I get you, and I agree, but I also know that back in the day Adventure and Zork and stuff were the first text adventures you played, or at least they were the very clear visible mold of the first games you played (I used to love Dungeons of Dunjin, it was one of my first IF. My actual first IF ever I don’t remember, but I bought a Zork collection. I remember that my first PARSER experience ever was either Leisure Suit Larry 1 or King’s Quest 1. I was blown away. And I’d cut my teeth on graphical adventures by then. But I digress!). Things do change, time does pass. I suppose it’s inevitable that we’re getting people whose first contact with IF was Photopia, or Galatea, or Hoist Sail For The Heliopause And Home.
But, what made them fun in the first place is very clear in your essay, and again I love it because there’s so much heart in it. It’s just that these things are already all around, and part of the design of good games, wherever they originated. It may be, and this is my point, that the times they are a-changin’. People who come into IF now will not have the same experiences. Heck, the brilliant “IF Theory” compilation, all the discussions about mimesis… you tell a newcomer “A narrative at war with a crosswords”, and they’ll go “Say what?”. Maybe we’re reaching that strange, strange time that’s a sort of generation gap - for the newcomers to have the same references as we do, they have to dig through a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense for them any more.
I keep digressing. Gah. Anyway, I’m sure that what I’ve just described is not the whole story. You do need to know the classics if you want to make headway - you do need to know all about Bach and Mozart before you start trying to compose atonal music. Similarly, you should play Adventure at least once, for all the reasons you state - it single-handedly set down a huge number of things; an “idea whose time had come” (where did I read that?), and exploded and is still expanding. You should play it and experience it. You should respect it and even revere the whole idea of it.
But, ah, in this day and age people don’t really emulate Bach or Mozart, because it’s all moved on. They may be inspired by it, write pieces with obvious influence, or in their style, but mostly composers want to find their voices in the world that makes sense to them, and the past is rarely a world that makes as much sense as the present and the promise of a future.
I knew this would bite me in the ass. My meaning was completely stripped of religion, and I used the example of Christ because it’s the one I was raised in. With Christ we are taught to tolerate, to love, to do unto others, etc. But this is not religious doctrine. This is ethical and moral upbringing that happens to come wrapped in a religious story (I’m not even interested in the factual man, all I’m talking about is the story that is, for a significant part of the world, a basic and vital building block for their upbringing).
Lots of people, like myself, find enough reasons to drop religion (and I’m SO not getting into that right now!) but keep these ethical, moral teachings.
My strange comparison (my mind gets weird, sometimes) is that all the positive teachings of (in this example) Christianity stay with you even as (well, if) you reject religion. They are already a part of you. So is Adventure inherently a part of IF, even when we’re not overtly saying it is. When a Photopia comes along, it’s very deliberate in saying “THIS is like Adventure; and THIS and THIS and THIS is certainly not”. You may reject religion but you’re still tolerant and will do unto others etc… similarly you may be deconstructing IF but you’re still using rooms, and usually cardinal directions, and the same recognisable Room Name Description >PROMPT format. Because that’s what IF inescapably is (and this is fuel for another discussion, “What is and isn’t IF?”, that we’re not interested in in the context of your essay, I think), just as you are, barring developments, essentially the person that you were raised to be. You MAY be, instead, the person that you at some point DECIDE you wish to be, regardless of how you were raised. Similarly, we may play Ad Verbum or Nord And Bert.
Bah, I’ll just drop this comparison. I haven’t the heart to delete all my justifications, but suffice it to say it made a lot more sense in my head,
I’ve felt that in some games. Not the Andy Phillips games I like so much, no, but I felt some of it Geist, most notably, light as it is. And I just remembered Hollywood Hijinx, man that game was a blast. Solved most of it by myself!
Yes. Exactly. Agreed. I would also love this to be the case.
I’m also aware, however, that it probably won’t be. Not for everyone. Some people will just scratch the surface. But others will stay long enough to play deeper. Maybe it’s best for people to decide when it’s time to play these games… Playing an Adventure or a Zork these days is an investment of time and effort. I’m pacing myself to play some Infocom games still.
I’m not sure that there’s anything to be done about it, except to avoid responses like “Dude, that is so last century!”, or “We no longer do things that way, and we won’t play your game if you insist”. It’s also a very nice thing that so many new games still have XYZZY responses. I find that very positive, and a persistent, conscious nod to the Big Bang IF came from.
I’m eagerly awaiting part 2.