The Adventure Game Canon

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espen....@hf.uib.no

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Jun 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/10/96
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Since the "Game or Novel" thread clearly aren't showing the participants
here (myself included, of course) at their best, let me suggest a more
constructive and uplifting topic. In any self-aware artistic tradition,
there must exist a discussion of what works deserve special mention as the
most important of their kind.

Many of us have certain favourites among the adventure games, and some of
those we can all agree on. But which ones are they, and do they deserve a
place in the canon?

Here is a short, tentative starting point for such a list. I would like to
see it criticized, and above all, added to. This may become more difficult
as we get nearer to the present time (and perhaps closer to present
raif-ers), but it is important to be able to recogize innovations and real
leaps of evolution. However, technical innovations should not be the
primary defining principle. There must be a certain undefinable something,
which, while catching the spirit of the times, manages to make the game
survive in our memory as an all-timer. And what happened in those dark
years 1986 to 1995?


The Adventure Game Canon

1. Adventure, programmed by William Crowther and later enhanced
by Donald Woods. Released by Woods in April 1976. Also known
as Colossal Cave.

2. Zork, by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, written in 1977.

3. Deadline, by Marc Blank, Infocom 1982.

4. The Hobbit, published by Melbourne house, 1982. The most
successful adaption of a literary classic to date?

5. ???

6. etc.


There is also the question about whether a canon should include just
text-only games, illustrated games, or even graphical games. I am
personally inclined towards the latter, since I find the general
deep-structures of the games more interesting than whether these are
presented through words, images, or combinations. However, I have
restrained my urge to include graphical games such as Leisure Suit Larry
and Ultima Underworld, both of which I consider innovative and important
adventure games.


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

Nulldogma

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Jun 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/10/96
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Oy, just what we needed. Our own personal Allan Bloom.

Not be rude or anything, Espen, but are you bucking for a Department of
I-F Studies position or something?

Neil

Den of Iniquity

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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On Mon, 10 Jun 1996 espen....@hf.uib.no divulged the following:

> Many of us have certain favourites among the adventure games, and some of
> those we can all agree on. But which ones are they, and do they deserve a
> place in the canon?

>snip<


> The Adventure Game Canon
>
> 1. Adventure, programmed by William Crowther and later enhanced
> by Donald Woods. Released by Woods in April 1976. Also known
> as Colossal Cave.
>
> 2. Zork, by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, written in 1977.
>
> 3. Deadline, by Marc Blank, Infocom 1982.
>
> 4. The Hobbit, published by Melbourne house, 1982. The most
> successful adaption of a literary classic to date?
>
> 5. ???

I would add the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, not for any particular
technical merit (though the playing of other roles in the game,
particularly Ford Prefect, was a great touch) but because it is one of
those games which some people will play even though they never play
another adventure game in their lives - simply because Douglas Adams had
a hand in the i-f version of his own cult best-seller.

I'm not too familiar with Deadline but I agree _emphatically_ with
the other three in your list.

Den

Donald Scott Macron

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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I have to agree with most of what I've seen here, and would like to
elaborate on the selection of "Deadline". I'd have to say that Deadline
was one of the first games to move out of the realm of swords-n-sorcery,
and added a much more elaborate 2nd-person-character- communication system.
Deadline was a giant stride forward into interactivity, realism, and
multiple characters run by the story.

AMFV, and the Sorcerer series, as well as HHGG seem to be a bit
over-rated to me.

On the other hand, no one has mentioned the true trailblazer in these
type of games, Scott Adams, whose two-word parser and vibrant although
minimalist worlds left an indelible impression upon many of us.

And Planetfall. Floyd. Perhaps the best computer-generated personality
of all times. The only truly lovable and believable character that I've
come across, yet. Truly memorable.

Michael Blaheta

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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Quoth espen....@hf.uib.no:

> The Adventure Game Canon
>
> 1. Adventure, programmed by William Crowther and later enhanced
> by Donald Woods. Released by Woods in April 1976. Also known
> as Colossal Cave.
>
> 2. Zork, by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, written in 1977.

These two, definitely.

> 3. Deadline, by Marc Blank, Infocom 1982.

Are you sure? Why do you put this here?

> 4. The Hobbit, published by Melbourne house, 1982. The most
> successful adaption of a literary classic to date?

Hm. I've never heard of it... but maybe it belongs there anyway.
*shrug*

One that I think should be on there is Curses, which was almost
certainly the first shareware IF that was as widely distributed as the
original Infocom games... it widened IF's image, as it were.

A few maybes:

AMFV? It could be said to be the first of the simulation IFs. It
certainly got a few people thinking about IF as potentially literary.

Enchanter? It introduced a magic system that became semi-standard
within IF.

Don

-=-=-=-Don Blaheta-=-=-=-bla...@quincy.edu-=-=-=-dbl...@aol.com-=-=-=-

Interpreter, n.:
One who enables two persons of different languages to
understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to
the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said.
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"

espen....@hf.uib.no

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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In article <4pind9$6...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, null...@aol.com
(Nulldogma) wrote:

> Oy, just what we needed. Our own personal Allan Bloom.

Harold Bloom, if you please. That's too much of an honour, but thanks.

> Not be rude or anything, Espen, but are you bucking for a Department of
> I-F Studies position or something?

Worse. I'm an undercover double agent working for Zbeny Znwbevgl, Qrcg.
sbe gur nobyvgvba bs Vagrenpgvir ragregnvazrag.

Now, do you have any suggestions for the Canon, or are you just saying
silly things because you just think it's a silly idea?


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

Nulldogma

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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> are you just saying
> silly things because you just think it's a silly idea?

Hmm. I posted a followup to my post last night, right after posting the
original, but my newsreader seems to have eaten it. The gist of it was:

Sorry about being unnecessarily snide. My point is, while I enjoy a good
discussion about what games we like as much as the next person, the last
thing we need is to try to develop a canon of Great I-F Works. It's bound
to run smack up against the twin brick walls of differing tastes and
differing values, and in any case, I don't see the purpose of canons
unless you're trying to put together a syllabus. (And even then...)

And if I'd meant Harold Bloom, I would've said Harold Bloom. (I actually
meant the guy who did the book with the list of 1,001 Things Everyone
Should Know, but I couldn't remember his name, so I figured Allan Bloom
was close enough.)

Neil

Nulldogma

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Jun 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/11/96
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I'm sorry, that was needlessly snide. Let me try again:

Espen, I don't really see the point in what you're proposing. We can all
argue the merits of various games, and have, with varying degrees of
constructiveness. But trying to arrive at a consensus of Great Works of
I-F makes about as much sense as trying to get a consensus of Great Works
of Literature: you run smack into the twin stone walls of differing tastes
and differing values.

Just let it drop, please.

Neil

Espen Aarseth

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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In article <4pku96$s...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, null...@aol.com
(Nulldogma) wrote:

> > are you just saying
> > silly things because you just think it's a silly idea?

> Sorry about being unnecessarily snide.

I thought you were rather funny; I certainly wasn't offended, so there is
no need to apologize.

> My point is, while I enjoy a good
> discussion about what games we like as much as the next person, the last
> thing we need is to try to develop a canon of Great I-F Works.

But we are already doing that. Groups like these are always referring to
(and implicitly canonizing) their Great Works, even if they are not
necessarily aware of the fact. By discussing the canon explicitly, we
become more aware of what we are doing anyway, and that is a good thing,
not?

> It's bound
> to run smack up against the twin brick walls of differing tastes and
> differing values, and in any case, I don't see the purpose of canons
> unless you're trying to put together a syllabus. (And even then...)

The purpose is to be aware of what advances have been made, and when; so
that we get a better perspective of what we're doing today. A sense of the
history and the past achievements of our tradition can only be for the
better.

The purpose is not, as I see it, to arrive at a consensus, but to develop
a frame of reference with which to criticize a false consensus
(hypothetical example: "All the classic games were made by Infocom"); in
short, to make us more aware of the richness of the tradition.

This is not a simple and unsolvable matter of taste and value: An original
does not have to be as "good" as a later copy, but still we canonize the
original, and not the copy, and for good reason. There will be a canon
whether you like it or not; critical awareness is what's important.

C.A. McCarthy

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

>Since the "Game or Novel" thread clearly aren't showing the participants
>here (myself included, of course) at their best, let me suggest a more
>constructive and uplifting topic. In any self-aware artistic tradition,
>there must exist a discussion of what works deserve special mention as the
>most important of their kind.

What is "most important" is rather subjective.

>Many of us have certain favourites among the adventure games, and some of
>those we can all agree on. But which ones are they, and do they deserve a
>place in the canon?

Is there a point in having this "canon". It seems quite a silly
undertaking, but it might be fun.

>Here is a short, tentative starting point for such a list. I would like to
>see it criticized, and above all, added to. This may become more difficult
>as we get nearer to the present time (and perhaps closer to present
>raif-ers), but it is important to be able to recogize innovations and real
>leaps of evolution. However, technical innovations should not be the
>primary defining principle. There must be a certain undefinable something,
>which, while catching the spirit of the times, manages to make the game
>survive in our memory as an all-timer. And what happened in those dark
>years 1986 to 1995?


> The Adventure Game Canon

> 1. Adventure, programmed by William Crowther and later enhanced
> by Donald Woods. Released by Woods in April 1976. Also known
> as Colossal Cave.

