Groundhog instant

Remember IF? Interactive fiction? The whole scene of people who are still making and playing text adventures? I’ve been meaning to dive in there for a long time, but as always it’s hard to find the time.

But recently I came across Aisle, an experimental piece of IF by Sam Barlow. It won a XYZZY award in 1999 for Best Use of Medium.

Here’s an extract from a good review of Aisle:

“The premise is simple: the game has one move, and it “ends” after that move and automatically sends you back to your original position. By interacting with what’s around you — and by incorporating knowledge gained thereby into future moves — you learn about your own character and make sense of his various neuroses, fears, and hangups (to some degree, anyway). In the process, you get a sense — at least, I did — that your character, in this one move, is at a crossroads of sorts (or, at least, that the moment can mark a turning point, a change, if treated that way), and you take a look at where various paths might lead.”

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? I’ve played it, and it’s quite well done. Aisle is a highly condensed short story: it contains just a key moment in the main character’s life, repeated over and over again. (As far as I know there is no resolution, so this post’s title is just me being cute.)

Although Aisle will not revolutionize interactive entertainment – arguably, it’s not even interactive – I really, really love the fact that there are people out there doing games like this.

(Download the Inform interpreter here – I could neither play the game online, nor download the interpreter from the Aisle webpage.)

A good page linking to various resources on IF.

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