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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shaping Stories and Building Worlds on Interactive Fiction Platforms

  • Author(s): Mitchell, Alex;
  • Montfort, Nick
  • et al.

Adventure game development systems are platforms from the developer’s perspective. This paper investigates several subtle differences between these platforms, focusing on two systems for interactive fiction development. We consider how these platform differences may have influenced authors as they developed systems for simulation and storytelling. Through close readings of Dan Shiovitz’s Bad Machine (1998), written in TADS 2, and Emily Short’s Savoir-Faire (2002), written in Inform 6, we discuss how these two interactive fiction authoring systems may have influenced the structure of simulated story worlds that were built in them. We extend this comparative approach to larger sets of games, looking at interactive wordplay and the presentation of information within the story. In concluding, we describe how critics, scholars, and developers may be able to more usefully consider the platform level in discussions of games, electronic literature, and digital art.

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