A classification exercise

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Paul O'Brian

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
people mean when they say "classificiation."

Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:

Sunset over Savannah
Trinity
Spider and Web
Anchorhead
Varicella
Losing Your Grip
Babel
Spellbreaker
Little Blue Men
Christminster

Classify them.

--
Paul O'Brian obr...@colorado.edu http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian
> GET SPAG ISSUE 20 FROM HTTP://WWW.SPARKYNET.COM/SPAG. EXAMINE IT.
This lovingly produced zine features news, reviews, and more, all focusing
on interactive fiction! It's nice and thick, too.


YesuSlave

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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>
>For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
>propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
>people mean when they say "classificiation."
>
>Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:
>
>Sunset over Savannah
>Trinity
>Spider and Web
>Anchorhead
>Varicella
>Losing Your Grip
>Babel
>Spellbreaker
>Little Blue Men
>Christminster
>
>Classify them.
>

This is a good time for me to emphasize what I believe I have said, and if not
blatantly, implied, that this is not a one person job. In fact, for myself, it
arrises from the very reason that I am unable to classify these games...I have
not played them! I have played smaller games, simply because they have been
recommended to me as of the genera I would like. However, if any one of these
games is in a genera I would like, I have no idea.
Though this may not be the most powerful answer to support my side on this, I
believe it to be a valid argument for the needd to classify.

Josh

P.S. To add, I would also call on those who would be willing to have some kind
of classification to be ready to not only support it in words, but be willing
to submit their findings about this issue to a project toward it's fruition.
Play Deephome, an interactive exorcism and repair job.
Http://www.angelfire.com/nj2/Yesuslave

dcorn...@my-deja.com

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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In article
<Pine.GSO.3.96.100031...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>,

Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:
> For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
> propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what
exactly
> people mean when they say "classificiation."
>
> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:
>
> Sunset over Savannah
> Trinity
> Spider and Web
> Anchorhead
> Varicella
> Losing Your Grip
> Babel

Infocom styled psycho-medical thriller.

> Spellbreaker

Infocom magic-spells puzzler

> Little Blue Men
> Christminster
>

Jarb


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

Marnie Parker

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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>Subject: Re: A classification exercise
>From: yesu...@aol.com (YesuSlave)
>Date: 3/16/00 10:30 AM Pacific Standard Time

>>Sunset over Savannah
>>Trinity
>>Spider and Web

>>Anchorhead

auditory / emotive - plot / character driven

>>Varicella
>>Losing Your Grip
>>Babel

>>Spellbreaker

emotive / problem solving - character / puzzle driven

>>Little Blue Men

auditory / emotive - plot / character driven

>>Christminster

problem solving / emotive - puzzle / character driven -- though I haven't
finished it

Very loose and I haven't finished playing and/or played most of the games on
the list.

Doe :-)
doea...@aol.com ------------------------------------------------------
Inform Tips - http://members.aol.com/doepage/infotips.htm
IF Art Gallery - http://members.aol.com/iffyart/
IF Review Conspiracy - http://www.textfire.com/conspiracy/


Gunther Schmidl

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:
>
[...]
>
> Classify them.

They're all games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--
+-----------------+---------------+------------------------------+
| Gunther Schmidl | ICQ: 22447430 | IF: http://gschmidl.cjb.net/ |
|-----------------+----------+----+------------------------------|
| gschmidl (at) gmx (dot) at | please remove the "xxx." to reply |
+----------------------------+-----------------------------------+

dcorn...@my-deja.com

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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In article <8arj74$qqj$1...@rohrpostix.uta4you.at>,

"Gunther Schmidl" <gsch...@xxx.gmx.at> wrote:
> > Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of
SPAG:
> >
> [...]
> >
> > Classify them.
>
> They're all games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
>

Hmm - int his light, let's go further...

They're all a seemingly non-random list of ascii codes....

David Glasser

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:

> For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
> propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
> people mean when they say "classificiation."
>

> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:

(General Spoilers)

> Sunset over Savannah

This would clearly fall into the Employment Opportunities section.

> Trinity

Nuclear Holocaust and Morality.

> Spider and Web

Interrogator-Based Stories.

> Anchorhead

Eeeagh! Lovecraft!

> Varicella

People Whose Names Are Diseases.

> Losing Your Grip

Public Safety Announcements.

> Babel

Delusions.

> Spellbreaker

Infocom.

