Two Steps Down the Interactive Fiction Road


My second post looking into Interactive Fiction is up on PopMatters. This time I look at two works that move away from the text adventure lineage and start pushing what can be done with text and a parser.

This paragraph got cut from the posted version – probably rightly so – but it shows my intent behind the post just the same:

I don’t have really anything sort of introduction beyond that. I’m not going to compare or contrast them. Or even look how these two game approach interactive fiction differently than the games from last time. I’m simply using this as an excuse to shove two essays into one post.

Yeah, I didn’t have anyway to combine my thoughts on Photopia and Galatea and both deserved an essay individually, so I didn’t even try. In both essays, though, I discussed what each game was about. Photopia was fairly easy to see it was about fate given its structure and ending. Galatea, on the other hand, I have a lot of difficulty nailing down what it was about. For the longest time I figured it was essentially a formalism tech demo to see what could be done. But then the lightening bolt of inspiration hit.

Please read both, it’s a genre of game that doesn’t get talked about much and these are two of the best examples of it I’ve ever seen. Both Photopia and Galatea are available to play through your browser.

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