troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Interactive Fiction
"SOMEWHERE NEARBY IS COLOSSAL CAVE, WHERE OTHERS HAVE FOUND FORTUNES IN TREASURE AND GOLD, THOUGH IT IS RUMORED THAT SOME WHO ENTER ARE NEVER SEEN AGAIN. MAGIC IS SAID TO WORK IN THE CAVE. I WILL BE YOUR EYES AND HANDS. DIRECT ME WITH ONE OR TWO WORD PHRASES"

Interactive fiction games are adventure games in which the interaction is almost entirely text-based. Early games, and games from purist companies like Infocom, were nothing more than bare text, but some later offerings added pictures, sound and limited mouse input (one game, Leather Goddesses Of Phobos, even included plot-relevant scratch-and-sniff cards as Feelies) — but the primary form of interaction was still through descriptive text and typed commands. The genre began with the original adventure game, Colossal Cave, and really took off in the early 1980s, with offerings such as the Zork trilogy and later, more literary works, such as Trinity and A Mind Forever Voyaging. During this period such games were almost universally known as "text adventures". Interactive Fiction is a term originally introduced by the seminal Adventure Game company Infocom to describe its line of more "serious" long-form text adventures back in the Golden Era, and has become the dominant term in the 21st century as the genre became an increasingly specialised market aimed at an increasingly "literary" audience.

The obvious reason why they were in text form is that was the only means of output available. Original Adventure was written in the programming language FORTRAN and was designed to run on the Mainframes And Minicomputers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Graphics output wasn't possible because most places had no systems available for on-screen graphics. It was only when computers that could display color graphics became affordable in the early 1980s that the text adventure started to be replaced by various programs that used graphics capability; a few text adventures were remade in graphical form at this time. (In non-English-speaking countries, graphical adventures had far more success in the 1980s than text-only adventures, which were rarely translated and thus posed a formidable language barrier.)

Interactive Fiction was once the industry standard for long-form narratives now implemented in computer Role Playing Games, but fell out of commercial viability during the late 1980s as text parsers were rapidly displaced by icon-and-menu and Point-and-Click interfaces. Shortly after the major players disappeared from the market, a lively amateur scene sprung up on the Internet, centred around the Interactive Fiction Archive (http://www.ifarchive.org ) and the Usenet newsgroups rec.arts.int-fiction and rec.games.int-fiction, thanks to the appearance of good-quality programming tools that have allowed recent amateur efforts to equal or exceed the quality of commercial games from the heyday of the genre. An annual contest sponsored by the community typically draws more than 20 entries per year, and the hobby continues to evolve and improve.

The Multi-User Dungeon (MUD), the MUCK and the MUSH or Multi User Shared Hallucination are related games with very early origins, which emphasize the roleplaying aspect of user-generated online environments. The Adventure Game progressed directly from early text-based adventures, and is graphic-intensive but similarly story-oriented. This evolution kicked off by Interactive Fiction (also known as Text Adventure) is what eventually led to the MMORPG.

Arguably the most modern form of Interactive Fiction is the "Visual Novel" derived from Romance Games, but in general, these stories tend to be much less interactive than the classics were, since they don't have a Text Parser, or even much of an interface.

This is a "video" game genre. Contrast Choose Your Own Adventure, which may be the "tabletop / literary" version, or Interactive Comic, which extends this trope to Webcomics.


Tropes common to Interactive Fiction games include:

The IFWiki has its own page on IF Tropes.


Index of interactive fiction games


Instant 180 Degree TurnOlder Than the NESInterface Screw
MUCKRole-Playing GameDating Sim
    Interactive ComicRuby Quest
Idle GameVideo Game GenresLight Gun Game

alternative title(s): Text Adventure
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
40137
0