> Little Blue Men

Insane Workplaces.

> Christminster

Telephone Rewiring.

Come on, Paul, it's really quite simple.

--
David Glasser | gla...@iname.com | http://www.davidglasser.net/
rec.arts.int-fiction FAQ: http://www.davidglasser.net/raiffaq/
"So, is that superior artistry, or the easy way out?"
--TenthStone on white canvases as art, on rec.arts.int-fiction

Dylan O'Donnell

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> writes:
> For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
> propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
> people mean when they say "classificiation."
>
> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:
>
> Classify them.

> Trinity
> Anchorhead
> Losing Your Grip
> Spellbreaker
> Christminster

Big.

> Sunset over Savannah
> Spider and Web
> Varicella
> Babel
> Little Blue Men

Medium-sized.

--
Dylan O'Donnell : "For the sun will rise, and the moon will set,
Demon Internet : And you learn how to settle for what you get.
Resident, Forgotten Office : It will all go on, if we're here or not,
http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : So who cares? So what?" -- Fred Ebb, "Cabaret"

Arcum Dagsson

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Mar 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/16/00
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In article <Pine.GSO.3.96.100031...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>, Paul
O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:

> For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
> propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
> people mean when they say "classificiation."
>
> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:
>

> Sunset over Savannah
> Trinity
> Spider and Web
> Anchorhead

> Varicella
> Losing Your Grip
> Babel
> Spellbreaker

> Little Blue Men
> Christminster
>
> Classify them.

I'll classify the ones I've played and can remember off the top of my head...

Trinity - Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Historical
Spider & Web - Sci-Fi/Spy/Zarfian
Anchorhead - Horror/Fantasy
Spellbreaker - Fantasy/Infocom/Zork
Little Blue Men - Fantasy/Bizzare/Humor
Christminister - College/Fantasy/Detective

Naturally, there would need to be catagories not covered in that small group,
such as "Time Travel", "Adult", and "Ryebread"...

In an ideal setup, each game would have multiple classifications, and you would
have access to lists of games by classification, as well as a list of all the
games, and a description of each game, possibly with links for reviews...

--
--Arcum Dagsson
"What a wonderful place."
"Yeah. It was a friend of mine."

Marnie Parker

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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>Subject: Re: A classification exercise
>From: dcorn...@my-deja.com
>Date: 3/16/00 1:53 PM Pacific Standard Time

>"Gunther Schmidl" <gsch...@xxx.gmx.at> wrote:
>> > Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of
>SPAG:
>> >

>> [...]
>> >
>> > Classify them.
>>
>> They're all games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
>>
>
>Hmm - int his light, let's go further...
>
>They're all a seemingly non-random list of ascii codes....
>
>Jarb

Let's go further. They are all games PAUL choose to list.

I find all this classification discussion interesting, obviously not all
resulting from my paper. But there is some connection. And it is interesting
because it was only a tiny section of my paper and not what it was really
about.

Doe :-) What people pick up on in threads, what they respond to, what they zero
in on is ALWAYS interesting.

David Cornelson

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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"Arcum Dagsson" <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote in message
news:Arcum_Dagsson-C85...@news.randori.com...
> In article <Pine.GSO.3.96.100031...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>,
<snip>

>
> In an ideal setup, each game would have multiple classifications, and you
would
> have access to lists of games by classification, as well as a list of all
the
> games, and a description of each game, possibly with links for reviews...

Hey that sounds like the IF Library!!! It is! It is!!!

In the first iteration of the IF Library I had one genre for each game
allowed.
I updated it for multiple genres but it the interface wasn't very nice.
The second iteration, I went to the SPAG method of rating games.
The latest iteration has no categorization at all.

The next iteration will do the following (probably next winter):
- get rid of javascript and frames because people despise that stuff. A lot.
- add keywords that can be added by the author, reviewer, or player.
- spend an hour each week hunting down reviews (stealing basically) and
either pointing to them or entering them into my system until I have a
couple
hundred reviews. Though I've never been given permission to use SPAG
reviews so that's really a big bummer.
- open up the review process so that it's simpler
- each page will be accessible with auto-search URL's - like:
http://www.iflibrary.org/author=cadre will find Adam Cadre's page within
the library
http://www.iflibrary.org/game=io will find the IO description page
http://www.iflibrary.org/review=O'Brian will find Paul O'Brian's reviews
- html version of Visual Inform so that you can edit and compile your game
online - to what end I have no idea - but it sounds like a cool idea to try
at some point

Jarb (just spoutin' off again - he go bed now)

Nick Montfort

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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The most important categorization has already been mentioned: These are
all games. They're also categorized, already, as TADS or Inform in the
archive. Beyond that, they are pieces of interactive writing, and can be
sorted into the very same "genres" that your local bookstore uses to
make it easier to find Stephen King, Neil Stephenson, and David Foster
Wallace -- each in a different section.

