This is a text adventure version of a conference paper delivered at the meeting of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities at the Congress of the Humanities in 2014 (http://csdh-schn.org). Come in and have a seat. Listen to the presentation and have a conversation about the possibilities of game development in university education.
Here is the original abstract for the paper:
On October 17th, 2013, iOS app developer Simogo released an experimental visual novel entitled Device 6. Despite how the app breaks from the generic categories of Apple’s AppStore, this puzzle book, which incorporates game elements within the narrative, promptly sold over 100,000 copies and redefined the story telling capabilities of smart phones and tablets. Not since the heyday of Infocom in the 80s has interactive fiction been so popular. The Cambridge, Massachusetts based Infocom came to fame in 1980 with the release of Zork I, which was able to run on many of the most popular personal computers like the Apple II and the Commodore 64. After the successful release of many more games and the release of the failed database software Cornerstone in 1985, Infocom’s fortunes dwindled and all their assets were purchased by Activision in 1986. Infocom was famous for including elaborate paper maps and guides for their text adventure games, and these “feelies” served as an early analogue form of DRM because the games are nearly unplayable without them. The release of Device 6 has seen a similar commingling of interactive storytelling and the need for paper supports, since the game is nearly impossible to finish without writing down the clues to the puzzle. With the recent rerelease of the Infocom library by Activision on the AppStore in January 2013, there appears to be a surge of interest in text adventure with the spread of smart phones and tablets. In fact, there is even a burgeoning community of authors and developers producing new text adventure games on the Quest platform published by Alex Warren and Rachel Kelly (http://textadventures.co.uk), Renpy (http://www.renpy.org), or Twine (http://twinery.org). This paper will describe how the gameplay mechanics behind these systems represents a long and evolving tradition of interactive fiction and how the Quest platform might be used to teach good programming methodology and narrative technique. The platform holds the capacity for a uniquely interactive form of scholarship and an opportunity to break from the doldrums of academic publishing and distribute research through interactive mobile apps. I will finally offer a glimpse of how the Quest platform can be used to write and share a playable version of this very presentation.