Game genres that stand the test of time

Reminisce about those old games and dedicated gaming hardware

Game genres that stand the test of time

Postby YetiSeti on Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:52 pm

Quoting Tezza here as a point of discussion and companion thread to the 'game types that stand the test of time'.
You could argue these interactive stories/puzzles HAVEN'T stood the test of time in that I doubt younger people would be interested. They use the best graphic engine in the world...the brain but many nowadays people would look for real time action. Engaging though they were, they need patience and lots of time to get through. They still have a niche following on the Internet and go under the title "Interactive fiction"

>They use the best graphic engine in the world...the brain
That's a nice phrase.

I have been subconsciously considering quite a bit lately the relevance of pure IF games, but not deep enough to fiirmly come to any conclusions. Coming from a background with a part of my growing up being in a video store, and having read (non-forcibly) possibly fewer books than the number of fingers on my hands I strongly argue (well, my arguments may not be strong, but my position is stubborn) that movies are better than books (and happily reject the usual 'different mediums', and 'imagination' arguments)

As enamoured towards IF as I am, recently I have asked myself two critical questions about IF and modern games (If I'm prepared to consider movies being better than books, then I might as well consider the graphics adventure/RPG etc being better than IF)

1. How are they different or what aspects are unique to IF?
2. Do or can these aspects be incorporated into other game genres/modern games?

Is the demise of IF (except for the niche group) natural selection or evolution?

RIP simluations. Not too many of them around any more. And, diversity is dead, long live the franchises?
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Re: Game genres that stand the test of time

Postby tezza on Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:24 pm

YetiSeti wrote:As enamoured towards IF as I am, recently I have asked myself two critical questions about IF and modern games (If I'm prepared to consider movies being better than books, then I might as well consider the graphics adventure/RPG etc being better than IF)

1. How are they different or what aspects are unique to IF?
2. Do or can these aspects be incorporated into other game genres/modern games?

Is the demise of IF (except for the niche group) natural selection or evolution?


I guess evolution is driven by natural selection.

Looking at IF, I think it's important to consider its origins and what happened to the computer scene in the 1980s.

IF came from the likes of Collosus Cave, played by '70s programmers on mainframes when the boss wasn't looking, or after work or eating lunch. Consder the stereotype. Above average intelligence, adult, and techie types who enjoyed solving problems and puzzels. May were probably sic-fi and fantasy buffs to boot.

Enter the early microcomputers of the late 1970s/very early 80s. Apple IIs, PETs, CP/M 8-bitters, TRS-80s. Crude or non-existant graphics. Little sound. Expensive machines especially with disks. Again, often owned and used mostly by well heeled and generally intelligent adults. Scott Adams finds a market with well thought out, sometimes humourous games requiring no graphics and only 16k RAM. Slightly later, as disk becomes more common, Infocom finds a market with IF games. They employ good writers. so the games were enaging and immersive. However, as they grow in size so they grow in complexity. It takes a while to get through them and puzzles can be very challenging. Not everyone is into hard brain-teasers. Many required a lot of pondering and puzzeling and the drawing of maps, which is not necessarily what most people do for relaxation.

Meanwhile...the same period as infocom was spitting out titles we saw the introduction of cheap and cheerful and noisy home computers aimed at the family (and mostly kids). We are visual animals. I wasn't a kid at the time but I assume few were into text-based only games. I imagine with all that souund and colour on offer, text on the screen was defintely uncool and old-fashioned.

Yes, I think natural selection and evolution. Once computers were capable of sound, colour graphics, and could offer networked multiplayer expeiences, games naturally developed to exploit this and this is what game players wanted. Text-only interactive fiction became a small niche non-commercial following. However, IF had played in big part in securing computers as entertainment devices in the early years, showing text-only computers of limited capability, when combined with good fiction writers, could both engage, entertain and satisfy.

Looking at the questions posed, I haven't actually answered them but...oh well...
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Re: Game genres that stand the test of time

Postby Harvey on Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:02 pm

I do have a soft spot for the text only adventure "Lords of Karma" - probably because of it's concepts and how your good or bad actions gets its own reward. A remake of this today, with the really nice graphics available - could still make it very playable again, with its core basic concepts intact.

Running this on an emulator - it's a 48k game for the Atari 800, that takes about 5? minutes to initialise itself. It says "working..." - but some young lad will probably think the computer has locked up/crashed running it for the first time, and therefore miss out on giving it a go...
Text adventures still can be as playable as ever - as long as people still can read? And have a brain/imagination that is working?
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Re: Game genres that stand the test of time

Postby tezza on Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:52 pm

Yes, I probably spent more time playing text adventures more than any other genera in the day. As Infocom said in one of it's ads, the best graphic processor is the human brain. If the writing is good, the imagination can do the rest. You needed to be patient though. The games took time and perseverence. Very satisfying when you solved them though.

I managed all the Scott Adams ones without cheating, and also Zork I (at least to 95%). I just couldn't figure out how to open that bird's egg without breaking it!
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Re: Game genres that stand the test of time

Postby Harvey on Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:05 pm

You would think that with all the fuss about the Kindle, etc ---- that this would have been a perfect opportunity to re-introduce almost all of the old text adventures back again? Oh well, a prize opportunity wasted! Instead we get background sound ambivalence being the great new thing for them...

Probably the more I think about the old text adventures being revived on the Kindle / like pads - the better the idea sounds?
Though there is the problem of how users interface with the game - not knowing anything about the hardware side at all --- maybe there's no 'computer'
available inside these things to enable so-called text adventure games to run...
That it's a technical issue - that it simply can't be done. Having no keyboard further compounds the problem - and having to implement a virtual keyboard is beyond the scope of the hardware?

But you'd think you can't play a game on a digital camera? Wasn't Mame ported across to a Kodak digital camera?
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Re: Game genres that stand the test of time

Postby Harvey on Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:00 pm

Did a quick search for hacking the Kindle - and this came up...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-sled ... 05619.html

De Quincey has created a program, KIF, that will let Kindle owners play text adventures -- a state of the art technology in the 1980s (remember Zork?). Text games seem well-suited for the Kindle, but as de Quincey admits they have not much more than niche appeal these days.

Clicking on KIF takes you here...

KIF: an infocom text adventure interpreter for the kindle
http://adq.livejournal.com/108011.html

Saw a Kindle showing that it had a kind of keyboard at the bottom... Don't think it'll be great for touch typing though.
Don't know why it is there? ...
The ultimate kindle hack, would be to connect a real keyboard - and then be able to type/write on a Kindle? Then adding a Wordpad app - so that you can
write/save your own documents to the Kindle? But you need some way to save/transfer the text to a permanent storage area...

There have been some hacks done on the Kindle - hopefully more and more will be done? I am not tempted to buy one.. but if it became a multi-purpose device,
then it could be useful indeed...

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