1. Sunset over Savannah
FICTION/LIT

2. Trinity
FICTION/LIT

3. Spider and Web
SCIENCE FICTION

4. Anchorhead
HORROR

5. Varicella
FICTION/LIT

6. Losing Your Grip
FICTION/LIT

7. Babel
SCIENCE FICTION

8. Spellbreaker
FANTASY

9. Little Blue Men
FICTION/LIT

10. Christminster
FICTION/LIT

I'll emphasize that these genre categorizations are not intended by me
as value judgments. Genre literature is traditionally looked down upon
by readers and authors of Fiction/Lit works, but ... so? Novels by
Philip K. Dick, Thomas Disch, and Walter Tevis end up in the Science
Fiction section and are easier to find there. It has little to do with
the fact that these novels may be better written and of more lasting
value than "literary fiction" output from a recent neorealistic
Iowa-Writers-Workshop twentysometing.

Why does the occult-influenced Christmister get put in Fiction/Lit? Or
the overtly fantastic Trinity? If you quote Coleridge and Pope, and use
a contemporary setting or take on political issues, the work fits into
Fiction/Lit pretty well. Cormac McCarthy doesn't get his novels filed in
Westerns, despite the historical and geographical setting of his works
-- because he refers to Dante, Milton, and Homer, and his style is
influenced by that of Faulkner.

Of course I'm not claiming to offer "THE" categorization of these 10 IF
works. It's just "a" categorization, a fairly simple (and possibly even
useful) one. Just as some bookstores might shelve Fahrenheit 451 under
Fiction/Lit and some under Science Fiction, people might disagree about
how I've categorized these ten. But, since people do post asking for
games in a certain genre, it seems to make sense for one or more
individuals to put a bunch of the games in categories, in order to aid
such IF-seekers. Maybe I'll be one who will do that (for more than 10
games) in the future ... although I have a few projects going now that I
need to attend to instead ...

-Nick M.

Kevin Forchione

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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"Marnie Parker" <doea...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20000316204919...@ng-cs1.aol.com...

> Doe :-) What people pick up on in threads, what they respond to, what they
zero
> in on is ALWAYS interesting.

_interesting_ is always used by programmers to hide the mild vexation they
feel when someone has presented them with a problem the system wasn't meant
to deal with.

--Kevin

Gareth Rees

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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Nick Montfort <nickmo...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> 10. Christminster
> FICTION/LIT

Surely "Christminster" is a college (setting)/detective (plot)/occult
(theme) game? Your category "fiction/lit" implies that other genres
aren't fiction or literature.

--
Gareth Rees

Adam Cadre

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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Nick Montfort wrote:
> Beyond that, they are pieces of interactive writing, and can be
> sorted into the very same "genres" that your local bookstore uses to
> make it easier to find Stephen King, Neil Stephenson, and David
> Foster Wallace -- each in a different section.

Neal Stephenson, eh? Chances are that if you walk into a bookstore and
look for Neal Stephenson, you'll find his books shelved under science
fiction -- all four of them (not counting the out-of-print THE BIG U.)
Not just SNOW CRASH and THE DIAMOND AGE, the two SF novels of the
bunch, but also ZODIAC (set in what was then the present, with subject
matter no more SF-fy than, say, Richard Preston's THE HOT ZONE) and
CRYPTONOMICON (part present-day novel of intrigue, part historical war
novel)! This example shows how even the limited genre distinctions
made by bookstores lead to pigeonholing, and how that pigeonholing
leads in turn to books being misshelved -- and thus *harder* to find
by those who wander in looking for, say, a WWII yarn.

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

Paul O'Brian

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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On 17 Mar 2000, Marnie Parker wrote:

> Let's go further. They are all games PAUL choose to list.

Well, yes, but as I mentioned in the message, they're not entirely random.
It's the top ten list from the last SPAG.

