12/96
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Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, "Zachery \"Tigger\"
> Bir" <zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> writes

> >--- Begin Example ---
> >
> >Seedy Dive
> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you

> Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
> acceptable in a text adventure these days?

Yes. It's your choice whether to play it.

--Z

Bob Adams

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Dec 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/12/96
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In article <ant11235...@arnod.demon.co.uk>, Julian Arnold
<jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> writes

>I like this a lot. It would be quite amusing if, for example, the
>meeting was a set-up by the baddies, and afterwards:
> >SCORE
> Let's see: you've been mugged, you found your wallet, you found
> the thief, but you still haven't made any contacts here on the
> island. In fact, your one "meeting" proved to be a trap
> courtesy of Mr Bigg-- you barely escaped with your life that
> time.
>
>Maybe the command should be changed from SCORE to DIARY or HISTORY
>though. :) Actually, this reminds me of the Epilogue of "Tapestry."

It is also very much like the "Musings" in Journey, which I thought was
a nice idea at the time.

Matthew Russotto

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Dec 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/12/96
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
}Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
}> In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, "Zachery \"Tigger\"
}> Bir" <zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> writes
}
}> >--- Begin Example ---
}> >
}> >Seedy Dive
}> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
}
}> Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
}> acceptable in a text adventure these days?
}
}Yes. It's your choice whether to play it.

Both _Shogun_ and -Leather Goddesses of Phobos_ not only accept the "f-word",
but give you game points for it in at least one instance.

Matthew Daly

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Dec 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/13/96
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jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason Compton) writes:
>Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
>: Jason Compton (jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com) wrote:
>: So for us reprobates who don't want *any* scoring system, how would you
>: like the game to respond to a "score" command? Just "I don't know the
>: verb 'score'?"
>:
>: How about "You tell me."? (I bet *that* would get awfully irritating
>: awfully quick. :-) I may have to start using it...)
>
>That's the price to pay for being a trend setter, I guess. :)
>
>How does Witness react to it? How about Deadline? I believe it just says
>it doesn't know what a 'score' is. Now, you could look at those games
>and say "Well, you only have one goal, to catch the killer." But you
>could say that a number of scored games have specific goals, and that a
>number of events in Deadline and Witness are progressive acts that should
>earn you some points.

There are multiple levels of situations in which you wouldn't want to
(or wouldn't be able to) give out scores on demand:

1) There is a single goal, and a single path to the solution exists,
but the process of telling you "you just did something right" gives
away too much of the ultimate solution. (Effectively, Zork III
takes this route by giving you the score at the beginning of a "quest"
instead of when you actually get the "treasure" at the end.)

2) There is a single goal, but multiple paths to the solution, and
there is no good way of saying "There are two ways to kill the
wizard, and you're 80% of the way to one method and 60% of the way
to the other." (King's Quest VI is an example of how they try to
put in a score anyway, to their detriment IMHO.)

3) There is a single goal, but some of the subtasks might be
performed by either you or an NPC. As an example, imagine a new
version of Enchanter where you are an entry-level magician accompanied
by a non-magic-using adventurer NPC. Part of the game logic might be
that the adventurer is smart enough to solve the puzzles that don't
involve spellcasting, and then share his inventory with you. Again,
a simple numerical rendering is odd: "You are 80% of the way to the
goal, although you only did 50% of that advancement yourself." In
effect, since Sergeant Duffy uncovers the killer in Suspect regardless
of your efforts, you could say that that game falls into this category
in an extreme way. :-)

4) There are multiple possible goals, and the user chooses which
goal to achieve. For instance, imagine that playing a hand of
bridge is a part of your game, and you have a hand that can win at
3NT. You award X points to someone who bids and makes 3NT. But
how many points do you award to someone who bids 2NT and makes an
overtrick? How many points to someone who bids 5NT but comes up
a trick short (taking more tricks than the "ideal" case but not
winning the contract)? How about someone who doubles his opponents
who bid 3NT and setting them by several tricks (making lots of points
above the line but coming no closer to winning a rubber)?

5) There are multiple possible goals, but the game doesn't know
which one you've chosen. For instance, imagine a game where you
are a politician in the middle of being bribed by a corporation.
During the course of the game, you are constantly provided with
the choice between being corrupt and being in league with the
police, gathering evidence for a big bust. Or you could play
down the middle, reporting some bribes but sneaking away some
others in hopes that the police don't notice. The game doesn't
really know what your goals as a player are until you get to the
point of turning over full evidence, partial evidence, or making
a getaway to a Carribean hideout. In the meantime, the game
couldn't even make a intelligent guess as to how well you're doing.

Right now, I'm designing a game which has elements of (2), (3),
and (5), and the concept of scoring is going to be very important
to me. At the moment, I'm leaning toward giving the player some
ability to know the full state of the world and let her interpret
to what degree that state was brought about by her actions. But
no numbers, and the mechanism will be a little more complex than
typing SCORE (although not more difficult than reading a newspaper
in the game).

>If there's no score, there's no score. It's not necessary to berate the
>player for it.

Amen. (Sorry in advance if someone accuses you of being "preachy"....)

In addition, there's no need to berate the player for thinking that
there should be a numerical score and a clearly known upper score.
Life also doesn't support "again" or "undo" as such, but that's no
reason to strip them from I-F parsers.

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I don't buy everything I read ... I haven't
da...@ppd.kodak.com even read everything I've bought.

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.

Bob Adams

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Dec 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/13/96
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
<erky...@netcom.com> writes

>Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>> In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, "Zachery \"Tigger\"
>> Bir" <zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> writes
>
>> >--- Begin Example ---
>> >
>> >Seedy Dive
>> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
>
>> Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
>> acceptable in a text adventure these days?
>
>Yes. It's your choice whether to play it.
>

How does one know that a game is going to contain bad language _before_
one sees it on the screen? Just look for anything written by you, per
chance?

I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the
highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.

Ad...@beachyhd.demon.co.uk

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Dec 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/13/96
to

Hi Zachery!

ZTB> --- Begin Example ---
ZTB> Seedy Dive
[...]
ZTB> --- End Example ---

ZTB> And at that point, the new task would be marked in the score. Maybe
ZTB> storing the score in an array, with each item one of two strings
ZTB> associated with a particular task - an uncompleted string and a
ZTB> completed string.

This sounds just like the scoring system used by Magic Toyshop.. It seems to
work very well there..!

.\dam. [Team AMIGA] //\ Ad...@beachyhd.demon.co.uk \//
> Homepage at http://www.rdainfotec.demon.co.uk/adam

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/14/96
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Matthew Daly (da...@PPD.Kodak.COM) wrote:
> >If there's no score, there's no score. It's not necessary to berate the
> >player for it.
>
> Amen. (Sorry in advance if someone accuses you of being "preachy"....)

