Why romance doesn't work as a game

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J.D. Berry

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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I don’t really feel like the genre is unsuitable for IF. I’m
just trying to get a discussion going. Also, I’m using reverse
psychology to make someone say, “oh, yeah? I’ll show you!” :-) I’m
basing this on recent threads which seem to indicate the desire to PLAY
a romance game and the wondering why there aren’t many out there. A
lot of this has been covered in one way or another, but perhaps this
can spark some creativity in some form.


First some of the styles:


Harlequin romance:

Exotic setting. Successful entrepreneur woman not actively
looking for a man. She’s pretty in an understated way. Sister of
woman is more outgoing and a better judge of people but not as creative
or grounded. She’s pretty in a more worldly sense. Semi-mysterious
man is in town on assignment. He’s unintentionally charming but with a
dark side.


The two accidentally encounter each other. There’s passion,
curiosity and brusqueness. But she won’t give him another thought
except for the often times she does. Another encounter. Stronger
passion and a sense of connection. Third encounter ends on a sour note
and what appears to be a permanent breakup.

But wait! Thanks to a random event and the sister’s meddling,
the two again meet. And this time, it’s for good.


Classic romance:

Mundane setting. Educated, inexperienced, upper-middle class
woman actively but not actively looking for a husband. She’s pretty in
an understated way. Sister of woman is more outgoing and a better
judge of people but not as creative or grounded. She’s pretty in a
more worldly sense. Formerly non-mysterious but now semi-mysterious
man has left town on assignment. He’s unintentionally charming but
with a dark side.

The two have known about each other for years, but she never
really thought about him in that way. Until now, when getting together
is inconvenient for everyone. Another encounter. Strong passion and a
sense of connection. Third encounter is by vague letter. Local
meddling. Sub-romances. It sure doesn’t seem like the two will ever
get together.

But wait! Thanks to a random event and the sister’s meddling,
the two again meet. And this time, it’s for good.


Soap Opera Romance:

Bedroom setting. Workaholic, high-powered businesswoman--with
somehow all the time in the world to engage in intrigue and revenge—and
actively looking for an affair. She’s pretty in an aerobicized, face
job, “perfectly tousled” hair way. Sister of woman is more outgoing
and a bigger slut, but not as creative or grounded. Mysterious man
steps out of character and leaves a good situation to pursue his new
ridiculous agenda. He’s unintentionally charming with a dark side.

The two have been in different scenes for years, crossing over
only occasionally. Until now, when the writers need omething “fresh.”
They meet in bed. Another encounter. Strong passion and no sense of
connection whatsoever. Third encounter is with another woman. No, not
in the way you’d like to see. She’s got a gun. Editing. Five shows
of no mentioning. It sure doesn’t seem like the two will ever stay
together.

But wait! Thanks to a random event and the sister’s secret
affair with this man, the two meet again. And this time, he’s in the
hospital with amnesia.


I think why romance won’t work in interactive fiction is that
there are so many elements that MUST be in place, there is no room for
freedom of choice. If you take an element away, you take away the
whole feeling to the story. The elements must exist, and the player,
knowing that they must, has no sense of suspense. Either you take away
the story or you take the choice.

What are some of the elements?

1. The man (or woman, but I will follow along as above) must
have a mostly unnoticeable dark side. There’s no tension if he
doesn’t. So the player of the woman knows right away that things
aren’t going to work out immediately, and “she” should probably skip
ahead to the investigation. So you can have no tension based on the
characters’ interaction or no tension based on player expectations.

2. There must be strong chemistry, a passion that transcends
just the physical. I think this is what separates the genre from a
story with a romance attached. How do you bring that feeling of
chemistry about in the context of IF? I would say in IF the player is
much more the PC than the reader is the protagonist.

3. There must be a sister! Well, not necessarily a sister,
but a romance needs a confidant. She’s someone to bounce things off,
keeps dialog while the man (again, using “man” in general) is away, and
she provides comic relief. And the man MUST be away. His departure
allows the embers to burn and the curiosity to build. This element is
more workable than the others for use in IF, but it still is
predictable.


It’s fine to describe someone else falling in love; those are
HER emotions. But to relate those feelings to someone who is taking on
her role, that fails. “SHE may feel that way, but I don’t.” There’s
not enough time in an IF and presumably “info-dumping” doesn’t help to
establish this in the player’s mind. If done in “proper” IF form, a
sense of connection comes across as kind deeds done and no more.
Chemistry comes across as you’ll like it because the words are saying
so on your screen.

I think IF romance can work in another genre as a side dish.
The player “fills in the blanks” of the romance and may proceed with
the game at hand whenever desired. If you, the player, feel the
connection, great. If not, the story may still succeed. (I think of
a certain comedian’s bit about the movie Top Gun. During the
(relatively speaking) romantic scenes, the women weep. All the men are
thinking is “when’s he getting back in the plane?”)


You can’t plunder any hearts with a xyzzy command.

Jim


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Kathleen M. Fischer

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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In article <82ovjs$ego$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> I don?t really feel like the genre is unsuitable for IF. I?m
> just trying to get a discussion going. Also, I?m using reverse
> psychology to make someone say, ?oh, yeah? I?ll show you!? :-)
I?m

> basing this on recent threads which seem to indicate the desire to
PLAY
> a romance game and the wondering why there aren?t many out there.

Because people haven't written them? I could guess that's because most
IF is writen by men, who traditionally don't write genre romances (which
is what you seemed to be describing), but that would be sterotyping and
as I left my flame proof undies at home I won't take that path. :)

However, as one who is currently writing a historical romance (and has
been for the past 14 or so months), I'll offer what I've found. Most
genre romances involve:

* complex dialogue (optional, but most genre romances have it)
* at least one well developed** NPC (to fall in love with)
* internalized feelings for the PC (the falling in love part)

None of which are easy to do (well) in IF. And the problem isn't
just writing a good response to KISS NPC. That's easy. But just
try sustaining a romantic mood through a scene when the player
is free to walk out, ransack the furniture, or throw mash potatoes
on the ceiling at any point. You can't very well have a grue pop
out and eat the recalcitrant player.

Kathleen

** you know what I mean... :)

--
-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> I don't really feel like the genre is unsuitable for IF. I'm
> just trying to get a discussion going. Also, I'm using reverse
> psychology to make someone say, 'oh, yeah? I'll show you!'

I hate that.

--Z

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

David Samuel Myers

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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Plundered hearts was actually pretty good, imho... but there aren't too
many examples I would follow since then. Mostly because not too many
people set out in the first place to write Rom-IF.

Honestly, I really hate the pegging of *anything* into a narrow genre.
A lot what is traditionally regarded as SF (at least the good stuff) has
something more than just "SF" at the heart.

What makes you think that the "woman and man meet, like each other, have
a falling out, and get back together" plot wouldn't be amenable to IF?
This is essentially When Harry Met Sally, For Love of the Game, etc. any
big budget "romantic comedy" you can think of.

