Interactive Fiction Intro

Inspired by the film Get Lamp: The Text Adventure Documentary (watch), I decided I wanted to play one of these games.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have started playing Photopia.  However, I thought I would post some links that may be useful to someone wishing to know more about the genre of interactive fiction and text based adventures.

Brass Lantern

The Interactive Fiction Archive

The Interactive Fiction Wiki

Baf’s Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive


All of these sites have a wealth of information about interactive fiction.  As I’m so new to the scene, I’m still getting a feel for what’s where and such.  The beginners guides that I have read so far are on Brass Lantern.

Two documentaries for really nerdy people

I’ve watched a couple of documentaries recently by a guy named Jason Scott.  The first one, Get Lamp: The Text Adventure DocumentaryI had seen before.  Its about text-based adventures, which is a form of interactive fiction.  The genre was largely killed off with the proliferation of graphical video games, but, as you can tell from the documentary, text based adventure games are no less immersive.  In fact, I’ve actually started playing one called Photopia.  It was written by Adam Cadre, an IF author interviewed in the documentary.  I’ll post more about that as I progress further in the game.

Prior to making Get Lamp, Jason Scott made a multi-part documentary about BBSs called BBS: The Documentary.  It’s kind of long, but very very good.  I have embedded part 1 in this post, to view the other parts, click here.

BBSs were popular before the World Wide Web became the de facto means of communication between computers (and between the people who used them).  BBSs enabled people to communicate with other people using their computer, a modem, a telephone line, and a BBS on the other end.  Since users connected to BBSs by dialing into it, and long distance phone calls were expensive, most users of a particular BBS tended to reside in a small geographic area around the BBS (the size of an area code for example, or even smaller).  This created a strong sense of community among users of a BBS.

We take computer-computer communication for granted nowadays with the internet and world wide web, but there was a time when that was not the case.  There were a multitude of computer companies vying for supremacy, those computers were very expensive, and their functionality was limited.  Despite this, people did buy them, and they did all sorts of amazing things with them.  We don’t really think about it nowadays, but at the time, the future of computers wasn’t a given; nobody was exactly sure where this whole computer thing was going to go, and you can absolutely get the sense that it was a VERY exciting time to be alive and active in that community.

I wont ruin it, but the documentary portrays a very unique culture.  This culture and these communities grew out of cutting edge technology and met its demise before it reached fruition.  Almost as soon as the internet came out and was accessible by the majority of the public, BBS activity plummeted.  There are very few BBSs that still exist today, and had it not been for the documentary that Jason Scott made, the history of BBS culture and the communities that grew out of BBSs would be lost.

The focus of the documentary is less about the technology, and more about the people and communities that grew out of it.

Here we go again

I reformatted the iMac so I’m starting over.  Not a big deal because I didn’t have much content anyway.

I was debating over whether I should use iWeb or WordPress as the homepage creator thingy.  iWeb has a really sexy interface and can do lots of stuff.

My main beef with iWeb is that whatever computer I use to write pages/create content/do anything, that data is local to that computer, then uploaded to the iMac.  I have multiple computers that I use on a regular basis.  I use my desktop, which is a triple boot machine (running OS X, Windows 7 Pro, and Debian), and my laptop.

WordPress doesn’t depend on local content as everything is on the computer that WordPress is running on.  It doesn’t matter which computer I want to create content on in the case of WordPress because there is no local content.

So, WordPress it is.