> 2. Zork, by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, written in 1977.

> 3. Deadline, by Marc Blank, Infocom 1982.

Number 3 is an interesting choice. I never thought it was a
particularly remarkable game (subjective...subjective). I'm curious
as to why you chose this.

> 4. The Hobbit, published by Melbourne house, 1982. The most
> successful adaption of a literary classic to date?

I thought the Hobbit was a godawful piece of garbage (though I
initially loved it). Hitchhikers was a much better adaptation, though
hardly of a literary classic.

> 5. ???

What about the Scott Adams series? Or Brian Howarth's "Mysterious
Adventures" series...or the simply amazing (subjective) Level 9
adventures?

> 6. etc.

Empire of the Overmind, Magnetic Scrolls....this could be a rather
long canon.

>There is also the question about whether a canon should include just
>text-only games, illustrated games, or even graphical games. I am
>personally inclined towards the latter, since I find the general
>deep-structures of the games more interesting than whether these are
>presented through words, images, or combinations. However, I have
>restrained my urge to include graphical games such as Leisure Suit Larry
>and Ultima Underworld, both of which I consider innovative and important
>adventure games.

I would include everything. Let's not be text snobs here.

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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Well, I'll go ahead and toss out Trinity, my favorite, and if we're not
going to be graphic-phobic, I'll add Loom. Mind you, if you want an idea
what peoples' favorite games are, you COULD just read the SPAG scoreboard
in every issue. ;)
--
"Day turns to night in a single step. A gleaming pool of silvery
water captures the moon within its shivering arms and holds it near."

-An excerpt from "Avalon", a game under construction.

Kathleen Fischer

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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I've read the replies to this so far... most of which seem to be "its too
subjective" or "its pointless"... and after reading the original post again, it
prompted me to ask myself the following question:

What ARE the advances that have been made over the life of i-f (and if
possible, which games were they made it)? Of course, this is probably just as
pointless as the original question, but inquiring minds want to know :)

For example, when did the switch from a 2 word parser to a multi-word parser
occur? When did NPC's show up? What was the first "story-like" game (ugh,
there's that word again... ok, how about the first game who's point was other
than to turn us all into puzzle solving cleptomaniacs (sp).) What other
advances have been made (intresting use of
time/environment/objects/dialog/...)?

Hmmm. Actually, this might be in the FAQ somewhere, but I couldn't seem to
find it (the FAQ, that is)... anyone got a copy?

Kathleen

--
// Kathleen Fischer
// kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov
// *** "Don't stop to stomp ants while the elephants are stampeding" ***


espen....@hf.uib.no

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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In article <4pmsb7$i...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, null...@aol.com
(Nulldogma) wrote:

> I guess I don't buy into this linear sense of "advances" that you seem to
> hold.

I don't think a canon has to be made up of linear, causal advances, where
every "Great Work" builds on the previous ones. The film, painting, music
and literary canons usually do not work that way; a Great Work is often
one that breaks with it's predecessors, rather than evolves from them. Of
course, they often do both at the same time.

The adventure game tradition is a special case, since it is still so
young, and so clearly sprung from one work. But even here, there are
interesting independent developments. (Such as an American vs. a British
sub-tradition, perhaps?)

> I dunno, maybe I just don't like the overtones of the term "canon."

The word does give out certain "high-cultural", "Literary" vibes that
might seem too pretentious and therefore out of place here, but the
phenomenon is general, and probably exists in any cultural genre.


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

Nulldogma

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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> > It's bound
> > to run smack up against the twin brick walls of differing tastes and
> > differing values, and in any case, I don't see the purpose of canons
> > unless you're trying to put together a syllabus. (And even then...)

> The purpose is to be aware of what advances have been made, and when; so
> that we get a better perspective of what we're doing today. A sense of
the
> history and the past achievements of our tradition can only be for the
> better.

I guess I don't buy into this linear sense of "advances" that you seem to
hold. I like a lot of different games for a lot of different reasons (and
dislike others for even more reasons). I don't even think I could come up
with my *own* canon of Great I-F Works, not one that I would still agree
with day-to-day.

An example: Trinity is probably my favorite I-F work of all time, because
of the writing and subject matter. But I've still never finished it, and
when I tried to recently I was reminded why: It's got the most egregious
examples of dead-ends -- where you suddenly realize you have to go back 20
turns to where you dropped some important item -- of any game I've ever
played. So right now, after saving and restoring a gazillion times in a
row, I hate the damn thing.

I dunno, maybe I just don't like the overtones of the term "canon." Maybe
if you'd headed this thread "What Seven Games Would You Take With You On A
Desert Island (One With an A/C Outlet for Your Laptop)?" it wouldn't have
bothered me.

Neil

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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Actually, to make my comments perfectly clear, I just tossed out my
favorite games on a lark. As to the idea of the Holy I-F Canon, I'm
pretty much indifferent, as I have clear ideas on whose games I like and
whose efforts I wish to emulate and expand upon. ;) Good luck
nonetheless, though. Gives us bored raifers something to read in-between
lines of code.
--
<~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< Join in the 1996 Interactive Fiction Competition. | ~~\ >
< The Deadline is September 30, 1996. Enter, judge, betatest or ?? | /~\ | >
<_______________________...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

Mike Hardaker

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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> mbla...@flood.xnet.com (Michael Blaheta) wrote in article
<4pk710$o...@flood.xnet.com>...

> Enchanter? It introduced a magic system that became semi-standard
> within IF.
>
> Don

Isn't this really rather sad? A piece of fiction (interactive or
otherwise) that donates is *magic system* to the world.

Let's face it, it's hardly Joyce and Woolf handing over
stream-of-consciousness to the masses, is it? Or Homer, epic poetry...


Mike

=======================================================
Mike Hardaker

e-mail: hard...@iafrica.com
WWW: http://mickey.iafrica.com/~hardaker/
(The Hole In The Wall)
=======================================================
"I'd like to reassure you,
But I'm not that kind of guy."
- Robyn Hitchcock
=======================================================

espen....@hf.uib.no

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Jun 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/12/96
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In article <4pn2nc$b...@lll-winken.llnl.gov>, Kathleen Fischer
<kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> wrote:

> I've read the replies to this so far... most of which seem to be "its too
> subjective" or "its pointless"...

Actually, only one person (out of seven respondents) has rejected the idea
so far, while, on the other hand, five have added comments and
suggestions.


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

Paul Oliveira

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Jun 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/13/96
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In article <espen.aarseth-1...@mac22.hf.uib.no>,
espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

> The Adventure Game Canon
>
> 1. Adventure, programmed by William Crowther and later enhanced
> by Donald Woods. Released by Woods in April 1976. Also known
> as Colossal Cave.
>
> 2. Zork, by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, written in 1977.
>
> 3. Deadline, by Marc Blank, Infocom 1982.
>

> 4. The Hobbit, published by Melbourne house, 1982. The most
> successful adaption of a literary classic to date?
>

> 5. ???
>
> 6. etc.
>

While I protest that the formal existence of a "canon" is the province of
the stodgiest of arts and not particularly appropriate to a medium in its
new and exciting infancy, I still like to participate in
"favourites-choosing" ventures. I realise that yours includes a few
"canon-like" rules for innovation and interest, but I'm still not sure why
certain other Infocom titles didn't make your first cut. For example,

"Planetfall." An original comedy classic.
"Enchanter." Zork with a much more evocative atmosphere and a storyline
that made an appearance before the endgame.
And, of course, "A Mind Forever Voyaging." For its seriousness of purpose,
its thematic elements, and its epic proportions.

Paul Oliveira.

mathew

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Jun 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/15/96
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In article <01bb5888.9d3ae5e0$0100...@hardaker.iafrica.com>,

Mike Hardaker <hard...@iafrica.com> wrote:
>Isn't this really rather sad? A piece of fiction (interactive or
>otherwise) that donates is *magic system* to the world.

Don't suppose you're a fan of "Lord of the Rings" then...

>Let's face it, it's hardly Joyce and Woolf handing over
>stream-of-consciousness to the masses, is it? Or Homer, epic poetry...

Give us five thousand years and I'm sure we'll come up with something
that impressive.


mathew
--
me...@pobox.com http://www.pobox.com/~meta/
Wanted: Digital CD copy of "Plunderphonics" CD
think globally - declare locally

Jeffrey F. Miller

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Jun 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/15/96
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espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

>Since the "Game or Novel" thread clearly aren't showing the participants
>here (myself included, of course) at their best, let me suggest a more
>constructive and uplifting topic. In any self-aware artistic tradition,
>there must exist a discussion of what works deserve special mention as the
>most important of their kind.

>Many of us have certain favourites among the adventure games, and some of


>those we can all agree on. But which ones are they, and do they deserve a
>place in the canon?

>Here is a short, tentative starting point for such a list. I would like to


>see it criticized, and above all, added to. This may become more difficult
>as we get nearer to the present time (and perhaps closer to present
>raif-ers), but it is important to be able to recogize innovations and real
>leaps of evolution. However, technical innovations should not be the
>primary defining principle. There must be a certain undefinable something,
>which, while catching the spirit of the times, manages to make the game
>survive in our memory as an all-timer. And what happened in those dark
>years 1986 to 1995?