You have all the elements: protagonist(s), problem solving, annoying
puzzles that aren't entirely intuitive, unclear goals, huge potential for
NPC-driven plot (which is where the hard-to-code-with-existing-tools part
may hang you up)...

Anyway, you were trolling in the first place, so I'm not feeling like
spending a whole lot of time going on about how I'd do it if I were going
to write a Rom-IF.

Adam Cadre

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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Kathleen Fischer wrote:
> But just try sustaining a romantic mood through a scene when the
> player is free to walk out, ransack the furniture, or throw mash
> potatoes on the ceiling at any point.

Well, some of us have found that mashed potatoes are a sure way to
liven up a--

--hrm. I've said too much. Smithers, get the amnesia ray.

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

Jim Aikin

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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Hmm. I've just been playing Anchorhead, and thinking (a) it's a neat
game, in no small part because of the atmosphere, and at the same time
(b) it's a farrago of cliches. You could NEVER sell an actual paperback
book in 1999 that had this moth-eaten setup.

So why does it work in IF? I think it works because we all _know_ the
setting. There's a tremendous amount of cultural baggage that we can all
refer to, internally, while playing the game. This makes it possible for
the game's author to refer to certain things (the red-rimmed eyes in the
portrait, for example) and communicate with us clearly in a sentence or
two. It's ideal for a game, even though it wouldn't work in a *real*
work of fiction because there's not enough depth.

A romance setting should work the same way. To the extent that the
player is familiar with the genre, the writer can toss off lines like
"Geoffrey casts a smoldering look in your direction" and be understood.
A one-sentence description like that, if it were NOT in a familiar
genre, would be pretty vague. It would leave the player wondering,
"What's up with Geoffrey?"

Not to diss Anchorhead. There are other reasons why it works.
Consistency of tone, for example. You can do cliches well or badly. All
I'm saying is that I think cliched writing may actually be appropriate,
or even ideal, for IF.

Hmm. Maybe that dark urge that I've had all these years to write a
vicious send-up of Erle Stanley Gardner has an undreamed-of future....
Gotta go now. Where's my notebook?

--Jim (honest, I only read Perry Mason mysteries when I have a fever
above 101) Aikin

Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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Well, I have to agree with Jim when he lists the cliched and fate-dependent
Standard Romance Plots, and shows why they won't make good I-F. (In fact, I
feel the problem is not that they won't make I-F, but that they'll make for
terribly, terribly linear I-F, with more of the "one slip and you're through"
element than your average puzzle-fest. And that's going to be very
frustrating to the player.) But if romance _on its own_ won't work, why not
romance + another genre? Combined with, say, mystery, adventure or (best of
all) intrigue? I still think the genre would work. It'd just be tougher to
write a good romance game than, say, an ADVENT clone. Or is the answer
_greater_ player freedom, with more than one way of reaching the "optimal"
ending? (I-0 for example...) It'd require some effort on the part of the game
author, but that's far from saying it's impossible.

- Quentin D. Thompson

(whose current project includes a parody of one of the Romance Plots)

Don Rae

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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> None of which are easy to do (well) in IF. And the problem isn't
> just writing a good response to KISS NPC. That's easy. But just

> try sustaining a romantic mood through a scene when the player
> is free to walk out, ransack the furniture, or throw mash potatoes
> on the ceiling at any point. You can't very well have a grue pop
> out and eat the recalcitrant player.

I agree. And, this genre depends far too much on emotional expression, if
speaking purely in terms of how the player interacts with the environment.
I'm not much for romance at all (well, actually, I truly despise it as pure
drivel) - but for arguments sake, can you imagine the player's interactive
component as it would need to be implemented?

>KISS ALICE PASSIONATELY
>KISS ALICE CONSERVATIVELY
>FRENCH-KISS ALICE.
>ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.

Bleah. This kind of thing hardly inspires the imagination, as much as it is
repulsive....it would spoil the kind of mood you would ever hope to
establish.

As for setting mood, circumstance, and scene with your other characters:

>ALICE, COME HERE
>ALICE, KISS ME
vs.
>ALICE, PLEASE COME OVER HERE AND MASSAGE MY SHOULDERS FOR ME.
>ALICE, I COULDN'T IMAGINE ANYONE ELSE I'D RATHER HAVE IN MY LIFE - KISS ME.

Obviously, these are two different requests in terms of emotional content.
(Imagine implementing the 2nd set - not!).

- Don


Preben Randhol

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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Kathleen M. Fischer <green_g...@my-deja.com> writes:

| Because people haven't written them? I could guess that's because most
| IF is writen by men, who traditionally don't write genre romances (which
| is what you seemed to be describing), but that would be sterotyping and
| as I left my flame proof undies at home I won't take that path. :)

I found Plundered Hearts by Infocom a very nice game. The impression I
got from miscellaneous sources before playing, was that it wasn't a great
game. I guess most players were male and expecting grues lurking in
the shadow while they were off to save the princess. :-)

| * complex dialogue (optional, but most genre romances have it)
| * at least one well developed** NPC (to fall in love with)
| * internalized feelings for the PC (the falling in love part)

I think this would be a good summary of the problems.

--
Preben Randhol -- [ran...@pvv.org] -- [http://www.pvv.org/~randhol/]
"Det eneste trygge stedet i verden er inne i en fortelling."
-- Athol Fugard

Preben Randhol

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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"Don Rae" <game...@hotmail.com> writes:

| I'm not much for romance at all (well, actually, I truly despise it as pure
| drivel) - but for arguments sake, can you imagine the player's interactive
| component as it would need to be implemented?
|
| >KISS ALICE PASSIONATELY
| >KISS ALICE CONSERVATIVELY
| >FRENCH-KISS ALICE.
| >ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.
|
| Bleah. This kind of thing hardly inspires the imagination, as much as it is

He he he. That's romance for you?

Mary J Mcmenomy

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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Don Rae (game...@hotmail.com) wrote:

: >KISS ALICE PASSIONATELY


: >KISS ALICE CONSERVATIVELY
: >FRENCH-KISS ALICE.
: >ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.

: Bleah. This kind of thing hardly inspires the imagination, as much as it is

: repulsive....it would spoil the kind of mood you would ever hope to
: establish.

IMHO, what makes a good romance is all in the setup. I'd be content to
have scenes like this narrated to me (as they are in Plundered Hearts) --
assuming that the sequence leading up that point is effective.

-- Mary McMenomy

Jake Wildstrom

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <m3n1rjt...@kiuk0156.chembio.ntnu.no>,
Preben Randhol <ran...@pvv.org> wrote:
>"Don Rae" <game...@hotmail.com> writes:
>| >ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.

>He he he. That's romance for you?

