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I think the word is "Philistines".

KG

I appreciate what the guy's trying to do, but the writing's awful.

If he wants to pull an 'art dressed as game' on us, then he better be damn sure that he can write. And Photopia is very poorly written. It's more A-Level English student than Infocom.

Bad writers get a hell of an easy ride from gamers and game critics. They shouldn't. And feeble nods in the direction of 'proper' writing? Kick against those pricks.

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I've been getting back into text adventures in a big way recently. I bought "The Lost Treasures of Infocom" about 12 years ago, and always found myself coming back to it.

Infocom did indeed make the best adventures. Beyond Zork is simply fantastic.

I really enjoyed Photopia, so I have to disagree with Biglime.

Having lurked in the forum for ages though, my opinion differing from Biglime's is about as surprising as the sun going down at night and then coming up again in the morning.

I thought the game was full of nice touches. It drew me in and kept me interested to the end

Click For Spoiler
I particularly liked the bit in the forest where you take off the spacesuit, and by the feel of the wind you're suddenly aware your character has wings. I felt it was subtle and done well enough to bring a smile to my face

I've been enjoying text adventures so much I decided to re-invent the wheel and have a blast at writing a text adventure in Blitz. It's satisfying stuff, and is fast progress in comparison to writing anything with graphics. Who knows if I'll ever finish it, but it's been fun so far, even if it only has the basic parser going at the moment.

Also: I can never let a discussion on text adventures pass without mentioning the excellent moment in the Hobbit where you use Elrond's corpse to beat the goblins of the Misty Mountains to death.

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I appreciate what the guy's trying to do, but the writing's awful.

If he wants to pull an 'art dressed as game' on us, then he better be damn sure that he can write. And Photopia is very poorly written. It's more A-Level English student than Infocom.

Bad writers get a hell of an easy ride from gamers and game critics. They shouldn't. And feeble nods in the direction of 'proper' writing? Kick against those pricks.

The guy has a published novel to his credit, so it's not just the gamers who think he can write, it's HarperCollins too.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0...6452894-6663814

Adam's Varicella is one of my favourite puzzley text games. Like the Infocom detective games and Magnetic Scrolls' fantastic Corruption, it's one big scheduling puzzle, but it has real bite.

I miss text games as a commercial genre, but most of all I miss the sub-genre of detective games. Someone really needs to make a proper detective game (like Deadline, Suspect, Witness and Corruption) on a console... I'd buy it.

I'm not sure I'd recommend Enchanter for newbies. It's quite old-fashioned.

Maybe Trinity, A Mind Forever Voyaging, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, or one of the detective titles? My favourite classic text game is (already mentioned it 3 times, so it shows) Corruption. What are the chances of a videogame being made today set in London's financial world and having the genre of 'yuppie thriller'? Cocaine, gambling, adultery. Corruption was the mature game _before_ there were mature games. Well, back before games needed to wear their "maturity" on their sleeves.

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Is the Text Adventure dead?

I know it possibly exists in home brew games.

But, if a Text Adventure was released for either the PC or indeed a Console,

with nice visuals ( something like Myst etc.. ) would you be interested in it?

all it would need is a good writer or something.

[ waits for someone to say there's a modern text adventure available already! ]

Its probably already been done, but I thought a nice mobile phone / SMS based text adventure might work. (not at £1.50 per message) :D

Will

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I don't see what your beef is, personally, but hey-ho.

I don't have a 'beef' with it, Stu. The problem is that for a 'text adventure', the text is rather poor, and the adventure is nonexistent.

If it were a great game, it could get away with weak writing. If it were a well told story, then maybe it could just about get away with being a totally linear non-event of a game.

But it isn't, and it doesn't, in both cases.

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I can still remember the day when my old man took me to his office and while waiting for him to finish his work I played Colossal Cave adventure which started my love of gaming.

It also came close to ending said love after a few days with the constant repeating of the message:

"You are in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike..."

I also seem to remember getting a very good grade in a computer studies test at school for my own creation (which involved finding 11 people to make up a cricket team to play the regional school final match!!) even though the programming side of the game was ripped straight from a book I'd borrowed from the library.

The last one I enjoyed was Bored of the Rings which was faintly amusing and might have regained some of it's appeal to people who missed it the first time round.

Haven't tried playing one in years as I don't think I'd have the patience although I'm willing to give a point n' click game a go if I can find a decent one for free.