I read this thread before reading the other, less civil thread on IF as a story
and was very surprised at the hostile reaction that this proposal received.
After reading the prior thread, I now understand. Nevertheless, I think that it
would be a very useful discussion. Using the word "cannon" in the context of
I-F does, though, strike me as more than a bit silly at this point, since the
medium hasn't even been around for two decades. A "canon", to me, conjures up a
vast artistic tradition, studied, critiqued, and venerated. Perhaps we can
start talking about an I-F canon a century from now once it has matured and
developed, but at present the term smacks of either pretentiousnss or sarcasm.
Why don't we instead frame the discussion in terms of those pieces of I-F that
have broken new ground, technologically or stylistically, and have had an
influence on today's I-F authors?

Just my $.02


Jeff Miller
jeff...@ix.netcom.com


bout...@razor.wcc.govt.nz

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Jun 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/16/96
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In article <4psrha$k...@snotra.harlequin.co.uk>, me...@pobox.com (mathew) writes:
>In article <01bb5888.9d3ae5e0$0100...@hardaker.iafrica.com>,
>Mike Hardaker <hard...@iafrica.com> wrote:
>>Isn't this really rather sad? A piece of fiction (interactive or
>>otherwise) that donates is *magic system* to the world.
>
>Don't suppose you're a fan of "Lord of the Rings" then...

It's the throwaway "Interactive or otherwise" that is the problem. A puzzle
based interactive game should have different criteria than linear narrative
for whatever judgement Mike is making. The magic system, IMO, was far more a
means of creating new types of puzzles than a new way to tell a story. AMFV is
a much better example of experimentation with narrative form.

>>Let's face it, it's hardly Joyce and Woolf handing over
>>stream-of-consciousness to the masses, is it? Or Homer, epic poetry...

The masses? While I have read all three (honest!) I could probably count one
one hand with two fingers chopped off the number of people I know who've done
the same, for either author or literary form. Not exactly Stephen King, if you
catch my drift.

-Tangle

espen....@hf.uib.no

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Jun 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/17/96
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> I read this thread before reading the other, less civil thread on IF as
a story
> and was very surprised at the hostile reaction that this proposal received.
> After reading the prior thread, I now understand. Nevertheless, I think
that it
> would be a very useful discussion. Using the word "cannon" in the context of
> I-F does, though, strike me as more than a bit silly at this point, since the
> medium hasn't even been around for two decades. A "canon", to me,
conjures up a
> vast artistic tradition, studied, critiqued, and venerated. Perhaps we can
> start talking about an I-F canon a century from now once it has matured and
> developed, but at present the term smacks of either pretentiousnss or sarcasm.

What you don't seem to realize is that this group has always been talking
about (i.e. constructing) its canon. Why not call that activity by its
obvious name? To me, not to do so would smack of false modesty. Your point
about maturity seems to imply that there are no obvious classics in the
adventure game tradition (which, btw, *is* more than two decades old). Or
is there such a thing as an immature classic?

Also, I would like to know what you mean by "matured and developed". Do
you mean when the tradition has become more more "Literature"-like? In my
opinion, that is exactly where Brenda Laurel and others have got it wrong.
I know that some people on this group become what you call "hostile" when
I say this, but there is a real conflict between playability and
narrativity (just look at Hollywood's "interactive movies"!), and trying
to achieve "Literariness" just hasn't worked. Time to try something else!

The only really silly thing to do would be to try and include the great
adventure games in the canon of narrative literature. That would be
pretentious (or sarcastic). But to take the tradition seriously enough to
recognize its great works and achievements is not to be silly, but to
admit that the tradition we have is worth talking about.

> Why don't we instead frame the discussion in terms of those pieces of I-F that
> have broken new ground, technologically or stylistically, and have had an
> influence on today's I-F authors?

Well, that is exactly what we (some of us at least) are doing in this
thread. Care to join us, and mean what you say about "a very useful
discussion"?

A century is just a little too long to wait.


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

Jeffrey F. Miller

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Jun 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/17/96
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espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

>> Using the word "cannon" in the context of
>> I-F does, though, strike me as more than a bit silly at this point, since the
>> medium hasn't even been around for two decades. A "canon", to me,
>> conjures up a
>> vast artistic tradition, studied, critiqued, and venerated. Perhaps we can
>> start talking about an I-F canon a century from now once it has matured and
>> developed, but at present the term smacks of either pretentiousnss or sarcasm.

>What you don't seem to realize is that this group has always been talking
>about (i.e. constructing) its canon. Why not call that activity by its
>obvious name? To me, not to do so would smack of false modesty. Your point
>about maturity seems to imply that there are no obvious classics in the
>adventure game tradition (which, btw, *is* more than two decades old). Or
>is there such a thing as an immature classic?

I didn't mean to imply that there are no classics -- certainly there are:
Adventure and Zork, for example. I just feel that the genre is far too young
for us to have achieved the objectivity necessary to establish a canon. Could
the literary community establish a canon for the years spanning 1973 to the
present? I think not. From 1900 - 1940? Certainly.
IMHO, a canon is made up of works that have firmly established their ability to
influence artists and to speak to the public despite the passage of time. While
I do agree that there are a few works that we could currently identify as
cannonical, we can identify these works primarily because of their technological
innovations and their role in establishing conventions (Adventure -- the very
first adventure game, Zork -- the first to use a parser not restricted to
verb-noun). I suppose that an argument could also be made for _Curses_ since it
was the first freeware / shareware piece of i-f to be widely distributed on the
internet. Neverhtheless, I doubt whether the i-f community will agree on more
than four or five works that should be deemed cannonical. A canon that consists
of only five works? To call such a list a "canon" seems to me an excercise in
hyperbole. "Canon", to me, connotes, a vast artistic tradition that has proved
its worth. Works such as the Cantebury Tales, the paintings of Degas, the plays
of Racine, Ibsen, and Shakespeare, the novels of Richard Wright and the Bronte
sisters have done just that with the passage of time. Does a work have to be
"old" to be recognized as "cannonical" -- certainly not. Does the establishment
of a meaningful canon require the passage of time. Yes, I think so.
I suppose my entire point is minor quibble, a disagreement on terms alone. I
*do* think that it is useful and important to discuss which works of i-f are
important to the medium, classics, if you will; but the establishment of a
"canon", *the* definitive list (I'm aware that canons are always in flux --
nevertheless, there is a certain stability that must exist) of *the* most
important works of i-f, strikes me as silly. The difference is slight, I admit,
but there all the same.



>Also, I would like to know what you mean by "matured and developed". Do
>you mean when the tradition has become more more "Literature"-like?

Not necessarily more literature-like, just so that enough time has passed for us
to look back at the tradition with some objectivity. I think that we are just
beginning to achieve that objectivity now.

> In my opinion, that is exactly where Brenda Laurel and others have got it wrong.

I'm not familiar with Brenda Laurel -- perhaps the appropriate posts have fallen
off my reader. Would you mind e-mailing me about her if that is so?

>I know that some people on this group become what you call "hostile" when
>I say this, but there is a real conflict between playability and
>narrativity (just look at Hollywood's "interactive movies"!), and trying
>to achieve "Literariness" just hasn't worked. Time to try something else!

I'm not sure what you mean by literariness. I don't want to restart the earlier
thread (most people for a variety of reasons appear to have lost interest), but
would love to discuss this point with you via e-mail. Just to briefly state my
point, established plots) are necessary, otherwise the piece is boring, a mere
simulation without conflict. Even the Ultima series establishes storylines
beforehand -- the player simply has more options of which stories in which to
participate. Perhaps authors can increase the player's sense of freedom with
the use of plot-branching or, as in Ultima, the use of numerous sub-plots, but
plots and goals must be established by the author(s). I don't see any way to
get around that.


>The only really silly thing to do would be to try and include the great
>adventure games in the canon of narrative literature. That would be
>pretentious (or sarcastic). But to take the tradition seriously enough to
>recognize its great works and achievements is not to be silly, but to
>admit that the tradition we have is worth talking about.

I agree. I just think that applying the term "canon" to such a young medium
abuses the connotations of the word. Discussing which works are important is a
good idea.

>> Why don't we instead frame the discussion in terms of those pieces of I-F that
>> have broken new ground, technologically or stylistically, and have had an
>> influence on today's I-F authors?

>Well, that is exactly what we (some of us at least) are doing in this
>thread. Care to join us, and mean what you say about "a very useful
>discussion"?

Sure.

Adventure and Zork, for reasons I've already stated.
Planetfall -- the first to develop an NPC that felt "alive"
The Scott Adams Adventures -- Among the first to achieve mass market success
King's Quest and Mystery House -- The first graphic adventures

I'll elaborate more if the discussion takes off. Right now, I'm afraid I've run
out of time to do justice to the discussion itself (how post-modern, spending
all my time discussing the discussion rather than actually discussing) -- I've
got a thesis to finish. I eagerly await your post and / or e-mail reply!


>A century is just a little too long to wait.

Ahh, the age of immediate gratification! :-)

>_____________________________________________________________________
>espen aarseth aar...@uib.no


Jeff Miller
jeff...@ix.netcom.com


John Wood

unread,
Jun 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/17/96
to

Espen <espen....@hf.uib.no> describes his idea for a canon.