> I find all this classification discussion interesting, obviously not all
> resulting from my paper. But there is some connection. And it is interesting
> because it was only a tiny section of my paper and not what it was really
> about.

Actually Doe, the whole "classification" discussion was prompted less by
your paper than by Josh's suggestion that IF really needs something that
tags all games with genre categories.

Paul O'Brian

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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On Fri, 17 Mar 2000, David Cornelson wrote:

> Though I've never been given permission to use SPAG
> reviews so that's really a big bummer.

I don't recall you ever asking.

The IF Library is welcome to point to SPAG reviews. In fact, you'll find
if you peruse the review index on http://www.sparkynet.com/spag that the
index is structured in a way that makes reviews very easy to reference
from outside pages. See the IF Book Club's page for an example.

YesuSlave

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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>
>> I find all this classification discussion interesting, obviously not all
>> resulting from my paper. But there is some connection. And it is
>interesting
>
> because it was only a tiny section of my paper and not what it was really

>Actually Doe, the whole "classification" discussion was prompted less by


>your paper than by Josh's suggestion that IF really needs something that
>tags all games with genre categories.
>

This is actually interesting, because I thought that had not been noticed. It
seemed as if two independant discussions arose at almost the exact same time.
Very odd.

Josh

dcorn...@my-deja.com

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
to
> On Fri, 17 Mar 2000, David Cornelson wrote:
>
> > Though I've never been given permission to use SPAG
> > reviews so that's really a big bummer.
>
> I don't recall you ever asking.
>
> The IF Library is welcome to point to SPAG reviews. In fact, you'll
find
> if you peruse the review index on http://www.sparkynet.com/spag that
the
> index is structured in a way that makes reviews very easy to reference
> from outside pages. See the IF Book Club's page for an example.
>

And point it shall. Thanks Paul - I know I've asked before, but it was
probably a long time ago. Doesn't matter - SPAG reviews will be
referenced in the IF Library from now on. Or, at least when I can find
the time to put them in.

Jarb

YesuSlave

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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This is sort of a P.S. (with a sheepish and bashful toeing of the ground before
me, hands clasped behind my back, head bowed and eys looking up from under a
surrendered brow) "Where can I get Doe's article?"


Josh "I didn't read the blasted thing yet, OK? Sue me. I'm trying to
translate the Bible in Hebrew." Wise

Marnie Parker

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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>Subject: Re: A classification exercise
>From: yesu...@aol.com (YesuSlave)
>Date: 3/17/00 7:45 AM Pacific Standard Time

>This is sort of a P.S. (with a sheepish and bashful toeing of the ground
>before
>me, hands clasped behind my back, head bowed and eys looking up from under a
>surrendered brow) "Where can I get Doe's article?"

Sheesh, how can I pass up an opportunity to plug like that?

http://members.aol.com/doepage/theory.html

Doe ;-)

Adam J. Thornton

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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In article <u8RmLq$j$GA.261@cpmsnbbsa04>,

That's an interesting generalization, Kevin.

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

Matthew T. Russotto

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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In article <8at0e8$728$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Nick Montfort <nickmo...@my-deja.com> wrote:
}
}Why does the occult-influenced Christmister get put in Fiction/Lit? Or
}the overtly fantastic Trinity? If you quote Coleridge and Pope, and use
}a contemporary setting or take on political issues, the work fits into
}Fiction/Lit pretty well.

OK, so I can consider "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" non-genre?
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Nick Montfort

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
to

Of course it is, your're right.

However, if I were trying to pick a single category and put
Christminster somewhere at the bookstore -- where there is no college
setting section, the occult section doesn't sport fiction, and there
might be "mystery" and "true crime" shelves on which Christmister could
possibly fit but isn't a sure spot for the game, I'd first think to put
it in the "fiction/lit" section.

That doesn't mean I don't consider the other games fiction or
literature. I just don't consider them "fiction/lit." That's the sort of
"catchall" category that "drama" ends up being at the video store.

The categories you use are probably better ones, particularly since IF
doesn't need to be put in only one category, as books at a bookstore do.

By the way, it's been reported that I managed to confuse you with
another Gareth Rees in a footnote in my SPAG Christminster review. I'm
sorry.

-Nick M.

Nick Montfort

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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re...@adamcadre.ac wrote:
> Neal Stephenson, eh?

Yes, that's the correct spelling of his name .. sigh ...

