[Interactive Fiction Project / Nickole Wiles & M.]

Introduction #1: Nickole Wiles

Interactive fiction, and the use of the text adventures platform for creating interactive writing, craves attention. Meaning, strictly, it needs more attention than it is already getting. Ben and I could have done hundreds of different things with this platform. In my approach to the text adventures platform, I created what I would dub a command-based collection of flash fiction in the form of a storytelling butler. Our games have so much potential to expand from where they are right now, and we both have intentions to continue working on them far after the reach of this class has ended. The premise of my particular text adventure involves talking to an old-style English butler who is full of little vignettes to tell the player. It is my hope that I can expand this butler’s database of topics into the hundreds. Right now, the butler has a little over twenty topics the player can use to interact with him. The game will automatically prompt the player and guide them into topics should they have trouble finding one the butler can speak about. The long-term goal is to have a database so expansive that any player at virtually any time could log on, pick a subject, and take part in a clever little interaction with the butler.

IF: In order to access Nickole’s IF go to http://textadventures.co.uk/ select Log In from the top right, the Username is definegeek and the Password is thispwisforari. From there select Create from the top bar, find ReBUTTLE under Edit and select Play. Then you should be able to access it.

Introduction #2:  M

The challenge of interactive fiction is, to me, a certain loss of control. It could be said that the entire point of being an author is that you get to create a world which is absolutely in your control, the reader at your mercy. By introducing the element of interactivity into fiction the author is letting loose of this absolute control. In IF you have made a fiction, but it is up to the reader/player to decide what to do with what you have made, the nature of the experience varying wildly from person to person, from IF to IF. It should not go without note that IF is an excellent medium for forwarding a writers career. The average individual will quite often be more willing to play a game you’ve made than read a story that you have written, these are the times. As such, the IF may be used as sort of a business card, something you can give to strangers, friends, potential publishers or employers to show them what you’ve got. This paired with the rising need of writers in the field of video games suggests that IF, if implemented correctly within academia, has the potential to rise to one of the most post-study employment creating items.

I have presented my IF here in a readable form, giving an example of the method I use to write IF and what IF can be. Letters denote options available to the player. The form reflects a learning model I have developed towards IF, the essence of which is to start with the creation of a single room, then create a double room, so on and so forth, until the construction of a world is within the writers ability.

[Small Shitty Room]

Son: You’re not me. I don’t know what you think you’re doing here, you need to leave.

A-Leave(Ends IF)

B-Speak

C-Look Around

B1-I’d like to talk.

C1- It’s a single room, there’s a door inside but its size suggests that all it is is a closet. There’s a kitchen bit, you know what’s in there without looking twice: fridge, counter, cabinets, stove. Their contents wouldn’t be any more revelatory than they would be unique, cheap food in the fridge, the drawer with forks knives spoons, the drawer with shit in it, a couple of cupboards with contents, cans spices plates cups, at least one or two empty and a little dirty. The rest is a living/dining “space”, couch, table(the prop up kind, the ones with folding legs), across from the couch is a tv, not so thick as to suggest abject poverty but thick enough and small enough to suggest, at the very least, a budgeted lifestyle. About the tv, on its stand, some dvds, nothing special, spread out in small stacks, a lonely looking player off by itself, lines running out of the back drawing anorexia up the wall and into the back of the set. Between the couch and tv is a scrawny table, topped with drink rings, a couple empties, some magazines, just like you’d figured. The carpet was just there: it didn’t look, feel, wasn’t soft or hard, just padding, just the thing stapled between the concrete and your feet. You look back at your son, he’s been watching you have your look at his roomhouse, his eyes say that he’s seen your look at him. You need to say something, talk to him.

B2: He keeps his face the same when he says back to you “about what.”

D-Respond

E-Move towards your son

D1-It’s been too long, I’m just here to talk.

E1- You go to move towards your son, his looks stops you. You’re already closer to him than he wants. Something moves around in your gut when you realize there isn’t anything more disgusting to him than the sight of you. You move back, closer to the door than when you’d come in and stopped.

D2-Irritation fades into and out of your sons face. “I’m here, I’ve asked: about what?” You stand there and think, try to think, what is there to say? He still speaks to his mother, still knows what’s going on in his parents life. The quite keeps going and going while you try to figure out something to say to him, something that’ll make sense out loud and not just in your head. “Could I maybe sit?” is all that comes to your mind and out of your mouth. Laughter is the first real noise you hear come out of your son.

F-Leave.

G-Put your hand on his shoulder.

F1- “Don’t come back.” follows you out. You couldn’t even if you had wanted to.

G1- You do it: you try to cross the fourteen year barrier and you do: you walk forward and he doesn’t stop you, and you lift up your arm and he doesn’t stop you, and you put your hand on his shoulder. He laughs and laughs, “Fuck you fuck you fuck you. Don’t touch me, don’t touch me anymore. It’s over.” You think about keeping your hand there and you know it’d just be more of a mess, it’d stir the already ugly mix into thick brown paste. You’re finished here, shouldn’t have come, leave with something empty that’ll be filled with cigarettes or booze or pills, the last connection to your son being the likelihood that he’ll be doing the same.

 

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