> ALICE, GIVE ME THE MANACLES AND WHIP

+--First Church of Briantology--Order of the Holy Quaternion--+
| A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems. -Paul Erdos |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jake Wildstrom |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Eric Mayer

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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On 10 Dec 1999 02:22:34 GMT, wil...@mit.edu (Jake Wildstrom) wrote:

>In article <m3n1rjt...@kiuk0156.chembio.ntnu.no>,
>Preben Randhol <ran...@pvv.org> wrote:
>>"Don Rae" <game...@hotmail.com> writes:
>>| >ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.
>
>>He he he. That's romance for you?
>
>> ALICE, GIVE ME THE MANACLES AND WHIP
>

>Alice, to the moon
--
Eric Mayer
Web Site: <http://home.epix.net/~maywrite>
=====================================================
co-author of ONE FOR SORROW
A "John the Eunuch" mystery from Poisoned Pen Press
<http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/html/sorrow.html>
=====================================================
"The map is not the territory." -- Alfred Korzybski

Roger Carbol

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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"Kathleen M. Fischer" wrote:

> Most
> genre romances involve:


>
> * complex dialogue (optional, but most genre romances have it)
> * at least one well developed** NPC (to fall in love with)
> * internalized feelings for the PC (the falling in love part)


As a counterpoint, why is genre horror so popular in IF? It
seems to ALSO require things like internalized PC feelings and
so forth. It strikes me as odd that horror could succeed and
romance couldn't.


.. Roger Carbol .. rca...@home.com

Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <385063ea$0$22...@senator-bedfellow.mit.edu>,

wil...@mit.edu (Jake Wildstrom) wrote:
> In article <m3n1rjt...@kiuk0156.chembio.ntnu.no>,
> Preben Randhol <ran...@pvv.org> wrote:
> >"Don Rae" <game...@hotmail.com> writes:
> >| >ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.
>
> >He he he. That's romance for you?
>
> > ALICE, GIVE ME THE MANACLES AND WHIP

>TONE CORDIAL
> ALICE, WOULD YOU OBJECT TO A LITTLE LIGHT BONDAGE?

Hah. "ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME" isn't romance, guys. It's AIF, and pretty
demeaning AIF at that. As for the kind of elaborate sentence constructions
that someone said were _impossible_, you could use Photopia's phtalkoo.h
module. Robb Sherwin's Chix Dig Jerks did an interesting job on adapting this
system to AIF; I'm sure a talented author could do it to romance. And I think
Muse set a standard for "puzzles" based on emotion, that we can always try to
follow or improve on. Forget the massage. :-)

[By the way: FRENCH-KISS is a guess the verb. No can do.]
Quentin.D.Thompson. [The 'D' is a variable.]
Lord High Executioner Of Bleagh
(Formerly A Cheap Coder)

Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <82pjie$q2f$1...@netnews.upenn.edu>,

That's a _very_ good point. Personally, the kind of game I had in mind would
stress setup (as you said), atmosphere, and perhaps emotion, some dialogue,
and all the potentially "guess-the-verb" interaction handled in cut-scenes.
Thanks for pointing it out.

>
--


Quentin.D.Thompson. [The 'D' is a variable.]
Lord High Executioner Of Bleagh
(Formerly A Cheap Coder)

Ron Moore

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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Chris Crawford's - Erasmatron might be worth looking at for anyone into
behavior modeling. It's basically an emotion engine and a lot of his ideas
could be used to make a generic 'feelings library' for IF npc responses. He
also many articles in his archive relating to handling npc psychology etc.
Pretty fascinating reading and tons of stuff on interactive game design.

This is all at -
http://www.erasmatazz.com

Anyone try out the Brainiac Behavior Engine?

Pax,

Ron

J.D. Berry

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <38508D4B...@home.com>,

Roger Carbol <rca...@home.com> wrote:
>
> As a counterpoint, why is genre horror so popular in IF? It
> seems to ALSO require things like internalized PC feelings and
> so forth. It strikes me as odd that horror could succeed and
> romance couldn't.
>

I agree with Jim Aikin's point on why this is.

In a horror plot, there are tangible things to do that can be expressed
in relatively simple ways and without breaking the mood.

J.D. Berry

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <82p182$984$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:

> J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> > I don't really feel like the genre is unsuitable for IF. I'm
> > just trying to get a discussion going. Also, I'm using reverse
> > psychology to make someone say, 'oh, yeah? I'll show you!'
>
> I hate that.
>

Of course you do.

J.D. Berry

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <38501...@dilbert.ic.sunysb.edu>,

David Samuel Myers <dmy...@sparky.ic.sunysb.edu> wrote:
>
> What makes you think that the "woman and man meet, like each other,
> have a falling out, and get back together" plot wouldn't be amenable
> to IF? This is essentially When Harry Met Sally, For Love of the
> Game, etc. any big budget "romantic comedy" you can think of.

It may very well be amenable. I mentioned the problems associated with
this story line based on how it's been done in other mediums. "They"
do it that way because people, to whatever extent, buy it. At this
moment, I can't think of how it can translate with a parser.

>
> Anyway, you were trolling in the first place, so I'm not feeling like
> spending a whole lot of time going on about how I'd do it if I were
>going to write a Rom-IF.

Only a half-troll. I would like to know how you'd do write one. A
full troll would be something like "Language X sucks." The competition
discussions have died off and the only threads now seem to be code
based.

Kathleen M. Fischer

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <38508D4B...@home.com>,
Roger Carbol <rca...@home.com> wrote:

> As a counterpoint, why is genre horror so popular in IF? It
> seems to ALSO require things like internalized PC feelings and
> so forth. It strikes me as odd that horror could succeed and
> romance couldn't.

<aside: tried sending something like this last night and AOL dumped
me just as I was hitting the send button... grrrrr... does anyone know
how to disable the time out feature?>

While the PC's feelings of horror might be internal, the causes are
usually external (things that go bump in the night, dark cramped spaces,
a chilling wind, a scuttle of claws, etc). Things that are fairly easy
to code. In most genre romances, the feelings start from within, and are
often quite contrary to all external forces. Tall dark and handsome is
sitting there brooding over his brandy, after having lectured you on the
evils of throwing mashed potatoes in public, when the main character
suddenly has an inexplicable desire to kiss him. My guess is that the
"inexplicable" nature of genre love is going to be extremely difficult
to pull of in IF. Players don't seem to like being told they are
suddenly feeling love/hate/regret toward something, especially since up
to this point the PC has been going out her way to antagonize him. The
player's are going to turn around and say. "I don't regret throwing the
mashed potatoes at Grant, the cad deserved it! Imagine lecturing me on
the evils of dancing with another man when I know full well he's slept
with half the women in the room!"

Kathleen

--
-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

J.D. Berry

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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In article <82rbdk$5k5$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Kathleen M. Fischer <green_g...@my-deja.com> wrote:

> My guess is that the "inexplicable" nature of genre love is going to
> be extremely difficult to pull of in IF. Players don't seem to like
> being told they are suddenly feeling love/hate/regret toward
> something, especially since up to this point the PC has been going
> out her way to antagonize him. The player's are going to turn around
> and say. "I don't regret throwing the mashed potatoes at Grant, the
> cad deserved it! Imagine lecturing me on the evils of dancing with
> another man when I know full well he's slept with half the women in
> the room!"

Back in my soc.singles days, men would post various
questions about understanding women (gfl ;-D). "I've done all these
things women supposedly like, but I'm still not getting anywhere."
Even before Comp 99 it seemed that chix did indeed dig jerks.

