Interactive Fiction - Games for the Non-Illiterate

A Small, Informative IF Webpage
You are standing in the middle of a quaint little webpage. Displayed in front of you is a quick introduction to the world of Interactive Fiction, and several links to help you learn more about it. It smells a bit stale at the moment, for the IF world has been largely ignored for the past decade. You can go back to the rest of Pinback's web site through the exit behind you.


If you were around computers in the early-mid 1980's, chances are the above paragraph opened the floodgates to countless memories (good or bad) involving ancient underground empires, sarcastic robots, buried egyptian pyramids, and a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.

Ah yes, the text adventure.

It was the first kind of program you wrote in BASIC that you actually wanted anyone else to see. It kept you up until way too late on many occasions. It made you want to throw your computer out the window. But it made you think. And it was a blast.

Then graphics came along, and gradually, the "text" was slowly escorted out of the ring, until eventually you could play an entire adventure game without seeing one written word. The world was portrayed for you in brilliant high-color, photorealistic scenery, so there was no need for some programmer-wannabe-author to tell you that there was a tree in front of you, and you could walk through a door to the west, if you only had the key. Progress.

But waiting silently in the wake of the graphic adventure revolution was a group of folks that remembered "the way it was", and knew that text wasn't just used because the programmers didn't have the ability to draw the picture for you. And they knew that those old Infocom ads had it right, that the best graphics in the world would never be on a computer screen. They'd be in your head.

So they waited. And waited.


Some smart fellow figured out that the engine that Infocom used to use for their own games was still very much useful. And still very much portable. All it needed was a way to write programs for it. So this smart fellow (Graham Nelson) wrote a language, and a compiler, and all of a sudden, the Infocom engine was ready to be fired up again.

Yes, other adventure game development systems had been developed, even some very good ones. But in 1993, the real resurrection began. And it continues to this day, with the number of quality games more than doubling itself every year.

Of course, now it's called interactive fiction. But we all know what it means.

The Interactive Fiction Links

Pinback's Web Central
This page and the contents therein (except where otherwise attributed) are copyright (c) 1997, 1998, by Ben Parrish.
That was in case any of you devious types were thinking of stealing all my cool stuff. So there.
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