Now I want to put something like this in my next game:

> SCORE
There is no score in this game, you jerk. Life doesn't have a score.
Fiction doesn't have a score either. We're trying to plumb *depths* of
*literary possibility* here, not spin a counter in one corner of your
screen. We're *trying* to say something about *humanity*, goddamnit, and
not incidentally blow your socks off, if you don't flat-out fill your
*underwear* in sheer *shock at my poetic fire*. You want a *score?*
Here's your SCORE, you subliterate moron: FOUR out of SEVENTY THOUSAND,
WHICH GIVES YOU THE RANK OF NOT WORTHY TO PLAY THIS FUCKING GAME!

> TAKE DIAMOND
Taken. [Your score has just gone up.]

> SCORE
Drop dead.
[Hit any key to quit]

%_

Neil K. Guy

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Dec 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/14/96
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Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:

: How does one know that a game is going to contain bad language _before_


: one sees it on the screen? Just look for anything written by you, per
: chance?

"Bad language"? You consider the word "piss" to be deeply shocking? Wow.

: I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the


: highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.

And I don't see what allegedly "bad" language has to do with high
standards. People use all kinds of words in real life. Unless you're
wanting to write bowdlerized watered-down pablum, guaranteed not to offend
conservative politicians, I don't see how language choice is going to
affect the "standards" of games at all. Novels written for adults do not
contain language warnings. I see no reason why IF should.

- Neil K. Guy

--
the Vancouver CommunityNet * http://www.vcn.bc.ca/
(formerly the Vancouver Regional FreeNet)

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/14/96
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Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
> <erky...@netcom.com> writes

> >> >--- Begin Example ---


> >> >
> >> >Seedy Dive
> >> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
> >
> >> Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
> >> acceptable in a text adventure these days?
> >
> >Yes. It's your choice whether to play it.

> How does one know that a game is going to contain bad language _before_


> one sees it on the screen?

The same way you do for books or movies. Look at the announcements /
advertising; see what other people have said about it; look at the
author's other games; try to figure out who the intended audience is, what
age group, what kind of story.

> Just look for anything written by you, per
> chance?

I'm sure you noticed that I used "Damn [it]" in the first screen of _So
Far_.

> I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the
> highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.

I assure you that every time I decide to use cursing in one of my games --
or vulgarity, or blasphemy, or swearing -- I will write it using the same
high standards that I use for all the rest of my writing.

Aaron Mandel

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Dec 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/14/96
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So, Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) is like:
: I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the

: highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.

"Highest" standards? Is there a list, somewhere, of all the possible
standards to which one could hold things, and a ranking of them?
Personally, I don't care if there's profanity in IF (let alone the word
"piss", which really is what many bars smell like) and as such don't think
excluding it constitutes "raising" my standards.

Now, I'd be bothered if the parser swore at ME, but I didn't even like
"Night Of The Stalker" in that regard.

Aaron

"If you haven't used grep, you've missed one of the simple pleasures of
life."
- Brian Kernighan O-

Bill Hoggett

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Dec 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/14/96
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On 13-Dec-96 Matthew Russotto <rus...@ariel.ct.picker.com> wrote:

>In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew
>Plotkin) writes:

>}Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>>> In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, "Zachery \"Tigger\"

>>> Bir" <zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> writes


>>
>>> >--- Begin Example ---
>>> >
>>> >Seedy Dive
>>> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
>>
>>> Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
>>> acceptable in a text adventure these days?
>>
>>Yes. It's your choice whether to play it.

>Both _Shogun_ and -Leather Goddesses of Phobos_ not only accept the "f-word",


>but give you game points for it in at least one instance.

True, but it's a matter of using it where appropriate. In the quoted
example, the word "piss" just lacks style - "urine" works much
better. I have no objection to so-called "bad language" when it adds
gritty realism, only when it's used in a puerile, schoolkid manner.


Bill Hoggett (aka BeeJay) <mas.su...@easynet.co.uk>

IF GOD IS LIFE'S SERVICE PROVIDER WHY HAVEN'T I GOT HIS I.P. NUMBER ?


Florian Beck

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
to

Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
: Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: > In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
: > <erky...@netcom.com> writes

: > >> >--- Begin Example ---
: > >> >
: > >> >Seedy Dive
: > >> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
: > >
: > >> Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
: > >> acceptable in a text adventure these days?
: > >
: > >Yes. It's your choice whether to play it.

: > How does one know that a game is going to contain bad language _before_


: > one sees it on the screen?

Why should anyone _want_ to know?
I'm a bit confused by your question. It seems _seeing_ "bad language" is
something that disturbes you. Why?

(Long ramblings because I really don't understand it.)

What possible harm could be done if someone reads words like
'shit', 'piss', 'fuck' or 'cunt'? English is not my native language; but
I do neither know _one single_ german word I would be embarrased to read,
nor one I would be embarrased of if my children read it.

Really, I can't understand your attitude. If you don't like the style,
ok, you can stop reading. But before even starting? Why? Anyway, I don't
think "bad" language is a reliable criterion if something is well written
or not.

I know of a recent attempt of the american govenment to ban "offensive"
langauge. The german government tries to outlaw certain attitudes/opinions
(e.g. concerning police/soldiers) as insult/defamation.

Off topic? I don't think so. There are certain forms/contents some
people don't want to hear/know about (nor do they want others to know).
Taboos of some sort. But taboos have no place in art. Quite to the
contrary: taboos, of any kind, are probably the most interesting thing
to write about.

It seems some people would like literature (or art for that matter
to be neither embarrassing nor disturbing to anyone, regardless of
opinion and tradition. But it is _those_ writing I would call
bad writing: What's the point of writing something, everyone agrees with
already? It's not only boring. It is a lie: if the common attituedes were
justified, why is everything going doen the drain? On the formal side:
the life of people (at least 90% of them) can't be described in the
language of newspapers.

If someone writes somethings that doesn't 'fit', that is boring,
that is cliché, that is frills: then it's bad prose anyway. If not,
then I don't see why it should matter if you don't like the language
or not.

: The same way you do for books or movies. Look at the announcements /


: advertising; see what other people have said about it; look at the
: author's other games; try to figure out who the intended audience is, what
: age group, what kind of story.

: > Just look for anything written by you, per
: > chance?

: I'm sure you noticed that I used "Damn [it]" in the first screen of _So
: Far_.

: > I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the


: > highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.

IMO, the "highest" standard is being _on the point_; the best writing is
that which _matters_.

: I assure you that every time I decide to use cursing in one of my games --


: or vulgarity, or blasphemy, or swearing -- I will write it using the same
: high standards that I use for all the rest of my writing.