"OK, I'm dressed to kill." <no success>
"OK, I'm a good listener." <no success other than an LJBF>
"OK, I'm self directed." <no success other than an Obie>
ad nauseum...

A plus B doesn't necessarily equal C.

Thus in the interactive fiction world, you can be told all these
things are happening. But the proper elements need to bond to
achieve that certain chemistry. That "je ne sais gaga."

Compare, Kathleen, someone trying to set you up on a date with
someone you didn't know by giving you a laundry list of why it will
work. But that person setting you up doesn't know all of the so
many little things that comprise attraction. Specifically, your
situation. Yeah, it MAY work, but most likely it won't.

The chestnut most single people despise, "it'll happen when you least
expect it," applies. So if you're playing a romance game, you're
EXPECTING it! You're also getting a laundry list of features you
supposedly like. And now that I've told you that you like them, it is
human nature to contradict the list. "I will not be confined so."
"I don't *always* like that."

I think the author of an IF romance would have to be subtle. Well,
no kidding? But I mean more than the standard "make 'em *think*
they have a choice." advice. The player can't be expecting what
she thinks she is. As in books, the protagonist isn't aware of
what is supposed to happen. She knows merely enough that she wants
to continue.

...

BTW, it DID happen when I least expected it. Bastards! :-)

> -- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

Love this. :-)

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
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Roger Carbol <rca...@home.com> wrote:
> "Kathleen M. Fischer" wrote:
>
>> Most
>> genre romances involve:
>>
>> * complex dialogue (optional, but most genre romances have it)
>> * at least one well developed** NPC (to fall in love with)
>> * internalized feelings for the PC (the falling in love part)
>
> As a counterpoint, why is genre horror so popular in IF? It
> seems to ALSO require things like internalized PC feelings and
> so forth. It strikes me as odd that horror could succeed and
> romance couldn't.

Horror -- Lovecraftian horror, anyway -- explicitly excludes believable
NPCs. You don't have complex dialogues with the Spores of Yuggoth; they
may be well-developed characters, but there's no communication.

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
In article <82r3nf$j8e$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:

> Roger Carbol <rca...@home.com> wrote:
> >
> > As a counterpoint, why is genre horror so popular in IF? It
> > seems to ALSO require things like internalized PC feelings and
> > so forth. It strikes me as odd that horror could succeed and
> > romance couldn't.
>
> Horror -- Lovecraftian horror, anyway -- explicitly excludes
believable
> NPCs. You don't have complex dialogues with the Spores of Yuggoth;
they
> may be well-developed characters, but there's no communication.

Lovecraft also explicitly avoided dialogue in his works, feeling that
the banality of conversation detracted from the atmosphere of horror.
--
[ok]

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
In article <82rbdk$5k5$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Kathleen M. Fischer <green_g...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>
> evils of throwing mashed potatoes in public, when the main character
> suddenly has an inexplicable desire to kiss him. My guess is that the

> "inexplicable" nature of genre love is going to be extremely difficult
> to pull of in IF. Players don't seem to like being told they are
> suddenly feeling love/hate/regret toward something, especially since
up
> to this point the PC has been going out her way to antagonize him. The
> player's are going to turn around and say. "I don't regret throwing
the
> mashed potatoes at Grant, the cad deserved it! Imagine lecturing me on
> the evils of dancing with another man when I know full well he's slept
> with half the women in the room!"

I actually don't see the difficulty here. If a woman reads a romance
novel, she's expecting to identify with the heroine. If she finds the
love interest loathsome, she's going to hate the book, right? Romance
novel heroes often trade on broad clichéd descriptions to avoid
alienating women, presumably for that precise reason. (Just once
I'd like to read "He looked like Marty Feldman--the way Marty looked
right now, ten years after his death--and had the manners of Homer
Simpson, but she had this sudden urge to kiss him.")

But, going into the story, the author starts with the knowledge that the
reader wants to fall in love. The author has to deliver a setting that
doesn't disrupt that.

Since this is still a male-dominated and highly snarky group, yeah, the
author would have to put up with people who came to the game WITHOUT
really being interested in the story, or who are even antipathetic to
the whole genre, and getting reviews like "Wow, this game sucked. It was
full of boring stuff about feelings and didn't even let me throw the
mashed potatoes."

An advantage of IF over static fiction is that a a player's choices
could reflect the timbre with which the romance played out. There are
various sub-genres in the field, reflecting the amount of sexual
contact, for example, among other things, and the player's choices could
affect whether the story was a dark, serious tale of mending broken
hearts or a lighthearted romp through a new adventure, and so on.

Another advantage IF could grant is the ability to do a multiple suitor
plotline where the reader could pick who she finally wanted to go with.

No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work would get
raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of sympathy
for or interest in the genre (in raif). But it might expand the IF
audience as a whole. Ya never know.
--
[ok]
"That was the end of Grogan... the man who killed my father, raped and
murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog, and stole my Bible!"
--Kathleen Turner, "Romancing The Stone"

Kathleen M. Fischer

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
In article <82rp5a$flp$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
okbl...@my-deja.com wrote:

> I actually don't see the difficulty here. If a woman reads a romance
> novel, she's expecting to identify with the heroine. If she finds the
> love interest loathsome, she's going to hate the book, right? Romance
> novel heroes often trade on broad clichéd descriptions to avoid
> alienating women, presumably for that precise reason. (Just once
> I'd like to read "He looked like Marty Feldman--the way Marty looked
> right now, ten years after his death--and had the manners of Homer
> Simpson, but she had this sudden urge to kiss him.")

Actually, the "Beauty and the Beast" theme isn't that uncommon. Try
"Ravished" by Amanda Quick. Should be in most any decent book store or
at:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553293168/qid=944866625/sr=1-15/103-0645596-5734228

But in those sorts of books there is always some redeeming quality about
the hero, though only the heroine seems able to find it... and sometimes
even she has trouble...

> An advantage of IF over static fiction is that a a player's choices
> could reflect the timbre with which the romance played out. There are
> various sub-genres in the field, reflecting the amount of sexual
> contact, for example, among other things, and the player's choices
could
> affect whether the story was a dark, serious tale of mending broken
> hearts or a lighthearted romp through a new adventure, and so on.

I imagine that carrying on two opposite levels like that in a single
game would be rather difficult to do well. Like writing two games in
one.

> No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work would get
> raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of sympathy
> for or interest in the genre (in raif).

Thanks for the vote of confidence...

Kathleen - who feels exactly that way about college in-joke games :)

--


-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

John W. Kennedy

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
Preben Randhol wrote:

> I found Plundered Hearts by Infocom a very nice game. The impression I
> got from miscellaneous sources before playing, was that it wasn't a great
> game. I guess most players were male and expecting grues lurking in
> the shadow while they were off to save the princess. :-)

It wasn't my cup of tea as fiction, but a perfectly good game -- I would
have purchased a followup, had there been one. My biggest complaint was
about the truly bizarre notions the author had about how a flintlock
works -- but everybody gets that wrong, I suppose.

