Skip to main content

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.)

Links: A good page linking to various resources on IF.