One thing I'd like to see from people contributing to this is a sentence
along with each proposed entry stating *why* you are making the proposal.
(Some of you have already done so, I know.) This may have to be very
woolly and nebulous, but I'm *at least* as interested in the reasons as
the selections themselves. I suspect others feel the same way - hence
the "Why Deadline?" responses.

Here's a few suggestions (demonstrating why I had to allow woolly answers
above 8-):

1. Trinity, my all-time favourite - the atmosphere, setting and puzzles
came together "just right".

2. Day of the Tentacle, for demonstrating that point-and-click graphic
adventures can be fun.

3. Toonesia, the first (and so far only) shareware IF to make me laugh out
loud.


John


Gareth Rees

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Jun 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/17/96
to

Kathleen Fischer <kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> wrote:
> For example, when did the switch from a 2 word parser to a multi-word
> parser occur?

The "MIT Dungeon" by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, c. 1979, had a
multi-word parser that was a forerunner of Infocom's later parsers.

AI researchers had adventure-like multi-word parsers before adventures
existed (e.g. Shrdlu 1972, Lunar 1973).

> When did NPC's show up?

"Adventure" has several NPCs (admittedly rather basic), including one
which follows the player around (the bear). "MIT Dungeon" has the
Thief, among others.

> What was the first "story-like" game?

One of Scott Adams', probably.

> What other advances have been made (intresting use of time/
> environment/objects/dialog/...)?

I don't know; perhaps people would like to suggest:

* first use of "cut scenes" (Adventure International games?)
* first use of directed dialog
* first use of real time ("Borderzone"?)
* first use of quotation boxes ("Trinity"?)
* first use of static graphics (Scott Adams?)
* first use of animation
* first literary adaption ("The Hobbit"?)

--
Gareth Rees

Greg Ewing

unread,
Jun 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/18/96
to

Jeffrey F. Miller wrote:
>
> at present the term [canon] smacks of either pretentiousnss or sarcasm.

Well, it's only pretentious if we take it all too seriously...

> jeff...@ix.netcom.com

Greg

Robert A. Pelak

unread,
Jun 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/18/96
to

In article <yxsg27u...@stint.cl.cam.ac.uk>,
Gareth Rees <gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

>Kathleen Fischer <kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> wrote:
>
>> What other advances have been made (intresting use of time/
>> environment/objects/dialog/...)?
>
>I don't know; perhaps people would like to suggest:
>
> * first use of "cut scenes" (Adventure International games?)
> * first use of directed dialog
> * first use of real time ("Borderzone"?)
> * first use of quotation boxes ("Trinity"?)
> * first use of static graphics (Scott Adams?)

I think this would be the Hi-Res Adventure Series of On-Line Systems (now
Sierra On-Line). Mystery House had white line drawings, while
Mission: Asteroid and the Wizard and the Princess had color drawings
all in 1980, or perhaps even 1979 on the Apple ][.

Damien Neil

unread,
Jun 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/19/96
to

On 17 Jun 1996 23:22:58 +0100, Gareth Rees <gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> * first use of real time ("Borderzone"?)

_The Hobbit_ used real time, if my memory serves. I believe it came
out well before _Border Zone_. (Certainly, it was technically quite
inferior.)

_The Hobbit_ is interesting to me. It has been a long time since I
played it, but it still sticks in my memory. Not because of the
puzzles (few, and poor), or the quality of writing (minimal), or
the plot (the book was better :>), but because of the NPCs. Other
characters in the game would move around and act on their own, in
a fashion. Some puzzles required working with another character
to solve. (Thorin, pick me up. Open the window.)

Thorin was a rather interesting character, actually. In the goblin
caves, the two of you find a key, needed much later on. He promptly
picks it up and refuses to surrender it. If he died, you could take
the key, but I seem to recall that you needed him with you later
on. I never finished the game, mainly because of the immense
difficulty involved in getting Thorin out of the caves in one
piece.

The downside to the NPCs was that they all showed less intelligence
than the average insect. Dealing with Thorin was rather like
playing a game of Lemmings -- take your eyes off him for a second,
and he would be a corpse the next time you saw him. Still, it
was an interesting effort. I wouldn't mind seeing a similar effort
using more modern technology; NPCs don't have to be perfectly
intelligent to be interesting.

- Damien
--
The earth is flat.
All opinions expressed in the above are mine, not necessarily JPL's.


espen....@hf.uib.no

unread,
Jun 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/19/96
to

> espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

> >In article <4puidj$q...@sjx-ixn4.ix.netcom.com>, jeff...@ix.netcom.com wrote:

> >> Using the word "cannon" in the context of
> >> I-F does, though, strike me as more than a bit silly at this point,
since the
> >> medium hasn't even been around for two decades. A "canon", to me,
> >> conjures up a
> >> vast artistic tradition, studied, critiqued, and venerated. Perhaps we can
> >> start talking about an I-F canon a century from now once it has matured and
> >> developed, but at present the term smacks of either pretentiousnss or
sarcasm.

> >What you don't seem to realize is that this group has always been talking
> >about (i.e. constructing) its canon. Why not call that activity by its
> >obvious name? To me, not to do so would smack of false modesty. Your point
> >about maturity seems to imply that there are no obvious classics in the
> >adventure game tradition (which, btw, *is* more than two decades old). Or
> >is there such a thing as an immature classic?

> I didn't mean to imply that there are no classics -- certainly
there are:
> Adventure and Zork, for example. I just feel that the genre is far too young
> for us to have achieved the objectivity necessary to establish a canon.

Objectivity will never come into the process. For that you would have to
wait forever. Why do you suppose they are arguing over Bloom's book?

A canon is a process, not a product. And that process starts as soon as
there is an awareness of a tradition. All it takes is a successful
construction of a tradition. If only the idea of a tradition is recognized
as true by its community, the tradition itself can be as shaky or
ephemeral as you like.

> Could
> the literary community establish a canon for the years spanning 1973 to the
> present? I think not. From 1900 - 1940? Certainly.

But that is a completely different context. The Literary canon has a vast
tradition in being a canon as well, so the two canons are not comparable.
You don't put Tom Stoppard next to Shakespeare (yet), for obvious reasons.
But you may put Deadline next to Zork.

> IMHO, a canon is made up of works that have firmly established their
ability to
> influence artists and to speak to the public despite the passage of time.

Again, you're using *The* Literary canon as your measuring stick, but
there are other canons which would make a far better analogy. Take
cyberpunk fiction, for instance. Like it or not, it is less than two
decades old, and yet it has a canon already (largely thanks to Bruce
Sterling).

If one accepts that there is more than one phenomenon which can be
described with the word 'canon,' then the adventure game canon is as good
as any other self-respecting tradition.

While your idea of a canon seems to rely on there being some sort of
historical distance between the canoners and the canonees, mine is simply
operational: canonizing is what we do when we discuss the "great works" of
a tradition. And let's face it: Time is relative.

But hey, if you don't like the word, then let's call it a "nonac" instead.

> >Also, I would like to know what you mean by "matured and developed". Do
> >you mean when the tradition has become more more "Literature"-like?
>
> Not necessarily more literature-like, just so that enough time has
passed for us
> to look back at the tradition with some objectivity. I think that we are just
> beginning to achieve that objectivity now.

Objectivity like that usually implies the death of the tradition, so let's
hope not.

> > In my opinion, that is exactly where Brenda Laurel and others have got
it wrong.
>
> I'm not familiar with Brenda Laurel -- perhaps the appropriate posts
have fallen
> off my reader. Would you mind e-mailing me about her if that is so?

I was referring to the ideas in her book _Computers as theatre_ and in
other texts by her. (Cf. the FAQ)

> >I know that some people on this group become what you call "hostile" when
> >I say this, but there is a real conflict between playability and
> >narrativity (just look at Hollywood's "interactive movies"!), and trying
> >to achieve "Literariness" just hasn't worked. Time to try something else!

> I'm not sure what you mean by literariness.

Well, see Neil Randall's "Determining Literariness in Interactive Fiction"
in Computers and the Humanities, Volume 22 No. 3, June 1988, 182-91. At
the time when the genre declined, Randall tried to show how adventure
games were becoming more "Literary". Clearly, it didn't help.

> I don't want to restart the earlier
> thread (most people for a variety of reasons appear to have lost
interest), but
> would love to discuss this point with you via e-mail. Just to briefly
state my
> point, established plots) are necessary, otherwise the piece is boring, a mere
> simulation without conflict.

If the world is interesting, and new unexpected situations constantly
appear, it does not have to be boring at all. (Just think what unlikely
pleasures some people get from playing Solitaire!)

And I don't understand your point about conflict. Why can't a simulation
have conflict?

> Even the Ultima series establishes storylines
> beforehand -- the player simply has more options of which stories in which to
> participate. Perhaps authors can increase the player's sense of freedom with
> the use of plot-branching or, as in Ultima, the use of numerous sub-plots, but
> plots and goals must be established by the author(s). I don't see any way to
> get around that.

Then we're stuck in the wrong aesthetic paradigm. Well, not all of us. But
we've been through that one already..

[...]


> >> Why don't we instead frame the discussion in terms of those pieces of
I-F that
> >> have broken new ground, technologically or stylistically, and have had an
> >> influence on today's I-F authors?
>
> >Well, that is exactly what we (some of us at least) are doing in this
> >thread. Care to join us, and mean what you say about "a very useful
> >discussion"?

> Sure.

> Adventure and Zork, for reasons I've already stated.

