The 2011 Interactive Fiction Competition, often referred to as IF Comp, is underway! If you’re totally unfamiliar with the concept, now I can introduce to you another one of my random gaming passions. The IF Comp judges modern-day text games. These are new games, written in a style frequently associated with old games, where one simply reads and types text to interact. The topics of the games range across the board from adventure, to horror, to romance, from puzzle-filled riddle games to interactive novellas, so don’t just expect the well-known dungeon quest format.
I’ve been a judge in the competition before, and it’s a lot of fun playing the new games. Participation is free; all you have to do is be willing to learn the languages common to the various interactive fiction parsers, and download the games and/or play them directly on the web. Since the topic is so niche, I’m unlikely to post my detailed impressions of the individual game titles here at Tap, but most of the fun is checking them out for yourself. If you are curious, just go to The IF Comp website.
(Pictured above: a screenshot from Rover’s Day Out, 2009”s winner. Old competition games are also available from the site.)
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Ah reminds me of my youth and the old school MUD games.
Harkening back to the heady days of Infocom!
A whole culture of IF development has sprung up, and though the format may never be top-shelf profitable again, it’s really gratifying to see so many great writers working in this cool, vibrant way to express story. If you’re bored at work, spending some time on the IF Comp Website is a great way to pass time and look like you’re working.
I’ve played and voted in the IF Competition the last couple of years. It’s really neat to see what’s done there. I’ve toyed with the idea of submitting, but I always forget about it until judging time begins. I know me some Inform7…ah, Inform7.
Yeah, I know just enough Inform 7 to get in trouble but never completed a project. Maybe some day! Until then I can be an admirer. Inform 7 is at least the most user-friendly system ever.
I often find it a little tricky to work with, I think because my programming experience and my writing experience try to find a logical middle ground between what I know is happening at the code level and what Inform wants me to write to make it happen, and these things don’t line up in what one might call a logical fashion.
Would you mind posting about some of your favorites for us Amanda? It’s not a gaming style I’m very familiar with, but having a good starting point with some quality, modern titles would be great!
I’ll second Armand! I’ve known about the genre for ages but never had any idea where to start with it.
Oo, that’s kind of a tough question, in the sense that I can go on all day about it.
The IF archive used to have a “best for beginners” page, but for some reason I can’t locate it today. On that page, I usually directed newcomers to Lost Pig (And Place Under Ground) because it’s fun, humorous, not too difficult and has an easy intro guide. http://www.grunk.org/lostpig/
I also really, really like 2008’s winner, Violet, which is not a terribly difficult or high-stakes game but is really charming. http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=4glrrfh7wrp9zz7b Rover’s Day Out (pictured above) I am also a fan of, though it’s more difficult. I can’t say anything about the 2010 winners; I skipped that year. But here’s an entry from this year that’s promising, plus, involves no typing. Just point and click. http://www.deirdrakiai.com/theplay/
Now from there where you go depends on what floats your boat, and I can recommend things all day that I think are great. But it’s practically a separate article at that point. 🙂 What I’d say I like best about the form is where it tries to model one specific, small situation very deeply, which is something graphical games don’t do as well as IF does. This is why I find myself attracted to Violet and other “one-room” style games.