--
-John W. Kennedy
-rri...@ibm.net
Compact is becoming contract
Man only earns and pays. -- Charles Williams

Stuart Barrow

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to

On Fri, 10 Dec 1999, Quentin.D.Thompson wrote:

[snip]

> But if romance _on its own_ won't work, why not
> romance + another genre? Combined with, say, mystery, adventure or (best of
> all) intrigue? I still think the genre would work. It'd just be tougher to
> write a good romance game than, say, an ADVENT clone. Or is the answer
> _greater_ player freedom, with more than one way of reaching the "optimal"
> ending? (I-0 for example...) It'd require some effort on the part of the game
> author, but that's far from saying it's impossible.

The first thing that came to mind when you said this was "Jigsaw" -
there's a rather cute and deftly handled romantic subplot running through
that one. It's far from the central point of the game, and I guess it's
really only there for colour, preventing "Black" from being a
stereotypical, ahem, Black Hat. It only really comes into the fore in a
couple of places, and here I start with some mild Jigsaw Spoilers:


For example:

Initially, Black is described as an intriguing stranger as a hook to get
the protagonist out and exploring.

I guess the solution to the Abbey Road section is the most obvious
"intrusion" (for want of a better word) of the romantic aspects of the
game - I thought this was one of the best bits of the game!

The end of the game, of course, sees Black and White together, which
despite everything doesn't come across as forced.


The romantic subplot in Jigsaw works, I think, because of subtle
linguistic cues: Black is described as interesting and enigmatic rather
than flat-out sexy, and is set up in a romantic light early in the game.
The player is, in a way, forced to share the protagonists feelings, but
not in a sledgehammer kind of way.

I think, anyway.

(By the way, did anyone else find themselves mentally swapping genders
through Jigsaw, or was that just me?)

> - Quentin D. Thompson
> (whose current project includes a parody of one of the Romance Plots)

Sounds cool. I'm almost inspired to get to work on a romance game myself.
Crossed with Lovecraftian horror. Possibly. Except that it's been done,
almost.

Stu.


Graham Nelson

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
In article <82ovjs$ego$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, J.D. Berry
<URL:mailto:jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> But wait! Thanks to a random event and the sister’s meddling,
> the two again meet. And this time, it’s for good.

Why do none of the girls I know have sisters?

--
Graham Nelson | gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk | Oxford, United Kingdom


Stuart Barrow

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to

On Fri, 10 Dec 1999, J.D. Berry wrote:

> Back in my soc.singles days, men would post various
> questions about understanding women (gfl ;-D). "I've done all these
> things women supposedly like, but I'm still not getting anywhere."
> Even before Comp 99 it seemed that chix did indeed dig jerks.
>
> "OK, I'm dressed to kill." <no success>
> "OK, I'm a good listener." <no success other than an LJBF>
> "OK, I'm self directed." <no success other than an Obie>
> ad nauseum...

I have to ask. LJBF? Obie? I suspect that I know the meaning but not
the words. :)

> BTW, it DID happen when I least expected it. Bastards! :-)

Trick is never to expect it. :)


Mary J Mcmenomy

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
Kathleen M. Fischer (green_g...@my-deja.com) wrote:

: > No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work would get


: > raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of sympathy
: > for or interest in the genre (in raif).

: Thanks for the vote of confidence...

There are some of us out here who are interested. :)

-- Mary McMenomy

Emily Short

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to

----------
In article <ant102058345M+4%@gnelson.demon.co.uk>, Graham Nelson
<gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>In article <82ovjs$ego$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, J.D. Berry
><URL:mailto:jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>> But wait! Thanks to a random event and the sister’s meddling,
>> the two again meet. And this time, it’s for good.
>
>Why do none of the girls I know have sisters?

On the flip side, my sister has never been any use whatever in this respect.
I wonder whether I should sue for a replacement?

ES

Emily Short

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to

----------
In article <Pine.GSO.4.10.991210...@chem.ufl.edu>, Stuart
Barrow <bar...@chem.ufl.edu> wrote:


<JIGSAW SPOILERS BELOW>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

>(By the way, did anyone else find themselves mentally swapping genders
>through Jigsaw, or was that just me?)

Yes. Curiously. I found that the romance element "worked" (I was
captivated and entertained by it) but my perception of the genders of Black
and White flipped back and forth, or was simply indeterminate. I realize
that sounds deeply odd for a romance, but I have no special objection to
playing male characters, so it didn't bother me.

ES

Adam Cadre

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
Emily Short wrote:
> I found that the romance element "worked" (I was captivated and
> entertained by it) but my perception of the genders of Black and
> White flipped back and forth, or was simply indeterminate.

Oddly, while I also had my perception of Black and White's sexes
change from scene to scene, they were always a gay couple to me.
Sometimes White was Lance Menthe and Black was Eric Roberts, and
sometimes White was Mary Page Keller and Black was Shirley Manson,
but I could never read them as being different sexes.

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

Emily Short

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to

----------
In article <3851e20d...@news.nu-world.com>, l...@nu-world.com (Lelah
Conrad) wrote:

>On Fri, 10 Dec 1999 17:10:51 -0700, "Emily Short"
><ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>
>>On the flip side, my sister has never been any use whatever in this
>>respect. I wonder whether I should sue for a replacement?
>
>

>...and I of course suffer from an excess of sisters, seven to be
>exact, would you like to borrow one?

Oooh. That has "series" written all over it. Eight books at one a month.
You need a stern matriarch, and an irrepressible matchmaker figure (maybe an
old nurse). The rambling old house where the girls grew up... the boy next
door marries one of the sisters...

Maybe I'm just having flashbacks to _Little Women_. Thanks for the kind
offer, but I'll be keeping my sister after all.

ES

Jonathan Allen

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
<DELURK>
Ok, one way you could put more depth into the story, and make interacting
with the NPC's a bit more interesting is to use a photopia style interactive
model (modified of course so you don't keep having to say that irksome "talk
to" to continue the conversation).

instead of:


| >KISS ALICE PASSIONATELY
| >KISS ALICE CONSERVATIVELY
| >FRENCH-KISS ALICE.
| >ALICE, SUBMIT TO ME.
|
| Bleah. This kind of thing hardly inspires the imagination, as much as it
is

He he he. That's romance for you?
(courtesy of "Don Rae" and "Preben Randhol")

You actually get a chunk of dialog with each response down a branching
conversation path. The author gets to show off his dialog and scriptwriting
skill, as well as provide more opportunities for the characters to "get back
together" after the player has been lead by the nose into screwing things
up.

Also, if you can keep the player interested in continuing the current
conversation chain they're less likely to begin wielding mashed potatoes.

I think you could do some really interesting things with this. You'd simply
have to script all the possible "encounters" fairly thoroughly.

