January Post Mortem

PR IF January 2023 meetup

The People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction convened on Monday, Jan. 30th on Zoom. Zarfanjchang,  Josh Grams,  Stephen Eric JablonskiHugh,  Kirill AzernyiDana, Kyler HE, Michael Hilborn, , and Mike Stage welcomed newcomer Andrew Stephens.  Warning: What follows is probably not proper English, but just my log of notes from the meeting to jog people’s memories.

Hugh participated in SeedComp. The idea was to develop someone else’s idea into a game (read more about it here). SeedComp is currently in part 2, with the game deadline for Feb.

Colossal Cave released their 3D version of the original Colossal Cave Adventure. Zarf wrote a blog post about it here. Zarf shared some screenshots. Discussion about what people liked and didn’t like. Pictures are not of the original cave, and the 3D adaptation has additional story elements.Could expose a new generation to the old Colossal Cave (which you just die a lot in). Currently PC only, Steam says MacOS Catalina (10.15) or higher and console release is Q1 2023. Josh shared the podcast with Roberta Williams.

Modern games are more user friendly than the original Colossal Cave. What is the fun of dying a lot? Although nowadays, Angela reports that in elementary school, kids are loving the impossible game, where you continue completely based on memory. Also reminds us of Nethack. Will there be a sequel or expansion to Colossal Cave Adventure? What would that look like– there caves, seeing existing variants would be cool. Family tree of Adventure variants: https://mipmip.org/IFrescue/ajf/

Andrew asks do people feel about randomness to add to repeatability? Full randomization as a basis for different game play is not all that common. Hugh uses randomness to bury the text description, not for state of game play to support repeat-reading. The state machine isn’t randomized. For randomizing NPC or object positions as “background color” it’s often not very interesting.

Kyrill playing NORCO. Visceral meta games that might not make much sense. Loved the monkey thing. Zarf recommends as “one of my top games of the year.” High praise is also mentioned for Roadwarden, Citizen Sleeper, Betrayal from Club Low by Cosmo Dee, Case of the Golden Idol,ButterflySoup 2 (visual novel), Space Wreck game (French) about surviving a wreck. Hugh planning to play Syberia 3, having played Syberia some time ago. Angela’s played a bit of Carrington’s beta for the Dorm game. Didn’t finish yet but it was fun and interesting. Learned a lot about retro computing and Kansas Fest sounds fun.

Angela’s latest project is trying to figure out why some Commodore 64s are not working after being in storage. Got some pointers to check out the RAM chips and salvage the C64 audio chips (since they’re a commodity).

Kyrill asks “Where to publish a small IF piece” SubQ Magazine used to be a venue. We talked about ELO, the Electronic Literature Organization. Their fourth collection is out, https://collection.eliterature.org/4/ and the prior collections are available here https://collection.eliterature.org. Some people “publish” at media events and museums. For example, Brucker-Cohen’s Wordplay exhibit at the NY Hall of Science, now running until March.

Kyrill talked about visceral games, and the sensations we get through text adventures. In FPS games, it is hard to pause and reflect on the emotion, mentality, and perceptions in the moment of the action. Games like Saints Row, when you’re robbing a bank can be thrilling, but there’s not a lot of reflection or space to pause when the action is going down. But Angela would find it useful to understand those moments more. Recommendation to check out PayDay and other RPGs. There’s another aspect of viscerality when we are all in a room together experiencing the joy of solving a game together. An intellectual darshan or elation from being in a crowd.

Hugh brought up graphical stealth based games like Spider and Web. We talked about how the story is told through the narrative of a capture spy. The recollections build up to the downfall of the spy. Highly recommended as an investigation into visceral description of tense moments.

FYI how to turn on Inform debugging:
Verb "xdeterm" * -> Xdeterm;