Sunday, July 27, 2008

Interactive Fiction

Ok, I love Interactive Fiction (also called IFiction and IF), so here is a whole post on it. IF is basically a text based story/adventure game. For most IF games, you have to download an IF loader and the actual game. Gargoyle has a nice interface and is good for Windows. For Mac people, Spatterlight will work well, and Glulx for Linux users. Luckily, some are available online, and yet still allow you to save. Lost Pig and 9:05 are such examples.

In IF, you type things for you to do, such as examine chair, open door, dance, say "insert question", and the character will do that, if it is possible and entered in the little database thing. Of course, these commands have to be reasonable and are basic. For example, if there is a locked steel door in your way, you can't just type, "Kick down door with uber Karate skills" and expect it to work. Most likely, you must find a key and unlock the door, unless something insists otherwise. And "find key" will most likely not work unless you know where the key is and have been to that place. You have to look around by opening drawers, looking under stuff, going to other places using compass directions, etc. For a much better in-depth explanation, visit this link.

There are many different kinds of stuff in IF. You could just be the traditional knight rescuing damsel-in-distress from evil king, or have completely forgotten why and where you are along with any previous memories (very common), or you could even be the person behind the scenes causing all the traps for an npc (non-player character). You could also make one yourself, except everything is way more complicated in making something than it might seem. Anyway, many of these IF games rely on common sense much of the time. So it might help you get along through the game. Some games have a hint system in the game, so if you type "hint" or "help" then it will provide you with clues on how to continue the story.

Now, if you are looking for a specific kind of IF story, this might help.

For some IF to start with, I recommend some Zarf IF (check the difficulty), 9:05 (common sense and multiple endings, very short, very interesting twist...) and maybe Enlightenment (fun to play) after you get a bit more familiar with the games. Suveh Nux is really fun too, but might be a bit confusing. Involves a lot of learning and combining magical spell words...

Glass by Emily Short is pretty simple with multiple endings, and relies completely on dialogue. As it is based on Cinderella, the story will help with what to say. Who are you? A parrot.

After playing IF for a while, you'll probably recognise some of the creators of them. If you enjoy some of the games of the same writer, you'll probably enjoy the other ones written by them too. Otherwise, IF isnt for everybody, especially if you're the kind that relies on action and good graphics and animation. I started bored of it...started again and got addicted to it.

Well, enjoy! :)

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