-Dr. J
</DELURK>

"Quentin.D.Thompson" <stup...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:82pmhk$vvo$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...
> Well, I have to agree with Jim when he lists the cliched and
fate-dependent
> Standard Romance Plots, and shows why they won't make good I-F. (In fact,
I
> feel the problem is not that they won't make I-F, but that they'll make
for
> terribly, terribly linear I-F, with more of the "one slip and you're
through"
> element than your average puzzle-fest. And that's going to be very
> frustrating to the player.) But if romance _on its own_ won't work, why


not
> romance + another genre? Combined with, say, mystery, adventure or (best
of
> all) intrigue? I still think the genre would work. It'd just be tougher to
> write a good romance game than, say, an ADVENT clone. Or is the answer
> _greater_ player freedom, with more than one way of reaching the "optimal"
> ending? (I-0 for example...) It'd require some effort on the part of the
game
> author, but that's far from saying it's impossible.
>

> - Quentin D. Thompson
>
> (whose current project includes a parody of one of the Romance Plots)
>
>

Adam J. Thornton

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Dec 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/10/99
to
In article <82qp4u$nls$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Quentin.D.Thompson <stup...@my-deja.com> wrote:

>[By the way: FRENCH-KISS is a guess the verb. No can do.]

> GIVE ALICE TONGUE

Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu
"My eyes say their prayers to her / Sailors ring her bell / Like a moth
mistakes a light bulb / For the moon and goes to hell." -- Tom Waits

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
In article <82s1a4$let$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Kathleen M. Fischer <green_g...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>
> Actually, the "Beauty and the Beast" theme isn't that uncommon. Try
> "Ravished" by Amanda Quick. Should be in most any decent book store or
> at: [amazon.com]

OK.

> But in those sorts of books there is always some redeeming quality
about
> the hero, though only the heroine seems able to find it... and
sometimes
> even she has trouble...

True.

> I imagine that carrying on two opposite levels like that in a single
> game would be rather difficult to do well. Like writing two games in
> one.

Sure would be. But we're carrying on in the theoretical at the moment.
Point is: Novelists do fine with one timbre, one plot, one heroine, and
they have by-and-large done fine with it.

Either the reader is willing to go along, or she's not. Simple as that.
There's no need--no chance, really--that any single romance is going to
appeal to everyone. Novelists don't beat themselves up over it: They
know *their* audience and write accordingly.

So why should an IF author have to appeal to people who, in essence,
aren't really going to like it no matter what?

> Thanks for the vote of confidence...

It has nothing to do with confidence. For the record, I'm eagerly
awaiting your magnum opus. :-)

But just as Robb Sherwin instantly selected his audience by virtue of
"Chix Digs Jerks"'s genre (splatterpunk), you've selected yours.
There's nothing wrong with that, it just is. The larger part of your
audience is probably outside raif, or even rgif.

The other side of that coin is the community could gain new members from
a pool who had previously only thought of IF in terms of cave crawls and
busywork. (No pressure.)

> Kathleen - who feels exactly that way about college in-joke games :)

Or, for some, traditional fantasy games, dragon games, Delusions-type
paranoia games, sci-fi, etc. etc. etc.
--
[ok]

Lelah Conrad

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
On Fri, 10 Dec 1999 17:10:51 -0700, "Emily Short"
<ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>On the flip side, my sister has never been any use whatever in this respect=
>.

> I wonder whether I should sue for a replacement?

...and I of course suffer from an excess of sisters, seven to be
exact, would you like to borrow one?

Lelah

Robb Sherwin

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
On Fri, 10 Dec 1999 23:11:02 GMT, Kathleen M. Fischer
<green_g...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>> No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work would get
>> raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of sympathy
>> for or interest in the genre (in raif).
>Thanks for the vote of confidence...
>Kathleen - who feels exactly that way about college in-joke games :)


For what it's worth, I think a new, well-done romance IF game would be
solid and extremely fresh. It would be virtually impossible to do one
without strong characterization and as I get older I find such
features to be the best part about video-gaming.

(An aside: That's why the recently released first-person shooter
Kingpin was such a cruel tease. We were told that you can develop a
gang chock-full of hit-men, rogues and trigger-happy psychos. But
playing it revealed that they were just a bunch of personality-devoid
bots. No one to get attached to. Awful.)

In a game I can accept not being attracted / into / emotionally
interested in who the player character is -- so long as that PC is
well-defined, fun and has magnetism. Then you can seperate yourself.
Like, "OK, the main character is into this boy / girl. I'm not, but
I'll treat this like a role-playing game and have fun."

The late Infocom game "The Circuit's Edge" was adapted from a trilogy
of novels. So I knew the character (named Marid) I was playing in the
game pretty well. So while I -- the player -- may think, "I would
totally just shoot this girl with the needle gun. Marid's too good for
her" I can suspend my personal feelings and play the game from Marid's
point of view which is different from mine. And it works.

(I-0 was like that as well. Playing it, I would think, "OK, my take on
Tracy is that she wouldn't give this dude the time of day. Who else
wants some?" and so forth. )

If a text adventure has strong, interesting characters then in my
opinion genre -- even a genre I would avoid in a straight piece of
fiction -- melts away. It's a bit like how only Zork Zero could get me
to play that stupid peg game. =)


-- Robb

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Robb Sherwin, Fort Collins CO
Reviews From Trotting Krips: http://ifiction.tsx.org
Knight Orc Home Page: www.geocities.com/~knightorc

Adam Atkinson

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
On 10-Dec-99 22:14:21, Stuart Barrow said:

>> "OK, I'm dressed to kill." <no success>
>> "OK, I'm a good listener." <no success other than an LJBF>
>> "OK, I'm self directed." <no success other than an Obie>
>> ad nauseum...

>I have to ask. LJBF? Obie? I suspect that I know the meaning but not
>the words. :)

"LJBF" must be "Let's Just Be Friends". I have no idea what "Obie"
means. "Oh, behave!" or "Obsessive", or something?

--
Adam Atkinson (gh...@mistral.co.uk)
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.


Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
In article <82sp7o$853$1...@nntp3.atl.mindspring.net>,

"Emily Short" <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>
> ----------
> In article <3851e20d...@news.nu-world.com>, l...@nu-world.com (Lelah
> Conrad) wrote:
>
> >On Fri, 10 Dec 1999 17:10:51 -0700, "Emily Short"
> ><ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> >
> >>On the flip side, my sister has never been any use whatever in this
> >>respect. I wonder whether I should sue for a replacement?

> >
> >
> >...and I of course suffer from an excess of sisters, seven to be
> >exact, would you like to borrow one?
>
> Oooh. That has "series" written all over it. Eight books at one a month.
> You need a stern matriarch, and an irrepressible matchmaker figure (maybe an
> old nurse). The rambling old house where the girls grew up... the boy next
> door marries one of the sisters...
>
> Maybe I'm just having flashbacks to _Little Women_. Thanks for the kind
> offer, but I'll be keeping my sister after all.

