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Be honest about Zork

Brian Shapiro on Oct 20, 2007


Trying to play and win Zork can be a fun use of time; but people who like it should be honest about why they like it and what it is. I read some gushing reviews of Zork on the internet, which claimed anything between that it formed the basis and influence for all games after it, to it being the equivalent of great literature with genius writing with hillarious with and a brilliant plot.

I was already into computer games when the Zork games were coming out, I wasn't raised in the 3d game era, but I know both of these things to be silly. One article I read that without Zork there would be no Ultima. But the first Ultima game, Alkalabeth was published in 1979 after Garriott had already been planning it for a while, with Ultima I coming out in 1980. Colossal Cave Adventure was actually the first major text adventure game, coming out in 1976. Zork was what released in (according to Wikipedia) from 77-79. All of these games were inspired by Dungeons and Dragons which came out in 1974 and other paper role-playing games; they all play out like Dungeons and Dragons games to different degrees. Zork wasn't the first text adventure, and Ultima would have been made without it. And even without Zork, Ultima would have gained more objects and more conversations later on when it more fully matured. Zork didn't influence anything major. It was just one of many games that were being developed at the time based on the same theme. What Zork did, being somewhat more commercially successful than other games, was inspire a lot of copy cat text-adventure games from the same people who made Zork, Infocom, because it gained them some money. The whole existence of the text-adventure genre (which Zork didn't invent), is what led to the graphic adventure genre and games like Monkey Island. The only influential thing about Zork at all was that it was a success vs other text adventures. No games owe any real influence to Zork.

Zork is also well enough written for what it was, but it wasn't any more well written than a typical D&D game with a witty DM. It was also written like a goofy, cute, playing-around D&D game, that didn't care at all about seriousness but instead making a lot of pop culture jokes. If you really think there is something deep and intellectually engaging about text-adventures, you might as well play a real person-to-person session of D&D with a real DM. Zork just emulates this. Neither is the concept of interactive fiction interesting or profound; Zork isn't any more relevant than one of the Choose Your Own Adventure books sold to teenagers.

The only reason Zork is notable at all is because a lot of geeks who, because they also read Science Fiction and Fantasy, also read Douglas Adams, got into it , and formed a cultish attachment to it. And all of this was fun for some people.

I got into RPG games in the 80s playing games like Ultima I and Might and Magic I. I didn't like Zork and never got into it. Why? Not because I was prejudiced against games without graphics, all games at the time had bad graphics. I also read novels and played D&D. Several reasons-- I found it incredibly stupid that you had to guess the right word to make something happen, because the programmers sometimes had a particular world in mind and not another, so for instance you couldn't say 'cross' but had to say 'pass' but there was no clue about this. Navigating the world was also a larger pain than it would be in real life, you wouldn't have to make a map of everything in real life. I didn't like how you could die really easily and then have to start the whole boring process of collecting items over again (many text adventures didnt have save states). I didn't find the wit funny or interesting at all, in fact, I found it kind of lame and pretentious---like people who say they're witty because they make obscure references use uncommon words and are able to relate everything back to sex.

What Zork accomplished---for people willing to play---was that took its formula and accomplished it pretty well, and if you wanted to play--you could have fun, and a challenge, trying to figure it out.

But why would I have wanted to play it, personally? I didn't think I would be more intellectual playing Zork than another game. Zork wasn't really intellectual. If I wanted to go that route I would read good literature and play chess, not play Zork.

So what I'm saying is I know Zork can be a fun game if you want to go through with it. Modern games might even have something to learn from it, by the fact that the whole fun in games like that is that things aren't obvious and if you use a cluebook you'll spoil the game.

But the primary reasons people like Zork vs other games are : nostalgia, retro-charm, geekiness, cultishness, aversion from graphical games.

Zork did not have a big influence on how other games were made, and it wasn't some big literary masterpiece. Be honest.

(Edited by Brian Shapiro, Oct 20, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

Игги Друге (43760) on Oct 20, 2007


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I can't find any real reason to disagree, but wasn't Zork the first text adventure with any greater scope to work on a home micro (unlike the cut-down Scott Adams games or games which only ran on minis and mainframes)? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this Infocom's achievement and what made Zork particularly famous?

