Brief history of text games

Anna Washenko posted From Infocom to 80 Days, a primer on a genre of game that encompasses the most elementary and elaborate forms of play. Text!

But whatever its production value or artistic merit, at heart, interactive fiction is simply words on a screen. In this time of AAA video games, prestige television, and contemporary novels and poetry, how does interactive fiction continue to endure?

To understand the history of IF, the best place to turn for insight is the authors themselves. Not just the authors of notable text games—although many of the people I interviewed for this article do have that claim to fame—but the authors of the communities and the tools that have kept the torch burning. Here's what they had to say about IF and its legacy.

Washenko talked to IF legend Andrew Plotkin, Inform creator Graham Nelson, Galatea writer Emily Short, Twine creator Chris Klimas and others.

Previously: Jason Scott's talk and presentation of Get Lamp, his documentary covering similar ground.

Oh, and read Twisty Little Passages.

How Twine revived interactive fiction
A look back at 1982's text adventure of The Hobbit