Actually, if a few of them were already "settled", and some a little on the
younger side, it'd make an interesting concept (re: the corny 30s movie,
"Meet Me In St. Louis"). Coding the NPCs would be torture, though. (I'm
having memories of _Four In One_ now.) :-) -- Quentin.D.Thompson. [The 'D' is
a variable.] Lord High Executioner Of Bleagh (Formerly A Cheap Coder)

Graham Nelson

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
In article <Pine.GSO.4.10.991210...@chem.ufl.edu>,

Stuart Barrow <URL:mailto:bar...@chem.ufl.edu> wrote:
> I guess the solution to the Abbey Road section is the most obvious
> "intrusion" (for want of a better word) of the romantic aspects of the
> game - I thought this was one of the best bits of the game!

Lots of people hated this bit, to judge from my email at the time.
But it's quite germane to the current discussion, because I was
deliberately going for a Hollywood-romance cliche -- the scene,
halfway through a romantic film, where the couple-to-be are
obliged for various complicated reasons to pretend to the world
(or at a dinner party, or while robbing a bank, or whatever)
that they are already married. With hilarious consequences.

Joe Mason

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
Kathleen M. Fischer <green_g...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>> alienating women, presumably for that precise reason. (Just once
>> I'd like to read "He looked like Marty Feldman--the way Marty looked
>> right now, ten years after his death--and had the manners of Homer
>> Simpson, but she had this sudden urge to kiss him.")
>
>Actually, the "Beauty and the Beast" theme isn't that uncommon. Try
>"Ravished" by Amanda Quick. Should be in most any decent book store or

Or, if you'd like to try a "romance novel" without actually having to read a
romance novel, _A Civil Campaign_ by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Joe

J.D. Berry

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
In article <Pine.GSO.4.10.991210...@chem.ufl.edu>,

Stuart Barrow <bar...@chem.ufl.edu> wrote:
>
>
> I have to ask. LJBF? Obie? I suspect that I know the meaning but
> not the words. :)
>

LJBF -- Let's Just Be Friends. A euphemism for "I'm not attracted to
you." It can connote "and I never want to see you again" or "but you're
a good pal." Either way, it's not what you want to hear as a man.

Obie -- A Village Voice, Off Broadway award. One can pretty much use
any award as a "minor" token of limited success. Check the Simpson's.

Jim

Bonnie Montgomery

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
How does _Firebird_ stack up as a romance, those of you who have played it?

Bonnie
(writing telegraphically, baby at breast)


In article <82s3os$f3t$1...@netnews.upenn.edu>, mcme...@mail2.sas.upenn.edu
(Mary J Mcmenomy) wrote:

> Kathleen M. Fischer (green_g...@my-deja.com) wrote:
>
> : > No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work would get
> : > raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of sympathy
> : > for or interest in the genre (in raif).
>
> : Thanks for the vote of confidence...
>

Graham Nelson

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to
In article <82sp7o$853$1...@nntp3.atl.mindspring.net>, Emily Short
<URL:mailto:ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> >...and I of course suffer from an excess of sisters, seven to be
> >exact, would you like to borrow one?
>
> Oooh. That has "series" written all over it. Eight books at one a month.
> You need a stern matriarch, and an irrepressible matchmaker figure (maybe an
> old nurse). The rambling old house where the girls grew up... the boy next
> door marries one of the sisters...

Somehow, the IF version of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
doesn't really appeal... Perhaps "Oklahoma!" or "The Sound of
Music"?

Emily Short

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
to

----------
In article <ant1110370b0M+4%@gnelson.demon.co.uk>, Graham Nelson
<gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>Somehow, the IF version of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
>doesn't really appeal... Perhaps "Oklahoma!" or "The Sound of
>Music"?

----------
In article <82t7g4$dil$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Quentin.D.Thompson
<stup...@my-deja.com> wrote:

>Actually, if a few of them were already "settled", and some a little on the
>younger side, it'd make an interesting concept (re: the corny 30s movie,
>"Meet Me In St. Louis")

Ah, the I-F musical. Now there's an underexplored genre. Some scenes I
would like to see:

*****

Professor Higgins' Study
You are uncomfortably seated at a high desk. Before you are a mirror and a
candle.

>I
You are holding a piece of paper with writing on it.

>READ PAPER
"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain." Honestly, if you've read it
once, you've read it a thousand times...

*****

Baker's House
An extremely cozy room. Heat and a smell of baking loaves come from the
oven. You lick your lips in anticipation.

The baker's wife is here, wishing she had a baby.

The baker is here. He is holding the hair as yellow as corn.

>I
You are carrying the basket you were taking to Grandmother's house. It
contains some wine.

>TAKE BREAD
Sometimes the things you most wish for are not to be touched.

*****

Fantine's Deathbed
A plainly furnished room, dense with the smell of sickness. Fantine lies
limply on the bed. She looks even more pale than she did yesterday.

There is a jug of water on a washstand here.

>TAKE JUG
Taken.

>WASH FANTINE
How unseemly! Better to let one of the women servants do that.

>SING
You burst into majestic song! In a few manly words, you assure Fantine that
Cosette will be well cared-for.

[You may now play Track 3 of your game CD.]

[Your score has just gone up by 15 points!]

*****

ES


Mary J Mcmenomy

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
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Bonnie Montgomery (b...@pobox.com) wrote:
: How does _Firebird_ stack up as a romance, those of you who have played it?

I would say -- without meaning any insult to the game -- that it doesn't.
Indeed, I didn't get the sense that romance, per se, was even what it was
aiming at. Romance requires some kind of emotional tension and suspense
(which is why I think it worked in Jigsaw -- you are forced to work at
cross-purposes to Black.). The genre of fairy tale doesn't really leave
itself open to that. (Usually. I suppose Beauty and the Beast might be
an exception.) I know there have been modern rewrites of various fairy
tales, eg. Cinderella, which belong to the romance genre, but they all
have to expand pretty heavily on the bare-bones story in order to get that
effect.

Just my take. I did like "Firebird" -- I just didn't see it in that light.

-- Mary

Graham Nelson

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
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In article <82ugs4$hmn$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>, Emily Short

<URL:mailto:ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> Professor Higgins' Study
> You are uncomfortably seated at a high desk. Before you are a mirror and a
> candle.
>
> >I
> You are holding a piece of paper with writing on it.
>
> >READ PAPER
> "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain." Honestly, if you've read it
> once, you've read it a thousand times...

It is thundering outside and the children are frightened.

> LOOK INSIDE CUPBOARD
You can see bright copper kettles, warm woollen mittens,
whiskers on kittens and brown paper parcels all wrapped
up with string.

Kathleen M. Fischer

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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In article <82s3os$f3t$1...@netnews.upenn.edu>, mcme...@mail2.sas.upenn.edu
(Mary J Mcmenomy) wrote:> Kathleen M. Fischer (green_g...@my-deja.com)
wrote:> > : > No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work >
would get> : > raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of >
sympathy> : > for or interest in the genre (in raif).> > : Thanks for the
vote of confidence...> > There are some of us out here who are interested.
:) Thanks for the vote of confidence! :)Of course, that still leaves the
minor problem of how to write "serious"genre romance (as opposed to parodies
and farces) in IF. How do you code interactive scenes that aren't cut-scenes
that relatively accurately portray two people "falling in love" without
resorting to telling the player what they are feeling at the time. Or is the
nature of a romantic IF that it is OK to tell the player that they are
attracted to tall dark and handsome. That their pulse quickens when he walks
into the room. That his kiss sends tingles down your spine?Kathleen (heading
for a cold shower)-- -- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

Lelah Conrad

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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On Sat, 11 Dec 1999 08:49:01 -0800, b...@pobox.com (Bonnie Montgomery)
wrote:

>How does _Firebird_ stack up as a romance, those of you who have played it?

