Sunday, June 13, 2010

Interactive Fiction

I'm sure a few people in my age group will remember the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from when we were kids with some measure of fondness.  There was something engrossing about participating in the outcome of a printed story and the ability to go back and try different combinations of choices to come to an entertaining outcome. For myself, this eventually lead to a fascination, almost obsession, with turn style text based adventure games.  Of course with the eventual advent of the Nintendo game console I quickly abandoned the text based world for the one of intense 8bit video game graphics. Still, there was something unique about those text adventures.

So imagine my surprise today when I came across a piece of software called Inform which is an IDE for designing Interactive Fiction (that is the proper name for it). Apparently, following the collapse of the commercial market for the game format around the 1990s a group of enthusiasts have been hard at work generating content and improving authoring software to keep it going.  Inform is really impressive and its worth watching the introductory screencast below to get a sense of how easy it could be to create new content.  

Inform 7 Introductory Screencast from Aaron Reed on Vimeo.

If you're interested in taking a trip down memory lane you should also have a look at the interactive fiction database online to search for some title you can either play online or download an interpreter to play on your desktop.

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