Re: Be honest about Zork

Happy Rabbi (1305) on Oct 21, 2007


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Man, you're really informed. Could you please write some reviews also, cause many old games need something like your post rather than "played it with my dog, greatest game ever!!!" that makes up for most of the reviews for pre-2000 games.

Re: Be honest about Zork

Pseudo_Intellectual (44583) on Oct 21, 2007


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(what a surprise, p_i steps up to the bat to defend text adventure games 8)

people who like it should be honest about why they like it and what it is

I'm a staunch advocate of it, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that I like it 8)

it being the equivalent of great literature with genius writing with hillarious with and a brilliant plot

Such a claim would have to be made, I think, with a relative grain of salt -- it may not qualify objectively, but when considered among its peers in the infancy of commercial gaming, certainly its writing and plot could be seen as the closest to hilarious, brilliant genius any commercial offering featured (or would for years to come!)

One article I read that without Zork there would be no Ultima.

That's just plainly a bogus claim; let's move on 8)

Colossal Cave Adventure was actually the first major text adventure game, coming out in 1976.

A major text adventure to any of the couple hundred people who played it over the ARPAnet -- certainly a big influence on designers from Scott Adams to Roberta Williams and Warren Robinett! (&c, as you can read in my preamble to the Adventure versions game group 8) All the same, if you weren't online at the time, you might only ever know of it secondhand if not for its eventual numerous ports.

What Zork did, being somewhat more commercially successful than other games, was inspire a lot of copy cat text-adventure games from the same people who made Zork, Infocom, because it gained them some money. The whole existence of the text-adventure genre (which Zork didn't invent), is what led to the graphic adventure genre and games like Monkey Island. The only influential thing about Zork at all was that it was a success vs other text adventures. No games owe any real influence to Zork.

I like to think that Zork created the commercial home market for all text adventure games; their advertising really pitted their products against Atari 2600 offerings and the like (by which standards they are surely well written, brilliant and hilarious 8) and I seriously doubt Scott Adams would have had much luck peddling his game with chimpanzee-level language interfaces if not riding on the coattails of the stupendous impression Zork had made with its more sophisticated text parser. (I could see Zork fooling 1979 people in a Turing test, if ELIZA could -- Adventureland on the other hand I don't think could pull it off.)

I don't think that anyone would have developed and tried to market adventure games if Zork had not established that it could be quite profitable. Saying that this means that Zork was not influential is like pointing to the relative dearth of table tennis games today and saying that Pong was not influential 8)

I don't think the influence of the median collegiate Infocom tone of "literate and humourous" (note I refrained from saying brilliant and hilarious 8) on adventure games (it's not really fair to make reference to Legend, since in so many ways it's just an extension of Infocom) can be overstated. Police Quest was a shock because it played everything so straight! Everything up until then had been full of nods and winks. (ADVENTURE really set that scene also, but Infocom picked it up and ran with it.) Whether or not this is desirable, as you elaborate, is up to personal taste... but it was a strong trend among the adventure set for quite some time. Influence!

If you really think there is something deep and intellectually engaging about text-adventures, you might as well play a real person-to-person session of D&D with a real DM. Zork just emulates this.

In defense of text adventures, Zork was a prototype thrown together in spare time by college kids. I wouldn't call it deep and intellectually engaging, though adherents of Infocom's later games might make such claims for titles like A Mind Forever Voyaging. Certainly I think many of the modern classics of amateur-produced interactive fiction beat Zork hands-down in the depth-and-intellectual-engagement department -- but they certainly wouldn't be doing it without standing on its' giant shoulders.