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I don't think that the real world plotline/characters are particularly convincing, in fact they are by far the most amateurish thing about it, but as a free text adventures discovered on late night videogame forums go, I can cut the guy a few breaks for what is (at the very least potentially) a great concept, and which managed to satisfy me in it's current form.

"Ah, cut it some slack. It's just a dumb game!"

No.

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Interactive fiction has changed somewhat in some quarters, it appears certain people are exploring new directions, Photopia is an example of this. My writing leaves much to be desired and at times I found it to be clumsy, however, it did elicit some emotional response from me, which is good, and I found it a worthy diversion.

I still prefer the infocom brand of adventuring interactive fiction but if anyone would like to try another example of 'modern', non puzzley, interactive fiction then I'd personally recommend giving Galatea a go. I think it's pretty well written, it works for me and it certainly haunts you in an emotional way. Give it a go online.

http://www.ifiction.org/games/play.phpz?ca...e=369&mode=html

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Does nobody else play interactive fiction on their palmtops? It was the most fun I had with my Palm, until it died. Played a few Infocom classics, as well as a few fan-written ones. I'd recommend Anchorhead (spooky Lovecraft-style) and Yet Another Game With A Dragon (quite infocom-my).

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Guest spleenboy
I miss text games as a commercial genre, but most of all I miss the sub-genre of detective games. Someone really needs to make a proper detective game (like Deadline, Suspect, Witness and Corruption) on a console... I'd buy it.

Hear, hear - those 4 games were uniformly excellent. I particularly loved Suspect, though it was bastard-hard.

Did anyone here ever subscribe to Adventure Probe? :lol:

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I appreciate what the guy's trying to do, but the writing's awful.

If he wants to pull an 'art dressed as game' on us, then he better be damn sure that he can write. And Photopia is very poorly written. It's more A-Level English student than Infocom.

Bad writers get a hell of an easy ride from gamers and game critics. They shouldn't. And feeble nods in the direction of 'proper' writing? Kick against those pricks.

I'm sorry, Big, but I don't think you have the ability to classify what is good and bad writing in the way that you are. The dismissiveness of 6th-form level writing just recalls to me Edge's letterpage dismissal of Planescape Torment, and just as full of shit.

Secondly, this is actually a graphics versus gameplay argument remixed for the experimental fringes of 21st century game design. You're asking for a certain definition of Good Writing which would, probably, kill the game dead.

The major part of writing isn't about the phrases you choose to use. That's surface nonsense. The Writing of narrative is, primarily, about *structure*.

Photopia is exquisitely structured. To choose a minor example, the section with the solution to the mazes is based on an understanding of its form which dazzled me, in terms of wit, playfulness and timing.

It's very clever, very artful and carefully formed. It's fringe gaming, yes - but the fringes are where gaming's centre is defined.

KG

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I still prefer the infocom brand of adventuring interactive fiction but if anyone would like to try another example of 'modern', non puzzley, interactive fiction then I'd personally recommend giving Galatea a go. I think it's pretty well written, it works for me and it certainly haunts you in an emotional way. Give it a go online.

http://www.ifiction.org/games/play.phpz?ca...e=369&mode=html

I'd second Galatea. Circa when it came out, it was my standard reference for people who claimed that there was no such thing as a purely Art-Skool game.

I can't find a blog post I did when writing the Edge Interactive Fiction article, which is bloody annoying as it included a list of a half dozen or so games I suggested people had a nose at.

Spider and Fly, I think, has been referenced... if not, it's worth playing just to "get" it. It's much longer than any of the short forms (I've never completed it) and... fuck it, here's the box-out from the Edge feature, since it's re-entered my copyright now (I think. Er... don't sue me, Tony):

EDGE’S SHORT IF READING LIST

With hundreds of games available, it’s difficult to know where to start. In an attempt to avoid such difficulties, Edge provides a handful of relatively accessible base-camps to start your explorations.

PHOTOPIA (Adam Cadre)

A fractured narrative piece that takes its time to unwind, juxtaposing a series of real world encounters with a dreamy fantasy story. When it hits its emotional target, it takes off the top of your head.

SHADE (Andrew Plotkin)

Kitchen sink realism transforms into unresolved, lingering and disturbing psychodrama. Also consider the longer, puzzle-based work, Spider and Fly, which is based around flashbacks from an interrogation.

GALATEA (Emily Short)

A conversation between an art critic (the player) and a living statue (the single, highly developed NPC). With dozens of endings, this is unique and literate. Consider also her later relatively short romances Pytho’s Mask and Best Of Three.

