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The Linux Gamers' How-To

By The Linux Documentation Project

2.3. Text Adventure (aka Interactive Fiction)

Once upon a time, when Apple ][, Commodore, and Atari ruled the world, text adventures were the game of choice of 'intelligent folk'. You are given a scenario and can interact with the world you're placed in:


   

 You are in a room. It is pitch dark and you're likely to be eaten by a grue.
 > Light lantern with match.
 You light the lantern. This room appears to be a kitchen. There's a table with a
 book in the center. You also see an oven, refrigerator and a door leading east.
 > Open the oven.
 In the oven you see a brown paper bag.
 > Take the bag. Open the bag. Close the oven.
 Inside the bag is a some garlic and a cheese sandwich. The oven door is now closed.
 			 

Back then, text adventures were self contained executables on a disk or casette. These days there's usually a data file and an interpreter. The interpreter reads data files and provides the gaming interface. The data files are the actual game itself, similar to the relationship between first person shooters (Section 2.7 ) and wad files.

The first adventure game was Adventure (actually “ADVENT”, written on a PDP-1 in 1972). You can play Adventure yourself (actually, a descendent) ; it comes with “bsd games” on most Linux distros. Text adventures became popularized by Scott Adams (Section 11.5 ) and reached their height of popularity in the late 80's with Infocom (Section 11.4 ) which are also playable under Linux.

As computer graphics became easier and more powerful, text adventures gave rise to graphic adventures. The death of commercial interactive fiction more or less coincided with the bankruptcy of Infocom.

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