Neither is the concept of interactive fiction interesting or profound

IF was a good solution to a problem of goofing off in computer labs so primitive they might not even have monitors. A sophisticated text parser is an interesting exercise in simulating a sophisticated environment, since a player might try to use any of 500 common verbs a programmer might teach a game... but no one would ever try to clutter up a screen with 500 icons! Maybe that level of flexibility can be achieved through a nested menu system, but instead of navigating them endlessly (an approach Legend dabbled with) in Zork it was all there at your fingertips -- all you had to have was correct spelling. Sure, this made programming headachy (damn, I didn't anticipate the player would try to put the paper "on" the fire -- and then claim that the game was broken when it failed to burn!) but when approached rigorously (and through enough revised releases 8), it could do a good job at setting a mental scene that worked just enough to be convincing but wasn't so full of distracting simulated details (like making bread in ultimas by gathering the wheat, milling it to flour, mixing it with water in a bowl, baking it in the oven... to what end precisely? my character just saved 1 gp but there's a half hour of my life I'll never have back!) that the story got lost in the cracks.

Authors Robin Pinsky, Thomas M. Disch and Douglas Adams all seemed to believe that there was enough interesting creative potential in the interactive fiction medium to put aside their conventional publishing activities and write text adventure games. I'm not going to be the arbiter of whether their resulting games were or weren't profound, but I don't think that its possibility was out of the question.

Navigating the world was also a larger pain than it would be in real life, you wouldn't have to make a map of everything in real life.

As though maps are any less useful or necessary navigating Daventry, Hyrule or Britannia?

I didn't like how you could die really easily and then have to start the whole boring process of collecting items over again

This was a huge problem over the whole course of Sierra's adventure game run and to some extent remains with us today. I think that Lucasfilm's no-death adventure design was a pretty good solution to this problem, but my understanding is that customer feedback suggested that Infocom fans liked their games hard and full of challenge! (True, this also sells a lot of hint books.) Me, I want to throw any adventure out the window with carry limits, random combat and hunger daemons, but to some they add some appreciated grit of RPG simulation to a game.

(many text adventures didnt have save states).

Zork had it -- don't blame it for the inferiority of its clones 8)

I didn't find the wit funny or interesting at all, in fact, I found it kind of lame and pretentious

Buy games written by college kids, get sophomoric humour. (Still, it's a far cry from Panty Raider 8) If at the time you happen to be a college kid maybe at least you feel you're on the same wavelength.

you could have fun, and a challenge, trying to figure it out

That doesn't sound so terrible 8)

the primary reasons people like Zork vs other games

Who are these people? I think that people might be taken by its articulate charm, its relative sophistication over what else was available at the time, and some construction of its historical significance, but I can't imagine even a dedicated text adventure enthusiast choosing it over something more modern. I can believe that Zork was important without necessarily advocating that we should all be playing it today 8)

Zork did not have a big influence on how other games were made

Sure it did! How many big games companies have branched off into applications since? 8)

I also would be interested in seeing you re-fashion this post into a review; you seem to concede Zork had some good points among the bad.

(Edited by Pseudo_Intellectual (44583), Oct 21, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

Brian Shapiro on Oct 21, 2007


I understand why people played them at the time, I had nothing against playing text adventures, but I think taking the genre too seriously was always a little pretentious. I don't think so far its really demonstrated that it offers anything more than either novels or graphics based games. In the end computer based games seem to come down to one form of simulated environment or another, so the choice on the designer is what is most useful. It just seems to me there are limited cases where text environments are a better game environment, and it takes a specific reason to choose text over graphics.

Anyway, the issue of death is a major problem in all games, which is 'solved' different ways depending on the game. I'm sure you know in Ultima (except Ultima 8) you were unlimitedly resurrected. In most MMORPGs you respawn. Some games make death too easy, other games make death too hard.

Re: Be honest about Zork

Pseudo_Intellectual (44583) on Oct 21, 2007


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I don't think so far its really demonstrated that it offers anything more than either novels or graphics based games.

By falling back on the player's imagination, it limits the amount of necessary skills a development team requires: eschewing graphics and sounds means that one person can tell a story through a game without needing a dozen-strong team of modelers and texture artists 8) (Also, they can be played on platforms as gutless as old celphones.)

Have you played much contemporary amateur IF (I'm interested in whether you think titles like Shade, Galatea, Mercy or Aisle would work as well with graphics or as novels) or are you basing your criticism of the genre on its toothless and senile forebearers?