> Chances are that if you walk into a bookstore and
> look for Neal Stephenson, you'll find his books shelved under science
> fiction -- all four of them (not counting the out-of-print THE BIG U.)
> Not just SNOW CRASH and THE DIAMOND AGE, the two SF novels of the
> bunch, but also ZODIAC (set in what was then the present, with subject
> matter no more SF-fy than, say, Richard Preston's THE HOT ZONE) and
> CRYPTONOMICON (part present-day novel of intrigue, part historical war
> novel)! This example shows how even the limited genre distinctions
> made by bookstores lead to pigeonholing, and how that pigeonholing
> leads in turn to books being misshelved -- and thus *harder* to find
> by those who wander in looking for, say, a WWII yarn.

Sure, but this is the same point I was trying to make with regard to
Bradbury. Doris Lessing, who writes science fiction, gets all her books
put in Fiction/Lit - where science fiction works like Brave New World
and 1984 reside, too. That, and the case you mention, doesn't spell doom
for all attempts at categorization.

In a bookstore, you have to pigeonhole your books because they can only
reside in one place. The categorization system they use, although
imperfect, does make it very easy for more than 95% of people to find
more than 95% of the books they are looking for. People know to look for
Neal Stephenson's stuff in science fiction, so those looking for his
book becuase of his reputation as an author (95% of people) go there.
Stephen King writes non-horror, too, but readers know where to look for
his books. I picked those two becuase they're examples of how the
categorization system can work, even when you look at the case of a
prominent author who is considered "genre" but doesn't actually write in
a single genre.

When the system does fail, you can still go to ask where the book is.
That's a small part of the time, and most of the time you're noting
things of interest, nearby on the shelf, that you wouldn't see if
everything were just alphabetized.

A categorization system doesn't have to perfect or even great in order
to work. If it's just slightly more useful than flat alphabetazation by
author, it's worthwhile. This is certainly the case when standard
"sections" are printed on the book for easy shelving, but it can be true
for IF as well.

It does have just about nothing to do with the craft of IF, though.

Arcum Dagsson

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Mar 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/17/00
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In article <mekA4.6399$mf.4...@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>, "David
Cornelson" <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:

> "Arcum Dagsson" <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote in message
> news:Arcum_Dagsson-C85...@news.randori.com...
> > In article <Pine.GSO.3.96.100031...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>,
> <snip>
> >
> > In an ideal setup, each game would have multiple classifications, and you
> would
> > have access to lists of games by classification, as well as a list of all
> the
> > games, and a description of each game, possibly with links for reviews...
>
> Hey that sounds like the IF Library!!! It is! It is!!!
>
> In the first iteration of the IF Library I had one genre for each game
> allowed.
> I updated it for multiple genres but it the interface wasn't very nice.
> The second iteration, I went to the SPAG method of rating games.
> The latest iteration has no categorization at all.
>
> The next iteration will do the following (probably next winter):
> - get rid of javascript and frames because people despise that stuff. A lot.
> - add keywords that can be added by the author, reviewer, or player.
> - spend an hour each week hunting down reviews (stealing basically) and
> either pointing to them or entering them into my system until I have a
> couple

> hundred reviews. Though I've never been given permission to use SPAG


> reviews so that's really a big bummer.

> - open up the review process so that it's simpler
> - each page will be accessible with auto-search URL's - like:
> http://www.iflibrary.org/author=cadre will find Adam Cadre's page within
> the library
> http://www.iflibrary.org/game=io will find the IO description page
> http://www.iflibrary.org/review=O'Brian will find Paul O'Brian's reviews
> - html version of Visual Inform so that you can edit and compile your game
> online - to what end I have no idea - but it sounds like a cool idea to try
> at some point
>
> Jarb (just spoutin' off again - he go bed now)
>
>

Sounds good. I'll take a look after you get rid of the Javascript... ^_^

TableSaw

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Mar 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/18/00
to
In article
<Pine.GSO.3.96.100031...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>,

Since others have done genre classification already, I'll try to link
the ones I've played to some classifications, most of which will
probably not have names yet.

Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:

> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:
>

> Trinity
The most important classification I can see here is the connection with
games like So Far and Losing Your Grip in that they feature abstract
representations of realistic dilemmas. Perhaps this could be called
Interactive Expressionism? Abstract Realism?

> Spider and Web
I am tempted to link this game with Suspended as both involve aspects of
perspective, but I think that Suspended my be sifferent as a game like
Photopia that relies on the changing of perspective in diffirent ways.
My post on the Meta-Puzzle thread has an argument for the creation of a
classification of Zarfian, and maybe that's better than anything I could
come up with here.

