GLLS2007: Interactive Fiction

Interactive Fiction: Christopher Harris(

Interactive fiction: text based adventures - choose your own adventure books - Modern MMORPG games all stem from the same family tree.

Text adventure gamers interact with the story through reading and writing. Commands are "parsed" by the game (n,s,e,w, wear, get, eat). The game knows the command in order to move.

Text interfaces are not simple or underdeveloped, they used text to create a rich, detailed world with interactions with NPCs and the world including complex puzzles that could not be possible through graphics... or at least not without heavy system requirements.

Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs) were text interfaces with massively multiplayer online adventures. They were the forerunners of MMORPGs. MUDs created detailed social interactions through the first player vs. player text based adventures... Winning in these multiplayer MUDs was all about how fast you can read and type. MUDs allowed people to move from being a player into a developer. Players were creating content as they went. Players created the scaffolding with each other to learn and succeed.

Inform 7 is a modern text adventure language that allows users to use natural language. Using natural language lowers the barriers for players to not only play but create. Chris took the audience into a game he made with Inform 7 and engaged most of the audience. The audience was shouting out commands for Chris' text game on the GLLS2007 conference.

Text adventures meet most of the ELA Standards from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

Chris's presentation style and demeanor was engaging, fun, but took moments to pull back and make a serious point now and again. I encourage you to check out all his slides and materials on the conference wiki here...

Zork Image via Wikipedia entry for "Zork"


Unknown said...

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