I have yet to see anyone disagree on those two.

> Planetfall -- the first to develop an NPC that felt "alive"

Hmm. What about Eliza, twenty years earlier? And how alive is "alive"?

> The Scott Adams Adventures -- Among the first to achieve mass market success

I think we should be discussing specific works, not series. And "mass
market success" is not one of your criteria above.

But you did make me want to play Planetfall.


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

Jeffrey F. Miller

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Jun 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/19/96
to

espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

>> espen....@hf.uib.no wrote:

>> >In article <4puidj$q...@sjx-ixn4.ix.netcom.com>, jeff...@ix.netcom.com wrote:


>> I didn't mean to imply that there are no classics -- certainly
>there are:
>> Adventure and Zork, for example. I just feel that the genre is far too young
>> for us to have achieved the objectivity necessary to establish a canon.

>Objectivity will never come into the process. For that you would have to
>wait forever. Why do you suppose they are arguing over Bloom's book?

True. Perhaps I am requiring a bit too much time to pass. And you're right
about complete objectivity being impossible.

>A canon is a process, not a product. And that process starts as soon as
>there is an awareness of a tradition. All it takes is a successful
>construction of a tradition. If only the idea of a tradition is recognized
>as true by its community, the tradition itself can be as shaky or
>ephemeral as you like.

Good point. I had not thought of it in this way.

>> Could
>> the literary community establish a canon for the years spanning 1973 to the
>> present? I think not. From 1900 - 1940? Certainly.

>But that is a completely different context. The Literary canon has a vast
>tradition in being a canon as well, so the two canons are not comparable.
>You don't put Tom Stoppard next to Shakespeare (yet), for obvious reasons.
>But you may put Deadline next to Zork.

I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that comparing an
established canon to one that has yet to be established is a bad comparison?

>> IMHO, a canon is made up of works that have firmly established their
>ability to
>> influence artists and to speak to the public despite the passage of time.

>Again, you're using *The* Literary canon as your measuring stick, but
>there are other canons which would make a far better analogy. Take
>cyberpunk fiction, for instance. Like it or not, it is less than two
>decades old, and yet it has a canon already (largely thanks to Bruce
>Sterling).

True, I did choose the literary canon as my example, primarily because it is the
one with which I am most familiar, but I think that the same criteria apply to
other canons as well: painting, architecture, music, etc. And, although I know
very little about cyberpunk (I've read Gibson's Neuromancer, but that's it) it
strikes me as odd to credit the establishment of a canon to one person. But
perhaps that's not what you mean to say.

>If one accepts that there is more than one phenomenon which can be
>described with the word 'canon,' then the adventure game canon is as good
>as any other self-respecting tradition.

True.

>While your idea of a canon seems to rely on there being some sort of
>historical distance between the canoners and the canonees, mine is simply
>operational: canonizing is what we do when we discuss the "great works" of
>a tradition. And let's face it: Time is relative.

Again true.

>But hey, if you don't like the word, then let's call it a "nonac" instead.

I like nonac! :-) Really, despite this looonnnngggg post, I really don't care
too much one way or the other. The word "canon" connotes something very
specific to me and didn't seem to fit with I-F. But this is simply a personal
preference. I think the project you propose is very worthwhile.

>> >Also, I would like to know what you mean by "matured and developed". Do
>> >you mean when the tradition has become more more "Literature"-like?
>>
>> Not necessarily more literature-like, just so that enough time has
>passed for us
>> to look back at the tradition with some objectivity. I think that we are just
>> beginning to achieve that objectivity now.

>Objectivity like that usually implies the death of the tradition, so let's
>hope not.

THIS is a good point, which I had again not thought of.

>> > In my opinion, that is exactly where Brenda Laurel and others have got
>it wrong.
>>

[snip]

>> I don't want to restart the earlier
>> thread (most people for a variety of reasons appear to have lost
>interest), but
>> would love to discuss this point with you via e-mail. Just to briefly
>state my
>> point, established plots) are necessary, otherwise the piece is boring, a mere
>> simulation without conflict.

>If the world is interesting, and new unexpected situations constantly
>appear, it does not have to be boring at all. (Just think what unlikely
>pleasures some people get from playing Solitaire!)

Another good point, but those unexpected situations must be somehow coded in by
an author. And Solitaire, chess, and the like are systems with very strict
rules as to how one may behave.

>And I don't understand your point about conflict. Why can't a simulation
>have conflict?

I didn't mean to say that a simulation can't have conflict, just that unless the
author codes it in beforehand, there will be none. I'm still not clear on your
vision for adventure games, I suppose.

>> Even the Ultima series establishes storylines
>> beforehand -- the player simply has more options of which stories in which to
>> participate. Perhaps authors can increase the player's sense of freedom with
>> the use of plot-branching or, as in Ultima, the use of numerous sub-plots, but
>> plots and goals must be established by the author(s). I don't see any way to
>> get around that.

>Then we're stuck in the wrong aesthetic paradigm. Well, not all of us. But
>we've been through that one already..

>[...]
>> >> Why don't we instead frame the discussion in terms of those pieces of
>I-F that
>> >> have broken new ground, technologically or stylistically, and have had an
>> >> influence on today's I-F authors?
>>
>> >Well, that is exactly what we (some of us at least) are doing in this
>> >thread. Care to join us, and mean what you say about "a very useful
>> >discussion"?

>> Sure.


>> Planetfall -- the first to develop an NPC that felt "alive"

>Hmm. What about Eliza, twenty years earlier? And how alive is "alive"?

Heh, heh, I'm not sure I can define "alive" IMHO, Floyd was the first NPC that
I really cared about and who had a personality. If one can consider Eliza as
I-F, I'd certainly include it. I'm not sure, though, that it qualifies.

>> The Scott Adams Adventures -- Among the first to achieve mass market success

>I think we should be discussing specific works, not series. And "mass
>market success" is not one of your criteria above.

Ok, got me. I didn't think these through very thoroughly, I admit. I suppose I
included them because they were the first adventures that I ever played. Hardly
a good reason to include them, I suppose. But, nevertheless, given the
limitations that Scott Adams had to work with (48k ram, max), the games are
suprisingly complex and engrossing. At least to me.


>But you did make me want to play Planetfall.

Great! You should. It's a wonderful game.

Matteo Vaccari

unread,
Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
to

Damien Neil (ne...@godzilla.jpl.nasa.gov) wrote:

: On 17 Jun 1996 23:22:58 +0100, Gareth Rees <gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
: > * first use of real time ("Borderzone"?)

: _The Hobbit_ used real time, if my memory serves. I believe it came
: out well before _Border Zone_. (Certainly, it was technically quite
: inferior.)

Hmmm, it's been a great deal of time since I last played it, but I
don't remember real time was used in The Hobbit. I recall leaving the
computer for dinner, and coming back to it and nothing changed. On
the other hand, on every turn all of the NPCs would do something, even
if far from your view. In some games you came upon the corpse of the
warg; in some other games you find it when it attacks you.

: Thorin was a rather interesting character, actually. In the goblin


: caves, the two of you find a key, needed much later on. He promptly
: picks it up and refuses to surrender it. If he died, you could take
: the key, but I seem to recall that you needed him with you later
: on. I never finished the game, mainly because of the immense
: difficulty involved in getting Thorin out of the caves in one
: piece.

The Hobbit was strange, because it had a very bad random number
generator. In some games Thorin does most of what you ask him to do.
In some other, he refuses. In some games, Gandalf would disappear,
never to be seen again, while in other he would reappear constantly.
But one of the nice things about The Hobbit was that most puzzles had
more than one solution. You could pass some obstacles by means of the
One Ring, if you found one, but it was not needed. Other could be
passed with the help of one or the other NPC, or by just "waiting for
the right moment."

Yes, The Hobbit is the game I have the fondest memory of. Yet, it had
such problems! It was very buggy; the Goblin caves were a labyrinth,
that was very difficult to map since the Goblin kept finding me and
putting me back in their prison. But part of the charm of the games
was in its bugs, and mysterious details. For instance, I remember
following Gandalf on the path on the Misty Mountains, to arrive to a
place with a key. I never found out what the purpose of the key was.
Yet I finished the game. To me, that was most of the fascination of
computer adventures: to imagine that the adventure world was larger
than it actually was. This illusion was produced by the fact that you
never knew when you actually found everything in the game. (Adding a
"have you tried this" section to the game hints defeats this illusion;
you know that solution-of-puzzles + have-you-tried-this comprise all
of the interesting output of the program.)

I remember reading in the computer mags of the time that a book was
published by Melbourne House that detailed the various different
solution to puzzles; alas, I never found a copy. Does anybody have
one?

As Espen (should I write espen?) and someone else (I lost the article)
pointed out recently, Twin Kingdom Valley was a game in a similar
vein: there was a vast world to map, with many wandering NPCs. They
too were extremely simple-minded; yet they showed purpose to some
extent (enemies would attack you; all of them would pick up
treasure). In their simplicity, they were vastly superior to the
traditional NPC-obstacle that just sits in a place and provides an
excuse for a puzzle.


: I wouldn't mind seeing a similar effort


: using more modern technology; NPCs don't have to be perfectly
: intelligent to be interesting.

Excellent point. Writing a game with wandering NPCs is one of the
things I'm planning to do when I retire... Gee, I surely could do with
more spare time.

