In Defense of Text

Gaming, Writing

I believe I’ve previously mentioned the terrific documentary Get Lamp by Jason Scott. It looks at the past, present, and future of interactive fiction and text adventure games through interviews with many prominent figures in the history of IF. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in literacy, interactive fiction, puzzles, escape rooms, gaming (tabletop, video, and anything else) and philosophy.

Go ahead and watch 45:50-51:55 and then come back. Go on. Git!

Interactive and Hypertext Fiction.



Ahhh… I could write so much on the topic. But this blog is intentionally short and sweet.

My family was given an Atari 800 back in the 1980s when I was a kid on Guam. Back then, you had to jam a BASIC language cartridge down into one of the two cart slots above the keyboard to program in BASIC, and that was pretty darn cool. I wrote a lot of IF games back in elementary and middle school… ZORK rip-offs, a trilogy of A.L.F. games, etc. and those 5 1/4 floppies are still at my parent’s house. We had a TI-99/4A before then that I had started programming on, but I really got cooking on the 800.

Earlier this year I found out about the textadventures website and Quest.

Here is a piece of hypertext fiction I wrote with Quest and uploaded to their site. I’m currently designing an IF game using Quest to upload sometime later this year.

If you haven’t seen it yet, and are interested in IF and it’s place in programming and gaming of the past, as well as perhaps gaming of the future, be sure to watch the documentary Get Lamp. And take some notes.


“Someday there’s going to be a genius. An absolute genius… who writes something so brilliant, so involving, so magnificent, that’s you’ll just weep for joy doing these games because they make you involved in the story. That’s just so different than anything else that we’ve ever had.” (Mary Ann Buckles)

“Will we always have text? We will always have text. Will it always be inferior to graphics? Well, in terms of player numbers, yes. In terms of player experience, no. Because no matter how far you take graphics, eventually the farthest you can get, in terms of player experience and imagination… is text.” (Richard Battle)