IF in the ACM literature

Recently I’ve been looking at academic papers available at the Association of Computer Machinery portal, checking out what various scholars and conference-attenders have recently had to say about interactive fiction. (Note that while you can register with the site for limited free service, full access is by subscription, so your best bet is to access it through a registered library.)

It turns out that what these papers have to say is often some variation on “here is why conventional interactive fiction doesn’t live up to its promise: …”. They have different ideas of what that promise is.

One take on this:

Continue reading “IF in the ACM literature”

Minor improvements

The Inform extensions page has now been upgraded so that

  • The defunct “(compatible with 4S08)” tags have been removed, since they’re no longer relevant; all extensions on the page have been re-
    tested as of this afternoon and those that do not compile (and there are only a couple) have been marked accordingly.
  • Extensions are now time-stamped with the date of last modification. (At the moment everything is registered to today, but new extensions will be correctly stamped as they are added.)
  • New or recently updated extensions are now marked “new” or “updated.”
  • Some new categories have been added to make things easier to find.
  • A table of contents appears at the head of the page to make navigation easier; this also shows in which categories new or updated extensions have been filed.
  • The site now has an RSS feed which will automatically carry information on any new and updated extensions as they are added.

Recent Plays

Yesterday I played Mondi Confinanti’s “Little Falls”, a Glulx horror/thriller game. It’s short (less than an hour to play once), with few puzzles, largely relying on atmosphere; it provides full illustration and sound effects. I had mixed feelings — fuller review to follow — but I was impressed by the polish and effort, and probably would have found it more effective if I hadn’t gotten stuck on something stupid for quite a long time. If you enjoy horror or are interested in multimedia IF, it’s worth a look. There’s a page on the game and a download page.

A few weeks back, I played and enjoyed Jon Ingold’s “Dead Cities” from the Lovecraft Commonplace Book Project. I’ve yet to try anything else from that set, partly because “Dead Cities” was so cool I wanted to just let it stand on its own for a while. Wonderfully atmospheric, with some creepy, visionary elements.

Also worth a look: Eric Eve’s “Blighted Isle” (Zip file here). I beta-tested, so will not be reviewing it, and a few things may have changed since I tried it. But it is a sizable historical piece with multiple endings, a large host of characters, and the care and polish you would expect from Eve.

Persuasive Games

Those who follow Grand Text Auto are presumably already aware of this, but Ian Bogost has published a new book on persuasive games. So far, I’ve only read the chapters available in PDF, but this looks like an extremely interesting discussion of the ways in which simulations can argue for a position or an idea about how a system works.