SHRAPNEL (Adam Cadre)

More of a fragment, in every definition of the word, than a full developed piece, but this is still a memorable and brutally powerful work.

RAMESES (Stephen Bond)

A carefully judged emo-pop-single of a work. Minimal in terms of player action, which it neatly uses forced player inaction as a metaphor for teenage depression.

All games are available from the IF Archive (www.ifarchive.org). Links and reviews are available from Baf’s IF Guide (http://wurb.com/if/). Most games will require a Z-Code interpreter to play, also available from the above. Edge recommends WinFrotz for PC users (http://www.cris.com/~Twist/WinFrotz/).

***

Rameses, more than photopia, will probably fall to the "Badly Written" line, but anyone from a zine-kid pop-punk background should get a kick from its energy. Reminded me of the best of the angsty-edged Bis-era-zine-explosion stuff, or even some gender-flipped Riot Grrrrl stuff.

Gaming is big. I'm glad these exist to have opinions on.

KG

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(Brief pointer: "Spider and Fly" is actually "Spider and Web", although to confuse matters further, the filename - if you're looking for it on the IF archive - is tangle.z5. Keiron is clearly slightly dizzy with passion.)

(Apart from that, I agree strongly with everything he said. Except maybe for Rameses, and I do think Photopia has its faults, but then that's what makes IF so fun: there's a genuine experimentation, a willingness to play with the form rarely seen in "mainstream" videogames; sure, people may misjudge things, and there are as many glorious failures to scoff at as there are triumphs to admire. What's round the corner? Nobody knows. That's what makes it so damn interesting.)

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(Brief pointer: "Spider and Fly" is actually "Spider and Web", although to confuse matters further, the filename - if you're looking for it on the IF archive - is tangle.z5. Keiron is clearly slightly dizzy with passion.)

I am the most Typo-prone writer in the entire videogame business. I'm useless.

(And to return the favour, I agree with everything you say. But - y'know - everything has faults. Take what you can from all games. If someone dropped a dev team in my lap, you can be sure I'd be trying to rip off a few of the IF experiments for a commercial audience in terms of structuring)

KG

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But - y'know - everything has faults. Take what you can from all games. If someone dropped a dev team in my lap, you can be sure I'd be trying to rip off a few of the IF experiments for a commercial audience in terms of structuring.

Oh, sure. It just illustrates the wealth of new ideas and different directions already dreamt up by the "new" IF community, compared to just about anything else going on in videogames. But then when one-man, non-profit development is realistic and relatively quick, fresh ideas - the "cool bits" - inevitably become important again, and I think that's a great and beautiful thing.

And don't get me wrong - although there were parts of Photopia that jarred for me, when all the pieces of story fell into place at the end, and I realised what was going on... you know, sometimes you can forgive almost anything for payoffs like that.

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I'm sorry, Big, but I don't think you have the ability to classify what is good and bad writing in the way that you are. The dismissiveness of 6th-form level writing just recalls to me Edge's letterpage dismissal of Planescape Torment, and just as full of shit.

Secondly, this is actually a graphics versus gameplay argument remixed for the experimental fringes of 21st century game design. You're asking for a certain definition of Good Writing which would, probably, kill the game dead.

The major part of writing isn't about the phrases you choose to use. That's surface nonsense. The Writing of narrative is, primarily, about *structure*.

Photopia is exquisitely structured. To choose a minor example, the section with the solution to the mazes is based on an understanding of its form which dazzled me, in terms of wit, playfulness and timing.

It's very clever, very artful and carefully formed. It's fringe gaming, yes - but the fringes are where gaming's centre is defined.

KG

Nicely put.

Everyone else can stop pretending they didn't think it was good now.

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I'm sorry, Big, but I don't think you have the ability to classify what is good and bad writing in the way that you are. The dismissiveness of 6th-form level writing just recalls to me Edge's letterpage dismissal of Planescape Torment, and just as full of shit.

I don't read Edge, and I loved Planescape.

All I'm saying is that Photopia is clunkily written. It's stilted and unnatural, and no amount of clever structure, or playing with the genre, is going to be able to combat that.

Structure is surely integral to narrative, but when you choose to include dialogue (internal or external) within that narrative, it has to feel right to the ear.

Photopia would have been just as structurally clever without the artifice of story that it pursues. The guy can't do story.

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