> Anchorhead
Derivative is the first word that comes to mind, but a better one should
be found because of negative connotations. The trait is that it is
specifically derived from a pre-existing style, in this case
"Lovecraftian." But it is similar to games like Suspect, or
MST3K:Detective in that they mimic, but do not parody, styles that exist
outside of IF.
Mimic Games?

> Varicella
The most notable trait for this game is that it is a Timing Game. The
game involves being at the right time to see, hear, or do things. In
this way it is similar to games like A Change in the Weather.

> Losing Your Grip
I have played some, but not enough to say anymore than is mentioned
under Trinity.

> Spellbreaker
Not enough and too long ago . . .

> Christminster
This game (mostly finished) follows the mode of the big secret that is
slowly and carefully revealed linking it to games like Anchorhead. In
this mode of storytelling, there is a secret that is completely unknown
to the protagonist at the opening, except in vague allusion. The
pursuance of various clues and irregularities slowly manifests the
secret to the protagonist and the reader. A version of this is done in
Shrapnel, although it does not have the same scope of the larger
stories.
Perhaps, just Big Secret Game would work here.

--
Tony
"Prick love for pricking and you bet love down."
Mercutio: Romeo & Juliet

Jake Wildstrom

unread,
Mar 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/18/00
to
In article <8atord$ogk$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Nick Montfort <nickmo...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>Gareth Rees <garet...@pobox.com> wrote:
>> Nick Montfort <nickmo...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>> > 10. Christminster
>> > FICTION/LIT
>>
>> Surely "Christminster" is a college (setting)/detective (plot)/occult
>> (theme) game? Your category "fiction/lit" implies that other genres
>> aren't fiction or literature.
>
>Of course it is, your're right.
>
>However, if I were trying to pick a single category and put
>Christminster somewhere at the bookstore -- where there is no college
>setting section, the occult section doesn't sport fiction, and there
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Depends what you believe, and how you define "fiction" :-)

>might be "mystery" and "true crime" shelves on which Christmister could

I'd be inclined to put it in "mystery" if I needed to put it in a bookstore
somewhere. It doesn't fit "true crime" at all.

OTOH, Eco's "The Name of the Rose" isn't classified as mystery at most
bookstores, so you may disagree. I think bookstores tend to classify by author
rather than by book: e.g. Eco is a "serious writer", and thus defies
pigeonholing. P.K.Dick is a sci-fi writer, so anything written by him is by
definition sci-fi, etc.

Incidentally, Borders considers Vonnegut to be "literature". I'd argue for
"sci-fi" myself.

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

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Mar 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/18/00
to
In article <38d2dc07$0$29...@senator-bedfellow.mit.edu>,

Jake Wildstrom <wil...@mit.edu> wrote:
}
}OTOH, Eco's "The Name of the Rose" isn't classified as mystery at most
}bookstores, so you may disagree. I think bookstores tend to classify by author
}rather than by book: e.g. Eco is a "serious writer", and thus defies
}pigeonholing. P.K.Dick is a sci-fi writer, so anything written by him is by
}definition sci-fi, etc.

It's probably even simpler than that -- they probably classify by
publisher.

}Incidentally, Borders considers Vonnegut to be "literature". I'd argue for
}"sci-fi" myself.

Vonnegut insists he's not, the snob. Probably couldn't stand the more
intense criticism on the SF side.

Joe Mason

unread,
Mar 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/18/00
to
TableSaw <adel...@umail.ucsb.edu> wrote:
>> Anchorhead
>Derivative is the first word that comes to mind, but a better one should
>be found because of negative connotations. The trait is that it is
>specifically derived from a pre-existing style, in this case
>"Lovecraftian." But it is similar to games like Suspect, or
>MST3K:Detective in that they mimic, but do not parody, styles that exist
>outside of IF.
>Mimic Games?

Pastiche? Homage?

Joe

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Mar 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/19/00
to
"Giles Boutel" <gbo...@paradise.net.nz> wrote:

>"Matthew T. Russotto" <russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com> wrote in message
>news:BRBA4.264$rN.1...@monger.newsread.com...