It just seems to me there are limited cases where text environments are a better game environment, and it takes a specific reason to choose text over graphics.

Time and again testing things out on my roommate's Xbox I am confronted with peculiar game maps -- a room in a house might have three doors, only one of which works as a door and the other two of which are essentially door-painted walls. For believability, the artists present a world more detailed than the game design is... and going up to these doors and running around from different angles trying to open them in vain is frustrating and misleading! (To some extent, this is a subset of the wider problem of wrestling with the camera in unnecessary 3D environments... a problem I would like to think they'd have gotten a better handle on over the past 10 years 8) In IF, it's generally pretty clear that if the room description mentions a door, you're going to have to go through it at some point... and that if there is no door mentioned, that you don't need to find one! (yet!) (True, there's always the IF problem that the game might not understand "pass through door" when what it wants to hear is "open door"... but over the years Inform has been getting better and better about handling unexpected synonyms. It's a lazy designer problem, not a problem with the genre itself.)

What I was getting at is that by setting the scene and allowing the player's mind to fill in the blanks, IF allows the player to be directly given only the useful information without distracting them with cluttering scenery. If I'm playing a 3D adventure game that has a circus scenario, you're darned tootin' they're going to include an elephant munching straw, and I'm going to try to go up and interact with it... unsuccessfully, because what can one really do with an elephant? That's not what this game is about. A text adventure game can tell me: "You enter through the south flap of an enormous circus tent; the smell of popcorn hangs in the air, mixed with the stale smell of acrobat sweat and a think aroma that must belong to one of its exotic trained animals. There is a ticket booth here." Do I mess with the elephant? What elephant! Instead my focus is hand-held to the ticket booth. Linear, but it moves the story along! Some games draw the player's focus by having these objects emanate a radiant nimbus, or portraying a brief cut-scene upon entering the room showing the protagonist's attention drawn across the room to the object of significance... this way I think is just cleaner and more elegant.

(Edited by Pseudo_Intellectual (44583), Oct 21, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

Brian Shapiro on Oct 22, 2007


You're right about some of the things you say, and its right that a lot of games put in detail thats not only useless but odd in the fact that it was included vs. other details that were not included. Add that to a disjunction between the way the interface works and the detail of the world (an example I think is telling is how in Ultima IX they made it so when you touched a sign it would sway, but they didn't show your character touch the sign, so it looked like a ghost did it, and countless other examples of things in the game like this).

But I think you're missing that games are ,more about simulation than \ about plot---so typically a plot thats inessential to a game should be abstracted out. That means, one should ask, Why do we even need a circus, what is it for? Get what I mean? So games can become more and more abstract, limiting out inessential parts, until they become completely abstract games like Go or Tetris---that don't even have a plot, subject or theme---or they can go in the other direction and become more and more detailed, specific, and flexible---until they're close-knit real-world simulations---or fit some niche in the middle where certain things can be abstracted out while keeping the specifics of the game meaningful (citybuilding vs civilization vs wargame vs sim game etc or other specific strategy set, where you have positive goals and utilities and a way to use those utilities to meat the goals)

Of course, you might think there's a lot of interesting ways of expression that don't fit these game conventions; but I'm saying thats where the things text adventures will typically (though maybe not always) go. They'll tend to be about the subject or theme moreso than the game experience. The best games that can be made this way I'd imagine would be able to connect the subject of the game with the experience of a text-based adventure in a meaningful way, so as to make the genre choice meaningful. So I'm sure there can be good meaningful games made this way. Its just obvious to me why text adventures are an atypical computer game and out of the mainstream; and its not because people hate words and like pictures.

I think in as much a graphics game tries to be a detailed specific simulation but has to leave things out , it has to decide judiciously and artfully what it chooses to include, what type of interactivity you have with it, and how this is explained in the game world (thats what the art is, in one sense, at least as far as art is craft)

I haven't played modern IF but I've looked at it and read about it. The problem isn't so much do they play well, but whether the format can be used meaningfully. A novel can paint a consistent picture in a way I think IF has more trouble ; and a graphics game can make a simulation in a way IF has more trouble. There are things you can accomplish in IF, but it will I personally think always be a more limited genre.

