IF Sabbatical THEN

I’m on sabbatical. I don’t know for how long or what I expect to get out of it, but hopefully it’ll be something profound. The plan is to do something creative in this time and not just catch up with my backlog of games and movies before the mad Q4 rush begins. Painting, drawing, writing, coding, designing, photographing. Maybe even a cooking class. I need to do something with my other hemisphere and break the routine for a while. It’ll do me good.

One of the things I want to do is write a piece of so-called Interactive Fiction. It’s a more efficient use of my sabbatical time as it takes care of three to do items at once: write more, code more and make a game. I’ve long been fascinated by the format and this is also a good way to get deeper into it. Something that, for all my interest, I’ve never been able to do. Why? Let’s face it, for all the non-existent system and mechanical requirements (you just need to read and type), it’s a format that feels needlessly inaccessible.

You really have to be somewhat net savvy to get some of these titles working. Everything you need is out there on the internet, but piecing it all together into a working experience takes some effort. You have to find the games. You have to find the appropriate interpreters (there are many formats and many interpreters for each format). And even then you can still get such wonderful error messages as this:


Frotz blorbed the glulx? What kind of alien language is that? Getting these games to run is as much a quest as the games themselves.

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