>> In article <38d2dc07$0$29...@senator-bedfellow.mit.edu>,
>> Jake Wildstrom <wil...@mit.edu> wrote:
>
>>
>> }Incidentally, Borders considers Vonnegut to be "literature". I'd argue
>for
>> }"sci-fi" myself.
>>
>> Vonnegut insists he's not, the snob. Probably couldn't stand the more
>> intense criticism on the SF side.
>

>Don't you think calling Vonnegut a SF writer is a bit of a cheat, though?
>All too often there's a veritable stew of other things going on -
>autobiography, authorial intervention, a near or complete lack of SFfy bits
>in entire novels. Well - I guess you could say the same thing about PKD -
>just not as frequently.

How about considering calling Asimov an SF writer to be a bit of
a cheat? For about thirty years, he did very little in the field. He
was writing science articles, but not SF.

One of the reasons why I like Asimov is his wide range. I like
his science writing best. He is definitely best known for his SF
though and I do like his SF. I also like his mysteries. He even
wrote a number of limerick books.

>Hang on, which newsgroup am I in again? Oh, right.
>
>ObIF: Is the protagonist of Shrapnel spastic in time or just going nuts?

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

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

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Mar 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/19/00
to
Gene Wirchenko <ge...@shuswap.net> wrote:
> How about considering calling Asimov an SF writer to be a bit of
> a cheat? For about thirty years, he did very little in the field. He
> was writing science articles, but not SF.

However, "very little" of Asimov's output is still equal to the volume of
two ordinary writers. :)

--Z

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

Giles Boutel

unread,
Mar 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/20/00
to

"Gene Wirchenko" <ge...@shuswap.net> wrote in message
news:38d43db4...@news.shuswap.net...

> "Giles Boutel" <gbo...@paradise.net.nz> wrote:
>
> >
> >Don't you think calling Vonnegut a SF writer is a bit of a cheat, though?
> >All too often there's a veritable stew of other things going on -
> >autobiography, authorial intervention, a near or complete lack of SFfy
bits
> >in entire novels. Well - I guess you could say the same thing about
PKD -
> >just not as frequently.
>
> How about considering calling Asimov an SF writer to be a bit of
> a cheat? For about thirty years, he did very little in the field. He
> was writing science articles, but not SF.
>
> One of the reasons why I like Asimov is his wide range. I like
> his science writing best. He is definitely best known for his SF
> though and I do like his SF. I also like his mysteries. He even
> wrote a number of limerick books.

But they were usually separate books.... Though that does lead to an
interesting conundrum, ie, is Charles Dodgson a children's writer even
though most of his published work was in the field of mathematics? Is
calling Asimov a SF writer ignoring his work in other fields and genres? I
guess it depends whether you consider the term 'x writer' to implicitly
state 'writes primarily or exclusively x', 'has written x', or even 'is
famous for writing x'. They all fit, but obviously mean quite different
things. Same with painting. Picasso was a cubist painter, but his blue
period didn't have a huge amount of cubism in it (I hope I've got that
right - I don't know much about art).

In a way - to use such descriptions says something about the reader. "I
like Asimov's writing, but prefer the SF stuff, so I'll call him an SF
writer". "I like Vonnegut, especially his wit, so I'll call him a
humourist." Perhaps that's why SF fans seem to get a bee in their bonnet
about Vonnegut's disclaimer - SF is their stated preference, rather than,
for Vonnegut, just another tool in the old bag of tricks.

The upshot of all of this? I dunno. Stuff pigeonholing, perhaps. After
all, even books in the SF section have blurbs as well.

-Giles

Dave Zeriger

unread,
Mar 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/20/00
to
Paul O'Brian <obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:
> For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
> propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
> people mean when they say "classificiation."

> Here is the Top Ten list of games from the most recent issue of SPAG:

To oversimplify some of them:

> Trinity

Anti-nuke sci-fi.

> Spider and Web

Spy game.

> Varicella

Character-driven political intrigue.

> Babel

Sci-fi thriller.

> Spellbreaker

Heavily linear puzzle-oriented fantasy.

> Little Blue Men

Paranoid sci-fi.


A lot of stuff with sci-fi or fantasy elements still persists, or maybe
those are just the ones I've played.

The Solar Echo

unread,
Mar 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/20/00
to
>> For those of you advocating classification of IF games, I'd like to
>> propose the following exercise, which may shed some light on what exactly
>> people mean when they say "classificiation."

That, of course, is the root of the classification issue, because people play
different games for different reasons, and would like to see games classified
accordingly.