Matteo

Bozzie

unread,
Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
to

* first use of real time ("Borderzone"?)

Nope, actually, I think it was King's Quest 2. I think. Well, one of those
king's quests had a timer, although Im not sure about the dates.

My favorites are:

1)AMFV
2)Borderzone
3)Corruption
4)Daemon's Tomb
5)Trinity
6)Witness
7)Deadline
8)Hollywood Hijinx
9) Guild of Theieves
10) Theatre (The only big gmd piece Ive actually devoted some time to, but not
to fear, I just downloaded a whole bunch of games for the summer)

Hmm,
The top 7, with the *possible* exception of Trinity, are fairly plot oriented
pieces, with Borderzone having some reliance on puzzles too (but still a
strong plot) 8 and 9 and to some extent 5 are puzzle games, and 10 is
somewhere in between. Guess I love those plot filled games :)


Kyle Dean

unread,
Jun 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/20/96
to

In article <slrn4sgagt...@godzilla.jpl.nasa.gov>,

Damien Neil <ne...@godzilla.jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:
>On 17 Jun 1996 23:22:58 +0100, Gareth Rees <gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> * first use of real time ("Borderzone"?)
>
>_The Hobbit_ used real time, if my memory serves. I believe it came
>out well before _Border Zone_. (Certainly, it was technically quite
>inferior.)

How about "Escape from Rungistan", a very early text and graphics adventure
for the Apple ][, probably around 75? It had line drawings and every now
and then there would even be animation and noise. For instance, a mouse
might run across the picture of your cell, and you had to type 'catch
mouse' as it ran to actually catch it. This was a bit of a challenge for
a new typist, but it's a small example of real time interaction.

The best thing was, it was written in AppleSoft, so you could list the
program if you got stuck to find the answer to the riddle.

Paul David Doherty

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
to

In article <4qaklv$s...@staff.cs.su.oz.au>,

Kyle Dean <kas...@cs.su.oz.au> wrote:
>
>How about "Escape from Rungistan", a very early text and graphics adventure
>for the Apple ][, probably around 75?

Around 1982 in fact.

-- Dave


David Baggett

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
to

>I say this, but there is a real conflict between playability and
>narrativity (just look at Hollywood's "interactive movies"!), and trying
>to achieve "Literariness" just hasn't worked. Time to try something else!

The problem I'm having with your commentary on the state of the art is that
it seems you just don't like adventure game inspired IF. That being the
case, I don't see why you expect to carry on a useful discussion about what
we call IF here in rec.arts.int-fiction.

It's clear that you are very well read, and that you have put a great deal
of thought and energy into criticism of interactive media. However, I
think you haven't played enough games to understand why your criticisms are
for the most part falling on deaf ears.

People who approach interactive media from outside the gaming community
tend to see all interactive media as a lump of equivalent works. This is
as far from reality as the idea that all music is equivalent.

You told us that Ultima Underworld succeeds where Zork (for example) fails.
This is like telling Jazz people that they should be listening to and
writing Rock & Roll. And not only that, you admit that you haven't even
played Planetfall -- an adventure game staple if ever there was one. This
is like telling Jazz people that Rock is better when you've never heard
Coltrane.

Just as Jazz and Rock have radically different goals (and formal methods
and structures), so do games in the Zork lineage differ from their Hack
counterparts. By "Hack games", I mean games like:

Hack, Eamon, Rogue, Temple of Apshai, Omega, Moria, Ultima series,
Wizardry series, Dunegon Master, Nethack, etc.

These games are rooted in a very clear tradition: simulation of Dungeons &
Dragons on computers. Not telling stories, but simulating (key word!)
interesting places and fantastic treasures. I would say the most evolved
of these are the Ultimas and Nethack. You really must play these games to
understand the intentions of the authors who work in this genre!

The intentions of the adventure game IF writer are totally different. His
main goal is not simulation of a D&D world. It is to tell a story. That's
not so obvious when you compare circa 1979 works (Hack and Colossal Cave).
But it becomes abundantly clear in the Infocom era, and is totally
unambiguous today, where we can easily contrast Nethack with games like
Theatre, Lost New York, Jigsaw, Christminster and my own work The Legend
Lives!

Make no mistake: we're not confused. We want to tell stories, and we want
the reader to play a key role. We are unwilling to give up the power to
plot that we inherit from static fiction, not because we can't see the
virtue in simulationist approaches, but because we have specific artistic
reasons for *keeping a certain amount of authorial control*.

If you think this is a bankrupt approach, well that's OK. Not everyone
likes Jazz, either. But criticize works in the appropriate context,
or expect to evoke either puzzlement or ire from the artists.

>A century is just a little too long to wait.

Maybe for you, but not for the works themselves. Just like stocks on the
stock market, the works do not care about you. You can analyze them all
you want, make predictions and come to conclusions -- even short the market
and dismiss the entire genre -- but the market keeps moving, chaotically
and inexorably, oblivious to your theories.

Like the market, the arts make fools of even the most brilliant scholars.
Who knows what will win and lose?

Dave Baggett
__
d...@ai.mit.edu
"Mr. Price: Please don't try to make things nice! The wrong notes are *right*."
--- Charles Ives (note to copyist on the autograph score of The Fourth of July)

David Kinder

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
to

Matteo Vaccari (mat...@dsi.unimi.it) wrote:

: As Espen (should I write espen?) and someone else (I lost the article)


: pointed out recently, Twin Kingdom Valley was a game in a similar
: vein: there was a vast world to map, with many wandering NPCs. They
: too were extremely simple-minded; yet they showed purpose to some
: extent (enemies would attack you; all of them would pick up
: treasure). In their simplicity, they were vastly superior to the
: traditional NPC-obstacle that just sits in a place and provides an
: excuse for a puzzle.

I never liked The Hobbit, but Twin Kingdom Valley - gosh, that brings back
ancient memories. Now that would make an interesting Inform project.

David


Torbj|rn Andersson

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
to

mat...@dsi.unimi.it (Matteo Vaccari) wrote:

> The Hobbit was strange, because it had a very bad random number
> generator. In some games Thorin does most of what you ask him to do.

> In some others, he refuses. In some games, Gandalf would disappear,


> never to be seen again, while in other he would reappear constantly.

This could be quite aggravating at times. I clearly remember
having this happen to me once, when playing The Hobbit on a
C64 a friend of mine had borrowed:

> SAY TO BARD "KILL DRAGON WITH BOW"
Bard says, "No."
The dragon goes north.

> NORTH
[ description of room ]

> SAY TO BARD "KILL DRAGON WITH BOW"
Bard says, "No."
The dragon goes north.

When, at last, he accepted it didn't succeed. I think he tried to
beat the dragon to death with the bow, or something like that ...
In any event, it didn't work.

(I also remember playing Infocom's "The Witness" for the first
time right after playing "The Hobbit". The difference was quite
astounding, to say the least.)

But "The Hobbit" certainly had a lot of charm, and if it was ever
re-made for a platform to which I have access (Spectrum emulators
isn't really an option for me), I'd be delighted to play it again.

_
Torbjorn

Fredrik Ekman

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Jun 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/23/96
to

[Note: I decided to cross-post this thing to comp.sys.sinclair, since
the subject of The Hobbit comes up there every once in a while. Short
explanation to comp.sys.sinclairians: There has been a thread going on
in rec.arts.int-fiction about the most important text adventures for
awhile. This is sort of a spin-off of that discussion.]

When Espen Aarseth (espen....@hf.uib.no) started the Adventure
Game canon thread, he mentioned


> 4. The Hobbit, published by Melbourne house, 1982. The most
> successful adaption of a literary classic to date?

Michael Blaheta (mbla...@flood.xnet.com) replied:
>Hm. I've never heard of it... but maybe it belongs there anyway.
>*shrug*

And no wonder. The reason that Espen believed The Hobbit to be one
of the most essential text adventure through all time, while Michael
and many others have not even heard about it is that while it is a
great classic in Europe, it passed by nearly unnoticed in the US.

The game was originally released in Europe in 1982 for the ZX
Spectrum. I think it was one of the first text adventures for that
computer and its advanced parser (remember, the Spectrum had only
48K of working memory) and independent NPCs made it an instant
success. It was converted to many other systems and was perhaps
THE most influential text adventure in Europe (with the possible
exception of some Level 9 games).

But the publisher Melbourne House did not have an organization in
the US, and so it was not released there until 1985, when a deal
was struck with Addison-Wesley. The version then released was
much improved as compared to the original, but I suppose time had
still been rough on it and it was too dated to become a success.
I suppose the marketing and timing perhaps were not too good,
either.

Gareth Rees (gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk) came up with a list of "firsts"
in the text adventure canon, for instance:


> * first literary adaption ("The Hobbit"?)

No, The Hobbit was not the first text adventure based on a work
of literature. Take a look at the following WWW page and you
will see why:
http://www.lysator.liu.se/tolkien-games/chronology.html

It is, however, possible that The Hobbit was the first official
text adventure adaption of a work of litterature, if you
consider that important.

But if you MUST find some area where The Hobbit was first (as if
its exceptional influence was not enough) I would like to guess
that it was the first game to feature both graphics and a multi-
word parser. Does anyone know of any other contenders?