Hm.
Good point.
That's what I wanted to say. ;-)


--
Flo

Nulldogma

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
to

> I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the
> highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.

Fuck that. :)

Seriously -- you don't mean to say that "high standards" equates with
"G-rated," do you? Sure, gratuitous profanity is no fun, but I hardly
think that using the word "piss" to describe ... well, *piss* ... is a
detriment to good story-telling.

Neil
(who doesn't understand why calling American people of African descent
"African-Americans" is supposedly a horrible P.C. euphemism, but calling
the war department "the defense department" isn't...)
---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Charles Powell

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
to

Florian Beck (fb%h729...@sun1.cip.fak14.uni-muenchen.de) wrote:

(intro snipped. no need to continue seeing that example at the top of this.)

: I'm a bit confused by your question. It seems _seeing_ "bad language" is


: something that disturbes you. Why?

: (Long ramblings because I really don't understand it.)

: What possible harm could be done if someone reads words like
: 'shit', 'piss', 'fuck' or 'cunt'? English is not my native language; but
: I do neither know _one single_ german word I would be embarrased to read,
: nor one I would be embarrased of if my children read it.

: Really, I can't understand your attitude. If you don't like the style,
: ok, you can stop reading. But before even starting? Why? Anyway, I don't
: think "bad" language is a reliable criterion if something is well written
: or not.

Well, certainly some good works have been written that use such language.
But all too often, resorting to the use of foul language is a mark of
an inability to express oneself descriptively. Considering that
interactive fiction is a medium which relies so greatly on the power of
words, I would hope that authors seriously consider what words they choose
in their descriptions. On occasion, using language unbecoming of an
adventurer can produce a powerful effect, but this effect is powerful
because of its rarity. I would hate to see such language become commonplace
in these games.

: I know of a recent attempt of the american govenment to ban "offensive"

: langauge. The german government tries to outlaw certain attitudes/opinions
: (e.g. concerning police/soldiers) as insult/defamation.

: Off topic? I don't think so. There are certain forms/contents some
: people don't want to hear/know about (nor do they want others to know).
: Taboos of some sort. But taboos have no place in art. Quite to the
: contrary: taboos, of any kind, are probably the most interesting thing
: to write about.

But is it worthwhile to break social conventions merely for the sake of
breaking them? I agree that art should challenge us, and that in
doing so, it inevitably must challenge our conventions. But I would
hope that this challenge is an attempt to propose a viable alternative,
instead of merely destroying the norms.

: It seems some people would like literature (or art for that matter


: to be neither embarrassing nor disturbing to anyone, regardless of
: opinion and tradition. But it is _those_ writing I would call
: bad writing: What's the point of writing something, everyone agrees with
: already? It's not only boring. It is a lie: if the common attituedes were
: justified, why is everything going doen the drain? On the formal side:
: the life of people (at least 90% of them) can't be described in the
: language of newspapers.

I agree with you. But I would prefer to be disturbed by works because of
their intellectual content, instead of their verbal content. Surely there
are better ways to make people think than to shout curses at them.


Charles Powell
cpo...@fas.harvard.edu

Julian Arnold

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
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In article <58v706$d...@decaxp.harvard.edu>, Aaron Mandel

<URL:mailto:ama...@course2.harvard.edu> wrote:
>
> So, Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) is like:
> : I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the

> : highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.
>
> [...snipped for charity...]

> Now, I'd be bothered if the parser swore at ME, but I didn't even like
> "Night Of The Stalker" in that regard.

"Lost New York" swears at the player, but only if the player swears at
it first. Swearing's great. Fuck is a beautiful word. Use it every
day.

Julian Arnold

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
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In article <58v88q$q...@milo.vcn.bc.ca>, Neil K. Guy
<URL:mailto:n...@vcn.bc.ca> wrote:
>
> [...gone to lunch-- back in 5...]

> And I don't see what allegedly "bad" language has to do with high
> standards. People use all kinds of words in real life. Unless you're
> wanting to write bowdlerized watered-down pablum, guaranteed not to offend
> conservative politicians, I don't see how language choice is going to
> affect the "standards" of games at all. Novels written for adults do not
> contain language warnings. I see no reason why IF should.

The difference I see is that novels are bought in bookshops, where they
are arranged in sections, two of which are usually "children's books"
and "adult fiction." IF is all jumbled together in the same place. I
have seen posts on rgi-f from a father who downloads IF for his 9
year-old daughter. I don't know how or if he (and I'm sure there are
other similar cases) "vets" the games for his daughter's consumption,
but maybe games which are unsuitable for children should be labelled as
such?

Though please, please, please, no-one start whittering on about
censorship. It's bad, it's wrong, it doesn't work, and it pisses (I
mean, urinates) me off.

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
to

Charles Powell (cpo...@course4.harvard.edu) wrote:
> Well, certainly some good works have been written that use such language.
> But all too often, resorting to the use of foul language is a mark of
> an inability to express oneself descriptively.

I don't mean to indict you personally, but all too often, this complaint
is used by people who make no effort at all to judge whether the "foul
language" is being used with care or without.

You hear the same thing about Usenet emoticons. "Nobody should use
smileys -- they're a sign that the writer can't express himself
literately."

(This is usually followed by "Charles Dickens (or whoever) was able to
write without using smileys." We are usually spared the equivalent
nonsense about vulgarity, however, because it's too easy to point to
people like Shakespeare and Chaucer, and other famous literary prudes.
Heh.)

In both cases, I ignore the complaint. It's meaningless to me. Either it
doesn't apply to me, or you're just going out of your way to insult me
indirectly.

If I thought I was unable to express myself descriptively, I wouldn't drop
swearing (and smileys); I'd stop writing games entirely. Since I don't and
I won't, you (the IF populace in general) will have to deal with it.

Jason B Dyer

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
to

Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: Though please, please, please, no-one start whittering on about

: censorship. It's bad, it's wrong, it doesn't work, and it pisses (I
: mean, urinates) me off.

The above use of the word was completely natural.

The one swear word in _The Legend Lives_ fit in so naturally I didn't
even notice it the first two times I played through the segment.

What does annoy me is when swearing is added for "realism" and it
comes off simply as the author trying to fake it. Take the David
Gerrold Chtorr series; it has some of the most repulsive scenes I've
seen in fiction, but I loved the books anyway because the scenes worked
so well within the narrative. _Rising Sun_, on the other hand, looked
like the author just randomly spread out as much swearing as possible
in an attempt to somehow look "sophisticated."

Jason Dyer
jd...@u.arizona.edu

Xiphias Gladius

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Dec 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/15/96
to

zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu (Zachery "Tigger" Bir) writes:

>ama...@scws3.fas.harvard.edu (Aaron Mandel) writes:

>> The obvious pitfall to avoid would be the "well, you're playing IF so you
>> should already know something interesting is going to happen to you"
>> assumption... for instance, at the beginning of The Wizard Of Oz, you
>> don't want
>>
>> > SCORE
>> You have not yet met any friendly companions, and have not defeated the
>> evil witch.

