Text Adventures Galore

Remember Zork? You know, “Go north. Get sword. Kill troll with sword.” Zork was among the best known of a genre of games known as text adventures. Though for the vast majority of people, technically more elaborate games have replaced these prose-intensive efforts, there is still an active community of people on the Internet developing them. The highlight of the year for this group is the Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, which anybody can be a part of by playing and judging the games, and which starts today. There are 53 entrants this year, a new record for the competition, and while there are bound to be some stinkers, there are also invariably several gems among the lot. This quirky art/entertainment form is especially intriguing to me because it is one of the few forms of interactive entertainment that can be completely conceived and realized by a single person, which makes for some very interesting results at times.