Personally, I tend to like games that are story-based rather than puzzle-based.
For this reason I loved Photopia, wonderful story, excellant writing, and
puzzles that took a backseat to the plot.

After playing Photopia, and the rest of Adam's games, I really wanted to find
some more puzzle-less or puzzle-light games, but alas, the games in the archive
are not classified. I could read some random reviews, but I really dislike
reviews because they usually give away too much of the plot. I like to be
surprised. (If I had read the SPAG reviews of Shrapnel before I played it, the
game would have been completely ruined for me.) Besides, I might have to wade
through hundreds of reviews before I find what I want.

A puzzle-less IF classification would have helped me a lot. Instead, my only
option was to download games at random until I stumbled up Sam Barlow's Aisle,
another great piece of puzzle-less IF.

I would also find a subject or setting classification useful. There are
certain subjects that I am drawn to, to the extent that I would play and enjoy
the game even if it was heavily puzzle-oriented. On the other hand, I'm sure
that Varicella is a wonderful game, but I simply cannot get into it because of
the setting: historical political intrigue. The subject matter fails to turn
my crank.

So the ideal classification system for me would probably look something like:

"Trinity: Puzzle-oriented; Nuclear weapons theme."

The problem is that everyone plays games from different reasons, so everyone's
ideal classification system is different. That makes classification a very
difficult and controversial task.

((((((:. The Solar Echo .:))))))

Marnie Parker

unread,
Mar 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/20/00
to
>Subject: Re: A classification exercise
>From: thesol...@aol.com (The Solar Echo)
>Date: 3/20/00 2:25 PM Pacific Standard Time

>That, of course, is the root of the classification issue, because people play
>different games for different reasons, and would like to see games classified
>accordingly.

Yup, as to classified accordingly.

>So the ideal classification system for me would probably look something like:
>
>"Trinity: Puzzle-oriented; Nuclear weapons theme."

Yup. By interactive type AND genre (or theme).

>The problem is that everyone plays games from different reasons, so
>everyone's
>ideal classification system is different. That makes classification a very
>difficult and controversial task.

Definitely controversial.

But I think your suggestion is the best yet.

YesuSlave

unread,
Mar 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/20/00
to
>>That, of course, is the root of the classification issue, because people
>play
>>different games for different reasons, and would like to see games
>classified
>>accordingly.
>
>Yup, as to classified accordingly.
>
>>So the ideal classification system for me would probably look something
>like:
>>
>>"Trinity: Puzzle-oriented; Nuclear weapons theme."
>
>Yup. By interactive type AND genre (or theme).
>
>>The problem is that everyone plays games from different reasons, so
>>everyone's
>>ideal classification system is different. That makes classification a very
>>difficult and controversial task.
>
>Definitely controversial.
>
>But I think your suggestion is the best yet.
>
>Doe ;-)
>

I am biased, of course, but I think this is the benefit of my site
http://www.geocities.com/Yesuslave , because it can be adapted to catagorize
games in any way desired. For now, at its beginning, they are classified by
genera, puzzle/non-puzzle, and story/puzzle/conversation catagories (of course
not exactly like this, because puzzle is a catagory unto itself and not
necessarily set opposed to non-puzzle at one time and story oriented games at
another).

Josh the biased,

Paul O'Brian

unread,
Mar 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/21/00
to
On 20 Mar 2000, The Solar Echo wrote:

> A puzzle-less IF classification would have helped me a lot. Instead, my only
> option was to download games at random until I stumbled up Sam Barlow's Aisle,
> another great piece of puzzle-less IF.

No, that wasn't your only option.

You also had the option of posting a message to rgif saying "I really like
puzzle-less games. Photopia was great. Does anyone have any
recommendations for other good games that are light on the puzzles?"

I'm really in favor of conversations like these because they tend to bring
up games that aren't necessarily so recent or deeply discussed, but are
definitely worth your time. You might have been pointed to Common Ground,
or In The End, or even Worlds Apart. If you refuse to read reviews, you
can at least ask questions.

If, as Brian Hall suggested earlier, you needed results more quickly than
that, you could also have trawled Deja for the keyword "puzzleless" under
rec.games.int-fiction. I just did, and it turned up mentions of Photopia,
Shrapnel, A Moment Of Hope, the IF Art Show, Exhibition, Halothane, The
Space Under The Window, and Aisle. And that was in the first 7 messages.

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