>Exactly, which is what I saw as wrong with Moonmist. It told you all
>the goals you'd be after.

[ . . . ]

So, near the beginning of the Wizard of Oz, for instance, you would have
something like,
> SCORE
You haven't even gotten Toto back into the house, and there's a cyclone
coming!

and then, a little later,
> SCORE
You have saved Toto from the cyclone, and gotten back into the house, but
have not yet gotten back to Kansas.

Like that?

- Ian

Nulldogma

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Since I don't and
> I won't, you (the IF populace in general) will have to deal with it.

Hey, wait a minute -- I thought I was a four-dimensional being. That's
what Graham said, anyway. Now I'm the IF populace in general? This is so
confusing...

Neil

Allison Weaver

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

On 14 Dec 1996, Neil K. Guy wrote:

> Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>
> : How does one know that a game is going to contain bad language _before_

> : one sees it on the screen? Just look for anything written by you, per
> : chance?
>

> "Bad language"? You consider the word "piss" to be deeply shocking? Wow.

Well, it certainly didn't shock me, but do I want my young granddaughter
reading a lot of other four letter words? In this particular case, the
seedy dive could smell of urine and provide the same 'atmosphere' without
using a word that might be less acceptable to some.

> : I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the
> : highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.
>

> And I don't see what allegedly "bad" language has to do with high
> standards. People use all kinds of words in real life. Unless you're
> wanting to write bowdlerized watered-down pablum, guaranteed not to offend
> conservative politicians, I don't see how language choice is going to
> affect the "standards" of games at all. Novels written for adults do not
> contain language warnings. I see no reason why IF should.

I've read many SF novels that I considered good, but contained language or
situations that I would not recommend to just anyone. There are juvenile
SF stories available in the children's section of a book store, but there
are many SF novels in the adult section that are quite suitable for
children also. This is not the case with IF. There is much available
that would shock no one, but there is not a separate place to find the
'juvenile' or non-shocking IF. There is no way to know ahead of time as
Bob said.

I don't think the question really concerns the use of 'bad' language or
'shocking' situations. Rather it concerns - how can you know ahead of
time that these things are in the IF when one would rather not be exposed
to them. Bob can correct me if I'm misrepresenting his position. I
know I have to really consider what I read before I will recommend a book
for my elderly parents or a friend's child. I don't consider that
prudish, just considerate of their feelings.

Eschewing four letter words is not really the same as watered-down pablum.
The English language is so diverse that *generally* there are many
alternatives to any word. On the other hand, I wouldn't expect 'oh,
shucky darn' to replace your choice of four letter words in the mouth of
an angry drug dealer for instance. There's no reason for IF to be
censored, but also no reason than a game's description couldn't mention
that it contained 'adult' language or situations. Then a player could
make an intelligent decision on whether to play or pass.

Allison


Michael Straight

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

On 15 Dec 1996, Xiphias Gladius wrote:

> zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu (Zachery "Tigger" Bir) writes:
>
> >ama...@scws3.fas.harvard.edu (Aaron Mandel) writes:
>
> >> > SCORE
> >> You have not yet met any friendly companions, and have not defeated the
> >> evil witch.
>
> >Exactly, which is what I saw as wrong with Moonmist. It told you all
> >the goals you'd be after.

> So, near the beginning of the Wizard of Oz, for instance, you would have


> something like,
> > SCORE
> You haven't even gotten Toto back into the house, and there's a cyclone
> coming!
>
> and then, a little later,
> > SCORE
> You have saved Toto from the cyclone, and gotten back into the house, but
> have not yet gotten back to Kansas.

The problem with this second method is it is more of a "What's my next
objective?" than a "How far am I in this game?" I get the impression that
many people who like having some kind of score use it like the page
numbers in a book as an indication of how far along they are in the game.
They want to know whether they stand a chance of finishing Curses this
weekend or if it's more likely to be another month or two.

I'm divided on this issue. I like the celebratory nature of solving a
good puzzle and seeing [your score has just gone up five points], but I
also like to be surprised. I remember reading a book (_Ender's Game_)
where the "surprise" ending was less of a surprise because I knew there
were only a few pages left in the book.

A score seems a kind of artifical way of marking progress. I think the
way the story is told should bear the burden of either letting you know
you've got a ways to go yet or that you're near the end, or of hiding the
fact that you're closer than you think because it's goint to be a big
surprise.

Of course, even with a score you could always hide how far the
player is by making most puzzles worth a few points and the last puzzle
worth 50 points so it would look like the end is a long way off.

As an example, I thought the changing claw bit in "Wearing the Claw" was
nifty, but totally unnecessary as a marker of progress in the story. At
each stage in the game, it was pretty obvious to me how I was getting
along. Really the only useful bit was letting me know I didn't have to go
find something in the mountains before setting out for the island.
Otherwise, the story itself was sufficient for letting me know what kind
of progress I was making, when I was near the end, etc.

Michael Straight likes the response "Piece of Mind" gives to 'score'.
FLEOEVDETYHOEUPROEONREWMEILECSOFMOERSGTIRVAENRGEEARDSTVHIESBIITBTLHEEPSRIACYK
Ethical Mirth Gas/"I'm chaste alright."/Magic Hitler Hats/"Hath grace limits?"
"Irate Clam Thighs!"/Chili Hamster Tag/The Gilt Charisma/"I gather this calm."


Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

cpo...@course4.harvard.edu (Charles Powell) writes:

>
> Florian Beck (fb%h729...@sun1.cip.fak14.uni-muenchen.de) wrote:
>
> Well, certainly some good works have been written that use such language.
> But all too often, resorting to the use of foul language is a mark of

> an inability to express oneself descriptively. Considering that
> interactive fiction is a medium which relies so greatly on the power of
> words, I would hope that authors seriously consider what words they choose
> in their descriptions. On occasion, using language unbecoming of an
> adventurer can produce a powerful effect, but this effect is powerful
> because of its rarity. I would hate to see such language become commonplace
> in these games.

Okay, I started this da*n thread, so here's a justification (explanation?):

The bar is seedy, right? In the middle of the bad part of town on a
paradise island. The character is an American business man abroad,
trying to stir up foreign investors for the company, and gets
mugged. He wakes up in an alley, without anything. Given the state of
mind of the character, don't you think he _might_ not give a favorable
interpretation of every place he visits? Besides, I think it's much
more true and honest to say "The bar smelled of piss," rather than
"The bar smelled of urine." I dunno, call me low-brow. Would you be as
offended if I told you of my plans for a prophetic wino who
instersperses his fortune telling with curse words?