Damien Neil (ne...@godzilla.jpl.nasa.gov) wrote:
>_The Hobbit_ used real time, if my memory serves. I believe it came
>out well before _Border Zone_. (Certainly, it was technically quite
>inferior.)

No, The Hobbit did not really have real-time, but when the user had
waited too long typing the next sentence, the computer advanced one
move, allowing all the NPCs to do something. This could be temporarily
switched off by typing PAUSE.

Torbjörn Andersson (d91...@csd.uu.se) wrote:
>But "The Hobbit" certainly had a lot of charm, and if it was ever
>re-made for a platform to which I have access (Spectrum emulators
>isn't really an option for me), I'd be delighted to play it again.

I should think it WAS re-made for a platform to which you have
access. I mean, you do have access to either a PC or a Mac, don't
you? The game was released for both those platforms by Addison-
Wesley, but those versions never came to Europe. There was also a
never-released Amiga version and the programmer, Philip Mitchell,
has been heard saying recently that he has been thinking about
making a WWW version in Java. I have no idea how serious those
plans are, however.

In conclusion: The Hobbit certainly deserves its place in the
Adventure Game Canon and, although aged, can still be very
enjoyable. This goes especially for the improved Addison-Wesley
versions.

/F

Ian Collier

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

In article <dwivcix...@tingeling.lysator.liu.se>, ek...@lysator.liu.se (Fredrik Ekman) wrote:
>I should think it WAS re-made for a platform to which you have
>access. I mean, you do have access to either a PC or a Mac, don't
>you? The game was released for both those platforms by Addison-
>Wesley, but those versions never came to Europe. There was also a
>never-released Amiga version and the programmer, Philip Mitchell,
>has been heard saying recently that he has been thinking about
>making a WWW version in Java. I have no idea how serious those
>plans are, however.

For no particular reason I just thought I'd add that I knew somebody at IBM
who wrote a Hobbit in PL/1 and ran it on an MVS mainframe...

Ian Collier - i...@comlab.ox.ac.uk - WWW Home Page (including Spectrum section):
http://www.comlab.ox.ac.uk/oucl/users/ian.collier/index.html

Trevor Barrie

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

d...@lf.ai.mit.edu (David Baggett) wrote:

>These games are rooted in a very clear tradition: simulation of Dungeons &
>Dragons on computers.

[...]

>The intentions of the adventure game IF writer are totally different. His
>main goal is not simulation of a D&D world. It is to tell a story.

When did the great simulationist vs dramatist debate get settled so
decisively? I was sure it was still a major issue...

This distinction seems off to me for a couple of reasons. First, the
purpose of RPGs _is_ (to at least some extent, from at least some
people's point of views, insert other qualifiers here) to tell a
story, so a computer game which tries to simulate them must be trying
to tell a story as well.

Secondly, in my experience traditional text adventures are, by and
large, _far_ more RPG-like than the so-called "computer RPGs". As I
mentioned in another post, Ultima IV and V are up there with Zork and
company, but damn few others are. If this is really the distinction
between the two styles, the "CRPGs" must be failing rather miserably.

Torbj|rn Andersson

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

ek...@lysator.liu.se (Fredrik Ekman) wrote:

> I should think [The Hobbit] was re-made for a platform to which you have


> access. I mean, you do have access to either a PC or a Mac, don't
> you? The game was released for both those platforms by Addison-
> Wesley, but those versions never came to Europe.

I didn't realize that.

Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if it's still available,
and if it would run on a Mac Plus? Not that I know whether or
not I'd buy it, but it'd be interesting to know.

_
Torbjorn


David Baggett

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
to

In article <4qmurd$p...@bud.peinet.pe.ca>,
Trevor Barrie <tba...@cycor.ca> wrote:

>When did the great simulationist vs dramatist debate get settled so
>decisively? I was sure it was still a major issue...

As far as I can tell, this thread is not really about that debate at
all (until your post, that is). My point was that the goals of the
designers of these two different genres of games (Colossal Cave
lineage vs. Hack lineage) are quite different. These designers don't
talk about their games in the same way, don't look to the same sources
of inspriation, and don't worry about nearly the same things when it
comes to implentation.

>This distinction seems off to me for a couple of reasons. First, the

>purpose of RPGs _is_ ... to tell a story...

Come on. To the same degree as Jigsaw, or Christminster, or Theatre? Sure
there are crossover works that are harder to classify, like the later
Ultima games.

But you could argue that action movies "tell a story" too. Of course, it
would be silly to think that action movie writers generally make
story-telling the number one priority in the same way that, say, Joyce
Carol Oates does.

In any case, I didn't say that the Hack designers are explicitly trying
*not* to tell stories. Just that this is clearly not the main goal.

>Secondly, in my experience traditional text adventures are, by and
>large, _far_ more RPG-like than the so-called "computer RPGs".

Like I said, it's less clear if you look at the older games, but as of
AMFV, Trinity, even Planetfall?

>As I mentioned in another post, Ultima IV and V are up there with Zork
>and company, but damn few others are. If this is really the
>distinction between the two styles, the "CRPGs" must be failing rather
>miserably.

You wouldn't by chance be the Anti-Espen, would you? :) I don't agree with
your assessment at all. The Hack games are tons of fun, and very
interesting. Nethack is one my favorite games ever. Things like the
polymorph code in Nethack make you feel like you're really in a world
governed by laws of magical physics -- that the results of your actions are
not predetermined by a would-be visionary author, but rather fall out of a
comprehensive set of world modelling rules.

This is every bit as interesting (to me, at least), but totally different
from what people here call "IF". And I think that Espen is, to a certain
extent right: simulation is at odds with narrative. I just happen to think
that that's a good reason for people who are primarily interested in
writing interactive narratives to focus on just that: narrative; and to
steer away from Hack-like simulation.

(*Now* we're talking about that same old debate. And we didn't even
wait long enough to bring MUDs into the fray...)

Greg Ewing

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
to

Kyle Dean wrote:
>
> The best thing was, it was written in AppleSoft,

That brings back memories! The first adventure game
I ever saw was written in Basic. A couple of people
brought a huge listing into school one day and
proceeded to type it all in on our school's Apple II
(the masochism we were prepared to indulge then!)

It was called Quest, it was terrifically primitive
by today's standards (a one-letter parser!) and it
had nothing you could really call a puzzle, but I
found it intriguing, probably because I'd never
seen anything like it before.

I think I've still got the listing around somewhere.
Maybe I should do a Tads port, for old time's sake?

Greg

Fredrik Ekman

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
to

d91...@csd.uu.se (Torbj|rn Andersson) writes:
>Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if [The Hobbit is] still

>available, and if it would run on a Mac Plus? Not that I know whether
>or not I'd buy it, but it'd be interesting to know.

I have managed to run its successors Shadows of Mordor and Crack of
Doom on a System 7 Mac (not sure quite what type of Mac, I'm more into
Unix and PC) so I think it should work, but you probably have to boot
it from disk or somesuch.

Unfortunately, it is not available to the best of my knowledge.
Especially not in Europe. A WTB ad in a suitable marketplace group is
probably your best bet. If you manage to find it, it will be cheap
(except for postage).

/F


Fredrik Ekman

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
to

In article <19960624....@hallas.demon.co.uk> Ric...@hallas.demon.co.uk (Richard G. Hallas) writes:
Is there a snap of the Addison-Wesley version available anywhere?

There is one of the Apple II version. Let's see... Here it is:

ftp://robot.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/adventure/hobbit.1.dsk.gz
ftp://robot.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/adventure/hobbit.2.dsk.gz

I'd no idea that an 'improved' Hobbit was released. In what ways
was it different?

Differences as compared to the original version:

- Much better graphics (see the following www page for an example:
http://www.lysator.liu.se/tolkien-games/entry/hobbit.html)

- Graphics for nearly all locations

- A few more locations (in the hills near Lonely Mountain)

- Music (brilliant music, but unfortunately only with the C64 version)

- Gandalf and Thorin in particular have more to say

- Longer room descriptions

- Most bugs cleard up

- Much more difficult to kill Smaug

That's about it, I think.

/F

Den of Iniquity

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to

On 21 Jun 1996, David Kinder wrote:
> I never liked The Hobbit, but Twin Kingdom Valley - gosh, that brings back
> ancient memories. Now that would make an interesting Inform project.

Brilliant idea... though one of my most vivid memories of (C64) TKV was the
graphics - in particular the one or two sprites which bounced across the
screen or ran up trees. I remember especially the rabbit on the first road
location because a small bug meant that its cotton-tail bounced just in
front of it. I fondly remember fixing it with my Action Replay cartridge
- if only the adventure had proved so easy.

So a no-graphics version of TKV for Inform then. Unless you're planning
something radical for the next Amiga Frotz... ;)

--
Den (who won't use anything other than Amiga Frotz)

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to
patr...@Direct.CA (Cthulhu) writes:

>In article <4pn2nc$b...@lll-winken.llnl.gov>, Kathleen Fischer <kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> wrote:

>>What other
>>advances have been made (intresting use of
>>time/environment/objects/dialog/...)?

Planetfall is the first one I know of that kept track of time and made
you eat and sleep. It also did some pretty visionary things with plot -
does anyone remember my "Planetfall is the Oklahoma of IF" rant? It was
the first game in which I felt the world and the story were primary,
rather than being grafted onto the game after the puzzles were designed.

