Last week the IF Comp announced its participants in the annual competition. The IF Comp has been running for twenty years, and is a long standing fixture in the interactive fiction community. This year has a wide variety of participants and entries, which I’ve listed on another part of this site, and if you’re at all interested in interactive fiction it’s worthwhile to go through and play the entries. Some people also view the IF Comp as a barometer of sorts for what is “in” and “out” in this sphere of gaming. I am not one of those people.
What is Interactive Fiction?
I choose not to define interactive fiction for the same reason that I do not give games review scores — I find the definition limiting and often misses the point of what interactive fiction is. For me (and by extension for this site) interactive fiction is a diverse and versatile field. There is traditional parser IF and web-based CYOA, but interactive fiction is also mobile titles like Blackbar, point and click adventure games, 3D story exploration games like Gone Home & Dear Esther, and romantic novel style interactions like the ones from Silk Words. This diversity is one of the things that initially attracted me to interactive fiction, along with the emphasis on story over all other content.
IT’S EXPERIMENTATION THAT KEEPS A MEDIUM ALIVE.
I love that one minute I can be talking about a puzzle heavy Inform 7, and then follow it with something like Porpentine’s Love is Zero. They are different, but it is these differences that are exciting. Writing about interactive fiction is an exploration of a strange art gallery, stumbling between great works by Emily Short and experimental works by Aaron Reed, on down to simple Ludum Dare games that experiment with the medium.
Stagnation is the quickest route to obscurity. It’s one of the reasons why, as a person interested in the future of interactive fiction, I’m excited to see experimentation across the board. Technology is increasing the possibilities of interactive fiction – from democratizing game creation to broadening the player base. Text adventures and interactive fiction are accessible in a variety of ways that they were not before, and they’re being created by so many amazing writers and developers.
I don’t see that trend stopping anytime soon. I don’t want that trend to stop.
IF isn’t dead. It’s not resting or waiting. It’s thrumming and vibrant and beautiful, and that is due to the contributions of everyone. One of the strengths of the IF community is how small it is, how tight knit. We can support each other and encourage new audiences to seek out interactive fiction.
What is storycade doing
Storycade was conceived to talk about interactive fiction of all kinds and to encourage discussion, through review and long form essays, about the medium as a whole.
Recently Storycade has been failing at one of the things I wanted to achieve — talking about all forms of interactive fiction. We’ve been focusing a bit too much on Twine to the detriment of other great games in the medium. Which is why I’m currently on the look out for guest posters to talk about all the games I’m missing. I’m only one, very busy, person and I can only play so many games. I’ve had some great guest posts in the past from Chris Klimas, Chris Martens, Richard Goodness, Jed Pressgrove and Kate Reynolds, as well as many others and I’d like to encourage this tradition of solid journalism.
If you’re interested in publishing on Storycade, just reach out to me on the Contact tab on this site.