>
> : I know of a recent attempt of the american govenment to ban "offensive"
> : langauge. The german government tries to outlaw certain attitudes/opinions
> : (e.g. concerning police/soldiers) as insult/defamation.
>
> : Off topic? I don't think so. There are certain forms/contents some
> : people don't want to hear/know about (nor do they want others to know).
> : Taboos of some sort. But taboos have no place in art. Quite to the
> : contrary: taboos, of any kind, are probably the most interesting thing
> : to write about.
>
> But is it worthwhile to break social conventions merely for the sake of
> breaking them? I agree that art should challenge us, and that in
> doing so, it inevitably must challenge our conventions. But I would
> hope that this challenge is an attempt to propose a viable alternative,
> instead of merely destroying the norms.
>

I think we've strayed off topic. "Piss" rarely challenges anything
more than your bladder's ability to hold it.

> : It seems some people would like literature (or art for that matter
> : to be neither embarrassing nor disturbing to anyone, regardless of
> : opinion and tradition. But it is _those_ writing I would call
> : bad writing: What's the point of writing something, everyone agrees with
> : already? It's not only boring. It is a lie: if the common attituedes were
> : justified, why is everything going doen the drain? On the formal side:
> : the life of people (at least 90% of them) can't be described in the
> : language of newspapers.
>
> I agree with you. But I would prefer to be disturbed by works because of
> their intellectual content, instead of their verbal content. Surely there
> are better ways to make people think than to shout curses at them.

With interactive _fiction_ how are you going to be disturbed by
anything _but_ verbal content? Let's say the character witnesses a
mugging. Should we make a concerted effort to have the mugger say, "I
dare say, dear lady, please give up your valuables, or I shall be
forced to do nasty things," or "Give up the fucking money!"?

Now, somebody's gonna say, "Why have a mugging scene?" Why not? It's
int-fiction. Christ, everybody's so hung up on making this medium
goody-goody. I don't want dirty words for dirty words' sake. But,
sometimes, some of these games are just boring, because all the events
within are divergent from the real world. Who knows, maybe I'm not cut
out for it (we'll see during the next competition), but I have a funny
feeling that I am. And I think if "piss" is the worst problem I have
with my game, then I'm lucky.

Regards,

Zac

>
>
> Charles Powell
> cpo...@fas.harvard.edu

--
Zachery J. Bir - zb...@indiana.edu
http://seven.ucs.indiana.edu/~zbir/index.html

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

Allison Weaver (awe...@nova.umuc.edu) wrote:
> I don't think the question really concerns the use of 'bad' language or
> 'shocking' situations. Rather it concerns - how can you know ahead of
> time that these things are in the IF when one would rather not be exposed
> to them. Bob can correct me if I'm misrepresenting his position. I
> know I have to really consider what I read before I will recommend a book
> for my elderly parents or a friend's child. I don't consider that
> prudish, just considerate of their feelings.

To quote myself, from earlier: I'm certain you noticed that I used "Damn
[it]" in the *first* screen of _So Far_. (Emphasis mine. :-)

The tone should be established in the introduction.

(I honestly don't remember whether I used "damn" anywhere else in the
game, but I would have. On the other hand, "fuck" would certainly have not
fit in with the style I used.)

You know, much as people complain about the inaccuracy of book cover art,
it serves one purpose effectively: it tells you what kind of book you're
holding. IF with book covers would be a lot easier to figure out.
Unfortunately, not too many of us have IF programming skill *and* writing
ability *and* artistic pretensions...

In the meantime, we rely on reviews and the introduction.

Admiral Jota

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu (Zachery "Tigger" Bir) writes:

>With interactive _fiction_ how are you going to be disturbed by
>anything _but_ verbal content? Let's say the character witnesses a
>mugging. Should we make a concerted effort to have the mugger say, "I
>dare say, dear lady, please give up your valuables, or I shall be
>forced to do nasty things," or "Give up the fucking money!"?

Actually, I think this very case is a great example in favor of the "clean"
argument: essentially, if there's no real reason for said language, it
tends to detract from the story rather than add to it. I think that a
mugger who said 'I dare say, dear lady...' would be a *much* more
interesting NPC than one who said 'Give up the fucking money!' The
latter would be a boring, stereotypical, cardboard cut-out. If the
four-letter words don't specifically add to the story in any way, they
tend to detract from it, by making the writing sound less eloquent and
less literate.
--
/<-= -=-=- -= Admiral Jota =- -=-=- =->\
__/><-=- http://www.tiac.net/users/jota/ =-><\__
\><-= jo...@mv.mv.com -- Finger for PGP =-></
\<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

Neil K. Guy

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
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Allison Weaver (awe...@nova.umuc.edu) wrote:

: Well, it certainly didn't shock me, but do I want my young granddaughter


: reading a lot of other four letter words? In this particular case, the
: seedy dive could smell of urine and provide the same 'atmosphere' without
: using a word that might be less acceptable to some.

But this, to me, is missing the point. Would I want my (well in my case
hypothetical) young granddaughter playing a game in which she went into a
urine-soaked seedy dive? That to me is far more of an issue than a word or
two.

But then on this count I feel our society is quite screwed up. I saw a
film on an airplane that had obviously been mangled by airplane censors to
be inoffensive for the general audience found aboard airplanes. So a love
scene was hastily cut, etc. Yet they left intact scenes of a bunch of
soldiers being mown down with machine guns. What the hell is going on? Or,
watching television one night, I saw a program that bleeped the word "God"
(as in "Oh my God"), presumably to avoid offending religious conservatives.
Yet the next show featured a ton of gratuitous and fairly graphic handgun
violence.

So that's the world we live in? In which people freak out or go to
repressive extremes to avoid a handful of words that everybody uses, in
which sexual love is seen as dirty, yet themes of violence are worshipped?

I'm deviating a bit from the original point of so-called "bad" language,
but my point is I honestly don't understand why some folks get so up in
arms about a few words. Darn it.

I also don't buy the "gosh children might stumble across these naughty
words" argument. First, they hear a hell of a lot more "bad" language at
school than anywhere else. And, that aside, children's software is pretty
well universally marked as such. Just as a book is considered an adult
book unless otherwise indicated, I feel parents should consider software
to be adult (at least nominally) unless otherwise marked.

- Neil K.

--
the Vancouver CommunityNet * http://www.vcn.bc.ca/
(formerly the Vancouver Regional FreeNet)

Neil K. Guy * n...@vcn.bc.ca * Vice president & Webmeister
This message does not represent VCNA board policy unless so indicated.