Later Infocoms did a lot of experimenting that we haven't followed up on.
Spellbreaker, and, later, Beyond Zork, gave us dynamic vocabulary, which
is now part of a few development systems but remains little used. Nord
and Bert gave us a new form of non-direction based navigation, as well as
a parser that could, in many cases, make sense of commands without
verbs. Journey took a stab at a hierarchical, context-sensitive,
menu-based command interface, an idea that's been raised here recently.
I'm sure I'm forgetting several other such experiments...

--
Carl Muckenhoupt | Text Adventures are not dead!
b...@tiac.net | Read rec.[arts|games].int-fiction to see
http://www.tiac.net/users/baf | what you're missing!

Rhodri James

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
to
ne...@godzilla.jpl.nasa.gov (Damien Neil) wrote:

> Other RPGs, however, focus on the `RP' aspect: role playing. In these,
> combat is secondary to plot. Text adventures are quite similar to this
> form of game. Just replace the computer printing text with a human
> speaking. :>

Um. While it's possible to roleplay anything if you try hard enough, I'm
yet to find a text adventure that gives you much latitude for roleplaying.
They're fine at what they do, which is basically puzzles (to be extremely
simplistic for a moment), but they ain't roleplaying.

--
Rhodri James *-* Wildebeeste herder to the masses
If you don't know who I work for, you can't misattribute my words to them

... but that's a herring of a different colour

espen....@hf.uib.no

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
to
[Had to take care of some local business (nothing major; had to be done)
so that's why I respond this long after Dave's post.]

In article <4qdj81$2...@life.ai.mit.edu>, d...@ai.mit.edu wrote:

> >I say this, but there is a real conflict between playability and
> >narrativity (just look at Hollywood's "interactive movies"!), and trying
> >to achieve "Literariness" just hasn't worked. Time to try something else!
>
> The problem I'm having with your commentary on the state of the art is that
> it seems you just don't like adventure game inspired IF. That being the
> case, I don't see why you expect to carry on a useful discussion about what
> we call IF here in rec.arts.int-fiction.

As for the discussion, I find much of it very useful. I am interested in
adventure games (do I really have to keep pointing this out?), and that is
why I participate in this group.

> It's clear that you are very well read, and that you have put a great deal
> of thought and energy into criticism of interactive media. However, I
> think you haven't played enough games to understand why your criticisms are
> for the most part falling on deaf ears.

I don't get that impression, oddly enough. People here are most responsive
to what I say, even if some of them don't like what I am saying.

> People who approach interactive media from outside the gaming community
> tend to see all interactive media as a lump of equivalent works. This is
> as far from reality as the idea that all music is equivalent.

I agree, of course. But I take exception to your implied suggestion that
I, too, am guilty of this. In fact, one of my main reasons for not using
the word "interactive" has always been that it is much too general and
indiscriminate.

> You told us that Ultima Underworld succeeds where Zork (for example) fails.

This is a clear misrepresentation of my opinions. Why would I claim such a
thing, and then include Zork, of all things, in my Canon-suggestion list,
but not UW? Please be more reasonable when you try to represent my
position.

> This is like telling Jazz people that they should be listening to and
> writing Rock & Roll.

Hardly. It is like asking them to consider using improvisation, rather
than just following sheet music schemes slavishly, because that's how it's
always done by classical composers. Jazz musicians don't need to hear
that, of course, which is why your analogy fails.

> And not only that, you admit that you haven't even
> played Planetfall -- an adventure game staple if ever there was one.

I did not admit that; I simply stated that I wanted to play it, as in
"wanted to play it now." Mr. Baggett, I am afraid this _ad hominem_
speculation does not become you.

When I receive personal accusations ("You haven't played game X", "You
haven't made any games yourself", etc.) I *do not* respond by explaining
my situation. I find such remarks primitive, and usually ignore them, as
one would ignore inappropriate sounds at the dinner table.

> This
> is like telling Jazz people that Rock is better when you've never heard
> Coltrane.

In this case, and unlike Rock, what is better does not yet exist. Again,
your musical analogy seems inadequate.

> Just as Jazz and Rock have radically different goals (and formal methods
> and structures), so do games in the Zork lineage differ from their Hack
> counterparts. By "Hack games", I mean games like:
>
> Hack, Eamon, Rogue, Temple of Apshai, Omega, Moria, Ultima series,
> Wizardry series, Dunegon Master, Nethack, etc.
>

> These games are rooted in a very clear tradition: simulation of Dungeons &
> Dragons on computers.

And so are adventure games, evidently (cf. the "MIT Dungeon"). And games
like UW are plot-oriented -- they are not simple simulations. So I am not
sure that I buy your dichotomy between "Hack games" and "adventure game
inspired IF". UW is certainly an example of both (and far from "ideal" in
my opinion, but that is another matter).

> Not telling stories, but simulating (key word!)
> interesting places and fantastic treasures. I would say the most evolved
> of these are the Ultimas and Nethack. You really must play these games to
> understand the intentions of the authors who work in this genre!
>

> The intentions of the adventure game IF writer are totally different. His
> main goal is not simulation of a D&D world. It is to tell a story.

Even if you could define a genre called "adventure game IF" so narrowly,
author intentions are seldom worth basing genre definitions on. What
actually goes on in the games is far more interesting. And please note
that I think adventure games could become great literature, but in their
own right, and not by chasing after the aesthetic ideals of another genre.


> That's not so obvious when you compare circa 1979 works (Hack and
> Colossal Cave).

Rogue is from 1980. Hack came a little after Rogue. Colossal Cave is from
1976. I think it is fair to assume that the early adventure games inspired
both the Rogue-like games and the later, more "literary" games (as well as
hyperfiction, of course).

> But it [to tell a story] becomes abundantly clear in the Infocom era,


> and is totally unambiguous today, where we can easily contrast Nethack
> with games like Theatre, Lost New York, Jigsaw, Christminster and my
> own work The Legend Lives!

As I have pointed out earlier, concepts like "story" are not very useful
when describing Infocom games like Deadline, for several reasons. If such
a game were to be made even better, I think *less* narrativity would be
the way to go, not more.

> Make no mistake: we're not confused. We want to tell stories, and we want
> the reader to play a key role. We are unwilling to give up the power to
> plot that we inherit from static fiction, not because we can't see the
> virtue in simulationist approaches, but because we have specific artistic
> reasons for *keeping a certain amount of authorial control*.

I don't want to repeat myself, so what can I say? It is your choice. I
don't approve, so what? Hollywood is doing basically the same thing with
their "interactive movie" concept. I have yet to see something interesting
come out of that.

> If you think this is a bankrupt approach, well that's OK. Not everyone
> likes Jazz, either. But criticize works in the appropriate context,
> or expect to evoke either puzzlement or ire from the artists.

If the "appropriate context" was narrative literature, rather than games,
then you would be right to tell me to mind my own business. But it is not.
And criticism is seldom well received by the artists, "appropriate
context" or not.

> >A century is just a little too long to wait.

> Maybe for you, but not for the works themselves. Just like stocks on the
> stock market, the works do not care about you. You can analyze them all
> you want, make predictions and come to conclusions -- even short the market
> and dismiss the entire genre -- but the market keeps moving, chaotically
> and inexorably, oblivious to your theories.

I don't think I agree that a theory has to be without effect on the object
it addresses. We are, after all, talking about cultural, not natural
objects, and you are mistaken if you think there is a watertight barrier
between the works and the theories. Are you really saying this?

> Like the market, the arts make fools of even the most brilliant scholars.
> Who knows what will win and lose?

Who knows, indeed.


_____________________________________________________________________
espen aarseth aar...@uib.no

David Kinder

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
to
Den of Iniquity (dms...@york.ac.uk) wrote:

: Brilliant idea... though one of my most vivid memories of (C64) TKV was the

: graphics - in particular the one or two sprites which bounced across the
: screen or ran up trees. I remember especially the rabbit on the first road
: location because a small bug meant that its cotton-tail bounced just in
: front of it. I fondly remember fixing it with my Action Replay cartridge
: - if only the adventure had proved so easy.

After posting the above I downloaded the C64 version and played it on an
emulator (the rabbit seemed to work in that version). Perhaps it's best
enjoyed that way...

: So a no-graphics version of TKV for Inform then. Unless you're planning

: something radical for the next Amiga Frotz... ;)

Well, the next release (next week) will catch up with Stefan's DOS Frotz 2.01,
so a graphical version could be done for V6. Perhaps to encourage such
ventures a reverse counterpart to the ztools package "pix2gif" program would
be a good idea.

David

Den of Iniquity

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Jul 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/4/96
to

On 28 Jun 1996, David Kinder wrote:

> After posting the above I downloaded the C64 version and played it on an

> emulator...

Downloaded from where? Please? I'm sure I'm not the only one interested. I
didn't see it in if-archive/games/c64.

--
Den

David Kinder

unread,
Jul 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/4/96
to

Den of Iniquity (dms...@york.ac.uk) wrote:

: > After posting the above I downloaded the C64 version and played it on an
: > emulator...

: Downloaded from where? Please? I'm sure I'm not the only one interested. I
: didn't see it in if-archive/games/c64.

It's not there, as it was a commercial game, and still counts as a somewhat
dodgy file to have on an archive. I got a copy from the C64 archive:

ftp://arnold.hiof.no/games/t/twkingva.zip

David

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