Really nice historic youtube video about text adventures

A google tech talk from last year (just found it while doing research) by Jason Scott, looking at the foundation of the games industry, starting with Text Adventures. It’s 2 hours long, and well worth the time.

So do we have enough ‘text’ in our games today? I must admit to being someone that gets very frustrated at obtuse (to my mind) puzzles, and these days when i play an interactive fiction game, i have a faq at hand for those moments. On the other hand i love the text multi-choice sections like in Kotr and Space Rangers etc. I can see text adventures(of any type) within regular graphical games as being something good for the gamer. A worthy notion or just well past it’s prime in todays market? Is reading or encouraging to read just not something of commercial value today?

Oh, what’s that commercial text adventure that was released recently? I think it’s called Cypher. Apparently the parser isn’t all that hot, and the text is full of grammatical problems and typos. Pity.

Anyway, there’s so many excellent, excellent text adventures available for free that I’d probably go for those rather than pay for one. But I burned out on text adventures ages ago. I’d rather read books.

Zak, have you watched Get Lamp? It’s a pretty great historical documentary about text adventures.

I love text, but text is only powerful in some conditions and can’t compete with image or sound for speed to produce a change of feel in the viewer/reader.

If you have a wall, with a long text message, and a ladder, if the player know that can see what the long text talk about by using the ladder, will not read the text. Is discriminated that way.

This don’t means text can’t return with a revenge. First, we have a mobile format now. Perhaps someday people will found relaxing to do interactive adventures in his phone, on the couch, may happens, but is really hard, and has not happened yet, and the current setups ( consoles on TV, desktop with monitor) are not text friendly.

Get Lamp irritated me as a product. I liked the interviews, but I hated his little ‘shell’ / fancy dvd authoring maze. It was a huge pain to rip. JUST GIVE ME A SINGLE 3 HOUR ViDEO FILE AND GET OFF MY LAWN.

Isn’t that what he linked?

I haven’t watched yet. Does it have Planetfall in there? Best. Game. Evah.

I don’t know, is it? I am reading this thread on my iPhone and can’t stand trying to watch videos with it. Is the whole Get Lamp documentary on YouTube now?

edit: ok, I just got home to check and yeah, that’s exactly what the link is. Never mind.

He he, yeah it is but it doesn’t have all the extra stuff from his DVD. It was excellent and i’m sad i took this long to find it, and even sadder he couldn’t cover all the other IF stuff that was going on around the world in detail. In the uk we had a bunch of devs doing just this stuff (although the later stuff started to go the way of mixing graphics into things), Level 9 were huge in their day in the uk, up there with the Infocom stuff:

And Magnetic Scrolls:

There were others but these were our big hitters :)

Would i have patience for pure IF today? I have looked at a few and even recently got into Zork (i missed it first time around, going with the stuff from Level 9 as it was easier to get in the uk), but to be honest i find them often frustrating, then again i don’t massively enjoy crosswords, and i think there is some cross over between the types of people that love crosswords also being those that would love IF?

What i do love is reading, and i never have a problem with reading stuff in games (and shush you at the back, ‘but people don’t read these days!’, yes they do, it’s called the internet, they read huge amounts each day, even ‘the kidz’). What i also love is having choices in game that are purely text/reading based (like in KotR or Space Rangers etc), especialy if knitted into the regular framework of a game that does other stuff (shooty, explory, buildy, strategy etc).

So IS it possible to get todays kids to mix it up a bit more in their games? I suspect it might be, but i know the common knowledge is that ‘kids dont read shit’ and only care to type ‘shit bonerz!’ etc. I just don’t think that is the whole story?