Category Archives: Interactive Fiction


Perhaps you haven’t gotten enough of me on this blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, ifMUD, and the many other online places I haunt. Boy, do I have a treat for you! Jason Scott is releasing the full interviews he filmed for his interactive fiction documentary GET LAMP. One of those is mine! Now you can hear […]

Portal 2 Has a Great Adventure Game Story

(This essay, needless to say, is going to spoil Portal 2 like the recent tornado and subsequent power outage did to the food in my refrigerator. Don’t read if you haven’t played the game.)

Almost four years ago, Valve released Portal, a little game stuck in The Orange Box alongside much more eagerly awaited games like […]

This is the Closest I’ll Come to a PAX East 2011 Post

All right, it’s been two weeks since PAX East and I might as well accept that I’m not going to do a proper post. Instead, I’ll summarize by saying that I had a great time and that it was wonderful to see a lot of the people in the interactive fiction community and have a […]

The Interactive Fiction Theory Reader

The IF Theory Reader is out! It’s a collection of essays about interactive fiction that run the gamut from theoretical discussions of the form to nuts-and-bolts advice for describing rooms and designing puzzles. You can download the PDF for free or buy a physical copy of the book for $15.

The IF Theory Reader began its […]

Watson Isn’t the Future of the Interactive Fiction Parser

Watson, the IBM program that beat two top Jeopardy! champions, is an eye-catching advance in natural language and reason-engine-style processing. It crushed its two human competitors at reading answers, teasing out the clues in those answers, and responding with the appropriate question.

It’s also not where text-based interactive fiction parsers should be going.

Interactive fiction, at least […]

What These Adventure Games Need is a Jonathan Blow

Jonathan Blow’s new game The Witness is going to modernize adventure games. The creator of the hit indie platformer Braid claims that his new game will avoid what killed off adventure games in the 1990s.

As you might imagine, his comments have raised hackles in the adventure game community. Some of that is a reaction to […]

Help Andrew Plotkin Write Text Adventures Full Time

I’ve known Andrew “Zarf” Plotkin for fifteen years. He’s one of those mad creative types who fizzes with ideas like a seven year old filled with Pop Rocks. He’s best known for his interactive fiction such as So Far (winner of 4 XYZZY awards), Spider and Web (winner of 5 XYZZY awards), and Hunter, in […]


GET LAMP, Jason Scott’s documentary-slash-love-letter about text adventures, is now available.

I was lucky on two counts: I’m one of the about 80 people interviewed for the documentary, and I got to see an early cut of it at PAX East this year. GET LAMP is funny, affecting, and informative, which isn’t a bad trifecta to […]

Just Call Me the Amazing Kreskin

When I wrote Fragile Shells, my latest work of interactive fiction, I labeled it science fiction. Reviewers, too, called it science fiction, comparing it to pulpy 50s science fiction and talking approvingly of how the game had real science as part of its science fiction. Who can blame them? I mean, a story where you […]

Digital: A Love Story

Here’s the thing: I very quickly figured out what Digital: A Love Story was on about. I could see where the story was headed. I suffered through some sketchy story mechanics.

None of that mattered. In the end, Digital: A Love Story told an affecting story superbly, bolstered by its evocation of a specific moment in […]