Not a romance, imho. Enjoyed the game -- a lovely, quest-type fairy
tale. But to me the bit of romance was more incidental than
essential.

Lelah

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
to
In article <4Dt44.3122$U24....@news20.bellglobal.com>,

jcm...@uwaterloo.ca (Joe Mason) wrote:
> Or, if you'd like to try a "romance novel" without actually having to
read a
> romance novel, _A Civil Campaign_ by Lois McMaster Bujold.

I have no problem reading romance novels whatsoever, unless I consider
them degraded/degrading. In fact, the first one I read was so bad in
that regard, I didn't read another for years--but I don't know if the
degradation was a characteristic of that "line" or if the book itself
was just a fluke.

Anyway, there are far, far worse genres.
--
[ok]

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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In article <82t7g4$dil$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Quentin.D.Thompson <stup...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>
> Actually, if a few of them were already "settled", and some a little
on the
> younger side, it'd make an interesting concept (re: the corny 30s
movie,
> "Meet Me In St. Louis"). Coding the NPCs would be torture, though.
(I'm
> having memories of _Four In One_ now.) :-) -- Quentin.D.Thompson. [The
'D' is
> a variable.] Lord High Executioner Of Bleagh (Formerly A Cheap Coder)

'40s. 1994, to be precise.

The interesting thing about that is that it was corny at the time, and
we're probably able to look at it with less irony today than savvy
moviegoers of the '40s did.

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
to
In article <82t7g4$dil$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Quentin.D.Thompson <stup...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>>'40s. 1994, to be precise.

!@*(#&!@(*# 1944! 1944!

Nothing worse than screwing up your own pedantry.

Adam Atkinson

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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>EXAMINE CORN

The corn is as high as an elephant's eye.

--
Adam Atkinson (gh...@mistral.co.uk)
Poor Impulse Control


Mary J Mcmenomy

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
to
Kathleen M. Fischer (green_g...@my-deja.com) wrote:
: :) Thanks for the vote of confidence! :)Of course, that still leaves the

: minor problem of how to write "serious"genre romance (as opposed to parodies
: and farces) in IF. How do you code interactive scenes that aren't cut-scenes
: that relatively accurately portray two people "falling in love" without
: resorting to telling the player what they are feeling at the time. Or is the
: nature of a romantic IF that it is OK to tell the player that they are
: attracted to tall dark and handsome. That their pulse quickens when he walks
: into the room. That his kiss sends tingles down your spine?Kathleen (heading
: for a cold shower)--

I think it's possible to do these things with some subtlety (cf. Em
Short's example of lustful description in _Gaudy Night_.) It's possible
to create at least some of the romantic effect just by forcing the PC to
spend more time "noticing" Him than anything else -- more description
when he enters the room, heightened awareness of where he is and what
he's doing, a tendency to exchange glances with him when one of the other
NPCs does something stupid/annoying, etc.

-- Mary

Gene Wirchenko

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
to
Kathleen M. Fischer <green_g...@my-deja.com> wrote:

>In article <82s3os$f3t$1...@netnews.upenn.edu>, mcme...@mail2.sas.upenn.edu
>(Mary J Mcmenomy) wrote:> Kathleen M. Fischer (green_g...@my-deja.com)
>wrote:> > : > No matter how well done, though, I don't suspect such a work >
>would get> : > raves here from most, because I don't think there's a lot of >
>sympathy> : > for or interest in the genre (in raif).> > : Thanks for the
>vote of confidence...> > There are some of us out here who are interested.

>:) Thanks for the vote of confidence! :)Of course, that still leaves the
>minor problem of how to write "serious"genre romance (as opposed to parodies
>and farces) in IF. How do you code interactive scenes that aren't cut-scenes
>that relatively accurately portray two people "falling in love" without
>resorting to telling the player what they are feeling at the time. Or is the
>nature of a romantic IF that it is OK to tell the player that they are
>attracted to tall dark and handsome. That their pulse quickens when he walks
>into the room. That his kiss sends tingles down your spine?Kathleen (heading

>for a cold shower)-- -- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

And the real indication that TD&H is "interesting":

Tom walks into the room. You have a sudden urge to take a cold
shower.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.

Jason Thibeault

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
to
>The chestnut most single people despise, "it'll happen when you least
>expect it," applies. So if you're playing a romance game, you're
>EXPECTING it! You're also getting a laundry list of features you
>supposedly like. And now that I've told you that you like them, it is
>human nature to contradict the list. "I will not be confined so."
>"I don't *always* like that."
>
>I think the author of an IF romance would have to be subtle. Well,
>no kidding? But I mean more than the standard "make 'em *think*
>they have a choice." advice. The player can't be expecting what
>she thinks she is. As in books, the protagonist isn't aware of
>what is supposed to happen. She knows merely enough that she wants
>to continue.

So here's a plausible solution that would add a great deal of replay
value to the game -- try programming responses to all the various
actions that the player could take, either in a one-move-story type
game (i.e. Aisle?) or through multiple endings depending on certain
actions taken at crux points during the story. This last one I'm
currently implementing in Project: Xerxes (which in fact is NOT a
romance), but it seems the concept would probably lend better to the
romance genre than the sci-fi genre as I'm currently attempting. Bah
well, even my own epiphanies will not sway me from my mark!

Jason

------------------------------------------
Jason Thibeault
3rd year BA(Eng)
Acadia University
http://www.crosswinds.net/~ragnaroknemo/
------------------------------------------

Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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In article <ant112355313M+4%@gnelson.demon.co.uk>,

Graham Nelson <gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> In article <82ugs4$hmn$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>, Emily Short
> <URL:mailto:ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> > Professor Higgins' Study
> > You are uncomfortably seated at a high desk. Before you are a mirror and a
> > candle.
> >
> > >I
> > You are holding a piece of paper with writing on it.
> >
> > >READ PAPER
> > "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain." Honestly, if you've read it
> > once, you've read it a thousand times...
>
> It is thundering outside and the children are frightened.
>
> > LOOK INSIDE CUPBOARD
> You can see bright copper kettles, warm woollen mittens,
> whiskers on kittens and brown paper parcels all wrapped
> up with string.
> UNTIE PARCEL

You untie the parcel, revealing some schnitzel with noodles. Another one of
your favourite things.

[Your score has just gone up by one point.]


--
Quentin.D.Thompson. [The 'D' is a variable.]
Lord High Executioner Of Bleagh
(Formerly A Cheap Coder)

Bert Byfield -- no mail

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99