Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction

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MIT Press, Feb 11, 2005 - Business & Economics - 302 pages
A critical approach to interactive fiction, as literature and game.

Interactive fiction—the best-known form of which is the text game or text adventure—has not received as much critical attention as have such other forms of electronic literature as hypertext fiction and the conversational programs known as chatterbots. Twisty Little Passages (the title refers to a maze in Adventure, the first interactive fiction) is the first book-length consideration of this form, examining it from gaming and literary perspectives. Nick Montfort, an interactive fiction author himself, offers both aficionados and first-time users a way to approach interactive fiction that will lead to a more pleasurable and meaningful experience of it.

Twisty Little Passages looks at interactive fiction beginning with its most important literary ancestor, the riddle. Montfort then discusses Adventure and its precursors (including the I Ching and Dungeons and Dragons), and follows this with an examination of mainframe text games developed in response, focusing on the most influential work of that era, Zork. He then considers the introduction of commercial interactive fiction for home computers, particularly that produced by Infocom. Commercial works inspired an independent reaction, and Montfort describes the emergence of independent creators and the development of an online interactive fiction community in the 1990s. Finally, he considers the influence of interactive fiction on other literary and gaming forms. With Twisty Little Passages, Nick Montfort places interactive fiction in its computational and literary contexts, opening up this still-developing form to new consideration.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breadhat - LibraryThing

While I found the first two chapters to be a bit tedious, this book turned out to be a comprehensive and inspired platform for bringing interactive fiction to a large audience. Montfort is well ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tjd - LibraryThing

At best, this is a mediocre history of interactive fiction games. But the writing is often disorganized, and rarely interesting. It has the leaden feel of a grad student dutifully chugging through all ... Read full review

Contents

THE PLEASURE OF THE TEXT ADVENTURE
1
RIDDLES
37
ADVENTURE AND ITS ANCESTORS
65
ZORK AND OTHER MAINFRAME WORKS
95
INFOCOM AND COMMERCIAL BEGINNINGS
119
DIFFERENT VISIONS WORLDWIDE
169
THE INDEPENDENTS
193
INTERACTIVE FICTION IN OUR CULTURE
223
INTERACTIVE FICTION WORKS CITED
235
SECONDARY SOURCES
247
INDEX
273
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Nick Montfort is Professor of Digital Media at MIT. He is the author of Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction and Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities; the coauthor of Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System and 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10; and the coeditor of The New Media Reader (all published by the MIT Press).

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