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
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In article <jota.85...@laraby.tiac.net>,

Admiral Jota <jo...@laraby.tiac.net> wrote:
>zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu (Zachery "Tigger" Bir) writes:
>>Let's say the character witnesses a
>>mugging. Should we make a concerted effort to have the mugger say, "I
>>dare say, dear lady, please give up your valuables, or I shall be
>>forced to do nasty things," or "Give up the fucking money!"?
>
>Actually, I think this very case is a great example in favor of the "clean"
>argument: essentially, if there's no real reason for said language, it
>tends to detract from the story rather than add to it.

*Any* literary device used without a real reason detracts from the story.

Note: I consider rude language to be a literary deviced when used in a
literary context by educated academics like the people on this
newsgroup, who (presumably) don't normally ask people to "give up then
fucking money".


>I think that a
>mugger who said 'I dare say, dear lady...' would be a *much* more
>interesting NPC than one who said 'Give up the fucking money!' The
>latter would be a boring, stereotypical, cardboard cut-out.

It depends. The gentleman rogue really is quite cliched, too.

It all depends on what effect the author was striving for. If he was
striving for realism, the mugger should sounds like a real
mugger. (Fortunately, I've never been mugged myself, so I don't know
what a real mugger sounds like, but most readers won't know anyway;
it's a matter of what language we *expect*, of course).


> If the
>four-letter words don't specifically add to the story in any way, they
>tend to detract from it, by making the writing sound less eloquent and
>less literate.

Less literate, yes. Less eloquent? Pardon my French, but the last
statement is utter bull (notice the euphemistic contraction - or
perhaps that isn't genteel enough? Perhaps I should hav said "bovine
excrement?"). That swearing is a sign of poor vocabulary is a myth
perputuated by pedantic schoolmasters. True, people with small
vocabularies tend to fill out the gaps with profanity - but rude
language has its own eloquence. Just think of the sheer number of
scatologic terms!

Finally, consider the contest entry "My First Silly Game". I think
everybody can agree that that game is not only silly, but extremely
crude. But IMHO I think that a redeeming feature is that the author,
having decided to be crude, doesn't shy away from crude
language. Would the game have been better if he had written about the
player's feeling an urge to "urinate" (rather than to "piss")? As it
was, I found the very crudity of the game, the _attitude_ of it all,
to be strangely entertaining. If the author had tried to be genteel
and use "literary" words, it would have been intolerable.


--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)

Matthew Daly

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
>
>Now I want to put something like this in my next game:
>
>> SCORE
>There is no score in this game, you jerk. Life doesn't have a score.
>Fiction doesn't have a score either. We're trying to plumb *depths* of
>*literary possibility* here, not spin a counter in one corner of your
>screen. We're *trying* to say something about *humanity*, goddamnit, and
>not incidentally blow your socks off, if you don't flat-out fill your
>*underwear* in sheer *shock at my poetic fire*. You want a *score?*
>Here's your SCORE, you subliterate moron: FOUR out of SEVENTY THOUSAND,
>WHICH GIVES YOU THE RANK OF NOT WORTHY TO PLAY THIS FUCKING GAME!

Kewl. Except that I think that SEVENTY FUCKING THOUSAND would have
more impact. But, hey, you're the author.

>> TAKE DIAMOND
>Taken. [Your score has just gone up.]
>
>> SCORE
>Drop dead.
>[Hit any key to quit]

Speaking of which, whatever happened to the Processed Meats game?
I think that we might need to have a contest for the best scoring
diatribe. :-)

Matthew Daly

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

In article <Pine.GSO.3.95.961216090123.11864B-100000@nova> Allison Weaver <awe...@nova.umuc.edu> writes:
>On 14 Dec 1996, Neil K. Guy wrote:
>
>> Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>>
>> : How does one know that a game is going to contain bad language _before_
>> : one sees it on the screen? Just look for anything written by you, per
>> : chance?
>>
>> "Bad language"? You consider the word "piss" to be deeply shocking? Wow.
>
>Well, it certainly didn't shock me, but do I want my young granddaughter
>reading a lot of other four letter words? In this particular case, the
>seedy dive could smell of urine and provide the same 'atmosphere' without
>using a word that might be less acceptable to some.

I want to be sure that I understand. You don't mind your granddaughter
being exposed (via interactive fiction) to a place that smells of
urea, it's just the letters P-I-S-S that you want to shield her
from?

Funny thing that. I would consider that, whether it's piss or urine,
it's proper if it's in a laboratory vial and improper if it's
underneath a barstool.

Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

jo...@laraby.tiac.net (Admiral Jota) writes:

>
> zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu (Zachery "Tigger" Bir) writes:
>

> >With interactive _fiction_ how are you going to be disturbed by

> >anything _but_ verbal content? Let's say the character witnesses a


> >mugging. Should we make a concerted effort to have the mugger say, "I
> >dare say, dear lady, please give up your valuables, or I shall be
> >forced to do nasty things," or "Give up the fucking money!"?
>
> Actually, I think this very case is a great example in favor of the "clean"
> argument: essentially, if there's no real reason for said language, it

> tends to detract from the story rather than add to it. I think that a

> mugger who said 'I dare say, dear lady...' would be a *much* more
> interesting NPC than one who said 'Give up the fucking money!' The

> latter would be a boring, stereotypical, cardboard cut-out. If the

> four-letter words don't specifically add to the story in any way, they
> tend to detract from it, by making the writing sound less eloquent and
> less literate.

Meaning what? All muggers are eloquent and literate? Maybe, but I
doubt it. My story is going to be adult. I'll market it that way. I'll
but a discretionary README in the .tgz file with it. I've got nothing
wrong with clean stories, but for you to be so judgemental based on
words seems to me to be ludicrous. The claims that foul language
detracts from the story need to be seen case by case. I think an
exciting, intrigue driven story, set in a more contemporary setting
(like I'm writing) can benefit from a _well-used_ -- NOT liberal --
implementation of "real world" language. I'm not cursing for cursing's
sake here. I'm adding what seems to me to be more real dialogue and
description, than the often stilted and forced nature of "cleaned-up"
language.

Zac

> --
> /<-= -=-=- -= Admiral Jota =- -=-=- =->\
> __/><-=- http://www.tiac.net/users/jota/ =-><\__
> \><-= jo...@mv.mv.com -- Finger for PGP =-></
> \<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

--

Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> writes:

>
> Zachery Tigger Bir wrote:
> >
> > I think it's much
> > more true and honest to say "The bar smelled of piss," rather than
> > "The bar smelled of urine."
>

> Surely that depends on who is doing the describing? Seems to me
> that an American businessman is more likely to think of the word "urine"
> than "piss" upon encountering the scene. An inhabitant of the bar in
> question, on the other hand, would probably use the latter term.
>

Well, if you had had the day, the PC is gonna have, I doubt you (the
PC) would be as worried about bruising your moral sensabilities. Come
to think of it, after this day, "piss" might be a little soft. :)

> I think the style of the game prose ought to be compatible with
> thoughts which might occur to the PC. Playing the part of a
> businessman, coming across the word "piss" in that context
> wouldn't exactly offend me, but would probably strike me as
> a little out of place.

