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New theme: text-based

Posted at 11:38 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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Some people have been asking me about an 'Interactive Fiction' genre, because that's all they're really interested in, they say. HOTUD had such a genre as well.

I've been thinking about this, and the more I think about it, the less appealing it sounds. If anything, it would be a sub-genre of 'Adventure'. There isn't a single piece of 'Interactive Fiction' which I wouldn't classify as an 'Adventure'. 'Adventure' was, after all, the term used before 'IF' even came along. Having one genre which is is a subset of another is a bad idea, in my opinion.

What I'd like to do instead is to introduce a new 'text-based' theme. Like 'multiplayer', this would be more of a meta tag than an actual theme. All games which use text as primary method of input and output would fall under that theme (meaning that it wouldn't be restricted to Adventure games). A list of all 'IF' games could then be generated by selecting 'Adventure' (genre) & 'Text-Based' (theme) combined.

If there are no objections until tonight, I'll add the theme.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 11:38 on March 12th, 2010
Posted at 13:38 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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The first sierra games fall in the text category then? (I know nobody on their right mind would play them, but it won't stop me from asking).
Posted at 13:46 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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Those are a grey area. Definitely the earlier Legend Entertainment games (Timequest, Spellcasting,...). The Sierra games, I would probable leave out, because although there is a text parser, you move a graphical avatar around a graphical environment (which has no textual description). If you want to interact with a goat, you have to recognise the pixels as representing a goat, walk there with the cursor keys and only then type LOOK GOAT. That's not 'primarily' text-based in my opinion. What's your view?

Unless, of course, you're talking about Softporn Adventure, Mystery House and these - they would qualify. The above is about King's Quest and forward.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 14:23 on March 12th, 2010
Posted at 14:56 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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I consider all those AGI games as Graphic Adventures. But there is surely a grey area with some games, that goes: IF -> Legend parsers -> AGI games. The games similar to the Legend and AGI games wouldn't go on text-based I would say, just games like those from Infocom, including the ones with added graphics, like Arthur, as they still are a text game.

By the way, on Spain the name goven to interactive fictions translates as "conversational adventures", they were always seen as adventures, but also some platform games where seen as adventures, those with exploration and item finding mostly. IF can have RPG elements or anything, but they always are adventures.

Which ends in another thing, those very old games that are purely ASCII and require text input (I mean games nobody ever has played, like Baron, nor Rogue clones) could end in the text-based region.
Posted at 15:33 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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I'll just try a few examples, as I find this usually helps.

These games use text as both their primary input and output method. Graphics (if present), are only small, static illustrations which serve no gameplay purpose, i.e. the graphics could be turned off and the game can still be played the same way (in many cases, that is even an option).
- late Infocom games (e.g. Shogun)
- early Legend games (e.g. Timequest, Spellcasting)
- Magnetic Scrolls games (e.g. The Pawn)
- Level 9 games (e.g. Lancelot)
- very early Sierra games (e.g. Mystery House)

These games have some text component (e.g. a text parser), but graphics are used to convey information to the player not present in textual form or even as the main interaction.
- later Legend games (everything from Companions of Xanth on, e.g. Death Gate or Shannara)
- AGI Sierra games
- Labyrinth by Lucasfilm

The theme would encompass any text-based game, regardless of genre. ASCII Rogue clones would qualify, in my opinion, so would strategy/war games with a text interface. Those, of course, would not appear selecting the combination of the text-based theme and the adventure genre.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 20:50 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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Done. You can see the list of games I tagged as text-based on the site now. With 54 entries, this is a medium-sized theme.

A few more borderline cases (decided 'for'):
- Dream Zone
- The Child Murderer (very strange interface, as discussed in the review)
- The Fourth Protocol (one of the three parts is a classic text adventure)

Decided 'against':
- ICOM games

Believe it or not: It's great fun for me to browse the site's games list. It's full of great moments... sometimes "has it really been this long since I wrote this", sometimes "wow, I didn't even remember I reviewed this". Most of all, though, looking at the massive list of games gives me a real sense of accomplishment. We've truly come far over the years :D
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 20:56 on March 12th, 2010
Posted at 22:25 on March 12th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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We are close to the 700 mark, it's quite a lot.
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