Interactive Fiction in Video Games

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Interactive Fiction in Video Games

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Mar 17, 2008, 2:57am

So Phoenix Wright games are definitely interactive fiction, Half Life 2 and Bioshock are very story driven... What is best in an Interactive Fiction game?

Final Fantasy? That's definitely Interactive Fiction, as is Golden Sun, an obscure game for the GBA. I guess Guitar Hero is not Interactive Fiction, nor is Dance Dance Revolution, because it has no real narrative.

What defines a game as Interactive Fiction? I believe for a video game to qualify it must have a story that the player interacts with, and influences as they play it.

MYST is like this, I do recall, and technically The Sims 2, though a simulator, has narrative elements influenced by the player's actions.

What say you?

Mar 17, 2008, 8:06am

Zork and Deadline are my personal favorites.

Mar 17, 2008, 9:00am

Calling Myst "interactive fiction" is pushing the definition, IMHO. Calling Half Life IF is.. well, it's a bit cheeky, put it that way. ;)

Even Golden Sun (Obscure?!? It's still in the top ten most popular games for the GBA on could hardly be called IF.

Having a story doesn't make a game "interactive fiction" - that's like saying that watching a DVD is the same as going to the drive-in.

Zork is Interactive Fiction.

Edited: Jan 3, 2009, 1:03pm

Sorry for resurrecting this, but I had to agree. These games are not Interactive Fiction, especially since that term is already used to describe a certain type of game that might also be considered a subtype of the Adventure game. In the past these games were known as "Text Adventures", but these days they are called "Interactive Fiction". Like felius already said, Zork is probably the classic example of it.

If the genre using that term were dead, then you could probably use it. But it's alive and kicking, and sometimes there's even still commercial titles coming out in it.

So, what I say is that you can't really sort a game solely based on whether or not is has a story. You can make that *part* of the sorting, but using only that criteria makes for a very rough, and pretty bad sorting, as many games, even shooters have a basic story. But someone who likes Myst doesn't automatically like Half-Life. Keck, it doesn't even take that great a difference in the game to make people not like a game. "Myst" is commonly considered an Adventure game. I can tell you however from my own experience and involvement in the Adventure Game community (Oh, you thought we're dead? Sorry, I've got to disappoint you there. ;) We've just kind of stopped being mainstream.), that many people don't like Myst, because it is too puzzle focused, and doesn't have much (if any) interaction with other people. You just run around solving puzzles for some reason.

So yeah, you can't really sort games solely by the point "Has (interactive) story". Because if you have story, you will in some way always interact with it, even if the story just consists of an intro, then lots of senseless shooting, and then an outro.

By the way, if you're interested in the Interactive Fiction community, look on these pages:

A Beginner's Guide to playing Interactive Fiction - What it says.

Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive - Your source for Interactive Fiction (mostly by fans. I recommend "Worls Apart" and "Uncle Zebulon's Will". Look in the contests too, there's some great stuff in there.)

XYZZY News - News.

The Brass Lantern - this link specifically goes to their Beginners introduction page.