Interactive fiction thread?


#1

So the first and [unnecessary caveats here] last IF I played was Galatea way back when. I recently started following Emily Short’s blog and I enjoy reading whats new and interesting there. But I’ve been out of the loop for so long.

So what are some of yalls favourite/interesting/‘good’ works of interactive fiction?


#2

It really has been too long. It’s been a couple of years but I’ve always wanted to get into newer stuff. I never dug into anything modern largely because it was easier for me to play the “classics” of the genre I guess. I was last trying to beat Leather Goddesses of Phobos and was finding it way too hard.


#3

if we’re strictly speaking IF and not Twine, there was never one that i didn’t have to look to a guide to get through. i think it’s because i didn’t deal with computers in general until late (~2005) and thus i never had the chance to learn the language of playing an IF game.

that said, Slouching Towards Bedlam and A Mind Forever Voyaging left strong impressions on me. the former’s tone and world-building was incredibly arresting and the latter’s possibility space felt huge in a way that i don’t think conventional video games felt to me until i got to Minecraft and Eidolon.

in terms of “recent” titles (this is from 2007) Suveh Nux has incredibly fun mechanics. it’s a game about language, deduction, magic spells, and the physical space you occupy. while i feel hesitant about recommending Bedlam and Forever Voyaging to folks, Suveh Nux is one i get excited about sharing. go play it!


#4

I’d totally like Twine recs if you wanna share. I haven’t seen much (or any, really) of that kinda stuff.


#5

There are some cool examples already mentioned and I expect other people can come up with a bunch of examples with really good writing and worlds so I thought I’d mention a little sub-genre of IF which I have a real soft spot for, which are IF games that do interesting things with word play or parser.

So here are a couple off the top of my head:

Ad Verbum by Nick Montfort: it’s basically a little collectathon, but the twist is that it plays lots of fun wordplay games. For example there is this area where there are rooms in the 4 compass directions, and in the North room you can only use words starting with N, and S for the South room, etc, and so you have to figure out appropriate synonyms for both getting the object you need from the room, and then leaving the room. And there are various other little word games it plays in other areas.

Rematch by Andrew Pontius: is a game where there’s an extended parser so you can write quite complex commands, and the idea is that you get just one turn to do something, and after that something terrible happens. So the whole game is about figuring out the one very specific command you have to type in order to to prevent the disaster from occuring. Good fun! Another example of the one-turn-only approach is Aisle by Sam Barlow, but that’s more about going really deep with writing into a single moment, and not about solving a puzzle.

The Gostak by Carl Muckenhoupt is all about figuring out who on earth you are and what you’re actually supposed to be doing because all the important words are presented in this fake gibberish language. Here’s the general idea:

"Finally, here you are. At the delcot of tondam, where doshes deave. But the doshery lutt is crenned with glauds.

Glauds! How rorm it would be to pell back to the bewl and distunk them, distunk the whole delcot, let the drokes uncren them.

But you are the gostak. The gostak distims the doshes. And no glaud will vorl them from you."

Anyone else know some good parsery/wordplay-ish IF examples?


#6

Anyone else know some good parsery/wordplay-ish IF examples?

Counterfeit Monkey?
http://emshort.com/counterfeit_monkey/


#7

It’s been a while since I played any IF (parser-based or Twine-based), and I’m far from having experienced everything in the Twine “canon”, but here are two short Twine horror stories that I remember fondly!

  • Hornets by Kitty Horroshow begins with “it’s your fault the world is ending”, and it’s up to you to find why and how. Won’t spoil the fun of the exploration, but it’s got a really evocative Gothic atmosphere, and paints the picture of a bygone society really well. If you’re used to exploring spaces with the parser, you may enjoy this story since the hypertext structure is also based on spatial navigation. The horror and past events are slowly revealed through the interactions with the environment in a very effective way.

  • My father’s long long legs by Michael Lutz seems at first like a traditional horror story. It deals with childhood anxieties and family secrets. But progressively, it starts playing with the hypertextual format, through the space of the page itself and the way the text appears. It’s very effective and cohesive as a whole, though in a very different way from Hornets.


#8

You can find some Twine games/IF over on the Share Games You Made thread that were made by the Waypoint community.

Yes this is a selfish post, but I do think there is stuff there that is of interest to this thread.


#9

Twine recommendation:

Brendan Patrick Hennessy’s Birdland:
http://birdland.camp

It’s about a surreal summer camp. He’s done other stuff also worth checking out, but Birdland is just utterly charming and delightful.


#10

Is anyone reading/playing entries from this year’s IFComp? I plan to dig in and try some this weekend and wonder if folks have found anything particularly good or interesting.

My own entry is so far from complete – maybe next year I’ll submit it!


#11

I haven’t played all of them, but I enjoyed Unit 322 (disambiguation) and Harmonia. Both are twine-style games, though, not traditional parser.

Eat Me has been getting good reviews (also here at waypoint!) but I’m not really into horror-ish stuff, so I haven’t given it a try yet.


#12

I haven’t played anything yet, but fyi Sam Kabo Ashwell (@tsawac on twitter) has been doing reviews over on his blog: https://heterogenoustasks.wordpress.com/tag/if-comp-2017/


#13

Emily Short just posted some IFComp picks on Rock Paper Shotgun: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/11/06/interactive-fiction-competition-2017/amp/


#14

Is Lynnea Glasser doing/did Lynnea Glasser do IFComp streams this year?


#15

yep! Her twitch username is Lglasser. I’d link to her profile page but on my phone it just pulls open the twitch app. She’s actually live right now.

For anyone not familiar, Lynnea’s own interactive fiction is well worth checking out:
http://www.maderealstories.com/games/ColoraturaNotes.html
http://maderealstories.com/games/CreaturesNotes.html


#16

anyone know of any apps/websites that make it easy to play IF games on iOS?


#17

Most parser games should be playable through Frotz for iOS or something similar. I’m not sure you need anything beyond a browser to play the hypertext games.


#18

Yep, can confirm, Frotz works quite well.


#19

Oh shit, it occurs to me that I haven’t recommended Ultra Business Tycoon III (content warning for suicide, violence) in this thread. An earlier version required the serial number from this NFO to get past a certain point, but it may have been updated to not require that anymore. Be prepared to get wrekt (emotionally I mean, if you’re susceptible to that kind of thing from digital words on a screen).

If you find yourself stuck:

try toggling to each difficulty level and visiting the locations again


#20

I’m new to this genre, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I found a game recently on Steam that I’ve really fallen in love with called Heart of the House. It’s a Gothic Horror story where you can choose your gender (including trans and nonbinary options) and sexuality. It also features diverse characters and is incredibly well written.

Here’s the steam link if anyone wants to check it out: