Puzzle Books as New Media

I’m not sure as these sorts of books count as “interactive fiction,” but 1) they’re really interesting and 2) they are quite different from traditional narratives, so hey, here it goes:

The Eleventh Hour, by Graeme Base

From the outside The Eleventh Hour might not raise any eyebrows–it is a largish book with a hardback cover, and appears for all intents and purposes to be an ordinary children’s storybook. Even a brief perusal of the pages might not evoke in the reader a sense of the enigma that surrounds this story. But the story holds a mystery–a mystery whose clues lie in the very pages themselves, embedded in the rich illustrations and buried subtext. It is quite a treat, particularly for younger audiences. Even if you know the solution, going back over the old clues and puzzles can be an exploration in and of itself.

The Egyptian Jukebox, by Nick Bantock

Nick Bantock, the creator of The Griffin and Sabine Trilogy, poses this compelling conundrum as an attempt to answer one question:

“Where do my worlds join?”

Readers are supplied with short narratives on one man and his travels throughout the world, as well as drawers in this jukebox that supposedly provide clues to answer that very question. The drawers contain artifacts from his travels ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary. To anyone looking for a good way to while away the winter months, this is it.










Call for Blog Guest Contributors!

Do you have a hankering to share with the world your thoughts on interactive fiction? Do you have a sparkly new review to share or thoughts on the state of interactive fiction today? Do you just want to tell the world a few of your favorite IF games?

We’d love to have you as a guest contributor on our blog. It’s not a multiple-contribution commitment (unless you want it to be) so go ahead and send in that one great blog post that you’ve wanted the world to see.

New to IF? No problem!

Do you not really know the first thing about interactive fiction? That’s okay, because there’s lots of resources out there to help you begin.

Game Type

There are different types of interactive fiction games, but in the IF world there are primarily two common types:

1) The choose-your-own-adventure story. These are also called gamebooks, hyperlink fiction, etc. the player advances the story by making choices from a list of options provided. Examples include the old CYOA books and the games at ChoiceOfGames.com.

2) The parser-based story. Instead of giving you the list of options, this type of game gives the player greater freedom. The reader types commands into a parser–the prompt for the reader–and the game responds in some way. Typical commands help the reader explore the world and gather inventory materials.

Reading IF

There are lots of resources out there to help beginners learn the world of interactive fiction. The Brass Lantern has a nice list of links to check out. There’s also some great tips at Ben’s Text Adventure Page (including this handy list of common commands to try in parser-based games).

Probably the best way to learn is by experimentation; here are some great games for beginners:

For CYOA-style games, check out the games at ChoiceOfGames.com: http://www.choiceofgames.com/category/our-games/

For parser-based games, The Dreamhold is good for people wanting to take their first steps in this kind of game.  There’s also a good list at the interactive fiction database .

Writing IF

There are actually quite a few programs out there to write IF, and finding the right program is all about knowing what you want your story to be. I’d recommend checking out the Inky IF Guide to find out more about writing your own game.

Welcome, each and every one!

Hello all you readers of blog posts, all you connoisseurs of fine literature and seasoned explorers of the Zorkian wasteland. Welcome to you newcomers to the winding path of interactive fiction, you who have only just begun to hold the brass lantern aloft.

Be prepared to traverse vast expanses of time and space, to wander down cobblestoned alleys or take to the air, soaring above the rest of the rabble you’ve left behind.

Welcome to Inky Path. We’re glad to have you here.