Well, the whole theme is "Normal, straight, average-joe dropped into a
really bad situation." You know, like about 90% of Harrison Ford's
roles. :)

>
> > Would you be as
> > offended if I told you of my plans for a prophetic wino who
> > instersperses his fortune telling with curse words?
>

> Sounds like a very interesting character!

I hope so. He's based on this wino I met on a Spring Break trip to
Paris in the 8th grade. "Ehh? You spick Angleesh? Ahh, I know
Angleesh, an I spick it only fer yeu." *drool, drool*

Freaky guy.

Zac

>
> Greg

Trevor Barrie

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

mas.su...@easynet.co.uk (Bill Hoggett) wrote:

>>>> >Seedy Dive
>>>> >The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you

[...]

>True, but it's a matter of using it where appropriate. In the quoted
>example, the word "piss" just lacks style - "urine" works much
>better.

I disagree; it sounds too... clinical. "Urine" should be used for a medical
sample[1]; for describing a Seedy Dive, "piss" is better IMO. Of course,
it's ultimately up the authour what sort of ambience he or she is going for.

[1] Of course, the game should respond to "piss" too... Synonyms Are Good,
after all.


Neil K. Guy

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

Admiral Jota (jo...@laraby.tiac.net) wrote:

: [...] The
: four-letter words don't specifically add to the story in any way, they

: tend to detract from it, by making the writing sound less eloquent and
: less literate.

Hm. I dunno. William Gibson (second time I've used him as an example this
month) uses plenty of four-letter words in his dialogue. And I daresay it
both works fine and wouldn't be the same without it.

Julian Arnold

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

In article <1155.692...@easynet.co.uk>, Bill Hoggett

<URL:mailto:mas.su...@easynet.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >Both _Shogun_ and -Leather Goddesses of Phobos_ not only accept the "f-word",
> >but give you game points for it in at least one instance.
>
> True, but it's a matter of using it where appropriate. In the quoted
> example, the word "piss" just lacks style - "urine" works much
> better. I have no objection to so-called "bad language" when it adds
> gritty realism, only when it's used in a puerile, schoolkid manner.

Yes, and thank the Implementors "LGoP" is a monument to gritty realism.
Not puerile at all.

But I think you're right that in this instance "urine" would work better
than "piss."

Matthew Russotto

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Dec 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/16/96
to

In article <Pine.GSO.3.95.961216090123.11864B-100000@nova> Allison Weaver <awe...@nova.umuc.edu> writes:

}situations that I would not recommend to just anyone. There are juvenile
}SF stories available in the children's section of a book store, but there
}are many SF novels in the adult section that are quite suitable for
}children also. This is not the case with IF. There is much available
}that would shock no one, but there is not a separate place to find the
}'juvenile' or non-shocking IF. There is no way to know ahead of time as
}Bob said.

Nor is there a way to find the non-shocking SF. All of _I, Robot_, _The
Caves of Steel_, _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_, and _Friday_ can be found
in the regular section of the library. Yet they vary widely in how acceptable
adults would consider them for juveniles. Furthermore, there is at least one
piece of juvenile IF available, labeled as such. _Seastalker_.

(FWIW, I read all four SF novels as a kid, or at least a teenager. There's
probably a lesson in that somewhere, but I certainly don't know what it is :-))

Greg Ewing

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

Zachery Tigger Bir wrote:
>
> I think it's much
> more true and honest to say "The bar smelled of piss," rather than
> "The bar smelled of urine."

Surely that depends on who is doing the describing? Seems to me
that an American businessman is more likely to think of the word "urine"
than "piss" upon encountering the scene. An inhabitant of the bar in
question, on the other hand, would probably use the latter term.

I think the style of the game prose ought to be compatible with


thoughts which might occur to the PC. Playing the part of a
businessman, coming across the word "piss" in that context
wouldn't exactly offend me, but would probably strike me as
a little out of place.

> Would you be as


> offended if I told you of my plans for a prophetic wino who
> instersperses his fortune telling with curse words?

Sounds like a very interesting character!

Greg

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

Neil K. Guy (n...@vcn.bc.ca) wrote:
> Or,
> watching television one night, I saw a program that bleeped the word "God"
> (as in "Oh my God"), presumably to avoid offending religious conservatives.
> Yet the next show featured a ton of gratuitous and fairly graphic handgun
> violence.

People are stupid. You can't do anything about it, but I'm told that lots
of sex makes you feel better about the situation.

R Othello Signes

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

On Tue, 17 Dec 1996 11:55:35 +1300, Greg Ewing <Greg Ewing> wrote:
>Zachery Tigger Bir wrote:
>> I think it's much
>> more true and honest to say "The bar smelled of piss," rather than
>> "The bar smelled of urine."
>Surely that depends on who is doing the describing? Seems to me
>that an American businessman is more likely to think of the word "urine"
>than "piss" upon encountering the scene. An inhabitant of the bar in
>question, on the other hand, would probably use the latter term.

I doubt it. Although on the surface it is frowned upon, I think that most
Americans think that curses (the words, not the game <g>) are OK, and I
think that in his own mind (at least) a Businessman would think "Jeez, this
place reeks of piss."

Just my 2pf.

--
samael

bout...@blade.wcc.govt.nz

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

>Charles Powell (cpo...@course4.harvard.edu) wrote:
> Well, certainly some good works have been written that use such language.
> But all too often, resorting to the use of foul language is a mark of
> an inability to express oneself descriptively.
>

Hardly. If one is to express 'oneself' descriptively - and one swears, then not
using swear words is an omission. Occasionally justified, but an omission none
the less.

I swear. Not as much as many people I know - but sometimes. Possibly that's why
there is a swear word in 'Piece of Mind'. Sticks out like a sore thumb, IMO,
but I included it because it was supposed to be off-the-cuff and I transcribed
it honestly. Should I have put in the instructions: "WARNING: this game can be
put into an insolvable state! Oh, and there's a whole swear word in there
somewhere - you might not find it, but better lock up the game afterwards in
case innocent minds are corrupted and end up as wasted, wraithlike presences in
bars that reek of beer and, um, urine."?

Actually, thinking about - I kinda like that warning - but that's beside the
point - which, ultimately, is...

Reading inappropriate material is a part of growing up. Let the story speak for
itself to whoever wants to listen.

-Giles

Hmm - that's two points. Oh, well.