EDIT: plus, I have to mention, specificity in IF I think sometimes causes a problem. Because it can give you too much clues as to whats important vs whats not important. In a real novel you might not even introduce the existence of an item until later int he plot, but you have to introduce everything thats meaningful at once in IF. So if something is there, you know its meaningful. The only way around this in IF is building a lot of unnecessary detail.

(Edited by Brian Shapiro, Oct 22, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

St. Martyne (3540) on Oct 22, 2007


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Phew! Now that I've fixed my keyboard I can finally join this cool topic.

Well, Brian, it's good that Pseudo uncovered that root of your problems with Zork lies not in the game itself but with the whole genre.

You're (Brian) correct in assuming that every game lies in between of total abstraction like Tetris of Geometry Wars and real-life simulation full of subjects, topics and themes, like say, Ultima VII.

But you're mistaken in presuming that path between those two is the only one which is limiting design/interaction ratio. I think there are thousands of different ways (or threads if you will) the game medium can be used to communicate themes yet waiting to be uncovered. And I have seen a lot of IF games to confirm that.

but I'm saying thats where the things text adventures will typically (though maybe not always) go

Surprisingly, the IF genre is about the only one I can't prescribe some typical attributes to. There so many different variations of mechanics, subjects and overall design ideas, that I'd be very hard-pressed to name the most characteristic ones.

They'll tend to be about the subject or theme moreso than the game experience.

Why so? By what is it defined? If you mean "game experience" as an "action fun" you receive by playing action games or watching exciting movie than I guess you're right. IF games experience tends to be more indirect, some might even say sophisticated. Focusing the game on subject or theme doesn't limit the amount of "experience" you receive from it.

To me the experience of playing an IF game is about as inseparable from the story as about it can be. With no formalities in between me and the game it is possible to achieve the level of immersion unparalleled be any graphic game.

but whether the format can be used meaningfully.

But that's the point. No understanding of, how flexible IF medium has become, will come without experiencing the games firsthand. Zork is certainly more of a museum piece than an illustration of IF games possibilities. If you have played other IF, bring them up and we'll continue there, because it's pretty hard to argue without naming the games themselves.

A novel can paint a consistent picture in a way I think IF has more trouble

Wrong. That totally depends on the subject matter and approach to it. Any book will tell more factual information about Guernica than Picasso painting but that doesn't mean the man should have chosen to write a book instead.

I really can't stop myself from bringing of one of my most beloved games by Infocom, mentioned earlier by Pseudo. A Mind Forever Voyaging shows in a very neat manner the advantages IF games have over conventional literature. Instead of writing the 100 pages long description of dis-Utopian future the authors just tell you "See for yourself.". And you're free to go wherever you want and experience things in whatever order you wish.

And that's a much more immersive and organized approach. I can easily imagine the limitations of literature the authors would had to resort to, if they have chosen it to be a book: lots of unnecessary characters to propel the plot forward or description of protagonist actions which inevitably leads to separating an emotional connection between you and him and so on.

and a graphics game can make a simulation in a way IF has more trouble.

Funny thing is that I considered most of Infocom games being just that -- simulations. That is that they're more about simulating a certain environment or profession as opposed to having more focus on plot or story. Pirate-sim, Private Eye-sim, Scuba-Diver-sim, Spy During Cold War - sim, Treasur Hunter- sim, A European in Japan - sim and many others including lots of wizard-wannabes-sims. The reason I call all those games simulation is because their stories are secondary to "how about being an X in Y environment" idea. And I might say that with few exceptions it worked rather well.

but you have to introduce everything thats meaningful at once in IF. So if something is there, you know its meaningful. The only way around this in IF is building a lot of unnecessary detail.

Once again you're imagining something that's not attributable to the whole genre in general. You're picturing the perfect idea of Zork or more so Trinity, with you encountering different hot-locations with some high-lighted objects you're sure you're going to use someway into the game. I assure you most of the games I've mentioned here doesn't work that way, more so the modern IF adventures.

The only way around this in IF is building a lot of unnecessary detail.

