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(Often abbreviated to IF. Click the title to see PosterPage?s of some works.)

Started by ColossalCaveAdventure in the 1970s, with many companies jumping on the bandwagon in the 1980s, typically producing buggy imitations for 8-bit home computers. (Does anyone remember Micropower's "Adventure" for the AcornElectron??)

A company called Infocom apparently produced very good games in the '80s-early '90s but the advent of the 486 and VLB video adapters meant that focus went elsewhere, where it has remained. Nevertheless, an IF-renaissance occurred in the '90s thanks to the reverse-engineering of the Infocom format, the production of 3rd-party Infocom game interpreters and the creation of at least one high-level IF language, including a run-time system that handled I/O and a library for parsing user input and managing the game world.

Many works are available from the [Interactive Fiction Archive] and there is an [annual competition] (which refers to /Competition2005? as of WikiNow).

Often called AdventureGames?, differentiating them from RPGs which tend to have statistics.  --Vitenka
Yes, though some works are less like games and more like poems. --Bobacus

Presumably not to be confused with collaborative fiction such as Threads. --MoonShadow

Why not? The player interacts with the "gamemaster" (namely the wiki), to explore a world (more abstractly - and literally - a text) as meaning unfolds. The only thing Threads really lacks is state changes, though I'm sure your scripting skillz are up to adding that :-) --Bobacus
As I see it, the main difference between what you describe above and things like Threads is that the latter get made up completely on the fly by the "players", with few rules or restrictions beyond the assumption of common sense, whereas things like the CCA and Infocom adventures involve the player exploring a precreated world. - MoonShadow
Yeah, IF doesn't allow you to tell much of a story that the writer hasn't already written... usually.  People have written eliza using these things - you can take any input from the user at all and tell a story that uses it - but it generally ends up very surreal.  --Vitenka
OK. It's still interactive, like a ChooseYourOwnAdventure? written on a SharedNotepad?. I won't fuss about it too much, because I would probably put a fact-based interactive documentary in the same category!
Incidentally, I remember seeing a LISP interpreter written in zcode, with a tutorial. I think it was called lists of lists ... *google* ... no, it was ListsAndLists? by AndrewPlotkin?, entered in /Competition1996? - see [this summary] or [play online]! --Bobacus
Well, ok - you can call Threads InteractiveFiction, certainly.  Or.. Hang on.  Yes.  Collaborative, the whole wiki is creating an IF, by writing to Threads.  Playing it involves simply clicking on links, so it has a more limited vocabulary than most IF games, but not greatly so.  --Vitenka  (I was answering as though the writing part was the game, which it most certainly is)
"Interactive fiction" is to "collaborative fiction" what "choose your own adventure book" is to "co-authored book". - MoonShadow
i.e. Threads is a collaboratively authored interactive fiction?  --Vitenka
..if you assume that the experience of just reading it without adding to it is sufficiently interactive to merit the title, then I'd say yes :) - MoonShadow
Well... I guess I need to go write something more in it, don't I?  --Vitenka

So where do the Monkey Island and other SCUMM games come in? --Edith
AdventureGame?s can be IF - very early ones such as 'the hobbit' very much are - IF with pictures.  But there's a gradation as the fiction decreases and the 'find it and click it' increases - Diablo? being at the other end.  Various scumm games are at various points along this scale, I'd say.  --Vitenka

CategoryCategory, CategoryGames, CategoryComputing
SeeAlso: rec.games.int-fiction

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