Zachery Tigger Bir

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

bout...@blade.wcc.govt.nz writes:

> Reading inappropriate material is a part of growing up. Let the
> story speak for itself to whoever wants to listen.

^^^^^^^ whomever. Honestly, your mother
lets you speak (write) like that? :)

>
> -Giles
>
> Hmm - that's two points. Oh, well.
>
>

--

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>Bob Adams (ams...@amster.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>> I've always believed that text adventures should always be of the
>> highest standards possible. I hope and pray that this will remain so.
>
>I assure you that every time I decide to use cursing in one of my games --
>or vulgarity, or blasphemy, or swearing -- I will write it using the same
>high standards that I use for all the rest of my writing.

Excellently put, Andrew. What more is there to say?

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)

Steven Howard

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
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In <mbtrakp...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu (Zachery "Tigger" Bir) writes:
>bout...@blade.wcc.govt.nz writes:
>
>> Reading inappropriate material is a part of growing up. Let the
>> story speak for itself to whoever wants to listen.
> ^^^^^^^ whomever. Honestly, your mother
>lets you speak (write) like that? :)

He's right, you're wrong. "Whoever" is the subject of "wants to listen". The
entire phrase "whoever wants to listen" is the object of the preposition "to".

========
Steven Howard
bl...@ibm.net

What's a nice word like "euphemism" doing in a sentence like this?

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

n...@vcn.bc.ca (Neil K. Guy) wrote:

> So that's the world we live in? In which people freak out or go to
>repressive extremes to avoid a handful of words that everybody uses, in
>which sexual love is seen as dirty, yet themes of violence are worshipped?

Yes, that's a fair description of our culture, I think.

> I also don't buy the "gosh children might stumble across these naughty
>words" argument. First, they hear a hell of a lot more "bad" language at
>school than anywhere else. And, that aside, children's software is pretty
>well universally marked as such. Just as a book is considered an adult
>book unless otherwise indicated, I feel parents should consider software
>to be adult (at least nominally) unless otherwise marked.

<SOAPBOX>
I think we need to quash this whole notion of "protecting" children
from provocative media. When I was a kid, I played all sorts of IF
including LGOP, Leisure Suit Larry, and various games (IF and
otherwise) with beheadings, maimings, and so on. I saw my requisite
number of murders and trysts on TV. I listened to heavy metal. Had a
mouth like a truck driver. And I didn't end up any more screwed up
than anyone else. In fact, today I strongly dislike violent films,
although I can certainly still go for a game of Doom from time to
time.

The idea that media messages cause people to become screwed up is
patently absurd. What's the best predictor of violent and sexually
depraved behavior in later life? Child abuse. How many American
children were beaten (more than a spanking), burned, or threatened
with a weapon in the most recent year for which statistics are
available (1993)? Eighteen percent. Sixty-one percent of children
are spanked regularly. Is it any wonder our society is
extraordinarily violent? And people blame media for this?

In Japan, TV and movies are considerably more violent than the
analogous American fare. Yet violent crime is extremely low.
Naturally there are other factors that make America a violent place,
but if media causes violence even to a tiny degree, Japan should be
awash in blood. It is not. Violence causes violence.

If you don't believe me, ask any prison warden how many of his
prisoners were abused at home. The likely answer: every last
wretched one of them.

ObIF. Here's some preaching I'd like to see in a text game: a plot
or subplot that takes a self-appointed guardian of virtue to task for
his hypocrisy. Be as vituperative as necessary, and be sure to use
lots of four-letter words.
</SOAPBOX>

Matthew

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

>I think the style of the game prose ought to be compatible with
>thoughts which might occur to the PC. Playing the part of a
>businessman, coming across the word "piss" in that context
>wouldn't exactly offend me, but would probably strike me as
>a little out of place.

Leaping in mid-thread here. What jars me about having the narrator
say "piss" off the bat is that it sets me up to expect a particular
gritty style of narration. This is fine, if you can keep it up.
Might be a welcome experiment, given the dry style of narration common
to many works of IF. In most third-person novels, the characters
provide color while the narration is grammatically observant and
staid. Come to think of it, this is true of many first-person novels
as well--the narrator's speaking style comes through only when she
finds herself between double quotes.

Matthew

John Hartnup

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

Magnus Olsson (m...@bartlet.df.lth.se) wrote:

: Note: I consider rude language to be a literary deviced when used in a


: literary context by educated academics like the people on this
: newsgroup, who (presumably) don't normally ask people to "give up then
: fucking money".

... but many of whom would be very likely to mutter the word to themselves
if they hit their thumb with a hammer.

John
--
-----------------------------------------------------------
John Hartnup | You can drink your weak lemon drink
sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk| now, or you can save it 'til later.
-----------------------------------------------------------


mathew

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

In article <kVGUECACX$ryE...@amster.demon.co.uk>,
Bob Adams <ams...@amster.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In article <mbtiv69...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu>, "Zachery \"Tigger\"
>Bir" <zb...@seven.ucs.indiana.edu> writes
>>Seedy Dive
>>The smell of stale beer and piss is nearly overwhelming, and you
>
>Good grief, is that really the sort of language that is considered
>acceptable in a text adventure these days?

It's been acceptable in literature since the middle ages, so I don't see why
not.


mathew
--
me...@pobox.com content available at <URL:http://www.pobox.com/%7Emeta/>
RFC 1896, Eudora Pro 3 and CyberDog 1.1 text/enriched mail accepted

MILLENNIUM: Why not learn to spell it four years early?

Xiphias Gladius

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Dec 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/17/96
to

mam...@u.washington.edu (Matthew Amster-Burton) writes:

>In Japan, TV and movies are considerably more violent than the
>analogous American fare. Yet violent crime is extremely low.
>Naturally there are other factors that make America a violent place,
>but if media causes violence even to a tiny degree, Japan should be
>awash in blood. It is not. Violence causes violence.

While I agree with the rest of your thesis, Mr. Amster-Burton, I feel
compelled to mention that Japan isn't as good a counterexample as we
anti-censorship people once thought it was. Japan *appears* to have a low
rate of violence, and specifically sexual violence, but that is primarily
because of a cultural taboo against *reporting* sexual violence. Their
actual rate of rape and other sexually violent crimes is suspected to be
comparable to the United States.

Nonetheless, I agree with you. I don't think that media portrayals of
violence have any measurable effect on rates of violent crime.
(Personally, I suspect that the frequency of acts of violence per capita
has more to do with population density than any other factor)

Nor do I feel that exposure to "bad language" in an I-F game will have
much effect on how someone expresses him or herself. People tend to talk
as they *hear*, more than as they *read*, anyway. If people around
someone tended to swear as part of their normal mode of expression, I'd
exp