Not necessarily. In my mind the prefect workaround would be to create less puzzle-oriented IF games, but more games that are oriented on the choice made by the player. There are thousand ways to implement that without loosing any bit of the challenge. AMFV introduced a big explorable world, Border Zone -- time limit and near death situations, Deadline -- character interaction. Once again I am not even touching the surface of modern IF with games like Photopia and Tapestry immediately springing to mind.

Also do write a review, it's so fun.

(Edited by St. Martyne (3540), Oct 22, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

Brian Shapiro on Oct 22, 2007


No actually, I had no problem with Zork. I just saw some reviews on the Internet which made outrageously pretentious claims, like I said, that it influened every game we play today, and it was brilliant writing. The reasons I personally decided not to get into Zork I said above, I didn't find it particularly interesting as a game or as a piece of writing.

You're missing some of the point I made in comparing IF to either novels or graphical games. Every art form has its own ability, so this wouldn't put down painting as an art form either. But every art form has different limits. You can compare the ability of a TV show to a film, or illustration to figurative art. In a lot of these cases we consider some art forms as more capable than others, I think for real reasons and not just prejudices.

When I said 'game experience' I meant a setup for gameplay. Its not about 'action'. If you're playing chess, the setup for gameplay is a board with pieces, and the point of the game is to move them around. If you're playing an action game, the setup is , maybe, there are enemies to kill and kill them. If you're playing an RPG, the setup may be there are things you can do but only certain things will help you win, and thats the point. My point is that plot may be important but is secondary to gameplay. I think in most IF the gameplay is made secondary to the plot. Certain IF games look like simulations, but as simulations are they better games than what people are able to produce with graphics? The type of simulations that tend to be good in IF are just descriptive simulations, like a description of the World Fair. Its hard to make a consistent game-play out of that kind of simulation.

When I'm talking about what novels can do, I'm thinking of someone relating themes, meaningful language and metaphors, into a narrative. As far as creating a narrative, I think IF is limited to however important the player actions are important. IF can you're right create a depiction of a world (though has to rely on giving the player an environment in which to see it), but at what degree can just a plain depiction of the world be important? There are a lot of science fiction and fantasy novels out there that do that; most of them are junk. At what degree would it work but where you might as well just put it in a novel or even if nothing else, reach an audience better by putting it in a novel?

So I'm not saying IF is bad. I'm saying all IF works within limitations, which make it a harder media, and I think people into IF don't realize this, and I get the impression that a lot of IF is pretentious in the same way as those reviews about Zork; in that it has grandiose ideas of its importance that aren't true.

In fact I don't think IF is bad, and as I've been in this conversation, I've been thinking of actually making an IF game, that would demonstrate how far you could go with taking IF.

Re: Be honest about Zork

St. Martyne (3540) on Oct 22, 2007


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like I said, that it influened every game we play today, and it was brilliant writing.

It hasn't influence EVERY game today and it didn't have a brilliant writing. Consider it to be to IF games as what Lumière brothers are to the movie industry. They might even have not been the first ones, but it generally accepted that they were the ones who really started it all.

In a lot of these cases we consider some art forms as more capable than others, I think for real reasons and not just prejudices.

And that's why I don't want you to be ignorant of games' capabilities as an art form in general, and IF in specific.

My point is that plot may be important but is secondary to gameplay. I think in most IF the gameplay is made secondary to the plot.

You're right in assuming that games which have no connection between story (however ingenious) and gameplay should have better chosen another medium.

But why can't you see the ways for gameplay of Interactive fiction and its story to complete each other and communicate with each other? Of course, the main technique IF games should use in conveying their ides is "choice". Giving the player the ability to affect the story, to shape it according to his wishes and to be subjected to the consequences of those choices are the essential part of every game claiming to be an art piece. Is it so hard to imagine that within the limits of IF genre?

The type of simulations that tend to be good in IF are just descriptive simulations, like a description of the World Fair. Its hard to make a consistent game-play out of that kind of simulation.

