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Old 05-13-2009, 01:43 AM   #1
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the IF game genre and its sarcastic games

Does anyone else remember that in the interactive fiction (IF) genre of computer games, most or all of the games had the feature of giving obnoxious, sarcastic quips in response to commands that either used wrong syntax or just weren't part of the story? I spent hours on certain games typing absurd commands just to see what the program would say; that's the main reason that, to this day, IF remains my favorite genre, and I don't care if the games were nothing but text and sometimes ASCII graphics--I'd take it over a graphics-using genre in a second.
I always wondered if it was a recognized tradition among IF game writers to anticipate their games' responses being tested by punks like me. Because they obviously did do that; some anticipated the most outlandish things from users, and programmed hilarious responses.
For the record, the funniest command/response exchange I ever saw was in a text-and-ASCII graphics game called "Castle Adventure" by Kevin Bales. (If you ever played this game, you may remember that it came in a package by Keypunch Software, which allegedly was notorious for stealing uncopyrighted software, including "Castle Adventure," that it found online.) If you found the Harp, you could type "PLAY HARP" and get a pleasant sound and the text "The HARP Makes Beautiful Music!!!" Well, stinker that I was, I then typed "PLAY SWORD." It said: "The SWORD Makes Horrible Music!!!"
Old 05-15-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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Believe it or not, text adventures (nee "interactive fiction") are alive and well. I still enjoy them.

It takes a little bit more work to engross yourself in a story with no visual aids, no flashing lights, no sound track. But if you're the kind of person who can look up from a good book to notice that your cappucino has grown quite cold, you're the sort of person who might well prefer an interactive story.

Authors vary tremendously in their writing styles, and perhaps we should cut them a little bit of slack when it comes to their choice of "nonsense-response messages" such as the one that you describe. You have to provide a response to anything that the user might type in, and some of those are indeed rather "forced."


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