No, it never has to do anything with descriptions. The reason the simulation of being a Scuba diver worked so well for me lies in game's forcing me to think like a scuba diver. I had to plan the operation carefully, choose my partners, choose the equipment I will take with me based on information about the site. There are plenty of things to take account of, when you're diving. And so there are lots of things that can go wrong. Such non-linearity brings you the illusion of actually being a diver and thinking like one. It's not about illustrious descriptions in the least.

So, as you see, the gameplay (the choices you pick) is what makes this particular game tick.

As for whether or not it can be recreated with use of graphic games -- at least to the same effect, - I don't think so. First, it certainly would have hurt the realism and immersion, that's for sure. And second -- the level of detail and complexity of this small game puts to shame every 3D graphical engine existing.

When I'm talking about what novels can do, I'm thinking of someone relating themes, meaningful language and metaphors, into a narrative. As far as creating a narrative, I think IF is limited to however important the player actions are important.

The narrative is only applicable to those media that has story as the core element of their language. The language of the games, and IF games in particular should be more concentrated on the gamer's part in the story, on his personal choice.

So, yes. Narrative, stylistic and linguistic devices, plot, story and character depiction are part of the domain of story-driven art forms -- movies, literature, theater. And therefore every attempt of an IF game to beat those art forms in those departments are doomed to failure.

But the games that provided a concept of choice and propose the ability to commit something that matters in the game's context should be considered operating with different methods and thus should be judged on different basis.

I've been thinking of actually making an IF game, that would demonstrate how far you could go with taking IF.

How about trying some modern IF games first, to see how far people have taken it already?

(Edited by St. Martyne (3540), Oct 22, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

Indra is here (19705) on Oct 23, 2007


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I like RPGs, the other dude likes racing games, that chick likes action-arcade games, grandpa down the street likes simulation games.

What in the hell is the issue here?

(Edited by Indra is here (19705), Oct 23, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

St. Martyne (3540) on Oct 23, 2007


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Indra is here Wrote:
I like RPGs, the other dude likes racing games, that chick likes action-arcade games, grandpa down the street likes simulation games.

What in the hell is the issue here?



Here you go once again with your "everything is subjective" routine. This is not the question of taste. The man claims to have valid argumentation therefore he applies to objective truth. He wants me to "be honest about Zork" and IF games. It's bit a different from "I personally like/hate this game/genre", don't you think?

He challenges my point of view and I feel the urge to defend it. Not to prove him anything but to prove myself that I'm not mistaken or accept the opposite.

When some dude down the street simply likes racing games -- its boring. It's when he logs into the Internet to show the world why every other genre sucks, that's when things get interesting. :)

(Edited by St. Martyne (3540), Oct 23, 2007)

Re: Be honest about Zork

Indra is here (19705) on Oct 23, 2007


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St. Martyne Wrote:
Indra is here Wrote:
I like RPGs, the other dude likes racing games, that chick likes action-arcade games, grandpa down the street likes simulation games.

What in the hell is the issue here?



Here you go once again with your "everything is subjective" routine. This is not the question of taste. The man claims to have valid argumentation therefore he applies to objective truth. He wants me to "be honest about Zork" and IF games. It's bit a different from "I personally like/hate this game/genre", don't you think?

He challenges my point of view and I feel the urge to defend it. Not to prove him anything but to prove myself that I'm not mistaken or accept the opposite.

When some dude down the street simply likes racing games -- its boring. It's when he logs into the Internet to show the world why every other genre sucks, that's when things get interesting. :)



If I didn't mis-read the whole thread, Brian really isn't into IF games in the first place and got pissed about some articles written by over-aged gamers who thought Zork created the internet.

Now if Brian was comparing Zork to another IF game, then we wouldn't be talking about taste here (which technically still is taste, but a bit more complex). But the dude is comparing Zork and IF games to every other game of a different genre (and non-games). Unless Brian has an all-time IF favorite game, to compare Zork with (and unless I missed something essential in the thread). This is a matter of personal taste.

Simply because objectively I think IF games suck due to the limitations of the text parser, stupid endings, puzzles, but subjectively I love IF games because they were part of my earliest memories and there wasn't much other form of entertainment back then for me...accept equally crappy RPGs.

(Edited by Indra is here (19705), Oct 23, 2007)